Thursday, July 12, 2018

My Picks For The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Early Access for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale started today!  I have shopped this sale every year since I signed up for the Nordstrom card.

They have been having issues with all of the traffic on the website.  I had a difficult time adding things to my cart.  What I ended up doing was adding the item to my Wishlist, then going to the Wishlist, and adding it to my shopping bag from there.  Whew!

Even though it has been 100+ degrees all week, I was trying to think Fall when I searched the sale.  I love this Halogen varsity sweater, and it will pair well with these plum skinnies by Articles of Society.

I cannot wait to wear this Caslon utility jacket.  And these Kut from the Kloth jeans look super comfy.

Once the weather calms down, I will be lounging around the house in these Lazy Mornings lounge pants, with this zip front hoodie by BP.  I love the bright pink color!

For now, I'll get away with this steal of a shirt (I'm getting it in black as well), and these adorable star shorts (obsessed).  You can't beat eleven bucks for a t-shirt!

I needed to replace some staple shoes in my closet, and this was a great opportunity to do that.

Vince Camuto suede pump (I love this v cut on shoes)

Two of my favorite skin care brands had some of their products on sale.  And they never go on sale!

Tata Harper is my ABSOLUTE fav skin care line.  This set is a must have.  I love the Repairative Moisturizer.  Kate Somerville is my second favorite line.  The Wrinkle Warrior in this set is no joke.

Also, if you love Jo Malone, or wanted to test her scents, but didn't want to shell out the big bucks, this set is a really great deal.  I love the Peony and Blush Suede.

Of course, I can never go shopping without picking up something for my girls.  They love clothes and shoes just like their mama.

This heart sweater by Tucker and Tate is so precious.  And these fun leggings (less than $9!) will pair well with a ton of solid basic tees.

Mini Melissa's almost never go on sale, so I snatched these up in a few sizes...some for now, and some to grow in to!  The girls love the bow and the glitter!  I would not be surprised at all if these sell out today.

I looked at stuff for my boyfriend, his son, and my son.  I have some things in my basket to show them tonight.  They never get too excited about clothes and shoes.

I also picked up a few items for the house; this rug for the back patio, this rug for the living room (I think it should hide spills pretty well!), this serving board, and these mugs.  I have a serious mug hoarding problem.

Don't forget to check out with Triple Points for today's purchase!  Happy Shopping!

Monday, June 25, 2018

Monday Musings: Cancer Diagnosis and Friendship

One of my best friends lives in another state.  We text almost daily, we visit in person once a year, and one of our #lifegoals is to do a family vacation together.  I love her more than I think I would love a sister, and I love her kids pretty dang close to how much I love my own kids.  Maybe even the same, or more, because her kids have never screamed at me for giving them a plate that is not purple.

I met her parents the last time I visited her, at the home where she grew up.  It was bittersweet.  I loved seeing where she grew up and visualizing the stories she told me.  But, her parents were relocating, and the house has just sold.

Her dad was sociable and friendly, but did the man thing and was in the garage for the majority of the time I was there (he was looking for something…I don’t remember what it was).  I didn’t take offense to this, but chuckled at this typical man behavior.

As soon as we walked in the house, her mom welcomed us, and was the perfect hostess.  She offered us snacks and drinks.  The kids took the snacks and ran off, running around the house.  They were obviously comfortable in this home.  We chatted in the kitchen and loosely checked in on the kids by peeking in the other room.  I think at one point we had to redirect her four year old son to “stop trying to reach the ceiling fan with the light saber”.  Her mom is feisty and witty.  I enjoyed watching her interact with everyone.

Many, many years ago (but not so many to imply that her mom is old…she’s clearly not a day over 29), my friend’s mom had a heart transplant.  My friend was young when this happened, and, with good reason, has always had a fear of losing her mom.  I’m not sure if her mom was expected to live as long as she has.  Either way, my friend’s fear is certainly valid.  This one event, granted a major event, gave her such a fear of losing her mom, that it has shaped how she views every single person who crosses her path in life.  She is one who will never, ever cut people out of her life.  EVER.  You could murder the family dog, and she would still keep you in her life.  Maybe at a distance.  But not cut out for eternity.

I saw her parents one more time before we left, and I hugged her mom good-bye.  I really liked her, and like so many times when we have long distance relationships with someone, I was so sad that they did not live closer so that I could experience more time with her.

That visit occurred in April of this year.  About two weeks ago, my friend text me and said her mom had a lump that she was getting tested.  I tried to make her feel better by brushing it off, saying it was probably nothing.  Then the doctors wanted to see a specialist right away for another appointment.  This was more alarming, and I didn’t feel like it was nothing anymore.  I was thankful for the geographical distance between us at this point, so that she couldn’t see my face or feel my anxiety.  I was officially worried for her mom.

If you ever need a distraction while you wait for doctor’s results, let me know.  Here’s what you’ll get:

^True friendship, dude. 

You know what’s coming next.  It’s cancer.  I’m in shock.  My friend is angry.  Her mom is angry.  There are only so many options she has, being a transplant patient.  However, it is treatable.

About a week later, and I’m over the shock, and I’m feeling a heavy weight on my heart.  I didn’t think I would feel this way about someone I met twice.  But, like I said, I love my friend fiercely.  Although I do not pretend to understand how she feels, her pain is my pain.  Her mom has been through so much in life already, and yet, here is more for her to take on.  She is a loving wife, mother, grandmother.  She doesn’t deserve this, and neither does my friend.  They both deserve some worry free time.

Now what?  They live three hours away from each other.  She is going with her mom to doctor appointments each week.  School is being missed, traveling three hours each way with three young kids is not ideal.  When she is with her mom, although it’s familiar, it’s not home.  Nothing beats sleeping in your own bed.  Routines are disrupted.  And yet, she makes it work.  She just makes things happen.  She still works on her house, she still gets up every day (and probably makes whatever bed she has slept in), she still feeds her kids.

What do you do for a friend who has a family member with cancer?  You’re just there for her.  You understand when she doesn’t respond as quickly to your texts about how to decorate the backyard.  You don’t get upset when she doesn’t ask how you are (although she’s so awesome that she still asks me).  You listen to them rant, cry, talk to herself.  Don’t say everything will be okay.  Validate the seriousness, and validate her feelings.  You offer inappropriate jokes to make her laugh.  You encourage her and pray for her.  You ask how she’s doing, because she’s selflessly thinking only of everyone but herself.

You are her place to lean on so that she can be strong for her mom.

Friday, June 22, 2018

If People Could Just Stop Killing Themselves, That'd Be Great

There are a handful of times in my life where I remember receiving (or experiencing) world changing news.  When the space shuttle exploded.  I was in 2nd grade.  My teacher wheeled in a large black metal cart, with a giant TV on top of it.  The old kind, shaped like a giant box, strapped to the metal cart, most likely a tipping hazard.  Another class joined us to watch the news.  I remember squeezing into my chair/desk with my best friend, and we watched in awe as the shuttle blew up in the middle of the sky.  The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.  I was 10, playing in the backyard with my brother and our two dogs, Flopsy and Phoebe.  The earthquake hit.  I slipped and fell.  The concrete patio cracked.  So many things inside the house fell and broke.  My mom is an expert organizer.  This was at least a decade before the ability to be paperless was an option.  Her desk was a disaster.  There were papers everywhere.  For weeks after the earthquake, months, maybe, my brother and I took our toys and books into the sunroom and played under these two desks that were in there.  We set up our toys and played, and read books under there for hours, sure that we would be safe if another earthquake hit.  When Princess Diana died.  I was 18.  Newspapers were still a thing then.  The front page was sitting there on the kitchen table, her face right in the middle of the page.  I was casually walking from the kitchen back to my bedroom, saw the headline, and gasped.  9/11.  I was 22, at the gym, running on a treadmill at 5:30 a.m.  I saw the plane fly into the tower, and I just stopped running.  The treadmill kept going, and I fell right on my keester.  I drove home, woke my husband, and we watched the news.  I went to work that day, but no work was done.  We all sat, in shock, surrounding a tiny black and white portable television, absorbing this horrific event.  And finally, when news of Kate Spade's suicide reached me.  39 years old.  I was working outside of the office that day.  My assistant, who shares in my love for all things Kate Spade, sent me the text.  My eyes widened, and I said out loud, "NO. WAY."  I replied with a similar text, and some expletives.  I consumed article after article, trying to find something that said this was a mistake.

My first designer handbag was a Coach bag.  I had been coveting Coach bags since I found out designer handbags were a thing.  It was a small, black hobo bag.  It had the Coach "C" logo on it, probably canvas material, with a black leather handle, and silver hardware.  It fit over my shoulder, and I proudly carried it every day.  I believe it was $300, which was a lot of money for me at that time.  I loved it, and I didn't care that my grandmother about had a heart attack when she learned how much it cost, and then commented on it every time I saw her.  It was so practical.  It went with my work clothes, my weekend clothes, my dressy date night clothes.  It fit my wallet, my lipgloss, my keys, and eventually my flip phone.  It was perfect in every way.  That bag was with me for five years, which is pretty good for a bag I used nearly every day.  I felt justified in my purchase, because I knew a bag from Target or Kohls would not have lasted nearly as long.  I reasoned that I would have spent just as much on several lesser bags over the five years.  The Coach styles have changed, and I never found that same shape again.  If I did, I'm not even sure it would fit all of the stuff I carry around now that I am a mother, but I might still get it, just for nostalgic reasons.

My next large handbag purchase was a green croc-print Banana Republic bowler bag.  It was only $160, a steal in comparison, but still too much for Grandma.  I was obsessed with the color and shape.  I really cherish the unique pieces in my wardrobe, and this is one of those items.  I carried it for three years.  I still have it.  It's not in the greatest condition, so I don't use it anymore, but I still think it is beautiful, and I can't bear to part with it.

And then, my first Kate Spade.  The Quinn Villabella.  Bright pink, complete with a bow on the front and black and white polka dot lining on the interior.  Oh, I was just giddy when I bought it.  It was pink, and it had a bow, two of my favorite things.  It had structure, so my stuff didn't disappear, making me look like a very bad magician trying to pull a rabbit out of the hat any time I wanted to grab my wallet or keys.  It had pockets and zippers.  That bag is on my Instagram at least ten times.  I don't remember how much it cost, but I'm sure Grandma would shake her head in disbelief.

Since then, there have been a few more Coach and Kate Spade purchases.  I have a nice little handbag collection that takes me through all seasons each year.  Right now I'm carrying a classic black Kate Spade tote that was a gift.  I'd love an LV one day, and a Ralph Lauren Ricky bag, but those $1,000+ price tags supersede the stretch of my first $300 spend.  But it's a goal, and I like having something to look forward to.  Dreaming is a great way to focus on something positive when things are tough, pushing me to work harder.

Some might say that my purchases are frivolous.  They might say that I am materialistic for spending so much money on a purse.  They might be right.  Why are designers important to me?  They create obscure, excessively priced items that seem to be useless to anyone but the celebrities watching the runway shows.  But they provide out of the box ideas.  They provide inspiration.  They get my creative juices flowing.  I need a creative outlet.  It is imperative for my mental health.  Being able to view Kate Spade's work has improved my mental health.  It has sparked ideas for outfits, which makes me feel confident, which makes me a better employee, a better mother, a better girlfriend.  Her colors and patterns have been a springboard for my own doodles, which is a way to relieve stress.

Although not as large of an impact on my life, I watched Anthony Bourdain's shows a time or two.  I was inspired by him because he seemed to have no fear.  He seemed like he would give me a straight answer, and he seemed like a free spirit.  All things that I aspire to do, but are not my strengths.  I would love to travel as he did, consuming local foods, participating in local culture.  Since I'm not currently in a place in my life where that is possible, what is the alternative?  I was inspired to cook something new, or order a dish at a restaurant I never would have considered previously.  And dared to dream that one day I could travel to these places he brought to my living room.

For these sources of this amazing inspiration, this mental health enrichment, to end their own lives was shocking for me.  It felt like a belly flop from the tallest diving board, into a still, cold pool.  How could these people who I hold in such high regard, have this serious of a mental health issue?  Surely, being part of inspiring environments on a daily basis must have made them very happy.  These are people we view as very successful.  Many of them are involved in charitable activities.  They get to travel the world, wear beautiful clothes, attend elite events, drive fancy cars, live in mansions.  How could these people be sad?  And then I looked inward.

I have been diagnosed as chronically depressed.  More than three episodes in your life will get you that diagnosis.  If you know me, you may be surprised to hear this.  I love to bring happiness and smiles to other people.  I love to laugh.  I love to play with my kids, go on dates with my boyfriend, I even love my job (most days).  Depression still finds me.  And yet, when I hear "depressed", I envision dishes piled up in the kitchen sink, pizza boxes on the table, dirty laundry strewn about the house, schlepping around in my old, ratty pajamas, sitting in my bed, eating ice cream from the carton, while watching a 1998 German film without subtitles, ugly crying because I didn't understand as much German as I thought I should.

Yes, that has been me.  But if I did that every single day, I wouldn't have a job.  I wouldn't be focused on my children.  The "put together" life that everyone sees would not exist.  It wouldn't be possible.  I have to not allow the depression to take over my mind.  I have to know myself.  I have to know when to say, "I need help now, I cannot muscle through this on my own anymore."  Which can look like therapy, or a visit with my doctor for medication, or a difficult talk with loved ones around me.  It's hard because depressed people don't always know why they are sad.  Sometimes there isn't even a reason, which makes it seem like there shouldn't be a problem, and there's nothing to fix.  Regardless, I had to raise my hand and say, "I can't anymore."  There have been many times that I have been in a dark place, and people have asked how I am, and I have said, "I'm okay."  It was a lie, but it wasn't a lie that went too far.  I know my limits.  Not everyone has that ability.  Or that support system.  Sometimes I haven't been so self aware, and someone who loved me said, "We need to talk."  And I had to be willing to hear a hard truth.  Thank goodness for those people.

Perhaps Kate and Anthony didn't raise their hand in time.  Perhaps they didn't have someone they felt safe talking to.  Perhaps they didn't have someone close enough to them who could get through to them.  Perhaps they felt like a burden.  Or perhaps they thought they could handle more.

What do we do, then?  How do we solve for this?  I don't have the answer.  I'm not certain there is one single right answer.  What I would suggest is to continue asking, "How are you?"  Not in a passing, "Great weather today." way that Susan from Accounting does.  Grab a friend, get a coffee, without distractions, and ask, "How.  Are.  You."  Ask directly, even if you have no reason to believe they are struggling, "Have you ever struggled with depression?"  If you have an experience with depression, share your own story.  Misery loves company.

If you are struggling, and someone asks if you are okay, consider telling the truth.  Consider what it would look like if you didn't smile and say that you are okay.  Consider raising your hand, and saying, "I can't anymore."  Consider how much better you could feel if you get help.  Dare to consider that you could be an inspiration for someone else with your success story.

Friday, June 8, 2018

How To: To Do Lists Continued

I know what you're thinking..."Continued?!? I thought it was so simple, just a few lists!" Well, yes. For my regular weekly planning, this is all I use. But what about the "I don't want to forget that, but I can't deal with it right this second" kind of lists? I do have lists for those things! I call them my "Brain Dump" lists. Here is what I keep track of:

Blog Ideas
Gift Ideas

I keep these in my Family Binder (discussed here) under the "Miscellaneous" divider. I have these available in my Etsy store. You will receive BOTH the 8.5x11 AND the A5 lists with one purchase. They are just ONE DOLLAR. HELLO?!? You can't buy anything for a dollar anymore! No taxes, no hidden fees! Just a dollar!

Please also note I have reduced the prices of some of the other items in my store, so be sure to check it out!

I keep one more list. It is a list I use for my day job. I use the Bullet Journal system. It is very efficient. You could replace your normal To Do list with this if you wanted to combine work and home activities.

But wait, there's more! I have two FREE printables for you!

If you get a binder for your Family Planner with the clear sleeve on the front cover, you will need a cover page. I have one for you! It even matches the planners I have in my Etsy shop! Download here.

The other printable are the task symbols for bullet journaling. Here you go - enjoy! I printed this out and used washi tape to secure it to the inside of the notebook I use at work.

Once you have these systems in place, you will be all set!

I almost forgot the most important thing! Recent Google searches!!!

"how many Pokemon are there" (a LOT)
"Magic: The Gathering Rules" (11 pages...intimidating!)
"California smoking law" (No smoking indoors since 1995!)
"when is arugula ready to harvest" (Follow me on Instagram to see that it was ready, and delicious!)

What did you research today?

I Love Ikea

Saying, "I love Ikea" is sort of like saying, "The sky is blue". But it's also like finding the love of your life. You just want to shout your love from the rooftops, even if everyone already knows. I will go into detail after...

Recent Google searches:

"dream interpretation"
"Blues Brothers" (costume ideas for my son's school play - we found some great items at Goodwill!)
"YouTube tie a necktie" (^related)
"NSync 90s outfits" (^^also related - you would think I would know that one since I was a HUGE NSync fan)
"Chateau Tivoli Bed and Breakfast" (looking for rooms for the wedding in March!)
"Olympic Club" (^related)
"interesting facts about Jupiter" (my son got a hold of my phone)
"the real size of the sun" (^related!)

What have you researched recently? I love having a record of all of my Google searches. It creates a timeline of things that are happening in my life.

Back to the good stuff - Ikea. We took a trip to Ikea yesterday (something you would know if you followed me on Instagram, which I think you should). I am not sure there is anything in that store I don't like. We picked up a bin for our playroom to store toys, a few kitchen tools, a bedskirt, and a shower curtain.

Let's pretend the bedskirt isn't wrinkled. This is real life, people.

Same with the shower curtain...Instagram needs to invent a no wrinkle filter!

Love the plastic bag storage under the sink!

Because I had been looking ahead in my 2014 Master Calendar (available in my Etsy shop by itself here, or with a ton of other goodies here), I knew I would be focusing on organizing my kitchen this week. So I also picked up two new packs of food storage bins, some plastic plates and bowls for the kids, a pack of dish towels, and a plastic bag holder.

This is what I did yesterday. I did this in 15 minute increments.

*Vacuum fridge coils

*Clean HVAC filter. It was sooooooo dirty. This felt really good.

*Declutter kitchen table. This has turned more into "declutter kitchen island" since I moved into a house with an island. I have a basket, and I throw everything that does not belong on the island into that basket. When the island is cleared, I dump everything on the living room floor. Then I create piles, one for each room of the house, and place each item into the pile of the room for which it belongs. Once everything is sorted, I take a couple of piles (i.e., bedroom and bathroom, since they are near each other), and go put everything in it's place. This "declutter kitchen table (island)" is on the Master Calendar in January because I also take this time to evaluate what I want to be on the island permanently. I used to keep my purse, work bag, and a few other work staples on the island. But I felt it was too much visually. So I cleared a shelf in the hall closet, and now I keep those items in there. The result is that the kitchen island has more room for food prep, and visually more appealing overall. Each week, when I get to the kitchen as one of my Daily Zones, I do the whole "basket/pile/put away" procedure.

I used to use a very large basket for this, but I found that I allowed clutter to accumulate longer because it took a lot to fill up the basket. So I repurposed the basket for muffin tins and cookie sheets, and I placed it on top of the fridge. 

Now I use a smaller bin, which makes me disciplined in keeping clutter off the counter!

*Declutter plastic cups and water bottles. I threw out all of the bowls/cups/plates/bottles that had been chewed by the dog. I also threw out the sippy cups that are not spill proof.

*Declutter dish towels. I recycled the towels with holes, cut them up into rags, and placed in the hall closet for dusting and washing the car.

*Declutter kitchen gadgets, tools. I threw out broken spatulas, burned wooden spoons, and replaced them with the new Ikea kitchen tools.

What I had left was figuring out a re-purpose for the old food storage. I had so many mis-matched lids/containers. Here was my plan:

*Match the lids/containers.

*Throw out lids with no container to match.

*Find uses for containers without lids - I'm thinking nail polish storage, junk drawer organization, desk organization, baking supplies, etc.

*Find uses for containers with lids - random screws/nails and store in my husband's toolbox, small toy storage, craft storage, etc.

Here are the results!

Are you following along on the calendar? I would love to hear your challenges and successes! Link to your photos/blogs below for me to follow!

Self Care

How was trick or treating? Ours was fun! I was surprised at how on board our little one was with the process. She just followed the two older kids without a second thought.

Google searches!

"best online shopping sites" (to refer to our exchange students)
"synonyms for shield" (in order to name my son's fish - he settled on "Escutcheon")
"symptoms of depression" (you would think I know all of them since I have dealt with depression for years, but I wanted to site a reliable source - the internet)

What did you research today?

^I know I ask this each time. I really want to know. Please leave a comment and let me know what you have been googling!

Let's talk about self-care. Who cares for you? I know you care for a lot of other people; your husband, your kids, your boss, your parents, your friends, your pets. But who takes care of you? Do you take care of you? Does your husband take care of you? Do your friends?

Who do you EXPECT to take care of you? I think a lot of us think that other people should take care of us. After all, we spend so much time caring for others, can't someone stop for just ONE second and pay attention to US?!? Can't anybody look right at you and see the disheveled hair, the legs that haven't been shaved in weeks (okay, months), the paint on your nails that isn't from a manicure, it's from craft time, the bags under your eyes from not sleeping through the night since 1996, the piles of clothes strewn around the house in their various laundered stages, the toddler snot on your yoga pants (which have a hole in them), the half empty cup of cold coffee abandoned on the counter, the empty bottle of Xanax you have been too busy to refill...CAN'T. YOU. SEE. Someone should be able to take one glance, realize how desperate the situation is, stop everything, and say, "HAY! ALY NEEDS A BREAK OVER HERE!" They should sit you down, rub your feet, bring you chocolate and wine, tell you how wonderful you are, how beautiful you are, how much you are appreciated, then take the kids away for a couple of hours, and let you curl up in front of the fireplace with your favorite magazine, pee alone, and eat a hot meal that doesn't involve chicken nuggets.

How often does that happen? For me? Never. Do you know why? Because the only person's job it is to make sure I am cared for, is me. I am the only one who truly knows how stressed out I am. I am the one who needs to learn when to say "WHEN!" And ask for a break. This is not to say that a husband or friend can't assist with that break. But it is not up to them to recognize the need and push me to take that break.

At times, I feel resentment that I spend all this time caring for others, and nobody cares for me. Do you want to hear a hard truth? THAT is a selfish thing to do. I am an adult. I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself. Taking care of others until you are run ragged and then complaining or resenting people for not taking care of you is being a martyr. Take the break you deserve and stop complaining. It's not attractive. And we need all the help we can get with being attractive; anti-wrinkle cream can only do so much.

What is NOT selfish - and this is something I have struggled to accept for years - is taking care of yourself. Sounds contradicting, right? Taking care of myself isn't selfish. Why is that? Because when we take care of ourselves, we are better equipped to care for others. Then we aren't so busy looking inside and grumbling about how I don't get the help I deserve. We are looking outside of ourselves because our inner self is well nourished. When you do things to take care of yourself, you feel better about yourself. You are relaxed, and you have more energy to give to put into others.

It doesn't have to be extravagant. It doesn't have to put your family into debt. Maybe it's a hot cup of coffee with a friend. Maybe it's going grocery shopping without the kids. Maybe it's as simple as going to the bathroom alone!

So where do we start? With a free printable, of course! We need to make a list of self-care activities to choose from. I only put space in here for three activities. I know that for some of us, coming up with just three items will be a challenge. When we lose ourselves in our families, we forget what we enjoyed doing before we had our families. If you can come up with more than three activities, that is great! Print this out as many times as you need.

What did you like to do before you had kids? Did you read? Doodle? Journal? Shop with friends? Shop alone? Draw? Paint? Scrapbook? Photography? Pottery? Do you want to develop a new hobby? Knitting? Sewing? Exercise? Manicure/pedicure? Massage? Think of some things that you want to try that only involve you. And perhaps one friend. But not children. If you try something and you don't like it, this list can easily change. So don't be afraid to try something new. Write down three ideas.

How often are you currently including these activities into your regular monthly schedule? Zero, zero, and...ZERO?!? That's what I thought.

How often would you LIKE to include these activities into your regular monthly schedule? Let's start with once a month at a minimum. Don't feel badly if you want to do your self care items more often than that! Be bold! Go for once a day! I like it!

Now look at your schedule. Where can you put this activity in your schedule? Don't say you don't have time. You might not want to make it a priority. But trust me, you have time somewhere. You might have to sacrifice time doing something else. Like watching TV, surfing the internet, even sleep if you must. Does your daughter go to dance class three times a week? Do you watch her during each practice? Make a compromise - watch her during two sessions next week, then take a book and read in your car during the third session. As an adult, she will need therapy for much more than you skipping one of her dance sessions. Trust me.

If you need help finding room in your schedule, then use the 30 minute time block printable. For at least one week, be dedicated to honestly write down everything you do each 30 minutes. I think you will be surprised how much time is devoted to Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest/texting/reading this blog (that's allowed). This should show you where you have time to spare. And if not, if you are truly busy and working efficiently from the time you wake until the time you hit the pillow, then you REALLY need a break. So find a time and write it down. These cards will fit into your planner, so write down your activity and then physically stick this card in your schedule.

You have your activity, you have time in your schedule. It's time to alert your family of your intent. "I am going to do ABC activity on XYZ day. I will be out of the house (or still in the house but am not to be disturbed under any circumstances, maybe even arrange to be alone in the home) for this much time, and I am going to take care of myself. Thank you." Block off this time in your calendar, post it on the fridge, tattoo it to your husband's arm, etc. Then DO IT. Don't put it off. Don't change it unless it is a dire emergency. Which does not involve whiny children.

Enjoy your self care time! Pat yourself on the back for NOT being selfish! Tell me what you end up doing. I would love to hear your successes.

Trick or Treat

Happy Halloween! As promised, here is your treat - the 2013 November Master Calendar. I can't wait to get things done next month. A fresh start!

That's it! Short and sweet today. Well, except for my recent Google searches...

"tie dye" (crazy sock day at my son's school)
"a night on bald mountain" (related to his music class)
"how tall will my three year old be" (not very tall!)

What did you research today?

Have a fun and safe Halloween!!!