getting back to basics.

this post is in partnership with Jord Wood Watches. as always, opinions are my own (like i’d ever not give you my own opinion). thank you for supporting brands that support everything with love. 

unless you’ve been ignoring this blog over the past few weeks, you’d know that i recently finished a month long social media fast. i was off all social media for the month of january, with a goal to reassess my priorities and my relationship with social media in order to live a more balanced, grounded, genuine life. i wanted to go back to the basics of making my life, my people, and my passions the focus of my time, with social media being a meaningful addition to it.

it uncovered a lot of things in me that i didn’t really recognize were limiting how i lived my best life. a big part of my month was spent thinking about how i could use social media as an enhancer rather than a distraction, as well as what tools i could use to help me in this pursuit.

here are the ways i’m making my social media work for me instead of against me:

  • setting time limits on my social media use

part of my problem with social media before my fast was just the amount of times i mindlessly opened up the apps to waste downtime in a day. it adds up really quickly, and takes you out of your rhythm really easily too. i had a realization that all the posts would still be there even if i didn’t see them as soon as they were posted, and once i got my brain around that, setting time limits really helped me manage my use. now, i give myself a half hour in the morning with my coffee to scroll through instagram (although i usually don’t use all of that time), and a half hour after the kids go to bed to check it again along with any other social media i feel like i need to check.

knowing that i’ll have time to look through everything keeps me from feeling like i’m missing out, because everything will still be there. and honestly, “missing out” on a month worth of posts might have given me FOMO for a couple days, but that feeling quickly goes away when your life is still just as good without them. if you can organize your social media time in a way that reinforces that understanding, it’s a lot easier to manage it in a healthy instead of all-encompassing way.

  • removing apps from my phone

oh, this one is a big one. obviously as part of my month off, i removed all the apps from my phone, or it would have been too tempting to check in here and there. now that my fast is over, i have instagram added back on, but haven’t added facebook and twitter and have no plans to either. if i need to check those platforms, i can do it on my laptop. i haven’t missed them at all, and i love the space in my brain that i seem to have without them. i’ve also gotten rid of snapchat altogether, because it didn’t bring much to my life.

with something like this, you can think about what would work best for you. it might be enough to just sign out of your apps to make it harder to check. it might be enough to just move the apps to the “back” of your phone screens. whatever works for you as a way to slow down and intentionalize your social media use is exactly what you should be doing.

  • wearing a watch

this seems so little, right? i know. i almost felt like this was too silly to even mention. and then jord wood watches reached out to see if i would be interested in working with them, at the exact time i was planning this post. could not be a clearer sign in my opinion. if you’ve never heard of jord watches, then this must be the only blog you read, because their unique watches are everywhere. i’ve been eyeing up a men’s watch as a gift for Mister Man because they’re so nice, and their women’s watches are equally beautiful (seriously, look at my watch and tell me that gray and rose gold doesn’t speak to your soul). my watch matches literally everything, and their sizing was so easy to work with, the fit was absolutely perfect!

anywho, wearing a watch is an amazing way to cut the cord with your phone a little bit, because it lets you give up your phone as a timekeeper. how often do you look at your phone during a meeting or a coffee date just to keep an eye on the time, when you get sucked in by a notification or a text, and before you know it, you’re totally out of the moment? be honest, it happens to everyone. it’s gotten to the point that people rely completely on their phone to tell the time. simple fix? wear a watch to tell the time. i’ve been wearing this watch for the last two weeks and i’ve been able to leave my phone at my desk during meetings and at bedtime because i truly don’t need it for those moments. it’s allowed me to be more engaged during work and with my kids, and i know that it’s helping me with my goals.

jord is letting me do a giveaway contest for you guys, which goes from now until february 25 (my birthday!). the winner will receive a watch from jord, so make sure you click here to enter! (the winner will be selected and contacted by jord after the contest end date). if you are in the market for a unique watch, you can also use the code “b121076g” for an immediate $25 off and free sizing, which is a great deal, because who wants to waste time bringing their watch to be sized?

  • developing a daily and weekly rhythm

this is something that i continue to work on and will probably continue to develop over the next year at least. and any big life change will necessitate another look because your rhythms should flow with your life and needs as they are now.

it’s been difficult for me to establish a rhythm in large part because of my part-time work schedule. for those of you who don’t know, i work 30 hours a week, i’m in my office three days a week and i’m home two days. so unlike true stay at home moms, my “routine” is anything but. the last month i’ve been trying to get creative with the concept of a rhythm for weekly cleaning and our days at home. so basically a VERY loose one. i can talk more about this in another post if there is interest, but i think i’m starting to find one that works. it’s taken a couple tries, and we all know that i hate that, but who knew? trying works!

knowing what my day looks like and having plans and goals in place for myself on a regular basis has helped me manage my social media better because i know when i can check everything and what i should be doing if a get sidetracked. i think this one might be a game changer.

  • anything else that works for you

there are so many other great tips on this topic from homesong blog, or other places. things like keeping your phone out of your room, getting a landline, and using your internet provider children’s controls to put stop times on apps. whatever you find that works for you and your particular goal is best for you.

let me know if you have any tips or tricks you use to manage yourself on social media, or if you like these, or if you’re the type that just doesn’t need this stuff. i’m newly fascinated by this whole topic so let me hear it!

(and don’t forget to enter the giveaway! it ends on my birthday guys, how perfect??)

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Wooden Wristwatch

the final days of rest.

visit my other posts about this social media fast here and here.

and i’m back!

well, i’ve been here all along, but i’m back on social media after a month-long fast. it was a really amazing experience for me, and as i’ve told a lot of people, it could not have come at a better time for me. i really needed this time away from meaningless distraction to focus on some important real life stuff. and while i’m not this perfectly grounded mom, wife, and friend now, i feel like i have a roadmap to where i need to go to be closer to my goals of being a present mom, an attentive wife, and an involved friend.

i mentioned in my last post that i’d been struggling with the feeling of not being able to start any of my projects or practices because i want it to be just right the first time. that week our goals were to actually do some of the physical simplifying we had been reflecting on, and that has jump-started so much progress for me. i cleaned out my clothes (again) and was ruthless with my assessment of what i actually like and what i actually wear and feel good about. now, even though i have some wardrobe gaps to fill, i feel good about getting dressed everyday, and it’s weirdly easier for me to keep my clothes and bedroom tidy every day without it feeling like chore. Mister Man is very happy about this part! i also cleaned out and organized our bathroom, and that felt like a damn breath of fresh air. you don’t know how many old lotion bottles you’ve got until they’re gone (that’s how the song goes, right?). and when they’re gone, it is great! next up is the kids toys…pray for me.

the retreat schedule i followed from the homesong blog was really journaling and reflection heavy, which was nice, but it felt like A LOT of forced reflection that was maybe better suited to her own preferences and goals versus universally helpful. not bad, just not for me. subsequently, one of the things i realized through this was that i don’t like journaling. yea, i’m just not a journaler. i would rather talk out my feelings, or think through my feelings, but journaling just feels like a lot of work for some reason. as much as i like to talk, i’m not very verbose when i write. i write what is essential when i journal, which isn’t really the point, so i don’t get a lot out of it. is that weird coming from someone who blogs? probably. you guys know i’m a weirdo though, so it’s fine.

this social media fast made me feel like i had more space in my brain. i felt like i was spending my energy on me and my people and my things instead of everyone else’s. that was so freeing for me to know that the world will still turn even when i don’t know what every is doing right as they do it. even now, i haven’t put facebook or twitter back on my phone (and i probably won’t), and i will go all day without scrolling instagram (although i totally use the DMs like texting). i’ll talk more about the functional ways i’m planning on continuing what i’ve learned from this, like schedules and tools and all the ways i’m trying to get back to the basics next week, but for now, this is how the experience made me feel inside.

here is what i hoped to accomplish during the month, and how i did:

  • i want to build a new daily routine for myself, from the time i wake up to the time i go to bed. i want it to be thoughtful, realistic, and something that gives me purpose, because i’m learning that more structure might be good for me. i’ve come a long way with this in a month. i’ve been waking up every day at 6am, and even though that doesn’t give me tons of time before the youngest is ready to start his day, it’s good. i’ve been picking out my clothes the night before, even on days i’m home with the kids, and that has made a ton of difference in how our mornings go as well. when i’m dressed without being rushed, i just have more patience for getting everyone else dressed! the kids have been liking their routines, and have been good about listening when it’s time to do stuff for our day. the focus on being intentional at night has been really life-giving for me too. i focus first on the “need to be done” things like dishes, tidying the house, and making lunches/coffee, then i shift to the “good to do” like working out and tackling any to-dos i’ve planned for the night. i’ve been getting more done and getting to bed earlier when i focus on priorities and purpose of my evenings, and that has been the best!
  • i want to work on renewing relationships, both within my family and my friendships. i’ve not been as mindful of the people in my life as of late, and i want to change that. this includes my husband and friends far and near. i think that this has been slow but steady. with social media gone, Mister Man and i have had a lot more time to talk about how we want to be as husband and wife and as parents, and we are even going on a day date to a marriage brunch talk this weekend. our relationship feels more like it did when we were newlyweds than it ever has, which can be tough with young kids, but is so important for us to remember. i’m having some people over for the super bowl this weekend, a really random, lovely group of people, which i would normally not think to do, but i’ve tried to be more intentional about reaching out lately, and while it will take a while to make it a habit, it’s happening. a fun part for me with this has been reaching out to strengthen my blogging friendships as well. i don’t give them enough credit usually, but people i know through blogging are some of my best friends, even when i’ve never met them in person. so i’m working on emailing/texting/facetiming with them intentionally, and it’s been so wonderful.
  • i’m hoping to renew my passion for blogging with the new inspiration and space in my brain. i’ve missed it a lot, but even when i’ve had the time to do it, i’ve felt totally uninspired to do it. i’m hoping this rest from the norm will jumpstart my creativity in a positive way. i mean, i wrote five posts in january, whereas i only wrote 21 in all of 2017, so i think this one can definitely be counted a success. i’m much more inspired to write and share, and i’m opening myself up to write and share differently than i have in the past. the law of attraction says you get what you put out, and that seems to be true for this whole blogging thing, so we will see where i end up in 2018. i am definitely feeling good about this space for the first time in a long time. 
  • i want to come out of this feeling like a more engaged, energized mom. i have two amazing kids who are growing up faster and faster, and i want to take the time to watch it happen with minimal distractions. if only you could get feedback from toddlers on your improvement in mothering. if i could, i’m hoping they would say that i’m doing better after this month. i certainly feel like i am. i haven’t yelled or lost my patience nearly as often this past month, and i feel more involved and encouraging to both my kids these days. i’ve seen the difference in amelia; her attitude with me is so directly related to how i engage with her, and it’s been so much more fun and happy, especially the last few weeks.

thanks for being so encouraging and sticking around while i took this break. i know that some of you are contemplating your own social media fasts in one way or another. if you ever want inspiration or ideas for it, i am happy to share the more detailed pieces of my experience, the nitty-gritty if you will, just ask. let me know in the comments if you think you’d ever do this, or if you think i’m insane for needing to take it this far!

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coffee date.

it’s a coffee date! it’s a coffee date! it’s a coffee date!i started to write one of these on a day where i really needed a crap-ton of coffee (that’s an official measurement), but i fell asleep before i got through the first paragraph, so that was stupid and oddly ironic. then out of curiosity, i went to see when my last coffee date was, and do you know what i found out? my last coffee date post was last JULY. and the one before that was in NOVEMBER 2016. are you kidding me? i used to do one of these every few months, and i loved them. still love them. they’re my favorite type of posts to read and one of my favorite to write. have i been spending so much time drinking real coffee that i’ve forgotten to make time for my online coffee? is that even a real sentence? how is anyone even reading this blog?if we were on a coffee date…i would ask what you were getting, and then tell you i’m still on that americano grind. i make special exception and have a latte every so often on a friday, but i just love my inexpensive, caffeinated americanos. also, i’m obviously getting a hot beverage, because i live in the tundra and have you seen it here? we kicked off the year with the MOST frigid temperatures that kept us trapped inside with two toddlers (heaven did help me, but so did wine), and then were lulled into a beautiful dream state by warmer weather, and then had a foot and a half of snow dumped on us on monday. but actually, i love when there is snow, because you can actually play outside with the kids. i mean, it takes half an hour to bundle them up, only to be out for 25 minutes, but fresh air is fresh air my friends.

if we were on a coffee date…i’d tell you how obsessed i am with my letterboard. i resisted getting one for so long, because really, how often was i actually going to use it? and does the world really need someone else thinking they’re witty and posting about it on instagram? but then my darling husband surprised me with one for christmas (this letterboard right here if you’re interested) and it was all over. i love how meditative the process of creating the message on the board is. something about how it’s tangible and hands-on makes me so happy. i keep a list on my phone of potential quotes, so if i’m ever inspired on a whim, i just put it on the list and use it when it feels right. i’m pretty proud of the one that’s up right now, because it’s just pure truth…if we were on a coffee date…i would bore you with rave about how much fun the kids are lately. are they sleeping the best? no. do they still whack each other at least once a day? yep. have i yelled at least once in the last week? oh very much so. but darn it if they aren’t the most fun people right now. there is no shortage of personality in our house right now, let me tell you. we have dance parties everyday in the kitchen and dining room; william’s favorite song is “barbara ann” by the beach boys, while amelia’s is a tie between “when will my life begin” from tangled and “help me, rhonda” by the beach boys. they are also fans of van halen, the moana soundtrack, and the beastie boys. we are raising some well-rounded music enthusiasts! they have started actually playing together, which is a sight i will never get sick of. there is nothing sweeter to my mothering soul than watching my two kids play with playdough side by side, or build with legos together without someone getting angry because the other one knocked it down. like, why do i not have five more of these things?? (it’s because they don’t come out this age. that’s why. in case you thought i had gone temporarily insane)

 

if we were on a coffee date…i’d probably start telling you how i feel like i’m at a crossroads in my life. i’d ask you if you’ve ever gone through something like this. there is a feeling somewhere deep down that is telling me that a change needs to be made. it first manifested itself in the form of my social media fast, which has been life-altering for me and is still going really well (you can read more about that here and here). now it’s starting to spread to other areas of my life, in a really positive way, but in a way that is really stretching me to think long and hard about what i want, and how i want to achieve it. if that sounds vague, it’s because it is. i have no idea what this will look like, or what the feelings even mean, but i know that this year is going to be one filled with a different type of change than the last few have been. thanks for having coffee with me! i seriously love being able to let loose and talk about all the random things bouncing around in my brain. i hope you like reading about them. let’s do this more often? maybe a few times a year. if you’re cool with it, i’m cool with it. hugs and smooches.

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grandpa’s spring vegetable minestrone.

oh yes. it’s a grandpa rice soup recipe. and this is a good one. it’s one of the most “different” soups in the whole cookbook, the flavors are so unexpected but so delicious! behold: spring vegetable minestrone with fava beans and mint.

this is a fresh take on traditional minestrone, which is typically a tomato-based soup made with noodles, tomatoes, zucchini, and cannellini beans. grandpa’s version is made with leeks, asparagus, fava beans, garbanzo beans, peas, and green beans, with no tomatoes or noodles, and it’s flavored with mint(!). i had never tried anything like it before, but it just hit the spot, and i know you will love it if you try it.

this is actually a really quick soup to throw together, because most of the hands on work is just in chopping the leeks, carrots, celery, and asparagus. the rest of the ingredients can be canned or frozen, or are kitchen staples. the mint gives it this subtle fresh taste, which makes it really great on a cold winter day or even a cool summer day where you might be craving soup.

i might be crazy, but when we had “the sickness” come through our house a few weeks ago, i thought of how good this soup would have been. it’s mild enough, but packed with so much good stuff that it’d be a great sick food to have in the freezer for when you need it.

okay, enough, i don’t need to sell this to you anymore, but i cannot sing the praises of this recipe enough. so make it. and then let me know what you think! i think this is going on our meal plan next week, because i’m craving it now…

spring vegetable minestrone (makes a large batch without doubling)

 

  • 1/4 C. olive oil
  • 2 large leeks, chopped (light parts only)
  • 1 C. carrots, chopped
  • 1 C. celery, chopped
  • 2 qts. vegetable (or chicken) broth
  • 1 Tbsp. parsley flakes
  • 2 tsp. basil leaves
  • 2 tsp. thyme leaves
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 C. shelled fava beans, fresh or frozen (i used frozen lima beans)
  • 1 (16-oz) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 C. peas, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 C. green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces (i used frozen)
  • 1-2 tsp. mint flakes
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)

heat oil in a 5-quart dutch oven or sauce pot on medium-high heat. add leeks, carrots, and celery; cook and stir 5-6 minutes or until vegetables soften. add broth, parsley, basil, and thyme. bring to a boil. reduce heat to medium-low; simmer uncovered, 20 minutes. stir in asparagus, fava beans, garbanzo beans, peas, and green beans. cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender and crisp. ass mint flakes. ladle into bowls and serve. sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese if desired. as with all my grandpa’s soup, i suggest that crusty bread be involved in this meal.

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my sensitive skin care routine.

oh my skin. my skin and i are complete frenemies. i need it, it needs me, but we don’t always get along. you know? i have been through the wringer trying to figure out how to keep it under control. i’ve tried EVERY over the counter treatment there is, and quite a few of the prescriptions treatments too. i’ve even taken accutane on two different occasions (it helped but was horrible and i hated it). what i’m saying is i’ve tried a thing or two. i’ve gotten to know my skin pretty well through all of it, and feel pretty good about handling it these days. i still get the occasional breakout (thanks hormones!) but they are shorter and less intense these days.

i’ve talked about my skincare routine and breakouts before here, but because our human bodies are so delightfully unique, it’s always changing based on how my body is reacting to the routine during any given period of time. i’ve been trying to be thoughtful and look at it a few times a year to see if there is anything i need to change, and i think it’s been a good thing! here is what i’m currently doing to look and feel less like a hormonal teenager and more like a grown-ass mature mother of two children.

my morning routine

  • rinse with water. i have really sensitive, breakout prone skin, and i’ve learned that the less i unnecessarily cleanse it, the better it behaves.
  • moisturize. i’m currently using the beautycounter daily facial moisturizer, but sometimes i like to use the origins original skin matte moisturizer too.
  • put on bb cream or foundation. i’m currently using the nyx bb cream, it’s by far the most like a foundation of all the bb creams i’ve tried.
  • apply concealer, face powder and blush. i never skip the concealer, but sometimes will skip the other two.
  • apply the rest of my makeup. the rest of my makeup is just maybelline brow pencil and l’oreal voluminous mascara. if i’m at home with the kids, i skip the mascara.


my evening routine

  • remove makeup. i don’t always do this as an extra step, but if i have a full face of makeup on, i will. i use the one love organics vitamin b cleansing oil, which is a great option for people who might be afraid of facial oils. i apply it with dry hands to a dry face and work it in to get the makeup melted off, then massage warm water all over my face with the oil, then rinse it off, and all the makeup is gone.
  • cleanse face. after i remove my makeup with the cleansing oil, i cleanse my face again with cetaphil gentle skin cleanser. this just removes all the excess cleansing oil, and makes sure to get every last bit of residue off my face.
  • tone. i use thayers rose petal witch hazel toner, which is by far the most gentle, effective toner i’ve ever used. it doesn’t dry out my skin, but it helps with dry skin and clogged pores.
  • use a face mask. about once a week i try to do a purifying mask to get my pores really clean and refreshed. my favorite types of masks are generally the charcoal clay masks, because they really draw out a lot of the impurities in my skin without overdrying it. my favorite lately is the beautycounter charcoal mask, it’s just amazing.
  • moisturize. again, my pores are clogged easily, so i don’t like to over moisturize my face. once or twice a week i use the one love organics skin savior multi-tasking wonder balm if i’m feeling extra dry.

i’ve said it before, but it’s worth mentioning again that no product can replace good lifestyle choices when it comes to the health of your skin. i talk about this more in my post on handling problem skin, but it’s just so important to use good products, drink more water, eat well, get facials semi-regularly, and take any supplements that your body might need (like vitamin d, fish oil, and probiotics). once your foundation is strong, it’s a lot easier to keep the good times going.

what are your holy grail skincare product or tips? i’m always so interested to hear what other people do, what products they love, and why, because you never know when someone will tell you about something that ends up being perfect for you too!

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