the middle days of rest.

so we’re halfway through the social media fast. and it turns out that i’m still not missing social media itself. but i am finding out that i have been putting a lot of my “stuff” to the side in favor of avoidance via instagram/facebook/twitter/etc. yikes, how’s that for an intro?

the “stuff’ i’m specifically talking about is the general betterment of myself type stuff. you know, taking charge of my life and organizing it, getting my home on a better running schedule, actually giving thought to simplifying the stuff in my home and my heart, being a more engaged friend, PRINTING OFF PHOTOS OF MY SECOND BORN. see, i know that i want to do all this stuff. i know it because it’s on lists everywhere. i have lists on my phone, in notebooks, on my computer, and they all say variations of the same thing. and yet. and yet when given an hour at night to either pull out my computer and organize my photos and files while watching netflix (mostly productive), or to mindlessly scroll facebook and instagram while watching netflix (literally could not be less productive), i have always been choosing the latter. and why? do you know how much joy it would bring me to have photos printed out and in frames? ALL THE JOY. do you know how much happiness i would feel if i could finally say that i had effectively simplified my home and made it more efficient, happy and healthy? ALL THE HAPPINESS. but i don’t do it.

i don’t do it because i would rather just see the finished product of other people who have done it than put in the work myself. i think there is a fear of starting something like this self-improvement if there is a chance that it’s going to take a few tries. i’m the type of person who wants to do something one time, and i want it to be right the first time. i have always hated the idea of rough drafts. always. why make a rough draft when you can just write a good paper on the first try? why waste time doing something if you’re just going to have to do it again? in college, i would regularly write midterms and final papers in one sitting. and i’d get As on them (so in my defense, i’ve had some reinforcement on this particular belief…) it makes me feel good to see others’ end results without the rough drafts because i can live in this fantasy where SOMEDAY i’ll start this same effort and it’ll be easy to get the same results. i can just keep pretending that no rough drafts are needed, just like in college. but deep down, i know that this process will require trial and error, and that’s why i never start.

does anyone else have this same weird hang-up with rough drafts? or is it just me? please let it just not be me…

so i guess i’ve learned some pretty substantial stuff about why i do the things i do from this experience so far. this week is the week that we are supposed to take action on some of our thought process of restoring our rhythms and setting our non-negotiables for our lives, by actually getting rid of some of the clutter. so it’s a DO week instead of a THINK week, and i’m actually very excited. i feel like i need homework on this stuff because i’m clearly type-a enough that i don’t want to not finish an assignment. the difference now is that i’m recognizing that there is going to be trial and error, and i’m trying to welcome it, and be aware that all of this work is going to carry over into my whole year. in fact, i want it to carry over into my whole year. that’s how i’m going to change my habits and my weird perfectionist avoidance tendencies. i’m also working on how to fit social media back into my life in a way that won’t allow me to use it to avoid as much anymore. because i can’t unknow that part of myself now, so i have no excuse to let it happen anymore.

i truly thought that most of this process would be figuring out a better social media schedule for myself, not that i’d discover this known but deeply forgotten truth about myself. that in and of itself has made this process worth it.

now, i did have other goals for this work that i wrote about in my first post, so i want to update about those as well. can’t forget about the stuff i started!

here is what i hoped to accomplish during the month:

  • 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’m slowly but surely developing this. i have been good about giving myself 20 minutes of quiet awake time in the morning, with coffee, to ease into my day. i’ve also been getting myself and the kids dressed, teeth brushed and ready for the day at the same time, which is good for them as well as me. my nighttime routine has been more focused on what needs to get done, and on more productive endeavors lately too, which has made me feel great.
  • 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’m still working on this. i’ll always be working on this.
  • 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’ve been doing so much thinking, that actually, most of my extra brain power has been spent on the exercise itself, but i can see how doing a good job on this endeavor will pay off in this space soon.
  • 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. i really have been feeling like a better mom this month. i have more patience, i am doing a better job spending quality time with the kids when i have it, which gives me some leeway to let them play on their own while i cook or clean because their mom tank is full. so we’re all happier lately, and i credit it to how focused i’ve been in my interactions with them.

once again, thanks for sticking around for this long! i appreciate that some of you read along with my strange, rambling trains of thought. let me know if any of you get me on this rough draft thing, help my feel like i’m not alone in my crazy.

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the first days of rest.

“take rest; a field that has rested gives a beautiful crop.”

– ovid

it’s been three days since i deleted my social media apps from my phone, and oh boy, is this going to be a game changer.

for those of you not following me anywhere else (like instagram/twitter/facebook), i made an abrupt decision at the end of december to do a social media cleanse. i like to think of it as a fast, because cleanses are not really something i’m into, and the concept of fasting – periodic abstaining from something for the benefit of your inner self – speaks more to my soul. i made the decision to take a “rest” from social media after giving some thought to what i wanted my 2018 to look like. what i realized when i really sat down to take stock of my life, was that i felt stagnant in almost every single area – work, family, friends, inspiration. nothing felt bad to me, it just felt stuck, like it was all moving along without me somehow. i’ve never taken a break from social media before…ever, so this was a big decision for me, especially considering how many of my friendships use it as a main form of communication.

but as of january 1, 2018, i signed off from all social media, and haven’t looked back yet.

i’m following the rest retreat being put on by amanda at homesong blog, because i felt like i needed some direction and structure to this effort, or it would just feel kind of pointless. so far, it’s been a really good decision. it’s given me an outline for how to do this in a thoughtful, productive way, instead of just muddling along on my own. i have made some exceptions to a full social media fast; for example, i will be checking in on instagram every friday to share a photo (and probably an insta story) along with some thoughts on the process, and to see what you all have been up to over there. i have also picked pinterest back up (on my  computer only, not my phone). i find that when i’m feeling uninspired, pinterest is an amazing tool for me to start feeling creative again, whether in my home or my style or my blog. i haven’t touched pinterest in MONTHS, which is pretty telling for my current state of uninspiration, so it felt right to actually start again as part of this fast. this might feel counter-intuitive to some, but it was right for me.

(pillows || fluffy pillows || blanket || diffuser)

i’ve only been doing this for a few days, but it’s been much less difficult than i thought it would be. it’s a weird feeling to go to your phone by habit, but not really have any reason to be on there. it makes you realize how often you look at your phone just to kill time, or because you don’t want to think about whatever is happening, or just to distract your mind from any substantial thoughts. it takes a total rewiring of your brain to change your instincts to not pick up your phone in between activities.

one thing that’s made it easier for me has been to create a space for myself to spend time in during the evening instead of just sitting around scrolling instagram. currently in our lovely, tiny house, i don’t have an office space of my own. there are plans to create one for me this year, because having my own area as a home base has been a dream of mine for a while, and i’ve got big ideas for that. in the meantime, i’ve made a little nest for myself on our bed (pictured above) with lots of pillows, a cozy blanket, my laptop, a journal, a couple books, and my diffuser. it’s been wonderful to take time the last few days and actually do some focused activity like reading or blogging without the constant distraction of my phone. do you guys know how long it’s been since i’ve made time to read a book?? so long that i’m embarrassed to say it, so i won’t.

(sweatshirt || joggers || slippers)

[this is the most ridiculously comfortable outfit, and i will be wearing it in my nest a lot]

like the quote at the top of this post says, “a field that has rested gives a beautiful crop”. i’m hoping that through this social media “rest”, i will come out on the other side more inspired, more fulfilled, and with a better “crop” to offer to my family and my community. i’d also love to share what i’m learning through the process, and how it is helping me achieve that goal as i go.

here is what i’ve learned from my rest so far:

  • it’s kind of ridiculous how much more time i have on my hands during a day when i’m not wasting it watching people’s instagram stories or snapchats at random points throughout.
  • it’s been easier than i thought it would be, but if i’m being honest, there have been a couple of times where i’ve gotten a bit itchy to check what’s going on out there on instagram (facebook and twitter, not so much).
  • i don’t miss twitter at all, and i’m realizing how much rage it actually caused in my soul, for no reason.
  • i miss instagram the most, because i’ve made it a lovely place for myself, but i’m starting to think of better, less wasteful ways i can spend my time there.
  • i feel like a better mom already, because if i’m on my phone, it’s for a reason, not just to escape the constant noise my kids have a tendency to make. (although it turns out they make less noise when i pay more attention to them…)

here is what i hope to accomplish during the rest of the month:

  • 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 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’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 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 you made it this far, thanks for sticking around. it’s not the usual humorous, light fare you find here, but i’m hoping that it sparks some conversation either with others or with yourself about how social media is presenting itself in your life right now. i want to hear in the comments if you’re feeling more like me, with the burnout and stagnation, or if you’ve made a really great place for social media in your life. i’d also love to hear tips on how you manage your social media addiction use throughout your day…i need them!

lots of love, i’ll see you back here soon!

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william: twelve months old.

and then he was one.

and life went on as usual. except when he started running and eating yogurt with a spoon by himself.

but who needs babies to stay babies? i mean, missing the baby stage is how siblings get made, right? (it is. it’s literally the only way siblings get made.)

as you can probably tell from these photos, our little boy is one big hunk of happy toddler! he is a sturdy little man, no other way to put it. he, much like his sister did, thinks that he is much older than he is. which when combined with how quickly he learns by watching anyone do anything, means that we are running after him constantly, but also picking him up constantly when he asks to go up (“uh! uh! uh!”) to see/grab/touch something he has deemed important to his day.

he knows how to wave, play hide and seek, and can walk, run and climb as well as a much older child. he can say ball, pup-pup, and hi, and is adding new words everyday. his favorite thing to do besides eat is to have dance parties in the kitchen with the whole family.

he is the best at giving hugs and kisses (seriously i’ve never experienced a more cuddly toddler), and he loves to snuggle when he’s tired, but will never fall asleep in your arms. he is very social and loves to give people head bumps as a sign of affection.

he is the sunshine of our family, and it feels crazy to me that he hasn’t always been here, because it seems like our family wouldn’t be complete without him. and yet he’s only been here in the world with us for a year.

little william: thank you for making me a mom again one year ago. you are the perfect addition to our family and you are the very definition of sweetness. just like i said when your sister turned one, we pray that you grow up knowing how loved you are, and that no matter what happens in this life, you will always be our little boy.

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side effects of sleep deprivation (and a solution).

did you know that one of the biggest lies they tell you when you have kids is that one day your kids will sleep through the night? it’s true. because kids never sleep through the night. not ever. they might have a period of time where they sleep through the night, sure. but then they stop and are up all night again ruining your sleep. with two kids now, at least one of them is up at some point almost every single night.

all that to say: i love coffee. you guys, i love it so much. i haven’t reached the point of no return with my addiction, but i will say that coffee and i are in a very serious relationship. if you’ve ever met me, talked to me, or watched my instastories, you know this about me. and the thing is, i’m not prepared to give that relationship up. i look forward to my morning coffee (and maybe an afternoon americano at work) because it makes me feel cozy, and let’s be real, because it wakes me up. this beautiful relationship has been born out of necessity because i haven’t gotten a full night’s sleep in a few years.

as much as i love my morning cup of love, i do NOT like that it makes my teeth discolored. they’re not the MOST yellow, but they’re definitely not the whitest white they could be. the side effects of sleep deprivation are real my friends.

until i got the opportunity to try smile brilliant. when they contacted me to do a review of their product, i was really excited. (i was given a kit to review, but as you know, i will always give my honest opinion about any products i talk about here). i’ve tried other teeth whitening products in the past, and i’ve just never been able to get into using them for one reason or another. they’re either too sticky and fall off my teeth, or they make my sensitive teeth hurt after just one use.

guys, this is the real deal. have a look at my before and after photos. these are straight out of the camera and totally unretouched, just so you know.

my teeth weren’t the worst to begin with, but they definitely improved after using smile brilliant. i really wish my mouth was big enough so you could see my bottom teeth, because there was a huge difference in the whiteness there. #tinymouthprobs

like i said before, my biggest complaints with other whitening products is that they don’t stay on my teeth to whiten them, and that my teeth are really sensitive so most hurt me. because smile brilliant is a custom fit system (they send you molds to get the exact fit of your teeth, like a retainer!), the whitening gel actually gets on your teeth and stays there. no gross strips falling off your teeth and making you talk funny. the biggest pro for this system is that they have a sensitive teeth option for people who need it. i just applied the sensitivity gel after the whitening gel, and my gum sensitivity totally dissipated. i highly recommend for anyone who has that same problem.

my one tiny complaint about how it works is that you are supposed to avoid drinking or eating anything that could stain your teeth for 12-24 hours after whitening, so they recommend doing the treatments before bed. well, it turns out that i like to drink wine before bed. so thanks a lot smile brilliant. you made me curb my nighttime wine drinking habit. are you happy? (it’s fine guys, i used the whitening gel every day for a week, and then moved down to every few days for upkeep, so i was able to drink my wine AND have white teeth too!)

i highly recommend this kit if you’re looking for an affordable teeth whitening solution, or if, like me, you’re living with the side effects of sleep deprivation and too much coffee drinking. i’ve had a great experience with it and i’ll continue to purchase and use it in the future when i need a little whitening boost (or maybe my kids will start sleeping and i won’t need it…hahahahaha just kidding that will never happen).

and now, for a giveaway!

even if you aren’t suffering from the side effects of sleep deprivation, i’m guessing you might have your own reasons for wanting whiter teeth. if you’re interested, you could win a $139 smile brilliant credit to use towards a whitening kit for yourself. enter here to win!

if you decide that you’re interested in just going for it even if you don’t win, you can use code “everythingwithlove10” for 10% off a smile brilliant product.

*giveaway is open for one week. MUST enter through the link above to be counted. giveaway is for $139 credit and is open to USA, UK, Canada, and Australia residents.*

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Tooth Whitening Gel

a bunch of stuff i’m currently loving.

hi guys!

guess what? this week, work didn’t take every ounce of self control and energy i posses, so i have the emotional energy to write a post FOR FUN. oh yes. you heard that right. this post is neither a sponsored post nor a post about my children. i mean, it might contain things ABOUT my children, but the sole purpose of this post is not to talk about them. A MIRACLE IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD!i’m reminded as we get further from william’s first birthday that the one year mark after having a child is magical for so many reasons. not only is your baby growing up and becoming a toddler, you start to get back a lot of the parts of yourself that got put on the backburner while raising an infant (and a toddler). you sleep better (some nights), you aren’t constantly attached to the baby (some days), and your brain starts to go from survival/mama bear mode to ‘me’ mode again. the same thing happened to me with amelia, only i don’t think i noticed it as much because i had so much more alone time when she was a baby. when your alone time becomes even more scarce with baby number two, missing yourself feels harder. i’ll probably write a whole post on this someday where i will articulate myself better, but all of this to say, i finally feel like i have enough energy for an outlet again. and that’s a happy thing!

in honor of frivolous posts about nothing, here are a few things i’m loving right now, separated into categories, but in no particular order:

favorites for kiddos

  • fleece hats and mittens. and because kids are irresponsible, be sure to buy two pairs each. (we’ve already lost one of william’s mittens…) these fleece hats are awesome because they have comfortable velcro straps to keep the hats on without irritating little chins. (p.s. both of these pairs are on sale right now!)
  • color wonder craft supplies. william has been wanting to join in on anything and everything amelia does these days, which is so cute. and so stressful when it involves things that are messy. so i’m loving the color wonder stuff from crayola, because i can give a marker to the boy and he can actually color without constant supervision!
  • munchkin straw cups. hmmm. apparently when your child turns one, you buy all the things, because they all of a sudden need a bunch of new stuff… these cups are perfect for new cup users. the straws are flexible, the cup is (mostly) spill-proof, and they come in two packs so you can give one to the older sibling when they inevitably need their own new cup now too.

 

favorites for myself

  • beautycounter lip gloss in ‘peony’. my lips have been so dry lately that i can’t wear my usual lipstick or lipsense. but i can wear this amazingly moisturizing lip gloss. my first babysitter ever is a beautycounter consultant, and she has helped me find my favorite natural beauty product replacements from beautycounter. i’m not going to lie to you: some of the stuff just doesn’t match up to my favorite products (never gonna give you up, l’oreal mascara!), but so much of it, especially the products that matter the most in terms of health impact and safety, is amazing! (like this blush and this charcoal mask) i’m not a consultant, just a true lover of finding mostly natural, safer products that actually work.
  • these sculpt jeans from gap. HOLY MOTHER OF AMAZING JEANS. i don’t think i can adequately express just how much i love these. they are cut perfectly, they suck in my mom tummy, they make my butt look amazing, and they never ever ever ever lose their stretch! they are on sale right now, so don’t walk, RUN and buy these. i just bought my second pair in the faded black color (and need to exchange them for a bigger size, because ahem i haven’t worked out in an embarassingly long time) and cannot wait to get them in the rotation.
  • this h&m scarf. i can’t find the color that i have anymore, but it’s the one i’m wearing in the photo in this post. i got it from my brand-new sister-in-law as a bridal party gift, and i’ve been wearing it nonstop. it’s warm, but not heavy, and it’s just the right size for everyday wear. highly recommend if you need a break from your blanket scarf (although i’m wearing my blanket scarf a lot too…it’s freezing here in the tundra already!).

favorites for eating

  • these nacho nests. because if you show me someone who says they wouldn’t like a personal pan pizza version of nachos, i’ll show you a liar.
  • these browned butter chocolate chunk pumpkin cookies. because trish is a baking goddess and i wish we lived next door to each other so i could eat all her delicious desserts all the time.
  • these honeycrisp old-fashioned cocktails. only i make mine like a manhattan with some sweet vermouth. the honeycrisp syrup is fully worth the effort if you’re into bourbon cocktails, and i am very into bourbon cocktails.

favorites for music

  • that new taylor swift ish. yes i am that basic. it’s catchy stuff. get over yourself.

 

  • this version of ‘winter song’ by leslie odom, jr. i am obsessed with both sara bareilles and ingrid michaelson, who sang the original version of this song, and it is amazing. leslie odom, jr., whom i also love, covers it on his christmas album. while i am not in full christmas song listening mode yet, i highly recommend taking a listen to this track.

 

  • my christmas spotify playlist. it’s called ‘all the good christmas songs’, and while i understand that we all have vastly different opinions on what constitutes a good christmas song, i feel that i’ve done a good job leaving out all the crap. i’m not listening to this yet, because it’s too early, but now at least i’m prepared for when it’s time (in like two weeks). come give it a follow and share with fellow christmas music lovers.

 

that’s all i got for you! i’ve been feeling the blogging bug a little bit more every day, so i’ll be popping up here more often. i don’t think we’re at editorial calendar levels yet, but who knows what the new year will bring? smooches and finger pokes to all of you!

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