Happy May! I’m so excited to share my favorite things with you this month. Who else can’t wait to see what new things I’m loving each month?
I’ve been using this deodorant for a few months now and, WOW, what a difference it makes! I’m trying to make the switch to more organic and natural beauty supplies. Did you know that the FDA is not required to approve beauty products before they hit the market? When I found that out, I really started to think about what I was putting on my skin. Schmidt’s Deodorants are free of aluminum, parabens, phthalates, artificial fragrance, and more. Plus, I love their scents. I’m currently loving the Rose and Vanilla scent.
It had been decades since I last did a cross stitch, but in March I made a Peter Rabbit for Easter. I like to have something monotonous to do in the evenings while I’m in front of the TV. I’ve never been the type of person to just sit still. Whether it’s a puzzle, paint by numbers, or cross stitch my hands are always moving. And, I’ve officially started my pattern for July 4th! Can’t wait to share the final product with you!
J.Crew Factory Earrings
I’ve been in LOVE with these earring jackets from J.Crew! I wear them all the time…with casual outfits or to work. Instead of my diamond studs, I’ve been opting for these cute jackets.
Bobby and I watched The Alienist on TNT. This psychological crime drama is a thriller! The first episode caught our attention and it’s been unpredictable the whole way. We loved the cast. Dakota Fanning, Daniel Brühl, and Luke Evens are a phenomenal trio. I would say this is Ms. Fannings best role to date. If you are looking for something new to watch, The Alienist is available On Demand.
Have you tried any of these? What are you loving this month? Share in the comments below.
One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to be more mindful. More often than not, I get caught up in the future (thanks anxiety!) and forget to take in / embrace the moment. Practicing mindfulness can help reduce stress. According to the American Psychological Association (APA) when you induce a state of relaxation, which can be achieved through mindfulness, you can reap the following health benefits:
Increased immune function
Lowered blood pressure
Lowered heart rate
Increased attention and focus
Increased clarity in thinking and perception
Lowered anxiety levels
As I exercise mindfulness in 2018, I want to share some tips that help me be more “in the moment”. I hope that this 8-part series will not only help me be more mindful but help others who deal with anxiety or stress.
#1. Leave Work at Work
I’m sure everyone has heard this one before, but it’s a great reminder. This is probably my biggest struggle. And it’s not necessarily because I complain about work, but because I can carry over my emotions from that workday to my house. For example, if I had a really busy day and I was bouncing from one task to the next, I’ll come home with a “have to get it done” attitude. And unless I’ve already communicated this with Bobby, he gets smacked with a to-do list out the window. This can lead to unmet expectations and, ultimately, an argument.
Before you put your key in the door, just take a deep breath and let go of all the distractions, people, and emotions from work. Try to walk into your home with a clean mindset.
It’s OK if you can’t totally shake the workday away. Just be sure to communicate that with your partner before you get home. If every day is a bad day, then you should probably think about your job. Are you feeling fulfilled? Do you like the people you work with?
How can you be more mindful? I’d love to hear your stories!
You guys…this warm weather has me itching to do some spring cleaning! Most of you know how crazy I am because I LOVE cleaning. There’s something calming about sitting down on a couch in a clean room. Everything is put away. There are vacuum lines in the carpet. Ahhhhh!
Spring Cleaning is my excuse to clean ALL THE THINGS! From baseboards to lightbulbs, to appliances to storage units…I’m a cleaning machine. This comic reminds me of how I feel when I clean.
If you’re a clean freak like me, or you need some direction on where to start, I put together a checklist for you! A couple of tips before you get started:
Start from the top (ceiling) and work your way down. Let the dust and dirt fall to the ground and vacuum at the end.
Organize and purge before cleaning. Spring Cleaning is a great time to recycle, sell, or donate old clothes, appliances, toys, etc.
Wipe down the most touched and often forgotten places. Under beds,
Start each room with the following sequence: dust/clean lighting fixture, dust tops of windows and door trim, remove cobwebs from corners, dust/wash blinds, wash curtains, and wash windows (inside and out).
I’m really bad about eating before I head out the door in the morning. I really, REALLY like sleep so I wait until the last possible minute to get out of bed. I’ve got my morning routine down — it only takes about 20 mins to get dressed and put makeup on — but Mowgli needs a walk and that’s unpredictable (I never know if he’s going to stop and smell everything or just get down to business). So I’ve been looking for ways to get a quick and healthy breakfast on the go. Hence, breakfast smoothies!
If you read my March edition of Things I’m Loving then you know I’ve been using MyFitnessPal to help track calories and nutrients. I’m trying to get better about my diet, as I know it has a HUGE part in weight gain/loss (regardless of exercise).
This was my favorite of the three smoothies. It wasn’t overly sweet, just the right amount of blueberry tart and banana sweetness. This is the first time I’ve ever added oats to a smoothie…and it was so good! I’ve made this smoothie several times in the past week. Definitely a keeper!
Peanut Butter Banana
This is your stereotypical protein smoothie. Nothing really jumped out at me as being special. Just peanut butter and banana. Don’t get me wrong…it tasted great! But it was what I expected. However, I saw a recipe for a Peanut Butter and Jelly smoothie that looks really yummy!
Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
I had really high expectations for this smoothie. I recently had an Oatmeal Cookie Latte that was TO DIE for! I guess I was expecting it to be equally as good…but it wasn’t. First, the raisin didn’t blend well. I doubled the number of raisins, too, but never got the taste. Also, it was too liquidy. Next time, I’d cut the amount of almond milk down to 1/4 cup. I’m willing to give this smoothie another shot, but only because it sounds SO good!
Have you tried any breakfast smoothies? Share your recommended recipe in the comments!
Hello Everyone! I’ve been thinking about Mother’s Day for several weeks now. Every year I struggle to find a way to say “thank you” to my mom. Do I get her another pair of slippers? Does she want a massage? What about flowers? Or does she just want to feel appreciated with some quality time (or a phone call in my case)? As an adult child, with no children of my own, it becomes really hard to find unique ways to show mom that you appreciate everything she put up with — especially between the ages of 13-18!
When Bobby and I were in Virginia last month, I saw a set of blocks with photos on them. Bobby’s grandmother made them for Bobby’s parent’s wedding anniversary. What a cool idea! I ran to Michaels and purchased a few blocks, printed a handful of images, and voila! The perfect Mother’s Day gift — Memory Blocks!
Here’s what you need:
Wooden blocks (I bought three (3) 2″x2″ and four (4) 1″x1″)
First, print out the photos that you want to put on the blocks. This was the most time-consuming part for me. I tried to find an equal amount of photos of each brother from over the years, so I had to stalk my family’s Facebook pages! I printed 42 (6 sides per block x 7 blocks = 42 images) photos on plain computer paper. Note: I printed the images as “wallet size”, which worked for 95% of the photos. I needed to edit about 3 images to get them to fit on the blocks.
Next, I sanded the blocks with fine-grit sandpaper to smooth the sides and edges. I wiped off the dust with a damp paper towel and let the blocks dry.
Then, placed the block over the image I wanted. Tip: You can hold the block on the back of the image and hold it up to the light to see what is in frame. Once you’ve got it in frame, trace the edge of the block around the image.
Next, cut out the image. Once cut, put the image on the block and trim any extra that may be spilling over. You want the image to lay flat on the block, with nothing hanging over the edge.
With a paintbrush, add a thin layer of Mod Podge on one side of the block. Add the image to the block. Be sure to press firmly on the image to make sure it sticks well. Press out any bubbles.
Continue with steps 4 and 5 until the entire block is covered with images.
Once the block is covered with images, add a thin layer of Mod Podge on top of the images. This will protect the images from wear and tear. Let dry for 24 hours.
And there’s the final product! I’m so happy with the way it turned out! Such a great gift for Mother’s Day! I can’t wait to hear my mom’s reaction.
Hi everyone! Happy May! This is probably one of my favorite months — behind September and December, of course. A few great things about May: 1) The spring weather, 2) I can hang out on my patio/deck with my new plants and flowers, and 3) Mother’s Day. The only bad parts about May are my spring allergies. I’ve never had bad seasonal allergies, but something about North Carolina’s climate just destroys my eyes, nose, and throat. All in all, I’m excited for what’s to come in May.
April was a pretty busy month for us. During this time of year, our weekends are packed. I’m assuming because everyone is tired of being cooped up inside all winter. April consisted of a small Easter celebration, some volunteering for Earth Day, and a short trip to Virginia to celebrate birthdays.
Of course, April 1st was Easter. We decided to stay home and not travel. Easter isn’t a big deal for Bobby and me, so we kept it low key. With that said, I love having an excuse to cook an elaborate meal. If you read my post about my failed dinner, then you know we didn’t have dinner. We did, however, have an awesome pancake brunch with some friends.
And because Easter baskets are a thing, I convinced Bobby to let me make small baskets for us and Mowgli. Typically, like Christmas, Bobby would fill my basket and I would fill his. This year, I filled all of the baskets (mostly because I had my eye on a cheap phone tripod). The contents of each basket were less than $20 courtesy of 5 Below and Target.
After our friends left, we ventured out to the grocery store. To our surprise, everything was closed. I mean, I know we live in the south, but EVERYTHING was closed ALL day for Easter. This is definitely not what we’re used to! After driving around for a little while, we finally found a Walmart Grocery that was open. We grabbed a few ingredients to make homemade pizza, and I snagged an egg dyeing kit. Then, spent the last bit of our Easter weekend “tye-dyeing” our eggs!
Next up, we celebrated Earth Day by volunteering at Whole Foods and Horton Grove Nature Preserve. Bobby and I love being outside so much that we had a wedding registry at REI. We spend a lot of time camping and hiking, so Earth Day is an important reminder for us to give back to our planet.
On April 19th, six local Whole Foods Markets agreed to donate 5% of their net sales to the Triangle Land Conservancy (TLC). I spent a few hours volunteering at a booth in one of the Whole Foods. As people walked through the produce section, I greeted them and educated them on what TLC does for the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area.
Over Earth Day weekend, we spent Saturday helping TLC build trails at the Horton Grove Nature Preserve in Bahama, NC. Bobby and I learned a lot about “cutting” trails. From looking at topography and where to map the trail, to digging out all vegetation and how to properly fill holes from roots or rocks. We found that building a trail required a LOT more work than we thought. It definitely gave us a better appreciation for our park system and trail crews.
On Sunday, we attended the Meadow Lark fundraiser for Learning Outside at Irvin Nature Preserve in Carrboro, NC. We got to tour the new gardens, take a carriage ride around the property, make flower crowns, and bid on items in the silent auction. I actually won a set of herb/veggies in the silent auction! Can’t wait to plant them!
At the end of April, we traveled to Virginia for Bobby’s marathon. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out because a few days before the race Bobby started complaining about pain in his Achilles. He rested his legs the entire week of the race but decided to push through and continue with the race. As some of you know, Bobby is extremely headstrong. When he puts his mind to something, he’d rather fail than quit. So when I dropped him off at the starting line, you can probably imagine how nervous I was that I’d get a call from the medics saying he needed to go to the ER. I reminded him of how proud I was and kissed him goodbye.
It was about 2 hours in when I got a call from Bobby. He said, “there’s no way I can finish the 2nd half”. I met him at mile 12 and picked him up. He was in a decent amount of pain, but no ruptured Achilles. I was so thankful that he listened to his body and decided to stop. I’d rather play it safe than go to the ER for surgery.
We spent the rest of the day Saturday celebrating Bobby’s brother’s and stepmom’s birthdays. Bobby’s Aunt and Uncle from Maryland came to celebrate as well! We had a great time catching up with everyone.
It was a busy month, but lots of memories were made! In case you missed it, here are my blog posts from April: