Friday, December 2, 2016

{NEW!} Friday Five

This weeks Friday Five is going to be a bit of an experiment! I love that this blog is able to evolve with me and constantly be a representation of who I am currently. I started with This Week posts, which are cool to read now, but I started feeling like they were too prompted and I wanted a little more freedom with what I shared each week. 

Obviously I haven't been writing my Friday Five posts regularly in the past few months. Sometimes I just didn't feel like I had even 5 things to share. So I'm evolving a little this week! I've made note of something each day this week to share with you. It will revolve around what's happening in my weekly life. So it could be an outfit, a recipe, or even my workout summary for the day. Or I may just tell you what I did on Wednesday. Either way I'm hoping these posts will be a bit more reflective of my daily life. 

Starting with an outfit picture! On Monday we got back from our cruise and this was my traveling outfit. This outfit is actually one I wear a lot! It's so easy and this top from J Crew dresses up really well. I was so happy to get home and see my puppies! We are definitely unpackers though. We can't relax until the suitcase is unpacked and the laundry is started. 

Tuesday was all about Winston! I keep meaning to do an update on his eye problem. In short, a few weeks ago his eye was scratched. It seemed to be healing up well, but then about 2 weeks ago I accidentally poked it. Not very hard and I have very short finger nails. After that his eye looked ten times worse than the original incident. I really think it wasn't healing well to begin with for it to look that bad after I barely poked it. 

We took him to our vet and they recommended we go see a specialist in Gainesville. I was positive he was going to lose the eye and I was feeling horribly guilty about the whole thing. The specialist was so great and they assured us that removing the eye was the very last resort. The recommended either surgery or a pretty intense medicine regiment. The surgery was about $2,000, so we are trying the medicine first. 

At first he had 5 medicines, 2 of which needed to be given every 2 hours. It was though! We had our phone alarms going off all the time. Even through the night we had to get up and give him the drops. He was so groggy, it was kind of cute. He hasn't missed a beat through all of this by the way. Totally normal puppy. 

It's healing up well, but you can definitely still see the little ulcer in the photo. (It's his right eye-but to your left) He has to wear the cone of shame and now we are down to 4 meds, and now it's every 4 hours. 

On Tuesday, he had his eye checked again and he had his final puppy visit. He is just about 10 pounds now! He's gotten all of his shots and is otherwise super healthy. We will still be making weekly vet visits for the foreseeable future though. The vet is always an ordeal. I come home completely covered in hair and exhausted. I fear the day I have to take all three pugs in at the same time...

Wednesday was super great, because I finally had a chance to finish the Gilmore Girls Revival! I loved GG when it was on the WB back in the day. Overall, I think the revival was awesome. I loved the cameos of all the characters and I actually really liked the Winter/Spring/Summer/Fall episode outline. They really fit a lot into 4 episodes!

Obviously I can't talk about the ending without spoiling it, but I have to know if they intend to have another season to answer my questions! Also, everyone aged really well! 

I was telling my mom on Thursday about my decluttering mission. She responded with opening up all her cabinets and pantry and asking me to help her organize them. I couldn't resist, and got busy! We worked on the pantry, their coffee mug collection, under the sink and the spice cabinet. I couldn't help but smile when we went through the spices. My poor momma can't read the tiny expiration dates, so we ended up throwing out half of the jars. Not only does it look nice now, but I made sure that when she cooked dinner later that night it was functional too. 

Fridays are so bittersweet for me! You have the excitement of the impending weekend, but my Fridays are SO exhausting. I have a cleaning job before work that takes me a solid 2 hours to do, so that means I have to get up really early to get going. Being even 10 minutes late can put me behind all day. After cleaning I have my regular job, which has been busier than usual. Being busy makes the day go by faster, but it's still stressful. It's really challenging to have a crammed day like that and then get home and still be productive. I have quite a bit to get done tonight, so I'm hoping to have the energy. 

On the bright side I have a long car ride to enjoy an audiobook! Oh, and I hung up our company portrait in the office today! They airbrushed us to death, but hey we look good! I think it's so funny that when I measure to hang a picture, it ends up way off, but if I just eyeball it, it's perfect! 

Happy Friday! I hope you enjoyed this peek into my week. I really like this format, and I hope you do too! Leave a comment below about your week and what you have planned for the weekend!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Minimalism Update

Over the last few months, maybe even year(s!) we've slowly let things get cluttered. Physically and mentally. It's added stress and a self imposed pressure to live up to a certain lifestyle. I've been searching for a different way for a while now. Actually, I can trace that craving for change back to this post, when I started purging my book collection. 

Back in August, I shared my thoughts on Minimalism. It was something new to me, and I was really only just beginning to brainstorm. Since that first post, my goal has only become more clear and I still completely agree with what I said. I want to live simply, but not deprived. 

At that point I hadn't taken any steps toward that goal. Now I have! I thought I'd share a little update on what I've been working on. 

- We started recycling! 
While this step doesn't necessarily fall under minimalism, I am fully committed to the less waste mentality that minimalism includes. This wasn't really hard to implement, but not easy either. The town we live in does not offer recycling programs. I've even written the city and there isn't any plans to start in the future either. So I bought a medium sized bin from Walmart and I take it with me once a week to my office where they do recycle. It was actually really amazing the amount of things we were throwing away. 

- Purging
This may be my favorite thing about this journey! We had a yard sale back in July, and I thought I had gone through everything already. But, with new conviction I started the process all over again. And I've been brutal! I'm taking one area at a time, and really thinking about it. Here are a few examples:
{Crafts} I wish I had before and afters, but here is an after picture. I have always loved doing arts and crafts. I used to store all of my supplies in a rubbermaid under the guest room bed. There was so much crap in there. Scraps of paper, no. 1 pencils from high school, about a dozen dried up sharpies...

I tossed most of it, and only kept things I know I will use in the future. It now all fits in a small drawer in guest room. It's not perfectly organized, but the goal here was to downsize the collection first and foremost. 

{Jewelry} I noticed that a lot of minimalists don't even own jewelry. That extreme really isn't for me. Remember I'm not a 1 plate, 1 fork, 1 cup kind of girl. I just want things that I truly like and will wear on a regular basis. 

I store my jewelry on my bedside table. I have a set of hooks for necklaces, a bracelet stand for my watches and bracelets, and a trinket box for earrings. The other box is a music box and I love it. It stores my pearls and that's it right now. 

I narrowed my necklace collection down by at least half. I have 2 chunky beaded necklaces, 5 statement necklaces, about 4 long necklaces and 2 monogram necklaces (one silver and one gold). On normal days I just wear my monogram necklaces, with their coordinating watch. 

I'm still considering my bracelet collection. I have 2 that are more fancy (you can see them in this post), 3 made by a friend, a few Alex and Ani's, and a tennis bracelet given to me by another friend. I haven't been wearing my Alex and Ani's lately because I feel like I need to wear them all, but it can be really jingly. (By the way, my most popular post ever is about how to clean your Alex and Ani bangles!) 

I kept basically 4 pairs of earrings. One set of studs, 2 Kate Spades, and a pair of statement earrings that are for special occasions. Oh, and my pearls have a matching set of earrings. I don't really wear earrings anymore, but I did feel like I should keep a few. 

Another thing to note is that I used to keep a few decorative books on my nightstand! While I still like decorative pieces, I'm being much more conscious of what is taking up space. 

{Basically every other room in the house!} I am taking a similar approach to many more areas in our home. I've gone through the board games, office supplies, kitchen cabinets, and pretty much everywhere else. I even scanned all of our loose photographs and documents.

I now have a bunch of rubbermaids dedicated to the next yard sale in our shed.

Currently I have small bin by the back door to collect the random things I decide we can live without. Once it gets full, out to the shed it goes. 

- Toiletries 
Arguably the biggest difference I've seen is in our bathroom. In the last month or so I've really narrowed down the products that I like and use everyday. Ipsy introduced me to a lot of great stuff, but it also made me a hoarder of samples! 

In my shower I now have 1 shampoo, 1 conditioner, 1 body wash, 1 razor and 1 face wash. That's it. No frills or 3 open Bath and Body Works body washes. Blake is totally down with this too. He ran out of Axe shampoo, and now uses my Tresemme. Once he is out of Men's body wash, we are using the same unscented bar of soap from Dove. There is no need to buy 2 of everything, just because one is for men and one is for women. I wish I could express how much I LOVE this change. Not only is it less clutter in the shower, but there is no challenge mentally in the shower- just get in and get out. 

The shower was a lot easier than the medicine cabinet. I store all of my daily toiletries in there. I had so many random products! Half used boxes of paper masks, a gazillion nailpolishes and like 40 lotions. 

On the bottom shelf are the things I use everyday, like, lotion, deodorant, moisturizer. I had collected about 5 body sprays, but noticed I only reached for the same one. I narrowed it down to two, and kept 1 perfume. Once I use those up, I intend only to have 1 at a time. 

Also, currently I use makeup removing wipes. I love them, but I think it's pretty wasteful. So I bought this Makeup Eraser towel and have been super impressed. Once the wipes are gone, I won't buy them again. 

Nail polish was harder. I do my own nails every week and I love my collection. I had both acrylic organizers full of polishes. There were a few that were old and they got tossed. I gave 3 colors to my sister in law, and that got my collection down to basically 1 of the organizers. I have vowed not to buy anymore until I use some up. Because you really can't wear 16 colors on at once!

There is one more shelf, not pictured, and it includes hair products. I have plans to use everything up and only continue to buy my absolute favorite one. 

Make up was also tricky. I shared my makeup storage in this post, and still follow that same system. However, since then I narrowed down my collection even more and will continue to use up everything and only rebuy my favorites. 

-Social Media
One more place I have been strategically minimizing is my social media. I've deleted so many apps! Buzzfeed and E Online used to be part of my daily routine. I spent so much time scrolling. Honestly I don't even miss them now that I've deleted them. It was really just a bunch of useless information and dumb quizzes. 

I use my personal Instagram faithfully, and have a Twitter account mainly for sharing blog posts. And let's face it Pinterest is now more a search engine than anything. Overall I have just been more mindful how I use them. 

Instagram, for example, has been a really fun thing to purge. I have unfollowed probably close to 100 people. Some of those were celebrities or brand accounts. I felt a little guilty about unfollowing people though. Some were just acquaintances, and that's no big deal. But there are people you feel like you have to follow! Relatives or frenemies...I found myself scrolling right past a lot of people or even getting annoyed by what they posted. I decided I want to be in control of what I see, so I unfollowed. This also dramatically reduced the amount of time I spent using the app.  

I have one of those funny personalities that like to see even numbers, like at the gas pump. So right now I follow like 173 people...I feel like I need to unfollow 3 more! 

I'm also doing things like deleting all the unnecessary pictures on my phone, and unsubscribing to email lists.

To be honest I was feeling like I had so much further to go, but sharing my progress so far has been a nice pat on the back! I feel proud that when I felt the need to make a change I found the motivation to get started. Thanks for following along with me! Leave a comment below if you feel similarly to me, or if you have any more suggestions on things to simplify! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Cruise 2016

It's sort of become an annual tradition to take a cruise over Thanksgiving weekend! With a family business you have to take family trips during times when the office is closed, so we've sort of settled on the end of November. 

We were counting the number of cruises my family has been on together, and I think we ended up saying 11 or 12! Still my favorite one was that very first one when I was 12. It was all new and exciting! 

This year's cruise definitely makes the top of the list though! We took along the two other people who work with our family and their families. I think the group you go with makes all the difference! I like that we all do things together, but are also totally cool with everyone doing their own thing. 

We sailed on the Carnival Fantasy, an older but still nice ship. It seemed like it had been updated recently. Our only port of call was Cozumel, Mexico, which is definitely a favorite! We took an excursion to Chankanaab Park and had so much fun. The park had so much to do. Our favorites were the Tequila tasting and the swim up bar. We actually learned quite a bit about tequila. They told us that if we drink it with salt and lime we are doing it wrong! News to me. 

After getting seasick on last year's cruise, I was thrilled to sail on calmer seas. In fact I think Blake wasn't looking forward to this trip because of how rough it was last time. As we were going to bed the first night he said it was already better than last time, so that made me feel better. 

We are so happy to be home now. I missed my puppies so much! Although, being disconnected for a few days was really refreshing. When I finally got on Instagram I noticed that I scrolled right past several people's posts. That was the signal for me to unfollow. It's probably really good to do that once in awhile! 

I'll leave you with a few of the highlights: