Monday, May 2, 2016

B+ GOALS: MAY

Remember how I was all excited that almost spring is here? How it's been above 70 more than once? Remember how hopeful I was? I am such an East Coast amateur.

Because I 100% had to wear a wool sweater to a Little League game on Saturday because it was THAT cold.


May, I have high hopes for you and I have goals. Hooray for B+ Goals! 
At the beginning of every month, I post my "B+ Goals" for the month. These are goals that I try to achieve with grace, and with the mentality of better done than perfect. You can check out the lovely ladies behind this, Sarah R Bagley and E at Teaching Sam and Scout, and link up with other B+'ers!

So first, let's review April's Goals:

1. Stay on top of our daily schedule AND make a solid work plan for the Etsy shop. We did really well with our daily schedule, but at the cost of me being exceptionally slightly cross many evenings. It's baseball season, and if you have a child/children in Little League, you know exactly what I mean. If you don't, know that baseball, while the greatest of the sports, consumes your entire family's life from about March-June (and potentially longer) and tries to eat your soul. So many practices! So many games! I love it, but, real talk, it's overwhelming.
As for the Etsy shop. It's currently in Vacation Mode and will be for the next few weeks. I'm looking at some really big changes for it, and I'll provide more info as I move forward with them.
Grade: B+

2. Keep working on my community project.  I've started working in earnest on this! Hopefully over the summer all of the plans will be solid. (What I'm doing is putting together backpacks filled with basic essentials-pajamas, toothbrushes, shampoos, etc.- for foster kids in our area for when they enter a new placement.)
Grade: B

3. Exercise two time a week. Yes! Did it!
Grade: A

4. Eat Whole30 Monday-Thursday. I did this....about 50% of the time. So not a total fail?
Grade: D

5. Plan out my garden. Yes! And I also started actually planting it. I plan on finishing it up over the next few weeks since I think that worry of frost should be over (Please dear Lord and dear Universe, no more freezes, thank you. Sincerely, Michelle)
Grade: A

6. Participate in the #RockYourHandwriting challenge on Instagram. Did it! You can see all my challenge prompts on Instagram (@junenovember).
Grade: A

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Alright! Let's check out what I got planned for this month! I'm feeling a bit ambitious :)

1. Do the Tone It Up Bikini Series Challenge. I started this last Monday! It's an 8 week Challenge and I'm loving it. I did one of their Challenges in the fall and fell in love with the TIU workouts and community. This new, get ready for summer Challenge is just what I need to really start focusing again on healthy choices. And speaking of healthy choices....

2. Finish another Whole 30. I did my first Whole 30 last August and have done a couple half ones since, but I'm wanting to do a full 30 day one again. For real. No cheat days, no quitting because there's a party, NO EXCUSES. I started last Tuesday and finish up on May 26.

You can follow me on Instagram to see updates throughout the month about both of these goals. (@junenovember)

3. Organize our game closet. It's a disaster area and needs to be overhauled.

4. Have a yard sale or donate all the stuff I've put aside. My friend wants to have a yard sale together and we've been waiting for nice weather to have one. But, if it doesn't happen by May 15, all this stuff that's been piling up is headed to donations. #KonMari

5. Use my "real" camera more. I have a really nice camera that I used to use all the time, but these days I default to my IPhone 99.9% of the time. I want to get back in the habit of taking nice photos with my nice camera.

6. Get to the library. We were in a really good habit of going to the libray once a week last summer and fall, but fell out of it. Instead of buying all our books, I need to be using our local library! Havin' fun ain't hard when you got a library card. (Isn't that little saying adorable? Except for the cringe worthy grammar?! Just say no to Ain't.)

Hooray for May!

Friday, April 29, 2016

FAVORITE THINGS: APRIL 2016

Guys, I JUST KNOW that spring, real spring is almost here. The trees are getting leaves, flowers are popping up, we've had a few (very few) days get into the 70s. Winter is behind us, thank the Lord and the Universe, because I cannot deal with even a hint of any more snow or ice. No more, I say. NO MORE.

Here's a round up of things I'm loving for this (beginning) of s-p-r-i-n-g.






Favorite Things I Read: For The Love, Jen Hatmaker This book resonated with me hugely. It spoke right to me and I absorbed it all right into my heart. (Good Lord, that sounds mushy. But it's true!) If you're looking for a book that really speaks to you about having grace and that makes you laugh, this is it.
Buddha in the Attic, Julie Otsuka This book was lyrical, sad, and completely beautifully written. It is written in a plural voice ("Some of us..."), which I found to be a complaint of some readers, but which I found to be even more intriguing. It tells the story of a group of Japanese woman from the 1920's through the 1940's, who come from Japan and live their ordinary, yet tragic/beautiful lives. I loved it.

Favorite Household Things: Mrs. Myer's Handsoap in Peony. The smell is ah-mazing. And this "Sun Kissed" scented soy candle from Target is also fantastic.

Favorite Things For a Healthy Life: I started the Tone It Up Bikini Series 8 Week Challenge. I love the Tone It Up workouts and community, if you're interested look them up on Instagram @toneitup!

Favorite Things For the Garden: I started planting my garden this month. Lettuces and peas are in, and a few flowers, including these Morning Glories. I'll be planting more this weekend!

Favorite Things For an Organized Life: Pilot G-2 07 multicolor gel pens These are awesome for my bullet journal because they are bold but don't bleed through pages.

Favorite Beauty Things: While I still love my Urban Decay Smoke Eye palate, it was feeling a little dark for (almost) spring. I picked up a Maybelline The Blushed Nudes palate. While the quality of the shadows isn't as high end as the Urban Decay ones (nor was I expecting them to be) they're still really nice and good quality. And I love the colors; they're perfect shadows for (almost) spring at a great price.


Have a great weekend guys, and check back on Monday for a B+ Goals post!



Thursday, April 14, 2016

ESSENTIALS FOR A RELUCTANT RUNNER


I started running again this week. It felt awful. My lungs burned, my eyes and nose watered, my throat was dry. I felt slooooooow and tired after running just half the distance I was usually doing.

Okay, it felt great. It felt really, really good to get out and run in the morning, all by myself. I didn't push myself-at all-and I managed to run at a decent pace (it wasn't as slow as it felt). I felt great all day. It's ridiculous. Things that require you to get up at 5:00am and exert yourself should not make you feel this good. What the hell, endorphins?! I hate you. But I love you.

Suffices to say, I am a reluctant runner. I run purely for exercise- I have no dreams of marathons or the desire to go and run 10 miles on a Saturday for fun (um, no. NEVER.). But the fact is I DO run and I do (grudgingly) enjoy it. It makes me feel good, and it's good for me.

Are you done rolling your eyes at me yet? Good. Let's talk about some essentials for a reluctant runner:

1. Good Sports Bra and Running Legging. Last year, Victoria's Secret came out with a workout line, and to promote it they had a "buy a sports bra, get a pair of pants for free" and, on a whim, I did just that. Considering that I am not a hard core runner, I am not going to spend hundreds of dollars on workout clothes. These are decently prices and, in my opinion, pretty amazing. The pants do not fall down, which I find to be the curse of athletic leggings, and the sports bra fits great (and does what it's suppose to do. ahem.) The zipper front on this particular sports bra can be a little tricky, but once it's all zipped up it's worth the struggle.

2. Earbuds, Phone Armband, Great Podcast, & Nike+ Running App. An armband for your phone and a pair of earbuds is a must if you like to listen to anything while you run. I personally like to listen to podcasts while I run (current favorites: 25% Friends, the habits series, and What Should I Read Next? with Anne Bogel). I also use the Nike+ Running App during runs. It can be used on both a treadmill and outdoors, and counts your mileage and time.  As you run, it tell you how far you've gone and your time per mile, and charts your course (if you're outdoors), which I really like. It also keeps a chart of all your runs in one place for easy reference. You can also set running goals with it and it gives you a detailed weekly/monthly plan. I haven't used this part of the app, but my husband does and he really likes this feature.

3. A good pair of running shoes. I'm currently running in my second pair of Nike Zoom Pegasus 31's and I continue to really like them.  Again, I'm not spending a million dollars on running things. If you shop around, you can find these decently priced.

4. Headbands and hair ties.

5. Light weight long sleeve shirt. I get up early to run and it's usually still cold and dark. I like that this long sleeve pullover is both lightweight and reflective. I picked it up at Target.

Are you a runner? A reluctant one? Maybe we should start a series, Tales of Reluctant Runners...

Happy Friday Eve, all!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

READING LIST: WHAT I'M READING IN APRIL


Here's what's on my night stand this month. I went to the book store and...came out with all these and a few dollars lighter (except Jane Eyre, that's a reread).

I finished my Reading Challenge and was considering doing a Part 2. But you know what? I had to force myself to get through Great Expectations. And since I find reading to be one of my life's greatest pleasures, I'm just not going to force myself to read books I truly despise. (You may be thinking, "Michelle, why didn't you just take Great Expectations off your list??" and that would be a valid and intelligent question. However, I am a Upholder and I couldn't bring myself to do that.) So instead, I'm choosing to read books that sound lovely and that I want to read for readings sake, not to fulfill certain categories that I have conceived. And give myself the chance to put down books that I truly hate and call it done. And not feel bad about it.

Currently, I am rereading  my beloved copy of Jane Eyre.


Jane is one of my all time favorite characters. And considering that this story is COMPELETLY wackadoo in the abstract, but reads beautifully and convincingly in context just goes to show that Charlotte Bronte was a master writer.

"I need not sell my soul to buy bliss." Or to read Charles Dickens ever again.

Next on my list:

-When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi Everyone is talking about this book-it's all over Instagram and blog reviews and in book clubs.

-The Buddha in the Attic, Julie Otsuka I've been looking for more Japanese stories/authors to read and this one caught my eye. The premise is: Japanese, mail order brides in 1920's California. It sounds fascinating.

-For the Love, Jen Hatmaker I don't talk about religion (or politics, that saying is 10000% true) in public if I can avoid it. To me, and this is totally a personal thing, faith is very private. I, personally, get more from it that way. But I do like to continue to be inspired in my faith and I adore Jen Hatmaker on social media, so I'm excited to read this book with her perspectives on grace in our everyday lives.

-The Cuckoo's Calling, Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) This has been on my to read list since it was released, but I never got around to it. But come on, it can't be anything but good. J. K. Rowling? British detective story? Hard cover book on sale for $5.99?? YES.

What are you reading this month?

Friday, April 1, 2016

B+ GOALS: APRIL

It's that time again! I'm getting in the loop with Sarah R. Bagley and Teaching Sam and Scout as I review my "Better Done Than Perfect" goals from last month and the goals I'm working on this month.

Spoiler Alert: Last month was not one for the books. Well, not for a positive book. Maybe if it was a book about not achieving anything you set out to do and feeling like crap all month long. Because that would be a TRUE STORY. Onward and upward guys, ONWARD AND UPWARD.

Let' check in with March's fails goals, shall we?

1. Stay on top of our schedule. F. Seriously, pneumonia? It. Is. The. Worst. There was no schedule that was broken this month, no routine that wasn't disrupted. But it's okay.

2. Stay on top of orders and figure out a work plan for the Etsy shop. F. I put the shop in vacation mode to get my work plan figured out. The plan was to take a week to get things settled and planned accordingly. And then I got sick and it just stayed in vacation mode with no plan whatsoever. I've reopened it, but still need to figure out my plan.

3. Run at least 1 time a week. F. HAHAHAHAHA. No.

4. Start working on a community project that I dreamed up. Incomplete. I did actually start working on this. And then, you guessed it, I got sick.

5. Finish the last two books in my Reading Challenge. A. Yes, I did accomplish something! Bedrest provided reading time. I loved Masterminds and Wingmen (review to come). The less we talk about Great Expectations, the better. Never again, Dickens, NEVER AGAIN.

So! Let's move on to April, where my main goals are a) not to have pneumonia, and b) to accomplish more than one thing all month. But let's get down to the details:

1. Stay on top of our daily schedule AND make a solid work plan for the Etsy shop. You see what I did there? I combined two failed goals into one! It's like I'm a glutton for punishment.

2. Keep working on my community project.

3. Exercise two time a week. I still not up for running, but I've started yoga again and have been browsing my Tone It Up workouts. A goal of two times a week shouldn't be too hard! Let us hope.

4. Eat Whole30 Monday-Thursday. I feel SO MUCH better when I eat Whole30, especially cutting dairy, sugar, and alcohol. I haven't been off the rails, but I like the idea of having this as a goal. Weekends I can feel free to enjoy a glass of wine or a cheeseburger, but sticking with Whole30 meals during the week will make those indulgences and not the norm.

5. Plan out my garden. I love my garden and planning for it. Spring has come a little early this year, and I can't wait to get out there and start planning things!

6. Participate in the #RockYourHandwriting challenge on Instagram. I'm loving my bullet journal and am excited to be following along in this daily challenge to use it.

There you have it, my goals for April! Don't forget to check out Sarah and E's goals!

 


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

FAVORITE THINGS: MARCH 2016

Guys, March pretty much kicked my butt. I had pneumonia, it was still snowing, I ate like crap, and...just...blah. But! I also tried new recipes, worked in my bullet journal, and slept a lot. Let's look at my favorite things for March, shall we?



Favorite Thing I Read: Masterminds & Wingmen, by Rosalind Wisemen Being sick this month, I read A LOT of books, but this was the stand out. It was part of my Reading Challenge, and it's a book that I've been meaning to read for years. I learned so much about raising boys, the challenges they face, and the ways we can help them succeed. I highly suggest this book if you have boys or teach them. Eye opening and soundly written.

Favorite Beauty Thing: Maybelline Ruby Star red lipstick Perfect shade of red

Favorite Thing For Learning New Things: the Duolingo App. I'm bushing up on my Spainish (I haven't worked on it since high school) and this language app is FREE, and totally helpful! It provided quick, 5 minute, practical lessons that you can just do right on your phone. After I drop the kids at school and before I head to work, I just sit down with a cup of coffee and do my lesson. I love it.

Favorite Thing I'm Drinking: Tazo teas. There was a lot of tea this month.

Favorite Recipe: Cooking Light's one pot pasta. EVERYONE loved it. I'm so glad I subscribed to this magazine again; they've really stepped up their game.

Favorite Thing For an Organized Life: Dave Ramsey Budgeting Sheets We've followed the Dave Ramsey Plan for years, but had started slacking on sitting down and doing out actual budget plan every month. We've gotten back into the habit this year and these budget sheets are what we use.

Favorite Thing I'm Wearing: J. Crew Factory Chambray Button Down Perfection AND it's on sale.

That's all I got this month! Check back Friday for a B+ Goals recap and see my new ones for April!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

ROUTINES

I am a person who likes a routine. Routines for the kids, for myself, for cleaning, for cooking. They make life feel easier; I get more done with less stress. I find calmness in my daily, weekly, monthly routines. And since meditation is something I cannot for the life of me manage, I take calmness where I can get it.

Last week: I went to bed Sunday night feverish and with a headache. I woke up feeling worse. And as one day turned into two, and all I felt was worse and worse, I drug myself to the doctor and was immediately diagnosed with pneumonia. I was directed to stay in bed, to sleep, to drink water. I was not to do any housework, I was not to drive, I was not to work, I was not to pick up my children. All my routines slipped through my fingers into a cloud of achy sleep.

When I managed to be awake, I watched my husband as he did e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. All the household things, all his work things, all the kids things, all of my things. All the routines. Not how I do routines. Not necessarily the way I do things. But everything, EVERYTHING, got done. Without compliant, with patience and love. And I love him for it. And I love that I am growing enough to have the grace to let my well loved routines go, to not panic when things aren't just so, to rest when I need to and let other, wonderfully capable and loving hands, take over.

This morning, feeling better, getting back to normal, I sat down to my normal morning routine. I sat down with a cup of black coffee and my bullet journal and planned my day out. I was thankful to be well, to have a loving family, and a partner who is truly that, and to be back to my own form of meditation. To my daily routines, which I cherish and love and am grateful to share with this little family of mine.