Wednesday, November 25, 2015

WODW: Looking for Guidance

Lately my posts have been few and far between and though I've been wanting to write, I haven't really been inspired enough to put together a complete post other than the random ones I've done.  I've been so busy with real life - work all week (and some weekends), kids' school projects, holidays, birthday parties, kids' sports, running errands, cleaning and organizing the house - that I feel like I have no time for anything else. 

My down time (if any) is spent sitting on the couch staring at the TV screen - not really watching, just trying to melt into the sofa and be invisible for a little while before someone comes screaming about a toy not being shared, a mess that needs cleaning, a last minute science project due the next day or some other catastrophe.  Needless to say, my writing process is pretty much nonexistent right now and I'd like that to change.

Writing always used to come easy for me.  It was a way to express my feelings, to let out anger, to put my memories and thoughts on paper.  English and creative writing were my favorite classes in high school.  I enjoyed the challenge of daily writing prompts and loved having my work edited and reviewed by my teachers and my peers.  Every comment, notation and red mark helped me learn and become a better writer.

Now, as an adult, I feel as though I struggle with my writing.  The chaos of everyday life is draining and I don't have the energy to set aside time to write.  And, when I do write, I feel as though I'm not writing at my best because I don't have the guidance or feedback I need to do better.  That feeling throws me into a funk and makes me lose interest in what I'd written or had planned to write.  Does anyone else feel that way?

I know that managing my time better would give me the freedom to write, but the passion and all the feels I used to have about writing and the writing process in high school will still be missing.  My motivation to write comes and goes so quickly that sometimes it takes me a ridiculous amount of time to get through one piece.  (I started drafting this post a week ago).  Sometimes I read through it before I publish, sometimes I just hit "Publish" and close the browser without proofreading or even reading the completed post just to get it done.  That's not how I want it to be anymore and that's not how I want to write.

I want to be a better writer, not just for blogging, but for life in general.  I love learning and sharing what I've learned with others, I love being able to express myself on paper and have those words inspire others.  So...I'm thinking about taking up a writing course to help me get to where I want to be with my writing skills.  I don't know where or how just yet, but it's something that I've been contemplating for a while now so I'm finally going to start looking around for classes, workshops, etc.  In the meantime, I'm going to TRY to start writing more by doing more prompts, writing more inspiring posts, and by keeping a journal or something to jot down thoughts, poems, stories, etc.

What is your writing process?  Do you know of any online classes or courses that you could recommend to me?  What is something you love doing but haven't been able to do lately?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Happiness Boutique [Review + Giveaway]

So remember that Rocksbox post I wrote a while back?  Well, since then, I've been on the hunt for cute, AFFORDABLE, quality pieces to spice up my everyday wardrobe.  Lucky for me, I was contacted by Happiness Boutique to review a product of my choice from their website and after the Rocksbox fail, I was already in the market for a brand new statement necklace that I didn't have to return.

Trying to pick just ONE piece to review was tough.  They have over 300 items in the necklace section alone!  It literally took me days to finally narrow it down to a few choices and then another few days to actually commit to one.  After about a week of serious deliberation, I finally chose this one.

If it isn't obvious from the photos, this necklace has quickly become one of my faves and I've worn it on several occasions.  It's so easy to style that I can wear it with shorts and a tank top on the weekend, with a v-neck and flare jeans to work, or with a simple bodycon dress to go out.  The details on this are absolutely stunning and while it looks like a high-end piece, it's actually really light and doesn't make me feel like I'm carrying an anchor around my neck.

The people over at Happiness Boutique are so true to their name that they also offer free shipping!  As in, no minimum purchase required.  As in, you don't have to pay anything other than your items.  As in, AWESOME.  Oh, and did I mention that they also have a reward program?  Yup.  You get points for purchasing, points for reviewing, points for sharing, points for tagging, and points for signing up for their newsletter.  That's a shit ton of points that you can redeem for FREE STUFF.  If you're not happy with free shipping and free stuff, then something must be terribly wrong with you.

Oh, and because I love my necklace so much, I've decided to spread a little happiness and give you a chance to win one of your own!  You know the drill, enter below!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

I'm a shopaholic...and other confessions

- I've spent wayyyyyy too much money in the past few months.  Like a ridiculous amount.  Good news is that I started on my Christmas shopping already and got the biggest things out of the way.  Semi-win?

- We got a new fridge and gas range stove recently and it's getting hard not to want to buy all new kitchen crap to use.  Pots, pans, bakeware , dishes, Tupperware, kitchen gadgets, etc.  Our stove isn't even hooked up yet (gas company will be installing it this weekend) and I'm already planning on everything I'm going to bake (lasagna, cookies, brownies, molten chocolate cakes, macaroons, and macarons, baked chicken, enchiladas) along with other diy projects that I want to make/sew to pretty up the rest of the kitchen (heart-shaped oven mitts, aprons, embroidered hand towels).  Plus, with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up it's even harder finding an excuse not to cook/bake EVERYTHING.  Especially this:

- I've been in a cleaning/organizing/diy mood lately and have been making progress in clearing out the stuff we don't need and decluttering the house.  Unfortunately, I haven't started on the one thing that was actually at the top of the to-do list:  my shoe closet.  It's a mess and needs to be cleaned and organized but it's one of those things that I keep putting off because it seems overwhelming.  Maybe I'll actually get it done this weekend.  Maybe not.

- Joey and I didn't really celebrate our 10th anniversary last week because we were busy (work, kids, homework, making costumes for Halloween, etc.) so we had planned to celebrate it this Friday instead by having a date night buuuuuut...I'm kinda not feeling it anymore.  I'd rather just work on my side projects and then call it a night.

- I was having a hard time putting together a Christmas shopping/gift list until I started thinking about myself.  I think I'll be putting together my own Christmas wish list and then just pick people to give it to so I can borrow it or have them give me something out of it.  For example, I'll probably be getting Joey some power tools this year even though he is not handy because I saw some diy pallet furniture that I want him to make.  

Hello new couches!

- Speaking of Christmas, I'm kind of excited for it already!  Halloween kinda snuck up on me so now I want to get in the spirit early.  I want to start decorating and get a tree and burn all the Christmas Scentsy bars and make crafts and gifts and CHRISTMAS ERRTHANG.

What do you have to confess?  Are you excited for Christmas?  Got any good recipes to share with me?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Monthly Mantra: November

We've only got one month left in the year, people!  Are you freaking out as much as I am about that?  Seriously, where has this year gone?  We've come so far and yet we've still got so much more to get done.  

This month's mantra is to help give you that extra push you need to finish the year strong!  If you haven't accomplished all of your goals yet, now's the time to get back on track!  I've been slacking lately too so I'm pushing myself extra hard this month!  We can do this!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

10 Years In Photos

Our relationship has had its ups and downs over the years and we'd be the first to tell you that what we have is far from perfect.  We argue, we scream and yell but at the end of the day we still love each other more than anything even if we're just not ready to forgive right away.  Ten years is a long time to be with someone and through it all we've learned more about each other and ourselves and the love that we had back then has grown and changed into something so much better.  We've made it this far and we both know we've got a long life ahead of us.  It's okay if we fight hard because we love harder.

Joey and I passed our 10-year mark on October 29th.  Obviously I'm a few days late.

Monday, October 26, 2015

My 2016 Planner [+ a freebie for you]

Yes, the day is finally here.  My planner is finished and ready to show off!

I know all the rest of you planner geeks are just skimming over the words and focusing mostly on the pictures so I'll try to keep my word count short.  Hahaha.

Of course the front had to have a goal list.  I kept most things in here pretty simple because I've got loads of washi tape, stickers, pens and markers that I like to decorate with instead.

Then I added the 2016 spread for quick reference of the days.

I put a checklist in for general tasks that need to be completed each month.  I'll probably use this mostly for blog stuff and cleaning tasks.

These pages are worksheets I got from Budgeting Made Easy, an ebook by Fanny Seto.  I added them into my personal planner to keep track of my spending and financial goals for the year because I really really need to get things in order.

I also created a monthly blog planner to keep a list of my posts for that month as well as a checklist of social media sites that I promoted on.  At the bottom of the blog tracker is a little table to list my stats at the end of every month.  That way, I'll be able to keep track of how many followers I've gained/lost each month.

Each month has a to-do list/reminders page just to keep on task.  Again, simple is key.

The monthly spread is two pages with simple font.  The side bar is blank so I can add any notes, stickies, reminders, etc. that I want.

I mimicked Erin Condren's vertical layout for the weekly spread.  I like the day blocked into morning/day/night so I can list my tasks accordingly.  The "weekly goals" area also helps to keep me on track with what I need to accomplish during that week.  The blank lines on the bottom of the pages are for any other notes or reminders but I plan to use it to keep track of my workouts.

The cover and monthly divider pages are just printouts of this digital paper file from FrouFrou Craft on Etsy.  I printed them out on cardstock paper and just added "2016" to the front cover.  I didn't add the months to the dividers but I can always add stuff later on if I feel like it.

And that's it!  My cover to cover showcase of my 2016 planner.  Like I said, it's pretty simple but I've got tons of planner goodies to use and decorate with which I'll probably show in another post since I'm still collecting and need more recommendations from all you other planner/stationary geeks out there.

Oh, and if you don't have a fancy-schmancy planner for 2016 yet but you really really really want can print mine!  For FREE!!!!!  Yup, I'm going Oprah in this bitch!

You get a planner!  And YOU get a planner!  And you get a planner!

Unfortunately, the budgeting worksheets and divider pages aren't included (you've got to purchase those separately from the creators) but you can add in any other printouts or worksheets you find online and use your own images for your dividers!  Oh, and FYI, I created mine to start in the middle of October of this year so you can use it RIGHT NOW.  Yup, you don't even have to wait until January.  Boom.

Just click here (basic planner) and here (blog tracker sheet) to open in Google Drive and download.  Print double sided and then bind however you want!  Last time, I just put mine in a three-ring binder but I wanted something a little more flexible so I used report covers (with the opening facing the binding) instead.  (I initially planned to laminate the covers and dividers but - lazy.  Hahaha.)

So, do you have a 2016 planner yet?  What does yours look like?  What are some essentials that you look for in a planner?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up

So since I've done ZERO workouts since...oh...September...I don't have any "Sunday Sweats" to share with you this week.  Instead, here's a weekly wrap-up of what's been going on in my life lately.

Monday was another work day and Aniyah's last race of the season.  She did really well - placed 29th - her best yet!


Tuesday hit us with a flash flood in the late afternoon.  Came home after a long day at work to this:

One inch of muddy water in our living room.  Yeah.  Fun.  What really made me rage though, was finding out that Joey threw out a brand new pair of shoes I just got on Monday.  I did make him replace them as well as order two pairs of new boots - but no, I'm still not over it.

Wednesday was the night that Joey's parents flew back in from Hawaii after attending his Uncle Albert's funeral.  They came back with loads of snacks.  Sorry, don't have a good photo of those because we've already ripped them all open.

Thursday was Joey's dad's birthday so we had a little dinner get-together with the family.

Friday ended up being work-fuck-off day because our office and surrounding areas had no water.  We got to leave early so I was able to pick up the kids from school, go to my dental appointment, take my kiddies for a little shopping and grab a pizza on the way home.

Saturday and today were spent at work.  Yup.  I had to work all weekend long.  I also had the kids with me since Joey was busy doing yard work, running errands, etc.  Oh, and I just realized that a dress of mine has gone missing.  I had wanted it for a month so I finally splurged on it last month and haven't even worn it yet.  Now, I cannot find it anywhere.  Seriously, WTF.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that I'm drinking a bottle of moscato right now.  How was your week?