Monthly Recap – June

Well, another month has flown by! Is it just me, or is time on hyperdrive lately?

I’ll be honest, June was a tough month for me. I don’t want to start this post off negatively, but I feel I need to be honest. In a nutshell, there were several surprises for us that weren’t too pleasant and I struggled with my depression a lot. For those who struggle with depression, you’ll probably understand; it just gets you down, zaps your drive and energy, and it can take a while to get out of the funk. But despite the rough stuff, we DID have some bright spots!

30 for 30 Progress
As I mentioned in my May Monthly Recap, I’ve been working on saving and making more money through couponing and rebates. During the month of June, I kept utilizing those tools and I’m hoping to write some posts soon on my methods. In the same vein, I feel like we’ve got our monthly budget routine pretty nailed down. As for staying within our budget consistently, we’re still working on that!

2015-06-01 21.41.11I started working on #4 “Work on landscaping and gardening.” We’ve been trying to stay on top of our lawn and greenery this year, but due to my hubby’s work schedule, we can’t go out and manicure our lawn every weekend. With all the rain we’ve had these last two months and investing in a weed management service, our grass grows so quick!2015-06-01 19.09.59 But thankfully, one day, we were both able to get outside and tackle some yard work. While my hubby did his thing, I decided that I’d trim the bushes that were taking over our front window. After about five minutes of trimming, I was reminded of how much I hated one particular shrub. So, in a moment of slight frustration and a spur of the moment decision, within 20 minutes, I’d taken a saw to the bush and trimmed it clear down to the ground. It was both satisfying and shocking at the same time. But I honestly can’t wait to pull out the other two hedges and plant some miniature boxwoods and flowers in that front bed! Budget and weather allowing, I’m hoping to finish the project before the season changes. We’ll see.

2015-06-15 18.11.33In another spur of the moment decision and whittling down my 30 for 30 List, my hubby and I decided to move our home office. Our home office had been in a spare bedroom right next to my hubby’s man cave, but I always kept the door closed and rarely spent time back in that room. We had painted it a darker color than the rest of the house, but the room doesn’t get a ton of natural light, so it was always too dark to see anything. Plus, we still had some boxes that hadn’t been unpacked and there were still things to organize, hence the reason it was on my list this year… On the other end of our house, just off our kitchen, we have a bonus room. 2015-06-15 18.12.56We’d been using it as a dining area when we hosted friends, but other than that, it was just a big room. So, on one of hubby’s days off, we just decided to move the office into the bonus room. Turns out, we’ve ended up having more space, the room is brighter, and more functional. Plus, now we actually can use the spare bedroom as a guest room until we have kids! We’ve almost finished setting everything up and getting organized, but I can already tell you that it is far more functional and enjoyable to spend time in than the other room! I love it! I plan on writing an office tour post with lots of pictures once I’ve got it all finished!

Books Read
The Girl on the TrainI was able to read two books this month! Thanks to audiobooks, I love technology… I finished The Girl on the Train. I honestly kept waiting for this book to get interesting. But it was a little confusing at times and somewhat annoying. But not terrible overall, just not my cup of tea.

EnchantmentThe other book I read was Enchantment by Donald Spoto. I adore Audrey Hepburn and have a special place in my heart for classic movie celebrity biographies. I grew up watching classic movies from the 30s-50s. While my peers were watching movies and cartoons from the 80s and 90s, I grew in up in a world of musicals and black and white film. No regrets! I always find it it fascinating to learn about the actors lives off camera and how they grew up. Audrey Hepburn’s life is no exception. It was interesting to learn about her young upbringing and see how it influenced who she became as an adult. She was such a loving woman with an incredibly generous heart, but there were also a few surprises that I didn’t see coming. It made for an excellent read. If you’re an Audrey Hepburn fan, it’s a must-read!

Fitness
As I mentioned above, I struggled with depression this month. From being sick the month before and overwhelmed by other life “stuff,” my fitness goals kind of took a back seat. In all honesty, I found that my stress-eating had gotten out of control and I ended up gaining back all the weight I’d lost. I still logged my food and worked out on my bike, but I’d lost my self-discipline and motivation. My efforts were bare minimum and half hearted. So, I’m back at square one, but July will be different! I’m tired of this lack of motivation and the setback in progress was so frustrating! July will be different.

Travel
No travel this month. And, I’m not sure that we will be making any trips until the holiday season. I plan on writing an update, but I’ve decided to change goal #12. Instead of taking a vacation this year, we’re planning on adopting another puppy into our family. There’s no set timeline on this yet, but after talking about future goals and plans, along with discussing our budget, we realized it was unrealistic to do both a vacation and adopt a puppy this year. So we picked the puppy. 🙂 Who wouldn’t? Like I said, I’ll keep you posted on this, but I can’t say when, just yet! Stay tuned. 😉

Watched
For Fathers Day, my sweet dad wanted to go out to a movie with all of us. My husband was only able to join us for brunch before he had to go to work, but it was a fun time to spend the day with my sister and parents. It’s not been just the four of us for a while. InsideOutWe decided to go see Inside Out. I. Was. Stoked! I have been waiting a year to go see that movie, because I’m a huge nerd and love Pixar! This movie isn’t your typical Pixar, though. Yes, they have a tendency to anthropomorphize everything from toys to cars to animals to monsters (you get the idea), but this concept was unique in the fact that they were able to give a face to emotions. I LOVED it and I think it’s a great way to understand the basics of how our emotions influence us and how they contribute to developing our personality. The amount of detail and subtleties that I noticed reflected so much research that went into the film. I learned a lot as an adult and I think this would be a great movie for kids who are growing up and trying to understand why they feel the way they do…and realize that it’s ok to feel different feelings, that we need all the various feelings to make sense of life. They all serve a purpose and that we shouldn’t be defined by one feeling or another. The animation was as always, amazing. Plus, the cast was just perfect. If you’re an Office, Parks & Rec, or SNL fan, you’ll love it! I could keep raving, but I think you should go see it for yourself. 🙂

In other news, Pretty Little Liars is back on! The pilot and first few episodes of season six have been so good! My A theories are evolving… So You Think You Can Dance also started up again. Audition weeks are my favorite, so we’ve been enjoying those. Plus, they’ve been on Hulu, so I can go back and re-watch my favorite routines. It’s gonna be a good season!

Listened
I mostly listened to my audiobooks this month, like I mentioned above. So nothing too new in the listening department.

Memorable Moments
2015-06-09 21.02.49-22015-06-10 14.29.20My husband turned 28 this year and we had a great day celebrating on his birthday. We enjoyed a dinner and I baked him a cake, then later on he enjoyed a guys day out watching Jurassic World and hanging out with his guys. Our parents were able to have dinner with us and we tried the new Pepperoni Grill that opened nearby. It was incredible! All in all, I think he had a pretty good birthday this year!

Spoonflower-HedgehogsI entered another Spoonflower contest in June, which you can see here. I didn’t win, but I love entering their contests because it offers a great creative outlet, plus a fun community of artists! When they have contests, it’s neat to see everyone’s interpretation of the same subject. Every single one is different!

This Made My Day
2015-06-17 20.59.36I had a random mish-mash of things that just made my day this month. At a family gathering, my aunt gave my a Diet Coke she’d found with my name on it – spelled CORRECTLY! That never happens.

Jonathan and I enjoyed a random nostalgic jam session while we were moving the office. We found our mixed CDs from high school and had a great time guessing who the artists were. We got to explain our weird eccentric tastes and the influences behind them at the time.

2015-05-27 15.34.47I got sunset hair this month! I’m a natural brunette, but I’ve been a red head for the past year or so, which I love. I’ve never felt more myself than with red hair! But I decided to shake it up a little this time and add purple to the ends. 2015-05-27 11.32.47My stylist did an excellent job and created a color melt between the red and purple so that they transition in a more “natural” looking way… Since I work from home and don’t have to adhere to a dress code, I decided why not? I love it! 2015-05-27 16.52.27The only draw back is that my shower looks like a purple minion got splattered all over the walls when I wash it, but other than that, it’s perfect! It’s just subtle enough where you don’t immediately notice it, but in the sun, it looks kind of like an upside down sunset. 🙂

Monthly Moral
June taught me that positivity is a fight! Happiness is fleeting and joy is a choice. It doesn’t come easy. It’s a daily choice to look for the good around you or to change your perspective of your situation. The world is fallen and we are not perfect. It’s so easy to spiral into depression and despair, but we are not doomed to that. We have the freedom to choose what we make of our day and how we choose to look at it. We can’t control other people or what may happen to us, but we have full control over our response and attitude. It took me a while to remember this truth this month, but I finally did and I’m thankful. I plan on making July a better month.

How was your June? What was the best part of your month?

Advertisements
Status

Monthly Recap – April

I feel like I say this every month, but April was a crazy busy month. I don’t even know where the time went! A lot happened, but it just flew by… I was so busy, I realized that I didn’t even have time to post a monthly favorites for March! (Sorry…)
I’m linking up again with The Lady Okie‘s Project 12 on her blog. Check her out if you haven’t already!

30 for 30 Progress
I can actually cross 2 things off the list!
2015-04-27 19.42.12Pepper graduated from her Beginner Training Course…just barely. 😉 She’s definitely doing better than she was before. We’re still working on the loose leash walking and not jumping up on people, but she’s improved what little training we tried to do on our own. 2015-04-09 10.30.22She even learned a new trick, she loves to shake your hand now! We celebrated with a puppachino from Starbucks on the way home (her new favorite treat, if I come home with a frappachino now, she thinks it’s for her…)!

2015-04-17 09.27.44We also had a garage sale! This was my first time holding my own garage sale – EVER – and I was by myself for half of it too. We didn’t expect to make a fortune, but for what little we had to sell, we did pretty well. The weather was rainy too, so I was pleasantly surprised that we even did as well as we did! 2015-04-17 10.43.29Plus, I took all 3 boxes of books that didn’t sell to Half Price Books and made some cash back from that. While browsing in there I found the first 3 seasons of Seinfeld on DVD, so that was even a bonus!
2015-04-13 22.19.45

We painted our kitchen! So that’s another item almost off the list. 2015-04-14 12.57.31It feels so nice to have a different color in there! It’s amazing what color can do for the mood of a room! We also added hardware to all the cabinets and drawers. We’re getting closer to my dream kitchen! If nothing else, it feels fresher and more functional.

Books Read
What is wrong with me?! No progress whatsoever. I’m so behind. 😦

Fitness
PurseGoal-150508
I’ve now lost a total of 9 pounds! (Follow my progress here) I kind of plateau every now and then and this month was no exception. With all the crazy that went on, I’ve not been able to be as aggressive about my fitness as I’d like, but I still am logging my calories daily and working out in some form or fashion at least 5+ days a week. I still love my Fitbit and am earning cash through GymPact. All this, despite both my hubby and I getting the flu. We both felt miserable, but on the bright side, he got to stay home almost an entire work week!

Travel
No travel this month…

Watched
2015-04-18 20.08.45
Like I mentioned above, we acquired the first 3 seasons of Seinfeld and we’ve been enjoying that during my hubby’s dinner breaks as our replacement for Friends. I had never watched the show growing up and had only seen a few reruns here and there, so it’s been fun to watch it together. My hubby’s family are seasoned Seinfeld fans and quote the show often.

Another favorite show started up this month for us: MadMen! 2015-04-06 23.09.11-1We are huge MadMen fans and are glued to the show when it’s on, in other words, it’s one of the few shows we watch without our checking our phones periodically. It’s like a time machine, you’re taken back to a different era, but the stories are so multi-layered, they’re applicable to many current topics too. I love the fashion, the ad designs, and the overall way the show is filmed. The show itself is art.

I’ve also gotten into watching Private Practice on Netflix, since I’ve finished all the available seasons and franchises of my guilty pleasure of The Real Housewives. Private Practice is a spinoff show from Grey’s Anatomy (another fave of mine!) and is just as dramatic. I’m usually watching it while I’m waiting for my husband to get off his shift, so when he walks in the door, he usually will stop – while holding all his gear and Pepper jumping all over him – and ask what’s going on or say something to the effect of “why do these people have such tragic/dramatic/crazy lives?!” I have to agree, but that’s also why I can’t stop watching!

And speaking of Grey’s Anatomy… If you’re a fan, you know what I’m referring to. THE Episode that made my Facebook feed blow up with spoilers was hard to watch. Especially since I had the spoilers, I was bracing for the main character to disappear at any moment. I had a feeling it was coming from the previous episode, but it was still not an easy one to watch… When is this show going to end, now that almost all the original characters are gone?! *It’s a TV show, Kellie, calm down…

Listened
I haven’t heard too much that stands out this past month, just car jammin’ and listening to my regular lineup of podcasts while I walk Pepper or work around the house… 🙂

Memorable Moments
I’m thinking of retitling this section to “Memorable Moments” from “Family Moments,” since there are other things outside of just Pepper and Jonathan that happen (believe it or not).
2015-04-02 12.58.45This month, Pepper turned 1! She’s still a puppy to me, but she’s gotten pretty big and is growing up (just a little) in her behavior. We gave her a giant rawhide bone to chew and I even made a “cake” out of treats and dog food for her. I’m so thankful that we adopted her! 2015-04-02 18.12.59She’s been such a blessing to both of us, but I especially am grateful to not be sitting up at night waiting for Jonathan all by myself anymore. It’s amazing how comforting a sleepy puppy can be. 😉 I highly recommend any LEOW ladies getting a family dog if you can.

2015-04-05 13.40.45We had a fun Easter Sunday with my family. Jonathan thankfully had the day off and his parents were able to come up and visit. We all went out to eat with my parents and sister for lunch. I absolutely love my in laws and am blessed that both of our families enjoy spending time together! I love the rare opportunities when we can all get together.

This month was a month that fit the adage “When it rains, it pours” to a tee!  2015-04-09 09.50.18-1We had been aggressively saving all during March with our spending freeze, which was good, because we ended up needing some of that savings for all of April’s craziness. Between taxes, hubby’s car breaking down, our fence blowing over with spring storms, vet bills from an ear infection that Pepper got, and other miscellaneous expenses, we felt like we were handing out money left and right. But the reassuring fact was that we could take care of everything and still keep our head above water. God provided during this month with extra refund checks, rebates, garage sale cash, and other little ways! 2015-04-24 17.01.38We’re learning to trust God to provide even more and learning that we can live on less. It’s caused us to talk through finances even more and keep planning ahead together…as much as we can. Plus, we’re learning new things, like how to repair a fence ourselves and installing cabinet hardware, which will help us be more prepared and knowledgeable in the future!

This Made My Day
2015-04-28 14.32.08
Despite all the crazy this month, I had several sweet moments with lunches, coffee dates, and phone calls with some special women in my life. I’ve also realized that I have always struggled to make friends, so it’s been a little of stretch for me to reach out for some of those relationships and maintain others, but it’s been so rich and rewarding to cultivate good friendships. I find myself leaving those conversations feeling so blessed, recharged, connected, encouraged, and like I can conquer whatever’s on my plate. You ladies are such a blessing to my soul. You challenge me, you encourage me, you keep me accountable, and you help me know that I’m not alone. For all of you that I had the pleasure of spending time with during April, thank you! You ladies are my superwomen!

2015-04-19 17.00.51Another special moment during April was the opportunity to go see one of my favorite films in theaters with my Granny, my Aunt, cousin, sister, and Mom! My Granny took us all out to see The Sound of Music (or as I affectionately referred to as “Doe-A-Deer-A-Female-Deer” as a kid) for a special limited showing. It was SO MUCH FUN to get to see it on the big screen and notice things I’d never seen before. I know the movie by heart and found myself noticing other details like the costume design and set detail, as well as realizing the historical context. When you grow up watching a film, certain things get cemented in your brain as one thing, but then you watch the movie as an adult, you realize all the things you missed as a kid or misunderstood (for example, when Maria sings “What’s so fearsome about that…” in the “I Have Confidence” song, I didn’t hear the words separated out as a kid, I thought “whatsafeesum” was one word…). After the movie, we all went out for a bite to eat and it was fun getting to visit together and hear stories from my Granny!

Monthly Moral
I’m learning that I can’t do everything and sometimes you will get a harsh reminder of that. I’m learning that I need to take time to rest. I’m learning that I need to give myself grace. I’m learning that I need to trust God and let go of trying to make everything happen in my time-table. I’m not there yet, but I’m learning.

How was your April? What are you looking forward to in May?

Status

Monthly Recap – March

Whew! March was jam packed! I feel very accomplished and I’m proud to say that I got a lot done, but I’m looking forward to a less busy month. 🙂 Once again, I’m linking up with The Lady Okie and her Project 12 posts. Find how my March panned out below:

30 for 30 Progress: As I mentioned in my previous Monthly Recaps, SpringNightthere are a few items on my 30 for 30 List that I will be working on throughout the year. I made headway on a few projects this month and I’m excited to see more of my list completed! I made progress on making our office more functional (#3), I got my 401k paperwork finally taken care of (#16), I finally got a cleaning schedule nailed down (#22), and we got Pepper enrolled in training (#21)! I also started a Spoonflower Shop and entered my first contest. Even though I didn’t win, it was fun to design something based around a challenge and to be part of a creative community again. I also had two sales during the month of March! I’m hoping to add more designs to my shop in the future.
150316-MM-Day16My biggest 30 for 30 List accomplishment this month was tackling the 31 Day Purge Project from A Bowl Full of Lemons. I adapted the Spending Freeze idea from Living Well, Spending Less and incorporated it into our March project, creating my own March Makeover. It was a challenge, but it feels so good to have a decluttered and organized home! It was also really eye-opening to see how we could get through a month without having to spend money on everything. It allowed us to focus on saving and helped us stay on the same page financially! You can find out how the project went by clicking here and looking up the hashtag #MarchMakeover15PO on Instagram.

Books Read: I am so behind, it’s not even funny! No reading was done in the midst of all the productivity…

Fitness: As of this post, I’ve lost 8 pounds since I started my fitness plan in February! (YAY!) I am starting to see a noticeable difference in how my clothes fit and what I see in the mirror, plus I have more energy. It’s not as noticeable to others at this point, but it’s encouraging to see a difference. I created a separate page to track my progress here.
FitbitI also got a Fitbit! It’s been motivating to try and get all of my steps in, to track my quality of sleep, and to see that just by being more active in the day, I’m burning calories! And before you think that this Fitbit was going outside of our Spending Freeze, I was able to get a very good deal, we discussed it, and we decided it would be a good purchase!
My Fitbit syncs with both MyFitnessPal and GymPact. I’ve mentioned MyFitnessPal before in previous fitness posts, but I’ve started using GymPact which is an app that lets you earn money for working out and logging your food. I mentioned GymPact in my most recent fitness update. You can link the app with your other fitness apps and devices and set goals for yourself. When you complete or meet your goals (your pact) for the week, you earn cash that can be transferred to your PayPal account. If you miss a workout or don’t complete your pact, you have to pay. Needless to say, that’s pretty motivating to stay on track. I’ve been using it for about 3 weeks and have earned nearly $5. I know that’s not much, but it’s better than nothing and better than paying $5 for a missed workout!

Travel: No trips this month. 😦

Watched: Ever since Friends came on Netflix in January, we’ve been watching it non-stop. We finally finished the series! It was bittersweet, but it was fun and I have a feeling it will be another show for us, like the Office, that we just watch over and over again…
150325-MM-Day25We also had a movie night at home as a family and enjoyed watching Mockingjay. Jonathan and I both agree that it’s the best movie in the series so far. We were in suspense the whole time we watched it in theaters and it was just as enjoyable at home, along with all the behind the scenes footage.
My sister and I are huge fans of Pretty Little Liars, so when the season finale aired this month, we were glued to the TV. While I know a lot of PLL fans were disappointed with the season finale (no spoilers here), personally I thought that it was one of if not the best episode of the show to date! There were answers but also so many more questions and I can’t wait to see how they answer them in the upcoming season! Any other PLL fans out there?

Listened: I discovered two excellent podcasts this month! The Accidental Creative is really good and though provoking for professional creatives. But it’s also applicable to others in cop orate careers. My favorite episode for the month was “The Power of a Morning Ritual.” I was encouraged to establish a more consistent morning routine and hopefully I’ll be able to implement one soon.
The other podcast is great for when you need a laugh… Grownups Read Things They Wrote As Kids is hilarious! Based out of Canada, they hold open mic nights and encourage adults to bring their diaries, journals, letters, etc. from when they were kids. Some of the entries are adorable, most are really funny, some are deeper than they originally appear. Overall, it’s always a fun listen.

Family Moments: We survived a few little earthquakes (one big one that jolted both Pepper and I) and our first tornado of the season. We were only in the tornado warning zone, but it still makes me a bit anxious, so I was thankful that hubby was home at the time. Pepper slept through the entire thing…
We got Pepper enrolled in training this month! So far, she’s the only one in her class due to a schedule mix up, but she’s learning and catching on. She loves going to “school” as we like to call it and gets so excited when we drive up to the building. We’re working on loose leash walking, sit, wait, leave it, etc. The loose leash walking is the most challenging, but I’m glad we’re seeing a little progress there. It gives me some hope that in addition to being the sweet puppy she is, she can be an obedient puppy too. 😉

This Made My Day: I finished up my first sketchbook for the year! If you follow me on Instagram, you can see me post a daily sketch and since we’re almost 100 days into the year, I ran out of paper in my first sketchbook and had to start a new one! It’s been really neat to go back through and look at the sketches I made at the start of the year. I can’t wait to look through all of them at the end of the year and see how my style and technique has progressed!

Monthly Moral: With the March Makeover, I learned a lot about “stuff” and how much of it we don’t really need. I found so many things that were just that, “things” and were taking up space both physically and mentally. I had to work on letting go of things that I no longer needed and really didn’t serve a purpose anymore. I was reminded of how much of a sentimental pack rat I am. But once I started seeing the extra space that was starting to be created and realizing what I actually used, I was able to let go a lot easier and feel like I could breathe! I think I’m going to have to purge clutter periodically from our home and from my life.
I also realized that we can live on less. I went grocery and general shopping once. That’s ONE Target trip for the month! But we made it and we weren’t deprived or in desperate need for anything, plus we were able to save the extra money we would have spent frivolously. I don’t think we should try to live in a Spending Freeze all the time, but it honestly doesn’t hurt to do it every once in a while.

I’m excited to see what April has in store! How was your March?

Image

dark and stormy…

“It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents – except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets…”

150331-Stormy

I was inspired by tonight’s stormy weather, here in Oklahoma… Apparently we occasionally have Victorian London literary weather. 😉

March Makeover – Week 2 Progress Recap!

Week 2 down and another busy week! I love how my house is shaping up and getting more organized. If you follow my Instagram, you’ve already seen everything that got done with week, but let’s break it down:

3/8: Create a spring cleaning plan // Purge cleaning products
I wrote up a daily and weekly cleaning plan and have been trying to stick to it everyday. So far, I’ve been able to do the weekly plan, but the daily tasks are a challenge to build into a habit right now. I’ll still keep working on it. Ideally, if I can do the daily and weekly tasks, my house should stay clean and I’ll be able to work in spring cleaning all year round. By the way, since it’s not pictured, the daily tasks I wrote up are: wash dishes, wipe down counters, tidy rooms, make bed, and sort/file mail.
I went through all of our cleaning products and I shouldn’t have to buy any cleaning supplies for about 4-6 months! Seriously, I have plenty of Windex! I was able to get it all wrangled despite a 4.0 earthquake coming through in the middle of my organizing. No joke! Oklahoma’s got it all, we have been having earthquakes for the last few years. Pepper is still getting used to the rumbling, so when it came through, we both jolted and she jumped in my lap and would not move for a while…

150308-MM-Day8a

3/9: Spring cleaning day // Purge shoes
I started implementing the cleaning day, since it should keep our house spring cleaned year round with daily application.
Since it was my hubby’s day off, we both went through our shoes. His shoe purge was much faster than mine…He only had one pair of shoes he didn’t want or war anymore. 😉 I was able to go through all my shoes and together, hubby and I were able to donate 13 pairs of shoes. I now have my shoes fitting all neatly in my shoe rack and not all piled up. Now I’ll just need to restrain myself from buying new shoes. I love shoes!

150309-MM-Day9

3/10: Clean and organize bonus rooms (we don’t currently have kids,
so we have bonus rooms) // Purge/clean out cars
Thankfully our bonus rooms were already pretty organized and cleaned up. We organized our dining/bonus room when we painted it. Hubby’s man cave is his space, so I decided to leave it alone. He has his all of his stuff in his room where he can find it and the way he likes it.
So I focused my energy on my car! I wish I had been able to take it through a car wash too, but I decided since we were on a spending freeze, I’d wait for rain to come later in the forecast. I cleaned out all the extra stuff and trash in my car. Now my glove boxes are actually helpful instead of a scary place to open up and try to find something. I vacuumed the carpets, wiped down everything, and even broke out the glass cleaner to clean off Pepper’s window art in the back seat. 😉 It feels like a new car!

150310-MM-Day10

3/11: Organize master bedroom closets // Purge master closets
It was still our weekend with hubby being off work, so we went through both of our master closets. He started on his closet before I did, so I missed the “before” picture. But, between the two of us, we were able to clear out a good sized stack of clothes to donate. I mentioned my hanger method on Instagram. Basically, I hang all of my clothes on hangers backwards at the beginning of a season or after a big clear out. As I wear clothes throughout the season, I hang up the clothes on hanger facing the normal way. Then, after a few months when I’m ready to go through my clothes again, I can tell what I’ve wore and what I haven’t. This makes it easy to decide what I need to maybe toss out or if I should try it on to see if still fits, etc.

150311-MM-Day11

3/12: Organize bathrooms // Purge bathroom cabinets
We have two bathrooms in our house, but the master bathroom cabinets took the longest. In our guest bathroom, we use the cabinet mostly for storage, so it was pretty easy. I went through our master bathroom and went through all of our products and got them organized. I still have plenty of hair products even after throwing out old half empty ones that needed to go. I’m realizing that I have a beauty product buying problem. I have plenty to go through and will need to learn to use up what I have before buying more. Wish me luck, it’s going to be hard! …Maybe I need to put myself on a beauty spending freeze in the future?

150312-MM-Day12

3/13: Purge medicine cabinets
This task was pretty simple, since a while back, I had already purchased some little office organizing drawers to keep medications and first aid supplies in. I mostly went through all of our medicines and tossed the expired ones. I put like things together and got everything back in the cabinet in an orderly fashion. Now we can find what we need when someone’s under the weather!

150313-MM-Day13

3/14: Week 2 Progress Recap // Purge books
Tada! Week two is now done! Today, I purged our books, which was not as hard as I thought it would be, but I still had to resist the urge to begin cataloging all of our books and creating my own version of a Dewey decimal system… I love our books and I feel like when you get rid of a book, you get rid of a friend sometimes. But decided to I step back and try to think with each book I picked up, a) Have I read this and was it good? b) Would I read it again or do I want to read it? Is it useful for future reference? c) I don’t want to read this and I don’t see a future use for it… That kind of thinking helped pull things into perspective a little better. After going through all of our books, I put them into general categories. Now, we have two boxes full of books we can give away!

150314-MM-Day14

So this week was a success, thankfully! How did your week go?

Status

Monthly Recap – January

As a way to keep track of my 30 for 30 list and other highlights that happen each month, I’m going to have a monthly recap. I got further inspiration and motivation to recap each month from reading my friend Amanda’s blog, The Lady Okie, and her Project 12 posts. By the way, if you haven’t visited her blog, you should check it out!

It’s crazy to me that we’re already in February! January just flew by, but it was jam packed:

30 for 30 Progress: So far, there’s only one item crossed off my 30 for 30 List (#7 – I started this blog!), but I have several other items in the works…
#2 – Read 30 books: I read through two books and noted them below under “Books Read.”
#15 – Sketch something everyday: I made 31 sketches in January! You can see them on my Instagram. Feel free to follow me to see more daily sketches.
#17 – Have a daily quiet time: This was a big one for me. I have struggled through the years to be consistent with reading the Bible everyday, but in January I purposed to just read everyday from January 1-21. After 21 days, it got a lot easier and now, I can confidently say that it’s a habit now.
#3 – Make home office functional: This one has been on my to-do list for the last 5+ years. Sad, I know. But when you move out of your parent’s house as a single girl, you get/inherit “stuff” that doesn’t have a home. Then you get married and you and your husband get more “stuff.” And where does all the stuff go? To the spare bedroom that you had full intentions of using as a home office, but has sadly become the storage room that is, in a sense, The Forbidden Room in the house. This year I had had enough and because I needed to be able to find all of our paperwork for tax season, I decided to tackle this task this month. I had wanted to get the office completely done before the month’s end, but reality kicked in and so it’s still a work in progress. But there is major progress! Besides being able to walk in there (I have a floor in here?!), all of our paperwork is sorted into categories and I’m trying to devote at least an hour a day to filing, organizing, and just getting it to where we can actually use the room as an office and no longer The Forbidden Room.

Books Read: I was able to read through two books during January (yay!). One was excellent and the other was meh… I wrote a review for Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement on my Pepper’s Bookshelf post. It was so good and helpful, I highly recommend it!
I usually enjoy Beth Harbison books as just “fun reading,” but Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger was underwhelming, pretty predictable, and not that great in my opinion (I should have known with the cheesy title). She’s written other books that I enjoy more, so not all of her books are bad. It’s just that this one was not my cup of tea…
You can see all the books I plan on reading this year on my Goodreads page.

Fitness: I intentionally did not focus on fitness during January. I knew that I was planning on starting my fitness goals during February, plus January was full enough with starting other new habits.

Travel: No travel this month…

Watched: Since Friends was released on Netflix in January, my husband and I got hooked watched it. See more in my January Favorites post.
We’ve also been watching the latest season of American Idol on Hulu. We love watching all the audition episodes, but I have to say that the judges this season are more enjoyable to watch than past seasons. So, I’m interested to see how the rest of the competition pans out!

Listened: I know I’ve mentioned my love of podcasts in two of my previous posts, but I just can’t get enough! I’m hooked on Invisibilia, Sawbones, Stuff You Missed in History Class, Stuff Mom Never Told You, and whenever Serial comes back, I’ll listen to that too!
But in addition to podcasts, I’ve gotten back into listening to more music. I kind of went through a little non-music phase for a little while, but I’m back to my car jammin’ and shower singing… My iPhone has been playing Taylor Swift’s 1989 album, Ed Sheernan’s Thinking Out Loud, and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Soundtrack song The Hanging Tree all month long!

Family Moments: Pepper has been itching to get outside more often, but with the roller coaster weather we had in January, we’ve had to find other ways to play with her in the house. She loves to chase a ball around, play tug, and for whatever reason, she despises pillows being on the couch and will push them off onto the floor with her nose…  When it rains, she goes straight for the “muddies” as we call them. We’re looking forward to spring weather!
My hubby started back to school after the holidays and is taking nine hours worth of classes this semester. Between his ten hour shifts at work, odd sleeping schedule and days off, he’s still willing to get up and go to class twice a week. I am so proud of all the hard work he’s doing and that he’s persevering to finish his degree!
I’ve been blessed to work with my mom as she’s launched her business! We’ve had so many great meetings and have been able to see her vision turn into reality over the past 3 months. Not only have we made progress with her business growth, it has been a blessing to be able to visit, share, encourage, and listen to each other as friends. She’s my mentor and I’m so thankful to have her as a friend and a mom in this stage of my life. I’m looking forward to seeing what God does with her business and our relationship this year!

This Made My Day: During January, I was aggressive about using coupons and rebates, and it paid off! We’ve been able to save money toward things we want or know we’ll need and I try to shop only when I have a coupon or a rebate to use. It’s more work preparing to go to the store, but it’s also nice to have a plan and know that I’m not going to empty my wallet too quickly. The most thrifty day of January was when I saved over $130 in one day by using coupons and rebates while shopping and then talking to our internet provider and getting our bill lowered. It sounds strange and is kind of a long story, but it felt really good to be so productive and save so much in one day.

Monthly Moral: Overall, January was intentional for me. I found myself being motivated, productive, and having a more positive attitude by being intentional with my time. Since coming home full time, I’d say time management has been my biggest challenge, but I’ve been trying to be more mindful of what I spend my time on and I think I’ve been improving. It’s been great to start a new year with such momentum and I plan on keeping it up. 🙂

How was your January?

Pepper’s Bookshelf • 1/30

One of the goals on my 30 for 30 List is to read 30 books this year. I just finished the first one for this year and it was one of the most helpful books I’ve read in a while! If you are an officer in LawEmotionalSurvivalforLawEnforcementBook Enforcement, a spouse of an officer, fiancé, family, or friend of some one who serves in Law Enforcement, Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement by Kevin M. Gilmartin was written for you. It goes beyond the day to day tasks of the law enforcement life and digs deeper to reveal the emotional side and side effects of the job.

I highly recommend this book to new officers and their spouses! While officers are put through rigorous training in order to serve and protect their communities effectively, there are few officers and far fewer spouses and families that are prepared for the emotional side effects of the job. A career in law enforcement is extremely different from the many stereotypical 9 to 5 jobs out there. The long and odd work hours, missed holidays with loved ones, having to face tragedy and lawlessness on a daily basis, along with the necessity of having to wear a bullet proof vest everyday has a profound mental, emotional, and physical impact on the officer themselves, but it also has an impact on their families. As a spouse, this book helped me understand my husband’s world better and how it impacts our family. It also helped me learn how to view the impact with a healthy mindset.

Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement offers practical ways to not get consumed with the job (or letting the job consume you), how to provide balance between the on duty hyper-vigilience and off duty zoning out, ways to take control of your off duty time, tips to maintaining your personal identity, cues to fight isolation and cynicism, staying connected with loved ones along with so many more practical tools to stay emotionally strong in the world of law enforcement!

Overall, learning to bring balance to your life and perspective, learning where the stresses and impacts are coming from, and choosing to take control of your personal time off duty were the points that stood out most to me. I can’t recommend this book highly enough!

PeppersBookShelf