Image

Catch up!

I promise, I didn’t fall off the face of the earth, I’ve just been very busy with freelance projects, had a wedding anniversary, and I’ve been recovering from tonsillitis! Here are all the sketches from last week…

I’m choosing to not beat myself up for having an empty week on the blog… :-/

150513-HappyAnniversary 150514-BlueRibbon 150515-BlueBlood 150516-Closed 150517-Ampersand 150518-Ampersand 150519-NightOwl

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?

March Makeover – Week 3 Progress Recap!

We made it halfway through March! This was another busy and productive week. Even though this week, most of these projects didn’t get done or posted on Instagram before midnight each night, the perfectionist in me is learning to give myself grace and not beat myself up about it. To be honest, my day doesn’t end at midnight…but it also doesn’t start until about lunchtime. 🙂 #LEOlife #paralleluniverse  So here’s how the week panned out:

3/15: Downsize clothing and put away for seasonal storage if necessary // Purge purses and handbags
I had already gone through my clothing and somewhat downsized it and organized it, so the seasonal storage wasn’t really necessary this go round. So, I focused on going through all of my purses and handbags. I ended up having about seven to give away and the rest I was able to organize and store neatly in my closet. I didn’t take a picture of how they really looked in my closet beforehand, but let’s just say all of my purses now are up off the floor and easily accessible. I’m working on a “What’s In My Bag?” post coming soon, so stay tuned!

150315-MM-Day15

3/16: Get crafty and make something useful (instead of buying home decor, make it!) // Purge board games and candles
This was quite the fragrant day! I discovered that all together, I had 71 candles stashed around my house. SEVENTY-ONE! I had apparently been collecting a stockpile from all my Bath & Body Works sales shopping… I was able to whittle my collection down and sort out the half burned and never burned candles. I tossed out the used up candles (except for one or two, which you’ll see why further down in the post) and now can easily store all of my candles to use. I think I’ll need to put myself on a candle spending freeze at least until I can get through most of these… *Goes and lights a candle 😉
I also went through all of our board games, puzzles, and playing cards. I had forgotten how many fun group games we had! We’re going to have to schedule some game nights with some friends soon. 🙂

150316-MM-Day16

3/17: Finish useful craft project // Purge desk
Since I’ve been slowly working on our home office, thankfully this day wasn’t too bad. I was able to get our desk cleared off, organized, and clean for hubby to use while he studies or for when I do any paperwork.
I also finished up the useful home decor project I had started the day before. I made a cleaning chart to use throughout the week. Using a photo frame that I already had, I wrote the daily and weekly cleaning tasks on some blank stationery and framed it. I use an Expo marker to mark off tasks for each day and can wipe them off to use over and over. I hung it our hallway so it’s not just out where everyone can see, but still where I’ll see it everyday as I do stuff around the house!

150317-MM-Day17

3/18: Recycle by finding new uses for old things // Purge bills
This task took a while, but it’s FINALLY done! All of my filing is finally finished! This is a big deal for me, because I’ve been trying to get through our combined files since we got married (four years ago), but with our busy schedules and when I worked outside the home, I wasn’t able to get it all done. It feels so nice to be able to find paperwork whenever we need it. I know, I sound like a nerd, but there’s just something about having things in order that let’s me be able to relax and have peace of mind – especially around tax season!
I found a new use for some of those old used up candles I went through earlier in the week! I cleaned out the wax and took off the labels to use the glass canister for a cotton pad storage solution in our bathroom. At first I wasn’t sure how to best clean the wax out, but after a little research, I followed Ingrid Nilsen‘s method. You can check out her video here. Her channel is pretty upbeat and fun to watch too, if you every need a bright and cheery pick me up for the day! I’m thinking I may need to make some makeup brush holders like she made in her video sometime…
P.S. Mahogany Teakwood candles from Bath & Body Works are probably the best candle scent in the world, in my opinion! Jonathan thinks they smell like the mall…but that’s fine with me! 😉

150318-MM-Day18

3/19: Purge nail polish
Thursday’s task was to go through all my nail polish… Now, for a person who only consistently wears nail polish on her toes, I don’t know how I ended up with this much nail polish! Looks like I need to start giving myself a manicure every now and then. I was able to weed out a few colors that just weren’t my style, but I still ended up with quite a few colors. I store all of my polishes in a drawer, since that’s the most convenient place for me, so a while back I had come up with the idea to use a q-tip to paint the tops of all my polishes the color that was in the bottle so I could see colors easier without having to go through every single shade to find the one I was looking for… I have a few stragglers that I need to do this to, but overall, it’s been a very helpful little trick.
What’s your favorite nail color for spring?

150319-MM-Day19

3/20: Purge spices
Did you know spices expire? Apparently I didn’t… I went through all of my spices and found several had to be tossed because they had expired or lost their taste. After a little research, I learned that on average, ground spices only last about 3-4 years, of course it ultimately depends on the spice and whether it’s ground or whole. I was able to pair down quite a few spices and figure out what I really use and need to replace. I also had been storing my spices on two separate sides of my kitchen, so with a little rearranging, I was able to get all of my spices in a more convenient area for when I’m cooking. Now I just need to go through my recipes and spice things up a bit… 😉 Here’s a handy link for how long kitchen spices typically last

150320-MM-Day20

3/21: Week 3 Progress Recap // Purge tupperware
Tada! We’ve reached today’s task. Today was pretty easy, I didn’t need to throw anything out and just had to rearrange a few things. I honestly don’t use plasticware all that much, since I rarely cook large meals that require leftovers. Plus, I personally don’t like leftovers, I know, I’m weird. But for the times that we do end up with leftovers or need to bring a dish to a family or holiday function, I love these Lock & Lock plasticware pieces! My husband’s sweet grandmother has been helping me build a nice collection of these sturdy containers and they are the best I’ve ever used!

150321-MM-Day21

All in all, this was a pretty productive week, but not too overwhelming. My house is feeling cleaner and I feel like I’m able to find things a lot easier. I’m being reminded of how blessed we are and despite our spending freeze, I’m finding that there’s not much that we truly need to buy. I’m hoping we can keep up this momentum of living on less, both financially and with all of our “stuff.”

How was your week?
Random question for this week:
What is your favorite flower to plant in your front yard and why? I’m wanting to gather ideas… 😉

Liebster Award Nominations!

liesbster-2015-NominationI was quite surprised the other day to see a lot of new traffic coming to my site. And even more surprised to find it coming from someone I hadn’t met yet. Come to find out, the lovely Rebecca Colours had nominated me for the Liebster Award! Thank you so much, Rebecca! Check out her blog here.
The Liebster Award is an award made for bloggers by bloggers, discovering new blogs. The award aims to put the spotlight on new bloggers and give them a chance to shine and get known here in the blogging world. The award comes with a few rules:

  1. Put the Liebster Award logo on your blog
  2. Thank and tag the blog who nominated you
  3. Answer their questions and come up with 10 new ones for your nominees
  4. Nominate 8 blogs (with less than 200 followers), let them know you’ve nominated them and link them in your post
  5. No tag-backs

I received the following questions from Rebecca. Here are my answers:

1.  What is your favorite thing about blogging? 
I love that I have a place to share thoughts, ideas, and creativity, along with a journal in a way to look back on. It’s a way to stay accountable and not let my goals or projects lose momentum.

2. What is your favorite saying/proverb/quote?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, And He will direct your path.” —Proverbs 3:5-6

3. What is/are your biggest inspiration(s) that motivate you?
First, I would have to say, my mom is a huge inspiration and encouragement in my life. She’s one of my best friends and has been a mentor to me in many ways, but especially in my married life as I’m still learning to be a wife and *gasp* live with a guy! (<–This requires a gasp because I grew up with only a sister, no brothers, and I was home schooled…) She’s also been an incredible inspiration and motivation lately as she’s started her own business last year and that takes a lot of work, bravery, and dedication! Second, I would have to say that time motivates me. As I’ve mentioned before, I love to plan, but I also like to make the most of the time I have in the day, so time and the lack thereof gets me going in my day!

4. What are you really good at?
This may sound weird, but painting a room. I LOVE it! It’s instant gratification for me because I can see my progress immediately. I can paint an entire room without using a drop cloth or painters tape on baseboards or edges. I’m weird I know… I’m sure there are other things, but this was the first thing that came to mind.

5. What’s the key to success?
Hard work, perseverance—even when you feel like giving up, and having a goal to go after.

6. Is there anything new you’d like to learn?
There’s always something new to learn in life! This year, one of the things I’d like to learn is how to garden and mow my lawn. You can see more things on my 30 for 30 list here.

7. What’s your most important overall goal for 2015?
To accomplish my 30 for 30 list.

8. If you could write a brief message to your 13 year old self, what would you say?
Probably the only things I would tell myself is to learn to let go of trying to control everything a little earlier, stay active, exercise, and try more foods. I was a picky eater that preferred junk food,and now I’m paying for it. #FebruaryIsForFitness

9. Do you have any guilty pleasures and if so, what?
I’m the weirdo that loves to dip french fries in my chocolate milkshake and I love to watch reality tv, namely shows like The Real Housewives of Name-Any-City/Region, Dance Moms, Sister Wives, Toddlers & Tiaras, and just about any wedding show on TLC. Hi, my name is Kellie and I’m addicted to junk tv. 😦

10. State one word that would describe yourself.
Multi-faceted. 

Now I would like to nominate these lovely people! They all inspire me in their own unique way! Check out their blogs:
A Desert Girl
The Audrey Files
Bee Beauty
The Pastor’s Snarky Wife
Beside His Badge
The Adventures of Everygirl
News (Linzie Hunter)
The Elm Life

And here are your questions:
1. Why did you start your blog?
2. What is your favorite dessert?
3. What do you look forward to most about your favorite season?
4. What did you want to be when you grew up and how similar is it to what you do now?
5. What is your favorite book and why?
6. What do you do to help maintain balance in your life?
7. If you could go/live anywhere (real or mythical) where would you go?
8. What is one goal you would like to accomplish this year?
9. Coffee, tea, or something else?
10. What has been your most meaningful and/or useful life lesson, thus far?

I’d love to read your answers, so please be sure to tag me! 🙂

February is for Fitness

It’s now February and I’ve decided to start tackling the “Get healthy” goal on my 30 for 30 List. I know most people start the New Year with their fitness goals, but personally, I knew that was just not realistic for me.

I think when you decide that you’re going to improve your health by changing your lifestyle, you need to mentally prepare for it. For me, this is especially true when changing my daily eating habits. I. Love. Food. Seriously. I’m addicted to the flavor and comfort of enjoying something that tastes good. Food has been something I turn to when I’m stressed, bored, or feel like I need security. The more I thought about this fitness goal during January, I realized that my biggest hang up with getting fit and staying healthy was my mentality. All my life, I had been naturally slim. I had a high metabolism and could eat whatever I wanted, which was pretty limited since I was a picky eater. I’m still picky to some degree, but over time my palate has become a little more adventurous. It wasn’t until my early to mid 20s when I was on my own and working full time that I started noticing my weight begin to increase. It was minimal at first, the number on the scale would go up a little, but it wasn’t alarming. I got married and the number jumped with happy weight and cooking hearty meals for a man (just to clarify, I’m not blaming my husband for my weight gain, it was just an adjustment cooking for two and sharing a pantry with a guy). Then our life changed when my husband got hired as a police officer. Our sleeping schedules changed, we were eating out more because of our different schedules, and I began worrying more as I adjusted to being a LEOW. Between his new job and my job at the time, I had a lot of stress and anxiety suddenly amplify in my life. I ate more to “feel better.” Over the past 5 years, I’ve gained over 30 pounds and I don’t feel better or fit.

So, with all of that said, I decided to stop sitting around and expecting to magically have the weight disappear without changing anything. I’ve had enough! I want to learn to healthily combat stress and anxiety. I want to comfortably fit into my clothes again. I want to have energy and maybe one day be able to join my cross country running husband and be able to keep up. (By the way, I have never been able to run. When I’ve tried, I look a little like Pheobe from Friends, but hopefully that will change.) I want to be physically healthy for whenever we have kids. Plus, I’d like to not have too much to lose after the baby weight. I want to establish a healthy environment for my family and our future kids to set them up for a healthier lifestyle. None of this is about having a negative body image or trying to fit into an “ideal” size or number on the scale. It’s about improving my health, dealing with stress the right way, not being lazy, and feeling better overall.

My plan to get healthy is going to be a gradual build to reach the level of energy I want to have. This is both because a) I’m not fit and can’t realistically or safely go full out on a huge workout plan and b) to keep it from getting boring. I plan on adding more fresh foods to my diet and keeping a food log. The food log is right now my biggest mental hurdle. I hate feeling like I’m depriving myself and counting calories has always felt that way to me. But I’m going to do it, like it or not. MyFitnessPalI’m using MyFitnessPal to keep track of all my meals and water. I’m aiming to drink a gallon of water a day and cutting out all soda. I’m making time in my day to do more exercise and tracking that as well. I’m use an app called Seven to start circuit training. It guides you through 12 different exercises in 7 minute circuits. SevenI’m starting with one circuit a day and will add more as I build stamina. After my stamina is stronger, I plan on adding in working out on my elliptical. I’ve also started walking Pepper more regularly. My husband has been the one to walk her more often in the past, but I’m making more time in my schedule to have her drag me through the neighborhood MapMyWalk(she’s a strong puppy). 😉 I keep track of my walks with her using the MapMyWalk app that syncs with MyFitnessPal. With the apps I’m using, it allows me to keep track of everything as well as have accountability with family and friends who are also using the apps to achieve their health goals.

So far, I’ve had nearly a full week of exercising, 2 days of staying under my calorie goal, and nearly a gallon of water a day. It’s a start and it’s better than sitting on my butt all day. I’m already feeling better and my skin is improving with more hydration. No weight change yet, but it’s coming…

Since getting fit is more of a mental hurdle for me, I knew I had to make it interesting. I am the type of person that needs incentive and needs a goal to go after. I often can get discouraged or talk myself out of good intentions if there’s not something there to keep me going. So in addition to my plan, I came up with an incentive. I’ve always wanted a designer handbag, but have never been able to afford or justify spending money on one within our budget. So, as a way to motivate myself and save money for one, I plan to put aside $5 for every pound I lose. By the end of the year (or sooner) I should be able to afford the one I have my eye on. I’ve made a chart to track my progress and I’ll include periodic posts showing how close I am to achieving my goal. So here’s to getting fit and fashionable! 😉

What motivates you? What are your tips to staying healthy?

PurseGoal-150204