Thursday, January 23, 2014

the big sale

I love sales.  Who doesn't right?  There are a few times a year that you can really score big time on clothing, and right now happens to be one of them.  Almost every store is trying to clear out their winter stuff and get ready for their spring shipment.  Sounds a bit early, but that's how retail works.  When I managed a clothing boutique, many many moons ago, our first shipment of spring started coming right about now.  It was always so nice to see new warm weather clothes, made me think that winter wouldn't last forever despite what the weatherman may have said that day.

Now that I have 3 cute little kiddos to shop for I absolutely live for these end of season sales.  A lot of times I'm still able to buy clothes they can wear now.  Realistically we still have 3 more months of winter clothes season.  But what I really like is finding great deals on cute clothes for next year.  I'll pack them away and then next fall when I'm going through their closet its like Christmas finding all of these clothes again!

Today was a good shopping day for me :)

I went to The GAP to return a pair of pants that didn't fit Lilly and came home with a huge shopping bag full of clothes.  Today's trip was about the girls.  I bought a few things they can still wear now and even more things they can wear next fall/winter.  I may have gone a bit overboard, but when they offer 50% off the sale wracks its really hard to stop.  So as I'm standing in the store looking through the wracks I had to try and remember what I had already bought on-line the day before :)  

My next trip will have to be one for Logan.

I don't feel even a little bad about this.  With young kids I know that what they are wearing this year will not fit them next year.  With Lilly and Aubrey I'm lucky to make it through a full season without needing to size up.  And every year when shorts weather gets here, Logan's pants have almost turn themselves into capris!

So the big question is--do I shop for myself?  Do I clean out my closet, take inventory, and do a little shopping for me?  I'd love to, but I'm a bit hesitant.  I have really been trying to simplify my wardrobe and shopping right now will undo all the progress I've made.  But with prices so low its taking all of my willpower to stay home right now!

How do you shop?  Do you wait for sales and then stock up or do you buy a little all throughout the year?  Do you buy sale items to hold for next year?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

time to slow down

At what point do we say enough is enough?  When do we take a step back and realize we need to slow down?  In a society where we think we need start everything earlier and earlier this is hard.

We have 3 kids under the age of 7 and they are all active.  At this point its our own fault because they wouldn't know anything about the extra activities if we didn't introduce them.  We've already introduced baseball, soccer, gymnastics, dance, and swimming lessons.  But it doesn't stop there!  We're seriously considering piano lessons and basketball in the very near future.  Sure we don't do ALL of those things at the same time, but pretty close.  Then when you throw in the most important thing, activities at church and Sunday mornings at church, we really don't have much free time.

No time for kids to just be kids.

Somewhere along the way we forgot about that very important time.

When I was a kid, I did 1 thing for the entire school year and it only lasted a few months.  There was no worry that I wouldn't be the best kid on the team or that I would behind the other kids.  When it was nice enough I spent my free time playing outside with my siblings or the neighbor kids.  And if it wasn't nice enough to be outside we played inside.  Yes we watched our fair share of tv, but kids shows weren't on 24/7 like they are now.  We had to play, wait for it, make-believe!  No we didn't turn out to be professional sports stars, but I hate to break it to you--most of our kids won't be!

So what is the point of overloading their schedules with these activities anyway?  Sure we want our kids to be well-rounded and hopefully this will help.  But 1 or 2 activities at a time will do that.  What about spending time with our kids working on school work?  Or doing arts and crafts?  Or reading?  Or just hanging out with them?

Now seems like as good a time as any to make that change.  I'm going to start cutting back on the extra curricular activities I sign my kids up for.  I'll let them pick their favorite thing and go from there.  I'm sure they aren't going to miss the craziness, and I know I won't.  And hopefully in the end we'll build a stronger bond and actually get back to having fun!

Do you suffer from an over-loaded life as well?  How do you manage?  Or have you figured out a way to balance it all?  What are you secret tips and tricks?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

cleaning out the old

Sunday morning as I was getting ready for church I ran into the same problem I do about once a month, or more.  I didn't have the right shoes.  Some of you may laugh at this because you know what my shoe closet looks like.  The truth is, I've been in need of this one pair of shoes for over a year now.  I'm talking about the perfect black wedge.  Over the years I have become a huge fan of the wedge.  I find that its very comfortable, cute, and practical when you're talking about chasing after/toting around 3 kids.  The wedge gives my short legs a little bit of a longer, leaner look without paying the price of wearing heals.  I have several different wedges in my closet right now, I even have a black pair.  They're aren't the "right" pair though.  As like most of my shoes, they were bought out of a lack of options.  My shoe shopping experience generally goes something like this.  I go out with a plan to buy X.  I'm always on a tight time frame so I go to stores that are closest to me.  I have about 3 or 4 places I can go in a relatively quick time frame.  I shop these stores and don't find what I'm looking for.  Finally at the last place I realize I need something, so I buy the next pair that will work.  I get them home and wear them once only to realize they A) don't fit good, B) hurt, and C) are not what I wanted.  So onto my shoe rack they go.  I'll occasionally pull them out and wear them only to go through all of the same problems.

So this week I decided to do something different.  I went to the shoe store and didn't find what I was looking for, as usual.  I did however find 2 other pair that I came home with.  I went to my closet to put them away and actually sat on the floor in front of my shoe rack to analyze what I had.  I started pulling out shoes and really looking at them.  If I hadn't worn them in a year, or even if I had only worn them once, I pulled them out.  When it was all said and done I pulled out 2 bags full of winter shoes (I'll do the same once I get my summer shoes out).  As I looked at the bags it felt really good!  No longer will I have shelf after shelf of shoe to try on hoping they would go with my outfit.  I'm hoping to make my morning a big easier!

Now that I've gone through my shoes its time to tackle the rest of the closet.  Last week I posted about cleaning out my closet and getting rid of clothes.  I did start that project.  I pulled out 4 Target sacks full of clothes but I know I have a lot more that can come out.  Here's to hoping my post next week about cleaning the clutter will actually shoe the finished product!

How do you shoe shop?  How long do you hold onto shoes?  Do you have multiple shoes of the same color and style?  Do you purge them regularly?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Master Bath part 2

For as long as I can remember my husband has talked about wanting a steam shower.  I, on the other hand, do not.  I don't like the stuffy, suffocating feeling that comes with all the steam and no fresh, or even circulating, air.  This is one area in our new house plans that we just can't come to an agreement on.  We definitely want a large walk-in shower with multiple shower heads.  I want a bench in it, for shaving of course.  Now if we could just find a way to make the steam shower fit in without it being too stuffy we'd be all set.  I have to admit, I haven't done a lot of research on these so I'm not even sure what the capabilities are.  Ideally we could have a system that allowed for it to be turned on or off whenever we want it.

I've come across some really cool shower designs over the years.  When I lived in Florida, a friends parents house had the biggest walk-in shower I've ever seen with a glass block wall and I thought it was the coolest thing.  I don't know if I would do it the same, but I really liked it.  When the hubby and I were on a mini-vacation we stayed at a hotel that had glass walls all around the shower.  It was cool, but there was absolutely NO privacy.  And while doing real estate for new construction I've been able to see some newer styles of showers that I like as well.  Most of them now have tiled walls on 3 side with large floor to ceiling glass doors in the opening.  I've taken little bits from all of the bathrooms I've seen.

Here's a picture of my dream bathroom.  It has everything I would want, and looks like it could even be a steam shower for my hubby!

Craftsman Bathroom by Los Angeles Architects & Designers Evens Architects

What would your dream bath look like?  Would you choose a steam shower?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Never enough time

The title says it all right?  This could apply to so many different areas in life.  This particular post is talking about finding the time to exercise.  I don't know why it has to be so hard.  I can find a million other things to do before I take the time to exercise.  Then by the time I'm ready it's late and I'm too tired.  "I'll start tomorrow" I say to myself, knowing full well I won't!  So I've come up with a plan.  I have several different workout videos that I've used a lot and a little at different times.  One of my favorite is a series of 5 different 10 minute workouts.  I liked this so much I bought one for Pilates, cardio, and even a prenatal one when I was pregnant.  What I like about these are the amount of flexibility they provide.  If I'm short on time I can do 1 video here and 1 video there.  And if I have enough time I can combine them to make 1 long workout. It's really the perfect mix.  So then why is it that I still can't consistently do this!?  What it is about working out that always makes it so easy to quit?  Why is it the first thing to get pushed to the back burner?

About a week ago I read an article online that said something about a 100 day challenge.  It basically was a challenge to exercise for 100 days.  Sounds great, except that I know that is too big of a step to take and I will inevitably fail long before it gets here.  So I decided to start small and make a challenge that is easily attainable and then add on to it.  So I'm starting a 10 day challenge.  I want to challenge you to do some type of exercise for 10 days.  That could be walking, running, a kickboxing class, Pilates, yoga...just get moving and do something.  Let's say a total of at least 30 minutes a day.  That doesn't sounds too bad right?

So who's with me?  Let's make it a team challenge and hold each other accountable. I'll check in again in 10 days and by then maybe we'll be getting into a routine and we can extend it.  Let's do this!!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The home remedy

If you're anything like me, you're generally overbooked and overloaded.  Yet, you still want to pamper yourself right?  Since becoming a stay-at-home-mom a couple of years ago I've found that my "me time" has slowly dwindled away.  I could probably count on 1 hand the number of pedicures I've had in the last 2 years.  Pretty sad considering I went almost monthly when I was working at the office!  How does that happen?  You think that by staying home you'll free up more time to do these types of  things and almost the opposite happens.  Since it is very rare that I don't have 1 or more of my kids with me I've gotten crafty with my pampering sessions.  I've been trying to do things at home with a home remedy versus taking the time and spending the money to go out and have everything done.  This can be tricky though.  I am a firm believer in the old saying "you get what you pay for."  Having said that, I do think there are some really good "tricks" out there that are worth trying.

Take a look around Pinterest and you'll find anything from face masks to hair conditioners to foot scrubs.  I want to try them all, but I'm a bit nervous.  I tend to find something I like and I stick with it, even if I'm told by everyone I see that something else is better.  Call it stubborn maybe :)  So along the lines of the new years resolution post I did I'm going to start cutting down my costs of pampering products.  The first one I want to try out is a foot scrub.  Sounds easy enough, that is until you google it.  There are hundreds of different recipes and versions out there.  I guess its time for some experimenting!

What are your at-home pampering secrets?  Do you have a secret recipe you'd love to share?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A funny thing

I've always heard it said that the way you dress says a lot about you.  I do think there is validity to this, but I think its funny how clothes can really affect your mood and attitude.  Case in point, when I wear workout clothes I feel more energized and I actually WANT to exercise and eat right.  I'm less likely to veg on the couch eating candy and other junk food.  What is it about those little spandex pants that make me think I'm now a fitness guru?

On the flip side to that, when I'm in no hurry to get dressed and instead stay in my pj's all day I'm a little slow moving and have no problem taking a break to relax on the couch and watch my favorite show or two or three.  Before I know it, 1/2 the day is gone and I feel like a bum!

Then there is the going out outfit.  I'm not talking about going out clubbing or going to bars.  Just a nice, going out to dinner with friends, outfit.  I seem to stress about this more than anything else I get ready for.  But why?  Its not like those friends haven't seen me in my sweats or even my pj's.  For some reason when I try on outfits I can go through everything in my closet and not like a single thing, and I know full well that I have plenty of nice things to wear.  

This got me thinking.  Maybe too much isn't always a good thing.  I mean I'm sure my parents didn't have 1/2 as many clothes as I have and they found things to wear all the time.  And I KNOW my grandparents didn't.  In fact I think my grandma owns 4 or 5 shirts that she just rotates.  What does that say about us?  Obviously we've been taken over by the 'more is more' idea in just about everything these days.  But when will it stop?  So I've decided to start with my closet.  I can't tell you how many different colored cardigans or different colored GAP tees I have.  And what for?  How many ways can you style that?  So as we work on putting in a new closet organization system I've decided now is a good time to clean out the clutter.  I'll be going through my closet and getting rid of anything I haven't worn in a year.  I'm also going to cut down on duplicates I have.  I really don't need 5 t-shirts in different colors.  Nor do I need 3 different black tees!  

And hopefully soon my closet will look something like this!

So what does your closet look like?  Do you buy multiples of the same thing?  Do you purge your outfits regularly?

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Ongoing Battle

If you're anything like me, a mother trying to do too many things at once, then you likely struggle with the same issue I do...TOO MUCH CLUTTER!  I can't seem to get away from this problem.  Sure being a Type A personality doesn't help the matter much.  I can't seem to get to that happy place with organizing all of our stuff.  I've tried to tackle the problem so many different ways.  All of them work and fail in one way or another.  Here's generally how it goes:

Pick the first room.  Scan around to see where to start, which area needs help the most.  I like to get the most bang for my buck so I generally start with the biggest project.  Sure it may take longer, but once its complete I feel a huge sense of accomplishment.  This almost always means I start in the kitchen.  We have a semi-open floor plan so when the kitchen is a mess it makes the whole place look and feel messy.  A few years ago we remodeled our kitchen and I'm very happy with the amount of cupboard and counter space we have.  My problem now is that I need some type of organizing system for all of the everyday "stuff" that accumulates.  I recently purchased a hanging organizer from Thirty One and so far that is helping a ton.  It has several slots so each of the kids have their own space for their daily school work they bring home plus extra slots for other things.  Here it is:

I like the direction this is going, now its time to venture into more organizing tools like it.  

I recently was introduced to a blog that has a 14 week challenge to organize your home.  I REALLY want to try this, but when I take a quick glance through it I get scared and find something else to do.  This is serious business and is a real commitment.  At some point I need to just bite the bullet and dive in though right?

What are your organizing tips?  What tools do you use and love?  What have you tried that you would skip next time around?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The resolution

New Year's Resolutions used to be something I made every year.  And, like many others, I would forget all about them by mid-February.  Then one year, I can't remember when, I just didn't make one.  And you know what?  It felt really good.  I always had a bit of remorse and guilt when I would "break" them.  The first year I didn't make a resolution I had no guilt and no remorse.  I felt free.  Its been several years since I last made a resolution.  In fact, it rarely crosses my mind to make one.  This year for some reason I have decided to do it.  I'm going to make a resolution--the most common one of healthier.  I have a family of 5 so I need to find something that works for everyone from my husband all the way down to a 9 month old.  I haven't spent a lot of time researching different ways to do this, so technically I guess I haven't started yet.  There are so many new and different plans out there, its overwhelming.  I'm a pretty picky eater, as is our 6 year old, so this could be a challenge.  As the main cooker in the house I feel like its my duty to make sure we all get on a good path to health.  We don't eat terribly bad right now, but I know it could be a lot better.  So here are some of the things I'm looking for:
1.  I want to try and eliminate or significantly diminish the amount of processed/boxed/prepared foods we eat.
2.  Eat a lot more produce
3.  Cut back on the amount of chicken we eat.  We eat a lot of this, probably 5-6 times a week.
4.  Find healthy quick snacks the kids will enjoy.
5.  Find quick meals for those crazy nights we are rushing from one place to another. 
6.  Find a way to do all of this without breaking the bank.

What ways do you eat healthy?  Do you have a plan you stick with or just wing it?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The start of something big

Many people use the new year as a time to "start"one thing or another.  I am no different.  We are in the early stages of building a home and I've decided to start the new year off with a budget and a purpose.  I'm going to be spending the next several months looking for design/decorating ideas that I like for the new place.  I'm so excited to have a place big enough that all the kids can have their own bedroom.  That also means I get to decorate a whole house my own way.  A new kitchen, living room, 3 kids rooms, a master bedroom, closet and bath.  I'm just as excited about that.  So where should I start?  One room at a time right?  I've been really drawn to master bath pictures lately so I think that's a good place to start.  

I am a big fan all the home-fix-it shows right now.  Who isn't right?  They can be good (wonderful ideas) and bad (expensive ideas)!  I use them as ways to weed through all of my dream designs.  From those shows I've decided that I really want a free standing spa tub.  I've never been a fan of the huge deck tubs, but thought that was the only was to get a whirlpool tub.  Man was I wrong!  Here is a picture of the bathtub on my "must have"

If you were building your own dream bath what kind of bathtub would you prefer?