Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My running essentials.

I want to share with you my running essentials...items that I use while I run. Keep in mind I typically run 2-5 miles at a time, so no need for me to carry water bottles or energy gels. I just drink water before and after.

1. Running shoes - Asics has been my favorite brand of running shoe, and still is. I do try other kinds when I'm on the market for a new pair, but I always end up going with Asics.
2. SPI belt - SPI stands for small personal item, and this is sold at Academy, Amazon, and elsewhere. I love the original SPI brand, because it is really high quality, sleek, and can stretch to fit my phone, keys, and any other small items I need to carry on my person when I run.
3. Headphones - to go along with my iphone, which I use when I listen to music and track my run via Map My Run app.
4. Sunglasses - I like to wear my regular sunglasses (cheapies from Target) when I run.
5. House key and gate opener - I remove this from the rest of my keychain and keep it on me when I run. Most of the time I just run around our neighborhood, so I don't need to get in my car.
6. Headband - The best running headbands for me are by a brand called "Sweaty Bands". I got mine from Nordstrom (free shipping!), but the Sweaty Bands website has a gigantic selection.

Not pictured: iPhone, fit bit, and my running clothes (lululemon is my all time favorite workout brand).

Sunday, July 27, 2014

My biz casual project 333 wardrobe - documented.

Last weekend I did a massive clean out of my closet after I got minimalist-inspired by the project 333 blog/challenge. The rules are listed at that website, but basically the challenge is to only use 33 clothing items for 3 months and put all your others away in a box that you cannot access. This does not include lounge wear, clothes you wear to work out in, undies, and any sentimental pieces of jewelry that you wear every single day (i.e. wedding rings). Project 333 does include accessories, other jewelry, etc. The objective is to clear up space mentally, physically, and free up extra time as well...and to learn that you can indeed live with less.


I felt inspired to go out and find images online of the clothing that I currently own in my wardrobe and put it together in a layout to depict what my simplified wardrobe looks like. This is all my clothing, aside from lounge wear, undies, athletic clothes, and my super-nice business suit that I only wear for job interviews and presentations. Also, I want to rotate in/out jewelry pieces every 3 months, but I do own quite a lot of jewelry that I keep stored away when not in use.

Keep in mind that the majority of my life is spent wearing BUSINESS CASUAL. So this may look a little blah to some folks, but I work with what I can!

I say 3 months, but this is literally ALL the clothes I own aside from the above mentioned, so this is a year-round thing for me....
My clothing! Seeing it like this makes me think of different combos I haven't considered before...
1. gold layering necklace
2. turquoise statement necklace
3. violet sarong/scarf
4. vinyasa scarf
5. iridescent earrings
6. rose gold watch
7. silver/diamond watch
8. black blazer
9. white button up no-iron shirt
10. black and white stripe shirt
11. green blouse
12. turquoise/white print blouse
13. mustard cardigan
14. longchamp le pliage tote bag
15. black blouse
16. black long sleeve shirt
17. black pencil skirt
18. grey tank top
19. black cami
20. black ankle pants
21. black dress
22. blue wrap dress
23. tan shorts
24. denim shorts
25. black slacks
26. skinny jeans
27. black short boots
28. black pumps
29. tan strappy heels
30. leopard print ballet flats
31. nude point toe bow flats
32. denim jacket
33. skinny black belt (not pictured - sorry forgot about that one!) 
34. black birkenstock thong sandals (forgot those too! how could I? I wear those things everywhere when I'm not at work...)

....and done! Noticeably missing from my collection here is a winter coat. The one I had last year was from high school (so like 10 years old), therefore it was getting a little beat up. I intend to purchase a new winter coat this year. If I don't manage to find one that I love, I will be okay since I live in a hot climate and layering a hoodie and other jackets/scarves will work in the meantime.

Friday, July 25, 2014

My experience with giving up artificial sweeteners....

I've been artificial sweetener free for 1 month. The biggest contributor was diet sodas, so ahem, ASPARTAME. Week over week, I have felt varying degrees of difference in the way I feel since giving up consumption of artificial sweeteners. It could be a fluke, but with how much diet soda I was consuming and it having been a LONG time since I've felt this way (I mean, years), along with the correlation of my quitting the large amount of diet soda and then feeling such improvement in such a short time frame, I am deducting that there could be some relationship there.

When I say "the way I feel", what do I mean? I actually don't mean physically feeling better, like I anticipated. I mean mentally feeling better. At first it was my mood that drastically improved. It had been at least a couple years since I've felt so stable minded and not quite as melancholy. Another huge change that I've only recently noticed in the last week is clearer thought processes (which is probably not apparent in my typing today, lol). I feel smarter. I feel I posses a sharper understanding of the big picture and of how things matter...or maybe I just care more. Either way, I've read so many articles about how artificial sweeteners (especially aspartame) affect cognitive ability in a negative way. My anecdotal evidence is making me believe that there may be some truth to that, at least for myself.

But sometimes....I really just want to drink a diet coke with vanilla from sonic.

Monday, July 21, 2014

"The Gift of Routine"

Ever since I discovered minimalist blogs and you tube channels, I've really found my soul mate as far as "love to read" and "idealism". I never knew I was a minimalist until I found stuff labeled "minimalist" that really resonated with me as a lifestyle choice and frame of mind, rather than just a design aesthetic.

Over the weekend, I Project 333-ed my wardrobe. I already had a not-too-overwhelming amount of clothes/shoes, but I really wanted to pare it down per the 333 challenge to my very favorite and most functional pieces. I remember in college I had so many clothes, especially t-shirts, stuffed into my drawers like sardines that I could never find anything I wanted to wear. Such is the paradox of a hoarder, lol. I still remember the feeling of lightness and relief I got after trashing all the t-shirts, even the "special" ones, after I was sick of all the piles of clothes. Letting it go felt better than frozen. Oh god, that was a lame joke.

Now to "the gift of routine"....in one of the blogs I was reading, there was a posting about how routine isn't necessarily a bad thing, and can actually bring you peace and allow you to focus on other things that matter most. My old self would normally not agree with routine, but to be honest, I've found some things that I do as part of a daily "routine" that really do make my life easier. I'll share them below:

  1. Have the same breakfast every morning (special K chocolate mocha protein shake, for the win)
  2. Put my makeup on the same way (wearing what works for me, and knowing that I like the way it looks)
  3. Clean my kitchen and disinfect surfaces in kitchen/dining area every single evening (when my kitchen is not clean when I wake up in the morning, I feel like I set myself up for failure....due to the never ending mess that toddlers bring)
  4. Go for an evening run each day (this is my "me" time, and it works best for my bod when built into a daily or every-other-day routine)
  5. Wash my face before bed with the 3 step burts bees skincare line that I've posted about before (same idea as cleaning your kitchen, but....not?)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Our apartment got renovated!

We stayed at my parents house during the past 4 days because our apartment was going through a renovation. It is not completely finished yet, as they will be replacing our black appliances with new stainless steel appliances next week...but at least all the disheveled mess is gone and we no longer have to worry about the kids getting into chemicals or plaster...

Now, these finishes are of course not things that we chose by any means (hello renting!) but it was quite nice to get some upgrades. The only pain was they replaced all our doorknobs with sleek looking handle door knobs, so we had to remove ALL our baby proofing for actual "knobs", and now have to come up with alternative baby proofing solutions for those. I'd like to share a few photos of some shiny new items we have in our humble abode...
We now have a backsplash! Also...USB connections on some outlets. I suppose this means they are attempting to get somewhat high-tech here...but it's kind of annoying to be honest.
New granite counter tops (a black color, but it looks more brown in the photo due to the lighting),  faucet, and gigantic sink. I could seriously give the kids a bath in this thing.
What looks to be some track lighting in the kitchen and also in the dining area.
Also new granite counter tops, sink fixtures, etc. in the bathrooms.
Lighting in the bathrooms. I dig it...makes me feel like I'm living in a hotel (which is a good thing, for me).
Yay new stuff!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Family Rules

Roses on my dining table...
Our kids are getting to that age where they have a chance at comprehending a simple set of rules, so we decided to make a list of 3 "family rules". Why 3? Because research has shown that 3 is the magic number for digesting information and retaining it (something I learned from our consulting group at work). I have no expertise in early childhood education or the like, but I wanted to give our family three rules that weren't the "given" rules (like listen to mom and dad, love God, treat others as you would like to be treated, etc.). The three we chose we felt we all need reminding of, and aren't necessarily obvious or as constantly redundant or engrained as some of the others which I mentioned, but could serve as key take aways from what mom and dad taught them growing up.

Here are our 3 family rules:
1. Gentle hands and words
2. Be honest
3. Do what you need to do before doing what you want to do

Friday, July 11, 2014

Happy Friday!

I work in an amazing part of town...I hope to live here someday. There are so many delectable eating options nearby - many within walking distance. Albeit, I still end up just bringing my lunch from home or eating a bagel and cream cheese I have stashed in my office. 

Since today is Friday, I've opted to get some extra steps into my fitbit, and haul it over to starbucks at a nearby hotel connected to my office complex. I'm sitting here at the hotel enjoying my frappuccino, and I'm almost forgetting that I'm actually working today and not on vacation....

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Cooking Mama

I made blueberry crisp from the remaining blueberries my husband and daughter picked at the blueberry farm...

Monday, July 7, 2014

bikini so teeny saga at HEB...

I had a blast being in my friend's wedding this weekend. I told my husband I wanted to dance a lot, and we had a nice time doing just that. I had a slight hangover the morning after, but it was well worth it.

One of the other bridesmaids had some nailpolish on that I was really drawn to. She told me it was "bikini so teeny" by essie. 

So today, when my husband and my three year old daughter went to the store, I had this specific nail polish on my g-store list. When my husband went to the nail polish section and was there for a lengthy time, my daughter exclaimed, "Daddy, this is not for you!" He said, "I know, sweetheart, but I have no idea where this stuff is..."A preteen girl overheard the convo and came over to ask my daughter and husband if she could help them find anything (hello- preteen girls know the cosmetics section of Heb like the back if their hands).

My husband was like "sure" and told her the nail polish I wanted. Bam- two seconds later, she had it in their cart, much to my daughter's delight (she loves new nailpolish as well). LOL. In hindsight, I probably should have left this off the list for them, but I will certainly enjoy giving my nails a fresh coat of bikini so teeny.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Drained.

This week has been draining...lots of putting myself out there, feeling conflicted, and trying to strike the correct balance. Unfortunately it's not really anything I'm at liberty to discuss at the moment (as is the case with most things in my life).

Climbing the corporate ladder is exhausting, and raising kids is exhausting. All this drain and this pull to be in multiple places at once has caused me to become rather assertive with what I want and need, and I've found that I no longer suffer fools as patiently as I have in the past.

....all to say, this is why I bought this: