Month: August 2016

Oh Sooo I wrote this article once…

…for Elite Daily and was published! I’m not sure what made me write it, other than I had a million thoughts running through my mind and had to get them out on paper. I think that’s how it always is with natural writers, am I right? This article was a bit of a victory lap for me because I’ve never stuck with my resolutions before. Needless to say, these meant alot to me. 2015 was not the best year personally, and I was determined to make 2016 really count for something good in my books. It was my first published article, and my last with another platform I think. I’m thankful that the article was posted, with limited editing and restructuring, but I’m enough of a control freak about my own work that I prefer to be the only source of editing. The article was published here and per Elite Daily’s terms and rules, they own it. Now that I’ve cited the proper source, I’ve posted my full article below. I hope you enjoy!

5 Things Moms (or anyone really) Should Do To Maintain Their Happiness

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It never happens all at once. The things in life that steal our free time and assume our focus stack up to the point of being all-consuming. At least, that’s how it happened with me.

I’ve always prided myself on being able to multitask and tackle anything I’ve been faced with. For the most part, I can. But at what cost?

One day, around Christmastime, I had an epiphany. Or, I should say, my 8-year-old daughter called me out in a way I couldn’t deny. We were home on a weekend. As usual, I was running around, cleaning, organizing and starting little projects. She asked me several times to play with her. I gave the same answer over and over: “Not yet. I’m busy right now. Ask me later.” After about five times of this, she finally looked me right in the eye and said, “Mommy. Why are you too busy for me? Don’t you see that you’re hurting my feelings by ignoring me? You never sit still and enjoy time with us.”

I couldn’t believe it. What I saw as simply making sure my home was in order for my family to enjoy, my family saw as an obstacle for my love and attention. They were right.

As a professional woman, mother and wife with clinically-diagnosed ADHD (Attention Deficient-Hyperactivity Disorder) and self-diagnosed OCD (or what I call, having the good sense to be clean and orderly), I can create quite a bit of work for myself. My brain explodes with ideas and projects. Sometimes, I can hone in on one task and focus all my effort into it. But most times, I get sidetracked quicker than a gator snaps up a chicken leg. The point is, there is never a shortage of things I want or need to accomplish.

I could fill a book with things that need my attention, including that report and spreadsheet that is due Friday, and my vegetable garden that I’ve planned for a month. While all those things filled my brain that day in December, my daughter saw my actions for what they really were.

I was letting life get in the way of me truly living. Not only was I not sitting still long enough to spend time with my children and husband, but I was also giving myself zero time to relax and enjoy life. Without realizing it, I had gotten to a point where I was existing to crank out work and little else. I decided that was going to change.

The thing I’ve always loved about mornings, springtime and the New Year is they all represent a new beginning. This was the first time I thought seriously about my New Year’s resolutions. I wanted to make myself accountable for my actions and focus on living in the present moment.

I made five resolutions I knew I could stick to. But more importantly, I had to stick to them if I was to preserve both my family’s happiness and my own:

1. Read a new book every single month.

I joined a “book of the month” club, and I haven’t looked back since. I force myself to sit still so I can enjoy reading, even if it’s only one book a month. I truly love getting lost in a book, and it’s a pleasure I have denied myself the past few years.


2. Cook at least one meal from scratch for my family every weekend.

I am the queen of spending hours in my garden or painting my house. I can clean and organize my home from top to bottom in a few hours, run circles around my husband and children while they relax… and I can throw a frozen pizza in the oven like nobody’s business. Not the healthiest meal, amiright? Cooking a healthy, balanced meal takes time and focus that I could be using for something else, but it’s important to give your family focus in the kitchen as well.


3. Try one new recipe a month.

There I go with that word “new” again. Are you seeing a pattern here? By steering myself to branch out and try new recipes, I am opening myself and my family up to unexplored options, food groups, tastes and enjoyment. We sit around a dinner table each night as a family to eat dinner. I thought, “Why not make that time even more enjoyable by serving new and different dishes to eat together?”


4. Make sure my friends and family know how much they mean to me.

This was a tricky one for me, and it always has been. I have never been a phone person. I can’t focus well on the conversation when someone isn’t in front of me. If I’m not sitting still with zero distractions, forget about me taking in even 50 percent of the conversation. This is a side effect of ADHD I’ve always had a hard time with. I don’t have much time during the week to spend time with anyone. On the weekends, I have family activities and such. For me, this resolution translated into action. I have always loved the written word, and the art of a hand-written and mailed note or card is something I give value to. I made it a point to show my friends and family how much they mean to me by focusing on their lives and celebrating their successes. I tried to support them during times of need. I often times just needed to say “hi.” Actions always speak louder to me than words, and I am very physical when it comes to my expressions of love.


5. Focus on my children.

I love my children dearly, and this resolution is just as much about raising them right as it is about spending time with them. It takes time and effort to raise children who respect themselves and others. I owe it to my children to spend my time and energy ensuring they grow up with the values I was raised with. I also made it a point to sit at night with them and talk about their days, include them in my gardening and cooking and do things they enjoy, such as arts and crafts. This was the best resolution by far, and I am just as happy about this one as my children are.

It’s been three months since I made these resolutions, and I’m busier than ever. I have hundreds of ideas to put into action, a large project underway at work and a kitchen renovation going on at home. But, I’ve stuck to my resolutions, and I am far happier and more balanced because of them.

I look at these resolutions not as a “to-do list,” but as a written guide for taking the time to live my life. Working so hard for my family, my job and my home will only give me happiness if I give myself the time to enjoy them.

Perhaps the same is true for you. If that is the case, it could be time for you to make a list yourself.

Who loves fun planters? THIS GIRL.

I typically shop online for my planters. Mostly for ease of browsing, but also because I can never get my life together enough to carve out a few hours to go drool over planters in person! I love a good terracotta pot for my outside gardens, but there is something so refreshing about colorful or mid-century modern planters inside. I’m really feeling geometric designs as well, they’re so fun!

A few other things that I’m loving this week

  1. I saw the movie Kubo and the Two Strings with one of my girlfriends this week and it was a beautiful movie! I love animated movies in general, and Kubo was really edgy and cool.
  2. PUMPKIN IS BACK!!!! My favorite time of year is Autumn, I start to really get antsy in July just waiting for summer to go away. Bye girl, I’m ready for PSLs, cinnamon sticks, and chunky knit sweaters. Currently working on a Fall Bucket List…coming soon!
  3. Speaking of Autumn, I’m really feeling these flats! I adore suede all of the things, and I really like the ballerina vibe that I’m getting from these.
  4. I’m so late to the game, I know…have you heard of Warby Parker? It’s a trendy subscription eyeglasses/sunglasses site that allows you to try the frames at home for free before you have your glasses made. I’m loving the Simone frame!
  5. Blood Orange anything! I had a Blood Orange Mojito and Cheesecake Factory recently and I’ve been obsessing over it ever since. I found this recipe on Pinterest and I plan to try it tonight!

This weekend we have some fun things planned for a change now that I’m done traveling for the most part. Michael, the kids, and I are going to a casting call for real Scottish-American families to film a Disneyland Paris commercial in Orlando, how fun is that?! I’ve never cared about show business, but the opportunity kind of fell in my lap so I figured “why not”? It would be a cool experience and major fun for the kids to boot. What are your plans this weekend? Hopefully something involving an icy cold beverage and putting your feet up. Cheers friends, happy Friday!

 

 

Don’t we all want to breathe in clean, non-toxic air in our homes?

I doubt that anyone walks into their home and says “I don’t give an eff if I’m being slowly poisoned by toxins. Whatevs!”. My brother recently asked me “Why do you have so many houseplants, a year ago you had almost none”! Correct, because a year ago is when I got a wake up call…in the form of a hospital visit and two days worth of testing to determine why I was having troubles breathing. The results – Indoor air quality! The hardcore nerdy girl came out in me and I started reading anything I could get my hands on.

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My kitchen window…packed to the max!

I had no idea how many toxins are present in our homes until I started doing my research. Did you know that toxins such as Formaldehyde, Benzene, Trichloroethylene, Ammonia, Xylene, and Toluene are found in almost every home in America? These Carcinogens and VOCs leach out of the plastic we use, our laundry detergents, the paint on our walls, particle board in our furniture…they’re everywhere! The good news is that while we may not be able to 100% eliminate the sources from our homes, we can do our part to clean the air and make our homes safer for our families and ourselves.

In 1989, NASA published the Clean Air Study, and part of this study was a scientific examination of certain houseplants in an effort to naturally clean the air in space stations. This is the report that I came across while researching how to cleanse the air in my home and I really took it to heart. As well as absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, as all plants do, these plants also eliminate significant amounts of benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene, and other plants focus on removal of specific chemicals.The most common and notable plants on the list are the following:

Aloe Vera

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A sea of Aloe at my local succulent nursery

Aloe Vera cleans Benzene, which is commonly found in paint and certain chemical cleaners, and Formaldehyde from the air, and is my favorite plant! I use this plant to help with burns and sunburn, minor abrasions, and a slew of other skincare aids. I also use Aloe in smoothies and when I juice fruits and veggies. Bonus, it’s easy to grow and care for.

Rubber Plant

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The Rubber Plant leans Formaldehyde from the air, and is a very attractive and easy to care for house plant. This houseplant is very tolerant of neglect, as noted in my last post, and can thrive in dim light and direct light alike. I love this plant for it’s beauty and it’s resiliency, because it’s definitely been through some shit…my kids have not been kind to this plant, let’s leave it at that. She’s still kicking though!

Peace Lily 

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Disclaimer – my Peace Lily does NOT look this good.

So I’m told that shade and weekly watering are all this beauty really needs to thrive, but I’m calling BS. And I SO want this plant to thrive in my home because it tops NASA’s list for removing all three of the most common VOCs (volatile organic compounds) Formaldehyde, Benzene, and Trichloroethylene, and it can combat Toluene and Xylene. That’s all 5 bad news bears on the NASA list folks. This one is a MUST for the home, and I’m determined to bring my poor lily back to health!

Snake Plant

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My pretty little Snake Plant cleaning my office air.

This plant has required an absolute minimum effort on my part for it to thrive and grow, God bless it for that! This bad boy cleans 4 of the 5 toxins from the list (excluding Ammonia) and is one of the best for removing Formaldehyde which can be found in products like toilet paper and tissue of all things! This plant also follows the opposite carbon dioxide to oxygen schedule in that it absorbs carbon dioxide and converts to oxygen at night rather than day, so having this plant in your room may boost oxygen intake while you sleep!

There are many more plants on this list, and I encourage you to look into which ones would work for your home and lifestyle! Adding houseplants to your home is such a no-brainer when it comes to ensuring cleaner air for you and your family to breathe.