In My House

Lost, Have, Do

Like almost everyone in the world right now, I feel like 2020 has been a year of loss. I lost my two grandmothers in January and February. I barely had a moment to pick myself off the ground before major changes started happening due to COVID-19. It is difficult to process everything that is happening, and I certainly have almost no answers about anything. Still, I’m sharing what I have been doing to cope. I am mourning what I lost, appreciating what I have, and doing what I can do. I hope that when we are on the other side of all this, we will have a newfound grateful spirit and our priorities better in line.

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Lost…
I think it is important to keep a positive outlook, but I find it impossible to do that without first acknowledging the pain of this ordeal. It’s OK to be scared, angry, and disappointed. Sometimes the losses are super major and painful, like that of a beloved grandparent. Sometimes they’re more on the petty-side like canceled travel plans. Acknowledging the disappointment of the minor losses is important, too. It’s OK that high school seniors are bummed out about missing prom and graduation, and they don’t need older generations diminishing that feeling.

Have…
For many of us, what we do still have has tremendous capability to overshadow the painful part. I have an amazing husband, two wonderful daughters, and a schnauzer who sleeps on my legs every night. I have books and now more time to read them. I work with tremendously smart, brave, and caring people in the health care field. We all still have sunsets, the smell of rain, fresh-brewed coffee (if that’s your thing), and heavy metal music (that’s mine).

Do…
There are few things I feel in control of right now, but I have a short list of positive actions to keep me in the right frame of mind in the coming weeks. They are:

• Send at least two hand-written notes a week.
• Try to laugh every day.
• Spend at least 15 minutes a day reading something positive, funny, or enlightening.
• Remind myself daily that this won’t be forever.
• Find ways to continue regular runs despite the gym being closed and weather being questionable.
• Pray, pray, pray.
• Hydrate.
• Love my husband and daughters with a new-found appreciation.
• Stop all media after 7 p.m. (Advice from one of the aforementioned super smart doctors with whom I work.) Instead of scrolling through CNN right before bed, watch a movie with my husband, read to my children, or even catch up on DVR’d Jeopardy episodes.

In My House

Pantone 2020 Color of the Year: Classic Blue

Pantone’s 2020 Color of the Year is Classic Blue. It is described as “a timeless and enduring blue hue elegant in its simplicity.” I have started gravitating toward blue a bit more than ever before. I recently had my dining room and kitchen painted light blue (more on that later). Here are a few fun favorites.

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1. The pattern of this reversible quilt set makes it a perfect centerpiece of a master bedroom. (Bed Bath & Beyond). 2. These blue pants would really dress up a neutral top.(Loft) 3. Polka dots make this children’s dress so classic and cute. (Primary) 4. This pea coat is the perfect combination of two shades of blue. (Anthropologie) 5. These glasses are so pretty and would make a great gift. (Kate Spade) 6. This accent chair would be a perfect pop of color in an otherwise neutral living room or guest room. (Target)

In My House

2020: Make Time

Happy 2020, everyone.

Was anyone else as excited as I was to take down the Christmas decorations and get back into normal living?

Every year despite my best intentions to maintain some sense of routine, healthy living, and normalcy during the holidays, I’m left feeling I have fallen short in that field. I even Google-searched “self-care during the holidays” a few times during this past December.

Don’t get me wrong, we had a wonderful holiday season with family and friends, but there’s something about routine and the fresh start of a new year that calms my soul.

So this year I’m not making resolutions, but I am committing to getting back into the routine of regular exercise, self-care, and saying no to the things that don’t matter in order to make time for the things that really do.

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Time to rest: For me, this means getting good sleep (at least most nights) and taking a break to read for at least a few minutes every day. On especially busy and stressful days at work, it also means prying myself away from my office to go for a quick walk and decompress.

Time to just be: It’s safe to say that most of us feel over-scheduled at many times in our lives. Instead of taking pride in being the busiest, we need to allow ourselves and others to say no to requests once in a while without the inevitable guilt-trip.

Time to volunteer: This might be a bit in contrast to that last one, but I still think volunteering and community involvement are hugely important. The key is prioritizing and not saying yes to every single opportunity.

Time for self-care: Many of us are guilty of letting our own health and happiness fall by the wayside in favor of caring for others. It’s difficult to prioritize self-care, but how can we care for others if we aren’t properly caring for ourselves? For me, this means regular exercise, spiritual connection, and an occasional mani/pedi.

Time to hydrate: This is kind of a strange one, but although most Americans have easy access to healthy drinking water, many of us go through life dehydrated. I am leaving my refillable water bottle on my desk at work as a reminder to keep downing the water.

Time to play: What is life without a little fun now and then? Whether it is going to a water park with my daughters, a date night with my husband, or even just taking a moment to play tea party with the fam, laughing and being silly is good for the soul.

How will you make time for what is important in 2020?

In My House

Mama, Let’s Look at the Tree Together

Lately in the evenings my two-year-old daughter has a request around bedtime: “Mama, let’s look at the Christmas tree together.” So almost every night we spend a few minutes, just the two of us, in a room lit by only sparkling white lights while we admire the variety of ornaments.

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She giggles as I throw out names and descriptions of the ornaments, asking her to locate them on the tree. “Where’s Buzz Lightyear?”

I point to a ceramic baby carriage with “2017” engraved on it and she knows it is hers from when she was “tiny.” (She still is tiny.)

I smile as she recognizes and kisses an ornament that features a photo of my beloved late grandfather who she never knew, but would absolutely have adored her.

It’s no secret that Christmas time has a tendency to exhaust me. I do not think I am alone in that. Although I love the meaning of Christmas, traditions old and new, and the time with loved ones, I also thrive on minimalism, organization, and routine, none of which the holiday season seems to feature in abundance. These simple moments like enjoying the beauty of the tree through the eyes of a young child, are the moments that matter most.

In My House

Gifts That Give Back

In this season of giving, what can be better than a gift that, when purchased, also provides a charitable donation? Here are six gifts that give back. Happy shopping.

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1. Toms are a favorite of mine because they’re cute and comfy, but the company also provides a pair of shoes to a child in need for each pair of shoes purchased. The company does a variety of other charitable work as well. (Toms) 2. These adorable animals are a bit pricey, but every purchase helps battle childhood hunger. Each animal has a name, birthday, and favorite quote. (Cuddle + Kind) 3. These colorful stackable bracelets make a great gift and benefit a variety of great causes. (Pura Vida) 4. Kohl’s Cares stuffed animals each come with a book and purchases benefit the local community. The price point is usually between $5 and $10, making them a great inexpensive gift. (Kohl’s) 5. Each bottle of One Hope wine purchased benefits a different charity. (One Hope Wines) 6. A portion of the purchase of these celebrity-designed spatulas goes to St. Jude Children’s Hospital and No Kid Hungry. I have purchased a few of these. They are sturdy and can withstand high heat. (Williams-Sonoma)

In My House

Six Festive Advent Calendars

I love advent calendars. When I was little my great-grandmother would give my brother and me the cardboard ones filled with delicious chocolate pieces, always with a festive scene on the front. Now, there are so many candy and non-candy options out there when it comes to advent calendars. These are a great way to celebrate the holiday season every day of the month while also keeping in mind the true meaning of the entire Advent season.

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1. The Rifle Paper Company artwork on this little tree makes it truly special. (Anthropologie) 2. This wooden box features piece of a Nativity scene, perfect for remembering the true meaning of the season. (Meri Meri) 3. I love anything to do with The Nutcracker Suite, including this handsome soldier. (Pier 1) 4. My daughters absolutely loved this Playmobil Advent calendar last year. You can reload the pieces to use again year after year. (Target) 5. This calendar is a miniature mountain with a tiny colorful tree for each day of Advent. (Anthropologie) 6. Why should the humans have all the fun? This Advent calendar has 24 tasty treats for dogs. (Williams-Sonoma)

In My House

Some Fall Favorites

Fall is in full swing so I thought I would share a few items for this wonderful time of year. We had snow here over night, but I’m holding out hope we’ll continue to see some beautiful fall days ahead. So light a candle, put something yummy in the slow-cooker, load up on Halloween candy, and go ahead and order yourself a pumpkin spice latte.

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1. I have been burning this Golden Chestnut candle as the days have started turning colder and it smells amazing. (Yankee Candle) 2. I love the colors of this $20 felt wreath. (Target) 3. I like sending Halloween cards and the artwork on this is too precious. (Rifle Paper Company) 4. This is a spoiler alert on the hubby’s Buzz Lightyear Halloween costume for this year. He’s such a good dad. (Target) 5. I bought these booties a couple of months ago and am excited to pair them with tights and dresses this fall. (Report, available on Zappos) 6. A cozy plaid scarf is a go-to item all fall and winter. (Gap)