In My House

Valentine’s Day Favorites

I don’t know when exactly I went from despising Valentine’s Day to really loving it, but I think it happened somewhere between marrying my hubby and embracing the inevitable girly antics that come with raising two young daughters. Valentine’s Day is unapologetically girly and I love it! Here are a few things rocking my world for this Valentine’s Day.

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1. The Fiesta heart-shaped dish is the perfect candy bowl. I have it in lemongrass (seen here) but it comes in almost every Fiesta shade. Mine is currently filled with Valentine M&Ms. (Bed Bath & Beyond) 2. This banner is a simple way to add a festive touch to a dining room or across the mantel. (Pottery Barn) 3. Pajama pants are a cute and cozy gift idea. (Gap) 4. These raffia hearts would look beautiful in a bowl as a centerpiece or in vases on the mantel. (Pier 1) 5. I bought these conversation heart leggings for both of my daughters. (Target) 6. A Neil Diamond Valentine card. Need I say more? (Debbie Draws Funny on Etsy)

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Adventures

I Know I Should Stop Comparing, but Her Curtain Rods Are So Much Nicer Than Mine

Purusing Instagram, Facebook, and lifestyle blogs can be a fun way to decompress, get decorating ideas, and find inspiration. It can also be a soul-sucking rabbit hole leading to excessive comparison and feelings of inadequacy. Case in point: A couple of nights ago, while perusing a couple of lifestyle blogs I like to follow, I found myself comparing my living room curtain rods to the beautiful ones in that woman’s post.

Yes, my curtains rods. That’s what it has come to, ladies and gentlemen. I was just about to launch an intense search for new curtain rods, tie-backs, and valances, thus ordering $100+ of stuff I really do not need, when sanity began to regain hold of me.

Psychiatrist, author, and public speaker Marcia Sirota wrote: “Choosing not to compare ourselves to others doesn’t mean that we should be complacent. It’s appropriate to be always learning, growing and changing, but we’ll be more motivated to change when we already feel good about ourselves.”

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Photo by Tayhart Photography

The truth is, my happiness is not driven by the same factors as those that drive the happiness of the woman with the perfect curtain rods. Sure, we probably have something in common. We want to be good mothers, and we enjoy connecting with others through blogging, but that could be where it ends. I have never met her. I don’t know her deepest secrets, just that her curtain rods are cool and she loves shiplap. We all live different lives, have different stressors, different sources of joy.

The curtain rod comparison didn’t fill me with despair or make me genuinely feel horrible about myself, but it did prompt me to ask myself some questions. Will spending $100 on new curtain rods fulfill me and bring me true joy? No.

Then what will? Spending a Saturday afternoon playing with my daughters. Reading a good book. Talking with my husband on the couch after the girls have fallen asleep. Beating my personal record for running two miles, which by the way, is not fast by any standard but mine.

Speaking of running, when I run on the treadmill at the gym after work, I’m not worried about how fast or slow the person on the treadmill next to me is. I’m just trying to jam out to some White Zombie and not fall off the track. That’s life.

I have been guilty of posting false perfection, too, and my goal moving forward will be to be more self-aware of that tendency most of us share. When I post something on the Intranet, I want to make sure I am doing so for the right reasons.

Sharing a piece of our lives, connecting with others, even offering nutrition, fashion, or decorating ideas are all worthy reasons of being active on social media. It’s OK to be proud of something once in a while, or to show off a cute new puppy, outfit ideas, or flowers from a loved one. When we are reading others’ blog posts and social media content, let’s take it with a grain of salt and just be happy for them. Let’s find joy where we can, help others feel good, and try not to fall off the track.

Books

Books: The Adults

I was looking for a light, fun read to ring in 2019, and The Adults, Caroline Hulse’s debut novel, fit the bill. I loved this book. When Claire and Matt, divorced parents of a little girl, decide to spend Christmas together at a resort with their daughter and their new significant others, chaos ensues.

The dialogue was absolutely hilarious. It reminded me of the humor in Bridget Jones’ diary, and I found myself imagining who would play the characters in the movie version, if and when this hits the big screen. I’m usually a “the book is better than the movie” kind of gal, but I think the film version of this would be fantastic if the right actors were cast. I’m thinking Colin Firth as Patrick.

The book does have some deep moments. It reminds us how divorce, parenting, and new relationships can be challenging for all involved. In trying to be mature and do what is best for 7-year-old Scarlett, the four adults in the book let their insecurities get the best of them and end up acting like anything but adults.

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(Image from amazon.com)

Books

Books: Tell the Wolves I’m Home

Happy 2019! I only read 14 books in 2018, which is nowhere near what I would’ve liked to have read, but the books I did read were almost all fantastic. (I blame Girl, Wash Your Face for lowering the average.) Educated and The Great Believers were two of the best books I have ever read.

The last book I finished in 2018 was Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. In it, June, a teenager in the 1980s, befriends her late uncle’s boyfriend. June is trying to navigate being a teenager while having just lost her beloved uncle, who was also her best friend. She builds a deep friendship with Toby, who is dying of AIDS.

Despite being a bit dry at times, the book did finish strong. I found June’s volatile relationship with her older sister especially moving. In the end, the book focuses on the way life reveals good in people despite hardship and sadness.

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(Image from amazon.com)

Adventures

Why I Started My New Year’s Resolutions Early (or Really, Really Late)

Happy New Year! I had a great Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family, but truth be told, I couldn’t wait to start taking down my Christmas decorations and get back into a normal routine. This year I decided to get a jump on my New Year’s resolutions before Thanksgiving. Actually, perhaps I was just 11 months late in starting 2018’s resolutions. Don’t judge. Either way, I needed to commit to taking better care of myself, both physically and mentally, over the holidays. Also, I thought I would be more likely to adhere to my goals if I made them part of this busy time of year.

So I started my resolutions November 1, and I am so glad I did. My three simple resolutions are nothing major or impressive, but they are three relatively attainable lifestyle changes that will be good for me. Really, isn’t that all a resolution should be?

December 2018 (1)

Run a mile a day for a (month, year?). I started this November 1 with the modest goal of running 30 miles that month. Sometimes I ran just one mile, sometimes I ran more to compensate for days I skipped. It wasn’t much, but, having never been a runner, it was an attainable goal. A couple of weeks in, I couldn’t believe how much better this made me feel. Again, I have friends who run half marathons and are all-around stellar at being in shape. This isn’t about trying to be them, even though I think they’re completely awesome. It’s about being a better version of me. I made running a commitment, even when I was exhausted from working and parenting, and even when I was out of town for a girls’ concert weekend. I carried the mile a day goal on through December, and am planning on running a 5K in February.

Implement a “something in, something out” organizational approach. Staying organized is absolutely critical to my mental well-being. That can be really difficult with two small children at home, especially after the excess of the holiday season. I did a significant purge/donation of toys, clothes, and baby items prior to Christmas. I even donated a lot of Christmas decorations because I felt like we just had way too much. Now that the holidays are over, I really plan to stick with a “something in, something out” approach when it comes to toys, clothes, and other household items. I realize this might need to flex a bit due to my kids’ clothes and toys, but in general, I think a happier household is one in which a whole bunch of “stuff” isn’t brought in without donating something else.

Make time for what I love. While this could mean more traveling, eating lavish meals, getting pedicures, and seeing Metallica a dozen more times, it is really more about incorporating simple pleasures into daily life. This means spending more quality time with my kids, planning regular date nights with my husband, taking an occasional bubble bath, and spending at least 15 minutes a day reading.

I now have two months of success behind me and it is only January 2. That’s a good feeling! Hopefully that’s the leg up I need on making 2019 a fabulous year, and, luckily my favorite treadmill (the old one at the far end of the row) was available when I got to the gym tonight after work. Cheers to a great 2019!

In My House

For the Mom Buying Her Own Stocking Stuffers

Like a lot of moms out there, I buy a few goodies to stuff my own stocking every Christmas. I don’t want my four-year-old asking why Santa filled everyone’s stocking but Mommy’s, and, quite frankly, I just really love stocking stuffers. They’re small, fun, and don’t require cleaning out an entire closet to find space to store them. So, pretty much, they’re the best kind of gift! Here are my favorites for my own stocking this year.

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1. These enamel pins by Rifle Paper Co. are perfect for a stocking. I’m actually also giving them as gifts to my daughters’ preschool teachers this year. (Anthropologie) 2. This cute little box holds a small tube of my favorite moisturizer and a purse-size lip gloss. (Clinique) 3. This drinking glass features a schnauzer that looks so much like my own Norman. I would use this on my dresser as a jewelry catch-all. It comes in other dog breeds as well. (Anthropologie) 4. Wear Your Music offers jewelry made from guitar strings of all kinds of musicians ranging from James Taylor to Jason Mraz. I would of course choose a bracelet made from James Hetfield’s guitar strings. (Wear Your Music) 5. This is one of my favorite hand creams to get through the dry winter months. Vanilla marshmallow is one of the best fragrances. (The Body Shop) 6. I love the bow detail on these gloves and gray is always a favorite for me. They also come in black and pink. (Kate Spade)

In My House

Some Holiday Favorites

It is hard to believe that Christmas is only a little more than a week away. I have been enjoying the anticipation through the eyes of my two young daughters. I also shamelessly ordered all my own stocking stuffers from Sephora and Anthropologie. Are there any other moms out there who order their own stocking stuffers? I’ll post my favorites later, but for now here are a few other items I’m loving this Christmas season.

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1. These animal ornaments are the cutest and would make great gifts for teachers and friends. Who doesn’t love a small smiling sloth? (Crate & Barrel) 2. I am thrilled at the abundance of non-candy advent calendars on the market. This Playmobil Santa’s Workshop has been a huge hit with my girls. (Target) 3. These metal monogram ornaments are gorgeous on the tree or tied on a gift in place of a bow. (Anthropologie.) 4. This table runner will be lovely to dress up with red and green décor, but also will work for everyday. (Target) 5. My friend and I visited Anthropologie on our recent trip to Salt Lake City and both fell in love with this skirt. It’s pricey and we had both just spend a lot of money on Metallica tickets so we passed this time, but I’ll be watching to see if it goes on sale! We were thrilled that the store is featuring the same fox image on their shopping bags this season so we still got to take this lovely design home, just not in skirt form. (Anthropologie) 6. A store in my small town carries homemade taper candles in a variety of gorgeous hues. I recently grabbed some dark forest green ones to pair with a black and white runner on my dining room table. These are similar and under $4 for a pair. (Target)