May 4, 2016

Adjusting for Betterment and Convenience in May

Four full months into the year, I might as well revisit some of the resolutions I made that are simply geared toward making life easier.

Sometimes it's just about making life more doable for yourself. Convenience is going to breed productivity after all.

While not much has changed from the original list, here's a few things that have been making life easier...

I deleted the Facebook and messenger apps from my phone. I couldn't deal with the notifications anymore. And looking at Facebook generally makes me feel terrible about myself. Deactivating FB in general usually makes me feel good, but I do a lot of my Rodan+Fields contact on there so I'll keep it up. But there's no need for it to also be on my phone.

I've really given myself over to online ordering. We live 30-40 minutes from stores, depending on what you're looking for, and the only store that's not completely out of my way is Safeway. Unless it's just a few groceries, I really don't have time to shop and browse during the week. Therefore, if I want something, I order it online. And the selection of items online is SO much better than what you see in the stores anyway. I can wait a few days, normally. Currently, I'm awaiting hair highlights and a phone case.

I always get gas on my way TO work. Because the last thing I want to do at 4pm is stop for gas. It makes a HUGE difference. Try it.

Don't throw away Mondays.  I hate Mondays. And Tuesdays. They are awful, awful days.
But I used to treat them that way in what I wore, what I did after work, what I ate for dinner, etc.
These days, I try to make the most of it. I wear something I like. I eat something I like for dinner. I stop at Starbucks if I feel the need to. That's something I used to save for Thursday or Friday. Many people go easy on themselves on Monday nights, but for the past month and a half I've had a class on Tuesday nights, so I tried my hardest to do something (anything!) on Monday nights. Last week, for example, I cleaned the basement floor because it was a task I'd put off over the weekend.
This task-on-Monday, class-on-Tuesday schedule led to a lot of burnout and hatred and bitterness on my part, but my to-do list was kept in check and the rest of the week was much easier.

April was rough.

And something I've not been successful at...

A task I've tried to adjust for convenience and have not been successful at doing: making a trip to the far-away pharmacy every 4-6 weeks. My doctor is actually at the Air Force Academy, and a medication I take every day needs to be picked up at the pharmacy there. I've tried to have it sent to Ft. Carson (much closer!) before and they've messed it up, causing further inconvenience.  THAT was worse than driving farther. Plus, the AFA pharmacy is so nice...walk in, walk out. It takes less than 5 minutes. The Ft. Carson one is like standing-room only and would probably require an hour of my time just to wait. It all evens out I guess. So I've just gotten used to arranging prescription pick-up on days I have off or, even worse, taking a half day to take care of it. I hate it but it's necessary, I suppose. Oh, and they're not open weekends or after 5:00. That's how the military works.
I don't know that I'll ever find a solution to this.

Is there anything you're currently doing just to make life easier?

May 3, 2016

13 Full Months of Pilates + Tips for Getting Started

With the end of April came the end of 13 months of following a Pilates calendar.  Robin at The Balanced Life sends out a calendar at the beginning of each month and it has a workout for each day. I did the first two months of the program, February/March 2015, kind of half-heartedly, enjoying the workouts but not followed the prescribed order of things.

In April 2015, my upholder nature took over and I started keeping track. I highlighted workouts I did, drew arrows to move things around, and wrote in other workouts, like walking with a friend or running (once in awhile) or taking a class at the gym.

And then I couldn't bear to get rid of my Calendars of Accomplishment, so I hole-punched them and stuck them in a binder.

If that's not Upholder behavior, I don't know what is.

1. Start with 5-10 minutes a day. Just commit. Set a goal. Give yourself a reward at the end, like a new outfit or a pedicure. Write the goal down. Put it somewhere you can see it.

2. Start with the 28 Days of Pilates. Just bookmark Robin's Youtube channel and go for it. It's 28 days of 5-10 minute workouts. If you can see and feel a difference in your body after that, move onto the other free workouts.

3. Carve out a time. When I started, I did Pilates at night, on the bedroom floor, right before I climbed into bed, usually while watching T.V. That was in the winter of 2014.  Now I've made it such a habit that I do Pilates every day. At least three days a week, I do longer workouts (30-40 minutes) and the rest of the time I follow my handy Balanced Life Sisterhood calendar and do a 10-15 minute workout.

I recommend Pilates to everyone I know because workout-guilt is the worst kind of guilt. We should feel GOOD about what we're doing, we shouldn't dread it, and we should actually see results.

This post isn't so much about why you should do Pilates (but you SHOULD). It was supposed to be  about how crazily upholding and organized I am (when it comes to certain things). But really, you should try Pilates.

(Definitely not being paid to talk about this :)

May 2, 2016

Summing up.

I wish I could say that the weekend was filled with beautiful weather and clear sunsets like this one from a few weeks ago.  
It was not.
We started off with a snowstorm.

This sums up Friday.

Yes. It was "Stitches". Ugh. Also, it's that magical time of year when 4th graders turn into 5th graders and they no longer want to just make me happy.

And they did cancel the 5K #becauseColorado.

Saturday involved cleaning and grading. And I watched an entire season of The Goldbergs while I cleaned and graded.

And I still wasn't finished with the grading, so that continued into Sunday. I had plans to go out and do something but it was so windy and cold and dreary that I just didn't. There was nothing that I needed so badly that it couldn't wait (like ice cream or coffee creamer or some other necessity), so I stayed home.

I watched almost another entire season of The Goldbergs (because I am that exciting) and I drank hot chocolate (because that's what you do on May 1st, right?).

And in case you missed it, here's my blog every day in May proclamation.

Scout was irritated at the weather too. He does this when he's mad. He destroys nothing permanently, but just feels the need to disrupt the order of things. He's done this since he was a 6 pound puppy. He has a lot of feelings, I guess.

May 1, 2016

Blog Every Day In May: A Blogging Challenge

When I think about the blogs I love to read, they're blogs that capture the everyday details. Blogs that are kind of mundane really.  It's why I've been writing Currently posts for the last two months. I want to capture the everyday. That's what's interesting to me about blogs. Extra-meaningful posts are great, but that gets too heavy sometimes. I want to read nothingness because it just makes me happy. Some people watch reality t.v. (uh, sometimes I do too) and I like to read reality.

I started blogging to share life with the family we don't live close to. Family and friends always say they've read something on my blog that I've, quite honestly, forgotten that I'd written. And sometimes there's a moment of sheer panic and I think Uh, what did you see? 

And oftentimes, when I write semi-serious posts, that's not stuff I ever really say out loud; it just seems self-indulgent to hold someone hostage on the phone or in person, trying to explain how and why you chose your word for the year. I mean, holy eye roll. No one cares. Which is why I put it here. People can read what they choose to read and then silently judge me from afar if they so choose. It's like those long-complaining Facebook posts that scream of self-indulgence; those people need a blog.

I rarely share my blog with anyone I actually know. A few people read it, but I usually prefer to keep it separate from real life. I share at least 80% of real life on my blog, but I share my blog, maybe, 5% of the time with real life. It's a fine line.

All of this to say that I plan on blogging each day in May. That's right. EVERY DAY for 31 DAYS in a row. I bet you're wondering where the writing prompts are for this challenge.  Uh, there aren't any. I don't really have a plan. But what I learned about a year ago was that having a plan usually is setting myself up to fail. I overdo it much too easily. I tighten and then fail. There's no need to overthink things. So, outfits, house stuff, dog stuff, workouts, what I'm watching, what I'm reading, maybe even a recipe(!)...just life in general because I think the little posts about nothing actually tell the world the most about us. Less curation is my goal.

I'm just throwing this out there* in case you're interested in joining me. May can be a busy month, but since I'm not packing up a classroom and I'm staring down several more months of deployment, I suppose I might as well.  Look...I even made a graphic. Fun, right?

*I was supposed to post this last week in case anyone wanted to *plan* to join me. I obviously didn't meet that inner expectation. An example of plans going awry and all that.

April 29, 2016

A list of 5 things

1. I need to set a reading timer or something. I've been reading before bed and I just don't stop when I should stop and then I go to bed late and then I'm reminded that this is why I prefer audiobooks these days. I get too involved in the physical act of sitting and reading and nothing else gets done.

2. I have to actively force myself to make something other than pancakes for dinner most nights.

3. My class won a pajama party yesterday. This was a school-wide incentive, because I would never offer that up.  I'm super competitive, so I really wanted to win that contest (and we DID), but of course the prize is a pajama party. Much like adults, pajamas are the favorite attire of children.

This Schmidt moment sums up my everyday life. That's why I use it all the time.

4. I didn't wear pajamas.  I still don't believe in pajama day.

5. If you're still thinking about self-tanner, here's my post from Monday...I plan on using it again this weekend.

Even though we're getting plummeted with rain and snow again this weekend. I had previously signed up for a 5K tomorrow (ha ha) and I might just not go if it's cold and snowy/rainy. Maybe they'll cancel. Coloradans aren't exactly tough. 
Kidding. Kind of. 

April 28, 2016

I won't compare your baby to my dog...

...because I understand that babies and dogs are different types of mammals.

(This is written with an air of satire, but not really...take it how you will.)

Jett wouldn't pose for me. Scout did, though.

Articles like this one are confusing.  By reading the comments, I can tell that people are genuinely wondering if it's a satire. I don't think it is. I think it's just a mom writing about how she feels. But the fact that many assume it to be a satire is pretty telling.

I came across it because one of my Facebook friends "liked" it and also liked the HuffPost.  I generally don't take much that they say seriously. They'll hire anyone.

Most of the comments on the "article" are along the lines of So people without kids aren't allowed to be tired? Aren't allowed to feel/be broke? Aren't allowed to be busy? 

But I'll tell you why I won't compare your baby to my dog: I'm a learned individual and I understand that dogs and babies are, in fact, different species. Both living things are choices that we decide to care for, but that's where the similarities might have to end. They both require an extreme amount of care, but in different ways. For example, you can leave a dog alone most of the day and you can't do that with a child. You can also take a child with you places that a puppy cannot go. You can't leave your kid in the car, you can leave your dog in the car (temperature permitting), and so on.

There are some similarities. I've taken sick days to take dogs to the vet or take care of them in case of emergencies. I hear you can do that with kids too (note the satirical tone).

**This is written to the plural "you". There is no one in my mind as I write this (childless, yet still tired) at 10pm on a weeknight.**

However, I won't tell you I "know how you feel" when you mention your baby/child/children, because I don't have a child to talk about. But because you talk about your child a lot, I draw on the only comparison I know: taking care of a puppy.

It's ALL I have to add to the conversation.

If you don't want to hear the occasional puppy tale (tail...ha ha), don't trap me in a childcare conversation. Because puppy talk is all you can possibly get out of me. I'm just trying to relate and keep conversation flowing. But I've never said "I know how you feel", because I don't.

The next thing that will happen though comes with the territory of my job...if you have a child and you want to talk about your kid/kids all the time, please don't hate me if I talk about the 30 kids I spend all day with. I don't want to talk about my job all the time. I really don't. I spend enough time there and I rarely talk about it at home. But if you're talking about your kids, it's (again) ALL I have to add to the conversation.

Unless you want me to talk about my dogs.

April 27, 2016

Cleaning out my bookmarks

I have way too many things bookmarked.

Cleaning out those links, here's some things worth sharing.

Let's start with pictures.

I love this shirt and I would wear it often.  I think that's my favorite movie.

This is something that I think about almost every time I leave the house. Not that I would worry about becoming a zombie, but if I'm stuck in the apocalypse, I better be wearing something practical. Is that weird? Like, I have 3 pairs of older sneakers in a tub in the basement because, even though I don't use them anymore, I think that it'd be nice to have extra serviceable shoes around when everything goes south.

Jana posted this the other day. 27 Sweary Office Products and I immediately sent the link to my coworker. I don't know what that says about me.

This article about a woman who writes a response to why she won't upgrade her wedding ring.
I have to say that upgrading wedding rings is a pet peeve of mine. Unless you don't have a ring and get one later or there's some kind of extenuating circumstances, why would you not WANT to keep the ring that symbolized so much from that time in your life? I wouldn't be able to give mine up simply because it's been with me through some very rough times in the last 7 years. It's seen that history with me, and it's a reminder of how far we've come. I kind of think of it as an evolving, living thing that represents everything we've gone through in the last, again, 7 years.
When people upgrade just to upgrade, I want to gag. Hashtag priorities, amIright?

This is a TED Talk from a few years ago, but I saw it a few weeks ago. It's about why dieting doesn't work. If you're struggling, it's worth a listen.

As someone who has a home-sales business and has a regular job (I'll steer away from the word "real" here), I still don't know how I feel about this. I think I bookmarked it because I wanted to agree or disagree but the whole thing is kind of an annoying piece of self-justification (is that a word?) and I don't feel like thinking about it. Thoughts? It's about whether or not MLM businesses and the like are real businesses.

I might have to make this a regular blog feature. I have so many things bookmarked because I, obviously, had plans to share them but never did.

April 26, 2016

White is a bold move

I read a book a few weeks ago and I didn't love it and it started out in a weird way and I thought, Wow, that's a bold choice, Neil Gaiman.

That reminded me of the quote from The Office and now I can't get it out of my head:

And that quote was also going through my head as I wore this white dress to work last week.

The color on this is a little wonky. 
The sun was super bright and you couldn't see anything before I adjusted it.
Also, I was trying to keep Jett at bay. He was ready to jump on me.

This dress is on Old Navy's website. I got it about a month ago in some half off sale, plus a coupon, and only paid $12. My biggest concern was that it would be see-through (the only see-through thing in this picture appears to be my skin...this was before self-tanner).

The dress is actually really thick, quite comfortable, has a little stretch and a side zipper, and is much better than I'd expected.  I'd recommend it. Shopping online at Old Navy is always like a flipping a coin, right?

Here's to Tuesday.  Why are Tuesdays so hard?

April 25, 2016

R+F self-tanner is for everyone!

Seriously. If I can do it, you can too.

I put this on around 6pm, after I showered*. I took the "after" picture around 10am the next morning, but the color is supposed to appear within 2-4 hours. (I was in bed by then.)

I let it dry for an hour with shorts on before I put pants back on.
It's a very light-weight foam that dried awfully quickly. In fact, the few little mistakes I did make (just being honest) were because it dried quickly and I probably didn't put enough of the product on to begin with. I'd never used a self-tanner before.

However, all in all, it came out just fine!

And the self-tanner itself made my legs softer and smoother than any lotion I'd ever tried. I would use it again immediately just for that effect.

Anyway, I'd never used self-tanner before and was even scared to try this. My two co-workers bought it from me and raved about it so I had to get on board.

The retail price is $24 for a bottle that will probably last me the whole season. I might put it on every other week. The Preferred Customer price is $21. 

You can order here if you'd like to try it out for yourself! It would also be very easy to add to your bi-monthly order if you're already a PC.

*I don't always shower and turn in for the night at 6pm. It was Friday. I was exhausted. Plus we'd had a fund run at school and I was still kinda gross and sweaty.