April 13, 2015

cleaning house

Housework. It's probably the most time intensive thing about being a parent, or the stay at home parent who does the brunt of the cleaning. My husband does his share when he's home but as the stay at home one, I kind of see the house as part of my job responsibilities. I'm home for more hours in a day, when raising the boys essentially the entire house is my office. 

I feel like when we moved to the house (from an apartment) my need for a clean home got out of hand for awhile. I wasn't used to having so much physical space to keep clean. Not to mention a house with so many windows (floor to ceiling) and all wood floors. At night I'd find it impossible to sit down and just do nothing with Chikezie because I'd be thinking of all the things around me that I needed to do. It was exhausting. 
I tried a cleaning schedule for awhile, and have somewhat kept it in the back of my head over the past year or so. I'm not super Type A, and realistically it was difficult for me to keep with the schedule. I'd basically do one room a day and then end up getting behind and have like, the whole house to clean on the weekend. Then one day I finally forced myself to rest, to put my need for a clean home on the back burner and just allow myself to accept that some things will never be finished. It was difficult, but it's been one thing I'm proud to have worked on. 

Really, I just like having a clean home because it's relaxing. I feel happiest when everything is in it's place. This might be a good goal to have if you're single because there's nobody else to mess up your house, but when you have a family or live with anyone else, everything is hardly ever in it's place. It was a long, stressful road but I finally learned that important lesson.

Now, I'm not completely stress-free when it comes to our home. I always have a mental list running of the things I need to do. One of the most helpful tools I've discovered (I don't know where- Pinterest, a blog, something) is to do little timed bursts of cleaning. 
I like to turn my cleaning into a challenge. I'll put on my work out clothes, turn on some music and set the oven timer to 60 or 90 minutes and just see how quickly/how much I can get done in that period of time. 

Today in 90 minutes, I picked up, dusted and swept the living room. Swept the kitchen/dining room areas and vacuumed the kitchen and computer area rugs. Cleaned off the table (legs and all) and scrubbed down all 4 chairs. I prepared for mail 2 bills, cleaned off the old papers from the fridge, updated the weekly calendar. Swept the hallway and entry way. Picked up, dusted, swept and mopped the boys' room. Cleaned the entire bathroom including scrubbing the tub, the floors, dusting off the frames/clock. And did 1 load of laundry. All in 90 minutes. 

I'm not tooting my own here, ok I am a little bit. There is so much that goes into daily life as a mom and I feel like some of the most laborious tasks we complete are really what keeps everything running smoothly. The most time intensive thing we do is often the least noticed and hardly ever given vocal appreciation. But our family needs clean dishes to eat off of, soft and clean blankets to sleep with at night and clean clothes to wear each day. These are the most basic and essential needs in life. 

Ok, so folding clothes and emptying the dishwasher will always be the bane of my existence. But at least it's nice to know that even though no one is thanking me for completing such a gut wrenching task, I can comfort myself by knowing I'm keeping the ship running smoothly by doing it. Or have a little dance party for myself after I just cleaned like a beast for 90 minutes straight.

February 2, 2015

Stitchfix #14

My favorite time of month has come and gone once again. And this month it was pretty difficult not to keep the entire box. (I really am focusing on only keeping things I love and that can be worn in multiple ways.)

If you haven't heard of Stitchfix here are the deets: 
1) Go the link, sign up and fill out all the info they ask for about your personal tastes, they'll hook you up with a stylist who'll send you a box with 5 items that they think will look great on you, based on what you tell them.
2) Pay a $20 styling fee which includes the box shipped to you and goes toward your purchase should you choose to keep anything in the box. 
3) Get your box (which you can set up on auto for once a month or schedule them as you wish) and try on your items! You have 3 days to decide and there's a free shipping bag included to send back what you don't want.

Now, I sent back my box and don't have the info on two of the items that I didn't keep, but I'll post the photos anyway :)

Presley Colorblock Button-Back Sweater
This sweater is so fun. I'm super into yellow lately and added it to my Stitchfix inspiration board because I'd seen someone else get it in their fix. That's an awesome thing about this service, if you REALLY pay attention and do your research through their Pinterest boards, you can see what other women are getting and request specific items if you really want to try them. Although, I wouldn't recommend doing this ALL the time because part of the reason of getting this service is to have someone else pick out things for you. 

I paired this with some black skinny jeans and leopard print flats for a fun kick.

Oliver Faux Leather Trim Striped Top
At first I wasn't sure about this top. It was cute sure, but seemed just like another striped top. The leather detail at the neckline (where the v is) is a nice detail. But when I put this thing on I was sold. So comfortable. I'm all about the comfort/cute combo. 

I paired this top with some black leggings, which I rolled up on the bottom and paired with some brown booties.

Fierro Elbow Patch Crew Neck Sweater
Now when I first pulled this out of the box I thought, "oh, just a plain black sweater" and wasn't too stoked about it. Then I flipped it over and elbow patches! It's such a simple detail but just makes the sweater. It's lightweight and can be dressed up or down. (I thought about putting it on with a black tulle skirt and some boots but I never dress up so went more casual.)

I threw on some gold tear drop earrings, my favorite Old Navy ripped rockstar jeans and some burgundy heels. Love this outfit.

Plaid Circle scarf and Boyfriend Jeans 
These two items I didn't keep but it wasn't for style reasons. The circle scarf is super cute. Both sides are a different pattern of plaid and it was so comfy and warm. Problem is, I JUST got one almost identical to this a month or so and couldn't justify buying another. 

The boyfriend jeans were great quality, only problem I had was that they were a bit big around the waist. Hey, not a bad problem to have! 

Want to give it a try? There's nothing to lose, even if you only do it once, it's a super fun experience. GO HERE to read more and sign up!

January 27, 2015

2015 is going to be good.

A lot. A lot. That's what has been happening in the past month. 2015 is going to be a very busy year I think. Here's a bit of a run down on what I've been up to (you know, in case you've wondered where I've been.)

Christmas happened and it was pretty dang good. We stayed home and did mostly nothing. The boys' aunts came over and we just spent good ole fashioned quality time together. It feels so good not to travel for the holidays. Don't get me wrong, I really miss being around family but I'm about making life as stress free as possible. Traveling during the holidays is not that.

I started a new piece on my upper/inner arm. (Flopping the fat part of my arm out on a table sure makes it look SO good in photos, right?) I'll be back in February to get color filled in. This piece is the essence of my nostalgic heart. The bittersweet passage of time, always looking back with love, even on the thorny parts. I can't wait to see how much this is transformed with color. 

Extensions happened! I REALLY miss my pink/purple hair, however my hair was just so fried from all of the processing that it was growing out in true mullet fashion. The top/front was refusing to grow because of the damage and the back was free and wild. These are the same tape-in extensions I got earlier in 2014, they stay in for 6 weeks and after that I go in and have new tape put on and they can be put back in my hair. I'm hoping this will give everything a chance to mend itself and I won't be king of mullet city anymore. 

I went to stay at a house by the ocean with 15 other moms I met on the internet. People said we were crazy, that some kind of drama was bound to happen. They were wrong. It was such an amazing weekend. We drank, we ate, we laughed, we ate, we laughed some more. These women are good stuff. We can all be completely honest and open with each other, we share our stories and life experiences without fear of judgement, we're all different and appreciative of those differences. I've never really had a big group of girl friends. I've always had one or two close friends but never that network of women I really trusted and admired. I've always wanted that, and I'm so glad they're all in my life.

2015, you're off to a great start. 

December 19, 2014

Stitchfix #13

I got another Stitchfix shipment this week and realized it has been a couple of months since I've done a post on what I've gotten. If you've been following along, a couple of months ago I talked about the concept of a capsule wardrobe, and that I'd be doing one for the fall and winter. What I didn't quite expect was that with all of the changes I've made in the gym and with my eating habits, some of the clothes, especially pants, from my capsule are already too loose. I've been having to update/replace a few things that just aren't flattering or comfortable anymore. 

People have been asking me how Stitchfix boxes will work since the idea of having a capsule wardrobe is that you don't have to keep buying anything new. For the past couple of boxes I've been extremely picky with what I've been sent and didn't keep anything. I'm making very careful choices as to what pieces will fit into my wardrobe and will transition well in between seasons. 

If you haven't heard of Stitchfix here are the deets: 
1) Go the link, sign up and fill out all the info they ask for about your personal tastes, they'll hook you up with a stylist who'll send you a box with 5 items that they think will look great on you, based on what you tell them.
2) Pay a $20 styling fee which includes the box shipped to you and goes toward your purchase should you choose to keep anything in the box. 
3) Get your box (which you can set up on auto for once a month or schedule them as you wish) and try on your items! You have 3 days to decide and there's a free shipping bag included to send back what you don't want.

Here's what I got this month:

Benzer Plaid Layer Sweater

 This sweater is soft and lightweight. I love the plaid piece underneath that gives the illusion of layering without all of the bulk. I really love this.

Paul Colorblock Mixed Material Top

Another high quality piece. It's very stretchy material and the material is very flowy. I did notice it wrinkles easily if it's not hung up constantly, though. Although I like the comfort factor of this, I wasn't a fan of the higher rise front as it wasn't super flattering. My arm is kind of covering it on the left photo but the shirt sticks out quite a bit and isn't very flattering on my body. It was also a bit snug through the shoulders, I have wide shoulders so this happens a lot haha.

Baxley Zipper Detail Skinny Jean

At first I wasn't a huge fan of these jeans. They are a super soft and stretchy material, about like leggings.They fit my waist well which is hard to find usually because my lower half is curvy. I did notice the material does hold on to lint easily; out in the light they looked really fuzzy. It's a bit hard to see from the photo (sorry iphone's lack of detail) but those are zippers on the front pockets. Jury is still out on these. They're so comfortable. 

Faya Sleeveless Keyhole Fit & Flare Dress

This coat wasn't in the box, I just got it at the end of the season last year (at Nordstrom's I think?) and I haven't gotten a chance to wear it this year and I love it so much. BUT this dress came and I love the color and keyhole detail. It's made, as many of the Stitchfix products, with super stretchy and soft material so it'll fit a variety of body sizes. The only thing I didn't like with this was the length. A little bit too short for my comfort, I'd have to always wear thick tights underneath. I'm 5'9" so this wouldn't be necessarily short on everyone, though. 

Benson 3/4 Ruched Sleeve Blazer

Woot! I've been looking for a perfect fitting blazer and have found it. This is darted in the back so it follows my waist curves just so. The sleeves are ruched, which is totally my jam because I have long arms and always end up pulling my sleeves up anyways. The lining on the inside is blue and white pinstripe which shows through when you roll the sleeves a bit. I love, love this. 

I've created this Stitchfix board on Pinterest to help give my stylist some ideas on styles I love. I've been working on keeping it updated which helps give her a better idea of what to include in my fix each month. 

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