Everything has a place. Everything in its place.

One of my goals for this year is a mantra to live by: Everything has a place. Everything in its place. Honestly, at times it seems easier said than done, especially with kids. I feel like I’m a pretty clean person. But, when you have kids and life is busy, it’s easy to get behind on stuff or think you don’t have time to put something away.

In Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project, she talks about how if something take a minute or less (or maybe it’s 30 seconds, I don’t remember the specifics… just a short amount of time), then instead of waiting, just do it. Finish your dinner? Rinse the plate and immediately put it in the dishwasher. Change into pajamas? Stick your dirty clothes in the hamper and hang up the clean ones. Little actions that just build up to save you time. Another favorite book of mine about productivity is called The Compound Effect. And that’s what it’s all about. Small actions that build up to really save you big time in the end. If you haven’t read either of those books, stop reading this blog and go read them!

So, I started with cleaning out the majority of my closets in the house. I got rid of a lot, threw away tons, and it felt great. Then I’ve just tried to stay on top of everything each day. I have a Weekly calendar sheet that I just write my daily goals down each day and then cross things off as I go. It’s seriously been a game changer for me this year. A few things I’ve realized by staying on top of organization and cleanliness:

  1. Do a little bit of a laundry each or every other day instead of waiting to do a huge amount once a week. It doesn’t take as long to fold and put away and it doesn’t seem overwhelming anymore.
    • If you are going to start laundry, only do it if you know you will have the time to fold and put it away immediately. No more piles of clothes waiting to be put away!
  2. As soon as you get out of bed, make your bed! I’ve always done this, but have started making sure Eva does hers now. When possible, get (somewhat) ready for the day.
    • I’ve noticed I’m so much more productive in the morning if I’ve at least put in my contacts, fixed my hair (even if it’s just a pony tail), brushed my teeth and gotten out of my pajamas (even if it’s into leggings).
  3. If the dish washer needs to be emptied in the morning, do it ASAP. That way the dishes don’t pile up in the sink and you can just put the dirty ones away throughout the day.
  4. I read this article last month saying it’s good to follow the RULE OF FIVE. Every hour, pick up five things. So, if your kids are playing, pick up as you go. Also, every hour, clean for five minutes. In five minutes, you can sweep, mop, vacuum, clean one vanity, clean a toilet. Just one little chore. It doesn’t seem like much, but by the end of the day, you’ve cleaned for one hour!
  5. Keep your counters clear. Holy cow. Even if my house isn’t clean, it definitely feels so much better if my bathroom and kitchen counters are clear. I don’t feel as stressed through the day seeing the clutter!
  6. Set the mood for a clean house. Open the blinds, let in natural light, open the windows when possible. Turn on your scentsy/light a candle. When the house looks fresh, it makes it feel even better.

It really has affected my mood this month keeping the house picked up and clean. It’s still a work in progress and I definitely have off days from time to time. But it made January not seem so dreary. And here’s why: There is a real link between clutter and depression. Read about it here.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my thoughts on this. Please share any tips or ideas you have, because I’d love to hear about them!

The Compound Effect

 

I’ve been listening to the book The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy and it’s all so motivating and inspirational. As a mom, as a wife, for my job, for my fitness journey, and just living my life day to day. I’m only in the middle of chapter two and I’m realizing how much I have to work on. This part really stood out to me today and I wanted to write it down and remember it.

You know, our attitude is a choice and to be grateful is a choice. And I know a lot of people who have a lot of blessings that aren’t really grateful. I also know a lot of people who have very little and are very grateful. So it’s not what you have. It’s not possessions. It’s not where you’ve arrived positionally. I think it’s a spirit and the attitude of gratitude to me is saying there have been others in my life that have done things for me that I couldn’t have done for myself. And the way to express, I think, indebtedness to people is by being grateful to them. The person that says, “Well, I’m grateful, I’ve just never expressed it,” is not adding value to anyone.

So, that’s what I’ll be working on exclusively this week. Being grateful for all the many blessings around me. So when my kids drive me nuts. I’m going to try and be grateful. Because you know, I’m SO blessed to at least have children to drive me nuts. And when I want to complain about working out, instead I’m going to grateful that I have a healthy, working body that allows me to do so many amazing things.

 

Oh, Hey!

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged! I feel like so much has happened, I just haven’t really had the time or motivation to blog recently, but I’ll get caught up soon. We’ve had a fun July! Finn has grown/learned tons, we were in Kentucky for two weeks, we’ve started a new chapter of our lives called “TJ now has to take the car to work everyday leaving us car-less unless we take him to his new office, which is a huge pain”, but just overall enjoyed summer and all it has to offer (even on the days where Eva is whiny – we’re in a hard phase right now).

I’m still doing 21 Day Fix, which has been so great. My challengers are doing wonderfully and motivate me each day to push myself. I wasn’t very strict with nutrition while traveling, but #yolo, right? Let’s see… what else… Finn will be one in two months. So, that’s nuts. And so sad. We saw Ghostbusters and it was everything I could have ever imagined and better. I was obsessed with those movies growing up, so it was just so fun/silly/dumb-but-awesome. I got a Happy Planner and I’m obsessed with it. Buy one for yourself at Michael’s. I’ve been cooking lots of new recipes (all 21 day fix approved, as well as TJ approved), so be excited to see some meals on here! GILMORE GIRLS is coming back on November 25 and the trailer was amazing. Ahhhh can’t wait! Well, that was a huge mess of a paragraph but those are my thoughts for tonight.

Now, enjoy this photo taken by my oh-so-talented sister-in-law at Lacey Lii Photography… Finn. You are just the CUTEST, squishiest boy!

Lacey Lii Photography

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Memorial Day Weekend

Before I start telling you about our weekend, I want to share a little video of what Memorial Day is all about.

“It is well to set aside a day in their honor to reflect on the cost of the freedoms we enjoy.”
Thank you to all those who have put their lives on the line for us, for our country, and for our beliefs.

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Memorial Day Weekend started off with lots of rain, which was kind of disappointing. We just walked around the mall Friday night while there was a HUGE storm. Eva learned the phrase, “A big storm’s coming.” And now whenever she sees ANY clouds she says that. It’s pretty funny, but is getting quite repetitive.

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On Saturday, we had a slow morning and eventually went into the city right around Eva’s nap time. I convinced myself it would be okay, but it was not. She was a major grump the rest of the afternoon and was very strong-willed, to say the least. Also, as soon as we finished at the playground at Madison Square, “A big storm’s coming,” as Eva would say. Yeah. It POURED on us. We had umbrellas and a stroller cover, but our feet and pants got soaked. We were going to go to an AIGA graphic design exhibit nearby, but once we got there, we realized it wasn’t open on Saturdays. Really? So dumb. So we headed down in the pouring rain to The Container Store. I love that place so much. I just got a couple of small plastic containers for Eva’s toys, but it sure made me happy.

On Sunday, we had a different day than usual. I had a cousin come in town for work and since we rarely see family, especially these guys, we went into the city to meet up with them for lunch. Afterwards, we took their youngest to the park while they went to see a show. Later I took my little cousin back to nap at the hotel, Trump Tower on Central Park West. Wow… I never wanted to leave. Such an awesome hotel. Very swanky.

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When my cousins got back from the show, we walked through Central Park together and caught up some more. It was so nice having some family in town!

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On Monday, we couldn’t have asked for better Summer weather! Our friends who have a pool at their apartment building invited us over to swim. The water was heated so it was actually pleasurable to be in the water early in the season! There’s a huge wading area, so we got to relax while Eva splashed in the pool. So much fun! I can’t wait for more summer days!

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To end the weekend, I scored a new shirt at the Loft for six bucks while Eva napped. And then we had Family Home Evening at the park, with a little picnic. What a great weekend! Of course, now we’ve had clouds and strange weather for the rest of the week, but it’ll be the weekend before we know it!Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 10.03.44 PM

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What makes you HAPPY?

I’ve been reading, and rereading, The Happiness Project for more than a year now. I’ve read it a couple of times and just really like the motivation it continually gives me. Plus, it gives me a lot to think about and makes for good conversation with T.J.

One of my favorite parts talks about how we should figure out what makes us most happy in our spare time and do those things. And then cut out the extra stuff when possible. Simple enough, right? But you’d be surprised when you think about it a lot. How are we spending our time? If I have extra time, money, and a babysitter, what do I do? What should I really be doing to maximize my everyday happiness?

I instantly thought about eating out. FOOD. I love food, my hips don’t lie! But then I dug deeper. I’m just as happy eating from a taco truck as I am at a fine restaurant in NYC. In fact, I’m happier eating at a taco truck because it doesn’t cost as much money and I don’t feel so full at the end of the night. I also like trying new things, but often times feel overwhelmed in NYC because there are SO many choices. We end up going to the same places over and over. So, to maximize my happiness, I need to do a little work beforehand to find a casual, yet new spot that is good on the budget and doesn’t have a heavy menu.

There are a couple other things that I thoroughly enjoy and feel like I’m happy when I’m doing (other than the obvious churchy/family stuff… no judging, okay?).

  • Bargain shopping, I love getting great deals! I can’t remember when I bought something at the mall for full price. Just today, I was walking around the mall and found my favorite sweater from this past Winter on sale for $4! Soooo, I bought three more in all different colors because IT IS MY FAVORITE SWEATER SO WHY THE HECK NOT? And then I had a 20% off coupon on top of that! Next Winter is going to be awesome.
  • Seeing a great movie. I say great because movies out here are about $15 a ticket and so we don’t see them often, but when we do, it’s got to be a good one and we always enjoy it!
  • Exploring. Sometimes I’m reluctant to go explore in the city, but after an outing, I’m always SO happy I went out and had fun! Sometimes it seems like it’s a lot of work, for example, it took about an hour to get to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, but I’m so glad I went because it was a new adventure, a fun memory with Eva, and a great FREE activity!
  • Going along with that, just being outside. After such a horrible Winter, I’m really trying to take advantage of every warm day outside! In Jersey, it tends to be overcast quite often so I think, oh it’s a gross day, can’t go out. But then I make myself take Eva out to the park anyway and it turns out we have a wonderful time! If it’s not raining, it doesn’t matter what it looks like! Being outside and enjoying all of the nature (though there’s not as much out here in the city) makes me happy!
  • Finally, going to concerts and Broadway shows. When we were at Piano Guys, I literally cried out of happiness. I’m ridiculous. But I just enjoyed the concert so much. And then when we’ve seen Broadway shows, I can’t stop thinking about it for days! Those are my MOST favorite dates! And fortunately, my husband loves it just as much as me so we get on these happiness highs together. So, after seeing Piano Guys, we decided we would start saving up to see more shows and concerts because we’re in New York and need to do it right! We just saw Les Mis… Matilda, Newsies, and Rocky are on our list for the next couple of months!

So, what makes you happy? Are you doing those things? Sometimes the things that make us the happiest in our spare time take a lot of effort or money, but it really can be worth it. It’s easy to fall in a rut, be lazy, or make excuses, but I when we figure out those activities we enjoy the most and start doing them… it makes all the difference in our overall happiness!

And since we are talking about things that make us happy, this video falls into that category! Such a cute proposal!