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.


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


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!


Ranting about Blogging

My friend Ashley and I were talking the other day on the subway about how some of the fashion blogs we follow, as they’ve become more popular, their clothing has become more and more expensive. Just the other day I was looking one of my favorite blogs and she had this adorable knit lace top that I would love, so I clicked through the link only to find out it was $250. TWO HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS. Alright, well, I wear Target clothes. And The Limited sales rack. And I’m perfectly fine with it. It just is unbelievable to think anyone, other than a rich celebrity would ever buy a shirt for that much money. And then… they link it on their blog thinking, hey guys, just in case you want to buy this shirt too here it is…. oh wait, you might have to take out a loan first.

And then there’s the kids fashion. I love to have Eva dressed in cute clothes. But have you seen that girl? 95% of the time, she’s wearing a dress over the outfit I put her in. Why? Well, I think it’s cool to make her look like a hippie all the time. Just kidding… Eva loves wearing dresses and I want her to be happy, so you’ve got to choose your battles. Anyway, I’ll be looking at a blog for kid’s clothes, they’ll link something adorable, and it will cost more than my grocery bill. So, no, thanks. I’m not going to buy a dress for $80 at Anthropologie, just because Eva looks darling in it. I’ll take the cute $15 Carters dress that is adorable but has a friendly price tag. Ashley said she was looking at cute boy leggings and they were THIRTY dollars. All organic, and made of the most precious materials apparently. Can we just get the NON-organic leggings, please? I never had organic clothes growing up. And frankly, I don’t even know what that means or why it’s so important for clothing unless you have allergies. So, let’s bring the price tag down to ten bucks now. Great.

One last thing. My kid plays with bulky, colorful, plastic toys. AND SHE LOVES IT. They might not be pleasing-to-the-eye and are more of an eyesore in my home instead, but I’m not the one playing with them. SHE IS. So, when did it become un-cool to let your kid play with those fun, bright, noise-making toys? How come on all the kids blogs these days, everyone is playing with these fancy wooden, antique, hand-crafted, all-natural, pieces of art? Did I go too far with that one? I’m sorry. I just think we need to stop caring if our kid isn’t playing with the trendiest toy from Etsy, and instead start letting our kids play with the FUN toys they enjoy while wearing princess gowns over their Target, sales-rack, clothes! Enough is enough, so let’s stop this crazy blog trend because I just don’t think it’s real life! My life might not look like it’s out of a magazine but we sure know how to have fun and play!

P.S. Am I saying we shouldn’t own ANY precious Melissa and Doug toys or occasionally splurge on a nice outfit for us or our kids? No! My life motto is TREAT YO’SELF! I love the Janie & Jack store just as much as the next person! But let’s get real, be smart about our money, and let our kids be kids! And that $250 blouse… yeah, that’s never going to happen in my neck of the woods even if I had the money to buy it. Ridiculous.


Grateful Heart

This past week, I got a cold and then inevitably gave it to Eva. She woke up Sunday morning with a cough that sounded croup-like and it made us worried. As you may remember, Eva was in the hospital back in February for a night because of RSV and Croup and so I get overly nervous when she gets any type of cough or has trouble breathing. We got rid of our old humidifier in the move because it was very cheap and barely worked, so I knew I needed a new one. I got all bundled up early Sunday morning to make my little trek to the grocery store.

On my way there, I was thinking how I really missed our Elantra. I wished so badly I could just jump in the car and run over to the grocery really quickly. But no… I had to walk five blocks to the grocery. Oh, the horror. But then on the walk, I saw a couple homeless people sleeping between bushes and the back side of the Bed, Bath, and Beyond. They had made a little fort out of cardboard and had just slept outside in the cold, as they probably do every night.

That is one sight that instantly puts me back in me place and makes me realize how good I have it. There are homeless people everywhere out here. Not a day goes by anymore without seeing someone in that situation. I even recognize a couple of them because of how often I see them.

I don’t really have much more to say. I just wanted to make it known that I am grateful for my life. I do complain about stuff going on, like having to walk a couple blocks in the cold. And sometimes I am ungrateful for all the many blessings I have because it’s just easy to focus on the negative. But I am sorry about that. Because I have so much. So much.

Happy Monday and hope you can join with me to be extra grateful this week!

Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart


I’m feeling awfully guilty right now. I couldn’t take eating another PB & J sandwich for lunch so we had Qdoba. Delicious nachos. Worth every bite. But I justified the spending because my goal was five days, and I didn’t spend any money on Sunday so technically I had already gone five days! Except…. last night I bought tortilla chips from the convenience store in our building. So, I cheated again. Oh, brother! I’m telling you, this was really hard for me so next time I’ll do better!

But I’ll tell you what. I spent a lot less money this week than I have in the past couple weeks. So, at least there’s that. And when I walked through Kohl’s today, I controlled my impulsiveness and did not buy a thermos or dress that were both 50% off.

Weekly Thought List: Timeline

For my thought list this week, I’m doing something a little different. I went through old thought lists and picked out funny/favorite/interesting ones:

  • 8/6/13 Eva learned the word “mine” this week. So, that’s fun.
  • 6/10/13 The building that we live in is about 90% occupied with Indian families. Everyone is very friendly and nice, we love it. But our hallways smell like curry 100% of the time.
  • 5/16/13 I scolded Eva the other day saying, “No,” very firmly while waving my pointer finger at her. What did she do? I thought it might make her cry. But no. She did the EXACT same thing right back at me. The finger and everything. SHE IS ONLY ONE AND A HALF! What is it going to be like when she’s five? At least at that age she’ll be able to understand more clearly.
  • 2/1/13 It’s Groundhog Day this weekend! “Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today.” You’re telling me, Phil!
  • 1/23/13 The more Downton Abbey I watch, the more I catch myself talking in a British accent.
  • 1/10/13 Monday night, I had friends over to watch The Bachelor premiere. Uhm, hello. It was awful… I mean, awesome. I hate that show so much sometimes, but I also just love it. The awkwardness of Sean meeting all the girls made me cringe so much that I had to cover my eyes! It will be a fun season. See all you girls at my house next week, same time!
  • 11/19/12 A year ago, I was 38 weeks pregnant! I can’t believe how fast this year has gone.
  • 9/12/12 I’ve been thinking about our future a lot recently since T.J. graduates next Spring. I am getting so excited for a new adventure! It’s so fun to think we really could go anywhere! I’m really pushing for New York, Chicago, or Cincinnati. I don’t want to live in those cities permanently (I hope to actually come back to Utah if things work out). But I’d love to get away for a couple of years while we still can with a small, young family.
  • 5/25/12 I just caught myself singing along to the Disney Junior TV show, Chuggington. “Chugginton chuggingchugginchugginchugginchugginton…”
  • 3/17/12 “Goodness knows they’re squinters.” T.J. said this quote today and it made me realize it’s time to rewatch Arrested Development again for the… thousandth time?
  • 3/7/12 I haven’t been to the movies for three months. Depressing.
  • 1/24/12 I’m listening to Mistletoe by Justin Bieber. I don’t care that Christmas is over. I love the song.
  • 1/3/12 I can’t tell you how many boxes of gingerbread men cookies that I went through in the past five days because my mom would freak out if she knew. But I’m now having a withdrawal because we are all out! Oh, Smith’s please tell me you still have some boxes left!!!
  • 11/7/11 I ate a spinach salad for dinner. Maybe that doesn’t seem like anything to share, but I kind of feel like I should get a round of applause for it… Yes… Thank you!
  • 9/12/11 I forgot that my belly is still growing. I was kind of under an impression that when it got big a couple weeks ago, it would stay at that level of hugeness. But no, it still has forever to go and that makes me absolutely miserable thinking about. Get this baby out of me!!! I feel like a whale!
  • 7/26/11 My mom left me a voicemail yesterday. The good kind. About how she was proud of me, not to tell me to take something off of my blog. Made me cry and I made T.J. listen to it. Loved it.
  • 7/19/11 HarryPotterwasawesome.HarryPotterwasawesome.HarryPotterwasawesome.
  • 7/30/10 A beautiful bouquet of flowers showed up in my office this morning. My eyes got wide and a huge smile came across my face, only to find out that they were for my boss.

I can’t believe I’ve had this blog for more than three years now! It’s been so much fun writing and looking back at old posts.

Reminding myself today…