a month later.

In May I wrote about setting goals for myself.

Well, it’s June. Here’s how that worked out for me. Ahem.

  1. Blog at least five times. Ha. Ha ha ha ha. Hahahahahahaha. Nice try, Purdin. In all honesty, it was foolish of me to expect that to happen during a very busy, stressful month- I had finals, work was crazy, and I took a mini-vacay with friends. So better luck next time.
  2. De-clutter my home. Ditto to the above. Although, I must say that Andrew and I have been much better about “resetting” our home every night- doing the dishes, picking up the toys, and preparing for the next day so we’re not quite as hectic/cranky/homicidal in the morning. And I’ve also been regularly tossing old/rarely worn clothes into bags for the Goodwill. (Hopefully they’ll be moved to the trunk of our car by the end of June. Cross your fingers.)
  3. Make a plan to clean out our fridge, freezer, and pantry and refill it with “clean” food. I’m not even going to touch this one. Food is such a complicated, messy issue for me. I shouldn’t have put such a major event down with so little forethought. I think it will actually take several mini-goals before I make it to this step. Maybe that sounds crazy- how hard is it to throw out the crap and buy healthy food? Harder than you think, dear friends. Self-diagnosed food addict over here.
  4. Go on a walk with Gabe at least once a week. HAHA! Victory! I had a great time thinking of new places to take my little man last month. My kid is very outdoorsy and turns into the Tasmanian Devil if he’s cooped up inside all day. So we went for a walk or park excursion on almost all of my days off from work. Here’s some pictures to prove it:

IMG_1086      We had a freakin heat wave that week. Hence the hat with floppy ears to protect his white-ness.

IMG_1096Poor flushed face. It was HOT. We’re not used to anything about 75.

IMG_1098Little cheeser.

And a few from my trip to OC/LA:

IMG_1102

Even my alarm clock was excited.

IMG_1103

Do you want to build a sandman? (Get it? Get it??)

Anyways. I’m looking forward to accomplishing more this summer since I’m done with school for the moment and work should be slowing down very soon. I’m trying to refrain from beating myself up over the Epic Goal Failure of May 2014. I mean, it’s over and done with, and I’m planning on posting my June goals in the next few days. Until then, my goal is make a list of goals. Baby steps, folks.

goooooooooooooooallll!

(In case you were wondering, that was the sound of a South American football announcer.)

I’m one of those folks (like many of y’all out there, I’m sure) that has to be pretty intentional about the things I want to accomplish in a given day, week, month, etc. Otherwise at some point I look up and realize that I’ve spent the last two hours pinning recipes and tab-surfing on Google Chrome. In other words, I’ve got a pretty heinous case of adult ADD.

That being said, I’ve come up with a plan to give my months an overall sense of accomplishment- just a few new goals every month that aren’t too lofty (big plans often go by the wayside because they get overwhelming, and this totally defeats the purpose of goal-setting).

So, for the month of May, I humbly present my first set of goals:

  1. Blog at least five times. For me, regular writing doesn’t happen organically. I have to be (here’s that word again) intentional. This might seem counterintuitive to some people; writing is categorized as a creative process and not something to be scheduled like a doctor’s appointment or a trip to the DMV. But I’m pretty sure professional authors don’t pay the bills by relying on their whims.
  2. De-clutter my home. I’m not yet sure how I’m going to go about this exactly. All I know is my apartment is small and we have too. much. crap. “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” (Thanks William Morris. Those are some good words bro.) This is my mantra. Useful or beautiful? If the answer to both is no, then it needs to go. I have a lot to say about this- but at a later date!
  3. Make a plan to clean out our fridge, freezer, and pantry and refill it with “clean” food. By “clean” I’m referring to little or no processed foods. All ingredients should be familiar and pronounceable. Limit refined sugars and white flour. Hahahaha. Ha. That was me laughing because all I can think of is the dude from Princess Bride sputtering out “INCONCEIVABLE!” But dangit. We need to do it.
  4. Go on a walk with Gabe at least once a week. This is my way of combining exercise and an activity my son enjoys. I love taking him to the park, but he’s still young enough that it requires my full attention. Otherwise he’d probably take a flying leap off a play structure. Walking is great because he loves seeing the neighborhood from his stroller, and I can (mostly) zone out for a while.

Ok. Those are my four goals for the month. Now, you may be wondering how am I planning on keeping track of aforementioned goals. Well, gentle reader, I give you the Post-It Goal Chart. I was inspired by something I saw on Pinterest and whipped up my own version on the computer (I think I used Adobe InDesign). I’m including it here for anyone else who wants a pretty place to keep track of to-dos. The nice thing is it can be customized for your day, week, month, etc. You could even print out a few and customize them for your kids (or spouse, as the case may be). If I had a laminator I’d laminate it, but I don’t. Womp womp.

I hope this inspires you to set a few goals of your own. Remember- start small, especially if you’re not used to formal goal-setting. There’s nothing worse than inevitable failure. And if you don’t meet a goal, there’s always next month, right? No self-loathing over here! Hope you enjoy the handy-dandy printable!

(Give the image a click to open in a new window, and save to your computer from there!)Post It Goal List

Sephora Color IQ

A couple weeks ago I headed over to my local Sephora in hopes of finding a new foundation. I’d hit a losing streak with drugstore brands, and decided to bite the bullet and pay a little more for a better color match and formula.

I was approached quickly by a kind saleswoman who asked me if I needed any help, and I told her what I was looking for. She immediately asked me if I had ever heard of Sephora Color IQ, which I hadn’t at that point. It sounded like the perfect way to find a great foundation- they place a camera tool right up to your bare, clean skin (the cheekbone area), it takes a photo, and analyzes the results. It then generates a list of foundation products that closely match your skin tone. Easy peasy!

The saleswoman brought me back a few brands based on the Color IQ results and my own list of criteria (no more than $30, liquid formula, buildable coverage). We narrowed it down to two selections, and I eventually ended up with the Sephora brand 10 Hour Wear Perfection Foundation in “22 Light Natural”.

Sephora 10 Hour Wear Perfection FoundationI also purchased the Beauty Blender makeup sponge since I’ve heard tons of beauty bloggers give it rave reviews ever since it’s debut.

Beauty Blender makeup spongeI have to say, I’ve been really really happy with the products I purchased. The first day I wore my new foundation (blended with the Beauty Blender) to work my boss said I looked “glowing”. I’ll take that! I will say that a few of the foundations the saleswoman pulled for me were not a perfect match as far as color, but I think the Color IQ provides a great starting point if you’re stumped!

Shameless plug: Come follow me on my Facebook page!

Note: Sephora has no clue who I am and all the products mentioned in this review were purchased with my own cold hard cash. I hope you find my insights helpful!

 

Lent, done imperfectly

I grew up in a religious tradition that didn’t celebrate Lent. I don’t think I even knew what Lent was until well into my teenage years. By that point I was able to appreciate the potential benefits- had I been informed any earlier I probably would have discarded it as another one of those things idol-worshiping Catholics do (oh Lord, forgive the ignorance of my youth). One of the things that the evangelical denominations have prided themselves on is a lack of formal structure in their worship- they are not bound by prayer books, rosaries, or lectionaries that might inhibit the movement of the Holy Spirit. As I became more exposed to the mainline denominations (Anglican, Presbyterian) that use said structure I realized that evangelicals have structure too- visit a local Baptist or Pentecostal church a few Sundays in a row. I can pretty much guarantee you they will do the same thing in the same order every time. It’s not a formal, official liturgy, but it’s liturgy nonetheless.

I digress.

Lent! I admit that I have never “successfully” given up something for Lent. I’ve thought about it, tried to pick something to give up, and come Ash Wednesday I’m smacked in the face with the realization that I’ve made no lofty goals, so I just screw the whole thing. Easter is now 10 days away and yet again, I failed to keep my Lenten plans. Normally this would induce a guilty shame spiral where I beat myself up for never following through or keeping commitments. But this year, I’m somehow totally ok with it. It is what it is. And I’m so thankful to the Lord for bringing me to this place of self acceptance. Lent is a manmade tradition- a beautiful one, a beneficial one- but manmade, nonetheless. I’m reminded of Jesus’ words about working on the Sabbath Day- “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”- in other words, religious tradition is supposed to benefit us, not rule over us. Praise the Lord for that. Legalism is a harsh mistress.

I got up in church last Sunday (at the request of the pastor/my boss) and talked about my “faith story”, or what I grew up calling a “testimony”. In a nutshell, I talked my lifelong struggle with perfectionism. Nothing is ever good enough- I have been consistently disappointed with my appearance, my work, pretty much everything about myself. I’m a notorious comparer- someone always seems to have it better or do it better. And I’m so glad to say I’m seeing God break this pattern in my life, slowly but surely, starting with Lent. Maybe when all is said and done I really did observe Lent- I learned how to let go of something that’s been ruling my life- perfectionism that crushes my spirit, stresses me out, and makes me a critical wife and a cranky mother.

Lord, continue to break the cycle of perfectionism in my life. May I be satisfied with a job done, even if it’s not Pinterest-perfect.

Amen.

if marriage was a house

I often find myself inspired by the hilarious and insightful Rebecca Woolf and her blog “Girls Gone Child”. I identify with her in that I too became pregnant unexpectedly and married my baby daddy after knowing him a relatively short time (another story, another day). About 9 years later Rebecca now has 3 more children, including a set of twins who crack me up daily while browsing my Instagram feed.

Ms. Woolf is a great writer no matter how you slice it, but because of our shared experiences I feel a special connection with her even though we’ve never communicated and she lives 200 miles away in LA. One recent post that really did me in (we’re talking sobbing, red eyes, all the feelings) is entitled “Old Houses Are Like This” in which she does a freakin’ fantastic job of comparing her marriage to her rat- and mold-infested house with a crumbling foundation. Metaphors for dayyyyyyys man.

Isn’t that how it is though? So many of us walk (or are gently nudged by the impending pitter-patter of little feet) into marriage thinking it’s gonna be great. Even the most realistic of God’s children don’t jump the broom expecting to catch their feet on the handle and fall on their face. But that’s just life. There are seasons, there are highs and lows, and sustained periods of meh. The pattern of get up, get ready, change the diapers, make the meals, blah blah blah starts to disguise underlying tension and apathy, two major marriage killers. It often takes a figurative rat infestation to even realize that something is wrong.

Like Ms. Woolf’s contractor told her and her husband (unaware of the deeper meaning of his words), “Without the rats you might not have known about the leak until it was too late. This can be fixed. Old houses are like this. Beautiful and broken, they all need work.”

Rebecca inspires me to stick it out. To keep living and loving my family in spite of the rats and the mold and the mess.