Pretty Happy

At all different stages in life people go through changes. Good, bad, ugly, emotional, exciting … you name it, we’ve all gone through it. At this current moment in my life my closest friends are all going through very different situations but we’re all currently going through a tough time.

Right before a whirlwind trip to Miami last weekend I picked up Kate Hudson’s new book, Pretty Happy.kate-hudson-435

While I’ve only just begun the book I found a few paragraphs that I thought to send to my friends in a group email. I then decided instead to write it here because if I felt that if this could apply to 3 of my friends in entirely different situations, I feel like it could apply to many more.

Take this in whatever context serves you:

“…I’ve learned I have to embrace all the ups and downs, false starts, and backward slides in my life. I’ve gotten over heartache. I’ve also had to be honest and admit that my tendencies towards extremes either backfired or failed completely. These decisions and my past way of dealing with challenges and crises are part of my history, part of me- but I no longer let them hold me back. I’ve learned how to see that baggage for what it is – a part of my past that no longer works for me. But that doesn’t mean those old feelings, old reactions to situations and, more important, old behaviors don’t surface – they do.

If you’ve gone through heartbreak and lost your confidence, you know what I am talking about. You may have found a new relationship or embraced your independence, but the wound might still hurt. Part of growth is taking the hurt and using it for something positive. This is part of happiness, but I also believe it is part of wellness.

Sure, it can be scary starting anything new- there is a fear of moving forward. Sometimes, it’s a fear of leaving what’s familiar. Sometimes it’s a fear of what lies ahead or the unknown. All change can be difficult, so it’s important that you make big changes gradually.

All things will and do change. What’s important is to be clear as you pass through the process of change so that you don’t stop or get stuck in a fear or blame cycle that throws you off course.”

In the words of Joe Dirt, keep on keepin on.

10 Reasons I Keep My House Clean

10 Reasons I Keep My House Clean

I stumbled upon this great post and wanted to share the 10 points with all of you. Growing up my mother was very adamant about each of these points. Generally speaking, in my own house I follow them! Do you?

1.  It just looks better.  This should be fairly obvious right?  Straightened sheets and comforters with pillows in their proper place are far more esthetically pleasing than disheveled blankets and a pile of pillows on the floor.  A sink full of dirty dishes just looks ugly, whereas I could stare at my clean and sparkly kitchen all day long. 

Let’s break this down… in my life, if things aren’t in a certain order I go nuts! A sink full of dirty dishes? I want to barf. Not only does it look entirely lazy but when you have dogs going in and out of the house all day… so too do the flies and fruit flies. A sink full of dirty dishes will attract ANY and ALL bugs. GROSS

2.  I get more done when my house is clean.  Taking the time to focus on putting things in order–especially when I set the timer and race against the clock–seems to jumpstart my productivity.  When I ignore the mess and try to work around it, I am more easily distracted by whatever comes my way, and at the end of the day I’ll find I accomplished almost nothing.  It doesn’t mean I always keep my house clean, but I do get more done on the days that I do.

To me, this screams routine. When you have a cleaning routine *brush your teeth, wash your face, make the bed, get dressed * life becomes easier, I promise! Whenever my office is unorganized with task 1 here task 2 here, press release 3 there… I go nuts! IF everything is in it’s proper place it becomes one thing after another and you can bang out as many things as you want to!  

3.  I’m not embarrassed to have people over.  I love entertaining and throwing parties and get-togethers, & greatly value hospitality.  When my house is clean I am more likely to invite someone over on the spur of the moment.

I have a few people in the neighborhood that at any moment could and do text me, “I’m coming over for a glass of wine” “I’m on your street with the dogs, coming over” “Can I borrow some spices?” and they literally will be there within 3 minutes… I once was caught off guard/having a total lazy day and the house was a mess… = I ended up embarrassed. It never happened again.

4. I can find things.  When everything has a rightful place, it is so much easier to put it away and–surprise surprise–to find things again when we need them.

I struggle with this… my mother has said it for years, my husband says my mother-in-law does the same thing, I put something somewhere specific so that I remember exactly where I put it … then I forget that special secret hiding place. **MUST WORK ON THIS**

5.  My kids play better.  My children have the incredible ability to make a mess instantaneously.  Do your kids possess this talent?  Sometimes it seems like they spend their entire day just dragging stuff out so they can leave it on the floor.  During our great purge I got rid of 4 huge bins of toys, and there is still more purging yet to be done.  I have noticed, however, that when we keep their room clean (and I do make them help with this), they actually play much better.  Just like me, they can find the things they are looking for and focus on just one thing at a time instead of being overwhelmed by 5,000 toys staring at them from the floor.

We have no children but this sounds brilliant to me. 

6. It makes my husband happy.  Who wants to come home after a hard day’s work to a house full of chaos? There are far too many days when Husband comes home at 5:30 and the kids are hungry and crabby and screaming, dishes are piled in the sink, dinner isn’t made, and the rest of the house is a disaster.  (For the record, he never says anything negative and will dig right in and help with dinner, then do the dishes.)  But on the days the house is clean and dinner is made and the girls happily run to greet him at the door, there is an unspoken joy that lights up his face.

Replace kids with dogs and this is spot on in our house! 

7.  It saves money.  Taking care of my home and my things means I am less likely to need to replace something that gets lost or broken.  When things are messy I want only to escape the clutter, which can often mean going to Target and mindlessly filling a cart with even more stuff we don’t need.  When things are clean, I have no desire to be any place but here.

Nothing is better than a clean home. If your life is chaos and unorganized with clutter everywhere, do yourself a favor and take a weekend to clean out – it is AMAZING the things you’ll find that you bought at one time and hid somewhere and forgot about! I did this when we moved, basically I will never need any body soap/hair products every again! 

8.  I am more creative.  Instead of seeing nothing but the mess, my mind is clear to see the creative potential around me, and my desk and table are clear to spread out and complete a project.   Likewise, when my kitchen is clean, it makes me want to cook things!  I know this doesn’t bother some people, but I have a really hard time creating anything–or enjoying the process–when I am surrounded by clutter.

Amen

9.  It helps me get a good night sleep.  There is nothing I love more than crawling into a carefully-made bed.   It is so comforting!  Rather than needing to wrestle with tangled sheets or scoop up blankets from off the floor, I am instantly relaxed and ready for a night of rejuvenation.  Even if I can’t manage to get to the rest of the house, I almost always make my bed because I hate sleeping in a messy bed.  A made bed just feels better, the blankets stay on all night long, and I sleep much better.

I have this thing … I HAVE to shower before bed, I truly cannot stand going to bed without showering and getting that all over clean feeling. Now, we have dogs. If the bed isn’t made… and one of them happens to jump up on the bed… then the chances it’s dirty are high! I’ll stick to making the bed in the morning! 

10.  It’s my job.  When I signed up to be a stay-at-home wife, I agreed to all the duties that came with it, including keeping house.  It’s not Husband’s responsibility to go to work all day then come home and do my job too.  Yes, I work too, but my “work” is out of my house.  

This is not a sexist thing. If my husband is even home his hours are absurd. If the situation was flip flopped cleaning, laundry, cooking etc. would be the LAST thing I wanted to do. I work from home therefore I have the ability to do the laundry, stick something in the crock pot, make the bed in the a.m. as part of my routine etc. Now, on the weekends – it’s all about team work but during the week – I got you babe! 

 

FALL IS COMING!

While it may only be September 4th… and it may be 86 degrees outside… it’s still almost fall. In preparation for actual fall, I have begun decorating for fall, which really means I’m done decorating. I absolutely love the scents, clothes and temperatures that come out during the fall.

A fellow Army wife and crafter friend, Rebekah and I spent our Labor Day Monday crafting for fall!

Observe…

photo 1Fall topiaries!
photo 2Pottery Barn Lanterns filled with fall pumpkins & gourds

photo 3This brilliant invention (thanks, Pinterest) is vanilla candles wrapped in cinnamon sticks, which not only smell wonderful but add an eye-catching accent to your #fall decor.

photo 4These are store bought acorns (if I lived up north I’d get them for free GRRR) in hurricane vases with a spice scented candle.
photo 5This little nugget is looking fabulous lounging in her fall orange bow created by her daddy.

Sunday’s

Sunday’s are my lazy/extremely ambitious days. I’ve decided it is the one day a week that I do not need an alarm but once I wake up  Sunday’s are my day to clean the house from top to bottom. I woke up extra early this morning, for no apparent reason. I decided the dogs would enjoy a long walk and I should eat breakfast… then had the sudden urge to make something. Lately I take pride in making healthy snacks that the majority of the ingredients are from my garden. I made guacamole this morning and added a kick to it. Next time you’re in the mood for it, try it! 

  • 1- avocado
  • half a medium sized onion – chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic – minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper 
  • 1/2 squeezed lime
  • 1 tomato – chopped

ENJOY 

Image

ImageImage

Skin Care

My mother taught me many lessons throughout my life so far… but two major things have stayed in my head on a daily basis; 1. Don’t drink soda – it WILL go straight to your hips. 2. Take care of your skin, you’ll thank me later.

To touch #1 for a moment… this is true. The sooner you stop drinking soda the sooner your future body will thank you. To keep this short, the #1 & #2 reason on the “9 disturbing side effects of drinking soda” are:

1. Weird Fat in Weird Place: drinking soda leads to dramatic increases in fat buildup around your liver and your skeletal muscles, both of which can contribute to insulin resistance and diabetes.

2. Diet-Soda Belly: Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center monitored 475 adults for 10 years, and found that those who drank soda had a 70 percent increase in waist circumference over the 10-year study, compared with those who didn’t drink any soda. Those who drank more than two regular/diet sodas per day saw a 500 percent waist expansion!

bottom line: Gross, stop drinking it.

Lesson #2 – Skin Care. I’m a creature of habit and once I’m locked into one I generally stick to it, this habit I will NOT need to break. Growing up in Miami you see some GORGEOUS women with GORGEOUS skin and then you see some gorgeous women with HORRENDOUS skin, they definitely didn’t have a routine. Clearly the beautiful South Florida sun rings a bell for those of us lucky enough to live there and you Wisconsin folk may say, “psh I don’t need to worry about this said ‘sun'” but yes, ladies and gentlemen we all do. If you can afford facials you can get this information from your esthetician about what works best for you but even if you can’t afford getting a facial every other month some of the products below should be STAPLE items in your daily routine.

Step 1: Exfoliate
Clarisonic
My go to is Clarisonic… many companies have come out with similar products for as low as $30 and they all essentially do the same thing. For best results you should use this two times a day; in the morning to create a clean canvas for moisturizer and make up and at night with a cleanser to remove make up and prepare for your nightly routine. Observe how it breaks down make up 6x better than just using make up remover, helps improve the appearance of skin tone, texture, elasticity and firmness in mature skin and makes skin look and feel softer, smoother and healthier looking.

Residue from manual makeup remover:

makeup_before_med1

The glorious makeup breakup with Clarisonic:

makeup_after_med1

My morning routine then continues with this delicious toner that I got in the British Virgin Islands, but you can find here in America!
photo 5
It’s Epicuren’s Protein Mist Enzyme Activated Toner – A unique spray containing natural organic surfactants which enable its enzymes, proteins and vitamins to penetrate through the skins natural surface tension. It’s ~ $24 (& smells delicious!)

I then add a product that was recommended for my skin type – an antioxidant made by SkinCeuticals- they have great products.
0

Antioxidants are important because they help prevent wrinkles and other signs of aging, acne and skin cell damage…so get some.

After the toner & antioxidant serum have completely dried, before make up, I moisturize (VERY IMPORTANT FOR GREAT SKIN!!)…always purchase a moisturizer that has SPF in it!!
photo 4
I strongly believe in Bobbi Brown products because they work very well with my skin (visit a higher end retail store’s makeup counter and ask someone to walk you through which products may be best for your skin).

Go ahead – now you can put on your make up, enjoy your day, come home and let’s get started with the nightly routine.

Step 1: Clarisonic

Step 2: I use a intense line defense serum from SkinCeuticals
0-1
this refreshing treatment hydrates the skin while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Step 3: Once your skin is dry its time to moisturize again! Night time is also the time to help out those under eye bags/sags/future sags… so get some under eye cream separately – the eye skin is EXTREMELY delicate in comparison to the rest of your face and it should be treated that way! I use these two Bobbi Brown night time moisturizers.
photo 2

Hydrating Eye: this cream leaves the eye area soft, smooth and refreshed for HOURS!
Hydrating Gel Face Moisturizer: Tropical Grass Extract hydrates instantly and increases the skin’s natural ability to hold on to moisture. Vitamin E provides anti-oxidant protection against environmental damage.

Once a week I do a mask, I do not have a preference yet of which mask I swear by… but this one is good.
0

It’s description: Natural vitamins and mineral-rich extracts even out skin tone, gently soothing and refining, helping to remove dead skin cells and erase the effects of environmental debris. A blend of vitamin A and citrus peel extract works to leave skin brighter and more radiant.

THAT is my routine! Seems daunting but once you do it and see the results – it’s worth it! The proof is in the pudding.

Takin care of business

One thing in particular that non-military families usually don’t worry about is lawn mowing. If you don’t have a service that comes once every other week then GENERALLY speaking  the man of the house takes care of the lawn. When the man is gone… the woman must take up his work around the house. I feared that I wouldn’t be able to complete said tasks without asking for help. Well, I’m HAPPY to report that I was successful! back lawn  front yard mow lanwn

Working From Home

When we first heard we were moving to North Carolina I decided to start my own PR/Social Media/Marketing Firm, The Manley Group. (Visit us @ www.themanleygroup.com) I decided that the third bedroom in our home would become my office for one of two reasons; 1. I refuse to pay for an office space in a building – its entirely unnecessary in this day and age! 2. The second guest room in our house is ‘special’. The owner of the home had it painted as an underwater scene… observe….photo 4photo 3photo 1photo 2so that’s the office… because we don’t have a small child who would enjoy this under water scene… aside from my husband Christopher…. we decided its best suited as an office. Working from home has been great thus far, aside from not having a desk yet. My coworkers are nice, they’ve welcomed me, we’ve got a security  guard, a dishwasher and some ‘working over your shoulder’ types. They’re pretty funny too. Take a look:

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3