When It Snows…Blizzard 2016

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Well, we survived the blizzard of 2016. We are finally dug out and our lives have gone back to routine. The snowstorm began like any other storm, with tons of anticipation and last-minute trips to the grocery store to stock up on essentials like wine and cheese and pastries and making mental lists of all the things I will accomplish while being snowed in.

The snow began late Friday night and it fell fast and heavy, blanketing our world silently. By late Saturday we were living in a winter wonderland, buried in 29 inches of snow. We spent the next 4 days in our pajamas, bundled up inside together.

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Things I accomplished during the blizzard:

  • Made a long list of things I wished to accomplish during the storm.
  • Accomplished none of them
  • Ate an entire tub of artichoke and spinach dip from Costco
  • Started each morning with copious amounts of coffee and a danish the size of my head. (bless you Costco)
  • Took many naps
  • Watched the entire first season of Man in the High Castle (highly recommend)
  • Read The Martian (and became the only person in the country who disliked it)
  • Finally took down our Christmas tree

We ventured out in the snow a few times and introduced baby Wyatt to the wonder of it all. He was not that impressed. Like is mama he would prefer that freezing rain did not hit him in the face and would rather not leave the house wearing one hundred layers. The boy seriously hates wearing hats. But we managed to get a few cute photos of the experience. 

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Then the novelty wore off. The snow storm ended like every other storm – with us all going a little stir crazy, our cozy home feeling almost prison like, and ready to enter the real world again.

I often lament on the fact that I wish I didn’t have to go to work so I could stay home with Wyatt all day. Well after a whole week of being inside and nowhere to go I was busting at the seams to get outside and talk to some adults.

It was nice while it lasted, but Spring, you can come anytime now. 

 

 

 

Currently: Freezing

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It’s freezing outside and my brain is barely working. 

-20 degrees with windchill and no signs of approving. My garage door is smart. It refuses to work when it is this cold. My car doesn’t even have a chance to warm up and start pumping out heat by the time I get to work. Everything is frozen. And I’m over it. What was it like to wear stylish clothes? Shoes that are not Uggs? Have clean hair every day? (I’m procrastinate washing my hair because it’s too cold to have wet hair). Our gas company called and kindly requested we keep our thermostat at 65 degrees of below. They are worried about outages. Meanwhile, my face hurts and breathing feels like death. Over it. 

Here’s a more of peek into my current world:

Reading: I just finished Jodi Picoult’s newest book, “Leaving Time”. It wasn’t one of my top favorites of her books but still a good distraction when the only way to stay warm is bundled up in bed. I’ll be sharing another “recently read” next week.

Watching: With Parenthood officially over (and I’m still crying, so many babies!) I needed a new family drama. There really isn’t that many real life family dramas on TV anymore. It’s all action pack, crime filled, mystery fueled, shows. I like a good emotionally charged drama. I was surprised to find it in ABC Family’s “The Fosters”. This show is good! Sure it has it’s moments of overly teenage drama but on a whole it’s a good show. I binged on Netflix and am now caught up. 

Wanting: Isn’t this obvious? Warm Weather. Now. 

Thinking: About where we will be moving to this summer. I wish I knew what was in store and we could anticipate what housing will available come June/July.

Needing: I know it’s wrong to want to skip ahead and I should really be enjoying the moment, I want winter to be over so that, yes, we can experience some normal temperature. But also because we are almost near the end of Ryan’s law school career. His last day of classes is on April 27 and he graduates May 21. This last semester seems to be dragging out for him and he’s experiencing some major “senioritis”. Let’s just get through these last few weeks! Freedom is so close.

Cooking: I’ve been on a big pizza kick lately. I think because it’s easy and warm.  Also not cooking and eating a lot of Mexican food. See also, warm, cheesy, carb heavy. Perfect winter food. 

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Listening: To the Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville station on Sirius Radio. I don’t care if that makes me a 50-year-old, I love how it makes me feel like I’m at the beach sipping a fruity drink and listening to the waves crash. I try. See margarita above.

Planning For: Birthday month in March! Ryan turns the big 3-0 and I turn 32 (yikes!)

I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to lately! Let me know below!

 

 

What’s New? Coffee Talk Vol. 4

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Hey there, I thought I’d use this Friday to do a little check in with you. Grab a coffee, let’s chat. If we were sitting down together, sharing a chat over coffee, this is what I’d tell you:

  • Although I still don’t like winter, this winter doesn’t seem so bad. Probably because the winter of 2014 was so awful and terrible, what with the never-ending snow and ice storms and negative temperatures. So far, this winter has seemed pretty mild in comparison. So that’s a plus. 
  • Last Friday, before we skipped town, we bought a new car. (This marks two new cars in one year, gasp!) I usually hate car shopping (all the small chat, all the hidden deals and messages) but this was pretty painless. We knew exactly what we wanted and we knew what we wanted to pay and we got it. We traded in my 2008 two-door Hyundai Tiburon and Ryan is now the proud driver of a 2015 Hyundai Elantra. I’m usually a sentimental sap, but I have to say I was not sad to say goodbye to Tabitha the Tiburon. Other than driving me home from Chicago after a terrible break up she’s been nothing but bad news for me. See ya! 
  • We’ve officially given up Comcast cable. It felt good to cut the cord (and cut down our ridiculous high bill). We got an Apple TV and it works great. We’re able to watch all the shows that we want and it works perfectly with Airplay on the Ipad. 
  • I’ve been reading a lot lately and will be sharing my latest book reviews next week, however I have a little secret. In addition to the “normal” books that I read, I’m also in a book club…that specifically reads books written by the girls from MTV’s Teen Mom and other fallen starlets (right now we’re consuming Jodi Sweetin’s book). They are ridiculous, sad, and highly entertaining. So far we’ve read Kailyn, Farrah, and Amber’s autobiographies.  Such guilty pleasures and so fun to discuss and gossip over. 
  • We watched a movie we had rented through Netflix mail order this past weekend (Monuments Men). While packing up the DVD to mail back I noticed that the traditional red and white Netflix envelope was decorated with spider webs and bats and said “Happy Halloween”. Yep, we’ve had a movie since early October. We just never got around to watching it. How long have you had a movie from Netflix? 
  • Another confession: my Christmas decorations are all still up. Yes, my Christmas tree hit the curb (isn’t that the saddest sight?) a few weeks ago, but all the other decorations are proudly on display. I’ve been too busy, lazy, sad to take them down. Maybe this weekend….

What is new with you? How is January treating you?

 

 

Life Lately

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It’s been awhile since I used this space to do a little life update. To fill the space in between the lines, to ramble randomly, to give a peek into my every day life. So this is what current life is looking like:

Writing: in my One Sentence 5-year Journal from The Happiness Project. My best friend gave me this journal as a Christmas gift and I love it! The idea is to write one sentence each day. It’s an easy way to document moments from each day and be aware of your daily intentions and actions. It will be fun to look back at what I did on a particular day – 2, 3, 4, or 5 years ago!

Reading: The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. Already entranced by this novel by a favorite author (loved Never Let Me Go).

Watching: Best thing about Sunday is the Sunday light TV line up: Downton Abbey, The Walking Dead, True Detective, and Girls. Obssessed with all of them, even if watching them all in the same two days makes me think that there are two alcoholic and twisted detectives running around an English estate trying to kill zombies while Hannah watches pool side contemplating how insufferable her life is.

Thinking: That I can’t take much more of winter. Enough is enough! Last week we were hit with another 12 inches of snow, followed by 2 more on Saturday and another 2 last night.

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Needing: To get into spring cleaning mode. Winter has made me a lazy hermit. It’s time to clean out the house, revamp my workout routine and get in gear with some new meal planning. The past weekend was filled with a lot of this:

And although it was relaxing and wonderful and great – it was too much sleeping and eating and drinking and not enough taking care of my body. Remember when I posed about that pesky newlywed weight gain? Well it’s still there. I failed at following through with any changes – or, when I did, two weeks last that weight gain found its way back. Like the snow, it just keep packing on. I’m ready to shovel out.

I signed up for Weight Watchers online yesterday with a great President’s Day sale. The program helped me lose 15 pounds 10 years ago and helped me tone up last Spring. I love the simplicity and the ease and the ability to each pretty much whatever you want. I know that I need the support and the motivation to take charge or else I fall into lazy habits.

Wanting: It may be caused by cabin fever – but my baby fever is so intense right now. It’s pretty disgusting/bad. Other than that – I’m having a deep need to get new drapes for all our windows, and do a lot of at home projects. Also NEW spring clothes!

Smelling: This candle. It is from the heavens. I’m sure of it.

Raspberry Peach Macaron candle

Loving: The 5-day weekend that was granted to Ryan because of the snow. I loved having so much down time with him and Maggie and lots of morning snuggles:

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Cooking: A LOT! Hence the need to do something about weight! This past week were filled with cookies, cupcakes, pad thai, macaroni and cheese, quesadillas, dip, martinis, and spiked hot chocolate. Yikes!

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Listening: to my Ella Fitzgerald Panda station – her butter voice just pours over the whole house and makes everything warm and okay.

Planning For: This Spring is full of fun events! First, we have Ryan and I’s birthdays in March followed by a bridal shower and bachelorette for my best friend, and we just booked our 1-year wedding anniversary trip. Come on SPRING!

I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to lately!

xoxo Katie
 

 

 

 

 

Real Talk – Unfocused

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You see all these bloggers with seemingly perfect lives, Pinterest worthy homes, clothes and days. I’m not one of them. I like to keep things real around here. So here is another edition of ranting real talk

I’m stuck.

No, considering these negative temps we are STILL experiencing, I think frozen is a more appropriate word for what I am experiencing. I can’t find the motivation to do anything.

Earlier this month I communicated my winter time blues, so it is no secret that I’m in a serious thunk. All I want to do is come home to my comfy couch, layer on blankets upon blankets, and eat warm food. It’s too cold for anything else. Last night we finished watching the entire series of Breaking Bad. We started it less than a month ago. (and oh my what seriously good writing, my mind is still reeling). Like, I said, I do not want to get off the couch.

Or out of bed. Upon waking I spend way too much time on my phone or pushing the snooze button, postponing the inevitable truth that I will have to get up and go to work. Normally I enjoy my job. I like the work my company does and I love the relaxed environment I work in. I’m the only employee and can wear jeans everyday, and can get away with leggings and yoga pants! But my frozen brain is making it very hard to get through the work day. I’m putting off projects til the last-minute. Everytime I go to start a new project I get instantly distracted. I make other easier work just so I don’t have to do the harder work.

And just have a look at my desk.

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Gone is the neat and organized girl. Soon they are going to send the producers of “Hoarders” in for me. Maybe I think the piles of papers will soon act as insulation and keep me warm?

The gym is only happening 3 times a week as opposed to my usual 5-6 times a week. At home I’ve been preparing only the easiest of meals and avoiding all laundry and cleaning. Surprisingly, I’ve managed to put away most Christmas decorations, yet my kitchen still seems to be confused as you can see:

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I am constantly thinking up cute winter or  Valentine’s day sayings to replace the Christmas message. But, every time I look at it, I just feel overwhelmed at the idea of taking down the board, erasing, and writing a new message. I just look at it and run out of the room, choosing to ignore.

Same goes with blog posts. I have at least half a dozen well thought out drafts, but when it comes time to finalize them I come up with a million excuses. The worst is when I decide to write something off the top of my head, like this ranting gem of a post. Nothing like writing about writer’s block,am I right blogosphere?

All of these consequences are followed by guilt and more avoidance. The fact that my desk and house is a mess is truly counterproductive because I do my best creative work and productive work in neat and tidy work spaces. So, the clutter just stresses me out more and I just walk away from it. Hey, even at this point it feels like I’m avoiding finishing up this post with any real structure or closure and just rambling on and on.

So, I decided that if I come here on the blog and offer some advice on how to FOCUS then I’d HAVE to take my own advice or live with knowing I’m a huge hypocrite. So, here are a few ways in which

Split up Tasks: I get so overwhelmed when I see 30 emails to respond to, or a stack of papers that need to be sorted and dealt with. Try to tackle one obstacle at a time. For example, I will tell myself that I will respond to 4 emails, upload and edit 10 photos, and type 1 chapter of the manuscript I’m working on. Break down your tasks. Most of the jobs aren’t hard per say, they just seem overwhelming when combined.

Reward Yourself: Tell yourself that after completing one of your tasks you can browse twitter for 5 minutes or that you can have a second cup of coffee. Simple rewards break up the day and also structure your time. I know if I didn’t give myself these time limits I could get lost on social media for hours.

One Song = One Job: Put on your favorite music and tell yourself your going to work on one thing while one song is playing. This works best for me with household chores. I’ll start in the kitchen and say I’ll work for the duration of one song. Usually once the next song comes on I think, oh I can work through another song. Pretty soon I’ve cleaned all of downstairs!

Schedule a 30 Minute Time Slow with NO Distractions: When I’m writing, editing, or doing similar work I can’t have any distractions. I must close all extra tabs on the internet, put my phone in another room, turn off the music, and be alone. I’ve found that if I tell myself I have 30 minutes to work, and make sure there are zero distractions, I dive into my work head first and end up working well over an hour. Time flies without distractions.

Have any other tips to share with me? I’m hoping this attitude of mine melts away with the snow.

xoxo Katie

 

6 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

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Just in case you are living in another part of the world, we here in the States have been experiencing the phenomenon that has been named “Arctic Blast”. This blast delivered record low temperature causing schools to shut down and myself to obtain crippling cabin fever.

There’s no hiding it. I’ve got a serious case of the winter blues. Every day is a battle and the days are moving so slowly. I spend idle time looking at the calendar, longing for the days to move ahead or by browsing through photos of warm spring and summer day. I forget what the sun on your skin feels like.

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Tonight we have to take our Christmas tree down. We may just hold a funeral for it. Tears.

I can barely pull myself up out of bed every morning. I’ve been late to work every single day this week. Today, my usual 15 minute commute took me 40 minutes and my little coupe almost slid into a ditch twice. There is no need to dress or look nice because really it’s all about just staying warm. I’ve had enough!

But, winter is here to stay. We have AT LEAST another 2 months of cold weather. So I decided to share a few ideas on how to beat those winter blues.

1. Exercise

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a sweaty gym selfish. you’re welcome

I don’t think you need me to list all the known benefits of exercise, it’s healthy for your mind, body, and soul. So, even though you want to do nothing more than curl up under 5 blankets and eat macaroni and cheese, push yourself to work out. You will boost your energy and improve your circulation and body image. Plus, you’ll feel so good about keeping up with those healthy New Year’s resolutions you made. The average (non active) person gains up to 6 pounds each winter. Get up and move before even your yoga pants feel tight!

2. Host a Luau

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Crank up the heat in your home, blend up some frozen concoctions, and blast the steel band music. Mind over matter right?

Truth, my college roommate and I did this our senior year. We turned up the heat to 80 degrees, wore our bikinis and covers up, and made awesome margaritas and rum punches. We were SO excited. But then everyone ignored our invite details and showed up in their winter clothes, turned down the heat and complained the drinks were too cold. I swear, some people just don’t know how to have FUN.

3. Explore New Food and Drink Recipes

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So you’re stuck at home. Take the opportunity to try out new food and drink recipes. You’ll have fun experimenting and will enjoy eating and drinking while your bundled up on your couch watching a movie. This weekend I’m going to test out a recipe for a hot rum punch.

4. Sleep More

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Sleep has major benefits. This is your time to take advantage of them! The snow has canceled your plans (once again!) and you are stuck at home. You’ve watched enough of Netflix and are out of wine. May as well take a nap! Enjoy it.

5. Start a New Tradition

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So the holidays are all over and you have nothing to look forward to. Why not create a new tradition? One that takes place annually in January or February? Something to be excited about! Above are ideas for a winter wonderland party. Or you could plan an annual weekend away, or ski weekend, or simply a girls slumber party.

6. Embrace the Season

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When all else fails, get outside and enjoy the beauty of winter. Bundle up in as many layers as you possibly can and embark on a winter adventure. Ice skate, snow shoe, ski, snowboard, take a snowy walk and admire all the snow-covered trees. Build a snow man, play with your dogs. Make the most of it because pretty soon you’ll probably be complaining of the heat and humidity.

  xoxo Katie

 

 

 

Caring Cowls – a special discount for you!

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I’m so excited to share this post with you today! A few weeks back I linked to the amazing online shop, Caring Cowls, highlighting it as a shop offering perfect gifts that gives back.

Last week I received my cowl and am thrilled with the quality and craftsmanship. All cowls are handmade by Sarah. She was the sweetest person to work with and replied to all my questions in a very timely matter. I can’t get over how beautiful this handmade item is.

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All cowls are handmade by Sarah. She was the sweetest person to work with and replied to all my questions in a very timely matter. The quality is amazing and it is so soft. I can’t wait to bundle up with it under my coat this winter. The best part? 100% of the proceeds go to charity! 

From Sarah – the founder and owner of Caring Cowls:

“Caring Cowls is a nonprofit organization that raises money for various charities and organizations. All proceeds from sales are donated (minus material and shipping costs). So far, Caring Cowls has donated $300 to the American Red Cross, American Cancer Society, Action Against Hunger, and the International Rescue Committee. Currently, Caring Cowls is funding for the Polaris Project. Caring Cowls offers a large variety of styles, colors, and patterns, and you can view them on our Etsy Store, blog, or contact Sarah at caringcowls@live.com

Caring Cowls is offering all my readers a 20% discount off all cowls with the code: ABLA20

Any of these cowls would make a great gift for any special females in your life.

Check out all the cowls here:
Etsy  —  Blog

xoxo katie