Friday, January 31, 2014

Happy Weekend!

This weekend I am thinking about a new space, getting some much needed rest and hopefully, warming up a bit around here.  Goodbye Polar Vortex, I'm over you.

Photos via

A Few Goals

Lately I've been thinking about all the goals I have.  Sometimes I get overwhelmed and loose focus because there are so many things I want to get done in so many different areas of my life that it becomes hard to focus.  Today I decided to organize my my blog goals.
1.  Get a new blog design.
2.  Organize my other social media buttons, I don't Twitter, but I love Instagram and Pinterest.
3.  Keep an editorial calendar, which will hope me post more regularly and be more organized. 
4.  Socialize more in the blog world, maybe attend a conference this year.  Hopefully, ALT NYC.
In addition, my goal is to get a new computer this year, if I'm lucky. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


I found this article, "9 Intentional Ways to Challenge Consumerism in Your Life" on Becoming Minimalist via this blog and wow did it hit home with me. I don't feel like I buy a lot of stuff right now but I have in the past. I used to use shopping as a way of finding joy in my life, fulfilling some kind of need. I no longer do that. At first I stopped shopping because of lack of funds but now I think and hope it has turned into a way of life. I enjoy shopping, I actually love it, but I am very focused now on buying less/spending less and focusing on quality not quantity.

After cleaning out my house I realized we bought so much stuff and wasted so much money on things we never used or needed. I don't want to repeat that pattern. I only want to consume items that bring high value to our lives. My house, which I did love dearly, became more of a burden then a blessing. I was working sometimes up to 7 days a week just to maintain it, just to keep my head above water. I realized that I no longer wanted to live that way. I wanted to forgo the large home for a smaller space where I can have the freedom to spend time with my loved ones.  Consuming less is going to take time and practice but I what a great way to live, not caught up in a life of comparison.

1. Stop and reevaluate. Look at the life you have created. Are you finding the time, money, and energy for the things that matter most? Have your possessions become a burden on your life in any way? Slow down long enough to honestly evaluate the whole picture: your income, your mortgage, your car payment, your spending habits, your day-to-day pursuits. Are you happy? Or is there, perhaps, a better way?

2. Stop copying other people. Just because your neighbors, classmates, and friends are chasing a certain style of life does not mean you need to as well. Your life is too unique to live like everyone else. And if you think you’ll be happier by following all the latest trends in society, you are wrong. Just ask anybody who has stopped.

3. Understand your weaknesses. Recognize your trigger points. Are there certain stores that prompt unnecessary purchases in your life? Are there products, addictions, or pricing patterns (clearance sales) that prompt an automatic response from you? Maybe there are specific emotions (sadness, loneliness, grief) that give rise to mindless consumption. Identify, recognize, and understand these weaknesses. 51% of the solution can be found by simply recognizing the problem.

4. Look deep into your motivations. Advertisers play on our motivations by appealing to our desires in subtle ways. Advertisements are no longer based on communicating facts about a product. Instead, they promise adventure, reputation, esteem, joy, fulfillment, and sex. What inner-motivations are subconsciously guiding your purchases? What motivations (greed, envy) need to be rooted out? And what motivations (meaning, significance) need to find their fulfillment elsewhere?

5. Seek contribution with your life and usefulness in your purchases. To live is to consume. As contributing members of society, we are going to work and earn and purchase and consume. But we are more than consumers, we are contributors. Our presence on this earth ought to bring value to the people around us. Purchase only what you need to more effectively accomplish your unique role in this world—everything else is only a distraction. Just because you can buy something doesn’t mean you should.

6. Count the hidden cost of each purchase. Too often, when we purchase an item, we only look at the sticker price. But this is rarely the full cost. Our purchases always cost more. They require our time, energy, and focus (cleaning, organizing, maintaining, fixing, replacing, removing). They prompt worry, stress, and attachment. Henry David Thoreau said it best, ”The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.

7. Test your limits. Experiment with a no-shopping challenge. You set the terms—even the world’s biggest shopper can find one experiment to test their boundaries. Go 30 days with no consumer purchases, 60 days without visiting the mall, or 120 days without buying clothes. You set the specific challenge based on your needs. You will break the cycle of shopping in the short-term and lay the groundwork for greater victory in the long-term.

8. Give more things away. Your life will feel lighter. Your heart will feel warmer. The world will be better. And you will be reminded shopping is not the answer.

9. Do more of what makes you happy. Your possessions are not making you happy. Once our basic needs have been met, the happiness found in consumerism is fleeting at best. Instead, find what it is that truly makes you happy and do more of it. I find my happiness in faith, family, friends, and contribution. Your list may differ slightly. But either way, owning a whole bunch of stuff is almost certainly not on it.

Make intentionality your highest pursuit. Not consumerism.

minimalism. Wallpaper white by BrainChecker

Monday, January 27, 2014

Home Sweet Home

I'm so sick of snow and cold but I love the white blanket the snow cast on everything.  I took this picture of our home as we were leaving it.  Well it's still my home because of course closing is taking longer than expected. I guess this is normal but it gives me more time to second guess my decision.  I loved this house, it was good to us for 13 years but I know it's time to move on and create a new lovely space.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Happy Weekend!


I'm so glad the weekend is here. This week has been hell. It's been one of those weeks where everything falls apart, where you pray for everything to work out and everything that could possibly go wrong does, a week where you find out evil, greedy people really do exist, a week where you begin to wonder if living your life in an honest, moral way is really better.

I’m not going to let this week defeat me. I’m going to continue to believe that a good, kind heart that gets stomped on is better than a cold, dark heart. I’m going to continue to believe that things will work out eventually, that the “odds are in my favor”. I’m going to continue to believe that there is a wonderful future ahead for me and my children. I’m going to be smart, determined, tough and reflective as I try to overcome my latest obstacles. Do you ever feel like you are on the verge of freedom, you can taste it but you can’t quite seem to get there?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls
I think some of these chocolate peanut butter balls would definitely make my weekend.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wish I was Currently in Bed


It's been a long, cold week already, wish I was in any one of these beds. 

images via Houzz

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sunday Brunch

I had brunch with my girlfriend's Sunday, it was so nice to catch up and just talk about life. I often forget how important it is to make time for such things. I get so caught up in daily necessities, kids, work, cleaning, games, etc., that I forget to stop and cultivate my friendships.

It’s great that there are so many places in Buffalo doing brunch on Sunday's now; we decided to go to Shango Bistro and Wine Bar. The vibe is soulful cuisine from New Orleans, which was very good. They have a full bar where on Sundays you can also get Mimosas and Bloody Marys.

They seem to get pretty busy for brunch so I would recommend reservations. The service was great and the food was delicious. I had the shrimp with grits and it was excellent the grits were cooked just right, which can be hard to do. The stuffed French toast was excellent too, the brie cheese filling was nice and subtle, not overpowering.

I think bunch is such an idea meal.  You can relax because it's a Sunday morning, its a great way to try new resurants because it is more reasonable then dinner and you don't feel as rushed.

 Stuffed French Toast with brie cheese filling and a banana caramel rum sauce

New Orleans barbecue shrimp with bacon cheese grits and poached eggs

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Clean Eating

In an effort to be healthier and to raise my children with healthier eating habits, I have been trying to figure out exactly what clean eating is. 

"The soul of clean eating is consuming food in its most natural state, or as close to it as possible. It is not a diet; it’s a lifestyle approach to food and its preparation, leading to an improved life – one meal at a time."

I think preparation is the key and learning to adjust your taste buds from the love of salty and sugary foods to fresh fruits and vegetables.  I am just begining to research clean eating and I realize it is going to be a really slow process to convert from my current eating habits (hello bread, wine and cheese) to the rules of clean eating. I think my approach will be one meal at a time, like starting with breakfast and moving on to make sure I pack my lunch everyday instead of buying out.  Then I can find a few weeknight dinners that will work for the kids and I on a regular basis. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Around Here Lately

I'm sitting at work eating these little caramels thinking about all the stuff I need to be doing.  You know that feeling were you are doing one thing but wishing you were able to get other priorities done.  I thought selling the house was the hard part, it turns out cleaning out 13 years of junk/furniture/clothes is the hard part.  I will be so happy when this whole process is over. 
Now I am in this weird space, literally and figuratively.  I'm renting for the first time in about 16 years and honestly it is way more unsettling then I thought it would be.  I'm trying to just relax and enjoy it but when it's not your place you know it, you feel it.  I don't want to rush into something and I want to be financially responsible when I do buy a home, so I must practice patience and gratitude for the space my children and I do have. 
Is it smart for a single Mother of 3 busy children, who works full time, to take on a home that needs to be remodeled?  That's what I want to do. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Snow Day

More like blizzard day.

My Motto For 2014

Monday, January 6, 2014

Goodbye 2013, Goodbye Roger


2013 was a year full of highs and lows.  The biggest low being that I lost one of my dearest friends.  There will forever be a part of my heart missing as I suspect there will be for anyone who knew Roger.  My children have lost a confidant, an excellent role model and a member of our family.  Death is such a hard thing to comprehend, one minute this person is a part of your life and the next they are gone forever, leaving an empty feeling in the pit of your stomach that rears its ugly head at the mere mention of that person's name.  I will forever be grateful for having over 20 years with Roger but I will mourn the time that we lost.  I miss you my dear friend, everyday. 

I wanted to read this poem at Roger's funeral but I did not get the opportunity.

Wystan Hugh Auden (1907-1973)

Funeral Blues

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone.
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling in the sky the message He is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever, I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Bring It On