Archive for January, 2014

The Perfect Paint Palette

The first thing I did when we got our offer accepted for our house was go out and pick up as many paint samples as possible.  I have followed many decorating/DIY blogs for years and have already known either the type of colors I want in our house or the exact color names.  I had been dreaming of painting walls for a LONG time!

paint colors palette

 

Little did I know when our offer was accepted, that we would be doing a major renovation that would push back painting for many, many months.  That didn’t stop me from dreaming, however, as I painted multiple swatches in every room in the house.  Our bathroom, second bedroom, and master bedroom still have those swatches since we haven’t completely decided what we want to do in those rooms.

When dreaming about decorating our house, we definitely wanted to keep the rooms bright and airy and let the accessories do most of the talking.  I love more subdued paint colors in grays and aquas.  I want our home to feel like a happy cottage, and to me aqua/mint green are the colors I think of when I think of a cottage.  Gray is my favorite neutral, and I love how it looks with white and different shades of aqua, so we knew there would be a lot of gray in our house.

This is our current paint palette of colors we have used and colors we plan on using (or similar colors to those shown):

paint colors palette

 

The process of choosing our paint colors was very easy.  I began by going through my Pinterest boards and blogs with homes I love and I kept note of the paint colors I liked.  In a Word document, I simply dragged photos of rooms with paint colors I liked and kept track of the paint names and makers.

paintworddoc

Then, I showed San the photos and we picked out ones we wanted to buy samples of.  We bought eight different samples of our favorite paint colors and then painted swatches and wrote the names underneath in pencil.  We painted swatches on multiple walls so that we could see how they read in different lighting at different times of the day.  We knew we wanted a bolder, darker aqua in the kitchen because of all the light it gets and the amount of white from the cabinets that would need to be balanced.  I also knew I wanted a soft, light gray in the living room and bedroom hallway with a darker gray in the dining room.

Here are the rooms that are currently painted and what color we chose:

Living Room – Stonington Gray by Benjamin Moore

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The living room is painted Stonington Gray by Benjamin Moore.  We got it color matched in Sherwin Williams paint.  I am in love with this color!  The coved ceilings and white furniture looks so beautiful with this paint color!  We are hoping to add more color in with curtains, more pillows, and art, so this paint color is a wonderful, soft, light neutral to balance all the colors that we plan to bring in.  I love how this light paint color mixed with the white ceiling and coved ceiling allow the light to just flood in and fill up the room.  Gorgeous!

Here is Stonington Gray in other rooms around the web (so you can get an idea of how it looks in different spaces):

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Dining Room – Stonington/Coventry Gray by Benjamin Moore

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Technically, the dining room is color matched in Sherwin Williams paint to match Coventy Gray by Benjamin Moore.  When I originally picked up paint samples and painted them on the walls, I bought them from Menards.  This was a bad idea because the way they color match and the way Sherwin Williams color matched Coventry Gray were different.  I imagined the dining room being a much darker gray with the same undertones as the Stonington Gray in the living room.  I wanted it to be darker because we are going to add board and batten to the bottom two-thirds of the dining room walls and I want a darker gray that can balance all the white.  Right now, it is impossible to tell a difference between the living room and dining room paint colors, so we will probably be painting this Timber Wolf by Benjamin Moore or a similar dark gray once we have the board and batten done.

Here are some rooms with a dark gray like we want to use:

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Timber Wolf by Benjamin Moore – Source

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Cinder by Benjamin Moore – Source

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Mombasa Mist by Ralph Lauren – Source

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 Unknown color – Source

Kitchen – Stratton Blue by Benjamin Moore

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Ahhh, the kitchen!  This is my favorite paint color in the house!  The kitchen is painted Stratton Blue by Benjamin Moore.  We used actual Benjamin Moore paint for this room, so the color is exact.  This color reminds me of Nantucket or of Cape Cod.  It’s the perfect cottage blue and it looks amazing with white and black (and red).  I love that it is a bolder color than the living and dining rooms because it draws people in, which is exactly what I think a kitchen should do!  The white we are using in our house for the cabinets, dining room buffet, and eventually the trim and doors, is Cloud Cover by Benjamin Moore.  I won’t lie, this is the only paint color we didn’t see on the walls before choosing.  That was bold considering we have it all over the house, but it looks perfect!  When seen next to stark white, it is actually more of a cream/gray, but it looks bright white in our lighting and with our other colors.

Here are some other rooms from around the internet that are painted Stratton Blue:

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Those are the only rooms we have painted so far.  I would like to share the paint colors we are thinking of using in the rest of the house.  I’d love some advice or recommendations if you have any before we dive in to painting these rooms!

Bathroom – Light Aqua Blue

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I would really like a light, pale blue in the bathroom.  The floor tile has a lot of brown, and the square wall tiles have little tan flecks in them, so we want to stay away from gray in here because I am not a fan of brown and gray unless it is dark brown wood with gray.  I’m really in love with the photos I have seen of Rainwashed by Sherwin Williams such as these:

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However, I also love Palladian Blue by Benjamin Moore:

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Master Bedroom – Some Shade of Blue or Blue/Gray

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Our master bedroom definitely has me torn as to what color I want to paint it.  We are planning on painting all the trim white as well as adding white closet units on the right wall (where the dog bed is and along that side wall in the photo above), and we will be keeping our rug and bedding.  The headboard will probably be recovered either a fun pop of color (a sherbet orange?  coral?  yellow?) or a dark charcoal, so that it won’t clash with the walls which we want to paint some shade of aqua blue.  Part of me wants to go a very light, happy shade of aqua blue, almost like the two blue pillows on the bed, but part of me wants to go a little darker to make it more of a cozy sanctuary feel (does anyone get what I mean???).  I love the idea of a lighter blue to lighten this room up, but I am hesitant because our bathroom and second bedroom will most likely be lighter blues.  Thoughts?

Here are some other blues that I like that could be possible contenders:

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Woodlawn Blue – Source

masterbedroom2

Woodlawn Blue – Source

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Serenata by Benjamin Moore – Source

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Nimbus Gray by Benjamin Moore – Source

Second Bedroom – Stay Tuned

Marital Glue House at Closing

Much like we have done nothing but fill this room with stuff we don’t know where else to put, we also don’t have a paint color picked out for this room yet.  We have decided not to work on this room until we have news that we are going to be having a baby.  We hope that will happen in the near future, so we don’t plan on decorating this room only to change it right away.  The gender of the baby probably won’t matter when it comes to paint colors, and I already have a lot of ideas in mind for when that time comes, but for now we are going to keep it a secret.

So, there you have it!  Those are our current paint colors and our plans for painting in the future.  I have kept this post centered on the interior only because I have not put too much thought into the outside.  If we paint the stone, we will probably go for a darker blue/aqua color, but if we don’t paint the stone, I have no idea!  That’s a project for another time, but we will keep you posted once we know!

I’d love if you could share your favorite paint colors in the comment section!  I would also love to read any suggestions you have as we paint the rest of the rooms!

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Eat/Fast/Eat:How Intermittent Fasting Works for ME

In my last post, I mentioned that I started doing this new schedule of eating (if you will), called intermittent fasting (IF).  If you don’t know what intermittent fasting is, please click here first and enlighten yourself.

I’m not here to say that you, your friends, and dog should start intermittent fasting. I’m not here saying that it will be the best thing since sliced bread to help you with your fitness goals.  I will be sharing my thoughts, my dislikes, and my over all opinion on it.

If you have at least got a decent understanding what IF is, then  you understand the ‘feasting window’.  Since I have chosen a 16/8 time frame, I had to first decide what would be the ideal time to break the fast and end it. Since I typically work a random schedule as it is, I can almost guarantee that my first break comes a little after noon most days. Since Sarah does not get home until later in the evening, we usually don’t have dinner until about seven.  So, through a perfect guess, I found that by breaking fast around 1-2 PM and starting the fast a little after 8 seemed to be what works best for me.

I’m not going to lie, the first day was unbearable, considering that I had to wake up a lot earlier than normal and have to work with food all day. I almost pulled a 20/4 window without even trying. I felt more tired, I felt more irritable, and I obviously felt much, much more hungry.  After a couple of days I finally got the hang of it and it’s pretty much been smooth sailing since. Since I’m on a cut (meaning a caloric deficit from what my maintanence caloric intake is), I’m only allowed a set amount of calories a day and doing IF has allowed me to distribute my calories between two larger meals, rather than three or six of them (as some people do). Who wants to eat six small meals with less than 400 calories a piece?

Positives:

By doing IF, it has taught me to have a lot of self control.  Knowing that I’ll be able to have two larger meals later in the day makes me fight my cravings throughout the day. My training at the gym has gotten better because I don’t have something sitting in my stomach weighing me down.  I’ve also have really embraced the idea that food is a gift, a privilege, and a blessing to have readily available.  Time and time again, I’ll vacantly stare at my plate of food. Take it all in. I remind myself that I’m so lucky to have what it is I have in front of me and that each meal acts as a reward for working so hard throughout the day. Eat to live. Not live to eat.  Not only have I noticed weight loss, I’ve also had better looking skin with less breakouts and I also am more focused in the mornings.

Negatives:

The first negative was not having breakfast anymore. I’d say it was the hardest part about starting this for me because I love breakfast. Eggs, bacon, pancakes, sausage, etc., I love it all. Skipping that meal was mentally challenging for me because I was so used to having a fluffy omelette or egg sandwich every morning.  Although I’ve learned self-control, it’s so easy to be tempted by anything and everything around our kitchen at work and at home.  While the idea of two larger meals later in the day sounds peachy, it’s not the easiest feat to shove down a large plate of food. I made the mistake my first few days by trying to eat too much in a short window and it immediately turned me off of IF.  It took over a week but I finally figured out how much I could eat without making it so that I was literally forcing food down my throat.

Overall thoughts:

With all of the new ways of eating and dieting that has come up in today’s time, I’ve finally found the one that works best for me. It’s not easy starting out either. It took me a while to finally understand the timing and to finally build up enough mental strength to continue on.  Since I’ve started IF, I’ve lost about ten pounds in three months.  It would be more if I actually ate really healthy, but hey I’m only human.  I also enjoy doing it because it’s allowed me to prove to myself that I can follow through on my fitness goals and stick with a new program/diet.

Do I recommend IF for everyone? Not at all. Do I think people who are struggling with weight loss should give it a try. Yes.  Of course people assume, “so you’re starving yourself to lose weight?”.  To a degree, yes and no. Yes, in the fact that there is a large window of time where there is no food consumption. No, because I’m still getting all of my calories and macro-nutrients in for the day, just at a later time.

With patience and time, I managed to find my stride with my new eating routine. Has there been new trends or diets that seem to click with you and your body? What were the ups and downs of those programs? What helped you refocus and attain your goals?

Planning My Way to a Saner Sarah

Have you ever stopped to think about how much your life has changed since you were a child?  Now that I’ve been in the “real world” for a couple of years, it is easy to feel overwhelmed when I compare my life to how it was back in high school or even in college.  I’ve always been motivated to do things and often over-fill my plate, but working fifty hours a week with a business on the side is a lot different than working 25 hours a week and taking a full college course load.  As easy as it is to feel overwhelmed when thinking about how much more I have to do these days, it is also just as easy to feel optimistic when I think of all that I have learned about time management over the years.

A5 Aqua Malden Filofax 2014
I could never have handled the way my life is right now if I went straight from high school to my life right now.  I didn’t know enough about organizing, structuring my time, and keeping track of things to be able to take on the lifestyle I’m currently living.  I am so happy that I have tried a lot of systems and procedures along this journey to adulthood that has allowed me to be very efficient and productive.

One way I have always stayed organized is through the use of a planner.  In high school, my school gave out planners to each student to stay organized.  I diligently wrote down my extracurricular activities, assignments, and social engagements (because I was super fancy and called them ‘engagements’ back then – not) so that I wouldn’t forget.  In college, I scoured stores for the perfect planner that would give me enough space to write everything I needed to do while not being too large to lug around everywhere.  However, as more was piled on to my “to do” list, more time became devoted to finding the perfect planner.

During my final years of college, I transitioned to the Erin Condren Life Planner.  I loved that it was colorful, inspirational, and more structured than a lot of other planners I had used.  But, once I started my business and began teaching full-time (which I am now no longer doing but am nannying full-time), I needed something more.  I wanted a place to do long-term planning, daily planning, keep track of our meal plan, budget for the month, remember important dates in the future, and track progress in my health.  I wanted something that no store had prepackaged and ready to go for me.  I needed something customizable.

Enter the Filofax brand back about a year ago.  I purchased a Dakota personal size Filofax that I used for a few months.  I loved the customization capabilities but ended up hating the size.  As nice as the personal size was for carrying around, it was horrible for me when it came to writing things down because I tend to make very long, detailed (sometimes sloppy) lists that I constantly had to rewrite because the personal size didn’t have enough room for me.

A5 Aqua Malden Filofax 2014
I’ve now been in the A5 Aqua Malden Filofax for about four months and I could not be happier!  I don’t know what I would do with myself without my trusty planner.  Nothing would get done.  I just don’t trust myself with remembering details when I have so many things going on all the time.  I am able to delegate tasks throughout the week so I no longer am carrying around one giant “to do” list in my head, which would cause any person to get stresed out.  By just taking a half hour on Sundays to plan out my week, I can get so much done!

I know not everyone carries a planner, especially in adulthood if you don’t have a job that would require you to keep track of meetings and things like that, but they have been a lifesaver and timesaver for me!  I love to share things with others in the hopes that it can encourage, inspire, and inform them.  I created a video tour of my planner so you can see how I have it set up, what I used, and exactly how I use it.  I hope it helps you in some way!

 

I would love to know how you keep track of things to do! I’d also love to know of any products that you love for staying organized and accountable! Happy planning!

 

This post is linked up to A Bowl Full of Lemons’ One Project at a Time.

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For The Sake Of Time

crockpot

Ever since Sarah and I purchased this house back in May, it seems like our To-Do lists are never completed, or they just keep growing.  The responsibilities of being a homeowner often plays a large role in controlling how we go about our day-to-day tasks, which include eating.  Sometimes, takeout or a drive-thru seem to be a better option than coming home at around nine o clock most Saturdays and firing up the skillet.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love using my kitchen tools, making up things as I go, and trying new flavors out, but there just isn’t enough time in the day for me to cook each and every meal.  If I also have to get up earlier the next day, I don’t want my sleep to suffer, and I love me some sleep (who doesn’t). So, for the sake of time, the wife and I often break out our trusty and always reliable crock-pot. It’s pretty common for the misses and I to use our crock pot at least once or twice a week depending on our schedules. Sarah gets home later in the day because not only does she have to work about ten hours a day, she also has to commute 30-45 minutes each way. Since I do the cooking most of the time and my schedule is so random,  this leaves little time for us to make much at home that isn’t a frozen pizza or pasta and red sauce. Here are some reasons why we love our crock-pot:

#1 Convenience:

It’s pretty much common sense, but most people really underestimate how simple it is to make a wonderful meal without having to labor over a stove or keep checking on the oven.  Just throw a bunch of ingredients in there, turn it on, and forget about it. Sarah loves using it because it requires her to think less about making dinner and more about getting our home back to order after a chaotic week.

#2 It makes meal prep easier:

Since I’ve started intermittent fasting and plan on dropping a lot of weight this year, I have to keep my calories in check (a caloric deficit). This means that I will be bringing all of my meals to work instead of having what is on hand. Using the crockpot allows me make a rather large amount of chicken breasts (that are fall apart tender) that I can’t do in an oven. Sure, I have to wait longer for them to be completely cooked, but while they are in there, I am free to clean up the house, shovel some snow, or even run a bunch of errands.  Once they are finished,  I weigh out the correct portion sizes and put them in microwave-safe containers to take to work with me.  By doing this method, I am able to make lunch for myself and Sarah for 4-5 days, which is about 8-10 meals! Talk about efficiency!

#3 Clean up is a breeze:

Self-explanatory. Just throw a liner in that bad boy and your set. Don’t forget that most crock-pots have removable stoneware so you can store the left overs (if any) in the fridge.

#4 It’s great for entertaining:

Love pulled pork? Love spinach dip? Then a crock-pot will become your best buddy. Once you’ve finished making either dish, you can keep it on warm for as long as your guests are there for, just make sure to check the crock from time to time (to prevent burning or scorching).  Sarah and I love making hot dips and keeping them nice and warm for our friends when they come over. If you don’t have a chaffing dish for keeping foods hot and delicious, the crock is the next best option.

So that wraps up the biggest and probably most obvious reasons why Sarah and I (or probably most people) love using a  crock pot.  We love being able to come home to a wonderful smelling home cooked meal after a long day of working. Why is a crock pot a useful tool for you? Do you have any favorite recipes that are always being used?

 

The House Made of Really Long Lists

I have been an avid decorating/DIY blog reader since I was a sophomore in college, about six years ago. I’ve dreamed of owning a home my whole life and have “designed” my dream house over and over again growing up, both in my mind and on paper. However, I never realized how much anxiety was tied to the excitement of home ownership. My dream decorating never took into account funds, or lack thereof, experience, or time. Now that I’m 24 years old, married for two years, with a full-time job and a business on the side (plus a dog and a social life), I’m realizing that a beautiful home of my dreams is not easy (and not always fun) to achieve. After finally finishing our major renovation, I can’t help but look around the house and see all of the millions of little things we still want to do. I’m extremely excited about these things and in love with our home even the way it is, but I’m a forward thinker and have trouble not thinking about all of the stuff I want to do.

Since I’m a list-maker by nature (just look in any drawer, notebook, or purse in our house and you will find proof of this), I thought I would share a list of all the things we have planned for our home. This makes me feel much better just knowing it’s all written down and helps me stay motivated. I have no idea how many of these things will actually happen or how long we will live here, but we adore our house and want to keep loving on it as long as possible!

This list contains more than just major decorating, it also contains things we want to buy and organizing projects as well. I also included the rooms that are not created yet (the basement family room and basement bathroom) or used as such yet (the two basement bedrooms that are sheet rocked but are being used as storage).

I’ll make sure to update as we go along!

Front Yard

 

Marital Glue House at Closing

Exterior

Garage

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Entryway

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Living Room

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Dining Room

 

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Kitchen

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Main Floor Bathroom

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Main Floor Hallway

 

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Master Bedroom

Second Bedroom on Main Floor

Basement Family Room (not yet created)

Basement Bath Room (not yet created)

Basement Front Bedroom  (not yet used)

Basement Back Bedroom (not yet used)

Basement Laundry/Utility/Storage Room

Back Yard

Whew!  Like I said, a lot to do!  I’m excited to see which we actually do and how this list changes over the years.  What are your favorite things you’ve tackled on your home’s to do list?  What is something you never anticipated doing?

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Set The Bar High and Crush It: San’s 2014 Goals

SANSGOALS

 

Happy New Year’s! Today I’ll be talking about  my personal goals for the year of 2014. It seems like every year, whether I like it or not, I end up setting goals for myself that seem all too unrealistic for me or that seems out of reach.  This year I actually had to sit down and think about it for a while. What do I want out of this year? What person do I want to become? For a moment I drew a complete blank. It took a while but I finally narrowed it down to three main goals. Let’s dive in!

Goal #1: Become a more knowledgeable and gain more skills in my career as a Chef

If you don’t know me by now, I did attend a culinary school.  There I gathered a lot of useful information that has led me to my current job right now.  I don’t think that there is ever a time to stop learning. Once you stop absorbing new ideas and not gaining any more skills, maybe it’s time really reconsider if your career is keeping you happy.

The first step is to read. Read more books, articles and blog posts that will fill my head with not only more knowledge of the culinary industry, but to also gain other chefs and cooks opinions on their techniques, what worked and failed for them, and ultimately take something from them to use in my own way.

Another way to build up my skills would be to learn about new and old ingredients and how I can utilize them in my cooking at work and at home.  Of course I do enjoy making Alfredo sauce, but what’s another way that I can really make it awesome? What’s  another technique I can use to clean a tenderloin to be more efficient? You get the picture. There’s tons of new and old techniques that I can discover.

The last skill I guess you could say I already have, but it never hurts to become better with a knife.  Not just slicing, dicing or chopping, but rather getting more uniform slices, chopping more to be more efficient (i.e chopping onions all together rather than three different times for three different recipes), and try my hardest to have each item I cut be as consistent as possible.

Goal #2: Make fitness and health a priority

I say this every year, but I think I’ve got more motivation this time and more tools to use.  I will continue hitting the YMCA 5-6 days a week with a set routine in mind. I will continue to eat clean, eat in moderation, and healthier too. I recently started intermittent fasting and it has helped me with weight loss, but controlling myself and really understanding how much food is a blessing (I’ll explain more in a different post about it all).  Of course, being the food-lover and chef that I am, I will still enjoy the foods I love but not as big of portions as I used to take.   I need to keep my sanity right?

Finally,

Goal #3: Learning to let go and stress less

Mentally and physically, last year took a toll on my body.  We were going through changes at my current job and we decided to do a full blown renovation that lasted seven whole months. Yikes.  The misses and I argued a lot more. The house was in total disarray and things that we needed to use were incredibly hard to find. I found myself suffering from a lot of stress and it showed in our marriage and health. I gained ten pounds in a matter of 2 months. Sarah and I often yelled at each other for no reason. It was awful.

This goal is very important to me because it will keep my heart and mind at ease. I just need to learn to breathe, take it easy, and understand that things could always, always be worse.  It was just hard to see through the fog we were surrounded in, but we feel so blessed to be where we are in our careers and to have a wonderful home now.

I feel so pumped about this year , not only for myself but for everyone in our lives because we all want to become better people and improve ourselves.  I hope that this year brings everyone lots of love, joy and laughter.  What are your goals for 2014? Will they be quick changes for the year or for a lifetime?

A Refreshing Start: Sarah’s Goals for 2014

SARAHSGOALS

Happy New Year!  Okay, it’s a little late at this point, but this week is the first full week of January and a big week for me!  I’m beginning some huge changes that will impact so many parts of my life.  I’ve spent the first days of January reflecting on last year and what I learned.  If you haven’t followed her or even heard of her, make sure you head over to the fabulous redhead motivator, Lara Casey’s blog.  She is the creator of Southern Weddings magazine and also is one of the faces behind Making Things Happen, a workshop designed to set people on fire (motivationally-speaking) and put people on the path to make things happen in their life.  She hosts a wonderful goal-setting series on her blog at the start of the year that asks just the right questions to help people reflect on their past year, on what they want for their life, and what goals will help them get there.  I’ve filled up many pages in a notebook reflecting and goal setting.  I want to share these goals on our blog as something that will help me look back at where I started.  I also want to help encourage anyone reading this to really focus on what their vision for their life is and to start now at working to achieve that vision.  It’s never too late to start!

I’m definitely not going to share everything I wrote down when reflecting on 2013, but I feel some information is important so you have an idea of where my new goals are coming from.  2013 was a change-filled year.  So many things happened, such as:

On paper, it was a great year!  Lots of things happened.  However, when I was really reflecting on the year, I was left feeling down.  Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful for our home, our dog, and the help of my parents to get our home to a modern, open point.  I am proud of the year overall.  But, I feel like I lost a lot of momentum in the areas I had started working on at the beginning of 2013 because of the progress we made in other areas.

Renovating a house is not for the faint of heart.  That’s the honest truth.  Our weekends were filled with chaos.  Think plaster dust everywhere, tools on the floors, rooms full of furniture placed in other rooms.  Not knowing where things are.  We got a lot done on the weekends, but I also had business stuff going on which I started to resent because it was just another thing added to my plate.  Instead of my business feeling like a blessing, I started wishing people wouldn’t want to book me.  That’s horrible, but true.  However, when I would actually get to sessions or weddings, I felt rejuvenated and I remembered why I was doing this.  I just didn’t have any rest time to refocus and remember why I was doing all of these things.  The weekdays were always full of catching up on things we couldn’t get done on the weekend.

After reflecting on the year, I realized that at the heart of why I still felt down about the year even though so much happened, was that a lot of things happened that we didn’t spend time planning for.  When we put in an offer on our house, we never realized the amount of renovating we would do.  It makes so much sense now and we are glad we did it, but had I known that we would have been renovating for seven months, I would have setup systems in advance for my business, incoming papers, bill-paying, etc. so I wouldn’t have to be stressed out about those things.  I would have planned time to stay dedicated to my business blog, to friends, etc. beforehand instead of scrambling to make these things work in the midst of chaos.  A renovation is chaotic no matter how organized a person is, but setting up some systems beforehand and knowing it would be so chaotic, would have allowed me to find some peace during that time.  I’m glad I know these things now because they will help me later on.  It definitely was not a wasted year, and it gave me the motivation I needed to make this year insanely awesome!

With all of this in mind, I decided on the word “REFRESH” as my word of the year.  I learned a lot in 2013.  We made some great progress.  However, in my heart, I didn’t feel like myself a lot of the time.  Just like a webpage gets frozen and wonky from time to time and needs to be refreshed, I feel as though parts of my life were frozen with no progress (or I went backwards).  My health definitely suffered, my stress level were high, and I wasn’t resting enough or reflecting on my goals.  I want to refresh this year and take from it only the progress I made and leave behind any backwards-action away from my goals.  I want to start fresh, clean, and happy.  I am ready to move on and mentally get to a place I was in 2012 when my life was very focused an orderly and I want to start this year with that mindset.

Whew!  Now that I got that off my chest, I want to share some of the goals I set for this year.  I set 18 goals total, but a lot of them have to do with the same things.  I’m going to share the shortened version of them:

This seems like a lot, but I have a whole year!  This won’t all happen in a day, and many of them are things I’ve already made progress on but just need to continue doing.

The main goal I am working on right now is becoming healthier.  I have read The Daniel Plan and have become super motivated to clean up the food I put into my body.  Already, San and I went through our fridge, freezer, and pantry and got rid of anything with high fructose corn syrup, MSG, anything hydrogenated, and other processed ingredients.  It felt so good!  Here is a look at just some of the stuff we got rid of via my Instagram photo:

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And here is how much awesome food we got to keep:

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I also started (yesterday) a 30-day detox where in addition to not eating foods with the aforementioned ingredients, I will also be omitting gluten and dairy from my diet.  I’m doing this to see if I feel any changes without these things because so many people have sensitivities to them.  I’ve eaten them both my whole life and may not even notice any damage they are causing, but I might once I omit them.  Either way, my diet is going to be so much better now and I can feel proud knowing exactly what I am eating (and being able to pronounce it all).  I will definitely be updating throughout this process.

I am so excited for an amazing year to shine and inspire others!  I hope these goals inspired you and I would love to read about your goals for 2014, reflections on 2013, or advice for anything I posted!  San will be back this week to share his goals as well.

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