Currently: It’s October Edition

September flew by in a blur, am I right? I feel as we get older, the months fly by at warp speed. If you need more encouragement on this, think about how many presidents’ terms you have lived through, lol  🙂

On to other things…

My No-Spend September:

It wasn’t 100% a no-spend month, but in our book, we did pretty good. Instead of going out to eat once a week, we only went to eat ONCE the Whole month. (insert clapping noise here). This is really good, y’all. I know we didn’t make it through the month without going out to eat for lunch, but one time versus four times in one month is a good thing. We paid a huuuuuuge chunk towards our medical bills and for that, I am thankful 🙂

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Fall Bucket List:

I made a list of things to do for fun for the fall season, and my older daughter is super excited about it! On this list that is not able to be shown in this photo, is us making a spooky Oreo cookie cake. This will be the first time we are making it and we are both super excited to make it 🙂

Also what I love about this list is that I made it using extra paper I had around, and it is super cute and super frugal. Win-win.

What I Am Loving:

That Football is back on my television!!!!! I have been a huge football fan since I was a kid. It is my favorite sport to watch, along with hockey.

What I Am Absolutely Over:

The news. As usual. I can’t….

What I Am Looking Forward To:

All. The. Holidays. October. November. December. Bring It.

What is going on with you guys? Let me know! 🙂

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Direction

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My friend Tanya wrote a great post this week about feeling a bit lost right now with certain aspects of her life. She spoke about having ideas and wanting to implement them but also lacking the motivation to do so. It is hard when you feel like other people are accomplishing things and you feel like you are just languishing.

My other friend Tonya (no relation, ha!) has moved from Los Angeles to Boise, Idaho, looking for a new start to her life. She felt “stuck” here in California and thought a change of scenery would be just the thing to get her proverbial gears going and forge a new and interesting chapter.

I am totally rooting for my friends as they look to make changes in their lives.

But I also root for them not just because they are my friends, but because I can and do relate.

I feel like my generation (Generation X), was told that we needed to work hard to get into college. After college, get the super well-paying job, find the person you will marry forever and ever, buy a humongous home, have some kids, live happily ever after. The end.

Oh and throw in some female empowerment because The Spice Girls told us so.

Well, fast forward to the here and now and all of us Gen-Xers are in our 40’s and for many of us, we are saying what the hell happened? What am I doing? This life has not gone at all like I expected.

I did everything right.

I followed the rules.

I trusted my intuition.

I did what I was supposed to do.

Why am I unhappy?

And if unhappy is too strong of a word, why do I feel unfulfilled?

This is the part of the post where I say that I do not have the answers nor do I know anyone who does.

But I am putting this all down in writing because I need to get this out. I need to speak what is rolling around in my brain when it is not being diluted by super-happy images of people living their best super-happy lives on social media and/or television.

Because the truth of the matter is that life is not all unicorns and rainbows and I am sure by the time you are old enough to remember watching Molly Ringwald movies in an actual movie theater, you know this.

I think as women, we were sold a bill of goods. We are supposed to have a fantastic career, fantastic husband and children, fantastic home, fantastic friends and family, fantastic coming out of the wazoo, if you catch my drift.

When one of these supremely awesome fantastic things doesn’t happen, we wonder what went wrong with the plans. Here, let me look at that blueprint again, and see where I messed up, so I can course correct and get back on track.

But that is not how life is. That is not how life works. And it doesn’t take into consideration things that happen that are out of your control. We have had happen to us or know someone that it has happened to them, things that occurred that were out of their control, whether it is a job loss, depression, debt, infidelity, infertility, substance abuse, etc… These things that happen to people, are not in the blueprint that we created for our lives.

And yet they happen every day.

For me personally, I feel bad that we lost our home 8 years ago. When the recession descended upon our country, it took my house right along with it. I feel bad, not every day, but most days, that I do not have an actual home for my girls to grow up in, and that we are in an apartment and do not have a backyard. It kills me as a parent that I am unable to provide this for my girls.

And yet I know that losing my home does not define who I am. It does not define me as a person. But some days, the shame washes over me and I feel baaaaaaaad.

Just as having depression does not define who I am, neither should not having a home. I am blessed in other ways and I know that. But my point is, plans go awry. And that is where the lack of motivation, the inability to move forward, and the feeling of ineptitude to overcome, just come roaring in.

If you feel like your life’s blueprint has gone missing, I am here to tell you that you are not alone. I am here and I hear you.

I too, feel lost.

I too, feel unmotivated.

I too, feel unqualified.

But deep down , I feel the flicker of a flame. I feel this thing that just won’t let go. I feel this voice inside me that is screaming for me not to give up and to implement Phase Two, whatever that is.

Direction is moving forward.

My steps may be tiny, but my inner voice is mighty.

We can do this. Who’s with me?

 

No Spend September

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September means back to school and a renewal for many to turn the page. With that in mind, I thought September would be a good month for finances to be re-worked so to speak.

Quick Backstory: Because of the kind of health insurance we have, it didn’t cover all of my needs as well as the baby’s when I was pregnant. In addition, there were extra tests I needed during my pregnancy and more doctor’s appointments than usual and so we are still paying on medical bills from last year. Add to that, my husband had an emergency room visit during that time last year due to an allergic reaction he developed from taking a doctor-prescribed medication. ER visits are a cost onto themselves.

Suffice to say, we have all these 2017 medical bills that we are still paying for and we would like to make more headway with these. So a few weeks ago, I brought up the idea of a “No Spend September” to my husband and he was on board!

Basically, we are only spending money on “needs”, not “wants”.

We are spending money on:

  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Insurance (car, health, etc…)
  • Phone
  • Internet
  • Groceries
  • Other bills not listed above

We are not spending money on:

  • Eating out
  • Random purchases
  • Anything else that is not a need

Any money saved this month, will be directed towards these medical bills.

Anybody else doing a “No-Spend September”?  🙂

I Don’t Know Who I Am Without You

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Really feeling the need to share what is on my heart right now…

As most of you know, I had a baby back in December. All was right in the world. I had my family, I was starting to eat right, I even managed to get in a few blog posts! I thought, hey, I got this! I can manage all of the things and I am Superwoman.

But the reality is, is that nothing was really okay. I thought it was and maybe on the outside, it looked like that, but it wasn’t.

It took my husband to point out to me my mood swings and constant crying and dark thoughts were all symptomatic of post-partum depression. I didn’t realize it because I didn’t have post-partum depression after the birth of my first child and also, I already suffer from depression as it is, and didn’t realize the volatility of my current situation.

If you are a new reader, then yes you may not know that depression is a part of my life.

I wish, from the bottom of my heart, that this wasn’t the case, but I know, it is true.

I don’t know who I am without you…

I had a tumultuous childhood. I had a lot of stuff happen in my life at a time when the real world shouldn’t intrude the way it did. I am not going to go into any kind of specifics because they are private and personal. But needless to say, I found myself “retreating” from others for reasons unbeknownst to me, and feeling sad for days at a time. These feelings would “magically” go away, until the next time they came knocking at my door, and I felt the sadness envelop me once again.

This cycle had been the blueprint for my entire life until one day, I broke.

In every way possible a person can mentally brake, I did.

And I realized that this thing, whatever it was, it was bigger than me. The beast needed to be tamed, and I needed help in doing just that.

With the help of my wonderful husband, a caring psychologist, and medication, I began to put my life back together.

This was years ago and there have been dark days since then and that is the truth. Depression doesn’t just “go away”. It is always there, for lack of a better term, “lurking”.  As people who deal with depression, we have to have tools in place, so that when the dark days come, we can better cope.

I don’t know who I am without you…

My whole life, whether I was aware of it or not, I have dealt with depression. I don’t know really, who I am, without it. It is a part of me, like an extra appendage.

All this to say that when I was made aware of this different kind of depression, this un yet mitigated for me post-partum variety, I was defiant and also at the same time resigned.

“I don’t have post-partum depression. I am fine!!!!”

“Oh no, not another depression. Why is this happening???”

Suffice to say, I realized that everything I was feeling, the everything is off-kilter feeling, the everything is wrong feeling, the uncontrollable sobbing, it was all true and I acknowledged it and attempted to move forward.

I am here.

It has been a tough road, I’ll be honest with you.

I have had to dig deep into reservoirs I didn’t even know I had. I had to trust myself and trust God. I have had to make changes in my life that are still new to me.

But I am here on the other side.

I just wanted to share a bit of me and who I am because I feel it is important. Blogs and social media tend to show the highlights and glossy side of life, but there is always an underbelly.

Thank you for reading ♥

Currently: The Sunday Afternoon Edition

Hey y’all! Long time no talk to!  🙂

I realized my last post was in April and I didn’t want anyone to think I fell off the face of the earth.

After having my 2nd daughter this past winter, I really thought I could manage being a mama to two, and blogging, and all the other things that definitively take up my time. I thought I had this whole thing figured out.

But I have learned the hard way (crying, mostly…) that there really are seasons to life and I can’t force things. There are only so many hours in the day and there is only so much I can fill my proverbial cup with. I am trying to keep myself healthy mentally and quite honestly, haven’t been doing too well in that department, but I am getting back into my groove, slowly but surely.

All this to say is I am not going anywhere: I will still be blogging here in my tiny corner of the internet  🙂 But my posting schedule might be a bit erratic, so bear with me! Being a mama to my girls and trying to get my mental and physical health back on track, are my big priorities right now.

Moving on…  🙂

What I Enjoyed This Past Month:

Going to the farmer’s market with my girls. My older daughter loves to go and sample foods and we always come home with some yummy fruits and vegetables!

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What I Am Absolutely Over:

Anything that is trending on twitter. Just don’t click on it. I swear, the world is going mad.

What I Am Looking Forward To:

The fact that this is my older daughter’s last week of school. Yay for no homework and rushing around every weekday morning!

I know this post is short and sweet, and I promise I will be back soon! Happy June everyone  🙂

I am on Instagram. I am much more active on that social media platform. Come say hi!

I Could Never…

This post is 100% completely inspired by Courtney from Be More With Less

Courtney had this awesome email from last year that I have saved in my inbox for the past six months. I didn’t delete it. I didn’t archive it. I didn’t stick it into an electronic folder to be forgotten.

I kept it in my inbox, knowing it was important, and that when I had an opportunity, I wanted to write a post about it.

Courtney’s email talked about exploring crazy ideas and about how we have them, but tend to dismiss them. She wrote about the crazy ideas she had (she thought they were crazy at first) but then she thought about them, and followed through with them.

“Wouldn’t it be crazy if we downsized and sold our house” she thought. And guess what? Her and her husband sold their 2,000 square foot house and downsized and moved into a 700 square foot apartment.

“Wouldn’t it be crazy if I dressed with only 33 items for 3 months” she also theorized. And voila! Project 333 was born and it is utilized all over the world!

Courtney lists several other examples of how “wouldn’t it be crazy” sounded exactly that at first but ended up fulfilling so much more that what she thought possible. She asked her readers to think about things differently and see the possibilities in what could potentially be life changing opportunities.

Because the truth of the matter is, we are the absolute best when it comes to battering our own self-esteem. We see flaws in ourselves that no one else sees. And to be honest, sometimes those flaws are just figments of our imagination. We brutally attack our own strengths and tell ourselves that we could never do the thing we really want to do, because we simply aren’t worthy.

Pay attention to your self-talk.

You are not flawed. You are exquisite.

You are worthy.

If there is something in your life that you want to accomplish, I am here to tell you that you can make that happen. Don’t say “I could never…”

YOU COULD.

And you can. Challenge yourself and disregard those “nevers”.

Courtney had a list in her email for contemplation:

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Think about this list. Is fear holding you back? Is there something you want to change?

Is there a way for you to remove the word NEVER from your vocabulary and start moving towards your goal?

YOU CAN DO IT!

Turn “I could never” into “Guess what I just did!” and “Wow! I am so proud of myself that I accomplished that!”

You. Can. Do. It.

Extra Square Feet = Extra Anxiety

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When I first started this blog, one of my first posts had to do with the size of our apartment at the time which was 530 square feet. This housed myself, my husband, my daughter, and my cat. And it worked for a while. Honestly.

But last year, we found out that we were expecting a baby at the same time my husband and I were starting to feel that after 18 months of cozy togetherness, the walls were starting to close in our beloved 530 square feet. So last spring, we upgraded to a bigger apartment and added another 150-ish square feet.

So now we are a family of four humans and one cat resting comfortably in 700 square feet.

Or are we?

Here is the thing: I absolutely try my darndest to limit what comes in our apartment. I freely admit that clutter and messes give me anxiety. I am also aware that I have two children who will inevitably make messes and am also aware of the hilarious dichotomy between the two.

Now to some, 4 people and a pet living in 700 square feet sounds just fine, while to others, the word “claustrophobia” probably comes to mind. And that is okay. This just happens to be our season of life right now.

I find that with the extra square footage that we acquired last spring, it is easier for items to make their way past our front door. It is easier for paperwork to pile up on the kitchen table and counters. It is easier to shove items in the master bedroom closet since it is bigger than our last one and now voila! items are now unseen.

And all of this ramps up my anxiety.

I understand that another reason we have additional items is because we now have a baby. Babies need clothing and diapers and wipes and…well you get it. They have things they need and all of this stuff has to go somewhere. My older daughter also has her items whether it is homework stuff, or her books or toys.

So being methodical about what comes in and out of our apartment is something that I continuously have to work on because I do absolutely love the size of our apartment. I love the natural light we get and I love all the trees I can see outside of my windows.

But I also need to find a healthy balance because anxiety is no joke. Clutter drives me crazy. I need to get a bit of Zen in my day-to-day, for reals…

Do you guys live in a space with a limited number of square feet? Any tips and tricks you can share? Let me know in the comments!  🙂

Capsule Wardrobes: A Love Story

I know capsule wardrobes get a lot of heat for being boring or too small, or how can one possibly get along with only two pairs of jeans or one black t-shirt?

But here is the thing that I think people may miss: a capsule wardrobe can have however many pieces you want. There is no arbitrary rule stating you must have X number of pieces or you get kicked out of the capsule wardrobe club. They don’t take away your minimalism fan club identification card, if you have more than one striped shirt.

A capsule wardrobe can have however many pieces that make sense for you and your lifestyle.

A few weekends ago, I did a massive wardrobe clean-out of my closet. You can read more about that here.

When I was done, every single item that I had placed on a hanger, was indeed a piece I would wear and wear often. Gone were the “just-n-case” clothes. Out the door went anything that I didn’t LOVE. Yes, the word love is in capital letters because that is how I had to feel about the item. I wanted to be able to get dressed in the morning effortlessly and seamlessly. No more hemming and hawing in the a.m. trying to figure out what fits and what doesn’t.

Every piece in my closet fits me and I enjoy wearing them.

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I also realized that living in Southern California does not require two separate seasons of wardrobes. I don’t need to have separate winter and summer clothing because our weather here just really requires a healthy affinity for layering.

For example, in the winter it can be in the 60’s during the day. But we will also have random days during winter where it can be 75F or 80F outside. And then at night, it can drop down into the 40’s. So being here just requires layering of clothes for when it is cold. No layering required if it is warm 🙂

Now that may not be the exact definition when it comes to capsule wardrobes but the beauty of the thing, is that it works for wherever you live, whatever climate you are currently habitating.

My learning of capsule wardrobes and how to utilize then came from the blog of Jessica Rose Williams and her printable helped me do my sorting!  🙂

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I also learned quite a bit from blogger Sarah Anne Hayes. She has this super informative article, Slow Fashion For a Simple Life, which I found to be super helpful.

“We associate comfort with things like yoga pants and oversized t-shirts and convince ourselves we just have to deal with pants that dig into our waist and shoes we can barely walk in. The truth is, you can look amazing and be comfortable if you choose to be. You don’t have to sacrifice function for fashion”. -Sarah Anne Hayes

For me personally, I guess I would call my style “California Casual”. My every day outfit is jeans and a t-shirt, and a pair of Converse. If it is chilly outside, I throw on a cardigan or a sweater/jacket. In the summer, my converse are still worn, but I also wear flip-flops. My jeans make way for shorts, and occasionally I am rocking a tank-top.

That’s it. No other bells and whistles.

I also tend to wear the same colors over and over again. I have reached an age where I know what colors go with my skin tone and which do not. I am also not a big color person to begin with, so neutrals have always been my go-to.

When I sorted out my closet, I stuck to a specific palate to make it easier to get dressed. I stuck to four colors as these are the ones I tend to wear over and over again:

• Grey

• White

• Blue

• Khaki or Olive Green

That’s it. Those are my four main colors. I do own a black cardigan as well a black skirt and even though those two items don’t fall into my main four colors category, that is okay. The skirt is an all-purpose skirt which can be worn to just about anything, be it church or a night out. I have owned this skirt for over 15 years and that baby has held up all this time! I am not going to get rid of it just because it isn’t a specific color that I normally like. I don’t like wearing dresses or skirts to begin with, so having just one skirt to fit all my needs, works perfectly for me!

My closet is functional and it actually is nice to have a bunch of empty hangers!

I know this post is super long, but if there is anything that I missed that you have questions about or are curious and wondering just how many pieces of clothing I actually own, please let me know in the comments!  😉

Simplify: My Goal For March

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Although I embarked on decluttering missions last year, I feel like more can be done. And not just with decluttering, but with simplifying as a whole.

For example, mail gets tossed on tables, forgotten about, and then all of a sudden we are late paying a bill.

Weekday mornings are spent scrambling to make my daughter’s lunches.

We were gifted so many newborn clothes and other accoutrements for my other daughter, there is no way to wear them all or use them all, and they are taking up precious space in our small apartment.

I could go on, but you see where I am going with this…

Spring starts in March and so next month seems as good a time as any, to start simplifying our home and streamlining what we are doing and what is coming in and out of our home.

I literally am feeling overwhelmed with our living space. My OCD/neat freak tendencies are making my normally rational self become undone.

So I am taking action and March is the month to do it. 31 days to get $&!* done.

Who’s with me?  🙂

RELATED POST: Decluttering: Drowning in Paperwork

Currently: The January Edition

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Hey guys! I can’t believe I am actually in front of the computer typing and not holding a baby! My hubby is on baby duty and helping out while I get a quick post in to let you guys know that I am still here. Tired, but still here  🙂

We have definitely adjusted to our new dynamic in being a household of four instead of three. Well, five instead of four if you count the cat, but still, we have found our groove. But mama is exhausted. Life with a newborn is not for the faint-hearted, but obviously it is well-worth it and I am oh so thankful for both of my beautiful daughters!

What I Enjoyed This Past Month: Actually, I am still enjoying it: The series Victoria on Masterpiece about Queen Victoria when she first became queen. The second season just started and I am absolutely in love with the show just like I was last year when the first season debuted. If you aren’t watching it, you need to!

What I Am Absolutely Over: Twitter. Yes, I have a twitter account and yes I use it. But it seems like every day, it is just crap that is on there or crap that is trending. There are days when I consider deleting the app off of my phone, but then panic at the thought of not being “informed”. Does anyone else go through this? I seriously admire the people who have either sworn off twitter, or only check it when they actually sit down and log into their computer.

And this isn’t a complaint against the actual medium of twitter as a tool for social media. I enjoy the initial concept of twitter. And honestly, how else would I have found out that my favorite show Elementary, comes back on air with new episodes in April?  🙂 But some days, twitter leaves me exhausted with the sheer stupidity that seems to seep forth from it.

I just want twitter to be a happy place. Is that so wrong?

On The Healthy Living Front: I have indeed lost some of my pregnancy weight. But here is the truth: I am not actively trying to lose weight. I am only a few weeks postpartum for crying out loud. However, I am also not immune to the enormous pressure that is put on moms to lose the baby weight immediately. It took a couple of months to lose the weight after having my first daughter and I expect it take the same amount of time or a bit longer this time around.

I walk a lot and am eating as healthfully as possible but if I want a few potato chips with my lunch time sandwich instead of my normal side of carrots, I am not beating myself up over it. I accumulated this weight over 9 months; it is not going to disappear in a matter of weeks.

What I Am Currently Reading: A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. GUYS!!! I LOVE THIS BOOK! And I am not even done with it yet!

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I think for many people, this book may have been required reading at some point during your education, but I have never had a chance to read this novel. But I have always, always wanted to read it.

Well last week when I was at the library paying my overdue fines (#frugalfail), I wandered over to a section I rarely visit and saw this book on the shelf. I grabbed it and said to myself, it’s now or never, I am reading the gosh-darn thing, and checked the book out.

I get why this book is beloved and considered a classic. If you are a bookworm like myself and have never read A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, please go to your local library and check this book out. You’re welcome  🙂

Also as a sidenote, I post pictures on Instagram of all the books that I have read. If you are looking for a book to get your hands on and are fresh out of book titles to peruse, check out my feed or better still, look up what I am reading under the hashtag #mackenziereads.

How is January going for you guys? Let me know!