More Ways to Waste Time: The "No Time to Waste" Edition

Friday, August 22, 2014
I feel like I haven't sat down in a week.  The photographer for our listing just left and making the house "photo ready" was no small feat.  We also sent Joe off to Denver yesterday (with a fully loaded trailer in tow).  It's been exhausting around here on many levels.  I'm so happy to be able to sit and relax a bit.  I have a few minor paint touch ups tomorrow before the house goes on the market, but we're otherwise ready!  Keeping the house "show ready" will be tough with two kids and a dog, but at least my husband isn't here ;)  He just adds an extra layer of things to the mix.  I miss him, but I don't miss having another adult here messing things up!  And with the kids starting school in less than two weeks, I'm hoping this won't be so hard.  If you have any "keep the house show ready" tips, I'm all ears!

Since I've been staging, scrubbing, painting, de-cluttering, etc, I've only kept up with the bare minimum on the web, but here are a few things that caught my eye over the past few weeks:

+  The Season 4 Homeland trailer has been released.  I'll definitely watch, but the trailer didn't do much for me (aside from Rep. Peter Russo [A.K.A. Corey Stoll] making an appearance!).  Maybe they wanted to lower our expectations?  Or perhaps the trailer just wasn't long enough to reel me in.

+  I've only skimmed this article on a month of nut-free lunches, but I definitely plan to print it off and post it in the kitchen when school starts in two weeks!

+  Sundry posted this video, "You Shall Not Pass, Dog", to explain the situation in her house after she brought their new dog home and their cat was not pleased.  I think I might have cried a little through the laughter while watching it.  Amazing how these huge dogs are intimidated by cats...

+  I must have super-sensitive eyes, because anything other than baby wipes makes them sting when I remove my eye make up.  I've heard rave things about Bioderma (I'm sure I'm a few years late to the party), so I finally bit the bullet and ordered it.  I'll let you know if it lives up to the hype.

+  I currently have three different personal email addresses and my main account has over 13,000 unread emails.  I've been wanting to streamline them and this article, "In Two Weeks, I went From 23,768 Emails in My Inbox to Zero.  Here's How." has some great ideas to get me started.  My goal is to be down to one mail box with under 10 unread emails by Thanksgiving.

+  Finally, and this will shock no one who knows me, we just had to send Joe off to Denver with a dinner at Ozzies.  Steak Frittes were inhaled.  Shenanigans ensued:

And some more civilized shots:

Oh, did I forget to mention that Kate broke her collar bone last week?  When it rains, it pours, right?  I will be back next week with a beauty post and some shots of our staged house.  Have a great weekend!

Rocky Mountain High

Monday, August 18, 2014
Hello friends :)  It's been a while since I've written a post.  I started this entry last Tuesday, but things have gotten out of whack.  Not a lot going on over here.  Oh yeah, I turned 40 and we're MOVING TO DENVER!  Yes.  I've lived in Virginia nearly all my life and in a month (or two?) we will pack up our little family and move across the country to Colorado.  I'm full of different emotions, but mostly we're excited to have this adventure.  I haven't even had time to contemplate the big 4-0.  Not that I was dreading it, anyway.  I still feel 15 inside :)

Things are moving quickly--appointments with our realtor, move estimators and handymen have kept us rolling.  Plus, the realtor gave us a long list of to-dos to complete before we list the house next week.  (My blue dining room has to!)

There's so much to say, but I have a bathroom floor to bleach and pictures to hang.  (Staging is the best part of this process, so far.  Any excuse to shop and rearrange furniture!)  Here are some pictures from our trip two weeks ago for Joe's final interviews.  Yep, I got to tag along for a mini vacation!  We spent seven hours in the car once we landed doing "drive-bys" of properties in various neighborhoods that we had "favorited" in Zillow.  It was eye opening to see the terrain and different neighborhoods..we also met with a realtor and spent many hours actually walking through houses to see if we found "the one".  Luckily, we didn't since we still have to sell our house here in Virginia.

We stopped for lunch at this awesome Mexican restaurant in Highlands Ranch:

The carnitas were to die for...tender, yet crispy...they melted in my mouth.  So good!!

We stayed at The Brown Palace hotel in downtown Denver (very near Joe's new office).

It was a gorgeous room!  (Naturally, I didn't think to take a picture.) The bathroom was a truly felt like a vacation (despite his final interviews and house hunting!).

One of the mornings I had all to myself to explore the city and I ended up at the 16th Street Mall.  If you haven't been there, it's a mile long city street of shops, restaurants and businesses that is closed to cars.  They have electric buses that stop on every corner and are completely free!  It was a very cool spot.

Denver had a bit of an Austin feel to it to me.  This billboard stopped me in my tracks because it just seemed so straight out of Portland or Austin:

And we literally turned the corner and there was a guy washing the sidewalk with his hose!  We were cracking up while Joe tried to sneak a picture on his phone.

Anyways, I'm sure Joe and I each gained 5 pounds from all the good eats we had. The first night was dinner at Stuebens (a Diners Drive Ins and Dives recommendation) and another night was at a place named Old Major, a farm to table restaurant that was laid back upscale.  And while there are plenty of independent restaurants and breakfast spots, we found ourselves at Sams No. 3 every morning.  It was breakfast with a tex-mex mix done perfectly.  Why shop around when you KNOW a place is going to deliver?

Hopefully regular posts will start back up next week.  The photographer is scheduled for this Wednesday so we can list the house.  Fingers crossed that it goes quickly, but the market around here is (surprisingly) stagnant.  I'll be sure to post some pictures of the big changes we made!

Any Denver residents out there?  I'd love to hear what you think of it :)

Cold As Ice

Wednesday, July 30, 2014
One of my older brothers used to say that I was "cold as ice" and then sing the popular Foreigner song. It always made me laugh.  I was never offended because really, he was dead on.  I'm just not a sentimental person.  I'm not attached to things and I don't need a lot of mushy mushy business in my life.

So it shouldn't surprise you that when my kids brought home a mountain of notebooks, folders and projects throughout the last week of school, I found myself not beaming with pride, but annoyed that my once somewhat organized kitchen now looked like a paper tornado had left its mark.  Every day I dumped piles of paper on top of the already full homework section of the kitchen counter and then simply avoided it all.  Like I do with most things I just don't want to deal with in life.  (see also: clean clothes in the laundry basket sitting on my bedroom floor).

(Kate's self portrait--one of my picks to keep)

It's not like anyone at the school had curated what the kids brought home (they don't have time for that!).  Every art project, busy-work craft, and worksheet was there along with the five composition notebooks each child used for a corresponding subject.

I debated going through it on my own, standing over the recycling bin, but my daughter is much too aware and would have been asking to show me a "special project" from two months ago the second the recycling truck picked up our bins.  My son?  I could ask him about something from school and the response would be, "What?.....ugh.  I don't bemember." (He still has some words that need a little fine tuning ;)

I felt generous going through it with my daughter there next to me.  She excitedly told me about this project and that while also reading every line of assignments she had completed.  She was obviously proud.  I half listened as I ruthlessly skimmed and then purged the composition notebooks that couldn't be used for scratch paper.

(I also chose to keep this one--it looks like the kid who drew this is so HAPPY!)

With my son, I saved a few things and just recycled the rest.  But I felt like I had to consult with my daughter.  And why not?  It was her work, after all.  However, I have my limits.  I explained that we just couldn't hold on to ALL of that stuff and she had to pick one notebook and 2-3 art projects from the pile.

She shocked me with how deftly she was able to choose.  And that was that.  Perhaps she's not as sentimental as I had pegged her.

This exchange happened a week or two before my mom introduced me to a blog named Mommas Gone City. It's a pretty popular blog from a mom who writes about raising her (soon to be four) children.  While perusing her site, I stumbled across an article she had recently published about her experience going through her childrens' schoolwork at the end of the school year.  Let's just say, we didn't have the same approach.  A quote from the beautifully written post should give you an idea of why I say that:

These moments… Even just simply sitting on the couch with them, listening and watching them both show me their school work, the inside of their souls as best as they can describe it, I won’t forget it. - Mommas Gone City

It was so lovely and the picture in my head of this moment with her children felt like maybe that's how I should've handled the onslaught of paperwork.  I mulled it over for a few days.  I wondered if I was being 'present' enough for my kids and really hearing their little voices.  After all, we are all just looking for validation in life.

I ran this story by my best friend and as soon as I finished, we both started laughing.  Her experience was more like mine.  I mean, I grew up one of eight kids.  If I told my mom that it hurt when I breathed, she'd say, "then don't breathe."  (Never mind that I ended up having a collapsed lung.  True story.)  And I think I'm more resilient because of it!

I'm happy that Mommas Gone City shares those special moments with her kids.  Good for her.  We just have a different way of doing things.  And that's what makes life so great.  If we were all exactly the same, what would be the point?

How do you manage the end of year chaos that is "operation desk cleanout" at school?  Do you have a limit to what you keep?  Or are you a little more sentimental and hold onto every last thing?

Stop the Presses! Self-Tanning Update

Monday, July 28, 2014
I'm going to do another budget beauty post soon, but I had such a positive experience with this product over the weekend that I had to pop in to share.  I mentioned that I'd be trying L'Oreal's Sublime Broze Self-Tanning Towelettes and while it took me a while to get up the energy to try something new, they were worth the wait.

The box says they are "quick & convenient" with "smooth, even application" and "streak free".  All true. I feel a little silly getting this excited, but when you avoid the sun like I do, but have a bit of self-loathing going on about the ol' pasty-white legs, it's big deal.

I used the "Medium Natural Tan" color.  I exfoliated/shaved in the shower and then thoroughly dried off.  The packet holds a folded up "wipe" that is slightly more wet than a baby wipe, but about the same thickness.  I just started to rub the wipe all over my arms and legs where I thought I would naturally have a tan.  I couldn't believe how much product was on the towelette--it definitely covered my entire body with ease.  After washing my hands, I used the blow dryer to make sure my skin was completely dry before I put on my robe and started my morning routine.  Easy Peasy.

The color started coming in within a few hours and by that night, I was tan!  The instructions said that once you achieved the desired color you wanted, you could do the same process again 1-2 times a week to keep it up.  Pretty cool!

Two things to note:

1.  The scent didn't bother me while I was applying it, but it stuck around long enough for me to notice (for several hours).  It wasn't offensive, but for someone sensitive to scents, it's worth noting.
2.  Instead of only rubbing the towelette on areas where I would normally tan, I should've just rubbed it all over my arms and legs.  The difference between "tan" and not tan on my arms (especially my upper arms) is pretty obvious.  No big deal for my errand running/laundry doing days, but for a night out, it might not cut it.

Now that I've found a solid tanning solution, I can focus on my search for a non-irritating eye makeup remover.  Any suggestions?

Happy (fake) tanning!  :)

More Ways to Waste Time: Have a Great Weekend!

Friday, July 25, 2014
Things are very up in the air around these parts:  I might have some big news to share soon!  With everything going on, the days are running together and I never know what day it is.  I hope you are managing your summer better than I am ;)

Here are a few things that I've been reading and following on the Internet lately:

  • This article on plastic surgery inside the beltway fascinates me.  And I totally get why people there do it.

  • YES!  New artwork and some scoop for Homeland Season 4 that starts on October 4th.  I already have it on my calendar.

  • True story: I only recently started using aerosol hairspray in the last few years (I blame bad skin as a teenager that I feared was from the spray!)....what a difference it makes (duh).  The only downside is the spray dries out and builds up on my baby fine hair.  I just ordered Kenra 25 based on the rave reviews-I'm hoping it lives up to all of the hype.  It should be here next week.  And not a moment too soon because I'm using some travel sized cheapo after my Pureology spray ran out.  (Pureology: loved the smell, hated the buildup)

  • "Girls Love Science. We Tell Them Not To." was a thought-provoking article--especially since I'm raising an impressionable, make-up loving girly-girl.  The commentary on gender roles in our society is not breaking news, but alarming nonetheless.

  • This week, I rejoined Birchbox.  I've had hit and miss success with my boxes in the past, so I gave the service a rest for a long time.  But I just heard that you can select one of the samples that comes in your box right now (one of four) and that was enough to lure me back!  I like the idea of surprises, but knowing that I really want at least one of the samples they send makes the deal pretty sweet.

Happy reading and have a great weekend :)
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