Productivity Push

A month or so back I mentioned that I had started to do the Make Over Your Mornings by Crystal Paine.  In typical fashion, once I got started I kind of went off the deep end with the whole increasing productivity thing.  I’m now a graduate of it, the Make Over Your Evenings course and I’m half way through the Make Over Your Year course.  My husband and I are doing the Year course together since it’s about household as well as personal goals.  It’s been fun to work on this together and also helpful.  We are pretty different in work styles and personalities so the course is helping us in two ways: to create better balanced goals through helpful feedback since we view things pretty differently and to let us come to common ground on some key goals that we don’t seem to make headway on year after year.  It feels exciting to get some traction going on our goals!

I had to laugh the other day when Steven guided me back on the rails about something that I was over reaching on and said “what would Crystal Paine do?”  Now my almost 14 year old is also working doing the Morning program and we all have fun with WWCPD added in here and there in our weekly planning conversations.  We’ve become Crystal disciples – LOL.

So what’s the result of all this work?

  • I’ve woken up at 5:40 AM for over a month now and am feeling much more in control of my day and my productivity has definitely improved.
  • For 2 weeks now I’ve been tracking my sleep, activity and calories (in connection with My Fitness Pal) with the Jawbone UP2 that my friend Hallie and Crystal Paine recommended.  I LOVE the alarm feature!!  It’s so nice to wake up without been jarred by a loud alarm but instead wake with the Jawbone vibrating.  My husband likes it too and I’m not worried about waking my toddler anymore.
  • Checking a number of significant projects off our Pivotal Tracker house project to do list.  If BTW you’re doing any type of home remodeling, or really just want a nice way to check off the to do’s, check out Pivotal Tracker.  We love how you can attach dollars needed and assess time needed to each entry as well as assign an “owner.”  I’ll post photos soon of the various finished projects.
  • Going from struggling to get a weekly meal plan done to getting a full month’s worth of meals planned by the 1st.
  • Expanding the Our Groceries App functionality in our house to include 35 favorite meals and 3 staple lists (cold, pantry and specialty) which in combination with the shopping options below has saved many hours a week.
  • Setting up almost all grocery shopping with online accounts through the three different Amazon options of Amazon Prime subscriptions and Dash Buttons, Amazon Fresh and Prime Now.  I used to have to go to the grocery store multiple times in a week and to between 2-4 different stores to get the variety of items we use.  Now, my husband handles making the list with the Our Groceries App (based off my calendar), checks our stock levels and orders needed items.  I receive the deliveries and handle putting things away.  FINALLY we don’t spend hours on a Saturday going these tasks.  And we can divide up this major housework item between us in a way that matches our skill sets.  It’s so freeing!!
  • Using a daily schedule to get other housework and tasks done so that they don’t feel overwhelming.  I found the cute template on Classy Clutter that you see below.

I’m still in progress on quite a lot of my other goals and I’ll keep you updated on them over the next few weeks.  I hope where ever you are that the sun is shining as beautifully as it is here in Seattle.  And I need to sign off and go enjoy my new found free time!

Cleaning Schedule


Quick office preview: my memory vignette

office2 Yesterday I shared that I’ve been working to finally (after living here a year) getting my office in order.  Because our house is from the 1920’s, closet space is far from vast so I opted to have a combo dressing room and office in the lower level of my house.  It’s a bit of a pain to trek downstairs to get ready, but I decided it worth it in order to have my own complete space that I can retreat to.

I’m the type of woman that prefers to save up (or break the monthly budget) and get one fabulous item periodically rather than shop often and have a huge wardrobe.  I also keep things like designer shoes for many years so that my return on investment ends up very low per wear. I started this habit of less is more (or is it a ‘more’ is more impact scenario?!?) as a teen.  I will admit that there were months living in San Francisco when I ate cheap diets of noodles and eggs for a month in order to get a perfect dress or pair of shoes.

Funny but I still own things from my teen years and early 20’s so I guess it was worth the marginal food in some cases! I had a good laugh the other day when I realized with a friend that I have owned some shoes for as long as she’s been alive (23 years)!!

This vignette is on top of my armoire and includes the YSL shoes I wore for my wedding, the Manolo Blahnik box from my very first couture pair of couture shoes (yes, I still have them) and an Hermes scarf box from my first trip to Paris.  So there are lots of memories for me in this display and it makes me smile.  On the note of memories, if you love fashion, if you’ve never been to the Hermes store in Paris you should put this stop on your bucket list!  My vivid memory of the French sales women whipping the scarves open & closed for to view their patterns was both amazing and a of bit hilarious theatrics.  I have no idea how they learn to do this in single motion but it’s quite a show!!  And doing it while looking so typically Parisian bored and beautiful just adds to the scene.

Two of the boxes are from another must visit spot in Paris – Laduree.  The 2 little boxes in neon herringbone are from when Steven & I eloped to Paris 3 years ago.  Laduree is one of the bakeries that spurred the macaron craze in the US.  They’ve been around since 1862 so macarons are far from new for them, and in my opinion, theirs are perfect…crisp and perfectly balanced, bright flavors.  The “best” macaron title BTW is a big debate point with Parisians so I may get grief for that statement!

Try to create a spot in your house or apartment that offers a quick glance at some mementoes from your life.  They need not be designer or expensive items – just meaningful to you.  Best to group like things together as collections offer much better impact when together instead of scattered.  My daughter has a similar vignette of shells, rocks and sea glass that she’s collected on vacations.  There are endless variations for vignettes of course – they seem to be everywhere these days on Instagram – but those that are best include special memories.  Happy collecting!

DIY $4 Centerpieces

Centerpieces were dollar store carnations sitting on black glitter stars

Last Academy Awards Party post.  Although the Awards show happened last night, I thought these centerpieces are good for a variety of occasions so I decided to post anyways.  I’ve been throwing parties for many years now and until recently, I hadn’t discovered the fab source of Dollar Stores.  Now it is a first stop when doing party décor planning and then I fill in other items from stores and Amazon.

These centerpieces are nothing I’d planned but when I saw the carnations at Dollar Tree, I thought they’d be an easy, cheap and make ahead option.  I’m not a huge faux flower fan but carnations are one type that look pretty darn good.  Each $1 vase was filled with marbles (already had these from Halloween displays) and then I bound 3 stems together with strong string and clipped the stems with a wire cutter.  SO EASY! Next I used the foil hanging stars from Amazon (shown a few posts ago) as a tracing guide on black glitter paper.  I usually opt for seated food service but somehow that felt too stuffy for this party so instead we used tall bar tables and decided to skip bar stools.  The girls just grazed on finger foods so no need to take up more space or spend money on them.

Each table had a $5 rented red tablecloths, layered with a 50 cent matte gold plastic square tablecloth (from Dollar Tree & cut in half so each cloth made 2 toppers), then a $1 black star with a $ 4 centerpiece on top.  And voila!  $10.50 total for an awesome looking table.

Amazing original drawing of your wedding dress available

Debi Griffen page

3 years after my husband & I eloped to Paris, I finally go my act together and ordered the drawing of the wedding gown I wore for the ceremony we had in Seattle a few months later.

I LOVED the drawing that Debi Griffin of Illustrative Moments did right after we eloped!  And I was super excited when the drawing and a photo of us outside Notre Dame Cathedral were featured in Florida Bride magazine.

These custom drawings are so beautiful in person that the photo here doesn’t begin to do justice.  The artistry is lovely and the detail she goes to make the drawings really reflect the bride are extraordinary – especially given they only cost $195-225. They are an amazing gift to give a special bride too.

Motivation to order the ceremony drawing came from the re-do of my home office (which also doubles as my closet).  I’ll feature some shots of it once it is further along.

I will post the new drawing as soon a I receive it.  Debi said she is really busy these days so it won’t arrive until some time in April.