Friday Five

Friday, January 20, 2017

One – White Christmas


I know everyone is over the holidays by now, but since I didn’t talk about Christmas in December, I have to talk about it now. My boyfriend, the dogs, and I went to my parents’ house for Christmas and it snowed! I can’t remember the last time we had a white Christmas! It was Abby’s first time in the snow and she LOVED it. Ringo hasn’t played in the snow since he was a puppy, so he was really happy too.



Two – Macey


Meet our new foster dog Macey! She was on death row at the pound for being fearful and she is a bit skittish, but she’s definitely getting more comfortable around us (she’s such a cuddle bug). She has a cough and is super skinny, so she’s pretty pitiful right now, but we’ll get her healthy and fattened up in no time! Ringo is warming up to her, but Abby still isn’t happy about having another dog around. There haven’t been any fights…Abby just wants nothing to do with her. Hopefully she’ll come around…



Three – Eyelash Extensions

(don't judge my wild eyebrows)

I got eyelash extensions and I love them! BUT, to be honest, I hated them the first couple of days. It took a few days to get used to the look of them and how they felt wet. Seriously, the first time I washed my face and then opened my eyes with wet lashes I freaked out. After a few days I got used to them and now I’m so happy I splurged on them. They’re not cheap to upkeep, but #treatyoself



Four – Abby’s Birthday


My sweet Abby girl turned five a couple weeks ago! She has been the best part of my life during that time period. I can’t even begin to describe how much I love that dog. So we celebrated her birthday with her two favorite things – treats and cuddles!



Five – Driving with Dogs


We bought car safety harnesses for the dogs when we road tripped to Montana over the summer. We don’t really use them driving around town, but we like to buckle them up on longer trips. Abby doesn’t mind hers and Ringo didn’t care on our Montana trip, but now he HATES it. He’s figured out how to turn himself around and slip it over his head (or get it stuck around his head).


On our last trip we had to re-buckle him multiple times, so when we went to visit my parents over Christmas, I sat in the back with him. That little stinker still tried to slip out while I was sitting RIGHT NEXT TO HIM. With me in the back, Abby got to ride shotgun (which she loves). It was kind of annoying trying to have a conversation with my boyfriend from the backseat, but it made the ride SO much easier…so that’s probably how we’re going to ride from now on.



I hope you all have a great weekend! Anyone have any fun plans? My friend Michelle and I are having our monthly craft night tomorrow! Oh, and we’re dog sitting for a friend so we’ll have five dogs in the house this weekend…wish us luck!


http://farmerbell.blogspot.com/     http://alizadventures.blogspot.com/     Cup



January 2016 vs. January 2017

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Every January for the past few years I’ve taken pictures of my main living area and compared them to the previous January. It’s fun to look back at the changes and updates made in a year. The changes from January 2013 to January 2014 were the most drastic (adding the sectional, painting the china hutch), but the 2014 vs. 2015 one is fun too (entry table/travel gallery wall). Last year’s comparison feature the dining room makeover and colorful accessories, but not much else. This year’s changes are even more subtle. The most notable updates are: new curtains and blinds in the living room, new artwork in the dining room, and a new kitchen rug.

January 2016


January 2017

 
 
January 2016


January 2017

 
 

January 2016


January 2017

 
 


January 2016


January 2017





January 2016


January 2017




And finally, here’s how the main living area has evolved over the past five years:


There’s still more I updates I want to make to these rooms, but I’m happy with the progress so far.


2017 Home/Life Goals

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Remember me? I used to blog here somewhat regularly and then radio silence for over 2 months…honestly, I just didn’t feel like blogging, but I’m baaaaaaaack.

So...I wrote a full post recapping my 2016 goals, but once I was done writing, I realized that it was super boring and could be summed up in a few lines instead of needing a full post. So before I jump into my 2017 plans, let’s quickly review my 2016 goals.


My first goal was to landscape the backyard and finish at least one room. Well, I didn’t finish any rooms, but I did have the backyard landscaped. It was one of my biggest (and most expensive) projects to date, but it’s so nice to actually enjoy spending time out there. Some of the weeds have started growing back around the pool and a couple of the plants didn’t survive the hot Phoenix summer, but overall it still looks great. Oh and, our fruit trees have started producing fruit, so we now have fresh oranges and lemons!



My next goal was to do more crafts and small projects. This goal was a success thanks the monthly craft nights my friend Michelle and I started doing. We’re continuing this into 2017, so there’s a lot more crafting time in my future.


My last goal was to be more active and eat healthier. My boyfriend and I joined a gym together a few months ago and I’ve started hiking more, but overall this was a big, fat fail. I think I’m about 10-15 pounds heavier now than when I made this goal, so obviously I need to step it up!



OK, now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk 2017:

Let’s start with the blog:

#1 Be Consistent
My goal this year is to blog more consistently. I’m planning to alternate posting once a week and twice a week throughout the year. I think that’s a schedule that I can stick to and produce quality content for. I don’t want to ever post filler just to keep up with a schedule.



Now let’s talk house projects:

#2 Finish a Damn Room
Seriously, the living room, laundry room, office and master bedroom are SO close to being done. I need to get my act together and finish them! So my goal this year is to finish two rooms in the house. That’s totally doable…even for a slacker like me.



#3 Declutter
Maybe I’m just feeling inspired by the start of fresh year, but I’m ready to purge. We have SO much stuff for just two people (OK, most of it is mine) and I’m ready to start clearing it out. I’ve also decided to start a decluttering series on the blog to hold myself accountable. Hopefully it’ll help inspire some of you who are feeling the same way too. I think I’m going to start with the master bathroom. There’s so much stuff in there for such a small room!




Time to get personal:

#4 Eat Less Meat

I’m not putting my usual exercise more/eat healthier goal on the list this year because I feel like that’s too obvious. This year I want to be more specific and my goal is to eat less meat. If you would have told me two years ago that I’d be making this goal now, I would have laughed in your face. However, my boyfriend has inspired me to eat less meat and I can’t deny the benefits. It’s (usually) healthier and cheaper plus it’s good for the environment.


Typically I plan five dinners a week, so my goal this year is to make at least two of those meals meatless. The other three meals will probably include chicken or fish/seafood. We don’t eat very much red meat for dinner. I’ve been pinning meatless meals like crazy, but if you have a favorite recipe, please send it to me!


# 5 Read More
In 2015 I read 53 books. In 2016 I only read 7 books…I love reading, but as you can see, I didn’t do much of it last year. This year I want to read WAY more than 7 books, so I’m making it one of my goals. Plus reading three classic novels is one of my ’30 for 30’ goals, so I feel like it’s important for me to set a book count this year. I don’t think I’ll make it through 50+ plus books this year like I did in 2015, but I can do better than 7 so I’m going to say that my goal is to read 24 books.




Those are my goals for 2017. I think they are all achievable and I’m looking forward to checking in on my progress mid-year.

How did you do on your 2016 goals? Did you make new ones for 2017?




Starting a Gratitude Journal

Thursday, November 3, 2016

“I’m grateful…”

That’s how I start every entry in my gratitude journal.

Now that it’s November and Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away, I thought it’d be the perfect time to share my new hobby and encourage you all to join me in journaling.


I started my gratitude journal after hearing the idea during an episode of the Young House Love podcast. During the episode Sherry mentions that she’s kept a gratitude journal for years and I was immediately interested in the idea. So, a couple days later I bought a cute journal at Target and started writing.

I didn’t want this to end up feeling like a chore, so my only rule is that I write at least one thing I’m grateful for every day. But if I miss a day, it’s not a big deal. I try not to write entries like “I’m grateful for my family” because I want to focus on things more specific to each day (and because obviously I’m grateful for my family).

The entries don’t need to be deep and meaningful either. For example, a couple of my past entries are that “I’m grateful that a new episode of How to Get Away with Murder = cuddle time” and “I’m grateful that my coworker brought in leftover Halloween candy”. Neither of those are momentous events, but after sitting in a cubicle all day, a bag of Swedish fish at 3 p.m. was exactly what I needed to get through the last hour of work.

So why should you start a gratitude journal? Well, studies have shown that focusing on gratitude:

1. Leads to improved physical and psychological health
2. Enhances empathy and reduces aggression
3. Improves self-esteem and reduces social comparisons
4. Reduces stress and increases happiness
5. Helps people sleep better and longer

You can read more about the benefits of gratitude and writing a gratitude journal here. If that still doesn’t convince you, maybe Oprah can convince you (she’s written gratitude journals for over a decade).

If you are thinking about starting a gratitude journal, I’ve rounded up some of the cutest journals currently available on Amazon. I ordered #1 for myself a couple days ago and I'm hoping it's in the mailbox when I get home today!  Prices are as of 11/2/16, but are subject to change because Amazon does whatever Amazon wants.
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5
6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10

I’m trying to convince my boyfriend to start his own gratitude journal. He’s kind of into the idea, so I might just buy him one in hopes that he’ll actually use it. He would probably be happy with just a plain notebook, but I like these for him. I’m leaning towards the lazy panda.

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

So, what do you think? Are you ready to start journaling? Or do you already keep a gratitude journal?



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