I’m one of those people that can end up feeling overwhelmed by a daunting task rather easily. While it’s true in many areas of my life, where this overwhelm most often expresses itself is in homemaking tasks, specifically cleaning and home organization.
When we were unpacking our boxes after moving into our new house, there were many times where I simply looked at the utter disaster of boxes around me and rather than feeling inspired to get everything unpacked, I wanted to curl up on the couch and do none of it. For whatever reason, this is how my mind works. Any sense of overwhelm automatically results in my wanting to shut down completely.
The other day I was finishing up the cleaning and organizing of my office, and my technique was to take everything that was still out and put it on my desk. The result was everything else looked great, but my desk was piled high with a bunch of random things that still needed a home. Cue the overwhelm! I found myself wondering how I was going to actually accomplish this task, but then I actually said outloud “Just do one item at a time. Just one!”
If you can even believe it, we’ve all been friends with Monica, Ross, Rachel, Joey, Pheobe, and Chandler for 25 years now. I’ll admit, I wasn’t into Friends when the show was originally airing, but to say I’m a fan now would be an understatement. I have watched the show on reruns time and time again, and since the complete series of Friends has been on Netflix I am in the middle of my 4th run-through of the entire show. Yes, fourth, and I have no shame about it either.
We’ve all spent years laughing at the antics of our 6 favorite sitcom friends, and now it’s officially time for all Friends fans to rejoice. With the 25th anniversary of our favorite show comes several retailers celebrating with special merchandise specifically for this momentous occasion. I plan on sharing some of my favorite choices from various shops with you over the next few weeks. Don’t be surprised if you do see a few of these items pop up in my new house. Today, we’re starting with a store that I love to browse and regularly want to spend a ton of money in: Box Lunch
Box Lunch is the perfect store for pop culture fans. With products ranging from Harry Potter and Stranger Things to Marvel, Toy Story, and your favorite Disney Princess, odds are if you’re a fan of something, you can find it in this store. While I was at Mall of America with my sister we wandered into Box Lunch because it’s a great place to browse, and when I walked in I came face to face with a giant center display filled with all sorts of themed goodies all centering around my precious favorite TV show, Friends. They had quite a few options, but I want to share a few of what I consider to be the highlights.
I am a sucker for cute zipper pouches, and this set of 3 Friends themed pouches need to be a part of my collection. They’re easy to clean, so makeup or liquid items aren’t an issue, and let’s be honest, they’re amazingly cute! These will definitely be a part of my new “Friends” collection that I didn’t know I’d be collecting.
The planner girl in me is giddy with excitement over this set of 3 notebooks (because you can never have too many blank notebooks) and this weekly planning pad. I mean, the detail of titling the weeks as “the one with…” before you see your schedule is just brilliant.
The apparel options are out of this world, but these were my two favorite choices. The socks set, while I’m guessing the quality isn’t as great as my athletic socks, is such a fun way to express your Friends obsession, all from the privacy of within your shoes if you so desire. There are many different t-shirt options, but this one stood out to me as unique, and I love when you can get a fun, feminine-looking pop culture T-shirt.
Is there anything more appropriate than a welcome mat for outside your front door that asks each guest “How you doin’?” before they step foot in your house? I don’t think so.
This “paper bag” lunch box is absolutely adorable. Don’t worry, it’s not actually a paper bag, but a reusable lunch box that can make your coworkers think you get takeout from Central Perk every single day.
If you want a few subtle details around your home, you could accent your living room with Friends quote coasters, or maybe hang a tea towel over your oven handle. These would make amazing conversation starters for your guests to casually notice as they spend time in your place.
This is just some of the Box Lunch Friends collection! So tell me, how many of these do you want in your home? I’m not going to lie, I’m tempted by more than a few. Have you seen any other Friends anniversary collection items out there? I know there’s a Pottery Barn collection (a post on that coming soon), but what else is out there?
While I’m definitely not the live downtown type of gal, during the month that we are living in downtown Minneapolis before we move into our new suburban home, we are doing what we can to take advantage of the food scene that’s available to us, especially since we can walk to get to these places. The fact that we can walk and get a ton of steps definitely helps make up for all of the delicious treats we’ve been eating.
This past weekend we had our first visitor since we left the Chicagoland area. Having someone visit is the perfect excuse to go out instead of cook, so that’s exactly what we did. In one weekend we went to 3 amazing places and ended up with an exciting bonus stop simply because we were in the right place at the right time. Here’s how we ate our way through Minneapolis this weekend.
Day Block Brewing Company
We started our adventure at Day Block Brewing. Hubby and I had stopped there for a drink the week before, and while we were there we read the menu. Their “snacks” section had a ton of different things on the menu that I wanted to try, so I knew I wanted to go back and order a bunch of them to share. That’s exactly what we did. Between the 3 of us, we ordered 6 different snacks off of the menu:
Devils on Horseback
What’s not to love about that list? 🤤 The garlic knots and the pretzels were pretty standard fare, but really good. The grilled asparagus was cooked in olive oil with shallots, garlic, and lemon, and topped off with flavorful balsamic glaze, which made eating a healthy vegetable taste oh so delicious. The pickle flight was different, as it’s not just pickles like we think of pickles. The flight changes daily and it’s 3 separate pickled veggies. On this particular day, we had dill pickles (which were more sour than I would have liked), pickled carrots in soy sauce and ginger, and kimchi, which I had never eaten before. Since we were there for happy hour, the flight was only $3 instead of the normal $6, which I am thankful for because it was okay to try for the reduced price, but not the full price.
The real showstoppers for me were the last two items. Devils on horseback were (get ready for this) bacon-wrapped, goat cheese stuffed dates with a maple syrup sriracha dipping sauce. If anything has goat cheese in the description, odds are I will order it. I’m obsessed with goat cheese. These little bites were absolutely delightful and if we go back I will order them again. I don’t love spicy food, but I put a few drops of the sauce on my bites and it took the flavor to a whole new level. The bruschetta was also a delicious and flavorful dish that left me wishing there was more than one piece for each of us.
The icing on the cake at Day Block is that they have kombucha on tap. Apparently, the owner or someone with status there loves brewing his own booch and recently started making it available to customers. In the two times I’ve been there I’ve had two different flavors (they change whenever his brew changes) and both have been absolutely delightful. Day Block’s atmosphere is casual, calm, and even on a Friday night, while it’s busy and bustling, you can still find a seat. This is apparently pretty normal in Minneapolis and something I am really coming to appreciate during our time living downtown. 10/10 would recommend a visit to Day Block Brewing.
Izzy’s Ice Cream
This ice cream shop is pure gold. With two locations (Minneapolis and St. Paul), Izzy’s Ice Cream shop changes homemade flavors so frequently that they have online flavor trackers that update every 3 minutes to tell you exactly what flavors are in each store. Some flavors are like magical unicorns that you don’t know if you’ll ever see again, like the flavor I got the first time we went. Izzy’s little signature is adding an Izzy sized scoop on top of most orders. The first time we went I got a salted caramel single scoop, and on a whim opted for the first chocolate flavor I saw (“chocoholic” was the name) as my Izzy scoop. Well, it turns out that I should have gotten that flavor exclusively because it was amazing. Every chocolate and cookie dough lover’s dream come true. I vowed to get it next time I was in.
Turns out, this past week there was no such flavor on the menu. Never fear though, because they actually have an app that will notify you when your desired flavor choices are back in store. How cool is that?! The joke is on me though, because it turns out that my beloved flavor isn’t an option on there either, which means it was a “mystery flavor” or a “test batch,” both of which are regularly on the menu, but you never know what they’ll be. Will I ever see my unicorn flavor again? I don’t know 😢
However, the ice cream scooper and I came up with a plan to sort of replicate my flavor with what was available. You can actually split your single scoop into two flavors. The result was a scoop of cookies and cream, a scoop of milk chocolate, and my Izzy of choice was a butter salted caramel which ended up being the best of the 3. Don’t get me wrong though, all of the flavors we all ordered ended up being delicious. Izzy’s is definitely worth a stop for any and all ice cream lovers.
The Bachelor Farmer Cafe
Saturday had us going out for breakfast. My husband has been coming home with plenty of recommendations from his new coworkers and this was one of them. The Bachelor Farmer is actually the restaurant, but attached to it is the Bachelor Farmer Cafe, which is where we went for coffee and brunch. To start, the coffee is delicious. I’ve become quite the coffee snob as of late, so my standards for a “good” cup of coffee have gotten higher. Their fresh coffee did not disappoint. There’s a very real possibility that I go back to the cafe and buy a bag of their beans once we move to the suburbs so I can enjoy a special coffee treat while unpacking in our new home. Delicious!
Now let’s talk about my breakfast sandwich. At 10 am on weekends only (which is a major bummer) they offer an amazing weekend brunch menu. I ordered the regular old breakfast sandwich, which seemed so simple, but it was the best breakfast sandwich I’ve ever eaten in my life. Not joking. The eggs were magnificently cooked, the prairie breeze cheddar and thick-cut bacon were amazing, and don’t even get me started on the brown buttered maple sea salt biscuit. I am a sucker for a good biscuit and this thing was incredible. Such a simple-sounding sandwich, but absolutely delicious.
Hubby ordered the savory buckwheat waffles topped with roasted ham, gruyere, maple butter, mustard crème, and an over-easy egg. His dish was epic. The mustard flavor took it from simply delicious to next-level awesome. Our friend had the strawberry chocolate waffles, which I didn’t try so I can’t have an opinion on them, but she enjoyed them greatly. 10/10 would recommend! Try to come for weekend brunch if you can.
Milk Bar Popup Shop
The last place I went to was totally not planned but allowed me to check a bucket list item off of my list. Christina Tosi is a chef I got to “know” thanks to my obsession with Master Chef and Master Chef Junior, as she was regularly one of the judges for a while. When Netflix released volume 4 (pastry) of Chefs Table, the first episode was all about Christina and her store creation: Milkbar. That’s the only reason I had any idea what Milkbar was. While we were having brunch, my dining companions commented on a “milk stand” being set up across the street. I couldn’t see it, so I had no idea what they were talking about. Once we were done eating and walked outside I looked at the pop-up and immediately recognized the “Milk” logo. This wasn’t a milk stand. This was Milkbar!
After our friend left, hubby was playing video games, so I decided to walk back and wait in the silly line to try Milkbar goodies. After 90 minutes in line (am I crazy? Maybe), I bought one of every food item they had to offer, including Milkbar’s signature cereal milk soft serve. The cereal they use is corn flakes, and while I’ve never really been a huge fan of corn flakes, the flavor of this soft serve was unique and out of this world tasty. Also in my haul was 5 different giant cookies, two flavors of cake balls, and their signature gooey butter cake pie. Slowly but surely, the Mister and I will be trying out all of these goodies this week.
They also offered merch, including all 3 of Christina’s cookbooks. I was going to buy one if she was there to autograph it, but since she wasn’t, I looked to see if they were on Amazon and sure enough, not only were they on there, but they’re cheaper (surprise, surprise). I fully intend on adding them all to my collection, as I want to start cooking and baking more (non-diet recipes) in our new home. She has 3 books: Momofuku Milk, Milk Bar Life, and All About Cakes. I fully intend on getting all 3 added to my collection in the near future. In the meantime, we’ve tried the “crack pie” (outstanding!), the birthday cake truffles (yum!), and the confetti cookie. All were so good and I can’t wait to try the rest of the collection. What a happy accident of being in the right place at the right time to see this pop-up shop!
It was definitely a full weekend of eating, and I regret 0% of it. There’s such a great food scene here, which we’re trying to balance with cooking at home and eating healthy while living downtown. Everything was so delicious that I had to share it all with you in case you needed some Minneapolis food suggestions. Do you have any suggestions for other places we need to try?
Starting the month with a fresh set of goals is one of my favorite things. There’s something that I find incredibly empowering about new goals to check off a list every month, and while I don’t always get them all done, it’s still a great feeling to have ideas a plans laid out. For 2019 I am using the Cultivate What Matters Powersheets as my goal setting planner and I have been loving it! Not only do the Powersheets do an amazing job of helping me figure out what my goals should be to begin with, but they also have monthly goal tending sheets that are laid out to help you plan your goals in 3 ways: Monthly action items, weekly action items, and daily tasks.
This month I have two types of goals to tell you about. In this post we will talk about my tending sheet, but since the first day of the Christian season of Lent is right around the corner, I have some specific goals I’m setting for that 40 day period as well. Let’s dive in.
It’s time for the official goal setting post of 2019! I know, I know, these are totally cliche and overdone, but I am seriously psyched for my goals this year. I took a slightly different approach in my goal setting and the end result gave me 10 goals (yes 10!) that I am really excited about. This year I used the Cultivate What Matters Powersheets to do my goal planning. I’ve used this product in the past, but never really fully committed to using them. This year I thoroughly and thoughtfully did the Powersheets prep work, and the goals I came up with are things that I feel will greatly improve my life and the way I can show up for others.
Now, since this isn’t a Powersheets review I won’t get into exactly how they work, but ultimately what you need to know is this; there are different goals that you can plan for in this book. During your prep work, you are asked to find recurring themes that you might have written down and not realized you had an actual recurring theme. After all of my prepping and some thought about how I want to shape my year, these are the 10 goals I came up with.
My 2019 Goals
A quick note: some of these goals are actually acting as more of a category and I can create smaller goals within that one goal. That being said, let’s dive in.
Goal #1: Hit Goal Weight and Become My Strongest and Fittest Self
As usual, getting down to my goal weight is on here, but this year it’s a little different. I’m not entirely sure what goal weight is for me anymore because I am shifting my focus to being less Read more…
Jo Malone Perfume Collection: Jo Malone is something I have personally been dying to own, but the price is so high that I can never decide exactly which fragrance I want to commit to. Why do I want to own Jo Malone? No idea! I likely have it in my head that it’s some symbol of ultimate luxury or something, but it’s been on my wishlist for years now. This set has 5 minis in it that give a nice variety of fragrances so you can try things out and decide if there is any scent you love or you can mess around with mixing the scents to come up with your own signature scent. The scents included are Lime Basil & Mandarin, Nectarine Blossom & Honey, English Oak & Redcurrant, Wild Bluebell, and Wood Sage & Sea Salt. You end up with 1.5 oz of product total for $115, which prices it out as slightly more money per ounce ($77/oz) than buying a one-ounce bottle ($68), which is a bummer, but you would get to try 5 different scents instead of having to commit to one. Ultimately, this would be an amazing and luxurious gift for any fragrance lover in your life.
Tata Harper Jumbo Resurfacing Mask: This mask is my new love. I went and got a sample at Sephora and after that one try, I knew it was going to be a love of mine. This made me sad because it is a really pricey mask, clocking in at $62 for a 1 oz container! 😱 I know, what am I thinking? I happened to go over to Tata Harper’s website instead of Sephora, just to look around, and I stumbled across this beauty. Meet the JUMBO sized container of my new beloved mask! This is 3.55 oz of product for a whopping $125. Before you think I’m a crazy person for not only suggesting this but also buying it (because I totally did!), do the math. At that price, the mask is only $35.20 per ounce instead of the regular price of $62. That is a major discount and completely worth shelling out the extra cash for upfront. I am excited to see what using this mask regularly does for my skin, and with it being as popular as it is, I’m certain this is a great gift for the skincare lover in your life.
Dagne Dover Midi Tote: I use this bag every single day. It’s just like my Dagne Dover Classic Tote (which I did an entire blog post on) only smaller and more convenient for everyday use. I ended up buying mine because the color was on sale, but I didn’t realize I was purchasing my new go-to handbag. All of the small details that go into a Dagne Dover bag is why I have become a brand loyalist. In the midi tote, there are pen loops, an iPad sleeve, many pockets, and (most importantly) a build in water bottle holder. This bag carries everything I could possibly need while I’m out and about. I get so many compliments when I carry a Dagne Dover, no matter what size (I own a petite one too). This is a beautiful, but fully functional gift.
Sugarfina Holiday Gift Box: This gift box is a great gift for anyone with a sweet tooth that you want to shower with a little bit of luxury. This box contains festive, limited edition holiday flavors from Sugarfina dressed in a super fancy box to make it look and feel extra luxurious. A great gift idea for someone you want to buy an extra special treat for but don’t really know what they’re into.
Beats Headphones: Noise canceling headphones are something actually appearing on my wishlist this year. In the age of noisy workspaces, inability to focus (my issue) and people at the gym that you just want to tune out while lifting, noise-canceling headphones are something that you might not buy for yourself, but they’d make a truly thoughtful gift for someone who loves music and quiet.
Thread & Supply Fleece Pullover: Doesn’t this pullover just look like the coziest thing you ever did see? When temperatures outside are as chilly as they’ve been lately, it’s easy to live in your favorite sweatshirt. Treating someone to a high quality, super cozy pullover is a gift that anyone is sure to enjoy this time of year.
Dyson Hair Dryer: This is the most expensive hair dryer ever, but I’d be lying to you if I didn’t tell you it was also the best hair dryer ever. I have owned this for a year or two now, and I LOVE it. I’d go into details, but I actually have an entire blog post about it that you can read that tells you all about how awesome it is. If you know someone who regularly does their hair or someone like me, who physically struggles to blow dry their hair, this is 100% worth every penny.
Weighted Blanket: This is another product that I’ve owned for a year now (got it last Christmas) and I love, love, LOVE it. Weighted blankets are supposed to help with anxiety, insomnia, and have an overall calming effect, and I must say, it is the coziest thing I’ve ever slept under. I’ve been using it every night and it just feels so good to slip into bed and let the extra weight of my blanket take over. I only use it at night, as carrying a 20lb blanket around from my couch to my bedroom is a bit difficult for me, but I imagine it’s a joy to curl up under while watching a movie or anything you need a quick break to close your eyes and regroup.
Tata Harper Let There Be Light Gift Set: I personally purchased this gift set after falling in love with the resurfacing mask (see above), and it’s a wonderful set at a wonderful price. It contains a full size resurfacing serum ($88 value) as well as .5 oz each of the regenerating cleanser ($24 value) and the resurfacing mask ($31 value) for $92. Not too shabby. It’s a great way to try out several of the most popular Tata Harper products. Another option, if you want smaller sizes of a greater variety of products is the Tata Harper Everyday Essentials kit.
I also have to add that if you don’t already use Ebates as a part of your online shopping experience, you need to stop what you’re doing this instant and go join. All you do is click a little button when you’re shopping and you will get a percentage of your purchase back in cash! I’ve already gotten over $450 back, and that number is getting higher with Black Friday shopping. Sephora is also doing 10% back with Ebates for Black Friday, which is worth it all on its own. Ebates is totally free, and if you use my link you will get $10 credit after your first $25 purchase just for being a friend of mine 🙂
These lovely luxuries are sure to bring a smile to the face of any lucky recipient. Do you have any suggestions for items to add to this list?
Well, here we are… the last quarter of 2018! Every month I like to publically declare my goals and intentions for the month. After all, you’re 40% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down! Before we get into my goals for the new month, I like to give an honest look back at my goals for the previous month.
September Goals Review
30 Day Blogging Challenge: Well this one went down the tubes rather quickly, and I’ll tell you why. It was actually called to my attention (by myself) that of all of the places I create content regularly, the blog is simply not top priority right now. I realized this as I started writing down my goals daily (a process which I will post about later), and honestly, of the 10 goals I wrote down, the blog wasn’t specifically in any of them. Instagram and Youtube were there, and my general income was there, but there was no specific blog related goal, which just made it blatantly obvious that my focus is currently elsewhere. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, it just means that this goal didn’t happen. However, I did end up posting 9 blog posts in September, which was still a large increase from my typical 2 or 3.
Upload 3 videos per week: I uploaded 9 videos in September, which is a little more than 2 per week, so I almost hit my target, but not quite.
Start a back to school series: Not only did I start this series, but I completed it. 4 videos posted this month all about going back to school for the basics of weight loss. Video 1 talks about the overall concept of going back to school and also gives you a school supply list and homework for what you need to succeed in weight loss. Video 2 is all about tracking and how it’s not only important, but it’s also the thing that is easiest for us to get lazy about doing. Video 3 talks about the importance of activity and movement and tips on how to up your game no matter what level you’re currently at. Finally, video 4 is all about your environment and the importance of making your surroundings are set up to work for you and not against you. Check them out!
Attend all 4 weeks of the marriage class at church: Oct 1 was the fourth and final class and I was in attendance all for weeks! Yay!
#Last90Days: I’m not going to elaborate on this because I did an entire blog post about the last 90 days challenge. This challenge will not only run through October but for the rest of the year. This month’s goal is to embrace the challenge, do what it says, and keeping the promises I’m making to myself. If you want more information about it, check out my blog post about #Last90Days.
Upload 10 videos to my Youtube channel: I’ve learned to not focus on setting goals that involve numbers like subscriber count because ultimately that isn’t a factor I can control. Instead, I need to focus on what I can control, and that’s how many videos I upload.
Publish 8 blog posts: That’s 2 posts per week, and this post is already my second one for the month. I can WILL do this.
Decorate for fall: My favorite season is here, and for the rest of the year I get to have a seasonally decorated home. I just need to convince my husband to go get the fall decor out of storage and I’ll be a happy little housewife decorating away. We don’t have a ton of fall decor, but the little bit we do have really brings a fun seasonal vibe to our home and it makes my heart so happy.
There we are. Straight forward, measurable, and obtainable goals. What are your goals for the month?
Today is September 11th. 17 years ago today the world changed. 17 years ago today, as a freshman in high school, I learned how very real terrorism is. As a young, naive little 14-year-old girl, I never had to think about it. I never truly realized. I lived in my own little bubble. Then I went to school on 9/11/01 and walked into 1st period.
I can’t remember the exact chain of events that happened during that period, but what I remember is this: our choir director that year was a man that expected nothing less than perfection from all of his choirs. Even the freshman girls who had only been in session for a few weeks. Rehearsals were not a time to mess around. They were a time for focused rehearsal and getting things done. Nothing was more important than rehearsing and getting ready for whatever performance was coming, even if it was weeks away. He was teaching us how to be good choir members and good performers. For those 48 minutes first thing in the morning, there was nothing more important in our little freshman world.
On 9/11, Mr. Swanson stopped rehearsal and turned on the tv to the newsfeed covering what was happening all over the country. I repeat: Our director stopped rehearsal and turned on the tv. This simply did not happen! This is how I knew something was up. I didn’t really understand what it was, but I knew that it was important enough that Mr. Swanson stopped rehearsal and we watched whatever the current newsfeed was. I don’t remember exactly what was on the screen and I don’t remember what time it was exactly, but this choir nerd (in high school there was nothing more important than choir and show choir to me. This didn’t change all 4 years) took Mr. Swanson’s reaction to mean it was a big deal.
I honestly don’t remember what happened the rest of the day. I recall the tv being on in most of our classrooms, but that’s about it. I happened to be one of the people that didn’t lose someone close to me that day, and I know how lucky I am to have that be the case because so many others did. Having a husband that gets on an airplane every single week, I can’t begin to imagine the panic I’d be feeling if it was this year instead of 17 years ago.
That’s what I remember about September 11th. Where were you? What were you doing?
Just like I have 5 things I do every morning, I also have a set list of things I do every single evening before bed. Bedtime routines are ideal for helping set the tone for getting ready to go to bed and fall asleep easily, making sure you’re rested and ready for the day ahead. My evening routine, like my morning routine, is flexible based on what is actually happening, but there are several things I do every night, regardless of what is going on, what time it is, or what I’ve been up to this evening.
Beauty experts everywhere will emphasize the importance of “taking the day off “of your face at the end of the day. Makeup, dirt, grime, and everything else we encounter throughout the day needs to get washed off. This helps prevent clogged pores, acne, aging, and is overall just good common sense. The older I get, the more I’m getting into skincare instead of makeup. A solid evening skincare routine is relaxing (warm water, rubbing in moisturizer and serums, etc feels very pampering and spa-like) and so beneficial. I’ve got several steps in my evening skincare, and I’m really loving the results I’m seeing as I prioritize this routine each and every night.
I have a morning routine, as most people do, and while it’s sometimes a bit more flexible on some days than others, there are a few things I do every single day, regardless of how much time I have, what’s going on, or what might get in the way of my normal routine.
1. Make the bed
I can not stand knowing my bed isn’t made. There is something that feels refreshing about a made bed. I feel like no matter what other messes are in the bedroom, if the bed is made it feels a lot cleaner and more organized. In the same way, even on days where my bedroom is perfectly tidy, if I see the comforter all piled up in disarray (something that typically only happens when my husband is in the bed), it completely takes away from the tidiness of the room and all I see is the chaos. The bed gets made every single morning. This is important enough where I’ve even managed to get my husband to see this is important and he will make the bed too. Epic wife win!