Recent Amazon Purchases: March 2020

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that any clicks/purchases may result in a small commission at no additional cost to you.

I haven't been doing much Amazon shopping lately, but this past month I did order some favorites - Dryel refills, and I pre-ordered a new cookbook!  Plus, one of the cookbooks I had previously pre-ordered arrives today and I am so darn excited!

Dryel refills.  Dryel allows you to dry clean items at home, in your dryer.  It's super handy!  I ran out after doing some of my winter coats a few weekends ago, and went straight to Amazon to order refills.

True Comfort.  I pre-ordered Kristin Cavallari's new cookbook, True Comfort.  I have her first cookbook, True Roots, and while I honestly haven't made too much from it (although, I have made and really enjoyed the BLT pasta salad), I still love flipping through the pages.  And I am a big Kristin fan, so of course, I was going to order it!  I also like to pre-order items from Amazon, because you get charged the lowest price between the time you order and the ship date.  So, if it goes down between now and September 29th, when it comes out, I will get the best deal.

Magnolia Table, Volume 2.  This cookbook comes out today!  As soon as I heard Joanna was coming out with a new cookbook back in November, I got online and pre-ordered.  I absolutely LOVE the first Magnolia Table cookbook.  There are so many good recipes in there.  I feel like it's rare to go through a cookbook and think that almost all the recipes look good (and sound doable), but the first Magnolia Table was like that for me.  So I have extremely high hopes for this second one!  She's previewed a few recipes on instagram and the Magnolia blog, and I am super excited to see what else is in there.  
Magnolia Table, Volume 2: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering by [Gaines, Joanna]


Linking up with The Other Side of the Road.  

Friday Favorites: A Peek Inside My Gratitude Journal

TGIF!  This has been a roller coaster of a week.  One day I am completely fine, and then the next day I am about the lose my mind!  I feel like that is just the reality of these times, though.  Some days will be super smooth, and others will be anything but.  

One thing that helps me during those tough days is writing in my gratitude journal.  Each morning I come up with four to five things I am thankful for, or five high points from the day before.  They are basically my favorites, so I figured that goes hand in hand with today's post.
Love all the quotes in this gratitude journal.  This one resonates now more than ever!

So, straight from my gratitude journal, here are some favorites from the week.

  • receiving my 10 year work anniversary gift (with everything going on, I forgot that I was coming up on 10 years at my company!)
  • a clean kitchen (such a great feeling)
  • 'after work' sweats (never knew changing from leggings to joggers could make such a difference some days!)
  • finishing a load of laundry (...that had been piled up for a week or more!)
  • blogging (I didn't get my act together to blog on Monday, so it felt good getting back to it Monday evening for a post on Tuesday.)
  • FaceTime with my brother and my nephews
  • A Late Show with Stephen Colbert (if you haven't watched his show, I highly recommend it!)
  • clean dishes (again with the clean kitchen)
  • chopped pillows (love the look of fluffed pillows with a nice 'chop' in the middle)
  • early to bed (soooo tired lately)
  • phone calls with my mom and dad and my grandma (so nice to catch up!)
  • recipe sharing with my grandma (I love talking food and recipes, and it's even better when it's my grandma)
  • texts from my cousin (I never know what he is going to say, haha, but it's always something good!)
  • FaceTime with my brother and my nephews (again - this one is appears in my gratitude journal more times than I can count!)
  • videos of my nephews (is there anything cuter than a little one dancing?)
And that's a little peek into my gratitude journal.  If you don't do one yourself, I highly recommend it!

On the blog this week:
Weekend Recap: Weekend 2 at Home 
What I've Found Helpful While Working From Home: 5 Tips 
April Goals & Habits  

Linking up with Andrea and Erika.

April Goals & Habits

The start of the new month means new goals!

First, here's how March went.

Goals:
1.  Clean out sweaters.  Fail - I have had zero desire to do this!  I need to get on it, though!

2.  Reorganize the pantry.  Check!  This was so darn fulfilling to do.  And timely.  Not only does the pantry look great, but it gave me a chance to take stock of what items I have, that way I can make use of them while staying at home and keeping grocery store runs to a minimum.

3.  Closet clean out - bottoms.  Check!  I got rid of quite a few things, as well as discovered a few pants I didn't think fit anymore, actually did.  That sure was a pleasant surprise.  I reorganized my athletic/comfy bottoms in some hanging shelves, and it's kept things so much neater.  Plus, moving my comfy bottoms to there from my pajama drawer caused me to clean that, too.  I'd say that's a win win!

4.  Clean out seasoning drawer.  Check!  I was able to get rid of some old items, and immediately replaced those I needed, leaving me well stocked.  It's still a pretty full drawer, but at least now everything is well organized!   


Habits:
1.  Daily devotional.  Making some good progress on this one!  I forgot a few times (maybe 2-3), but overall I improved over last month which I say is a win!    

2.  End the night with a clean kitchen.  I am definitely improving on this, too!  Still not 100%, but I would definitely say more often than not.  

3.  Make lunch the night before.  This one isn't really applicable anymore, given I am working from home.  I make my lunch at lunch each day, and don't mind it one bit!     


4.  Meal plan (realistically) & make grocery list by Saturday afternoon.  Again, another habit that isn't really applicable.  It's easier to fly by the seat of my pants while at home.  I know what items I have, and can throw them together according to my tastes that day.  

March was a bit of an odd month, given half of it was 'normal', and the other half was anything but.  However, it was a pretty successful month for me in terms of goals and habits!

I am hoping April is even more successful!

April Bullet Journal Ideas - Monthly Layout Spread | Cover Page | Setup

Goals:
1.  Clean out sweaters.  Third time's a charm on this one!  At least I hope...

2.  Clean out desk space.  My desk area needs a little cleaning out.  The space was pretty much on the back burner, but since I am use it to work from now, I want to get things in order.  That means going through the drawers, and putting that pile of papers that have accumulated in the proper folders.  

3.  Put Christmas decor on shelving in basement.  I ordered some metal shelving earlier this year for my basement.  My plan is to go through all the items down there, and get them all organized on the shelves.  I have made a little bit of progress, but not as much as I had hoped.  This month I want to tackle my Christmas decor.  Since I just went through all the items when putting everything away in January, I don't need to go through again and purge, but I do need to get them off the floor and onto the shelves.  It shouldn't be too bad but I have a ton of decor, so I imagine it will take a little maneuvering to figure out the placement of everything.

4.  Clean out under the kitchen sink.  With the addition of some extra soaps, and my kitchen towels everywhere, this space could use a little attention.  It's pretty organized already, things just need to be straightened up a bit.

Habits:
1.  Daily devotional.

2.  End the night with a clean kitchen.

3.  Weekly yard work.  It's that time of year again!  I want to stay on top of things this year, and do a little upkeep each week.  In the past, I would sometimes give it a few weeks, and then it would take so much longer to get things in tip top shape.  If I do a quick weeding and pruning each week, it will be way more manageable.

4.  Delete junk mail at the end of each day.  My personal inboxes are a bit out of control.  To help with that, I would like to make it a point each day to go through and delete the junk mail, that way it doesn't accumulate like it has in the past.  Eventually I'd like to get to the point where it's at 0 at the end of each day, but baby steps.  I think doing this daily will go a long way!

While all this extra time at home, and no where to go, I am hoping that by the end of April, all these items will have a 'check!' next to them.

Linking up with Penny and Kristen.
    

What I've Found Helpful While Working From Home: 5 Tips

Today marks two and a half weeks working from home for me.  In some ways it doesn't seem that long, and in other ways it seems like it's been forever.  

For most of my career, I have been lucky enough to have the ability to work from home.  Up until now, though, those working from home days were few and far between, mostly due to inclement weather or feeling ill, with the odd house (electric, cable, etc.) appointment thrown in there.  

Since those times were always random, I never really got into a really good routine when working from home.  But, since it's been a couple of weeks now, I feel like I have discovered a few tricks that have helped me work better from home.

1.  Keep a similar morning routine.  Mine isn't quite identical to what I would do if I were leaving the house to go to work, but it's super similar.  

Here's what my morning looks like:

  • Wake up - This is one of the things that has changed a bit.  Since I am not going into work, I can sleep in a bit longer!
  • Read devotional, write in gratitude journal - I truly think getting into a routine of doing this has made me a happier person.  It just starts the day out on the right foot.
  • Workout - One benefit from working from home is that I can get in a longer workout since I am not as tied to the clock!
  • Read a blog or two, tidy up, and/or catch up on some local news.  
  • Get ready for the day - I am so much more productive if I actually get ready for the day.  Don't get me wrong - I am still in sweats or leggings, and I can't remember the last time I curled my hair - but I shower, put on some makeup, and dry my hair to do something with (braid, bun, etc.).  Looking even somewhat put together does wonders for my productivity.
  • Start work at my 'normal' time.  While I do log in early sometimes, I try to keep to my regular start time.  Keeps things more normal!
Again, basically everything is the same as before, but on a slightly altered time schedule.  

2.  Take a break.  Whether it be a coffee/tea break, or a break to get up and move, take one!  Usually once in the morning and once in the afternoon I get up just to walk up and down the stairs five times.  This keeps me from being too sedentary, and can also help me refocus.  Also, at the office I usually would have tea mid-morning, and that's something I have been doing regularly, too.  I feel like every bit of normalcy can help, and it's a nice way to again, get up and move.  

3.  Use work time for work, not housework.  I feel I do best working from home when I am solely focused on work.  It is tempting to throw in that one load of laundry, or do something house related real quick, but I find that more often than not, that 'one thing real quick' isn't always as quick as I think, and then it starts my mind turning to all the other chores I want to get done.  Not the best way to have a productive workday.

4.  Step away from work during lunch.  Give yourself a true lunch hour (or half hour or 45 minutes - whatever your lunch time is).  Previously when I worked from home, I rarely did this.  I would just plop my computer next to me while I ate, and constantly check emails.  This stretch of working from home, I have been taking a true lunch break, and I think it's made a big difference in how my afternoon goes.  I make lunch, watch a show, and take that time to turn off my brain for a bit.  Then, when it's back to work, I feel more refreshed and ready to go.  And, by the end of the workday I am less antsy for the workday to be over than if I would have stayed 'on' during lunch.

5.  Have a post-work routine, something that helps signify the workday is over.  For me, that is fully shutting down my computer, and lighting a candle. While small, both those things help my mind shift from work mode to relaxation mode.  I also have been changing out of my 'work clothes' to my comfy clothes.  Which nowadays are one and the same, but the act of changing helps - even if is just from leggings to joggers.   

My days haven't all been smooth, but these five things have definitely have made a difference.

Any tips or tricks you have?

Linking up with Lindsay.

Weekend Recap: Weekend 2 at Home

This past weekend was one of pure relaxation.  I had a few house things I thought I would do, but instead, I plopped myself on the couch for pretty much the entire weekend and enjoyed it to the fullest.

Friday night, about 6:30, I settled in on the couch for the night and proceeded to watch a few episodes Chicago Fire.  I am still absolutely loving that show!

Saturday was much of the same, although I did take a break from Chicago Fire to watch the Indycar iRacing Challenge with my brother, nephews and dad via Zoom.  Indycar is a family favorite.  I have attended the Indy 500 the last three years with my dad and brother, who have been attending it for a lot longer than that.  It's always been a neat thing, but what has really gotten us all to be big fans is my nephew.  He is so into it, and in turn, so are we.  I initially started watching the races because it was so fun to talk to my nephew about them afterwards, but as I did that, I found I enjoyed them a lot, too!  So I went from having them on in the background to actually watching them for myself, haha!  Since the start of the season has been postponed, Indycar is doing a few iRacing Challenges, where the drivers are in simulators, doing a race.  I had no idea what the expect, but it was pretty darn neat to see.  The graphics were amazing - at just a glance you would think you were watching the real deal.  I think we will be watching a few more of the challenges together via Zoom, and I have to say I am pretty excited about that.  

Sunday was a beautiful day, albeit a bit windy.  I went for a long walk in the morning, soaking in the fresh air and sunshine.  The skies were just so darn blue!  I opened the windows at home, did a bit of laundry, and just enjoyed the end of the weekend.

It truly was the laziest of weekends.  Sometimes when I have weekends like that, by the time Sunday evening rolls around I start cursing myself for not doing enough or not being product.  Not this time, though!  Thank goodness for that.  Guess it was just what I needed!

Friday Favorites: Candles, Rakuten / Leggings, Face Masks & Wine Glasses

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that any clicks/purchases may result in a small commission at no additional cost to you.

TGIF!  Yesterday was a longggggg day, and I am so happy that the weekend is just about here.

Today's post is going to be short and sweet - a few favorites from this week.

1.  Fall Candles.  Monday I was feeling pretty sad.  I miss my family.  Text, phone calls and FaceTime are all good, but it isn't the same as seeing them in person.  I was trying to turn my mood around, and lit one of my favorite fall candles.  I have a few spring/summer candles, but honestly, fall was calling me.  And goodness, it made all the difference.  Instant mood booster!

2.  Rakuten.  I was super skeptical of lululemon's align leggings, but I tried a pair for myself last year, and goodness gracious, do they live up to the hype.  With working from home, my attire has been pretty low key, and I decided that it was time to grab another pair to throw in my weekly rotation.  It just so happened that Rakuten was (and is as of Thursday evening) offering 11% cash back on lululemon.  Their leggings are a bit expensive, so getting that amount of cash back made the purchase a little less painful. 

3.  Face Mask.  One of my favorite ways to unwind is to do a face mask.  And my favorite face mask, is the Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque.  I have been using this mask for years, and love it just as much as I first did.  If you are looking to do a little self care, now is the time to buy.  Macy's is offering 15% off beauty, with the code VIP.  They rarely have sales on beauty, so this is a great deal!

4.  Wine Glasses.  I fell in love with these wine glasses last fall, when my mom and I were doing some Christmas shopping.  Right now, Crate and Barrel is having a 20% off sale on wine and dine, so I took advantage and ordered some wine glasses - both stemmed and stemless.  Super excited to get them in and drink a bit of wine from them!

5.  On the blog this week...

Have a great weekend!  

Linking up with Andrea.

What's Up Wednesday: March 2020

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that any clicks/purchases may result in a small commission at no additional cost to you.

This month has flown on by - it's hard to believe that it's time for this post.  From starting the month with a work trip to Florida to turning 33 to sheltering in place, it's been quite a month!

What I'm eating this week... 
Sunday - Chipotle
Monday - White Chicken Chili & Cornbread Muffins
Tuesday - Leftovers

The rest of the week is pretty open.  I have a few things in the freezer, plus a mish mash of ingredients to use between the freezer, refrigerator and pantry.  It's going to be like an episode of Chopped, albeit on a less extreme level!

What I'm reminiscing about...
My grandpa.  His birthday was yesterday.  He's been gone about 7 and a half years now, and I miss him so much.

What I'm loving...
One of the silver linings I am finding in this COVID-19 world, is all the extra effort being put into connecting with each other.  Because we cannot be around each other, it seems like we are all reaching out more in someway.  I hope that is one thing we continue once we get on the other side of this - continuing to make the extra effort. 

What I've been up to...

In terms of blogging, I started off the month sharing some new recipes I tried.  I was on a bit of a soup kick, and discovered a delicious stew recipe, which is made in the crockpot! (post here)

I shared my March goals and habits, and recapped how February went. (post here)

I had gone to Florida for work at the beginning of March, and while I didn't get much down time, I did snap a few pictures which I shared in a Friday Favorites post, along with a few other faves. (post here)

I took the first Friday of the month off and renewed my license.  It really wasn't bad at all - I got there first thing, and was 5th in line, so I was in and out all together in 40 minutes.  I feel like it always seems like such an ordeal in my mind, that I dread it and put it off.  Hopefully next time I need to go in for something I can remember this painless experience and just get it done!  That weekend I did some organizing and decorating for spring.  (post here)

The following Friday was my birthday.  To celebrate, I did 'A Day in the Life' post, documenting a day from earlier in the week.  Looking back now, I am glad I did that, given how much things have changed since! (post here)

After taking a few days to wrap my head around all that is going on, I shared a life update last week that shared a bit about my birthday weekend, and just rambled a bit about what was going on. (post here)

Friday was back to regular scheduling, with some favorites, including free at home workout options.  If you are like me, working out isn't just a physical thing, it really helps with my mental state, too! (post here)

Last weekend was a nice mix of productivity, and relaxing.  Really hoping all the weekends to come look a little something like that! (post here)

I was hoping to finish up my home tour this month, but my loft area is in a bit of a disarray.  Instead, I shared a wall decor idea! (post here)  

What I'm dreading...
All the unknown surrounding COVID-19.  And running out of toilet paper (I mean that jokingly, but also not, haha)!  

What I'm working on...
Like most, getting through this all.

What I'm excited about...
Getting things done at home.  Time to tackle all those projects I have been wanting to do, but for whatever reason, have not!

What I'm watching...
All the usuals, plus all the build up on my DVR.  Not sure how long those will last, so any Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime recommendations, please send my way!

What I'm reading...
I finally got out of my rut, and read a few non-Nora Roberts books! (post here)

Right now, I am reading The Hideaway, which I am enjoying thus far.

What I'm listening to...
Same as last month - The Standards, Chicago and Jazz for Studying stations on Pandora.  

What I'm wearing...
Well, my daily attire has changed quite a bit!  You can find me in a sweatshirt or a t-shirt and cardigan, leggings or joggers, and slippers

What I'm looking forward to next month...
Focusing on the positive, I am looking forward to what will hopefully be a productive month in terms of home projects.  But, honestly, it's kind of hard to look forward to things when everything is so unknown.  What I am really looking forward to, or rather really hoping for this next month is more clarity and understanding around COVID-19.      

Linking up with Shay and Lindsay.