Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

 Hey there!  I hope everyone had a great weekend.  I am coming off a whirlwind of a trip to see my family.  I got in time at my parents', my grandma's, and my brother and sister in law's.  Again, a whirlwind for sure, but oh so great to see everyone.


You may have noticed that things have been super quiet over here, with a random blog post thrown in there.  Going into the start of the year, I was looking to get back to blogging consistently.  And that lasted a good month...but then started to fall off as we got further into February.  


As I am sure I have mentioned way too often over the past year or so (and probably before that, too), work has been BUSY.  I am very appreciative of my job, and enjoy the work, but it's demanded more and more of my mental capacity and bandwidth (to throw in some corporate jargon in there!).  I know part of feeling that is due to the pandemic, but there is also a part that is due to the natural growth and changes one experiences in their career.


It's gotten to the point with blogging, where opening my personal computer to work on a post is one of the last things I want to do after being on my work computer all day.  Blogging has always been a hobby I enjoyed, but right now it feels more like a 'have to do' on my list, rather than a 'want to do' for enjoyment/a creative outlet.  The fact that it feels like a chore, even with limiting my posting days, has made me think hard on whether or not it is something I want to continue doing.


At this point, I am not quite ready to say goodbye.  It's hard to completely be done after blogging for so long - almost 6 years!  But, I don't know exactly what things will look like going forward.  I may continue to take 'time off', I may pop in here and there as the 'want to' feeling hits, or I may realize that I do want to be 'done'.  Or heck, I may miss it way too much and come back full force.  I think it's one of those time will tell things.  Whatever happens, though, I will forever be grateful for blogging.  I have made some of the best friends, and have learned so much - both from blogging myself and reading other blogs.


It kind of bothers me not having a good plan in place, which is one of the reasons I have dragged my feet in getting this post out there, but even with things being up in the air I wanted to provide at least a bit of an update on the changes you've seen and will continue to see around here.


With that, I will close out this post.  If you've made it to the end of my rambling, thanks for sticking it out!  Hope you have a wonderful day!        

Winter Home Tour: 2021

 Hey there!  I hope everyone has had a good start to the week.  Today I am sharing my winter home tour.  I think I am about a week behind Mother Nature on sharing it.  It's full on feels like spring this week, leaving the frozen winter we had the past few weeks before in the past!  But, as history has shown, we often get little tastes of spring here and there, only to be reminded late in the season that it definitely is still winter.


Last time I shares my winter decor was back in 2019 (post here).  That was my first winter in my condo, so things look a little sparse, but it's definitely the same look, using blues, creams and whites to evoke a wintery feel.


The table is super simple, but that's what I love about it.




The buffet is still one of my favorite places to decorate, even if it does give me fits season after season, haha!  I always love how it turns out, though!

I grabbed a few snowflake ornaments off the tree to add a little sparkle to the tray.

I have a variety of white/cream bottle brush trees (all from Target's Dollar Spot), and grabbed the like ones for this area.  More snowflake ornaments to add a little sparkle, and pinecones for a natural element.  I absolutely love this little crock and was happy to bring it back out this season.  I used small white ornaments as 'snowballs', which also tied in well with my milk glass pieces.


The white tree was an after Christmas find a few years ago, and adds some nice height to this corner.  More pinecones, and a little snowflake pillow for the bench round out this corner.

A simple set up by the TV...

goes well with little touches on the bookshelf - more bottle brush trees and pinecones.

I really like how the mantle turned out with the mix of textures and colors.


The printable was a freebie I found online a few years ago - such a good one!


Last, but not least, is this little wreath my mom and I made last year.  We actually made two - one is one this door, and the other on the backdoor.  The snowflakes have a little sparkle to them, which I love, but it also has that bit of natural element from the wrapped wiring the snowflakes are on.

I didn't snag a current picture for this post, but one of my favorite winter decor pieces is my front door hanger.  I was wanting something different than the typical round wreathes I have up the rest of the year, and this definitely fit the bill.  It was super easy to make, and came together in now time.  You can see the post on that here!


Thanks for stopping by!


Friday Favorites: Valentine's Day Presents, Candle Subscriptions, Funny Corporate Instagram Accounts, Smart Sweets & Peloton Stacking

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

Happy Friday!  Goodness, I am so excited for the weekend!  I realize I probably type that in each Friday post, but hey, if the shoe fits.  My busy, busy time at work came to an end this week, and I am so looking forward to a 'normal' weekend.  Pretty much, it being Friday is my whole Friday favorite, haha!


I don't have any specific favorites saved from the week, so I am just going to do a little rambling...kind of like a Coffee Chat post.


One of the highlights of this week was receiving a Valentine's Day present from my parents.  My mom always does fun gifts for the different holidays (Valentine's Day, Easter, Halloween), and this year's Valentine's Day gift was heart shaped Lou Malnati's pizzas!  Lou Malnati's is my very favorite pizza place in Chicago and the suburbs (heck, it's probably one of my favorite pizza places, period, only second to Mario's Pizza in my hometown), and their frozen pizzas are pretty much like getting it fresh from the restaurant - so good.


If you've read here for any length of time, you probably know I am a bit obsessed with candles.  When I saw Uncommon James was offering monthly candle subscriptions, I was super intrigued.  However, I was hesitant to buy in because it seemed like you could only get the same scent delivered each month, and I was hoping it would be more like a different scent each month.  Well, turns out you can adjust your account each month to swap out the current candle scent for a different one.  Sign me up!  I ordered my first candle, and already received it in the mail this week.  I can't wait to try it (waiting for the candle I had burning already to finish), and then chose my next scent!


I am still thoroughly enjoying all the funny corporate work videos on instagram.  I already shared one of my favorites, corporatenatalie, but also wanted to mention loewhaley.  She is hilarious.  Her videos are spot on, and she does these corporate confessions once a week where people send her what things they have done while working (think nap, bake, and then let your imagination wander to more shocking things...), and then she shares them anonymously.  


In an effort to satisfy my sweet tooth in a bit healthier way, I went on a little candy ordering binge, and grabbed a bunch of different Smart Sweets from Target.  You can also find them on Amazon, but I went with Target, because it was cheaper, especially if you have a RedCard.  I just got them in, so I haven't given any a try, but I am quite excited!


I did my first Peloton ride stack last Saturday, and it was a great way to go from one ride to another.  I opted for 2 twenty minute classes, and I thought those lengths were good to put together.  Doing so allowed me to get in the length of workout I wanted, while taking some of the shorter classes I have been eyeing.  I think there will also be a little disconnect, even though you just hit one button to get to the next, because all the rides have different vibes so I found that I kind of had to get back into the groove on the second ride.  That said, I do think it's a good feature and plan to give some more a try.


That's it for this Friday! My ramblings ended up being more a typical 'favorites' post than I had originally thought!


On the blog this week:

Book Review: February 2021 

Mango Kale Smoothie 


Linking up with Erika and Andrea.    

Mango Kale Smoothie

In an effort to get in more fruits and veggies, I have been having a smoothie for breakfast a few mornings each week.  This mango/kale combination is by far my favorite.  Plus, it's pretty darn simple with only a handful of ingredients.

Mango Kale Smoothie
2 handfuls of kale
1 banana
5 oz. or ~1 1/2 cups frozen mango
1 Tablespoon chia seeds
4 Tablespoons lemon juice
Water

I have a Nutri-bullet, and make this smoothie in one of the large cups.  I assemble it by adding the kale first, then the banana, and then the mango.  For the mango, my grocery store sells them in 10 oz bags, and I basically just eyeball half a bag per smoothie.  If I were to measure, I would say it's about 1 1/2 cups of mango...give or take a bit.  I add in a tablespoon of chia seeds, then squeeze in about 4 tablespoons of lemon juice before filling up with water until the 'max line' of the cup.  Blend together, and enjoy!

A few things to note:
For the lemon juice, I don't really measure, but more just squeeze the bottle four times.  The lemon juice is key - it makes the smoothie so refreshing!  Also, I highly suggest drinking a smoothie through a straw.  I don't know what it is about the straw, but it makes it go down so easy.  If you just look at the cup, it seems like so much to drink.  Even though I really like the taste, it still takes me forever to drink sans straw, but with a straw, that isn't the case at all - I down it like it's a pumpkin milkshake from Shake Shack!  

If you have any simple and delicious smoothie recipes, I would love to hear them.  It's always good to switch things up a bit!

Book Review: February 2021

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

This past month I have gotten in quite a bit of good reading.  I have really enjoyed everything I've read.  After being in a rut for so long, I am hoping this continues!



This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger.  This was a GOOD book.  I don't even know how to explain it because I feel like everything gives it away.  It all starts at a school, and then is a journey from there.  It was one of those books I enjoyed reading all the way throughout.  I enjoyed the pace, the characters, the stories - the location was neat because it was in the Midwest, which is where I am from.  While years ago, it was still neat to imagine those places as the story goes.  I highly, highly recommend.


Rainshadow Road & Dream Lake by Lisa Kleypas.  These books are part of the Friday Harbor series.  I started this series during the holiday season, because the first book is called Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor, and enjoyed the characters and wanted to see what happened with the other brothers.  And these books share just that.  Each book is focused on a brother, and his love interest.  There is a bit of magick in them, and while I didn't care for that part of the story too much, it didn't bother me, or deter me from reading them either.  A good series to pass the time if you enjoy reading about family and love.


Strangers in Death, Salvation in Death, Promises in Death by J.D. Robb.  I am making my way as quick as I can through the in Death books - I am hopeful to get current this year!  With each book I read, the more I enjoy them!  I like all the characters, and while the focus is always on Eve, the main character, the way she winds the friends into the stories, I enjoy.  If you are looking for a series for the long haul, this is one I would recommend!


The Awakening by Nora Roberts.  Nora Roberts has a new series, and The Awakening is the first book.  I honestly wasn't sure where this all was going at first, but it ends up in Ireland, which is where some of my favorite series of hers take place.  It just sounds so magical, and this book has plenty of that magic.  I like where the book ended, too.  It wasn't a huge cliff hanger (which I liked that it wasn't), but plenty to leave you wanting more.


Linking up with Steph.

Friday Favorites: Face Mask, Nail Polish & A New Workout Shirt

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

Happy Friday!  TIGF, TGIF!  This is going to be short and sweet, because this work week has NOT.


1.  Face Mask & 2. Nail Polish.  I knew the week ahead was going to be on the rougher side, so I made sure on Sunday to take some time to do a few things that I knew would make me feel good.  And that included a face mask and painting my nails.  If you were to go down the rabbit hole, you'd find that my second post ever was about this Kiehls face mask, and it's still my very favorite.  With working from home, I've gotten real lax about painting my nails.  I used to do it almost every week and that definitely fell to the wayside with not really going anywhere.  So, last Sunday, I picked out my favorite light pink, and got to painting my nails.  I still really like Essie's Gel Couture line - I feel like most times I can get a good week out of this polish.  One of my favorite colors is Matter of Fiction, and it's the perfect light, light pink.


3.  Lululemon Swiftly Tech Short Sleeve Shirt 2.0.  One of my friends told me about this top, and that night I ordered one to try myself.  I got it in this week, and while I haven't worn it yet, I did try it on and the fabric is soooo nice.  A lot of my short sleeve workout tops aren't really stretchy, and this is, which I just know will be so comfortable when exercising.  Plus it'll be super cute for athleisure days, too.  It does run small, and after reading the reviews I went up a size.  It's more fitted (but not tight, tight), which I wanted, but if you want something a little looser, I would probably go up 2+ sizes.  It's a bit expensive, more than I would normally spend on a top like that, but I have a feeling it's going to be worth every penny!


On the blog this week:

Recent Amazon Purchases 

February Goals & Habits 


Linking up with Erika and Andrea.

February Goals & Habits

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

Hey there, happy Wednesday!  I hope your week is going well so far.  For today's post, I am going to recap how I did with last month's goals and habits, and then share this month's goals and habits.  Let's get to it, shall we?


Goals:

1.  Clean out bathroom closet/drawers.  Check!  I may have done this the last day of January, but it got done.  It's much more organized, I recycled a bunch of packaging, and had a bag full of garbage.  Feels so good to have done!


2.  Clean out my sweaters.  Check!  I got rid of only a few sweaters, but with reorganizing, I made a good amount of room in my drawers.  I utilized some under the bed storage, putting my work cardigans there, and it's made such a difference.


3.  Clean dishwasher.  Nope.  To be honest, this makes me a bit nervous.  I'm worried I will remove a few things, and then break the whole dishwasher.  I know that's a little extreme, but I think I'd feel better doing this on a weekend when my dad is in town.  Just for some moral support.


4.  Freezer cleanout/stock freezer meals.  Check!  It always amazes me what a little reorganizing does to my freezer - I find so much room!  I also added to the freezer this past month, with Chicken Shawarma from the Skinnytaste Meal Prep cookbook (so darn good!), and some chili.  


Habits:

1.  Drink 120 ounces of water each day.  It's dipped a little as work has gotten busier, but otherwise I have been on track with my water intake.


2.  Daily Vitamin.  This has become part of my daily routine.  I did run out, but Amazon recently restocked, so I am set to go now!


3.  Daily Collagen.  Another thing that has become a daily routine.  I still have a little bit left, but placed my next order to (hopefully) ensure I don't miss any days.  Again, if you are looking for a collagen powder, definitely contact Biana!


4.  Daily Walks.  Well, it was like I put this out there, and then found every excuse in the book not to go out for a walk.  Sure, there were some days I got out, but it wasn't the consistency I was hoping for when making this a habit.  Hopefully February will be better!


Now that we have covered last month, here's what my goals & habits are for February.


Goals:

1.  Schedule workouts.  I am great with working out MWF, but lately Tuesday and Thursday have been a bit tough.  I'd like to make sure to 'schedule' my workouts for those days each week, to ensure I get in some exercise.


2.  Clean out workout clothes.  I tend to rotate through a handful of workout clothes each week, yet I have many more in my closet.  Time to give them a good cleanout, and donate those that never get worn.


3.  Go Clean Co. my floors.  While I wasn't successful with my dishwasher, I'd like to 'Go Clean Co.' my floors.  I do need to purchase the mop they recommend, as well as the cleaner(s), but once they are delivered, I will be ready to go.


4.  Source master bathroom decor.  This one may be familiar, given it was a goal multiple times last year.  I still have yet to figure out decor for my bathroom, and it's at the top of the house project list right now.  Decor includes a new bath rug, wall art, shelf, and shelf decor.  I'd also like to frame out the mirror, too.  


Habits:

1.  Drink 120 ounces of water each day.  Still isn't quite a habit, but I think I am getting there!


2.  No phone until after working out.  My mornings go so much smoother when I stay off my phone - it can be such a time suck!  Time to cut back for a more productive morning.


3.  Quick pick up before bed.  There are some nights where I fold my blanket, put the pillows back on the couch, etc. and there are other nights where I leave things exactly as they are when I make my way up to bed.  I always love coming downstairs to a picked up room, so I'd like to get into the habit of doing that each night...not just some.


4.  Daily Walks.  This, of course, is weather permitting.  For example, this weekend is supposed to have a high of 10 degrees, so I don't expect to get a walk in then.  However, when weather permits (and work), I'd like to make sure to get out, at least for a short walk.


That rounds it out for my February goals and habits.