Wednesday, September 30, 2015

On Being Messy

I have a confession to make. I am a messy person. I wo the "Messiest Room Award" my junior year of high school. It takes me days if not weeks to unpack from a trip. There is a pile of clothes on my chair right now. There are dust bunnies the size of dust mammoths looming underneath my couch. It is a problem and I have yet to deal with it.
I should preface this, post a little before someone misconstrues what I am saying . The mess that I am talking about is not coming from creative endeavors or enjoyable activities. Those type of messes I fully support! I love doing creative projects and there is certain amount of stuff and mess that comes with doing them. What I am talking about is clutter. A more accurate title would be "On Being a Slob." Just being all around messy and untidy.
I have struggled with this problem for a long time. I was not a neat kid. I maintained a decent room in high school and for parts of college because I had RAs and I could get written up for not cleaning. Now that I am married and I have my own home, I do not have that external pressure pushing me to clean. My husband is messy as well and he really does not care what I do. It is nice because I can blow stuff off and he does not get mad but it is bad because he does not push me to get better in this area.
Most of the time the mess does not bother me. However, as life gets more hectic and I become more stressed, the mess starts to pull me down. When things are fine, the pile of dirty clothes on the floor is no big deal. When I am running late and I have "nothing" to wear, that pile is the bane of my existence.
It also limits my social life. Even though I am usually ok with the messiness, I do not want people to be at my house when it is messy. Getting ready for visitors can take days if I have let it get really bad. It makes me self-conscious when people come over and I have not cleaned. I know that my value is not tied to the cleanliness of my home and I should feel comfortable being "real." The messiness is not what causes me to feel awkward. It is the fact that the mess is a visual sign of how lazy I am.
I think that is why the mess bothers me. It throws my flaws in my face. My house is messy because I do not use my time well. I used to not think that it was just a personality trait but lately I have been really convicted of that fact. I am not that person who is frantically trying to make time for the important things. My life is jammed packed with activities or work.  I am simply lazy. I watch too much TV or stare at Instagram too long. I am also horrible about not putting something away as soon as I am done with it. I will drop clothes on the floor instead of put them in my hamper. I do not go that little extra mile on the small tasks that would make such a difference. This is incredibly frustrating to me because on the whole, I am a pretty conscientious person. So why can I not do this?
Part of me says, "Just embrace the mess!" Life is not about spotless floors or perfectly put together room. Plus, if I am just ok with stuff then it really knocks our. Another part cringes though at the sight of everything. That is why I cannot let it go. On some level it does bother me so I have to deal with it.
I am not perfect. I will not ever be perfect but in this area, I need to change. I am much more content when my house is clean and organized. It is just hard to stay motivated to get there. Maybe putting it out there to the world will be the fire that I need to get going.
We shall see.

Anyone out there super messy as well? Or are you a neat freak who is having a heart attack looking at these photos? What is your strategy for staying on top of house work?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Freezer Meals

On Friday, my mother-in-law and I decided to make some freezer meals. It was kind of a spur of the moment decision but something that we had talked about wanting to do for a while now. We headed to Costco with a grocery list in hand and several recipes on our phones. A couple hours and a LARGE cart later, we headed back to her house to begin the prep.
I mainly pinned recipes that did not require any cooking. The two recipes that I wanted to make were the Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken and the Crock Pot Red Pepper Chicken.  All you do for these recipes is portion out your raw meats, vegetables, and seasonings into bags. You then seal and freeze the bag and you are done. I liked the idea of having essentially a fresh meal ready to go. It is just a matter of throwing in the crock pot. My MIL wanted to make jambalaya and turkey burgers. The jambalaya was a bit more involved. It required prepping and cooking the entire thing so that once you were ready to eat it, all you had to do was thaw and reheat in the oven. We decided to tackle them all. I am glad that the jambalaya was the only recipe that require cooking because it was definitely the most time consuming. 

Still, I was amazed at how much we accomplished. We worked nonstop from 4:30 pm till 8:30 pm and we made fourteen entrees! Not bad for 4 hours of hard work. It was so rewarding to get stuff done. I love that I am better prepared for busy days when I would probably cave and order pizza. Having stuff ready to go in the freezer builds a little bit of a buffer into my meal planning routine, which I am still working to flesh out. Now I smile every time I look at my freezer. I am really thankful I have a mother-in-law who wants to spend all day shopping and cooking with me. 

Have you used freezer meals in the past? What do you do to be better prepared for hectic schedules?

Monday, September 28, 2015

Over the Weekend: Flourless Chocolate Cake

During one of our meals at Disney, I had a flourless chocolate cake for dessert. It was AMAZING. So when I was hit by a major chocolate craving on Saturday, that was all I wanted. I found this recipe on It seemed simple enough and I already had all of the ingredients which was a plus. Since I was going to be baking, I decided to pull out my DSLR and practice some food photography. I am really trying to up my manual shooting game. It is a slow process but I am enjoying the challenge. Food photography can come across as frivolous. People make comments about taking pictures of food verses actually enjoying it. Wherever you stand on the food photography "debate." you cannot die that the pictures can be stunning. My photos are definitely not there yet, but hopefully one day they will be.

It does not count as a good photo session if LM or baby do not show up.

All photos shot with Canon 70D
edited with VSCO

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Wrap/Round Up

(found via pinterest, southern curls & pearls)

While fall has officially arrived on the calendar, it is still pretty warm around here. September is such a weird month in Georgia. I am ready for sweaters and boots! However, in the spirit of weather appropriate dressing, I will not pack away all my shorts and sandals quite yet. 

Here are some things that have been on my mind lately:

1. Fourth Quarter Goals: I like setting goals for myself but sometimes I am too vague with the timeline in which these goals should be accomplished. I am going to try out a quarter system for my more immediate goals. The fourth quarter starts next week. Here is what I want to accomplish before the end of December.
  • Completely read one book: It may seem like a small task but I have not made reading a priority lately. It is hard to sit down and read when I know there is 15 other things I could/should be doing in. I need to read more, though, for my sanity and for the mental exercise. The book that I going to try to read is Shepherding a Child's Heart. It is a parenting book my mom left for me. It should be very interesting. 
  • Paint hallway and guest room: If I can get these two areas painted, I will have successfully painted half of the house. This would be a HUGE improvement. 
  • Finish baby room: The baby room is painted and the floors have been replaced, but it is a mess. There is not a lot of organization and there is no decor. I really want to get his room done before the end of the year so I can actually enjoy it. No more ugly rooms! That's my new motto. 
2. Baby outfits: I am loving putting together little outfits for my little guy. I did not think I would get that into it actually, especially since boy clothes do not have a lot of variety. Surprisingly, I really enjoy picking out his clothes everyday. I get to do it a lot because he is very messy and gross baby so he gets a lot of outfit changes. 

3. Bangs: Yep, I am taking the plunge and getting bangs again. This comes at the request of Scott but I am pretty excited about it too. Should be an interesting change. I have been pinning a lot inspiration. We will see how they turn out. 

Well, those are few things that are oing on around the house. I hope everyone has a great weekend! 

P.S. I can't decide on the name for this post. Wrap up or round up? Hmmm.... what do you think??

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Non-Outfit Post

You would think that with a blog named "When In Doubt, Wear Stripes," there would be at least ONE outfit post. Well, I tried to photograph one this afternoon and it went horribly. The lighting was off, I was being attacked by mosquitos, and I frankly felt like I looked fat in every photo. I admitted defeated and headed inside and changed into my "around the house" clothes. A long sleeve t-shirt and athletic shorts. I love to get dressed up for the day but when I am home it is all about comfort. I decided to not let the defeat of one bad shoot get me down and I attempted another outfit post in the house. This is my usual attire when I am getting stuff done. Easy, casual and above all cozy. It is not glamorous by any means. Maybe one day I will get a good outfit shot but for now, this is what I have.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Summer 2015

Tomorrow is first the day fall. Where did the summer go? My family is back in Slovenia. It was wonderful to have them here, especially for JW's birth. I cannot believe that he is going to four months old next week! It still feels like yesterday we brought him home. This summer was very eventful. I had a baby, my family was visiting, we drove out to Texas. we went to Disney World. I feel tired just thinking about it all. So many good memories were created and I am incredibly thankful that I got to make them. I am looking forward to a little slower pace over the next couple of weeks. There should not be as many things on my plate going forward.
I am going to miss being to drive 5 minutes and hang out with my mom and sisters or talk to my dad. Still, they are just a Skype call away.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Monday, Monday

Today, I am/was exhausted. My family left early this morning. We said goodbye last night. My sisters cried. I do not cry that much when I say goodbye. It was still very sad to see them go. We probably will not get to see them in person for about two years. Thank goodness for things like Skype and FaceTime.
JW is getting over the sniffles and is off his sleep pattern which has thrown me off my sleep pattern. I think I am getting whatever sickness he had. So yeah, I am very very tired.
I took him into the office this morning. We have the little nursery/office setup ready to go, which is a Godsend. It makes it a lot easier to get stuff done when everyone does not have to tiptoe around the sleeping baby. I am still wiped out from taking care of him and trying to get all of the office work done.
Well, I am going to try to not to fall asleep before bed time. I just cannot lay down. I almost dozed off once already since getting home.
All of that to say, I am looking forward to going to bed tonight.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday Round Up

Happy Friday! This week has been a whirlwind. I am officially back at work, my baby has his first cold and our church small groups started up. There are so many things on our plate this Fall but I am looking forward to pretty much all of it. I actually took this picture last Friday or Saturday but I wanted to share it here. Summer is leaving and Fall is on its way! I cannot wait for the temps to stay cool throughout the day. Plus, once I can start wearing closed toed shoes and jeans that means it is plenty justifiable to hop on board will the Fall themed treats. Pumpkin spice lattes here I come!

1. MORE FRUITS AND VEGGIES PLEASE: I have been feeling kind of "blah" lately. I have fallen off the healthy eating bandwagon. Not that I am chowing down on donuts and fast foods 24/7. I just have not had enough fruits and vegetables in my life and I can feel the toll that it takes. Enter the whole smoothies/juice. I have a Blendtec and I love making fruit and veggie juices with it. The above drink has pears, an orange, a beet, some romaine lettuce and frozen strawberries. Crazy good and super beautiful.

2. Snotty noses: Like I mentioned above, our little guy has his first cold right now. He sounds like a little bulldog the way his is snorting and snotting all over the place. We have been using the NoseFrida A LOT. It is kind of gross but it works really well. Combine that with some saline spray and some Boogie Wipes and you have the strong combo for attacking baby noses.

3. YHL is back! One of my all-time favorite blogs Young House Love has been silent for a YEAR and now they are back with an update. I need to listen to the podcast they linked to in their most recent post. I really want to go their meet and greet for the newest book. We shall see...

Anyone have some exciting weekend plans? Any smoothies in the near future?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Back to Work

The irony is that I am currently at home writing this post. I guess that is what happens when your three month old gets his first cold.
Yes, I have gone back to work. It is very much a part time thing but it feels like a big step at getting back into the "normal" routine of life. Not that staying at home with a child is not normal. It was just something I knew that I would not be doing.
I work at the family's business doing back office work. I answer emails, create sales orders, invoice customers, handles commissions, fix small IT related problems, purchase supplies and inventory etc. It is not incredibly hard or important stuff but it is the little things that keep the cogs turning. I was very nervous about returning. How would I feel about leaving/bringing baby? Would I be able to focus with him there? How am I going to work, take care of a child, and run a household? Many of these questions remain unanswered. I am far from having a handle on the situation. My to do list still feels like an insurmountable obstacle. But I am taking each day at a time and just trying to put one foot in front of the other. (anyone remember that song from "Santa Claus is Coming to Town?") Maybe in a fews weeks, months, years I will have some answers. When that happens I will definitely write about it.
For now all I can say is that I am glad to be back at work. It still is very crazy but I know that I will eventually be able to handle everything. This is the least crazy my life is ever going to be. I just have to take it one step at a time.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Over The Weekend: Yellow Daisy Festival

On Saturday, we met up some longtime friends to explore the Yellow Daisy Festival. The festival is held every year in Stone Mountain Park. It is 3 days of arts, crafts and all kinds of handmade goodies. This year it was especially fun because I got to share it with my mom, two sisters and our old friends. I always go looking for unique Christmas presents. This year did not disappoint. I found items for several people on my list. I feel so accomplished! Not only was it a great time for shopping but it also was a great time for catching up with our old friend, Julianna. Her parents were missionaries in Russia the same time we were there. We were very close growing up but we really have not been able to spend much time together since 2008. It was really nice to reconnect with her. 
Overall, it was a great way to spend a Saturday. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Over the Weekend

I am back from Labor Day weekend. It has been a pretty exciting one. My roommates from sophomore year of college came to visit. It is always to exciting to spend time together and catch up. Plus, I got to introduce them to this little guy which was so great.
I tried to do a photo an hour project but time really got away from me. The hours go by really fast when you are having a good time. Here are snapshots that I managed to capture as we were going about our day.

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Friday Wrap Up

(sunset from my instagram)

Happy Friday! Any exciting plans going into this Labor Day weekend? I am frantically cleaning so that our guests do not have stay in an incredibly messy home. I am not great about staying on top of housework. I am getting better but it is still a struggle.
Here are things that going on right now.

1. Podcasts: I am really getting podcasts. I do not why it has taken me so long. It is great to have something to listen to while I am working around the house and taking care of baby. Currently, I am loving Mom Jeans and Dad Jokes and Fighting for the Faith.
Mom Jeans and Dad Jokes is a "blogcast" brought to us by Indiana Adams, of Adored Austin/Indiana Elsewhere fame, and her husband Chris. It is a great light-hearted take on family and pop culture.
Fighting for the Faith is a podcast that focuses on biblical discernment. My dad recommended it to me.  It may be a little heady at first but it is an amazing resource for the Christian who is looking to sharpen their critical thinking skills.
If you have any podcasts suggestions, please let me know! I would love some good recommendations.

2. Pre-returning to work nervousness: Yep, I am going back to work this coming week. I will be working part time and taking the little guy with me. I am incredibly nervous that he will not nap well and I will not be able to get my work done. Thankfully, it is a family business so there is a lot of flexibility. I know that I am going to have to take it one day at a time. I just want to prepared and on top of it from the get go. Wishful thinking, right?

3. Meal Planning: Going a long with the whole the previous point, I am trying to set myself up for success but taking another stab at meal planning. I have never been too successful at finding a meal planning routine. Any advice here? Any working moms, dads, adults etc. who have this part of their life down? I am open to all kinds of suggestions.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Why You No Sleep?

This a phrase I have asked my baby many, many times. The age old parenting dilemma: getting your child into a regular sleep pattern. Experiencing sleep deprivation was my biggest fear all through out my pregnancy. It may seem trivial, but I LOVE sleep. I went to bed every night at 10:30 pm or 11:00 college. I have never pulled an all-nighter. I try for a regular 8-9 hours every single night. To say sleep is important to me is a extreme understatement. I hate how I feel and act when I go without asleep. I am sluggish, grouchy, and I can be snappy and rude. So getting this little guy on somewhat of a regular routine was high on my priority list from the get go.
Thankfully, God in His great mercy has been especially kind. I honestly think He is the one who fueled me during those 3 am feedings. He has also blessed us with a pretty easy-going baby. I cannot take credit for any of this little guy's disposition.
All that said, I really do believe that creating a pretty regular pattern has been beneficial for both myself and baby. I am not an expert in this by any stretch of the imagination. This is my first baby, so I am just working with the knowledge I have gleaned from the Internet and my mom and mother in-law. This is what has worked for us and I hope that if you are a mom reading this, it can help you as well.

1. Be calm.
Babies can feel your stress. You can feel your stress. When you feel that that stress bubbling up inside, like a geyser getting ready to explode, stop. Take some deep breaths, say a prayer, lay it at the feet of Jesus, and take it one step at a time. One way that helps me not to get too overwhelmed is to approach the sleep situation like an experiment. If my hypothesis A fell through, where did it go wrong? What should I change for next time? What is the new hypothesis for getting the best sleep?That may seems harsh or clinical, but it allows me to not let my emotions run over me. I have to be ok with getting it wrong, because in reality, I am going to get it wrong a lot. I can only do my best.

2. Be quick to ask advice.
When I was trying to figure out how to get baby to sleep in those first days, the first person I turned to was my mom. Not the Internet, not books, not an app but my mom. She has 5 kids and we all are fairly well-adjusted human beings, so her credentials seem pretty solid. If you do not have a mature, experienced person in your life, find one. Life is too hard to go at it alone. That is coming from someone who is fiercely independent and proud to a fault. Ask for help. Many new moms crater because they shut themselves off in those first days. You are experiencing crazy hormonal imbalances and probably some exhaustion. Talk to someone you trust. You do not have to do this alone.

3. Be ok with crying.
Sadly, babies cry. They cry a lot. Do not let it get to you. You are not a bad mom if your baby cries. The poor little things are being flooded with stimuli. This world is hard for them. They are going to cry, especially when you are trying to get them to sleep. I bawled when we put our little guy in his crib. He screamed and screamed but I knew he was exhausted and needed to sleep. He had barely slept that second night in the hospital. I knew that he needed to sleep and I knew that it would be best for him to sleep in his crib. I laid on the couch and cried while he cried. It worked though. He fell asleep and has been sleeping in his crib ever since.

4. Be diligent to the routine that you establish
This is especially hard for me. I crave routine and structure but I have a hard time telling people no. When it comes to getting your baby on a sleep routine, you are going to have to say no to people. Nap times and bed times are not going to magically coincide with other peoples' schedules. Especially as the baby gets older and more manageable, it seem like the schedule is not as important. It still is incredibly vital. The key getting baby into a solid schedule is to establish fixed points the day. Right now, I am trying to establish a set wake time and bed time for our 3 month old. The goal is not only to give baby a fixed point a reference, but to help you better schedule your day.

5. Be ready for change.
The most frustrating part of this sleep scheduling journey has been the regression. Our little guy has been sleeping for 9-10 hour stretches for several weeks now but all of a sudden, he wants to wake up at 5 am. I do not want to wake up at 5 am. There is nothing I want less in the world. It is incredibly frustrating. I know that with time and patience, we will get through this spell but it is hard to look at it that way when I am are stumbling blindly through the house to try to console the baby back to sleep. It is best to be prepared for the inevitable hiccup. It keeps me from getting complacent. It also stresses the point about remaining diligent to the routine. Keep working at it till something works.

Ok, now that I am done ranting (did it seem like I was ranting, I don't mean to come across that way), what do you think?

I want to stress again that I am not an expert. I know that different people will have different views. This is simply my take on the situation and a few things that I have learned so far. If anyone has any great insights, I would love to hear them! 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Window Shopping

(via BugsUnderGlass)
(via florandfawn)
(via the wheatfield)
(via apt2507)

I love to shop. One of my favorite things to shop for is home decor, mainly cute wall hangings. The problem is that I am incredibly picky. I want things that you would not necessarily find at your average home decor store. Adding in unique pieces with regular run of the mill photos and print creates a more eclectic/curated look. My main decorating mantra is "only buy what you love." I do not focus too much on stuff matching or coordinating. In my mind, if I love each individual piece, I will be able to arrange everything into one cohesive look that I enjoy. 
My go-to place for finding unique pieces that I love is Etsy. I could spend hours combing through pages of prints and wall decor. Here are some of my favorite pieces and shops. 

1. BugsUnderGlass: While not a print shop, this is one of my favorite wall hanging Etsy shops. I have always been fascinated with preserved butterflies. They remind of something you would find in an old explorer's study. A little strange, I know, but they really add another dimension to your gallery walls. I have one of the small yellow butterflies and it is one of my favorite pieces to display. It was actually my first ever Etsy purchase. I would love the double butterfly option for our bedroom. 

2. FlorandFawn: A collaboration between Katie Daisy and Karen Eland, the two artists blend their unique styles to create precious prints. I really want the bear print for baby's nursery. 

3. The Wheatfield by Katie Daisy: One of my all time favorite shops. I have the Georgia print as well as this adorable piggy print. Her colors and technique are amazing. I love how vibrant her paintings are. 

4. apt2507: I love her hand lettering and designs. I really REALLY want to purchase the deer painting pictured above. 

Are you a decor nut? How to do you pick items for you home?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Working On My Fitness

(via pinterest)
I am not a health nut by any stretch of the imagination. I played sports in high school and I enjoy being active but I am not extremely motivated to workout. That would be ok if I was still sixteen, but the truth is I am aging and getting weaker. I do not have the luxury of youth much longer (dramatic, much?). I need to get motivated not only for my own health but also for my family's health. Staying motivated is hard. Here are somethings that I do to keep myself moving. 
Where do I turn when I need motivation? Pinterest, of course! My fitness board is not very large but it is my go to when I need that little push to get myself off the couch. I think I am going to try and get into kettlebells. It seems like something that my husband and I can do together.
I also enjoy being active with other people. Lately, my family has been playing a lot of pickleball. It is this weird hybrid of tennis and ping pong. It is a lot fun and is a great way to move around and hang out with people. 

The main thing that I am trying to work on is having a more active lifestyle. I am not going to choose to go on a walk if it is just up to me. I need a social component. I am working to create healthier, more active habits. That really is the key to getting in shape. I am working on trading time binge watching shows for walks at the park. Changing up those small things can make a huge difference. 
I am also debating getting a some sort of fitness tracker. I have not pulled the trigger yet. If anyone has one, would you mind letting me know which one you have and why you chose it? I am looking for something that motivates me and will log a variety of activities. 

How do you stay motivated to be healthy?