How to Spring Clean Your Life

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Spring cleaning!

What does the phrase make you feel? Excited. Anxious. In a state of avoidance?

However the idea of spring cleaning makes you feel, it can actually be a really wonderful thing. I love the idea of taking time to clean, organize and restore order. I firmly believe that if you can put in some effort on the front end, you’ll be much happier and organized on the whole. And now that we’re a quarter into 2017, it’s a good a time as ever!

We just spent a few hours this weekend spring cleaning our house and garage, but today I’m going to share a few ideas for how to spring clean your life over the next few weeks.

Here’s how I suggest starting your life spring clean:

1. Get your finances in order

Take this time of year to make or try to meet some of your financial goals. Have you started a monthly budget yet? Are you hoping to go on a big trip this year? All you have to do is start tracking your money and find easy ways to save (and smarter ways to spend).

I suggest listening to the HerMoney podcast to get new ideas for saving and investing (like putting enough to match your employer’s contribution to your 401K and throwing the rest in a Roth IRA).

2. Make some to-dos and start checking them off

I love a good to-do list. But who doesn’t?! It’s so satisfying making a list (whether it’s what to clean, what to organize, projects to start or new ideas) and then checking off a task. Even if it’s a to-do list for making breakfast or writing thank you notes, it’s still a task completed!

I suggest using this amazing, well-designed online and mobile Teuxdeux list.

3. Implement some Earth-friendly tactics

With having just celebrated Earth Day, it’s a great time to reconsider what type of footprint you’re leaving. Are there ways that you could be more energy efficient in your everyday life? I’m personally trying to use fewer plastic baggies and waste less energy at home.

I suggest looking into using reusable sandwich baggies or seeing if your energy company offers any savings programs like Duke Energy’s Energywise Home (we just signed up!)

4. Clean up your inbox

I don’t know about you, but when I have a cluttered inbox, it makes me feel stressed and like I can’t get on top of things. Again, this is a perfect time of year to go through and organize your emails into folders and get rid of those you don’t need anymore, as well unsubscribe from those you don’t read regularly. Then, you can keep things organized as emails come in.

I suggest using one of these handy email subscription clean-up services to get a head start on keeping your inbox clean.

Good luck on your spring cleaning!

Easter Poems

easter cross

Happy Easter, all! Here are a few poems that I’ve written in the past few years inspired by the Easter season.

Sunrise Service

There seems to be an internal timer
inside of me signaling Easter morning
It must have been all those sunrise services,
my stomach confused why sticky sweet
hot cross buns were allowed so early
My mind caught in the mysterious
wonder of the joy-filled sunrise
Glistening darkness turned to slices of colorful light
and we would clap and sing to welcome it
Our hope
that the sun would show its rays
that our hope would be ever-present
that we would all feel a rising within
So much depended on the sunrise
And so much of me still does

 

Easter Smell

I imagine the risen Christ smelled like incense
not the hoppy, weed-leftovers type
But the herbal sage and thyme type
that stops and calms you
whisks your thoughts away
to Middle Eastern cups of tea with friends
roast chicken and root veg shared with family
a new herb garden hoping to survive
It’s of the Earth, it’s new while also ancient
A familiar smell that you can’t quite remember
That’s what I imagine the risen Christ smelled like

Travel Week: West Coast

The last post in our Travel Week series is here, and I’m about to finish up a beautiful week visiting Paris, France myself.

Throughout the week, we’ve been revisiting travel posts from the past, and they’ve all been on the East Coast.

Although I’m more of an East Coast gal myself, I’ve definitely got some love for the West Coast. There’s Cali, the PNW and so much more to explore.

With that in mind, let’s get to traveling!

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FRUITFUL TRAVELS: SEATTLE, WA

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FRUITFUL TRAVELS: SAN DIEGO, CA

Bon Voyage!

Labor Day Planzzzz!

pumpkin field nc

It’s almost Labor Day, a glorious long weekend (and the last of the summer). The pumpkins are starting to take shape, and the heat is maybe behind us?!

That’s basically the only reason that I’m allowing myself to use the blog title above. #yolo

What are you doing for Labor Day?

We’ve got a few small plans and a lot of plans for relaxing and Netflixing.

Plans

  • Get this Whole Foods deal and grill with family (local cheeseburgs!)
  • Find a TV series to rival Emma (which I just watched while getting through a 24-hour fever)
  • Attend a Mexican Fiesta party with some friends
  • Make these no-bakes or these tahini chocolate chip cookies to take to the party
  • Eat Wavy Lays & french onion dip (because my husband already bought those)
  • Enjoy some rainy days (don’t get too crazy, Hurricane Hermine)
  • Start a new book (just finished this one)
  • Plan out restaurants for our Paris trip in 42 and counting days! (any recs?)

I hope you can find some time to relax and enjoy summer, nature, people, ice cream, tacos or whatever sounds good this weekend!

The Best Thing I Ate This Month

dr. young's pond berry farm in angier, nc

what:

You-pick blackberries, blueberries (I let them pick those) and raspberries

where:

Dr. Young’s Pond Berry Farm in Angier, NC

why:

Going berry picking was one of the treats of my July 4 weekend. On the holiday (which was unseasonably cool and cloudy), I got up early and drove down to pick some berries. There’s nothing like gathering your own sweet, vibrant berries to eat just as is or to freeze to bake into something delicious later on.

A Speedy Southern Biscuit

sour cream scallion biscuits

There’s nothing quite like a Southern biscuit.

Each one is unique (from Bojangle’s to Biscuitville, buttery to creamy), depending on the unique combination of ingredients.

Although normally baking biscuits is no easy feet, this recipe proves that theory wrong.

I introduce you to drop biscuits. It’s a simple and quick way to make outstanding biscuits. Oh and the butter and sour cream makes them good, too.

sour cream scallion biscuits

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The Best Thing I Ate (or Drank) This Month

dirty beetz at fiction kitchen

what:

Dirty Beetz craft cocktail

where:

Fiction Kitchen in Raleigh

why:

This cocktail was as surprising as it was tasty. Beet simple syrup is mixed with vodka, orange and lime to make a healthy margarita of sorts. So light and refreshing!

My Top Podcasts

my top podcasts

It’s hard to believe that it’s been like two years since I did a post about podcasts that I’ve been listening to.

Well, it’s clearly time for a refresh, as I’ve got a group of new and great podcasts to share with you.

I am loving the variety out there with podcasts, and each one serves a different purpose whether it’s helping me find blogging ideas, figure out this week’s meal plan, write a thank you note or start a new creative venture.

So, here are my current top podcasts that I really think you should check out:

The Sporkful

I’ve been hooked on this one since I started listening six or eight months ago. “It’s not for foodies, it’s for eaters” is the tagline, which basically means that you don’t have to know everything about food to listen or enjoy. I love Dan’s style of interviewing and whimsical take on eating.

Awesome Etiquette

This podcast has been a staple for me on my 40-minute commute to work. Dan and Lizzie Post (great grandchildren of the infamous Emily Post) dole out etiquette advice and answer listener’s questions on daily manner dilemmas. I find they answer quite a few of my questions and take on life’s little conundrums with grace and humor.

Bon Appetit Foodcast

The Bon Appetit Foodcast is one that I download immediately when I see there is a new episode. Host Adam Rapoport does a great job of interviewing top chefs and others in the food world, and this podcast is a great source for new cooking ideas (from the Bon Appetit Test Kitchen). The episodes with Nigella Lawson and Yotam Ottolenghi are some of my faves.

The Upload Podcast

This is a new podcast on the scene and aims at inspiring creatives. It also happens to be hosted and produced by my talented brother-in-law, Mike. He does a great job of interviewing creatives from all types of backgrounds and talents, then he distills their advice and experience into helpful tips for listeners.

New Year, New Lasagna

white spinach sausage lasagna

I know what’s going on with you.

You are feeling positive about the new year. You’re looking forward to checking things off of your to-do list. And you’re starting a diet.

Wait, no…not you?

I certainly hope you haven’t made anyone promises that you can’t keep.

And I hope you haven’t written off all winter comforts, such as lasagna.

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How to Survive the Hoidays

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Don’t be fooled by the title of this post, I love the holidays.

So much to celebrate, eat, drink, and so many people to do those things with!

But, if you (like me) have driven in holiday traffic, been to a mall during the month of December or attended a holiday party with people you didn’t know, you might have noticed that the holidays tend to get a little crazy.

All the stress, money spending and general busyness is enough to drive your normal cheerful Christmas-lover into a scroogey mood.

How do you stop this and prevent yourself from stressing through the holidays?

Here are a few tips for surviving the holidays:

Discover a New Book, Podcast or Music

Whether Christmas tunes or the new Adele album is your thing, embrace whatever media makes you happy. Find a new podcast or book on tape to entertain you during your dark, congested drive home from work. Pop in a new CD (if you have an old, non-iPhone compatible care like me) or play your favorite Christmas playlist on Spotify. Find time to rest, listen or read to something interesting and uplifting. I’m also an Advent lover, myself.

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