Saturday, February 11, 2017

Currently in my handbag

I miss the days when I didn't have to switch between a diaper bag and a purse. Don't get me wrong- I love my diaper bag , but it does feel a bit... mom-ish. (I do see this bag transitioning into a great gym bag or travel bag someday, however... all the pockets!)

I've figured out how to make changing bags quick, easy and painless because, like a Girl Scout, I like to be prepared and have what I need on hand as much as possible. I only have to move 3 items total, because I've compartmentalized all of my things into smaller bags that are easy to grab and go.

I have my favorite wallet in the whole wide world, my Hobo Lauren wallet (the color I've linked is similar, because mine is so old.) I remember years back a girlfriend RAVED about "her Hobo," and I was mystified for two reasons. 1: It's pricey! and 2. It's a wallet! I finally decided to bite the bullet about 4 years ago, and I'm never going back. The leather is gorgeous, the quality is top notch, it holds up so well... frankly, I think it keeps on getting better and better as it ages. This thing holds it all- seriously. I've even used it as a clutch before. It's perfect.

I found this shop on Etsy sometime ago, and I love her fabric choices. I would buy all the things if I had a need for it! In this bag I keep some of my beauty tried and trues:

  • Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream absorbs quickly and it works. And- its less than $4
  • Burt's Bees lip balm in Hibiscus- quick swipe for color
  • Medela lanolin for my cuticles. Seriously, nothing works better
  • Bobby pins and hair ties #mombunlyfe
  • MAC lipstick in Syrup. I love lipstick, but I have a special affinity for MAC colors. This one is the perfect everyday shade. If want something a little brighter, I've been grabbing Lustering
  • ColorScience Sunforgettable Brush-On Sunscreen SPF 50 (they also make an SPF 30 version). I'm an SPF fanatic (although my wrinkles and melasma say otherwise). I go through at least 3 tubes of this a year [and they do offer a special 3 pack with additional savings.] I can't recommend this one enough. Seriously- if you do nothing else for your skin, do SPF! 
My current handbag is a second-hand bag I bought in college while I worked at a shoe repair shop. It's a brand called Tano. The long story short behind this bag is that I asked my mom to take it somewhere to get fixed and//or find new buckles for it (it had issues with the strap buckles) and she then LOST it. Well, 7 years later [yup, 7 years], she found it, and I took it in to get fixed. It;s like a brand new bag, and I love it! :)

The bag's first foray out in public after a long hiatus... getting a 24 week pregnancy glucose test (at 26 weeks along...)

Anything you think I should add? Are you a minimalist, or a maximalist like myself when it comes to your purse?


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Define "Success"

During university, I was obsessed with being the best at everything I dabbled in. I was going to be the best runner. (Fail.) I wanted to have the best fashion blog (believe it or not, there are 250 posts I have saved as a draft on my landing page from Reine Rose's previous iteration!  But I never got more than a dozen or so followers, and the dream died. ) I wanted to be the best student (I actually did get this one, and I have a plaque to prove it, little that it matters now in the adult world.) I wanted to be the best dressed (that never happened- you should meet some of my sorority sisters!) I wanted to be fit and thin (but pint night and late night runs to Chilie Peppers were major obstacles that set me up for failure.) I just never really achieved the success I thought I wanted. 

My January/February Work To-Do list... FINISHED

Then I started my career, and I was determined to be named Outstanding Young Agriculture Teacher in the state of California. I had a seven year window in which to make it happen, and dammit, it was going to happen. 

I slowly learned, though, that chasing success like this just isn't my style, and I'm finally embracing this about myself.  

I am not saying I'm not a good ag teacher. I work really hard, and I try to give students opportunities through a program I believe in, very, very deeply. But I have learned that in order to earn this prestigious award,  I'd have to give up some things that mattered a lot to me- and I just wasn't willing to make that sacrifice. Events in the last few years have taught me that my life passed me by when I was chasing a kind of victory I wasn't even sure I wanted anymore. 

In many ways, I'm not conventionally successful in my career. I don't have judging teams with silver bowls, no students who have earned national recognition for their speaking skills, no state or regional officers. These are truly wonderful accomplishments that can change a student's life for the better, and I have the utmost respect for those who can make these incredible things happen for kids....  But that's not necessarily how I define success for myself or my career today. I have students who have found their dream career in my classroom. I have students who overcame their tremendous fear of public speaking and managed to give a beautifully memorized and presented prepared speech. I've had students earn recognition for their hard work that would normally go unnoticed. I've seen students who think they couldn't pass a science class earn a C, and jump with joy. I think these are all successes, and I know that students' lives are better for it. 

I guess this is a long way of saying that YOU, and only you, can define what success means for you. Maybe you won't settle for being less than the absolute best- and if that's what you want, I have no doubt that you can achieve it. And it's positively okay if your definition of success changes- mine certainly has. We're each on our journey, and you can't judge someone else because you haven't walked their path. 

I do know this, with unwavering certainty- you can achieve success (however you define it) when you put your mind to it and if you do your absolute best

I have. One example of that is right here.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Getting it all done

Work/life balance. Huh.

My coworker went to a workshop and sent me a picture of a slide that said "How do you achieve work/life balance?" I am in a season where I don't feel like that's possible. I work full time in a job that demands weekends and evenings, I have a toddler and a husband I like to see, a home to maintain,  I have to deal with being pregnant (eff you heartburn), and also, somehow, attempt to make time to do things for myself so I don't completely loose my mind

While I'm still struggling to come to peace with the fact that sometimes it's not all going to get done, as a lifelong perfectionist and a person who deals with anxiety (both social and general), I have found some ways to help me feel like I'm doing at least okay in managing so many different worlds.


  • Be as efficient as possible. I do not stop working the entire time I'm at school. If I have 5 free minutes, I'm grading, doing paperwork or prepping lessons get the idea . I grab lunch and eat at my desk. Yes, I realize this isn't a recommended practice, but if I work through lunch, I can go home 30 minutes earlier
  • Leave work at work. This is unusual for a teacher, but when I'm home, I don't want to grade or lesson plan. It helps that I've been doing this for 7 years so much of my curriculum is set except for adjustments, and also, I'm not an English teacher with stacks of papers to sort through.
  • Schedule meetings and be productive. This seems like a duh statement, but a lot of meetings are a waste of time and oxygen.
  • Keeping an organized work space, inbox, filing system and classroom makes life much less chaotic. I organize everything top to bottom every couple of days, because- students. Life. Stuff. You know.
  • Find something to enjoy at work every day. I laugh every single day because a student says or does something completely ludicrous. 
  • One master to do list, not having several different lists, keeps me focused and on track on what I need to accomplish each week. Post-its are good friends of mine. 
My current work to-do list. These are all major projects with very firm deadlines!

Home and Family:
  • I have a housekeeper who comes every two weeks. Is it extravagant? Perhaps. Does Lucy help keep my house clean enough that I can spend that free time I do have with my kid instead of vacuuming under the couch and cleaning the bathtub? Yes. So, worth every penny. 
  • Crock pot dinners.... while Jensen does most of the cooking, when he's away for work trips, this is the only way I can feed David and myself without getting takeout 
  • I can't say this enough- I love my robot vacuum. bOBSweep for the win! I hate messy floors, so this is a sanity maintainer.
  • Keep a diaper bag stocked 24/7. Never let it run out of diapers and wipes!
  • Order as much as you can online, either for delivery or site to store pick up. While I love some Target time, it is more efficient to have someone else do the shopping for you. (Although I'll sometimes go to Target just to wander. I love Target...)
  • Keeping David on a consistent schedule really, really helps us. I know this isn't for everyone, but for our family, the predictability prevents toddler meltdowns and keeps us on pace too  Plus, nap time. I STILL nap on the weekends when David does!
  • Auto-schedule bills as much as possible. I hate last minute stress!
  • Try to focus on the moment I'm in, instead of what's coming. I've had to shut off my Facebook account, this being one of the reasons pushing me to come to that decision. I was missing life because I was so plugged in to my phone. 
  • I tidy the house every night after David goes to bed. Sometimes it takes 10 minutes, sometimes 30- but  those minutes save free time on the weekend. Plus, I hate clutter and it stresses me out.
  • I should meal plan more- I'm working on it. I've heard it's a real life saver, though! 
  • Using the Cozi app has helped Jensen and I know what's coming up on each other's schedules, we can share a grocery list, and we've also created a shared to-do list of places we'd like to visit. (It's a fun and motivating list to look through!!! #wanderlust) He's been travelling out of town a ton the past few months, and it's nice looking at our shared calendar and knowing what's coming up for both of us. 
David and I spent a rainy Sunday when Jensen was out of town at  the local Children's Museum. The cars were his favorite. Naturally. I cherish my weekends so much more now. 


I'll get back to you on this. I know many women who say they don't feel like themselves after having a child, and I can't say this is true in my experience. However, I know that I put my self  low on the endless list of to-do's. For example, I can't remember the last time I went on a trip with just my friends.... 2010? I can't tell you the last time, when I was going through a really hard time, that I felt like I could call someone  and just vent, simply because it had been so long since I had talked to a girlfriend; I felt awkward imposing after such a long time. So, yes... this component of my life is in need of resuscitation. I sometimes feel like I'm drowning, and I'm finally figuring out what I need to do to come up for air.

So, work/life balance... a work in progress.