Monthly Archives: February 2015

Day in the life : January 31 2015

I have done a “day in the life” post before but I picked a work day to document.    This time I thought I would capture a normal Saturday for us.  It was actually a lot of fun to jot down notes at random parts of my day, and now that I’m going back and editing this post I already notice a few small things I had forgotten about. Saturday January 31st was a pretty typical one for us. My husband is back in school which means that he spends Saturday and most of Sunday on schoolwork and I am left to entertain myself.

The only atypical things about this particular Saturday were the lovely weather (almost 40!) and the fact that the Super Bowl was the following day which meant I did all of the house chores in one day instead of two since we were headed out to a party on Sunday.

7:58 was the first time I saw on the clock. I finally got out of bed at 8:12 after much prodding from both the husband and the dog. Normally the dog likes to sleep in like me and I have no idea why he flipped sides this particular morning. I think he is annoyed at me because I said he was too chubby for treats right now. #winterpug

I’m currently reading a really interesting novel set in my MIL’s hometown.

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9:25: it is a lovely January day and I took the pup out for a walk around the neighborhood. I snapped this picture because it shows about how much snow was on each lawn (boot for reference :)). This is crazy for late-January in the upper midwest, but we were supposed to get hit with a big storm this evening.

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10:13 back from our walk and time for breakfast. Granola and blueberries isn’t the most filing option I could have chosen but since it was so late in the morning I didn’t want to ruin lunch.

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The next hour or so was a pretty random blur. I called my mom about a recipe, put away laundry and picked up around the house. There was some blog reading in here as well. I am starting to get the sneaking suspicion that Mr. Student is going to want to go out for lunch.

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11:41 I am adulting: tracking our spending for the month. I also have a grocery list going on the side. Still waiting for the student to say he wants a break. I’m ready with errands when he does!

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1:14 leaving the grocery store in search of some lunch. We are supposed to get almost a foot of snow overnight and people were going crazy!!  (ETA: there actually was quite a lot of snow and most schools and workplaces shut down on Monday.  In retrospect I understand the clamor a whole lot better.)

 

1:40: We decided to take a detour on our way home and stop at That Burger Joint for burgers and a game of chess. (I knew L was going to want to go out!) I lost the first one in four moves…and I very nearly won the second game but flaked out at the very end. Chess is not my strong suit.

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2:10: Netflix on my iPad because L decided he wanted to be in the same room as me but I couldn’t make noise 🙂

3:00: My mom called and asked if we would do a few things around their house and around town because she isn’t able to drive right now. So I ran over and helped her out and then stopped by Starbucks on my way back home.

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4:56: More Netflix.  I’m just now starting Parenthood because of all of the rave reviews it has gotten. Gilmore Girls is one of my top three favorite shows and so far Lauren Graham is just as great in this show. I’m going to watch another episode before contemplating dinner.

6:25: My mom called us (again) and asked that we come by tonight on account of the snowstorm that is supposed to hit. That way we will already be here for the game Sunday afternoon and we can help my dad shovel. I adore my parents and enjoy spending time with them. Finding this candy bar was an excellent bonus.  Double bonus: no need to contemplate dinner any longer!

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9:25:  We barely made it to the parents’ before the snow started and I have just gotten in from shoveling and changed into pajamas. More reading with the Chicago Blackhawks on in the background

And there is no picture to show here but at midnight on the dot I was the last one awake and watching the end of the Blackhawks game by myself.  The end.

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Book review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up over the weekend because this book has gotten lots of buzz lately and I was curious whether it would live up to the hype.

You need to know one thing before beginning this book: the author is eccentric and self-identifies as such.  If you can get past the fact that some things that she says are really out there (to most people) I think you’ll enjoy the book a lot more.

I expected to enjoy the lessons in this book quite a bit, but not so much the actual reading of it.  I tend to shy away from books that fall into the “self-help” category because I find the writing style to often be tedious.  I have to say that, until the summary pages at the end, this book was very easy to get though.  The end got a little bit preachy and over the top but I suppose that’s to be expected.

This book got quite a bit of buzz in the minimalist blogger circle and even generated some mainstream buzz at the start of the new year.  The basic premise of the book is as follows: the ideal way to keep your home and life clutter-free is to only keep those things that you love, and find a proper place to store them in your home.

You can see how it appeals to minimalists, can’t you?  As an American I freely admit that we surround ourselves with and generally become comfortable with quite a bit of clutter.  I’m not just talking stuffed closets, but also kitchen gadgets, home decor, tools, books, makeup, etc.  I think the American Dream tacitly supports this.  Think about it: self-reliance can be stretched into meaning the need to have everything you could possibly need (who borrows anything from neighbors anymore?).  That’s not to mention the fact that single-family home ownership is seen as the ultimate trophy of being a successful American.

That’s a total tangent, but my point is that most of us probably have a lot of clutter around our homes.  And our schedules, if you think about it.  But that’s not something that Marie Kondo’s book goes into at all.

For the act of decluttering itself, this book is full of helpful-but-not-extreme tips.  Kondo’s opinion is that you should endeavor to clear the clutter out of your house in one go because that will insure that your house never gets cluttered again.  I think there is a lot of validity in that train of thought.  Cleaning house is also a more positive experience when you focus on keeping what you love, rather than focusing on what you don’t like and should therefore give away.

I’m much more of a meticulous organizer than a true minimalist and I agree with Marie Kondo about several of her points: storage solutions almost always mean that you have too much stuff, everything should have a specific spot in your home, and that rooms do feel fresher and lighter when they are less cluttered.  I disagreed with some of her ideas though: emptying out a purse or a tote at the end of each day seems like wasted energy if you’re using it the next day and I can’t imagine keeping my shampoo and shower gel anywhere besides the shower.

It was in the organization section that more of Marie Kondo’s eccentric ideas came out.  For example, she suggests letting your things rest and breathe, as if they have actual spirits that need refreshing.  That’s not for me.  And instead of being thankful to God or another deity for the blessings of her possessions, she chooses to funnel her thanks into the possessions themselves: she thanks her apartment, clothing and shoes for all of the work that they do for her.

In sum, I think The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up can be a fantastic quick read for anyone looking for the motivation to get cleaning their space.  If you go in prepared to find some of the suggestions pretty bizarre I think that you’ll be able to gloss over those and enjoy the book as a whole.  If you have read it, I’m curious to know what you think!

Month in Review: January 2015

ETA: Mea culpa.  I was a total space case and forgot to give credit where it’s due.  The idea for a monthly review came from Amanda (The Lady Okie) and I’ll be joining in with her link up this year.

One of the things that I appreciate most about maintaining a blog is the ability to record even the seemingly mundane parts of life because these can be my favorite to look back on after the fact.  Special occasions and fun trips are great but those tend to stay at the forefront of my memory anyway.  Lots of blogs do week or weekend in review posts; that’s too much for me.  I loved the idea of a monthly recap, and I’m so glad that Amanda decided to make it a linkup this year.

I think I’m going to include a recap of the first day of each month and then add a few details about the month overall at the very end.  Feel free to skip this post if recaps aren’t your thing.

January 1 2015

Our location: Chicago(ish)

Temp: 29 —–> That’s pretty warm!

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Even with a huge tumbler of coffee I still managed to take a seriously indulgent nap on New Years Day.

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But I also made it to the gym!  (The closest thing to a gym selfie I’ll do.)

We woke up hangover-free on January 1 but had a lazy day nevertheless.  We watched a soul-crushing Chicago Blackhawks loss, saw a good portion of the Rose Bowl Parade and used our favorite Christmas gift (the Starbucks January mugs!) for the first time. We also checked in with both of our families to see how their year started off, hit the gym and made an apple and pork salad for dinner that night.

We discussed our goals for the year and what we hoped to accomplish – it was an exciting conversation, and one that we’ve decided to revisit each month.

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Month in Review: January 2015

Places traveled: New England! Instead of stressing ourselves out with holiday travel and fitting all the things in with both sides, we decided to wait until the first week of January to visit L’s family.

States we slept in: IL, OH, MA, ME, NH —–> next year we’re heading south instead…

Books read: The Hunger Games.  Liked it for the most part but I found the beginning really slow.  Catching Fire.  Ditto my thoughts on the first book.  Mockingjay – because I had to finish the trilogy.

TV shows watched: Downton  Abbey is getting so very soapy but Maggie Smith’s character is brilliant.  At this point I pretty much watch just for her.

Projects completed: I have nothing to show for this but I was able to sell/donate/toss a bunch of random stuff we weren’t using.

Dates: Well, we took a road trip together so that was quite a bit of quality time.  I guess we did have one date night at a nicer restaurant while we were out east.

Snippets: We filed our taxes.  Survived a nasty car accident.  Bought a new car.  Enjoyed a moderately mild month weather-wise.  Liam began another school term.  We both dealt with different work-related stressors.  It was an eventful month.

January 2015; I don’t miss you one bit.