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the handwritten note

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Photo courtesy of my trusty IPhone
Tea from Felicitous Coffee & Tea House

Handwritten letters seem to be fading from our everyday existence being replaced by fast correspondence. Understandably, email and texting are efficient and serve their function, but they lack heart.

Although technology reigns supreme in our lives, nothing beats the sensory experience of discovering a letter in the mailbox. Whether it’s the cute stamp, the color of the envelope, the quality of the paper, or recognizing someone’s handwriting, it all feels so personal. What’s more, in a world where we always seem to be chasing time, it’s so meaningful that someone stopped everything for a few minutes to think of you.

Letters are to be savored. After all, imagine showing your grandkids a “love email” from their grandfather. So slow down and write those cards or notes every once in a while and not just for birthdays. Share your news or thoughts or love the old-fashioned way. Teach your kids to do the same. The simple act of putting pen to paper can magically transform a friend or relative’s day. And try as you may, you can’t say that about a Facebook post.

happy earth day

This perfectly expresses how I feel about Earth Day! Let’s do something.

getting organized

getorganized
Maybe it’s just me, but I find that I’m much more inclined to stay organized when I’ve got cute products to help me do it. Check out my latest roundup:

1. Emily Ley Simplified Planner – Keep it simple but ultra adorable with the Emily Ley Pineapple Weekly planner. It’s the perfect place to plan out your week and gain a hold of your life! I love the sidebar to do list for your top priorities of the day and the inspiring quote for each week. Look for a whole new lineup of planners this spring!

2. Ananas Trinket Dish & Clips – Add a bit of glam to your desk with this gold pineapple dish accompanied by handy, matching paper clips from Anthropologie. You and your desk deserve this.

3. Zippered Mesh Pouch – Store your pens, pencils, erasers, etc. in this clever vinyl pouch. You’ll never have to worry about your pen leaking in your purse again. It’s also the perfect size for makeup when you’re on the go.

4. Moleskine Notebooks – I’m obsessed with these for various reasons. They sell them at Barnes & Noble, but I always end up finding mine at 60% off at my local T.J. Maxx.

5. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Declutter your home and organize your things then watch your life change. I haven’t had a chance to read more than the first chapter (procrastination), but I am now up for the challenge of beginning again!

6. Laduree Macaron Erasers – Make editing a sweet task with these. Erasers that are a knock off of the famous Laduree bakery macarons just can’t be beat. Plus, it’s amusing to fool people with them.

7. Knock Knock Notepads– Another T.J. Maxx find that is fun, colorful, and practical all at once. Write down to do lists, goals, and more with these whimsical notes.

thoughts on whole 30

buddybrewlatte

Whole 30 is best described as an elimination and detox diet based on the Paleo program. You don’t consume the following for 30 days: alcohol, sugar (except from fruit), grains, dairy, beans, or any processed foods. It’s supposed to reset your body and help reduce inflammation and digestive upset. After the 30 days, you reintroduce these food groups back into your diet one by one to see your body’s reaction to them. You will lose weight, but the goal here is to become more mindful of what you eat and to embrace clean eating. It’s hard. They say it isn’t hard, but it’s tough.
You can read more about it here.

This is a recap of my first week. Please note that I adore cheese and have a major league sweet tooth.

Day 1

Feeling upbeat and almost cheerful (there’s a fine line between optimism and delusion), I’m up for the Whole 30 challenge. To succeed, you’ve got to be prepared. I’m fortified with a small grocery haul from Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and my local produce stand. I’m officially a Whole 30ette because I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to it.

Day 2

Making delicious recipes, keeps my resolve going. The homemade chicken soup is both comforting and tasty. Reality sinks in though when I want my evening hot tea while watching Fixer Upper. No sugar and milk in my tea equals no bueno.

Day 3

Eating out is challenging. Everything is a no no! I order the market salad with grilled chicken at Bodega. The girl behind the counter gives me a sad look as she hands me oil & vinegar so I can dress my salad, theirs has honey in it. All is good until I spot a hipster downing an ice cold bottle of Coke. I suppress the urge to tackle him for it. Sugar withdrawal is real.

Day 4

My love for Lara bars is born. They’re dairy and gluten free with no added sugar. I reread the Whole 30 program rules. It turns out Lara bars are only for emergencies. I spy two elementary school girls walking with their mom holding a box of doughnuts from the Mini Doughnut Company. The little blonde one has chocolate icing on her face. For a split second, I envision myself snatching the box from them and sprinting off. This is an emergency. I eat the Lara bar and feel better.

Day 5 – 7

Preparation is everything. My well-stocked pantry and refrigerator help me make: chicken salad, paleo taco salad, fajitas, fruit salad, etc. I survive the week without a Buddy Brew latte or anything sweet. I do not cheat because you can’t. And I try really hard not to think about cheese.

Profound realizations:

• Sugar is in everything: salad dressing, mayonnaise, bacon, etc.!
• I realized how much sugar I was consuming before Whole 30. The daily recommended amount of added sugar (not from fruit) is 25 grams or six teaspoons. FYI – there are 230 calories and 58 grams of sugar in a medium Chick Fil A lemonade! Cue the tears. To put that in perspective, a Snickers bar has 27 grams of sugar.
• Making most of your own meals is the foundation for clean eating. That said, thank goodness for Fresh Kitchen!

Other thoughts:

• Cuban food is not as good without black beans and rice.
• Unsweetened almond milk in coffee is just wrong.
• I bet that crème brulee French toast I saw on Pinterest tastes amazing.

a fresh start

purplestock

Hello January, thanks for giving us all a fresh start. A new year graciously offers us the chance to push the reset button on our lives. For a lot of people, this takes the form of resolutions. Unfortunately, the gung-ho enthusiasm of January 1st (you’re at every spin or Zumba class you can go to) quickly becomes an awkward burnout (you’re dodging calls from your workout buddies while binge watching Netflix on your couch).

Why not ease into the new year? I did. Don’t judge, but I kept my Christmas tree up way past New Year’s Day. While others may love wiping the slate clean, I felt a bit bummed by the sudden lack of holiday sparkle. Thankfully, sprucing up your home with fresh flowers can really combat the January blahs.

Back to resolutions and diving into new promises to yourself, how about choosing an intention vs. a resolution for the new year? My intentional word for 2016 is “believe.” Think of a word, mantra, Bible verse, or quote that will resonate with you throughout the year and make it your own!

Let yourself off the hook if you haven’t cut back on carbs or begun learning French yet. Remember every day is a new opportunity to create meaningful change. Enjoy the direction you’re moving in without going overboard with drastic changes that may not stick. Take steps toward your goals or dreams, but give yourself permission to make them baby steps if that’s what works best for you.

Happy New Year, may this year be all that you dream it will be!

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