Tuesday, May 19, 2015

It's that time of year again...

I'm going to start running again, and I'm going to try to run a marathon this year! Last year I began training but had an injury and took some time off so I scaled back to a half marathon to keep myself safe since my health remains my most important priority (and is the reason I run and exercise in the first place!). And so, with 5 months to go I've started running again and I ran 2 miles today.

My goal is to get back in the habit of running 3-4 times/week, even if its just 2-3 miles at a time for the next several weeks. And then I will reattempt to start this training schedule next month once I'm consistently running 3-4 times/week and can run 5 miles continuously on one of those days.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Spring Cleaning, Part 2

I finished finding another 100 things to toss or sell.

What sorts of things made the second round of cuts?

Clothes-- We went through all of our clothes and I let go of several items that I'd been holding onto that have not fit in years and several more items that I've lived in and it was time to let go of because they are worn out. Many of those items were tossed! My husband also parted with some clothes that no longer fit or were worn out. Together we found more than 30 clothing items to get rid of for this challenge!

Kitchen tools-- I went through all of our drawers and let go of basters, ladles, and appliances we no longer needed. It's hard to part with the warm sandwich press but we haven't made them in 2 years. And we did keep the panini maker, so I think we're set. The kitchen donated another 25 items including small tools, appliances, and old serving pieces we no longer need.

The bathroom-- This is where I finished it off and found 30+ more items this past week. Old magazines that are cluttering up the room, expired prescriptions, and a host of samples we've acquired from hotels that we intentionally used up over the past 2 weeks or put into donation pile for a local shelter.

Overall, this was a stretch for me and I'm looking forward to potentially doing one more before the end of the year. We will definitely host another yard sale this summer and take the rest of the stuff that doesn't sell to Goodwill. 

200 items for $285 in 2 challenges. A pretty good haul so far!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Spring Cleaning

As planned, I have been deep cleaning the past few weeks gathering items for a second 100 item challenge.

So far I've cleaned our entire kitchen, a spare bedroom, and our master bedroom out and I have collected over 60 items to toss or date. I'm stumbling to figure out where else to declutter although I know there is plenty left to get rid of but I'm not ready to part with everything yet and that makes it a struggle to find more.

I also had a yard sale with items from the first round of decluttering that had been set aside for that. We made $150 which felt great! I also took another box of stuff to Goodwill that had not sold and needed to go.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

May 2015 Goals

     The blog has been quiet this month-- a trip to Paris, visits and help to friends and family for some problems that came up, spring cleaning the house (partly done, but there is more on the way), and organizing for our first yard sale of the summer, on the heels of my 100 things challenge this winter. (To see some updates on that challenge, check here, here, and here). In fact, I refrained from even setting goals in April because I just wanted to relax and enjoy the trip and use the rest of the month to get my house and life organized again.

But, coming up in May, I've got lots of goals:
1) A 100 things challenge (but instead of 3 months, I'm going to do it in 2 weeks!)
2) A yard sale to sell things from the first and second 100 things challenges this year
3) Start running 5-6 miles/week (2-4 days/week)
4) Read 8 books
5) Clean out our closets and transition to warm weather clothing
6) Continue practicing weekly acts of generosity and share another post with some ideas of what we have been doing to help out friends, family, and strangers
7) Spend time with my 4 closest girlfriends this month
8) Make my annual Roth contribution 
9) Review all my credit cards and cancel some of them that we no longer need/use
10) Do 2 weekly date nights with my husband EVERY WEEK!

What are you doing this month? Any tips for hosting a successful yard sale?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Whats Up Wednesday

Today I'm linking up with Mel, Sheaffer, and Shay for the first time with a series called "What's Up Wednesday":

What we're eating this week: Lots of types of pasta (cause we were missing it while we were away in Paris this month) and more fresh fruit and veggies (cause I'm also inching my way toward a healthier diet and exercise schedule this summer)

What I'm reminiscing about: When we brought our puppy home 5 years ago 

What I'm loving: Season finales of the current shows I've been watching this year-- an insane amount of television the past couple weeks since we got home as we relaxed

What we've been up to: We just got home from Paris and adopted a rescue pup to add to our family. See some of my Paris photos here and here

What I'm dreading: We attempted to help a friend out with a problem by taking it on ourselves but despite our efforts we cannot continue to do that. Now I have to tell her it's time to try another alternative. Difficult news is always hard to share and I hope our attempt to help her fix the problem strengthens our relationship instead of hurting it.

What I'm working on:  Getting back in the habit of reading every night since I have not read any new books this month

What I'm excited about: Dinner at a really nice restaurant with the perfect view. We've always wanted to go there and this year we are going to celebrate our anniversary there!

What I'm watching/reading: 
I've been watching finales all over the place...

and I'm almost done reading and its really neat to read people's personal accounts of where they were and the different perspectives of cultures and personnel
What I'm listening to: Lots of Dave Ramsey as of late on podcasts
What I'm wearing: Yoga pants and tshirts, lots of comfy clothes after dressing up on vacation and in between work days

What I'm doing this weekend: Anniversary dinner out at a special restaurant with my husband and cuddling my pup

What I'm looking forward to next month: Start running again and turn the heat off

And for Mothers Day gifts-- we're sending out cards and have just given out delicious chocolate and bon bons that we brought back from Paris!

Happy April everyone!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Paris: Favorite Places

Today I'm linking up with Erika, Narci and Andrea to share some of my favorite places we visited in Paris this month!
We visited the Eiffel Tower several times, day and night. We had a picnic there. We sat on a bench and talked by the lovely little pond (to the left of the tower as you're facing it from this angle). Our favorite visit there was at night to watch it sparkle on the hour. Isn't it amazing?

We climbed the tower at Notre Dame. There are so many fantastic places in the city to see a beautiful view. This was one of my favorites. Notre Dame is in the center of Paris and this allows you to look out to lots of other monuments in the city, plus see the "island" of Ile de St Louis from an aerial view.

Pierre Herme had my favorite treats of the trip. The macarons there were out of this world. We visited a lot of chocolate shops, patisseries, and boulangeries. And the macarons here were definitely a favorite!
Luxembourg Gardens was my favorite park. There were people playing games, families strolling together, children playing with toy boats, and lots of groups exercising. There was even a station for pony rides for children! It was a sunny day and everyone was outside enjoying some Vitamin D. This afternoon was definitely one of my favorites in Paris!
Finally, this is one of my favorite pictures from Paris. The gold fixtures on Pont Alexandre Bridge, the gold dome covering Napoleon's tomb, the lamp posts and wide boulevards all scream "PARIS Baby!" and we visited this bridge on several occasions. Enjoying sunny days was a rare treat in early April and this also makes this a favorite moment.

Hope you enjoyed my Parisian tour and will leave a comment to welcome me back :)

Happy Friday all!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Paris: Part 1

We just returned from Paris and had a wonderful visit. Here's a peek into our memories:
April showers on the bridge with lovers hanging locks. Lots of rain! We were grateful to have a sturdy umbrella with us at all times.

We visited Notre Dame, St. Chapelle, St. Germain de Pres, St. Severin, St. Eustache and Sacre Coeur while we were there. Lots of churches! This is the window of Saint Chapelle which holds the crown of thorns on the altar.

We walked 10-12 miles each day. Lots of walking! Cobblestone streets and lovely old buildings are all around Paris.
We visited many museums including Louvre, Orsay, Rodin, L'Orangerie and Invalides/Napoleon's Tomb. Lots of art, sculpture, and history! The museum pass made it a great value to visit all different types of exhibits during our time there. We tried to do 1 museum in the morning and 1 site/museum in the afternoon with a leisurely lunch sitting down for several hours at mid-day. Paris has some of the best museums in the world.
The city of lights, at night. Lots of lights! When the sun went down we generally headed home as that is our preference when we travel. But we always enjoyed seeing the city all lit up at night on our walks home. 

Tomorrow I'll share another post with more pictures of monuments and sites we visited!