Wednesday, February 29, 2012

12 things to do in 2012

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I saw this post on Little Lucy Lu that got my attention. I am a list-maker and love the concept of checking things of as I go- nothing like that feeling of ‘Oh, yeah! I DID IT!’.

I really liked the list, but I know myself, and giving myself years to finish it off means it just won’t get done. Procrastinators Anonymous, that’s me. So I decided to make a list for this year.
Yeah, we’re two months in it already, but it ok because:
A- I only thought of it now,
B- I live in Brazil and everyone says our year only starts after Carnival(which means after Ash Wednesday!) and
C- who cares, as long as it motivates me, it should be all good and
D- Today is February 29th! And as much as I would rather spend my extra 2012 day at Walt Disney World Resort, I do have to work, so I can at least have fun list-making fun!
So without much further a-do, here is my list of 12 things to tackle in 2012. As you can see, it's an ongoing project, and I have indeed been thinking about it for a while!
1- Deepen my relationship with Christ
2- Lose weight
3- Paint and do some at least five DYI projects around my house
4- Improve my cooking
5- Learn to sew
6- Get my Education specialist degree (almost there!)
7- Submit my writing for a blog as a guest blogger
8- Cut off animal products
9- Set a workout routine- and stick to it!
10- Take more pictures (of pretty much everything)
11- Volunteer somewhere
12- Learn to manage save money
No, there is no ‘scuba-diving in Maui’, we are going for realistic things. No OCD-detail-oriented goals as well. Losing weight means closing the year with less than I weight today, and I refuse to feel bad if I don’t reach a number. Life is not about numbers.
To make sure I get on it, I am leaving this post onto a page, so it will literally haunt me every time I open my blog. You know the saying, away from the eyes...

What about you, do you have any goals set for the near future?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A change would do me good

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When I was growing up, my mamma used to say I had ants in my pants when it came to house décor. Since a young age, I would lock myself in my bedroom and literally drag my furniture around until I saw fit. Some twenty years later, I married a man who is very similar to that. That means that my living room, for example, is on it’s third layout in five months. But, like our friend Martha would say, I believe that that’s a good thing.

Moving things around does not mean we can’t commit. Does not mean we are never satisfied. Does not means I have ants in my pants. It means my husband and I are always thinking of how to improve something. And this weekend, I think that is what we did to our living room. A big improvement.
Here are some before pictures.

I had three main problems with our living room the way it was:
1-      The entire focal point of the room was the TV. Works well for the hubby, not so well for me.

2-     There was nothing by the door for wallets and phones. Keys and such go to our hold all, but my husband’s stuff ended up on top of the dvd. Which made me *cringe*.

3-     The dining room was too tight. And since we started using the laptops there, it was even more cluttered when we had a meal, because the chair next to the table became a pile of castaway stuff.

      Here is what my living room looks like now:

As you can see, all three problems were solved.
There is a chair opposite the couch, which encourages chit-chat.
There is a table by the door for wallets and for laptops.
And much needed dining room space.
And I love it because of all that.
I can’t guarantee how long it will stay this way.
But for now, it’s a good thing indeed Mrs. Martha!

Monday, February 27, 2012

No pain, no gain

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A couple of days ago I had the.worst.headache.ever. It was so bad, I am convinced it was a migrane. I’ve had my share of headaches and sinus aches before (so much I went through surgery to get my deviated septum fixed), but never- never- had I had such pain before.

It started with a small headache. After about an hour, it was clear it was a sinus problem because my right eye was throbbing. In about three hours’ time, I was in bed, in the dark and quiet, agonizing with pain. My husband came and tried to comfort my spirit and my body, but there was nothing he could do to make me feel better.
And that’s when I saw the light. Not literally. I can’t claim a ‘Paul on the road to Damascus’ experience. But I was forced to see what was right in front of me: God’s provisions.

First, I realized that the pain only got to an unmanageable point when I was already home. I did not have to go through traffic on the interstate with tears in my eyes. My husband decided to take only 30 minutes of lunch, just for the sake of it, so he arrived home half an hour earlier. When I needed him the most. I had pasta in the fridge from the day before, something I never have, but it ensured us no need for cooking. And even for my husband’s sake, there was a game on, so he could be distracted since I went to bed so early.
I woke up the next morning still not 100%. The throbbing was gone. The excruciating pain was gone. But the headache was still there. Which means I was in a bad mood already. When I went down to the kitchen, I decided to cut myself a slice of melon for breakfast. And that is when the big knife and my finger became one. I immediately got scared, not knowing how deep it was. And that is when I prayed for God to change my attitude around. When I praised him because the horrible pain was gone, and this incy wincy headache would not stop me today.
Needless to say, I immediately felt his presence, and knew everything would be ok. And it is. So I have a headache. So I have a band-aid on my finger. But I also have a story about how God used my pain to bring me a little bit closer.

Friday, February 24, 2012


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I keep a list of my favorite blogs on my own blog, which I have always used to click onto in order to check out what’s new. Because of that, I thought that Bloglovin’ would be a tad bit useless. I decided to open an account anyway, so that I could add my blogs and put up a button for followers, and figured that would be it.

I had underestimated the power of having all my favorite blogs on one page, with title, picture and brief intro of their posts. It has made me stop wasting time because now I don’t have to click on links one at a time, and keep a gazillion tabs open. Plus, sometimes the title of a post is a bit misleading, and made me think ‘Oh, cool’ when in reality as soon as I opened the blog I knew it wasn’t really was I was thinking.

For those of you who think it might be one more thing, I urge you to try it- it really does cut corners when you are looking through. And if you happen to spend some time offline, it will help you by giving you a broad range of what to choose from, so you don’t have to go through old posts.
And if you do succumb to Bloglovin', add us to your list of blogs to follow!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Five items that make my life easier

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We all have very handy items around the house, and it would be impossible to truly narrow down to five things we can’t live without, unless we go over the basic clichés for human survival.
However, there are some staples of home keeping and basic girly stuff that change our lives for the better. Here are some of my life and time savers, which I would have a hard time parting with.

In the kitchen: Jar opener

Gone are the days in which I had to ask my husband to open stuff for me. And it does not hurt that mine is a Mickey inspired one, since I am a huge Disney fan!

In the bathroom: make-up mirror

I don’t often doll myself up (I’m a teacher, and therefore very low key when it comes to prepping for work!), so this was an impulse buy I thought I wouldn’t use that much. Not only do I often use it for make-up, checking my skin, tweezing and the sort, but I’ve seen my husband staring at his zoomed in face!

On the hallway: clothes hamper

Brazilian homes usually have a laundry room next to the kitchen, or in the backyard. It makes me long for my house in Roswell, Georgia, where I had my washer and dryer right next to the top of the stairs. These days, I literally have to up and down with piles of dirty and newly washed clothes, and with a clothes hamper right next to my stairs, I only have to make the trips a couple of times a week, instead of a couple of times a day.

In the living room: hold all for keys and mail

We used to have an end table where we kep all our stuff, until my dog decided to methodically chew through my husband’s Formula 1 prized tickets. Overnight, all our stuff ended up on the kitchen counter, which made me cringe. Good thing my brother and sister-in-law gave us this hold all for Christmas: no more scattered stuff and frantic searching for keys!

Everywhere: Kindle

My bookshelf and bedside table (top and drawer!) were often crammed with books. You see, I cannot read one  book at a time. I read the bible, and keep a journal. I always read a Christian book and nowadays a veggie one as well. There is usually an educational book for work, and also a lighthearted chick-lit for my unwinding time. I remember I used to see piles of books my mom was constantly reading and tell myself there was no way she could read them at once. Now I understand that depending on my mood, I need something to relax, not to learn about vitamin B12 alternatives.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Box love

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When I was younger my mom gave me a nickname based on how much I love boxes. I’ve always been na organization freak and all sorts of containers have always been at the top of my Ohh-ahh list.

This is a perfect sewing kit, and it fits everything from my regular emergency sewing kit to my cross stitching material.
This is probably the most gorgeous one I have. One of my best friends gave me some Christmas presents in this box because she knew how much I’d love it and keep it. In it, I keep all my stationery.

These two I got from a purchase at a store, and they are great for keeping ribbon and stamps.

This clear plastic one is perfect for my art material. And since it is see-through, I get inspired to use its materials more often.

Flat and wide, perfect for scrapbooking material.

This one used to keep Christmas ornaments, but it is so cute, it had to be upgraded. Now I keep small games like cards, dominoes and the such.

This came from my nephew’s baby shower, full of M&M’s. Nowadays, I keep hair clips in it.

This one I made for my bridal shower, and nowadays it keeps all my hair bands.

This one my godmother brought me from Morroco. I find it so pretty, its on permanent display.

Everytime I get a new present I check out the box, and if its pretty, I don’t think twice. How about you ? Do you have any cute boxes around the house?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Medicine cabinet

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I live in a small house, and a medicine cabinet is a luxury I cannot afford. For that reason, I have two medicine boxes that are always very well organized, to both avoid stress when something is needed (and needed quickly) and to avoid waste of space.  

When I moved in with my husband I got a beautiful hand-painted box from my aunt. The problem is I was often running out of space and most days the box was a mess because it simply could not fit everything I had, so I changed systems.

One day, organizing my sewing kit I realized this box was perfect for keeping pills, as long as I cut the packaging in small pieces. I labeled each nook in Portuguese according to what the medicine does (as in allergies, muscle pain, and so forth) so in an emergency anyone else may find what they need.

I got this box as a birthday presente from my brother, from a store in Brazil I love. Here I keep my first aid kit, oitments and the information on all items for eventual consultations.

Regardless of how organized the rest of your house is, I strongly suggest an organized and updated medicine box or cabinet, so you don’t need to run to the drugstore when you desperately need something.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Book review: Organized Simplicity

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Organized Simplicity, by Tsh Oxenreider 
It seems fitting that my first post in my English blog would be about Tsh’s book. Her blog Simple Mom is one of the reasons why I fell in love with the blogging world! I actually stumbled upon it during last year’s Project Simplify. I loved the idea of purging for the sake of organizing. I had always purged while organizing, but never with the intention of getting rid of stuff- it would simply happen.
I digress. Anyway, I heard she had a book out and made it my first kindle book purchase. She was actually giving it away for free, but as I live in Brazil, I couldn’t grab it. I was a bit hesitant in paying for it, since I am pretty organized, as I figured it would be 99% of common sense.
Boy, was I wrong. First of all, the focus of this book, in my opinion, is not the organizing itself. It’s about how much clutter we surround ourselves with, and how much better our lives can be with less. She talks about all types of excess: stuff, spending, and too many commitments.
I have always considered myself a bit of a frugal person. It took me a good four years to convince myself that an Ipod or a Kindle would be a good purchase. I own less than five purses and less than fifteen shoes. I have three pairs of jeans. All in all, I figured I have much less stuff than most of my girlfriends.
Until I ready Tsh’s book. I didn’t feel guilty, but as she went on, I couldn’t help but thinking about the stuff I have and never wear. Never use. Never remember. And it’s all there, taking up space in my tiny home.  Now that’s what I call a mind-blowing-life-altering book.
On March 5th, this year’s Project Simplify kicks off. And I can’t wait. I have been thinking about some items non-stop, and even considered starting ahead of the game. But I figured I better not. I still need some time to digest everything. I’ll spend the next two weeks paying attention to my things, and making mental notes of what I really use. That way, I’ll be sure to have some happy-no-guilt-involved purging.