Loose leash

I got three great tips on how to manage the afternoon slump. The first one was to save something I really want to do for the afternoon, the second was caffeine and the third was to do some simple physical task like fold laundry or straighten up. I think all of those are great and I’m going to give them all a try.  Today I took a nap, but that leads to me staying up too late, so, not so great.

Today I took Murray over to this borderline hidden area of our fancy pants outdoor shopping mall and did some obedience training with him. It’s been a long time since I’ve worked seriously with him and the look on his face when he realized that I wasn’t just playing was priceless. He was all, “what the hell, Lady?” I’ve worked SO HARD with this dog on obedience stuff, I’m very proud of how well he does, even after an extended break. He’s just my very favorite dog. After we got home he fell dead asleep on the sofa and didn’t get up until it was time for dinner. Having to use his thinker for good instead of for evil was exhausting, apparently.

Next week Andy is out of town for a work conference, which means I am left to my own devices. The good parts are that I will eat Early Dinner every single night and I’ll go to bed early. This morning I asked Andy if he had hired someone to come in and make me breakfast while he was gone- I think that spousal substitutes should be a thing- and apparently the answer is no. This is going to be a rude awakening, I can tell you that.

Listen, Christmas is still up in my house. I thought about taking it down yesterday, which was the 12th day of Christmas, but uh, I didn’t. It’s all still so pretty! My tree was cut down right before Thanksgiving, it arrived Thanksgiving weekend and it’s still gorgeous. I’ve totally gotten my money’s worth. I wonder if I should look into Valentine’s ornaments.

The good and the not as good.

When are you getting out of a slump, some days are good, some days are less good. There is really no magic. Tuesday was great. Wednesday was 50% great. I see my job in this as making the most of the good and not getting caught up in the bad because this is a process and one does not go from slumped to pumped (what?) in no time.

The daily walks are helping a lot. A LOT. Blah, blah, why do I ever stop with the daily walks when I know how much they matter, but I do stop and then I start back up and it’s like magic. There are always Murray walks, but I don’t count those because I can make those really sort or even cheat and just take him to the park to run around. The thing that interests me the most about these walks is that I’m only walking for 30 minutes, at whatever pace suits me in that moment and I feel so happy when I’m done.

The cooking is helping, too, even though it’s also sort of a pain in the ass. I mostly enjoy cooking and I’m good at it and Andy really, really appreciates it. The thing about it, though, is that when it comes time to make dinner I rarely really want to do it. I’m always glad after I do, but I force myself to do it. Tonight we had apricot and mustard glazed pork chops, buttermilk mashed potatoes and haricot verts. It’s was delicious and I will absolutely make it again. Tomorrow night is super easy, roast chicken with potatoes and carrots and a spinach salad. Cooking at home is so much cheaper and healthier than going out or picking up and it’s nicer, too. I mean, you can wear lounge clothes, so that counts for a lot.

What’s not working is not having something to do in the afternoons. That’s when my energy wanes and I think I need an assignment during that time to prevent the slump. Maybe I should do another walk? Plan to run errands? How do you work-a-day types manage the afternoon slump? Maybe I need an afternoon snack/caffeine break. I don’t know, but I need to do something.

Tomorrow the housecleaner comes, so tomorrow will be a good day because any day where my house is cleaned without me doing it, is good.

Cute Up Your Game

Listen, I have not even been back to blogging for a week, but no one will never accuse me of not loving a project, so here I am, starting something. I notice that a lot of my friends are looking to up their game this year and far be it from me to not fully support that effort. I know that sounded a little jokey, but I truly do love it when someone is putting their efforts towards doing something new or better.

I mentioned before that at the end of last year, I was greatly inspired by a fashion challenge. I looked for others and in the end I decided that I would do one myself. I hope that my friends will want to participate. I set up some rules because rules are fun to make up.

  1. Use the prompts each day as inspiration. Follow them exactly, don’t follow them at all. It does not matter.

  2. Do one day, do all days, do no days.

  3. Post your photo on Instagram with the hashtag #cuteitup

Yay! Let’s do this:

Sheet Pan

I made this new to me flank steak fajita recipe tonight. I’m experienced in fajita making, but why not try a new thing? The recipe was from a cookbook where everything cooks on a single sheet pan. I am certain the dish washer (Andy) will appreciate fewer dishes being dirtied. According to every single person who has ever cleaned up after me, including myself, I am an extremely messy cook. I do not set out to make a mess, but a mess happens. If I’ve just watched Top Chef and I’m feeling very inspired I will use the so-called clean as you go method. If you are unfamiliar with this process, let me save you a ton of time and effort and tell you that it is a drag. I just like to get in the kitchen and make the biggest mess possible and then set a beautiful table and serve dinner. Boom!

The fajitas on a sheet pan turned out very nice! Except, you only dirty one pan with fajitas no matter how you cook them, unless you do them on the grill and then no pans get dirty. So, no offense, sheet pan cookbook, but you didn’t save me anything. Also, I didn’t follow the recipe perfectly because it called for 3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce and that is entirely wrong for fajitas. SO WRONG.

Today was a major struggle for me. Nothing specific was wrong, I’m just in the process of getting myself out of the dumpy place I spent too much time last year. Part of getting to a better place is subscribing to the whole idea of faking it until you make it. Lately, whenever I am faking it, I sing song in my head, “FAKING IT.” Like this right here. It amuses me and it makes the thing that feels hard in the moment a little bit easier.

What You Wearing?

One of my friends started doing a fashion challenge in November and I decided to play along. The woman hosting the challenge came up with a different theme for each day and you used that as your inspiration for how you dressed. It was pretty much the best thing I could’ve done because it reminded me that I have a lot of great clothes that aren’t cuffed jeans and that I know how to put together an outfit. The demands of December meant that I had to make some choices on how I spent my precious mental energy and I dropped the fashion challenge for December. This fashion challenge got me thinking about writing a (listen, I am loathe to use this word to describe what I was planning on writing about) fashion blog called Cuffed Jeans and Red Shoes. ISN’T THAT A CUTE NAME? I decided on that because I don’t wear jeans if they aren’t cuffed. I’ve tried, but I just cannot do it! Teensy cuffs, big cuffs, single cuffs, whatever. Those jeans are cuffed. And of course, I love red shoes. Actually, I love any color for shoes that aren’t black or brown. I have black and brown shoes, I just do not love them as much as I do my red shoes.

Here’s a photo of some of my outfits from November. The person’s who was setting the challenge up isn’t doing it any longer, but there are tons out there. You can find them very easily on Instagram. I highly recommend this if you’re in a rut with how you dress and you’re looking to up your game a bit. I’m looking for new outfit challenges right this second and as soon as I find one I like, I tell you. I promise.

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I’m not suggesting that I’m any sort of an expert, but I know what I know and part of that is understanding that taking some risks with your clothes is important. It doesn’t need to be a big risk like mixing patterns to be meaningful. Just adding an unexpected pop of color with a scarf or necklace, trying a style you were convinced you couldn’t pull off or just finding a new outfit from pieces you already had in your closet. Here are the most important parts- you don’t need to be a particular size and you don’t need a lot of money to look cute on a regular basis.

So, I’ll be writing about this stuff from time to time and you’re going to love the hell out of it. WAIT AND SEE!

Well, looky here.

Everyone on the Internet is taking down their Christmas decorations, but not me. This year I ordered a tree that was cut down and shipped to me within 24 hours. It’s the freshest tree I’ve ever had and I’m not ready to give it up. Maybe next week I’ll take it down, but for right now I’m still enjoying it. I think I might even enjoy it MORE now than before Christmas because there’s no pressure right now.

I admire people who can resist the siren call of New Year resolutions/goals/intentions/etc, but I am not one of them. Honestly, I don’t even try to resist! Come on, it’s a New Year, anything is possible! Last year, I tried setting just 3 goals a day for myself to increase productivity and it worked beautifully for me, so I’m doing the same thing for these goals. Just three.

Here we go:

  1. Walk every day for 30 minutes. There are only 2 rules for this one. It must be 30 minutes and it must be every single day. I might give myself a break for illness, but maybe I won’t! We’ll just have to see.

  2. Just do it. If I think up something, I’ma just do it until I don’t want to do it anymore. I have a tendency to think a thing to death, so this year I want to try doing a thing to death. When I thought this one up I was mostly thinking about various projects I think up for myself, but who knows where this will take me.

  3. Up my game. I know this seems vague and I guess it sort of is, but it’s very specific to me. 2014 gave me some huge challenges that I full on admit kicked my ass. In the midst of those challenges, I forgot I was in the game and so the idea of upping my game was completely out of my question. This year, I am back in it win it, so that means upping my effort. It means tablecloths, date nights, exploring new places and outfits that don’t include jeans. And other stuff, of course, but I cannot list everything out for you every second.

I’m in love with these three goals because with the exception of the first one, they fly in the face of all goal making advice. They are all hugely meaningful to me and they are perfect for where I am in this moment.

As for this whole blogging thing. I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a new blog and then I realized I had this ol’ dusty blog right here and all the kids nowadays are into reuse, recycle and repurpose, so I figure I just use this thing instead of starting something new. I’m making room in my life for blogging in a real way (setting a reminder each day, ideas of subjects to write about, etc) and so my thinking is if I really do want to keep a blog, I will. And if I just keep trying to scratch a phantom itch on a missing limb, then I’ll know that and move on and away from blogging for good.

I’m so relieved the holidays are over and we’re back to regular life, even if that includes the Christmas tree for now.

Now I go to the bed and sleep.

Again.

Dear Kittens,

I thought about starting an entirely new blog, but in the end I decided to just come back to this one. If we aren’t Facebook friends then this is sort of like Season Three of Friday Night Lights where all of a sudden the story line advances and you don’t entirely understand why.

DO NOT WORRY. It’s all going to be okay.

Here are the high points:

  1. I bought a new fancy car.

  2. Andy and I picked the car up in South Carolina and drove it home to California and it was great.

  3. I had a little job with the dog trainer that trained Murray, but that’s over now. Murray and I don’t go to dog class anymore, Murray is homeschooled now. (I was actually a bit worried about that part, but it’s going very well and I’m enjoying working with Murray more than ever.)

  4. I’m attempting to put some structure into my life with a system of short to-do lists and certain things that I do every day, even if I don’t feel like it. (It’s going well so far.)

  5. We redid our pit of a backyard. it’s not entirely finished yet, but it looks so great and we love it.

Monday night my friend, Traci, and I are going to see Justin Timberlake in concert. I’m not sure that there is something more out of character for me than going to a live music show, let alone of someone as popular as JT. I don’t like being around drunk people, I hate crowds, and yet, I am totally looking forward to this outing. I think we’re going to have a great time and it’s going to be a great show.

It looks like I’m back into cooking. I’ve got plans for meals for the entire week. THE ENTIRE WEEK! And when I say the entire week, of course i mean, Monday through Friday. That was a given, right? The highlight of this week is going to be pork tacos. I’m thinking about attempting to make homemade corn tortillas. Maybe. Maybe I just make margaritas.

I’ve got to get good rest so I can stay awake for the Justin Timberlake concert.

xo,

Catie