Thursday, January 7, 2016

One Little Word 2015 + 2016

I participate in the "One Little Word" class with Ali Edwards, which, at it's most basic, is picking a word that you will try to live with all year long and begin to emulate.  Ali describes it way better than I ever could, so please check out her link.

I've participated since 2012.  My word in 2012, and 2013, was Let Go.  2014 was the year of Live.  For 2015, my "One Little Word" was Less.

And it worked beautifully for me.  It was so perfect for me in 2015 in so many ways than I could've have imagined.

I got engaged at the end of 2014, so going into 2015, already thinking of less was probably an odd choice, but I heard it as a whisper and was sure that it was the right word.

So how did it manifest itself in 2015 and what did I learn?

I decided I wanted less emails.  So I did A LOT of unsubscribing this year.  I've pretty much got my subscriptions down to the ones I really love and wanted to read.  So much so, that when something new or unwanted pops up, I honestly get annoyed.  What used to be a nuisance is now a huge annoyance.  No unnecessary emails!!  I still clean up my subscriptions as my needs/wants change.

We purged a lot of our "stuff" throughout the year in order to have less and to move and live with less.  Some of it sold on Craigslist, some on Facebook groups, some of it was donated, and some was just thrown away.  There's still more to be done on that front, but I think it will be forever be an ongoing process.

When we were planning our wedding, there were So. Many. Times. when it would've been easy to just do/spend/pick more.  And really, sometimes, more would've been way easier!!  But, I kept hearing that whisper in my head that said, "Less."  We picked a room in the restaurant that fit less people, thus we invited less people.  I opted for less flowers - nothing for the ceremony site and even cut back one table piece at the last minute.  It just felt like we didn't need to put on a big to-do.  I bought less decor, I used some things we already had around the house, and made a couple things, and that was it.  And you know what?  "Less" was perfect!  Truly.  The ONLY thing we wish we could have had more of was more of our family/friends.  But, we realized quite quickly that more people meant more of a lot of things - food, flowers, money, etc, and it just wasn't fitting our vision for our wedding.  There are easily 100 people more that we could have invited and would have LOVED to have present on our big day, but ultimately, we chose to stay true to that vision, to listen to that pull of less and we made it work for us.

When we were planning our honeymoon, I kept trying to find ways to spend less and do less.  We could have planned the heck out of the trip, with a lot of detail, and spent every minute doing something, but we decided we wanted plenty of time to just sit and relax, and just be.  We opted for a shuttle service to our cruise ship instead of private transportation.  It was cheaper, it was less  complicated to schedule, and it meant we could just sit back and enjoy the trip there.  Done.  Everyone said it would take so much longer and be uncomfortable, but it was great for us!  At the Cayman Islands, we did a "cheap" (as far as excursions go) bus tour of the island instead of some of the fancier options, and we loved it!  We got to do/see the things that were high on our list and be done.  I even tried to pack less than what I thought we'd need, but that's a whole different story!

This year, I also tried to buy less.  My success in this category varied, but in the area of crafty supplies, it mostly worked.  I opted to stick to 2 monthly subscriptions (Ali Edwards and Studio Calico) and aside from a few add-ons here and there in those shops, I really didn't spend much money elsewhere.  I purposely chose to stay out of the crafty stores and to just buy less!

Also with a varying degree with success, I tried to eat less carbs and less salt.  For various health reasons, I tried to cut both from my life.  Not completely, but just less.  Some periods were better than others, but that's expected.  I know that this will also be an ongoing process.  But, babysteps.  Slow progress is still progress!

And, one major thing that I learned about my word this year, while living with it, is that sometimes, less really means more.

I know, I know.  This is NOT a new concept Clara.  I know, it's a saying, and a quote, and people say it all the time!  But I feel like through living with this word this year, only now do I truly, fully understand the meaning.  Like seriously, Mind. Blown.  Less of something generally means more of something else.  Less TV means more reading/talking/doing other things.  Less stress means more joy.  Less stuff means more space.  You get the idea.  It's a simple idea, less meaning more, but it's one that really resonated with me throughout the year and I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to learn it.

So.  That was 2015.  What about 2016?

My word for 2016 is Make.

Hubby and I just bought a house (my first!) and I know a big part of the year will be making that house into our home.  Something I've dreamed of doing for a very long time and can't wait to dive into!

We're also hoping to start our family and make a baby.  Also something I've dreamed about for a long time!

And honestly, I just want to make more stuff!  I have easily 15-20 projects rolling around in my head (some scrapbooking type, and some not) and it's time to get them OUT of my head and into reality.

In relation to the last one, I want to make more time for doing things that I love.  I spend so much time doing work stuff, cooking (which is a mixture of fun and not-so-fun), doing things to help Hubby, etc.  I need to learn to carve out some time just for the things that I want to do and not feel guilty about it.

I'm sure there are other surprises that make has in store for me and I'm excited to explore life with this word this year and see where it leads me.

Do you pick a word for the year?  If so, what is it and what do you hope to invite into your life with that word?

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Hardest Part

Throughout my divorce, everyone kept trying to tell me what the hardest part of the process would be, whether it was the actual paperwork of the divorce, or the move, or finding a new job, or finally moving out, or sitting in front of the lawyer divulging every piece of anything you've ever earned during the marriage ... but the reality is that all of it is hard.

Every. Single. Part. Of. It. Is. Just. So. Hard.

I mean, excruciatingly hard. There is no way to define a single most, very hardest part. It's just all hard ... and all at once hard.

It's a thousand emotions, both big and small, happening simultaneously: depression, confusion, relief, sadness, loneliness, fear, worry, shame, abandonment, hurt, shock, betrayal, loss of control, lowered self-esteem, resentment, insecurity, anger, guilt, pain, anxiety, and so much more.

It's trying to figure out your next step, what you want, where you're going and how you're going to get there.

It's wondering how you got here and if there was something you could have done differently to produce a different outcome.

It's your life crumbling all around you, that life you knew so well and had grown accustomed to.

It's attempting to imagine a new future ... and this future no longer includes that integral person you were so positive would be in it.

It's losing your ability to concentrate on anything.

It’s being on edge and stressed 24/7 and yet trying to carry on with life.

It's having to make a million decisions in a very short amount of time ... and then second guessing all of them.

It's the process - lawyers, courts, sharing the intimate details of your life with complete strangers.

It's the questions - from your family, friends, lawyers, co-workers, that not-anymore-spouse ... most of which you can't answer.

It's the crying ... oh my gosh, the crying. At times it's quiet, controlled tears, and at others, it's a full-body, full-force, full-volume wail.

It's the arguments that don't really even matter anymore but are happening anyway.

It's dividing, sorting, packing, donating, and moving.

It's pleading with deities that you've never believed in before.

It's worrying what other people might think or what assumptions they will make.

It's knowing in your heart that you're doing the right thing, no matter what anyone says or how tough it gets.

It's deciding who to tell right now, who to tell later, and who you might never tell.

It's figuring out HOW to explain it all ... what words to use, how much to share.

It's dealing with the varied, sometimes intense or emotional reactions, and sometimes comforting other people over your own divorce!

It's losing some people in your life ... because they can't handle it or maybe you can't, because you aren't that person they remember or because they aren't, it's for any number of reasons.

It's determining what to call your not-anymore-spouse and yourself.

It’s remembering to say "I" or "me" instead of the comes-all-too-natural "we" or "us."

It's recounting everything to your friend for the 826th time ... and feeling bad for bringing it up for the 826th time.

It's the pure, complete and utter exhaustion ... mentally, physically, emotionally ... oh my gosh, the exhaustion. I’ve never been so spent in all of my life.

I mean really, it's all of the divorce happening all at once with no relief in sight. I kept thinking, "Wow, I think that's the hardest part, everything should be downhill from here." Then something else would happen and I would think, "No, wait, now really, THAT has to be the hardest part, it's definitely got to be downhill from here."

But actually, there was no downhill.

Divorce is merely one lonely, all-uphill battle with no summit. When it all begins, it's like this huge mountain in front of you - so big that you can't even see the top, so instead, you look down and concentrate on the road ahead of you. You're all by yourself, just trying to survive, taking one step and then another.




Just remembering to keep moving forward and to keep taking breaths. There is no time to rest and no plateaus of abatement. You keep going onward and upward. And then, one day, you look up to realize the mountain is no longer under your feet but it's actually behind you. You didn't feel the accomplishment of reaching a summit or get the chance to stop and look down at how far you've come, or get the relief of a downward trek. It's one trembling, unsure step forward at a time, one hard day after another, until that moment when you look up and realize suddenly that it's all behind you.

You finally stop, look around at where you are and how far you've come, and realize you've made it.

Its. Over.

Even still, it's an odd feeling. It's not triumphant or exuberant ... and it's not something you feel that you can share with others because really, no one else quite understands your journey. Even if they've been through divorce too, it's not quite the same hike as yours.

It's simply a deep exhale and a quiet whisper in your head that reminds you just how far you've come and that you've made it. Only then do you get the wash of relief that it's over, the feeling of humbleness that you were able to survive without becoming hardened and bitter, and the comfort of the knowledge that you were indeed strong enough to endure it all.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Beverage of the Gods

Chai tea with vanilla-flavored almond milk coffee creamer and a touch of stevia just may be the beverage of the Gods. And if it's not, then I nominate it. It's seriously good, y'all.

Try it. You'll thank me later.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Rocksbox Review No.2

I received my second Rocksbox in the mail earlier this week and wanted to share my thoughts on this latest set.  To read my review of my first box, please go here.

In this box, I received:
Gorjana Geometric Drop Stud | $55/$44 member price
Gorjana Infinity II Ring in Rose Gold | $40/$32 member price
Margaret Elizabeth Small Teardrop Bezel Necklace in Labradorite | $108/$86 member price

First, my one wishlisted item, the Gorjana Geometric Drop Stud.  I really liked the idea of these when I saw these on the website, but I wasn't impressed with them in person.  From the online picture, I didn't expect these to be quite so delicate.  They were much more thin than I expected and I just didn't like the way they looked.  Which brings me to one of my complaints - I really wish Rocksbox would show pictures of the jewelry actually ON a person to give us a better idea of what the pieces really look like and to gauge size.  The plain white background doesn't help at all with that.

I absolutely understand why my stylist chose the Gorjana Infinity II Ring in Rose Gold for me.  I do like Gorjana pieces and I did ask for rose gold.  This was a really pretty piece and it would definitely be versatile - going easily from day to night, professional to casual.  However, for my rings, I prefer less delicate styles.  I also felt like the price was a bit high for what it is.

Finally, the Margaret Elizabeth Small Teardrop Bezel Necklace in Labradorite.  My stylist said she picked this since I asked for versatile pieces that would work for both work and weekends.  Unfortunately, this necklace was just all kinds of wrong for me.  I really didn't care for the dotted chain.  I can't really explain why, but it just turned me off.  I also wasn't in love with the labradorite, in color or in shape.  It's funny because in general, I love all things grey, but I just can't seem to get on board with labradorites and their particular shade of grey.  I've tried on other labradorite pieces before and I just can't love it, which is so counter-intuitive of my typical preferences.  I also didn't care for the shape of this particular stone.  I know natural stones = natural variations, but this "teardrop" just felt stubby and wide to me, more circular than teardrop.

Total bust.  This entire box went back the very next day after I received it.  Oh well.  The good news is that I'll be able to squeeze in one more box before my first free month is up.  I'm still not sure if I'll continue with this service past that.  I like the concept of this monthly service and I like the jewelry but over all - I like it, but I'm just not sure I love it.  It's fun to get new pretties in the mail and they're pretty quick about shipping out new boxes, but I just wish I had more control over what they sent me and I really don't like feeling like I'm throwing away $19/month.  I know it's a more than reasonable cost for the service, I just don't know that with the way this service is set up, that it has $19 worth of value to me personally.  I have some more thoughts on that, which I'll elaborate more on in my third review when I get my next box.

Want to try Rocksbox and decide for yourself?  Get your first month free by using this code: clarabff10

Monday, February 16, 2015

BALTO Sandwich

Everyone knows and loves the classic BLT sandwich, but my personal favorite is the BALTO sandwich.  Never heard of it?  Well, that's probably because it's my own personal creation!

I can't believe it, but I actually haven't shared this yummy favorite of mine with Hubby until yesterday.  We were discussing brunch ideas and I mentioned a BLT.  He said he loves BLTs (over 2 years together and I'm still learning about this awesome man).  So I suggested that he try my own version, the BALTO.  He giggled and said, "BALTO?"  Yes, maybe not as catchy as the BLT but hey, it works!

The BALTO is my own combo that builds on the traditional Bacon/Lettuce/Tomato (to which I also use mayonnaise and a bit of pepper on the tomato) and adds Avocado and Onion.  With the avocado, I don't usually use the mayo, but my man loves his mayo, so I did include it today.

To make this Clara-friendly, I used gluten-free bread and beef bacon.  Hubby has declared it a winner, 5 out 5 stars!