Thursday, March 31, 2016

Don't clean your house

Have company coming over?  Don't clean your house.  Seriously.  This is one thing I'm truly convinced of.  Tidy, yes.  Pick up your clutter (or at least arrange it in an organized way), throw away your trash.  But don't deep clean.  Because what really happens?  You spend hours dusting and sweeping and mopping, making your house look perfect... it's exhausting.  Then your friends arrive and you're too tired to enjoy your time with them.  Or you're too busy "tidying" while they're there.  It's not worth it.  You lose out on an enjoyable evening with friends.  Trust me, your friends won't care.  Your friends won't notice if your house has been mopped or not.  They'll notice if there are poop stains in the toilet (clean the toilet before they come, because ew germs, but that's it, just the toilet), but they won't notice if the blinds haven't been dusted.  Assuming they've been dusted at some point in the past...

And if your friends do care, maybe they're not the type of friends you need to be having over.  Real friends don't care if you cleaned your house.  They just want to have a fun evening with you.  Now, if your house is a total pig-sty, well then I don't know what to tell you.  Maybe hire a housecleaner to come before your company arrives.

Don't clean your house!

So you had a lovely evening with your friends, they enjoyed your spaghetti and ice cream... now what?  Don't do the dishes. Sit, enjoy your time with your friends.  Play a game, talk for hours, laugh and have fun.  DO NOT ruin the evening by disappearing into the kitchen for an hour to "clean up for just a second..."  The dishes can wait.  Savor the moments with your friends.

Don't do your dishes!

The point is this: HAVE FUN WITH YOUR FRIENDS.  Don't worry about if your house is perfect.  Don't stress and exhaust yourself before they even arrive.  The people who matter won't care, and the people who care don't matter.  

Ok so that's my life advice for the day.  What do you think?  Do you agree or disagree?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Brown Penny by William Butler Yeats

I whispered, 'I am too young,'
And then, 'I am old enough';
Wherefore I threw a penny
To find out if I might love.
'Go and love, go and love, young man,
If the lady be young and fair.'
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
I am looped in the loops of her hair.
O love is the crooked thing,
There is nobody wise enough
To find out all that is in it,
For he would be thinking of love
Till the stars had run away
And the shadows eaten the moon.
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
One cannot begin it too soon. 

Monday, March 14, 2016


Have you ever discovered anything and thought, "Man I wish I had been doing this my whole life?!"  Lately I have been thinking about a few of my new habits and realizing how silly I was to not have been doing them forever.  So, here is my list of "Things I wish I realized sooner in life." (OR LIFE HACKS!)

1.  Remove makeup with a warm washcloth.
Seriously, why did I not realize this sooner?  Splashing makes such a mess and doesn't remove makeup as well.  And warm washcloths feel sooo luxurious, like you're way fancier than you actually are.

2.  Take a shower before bed.
Some people think it's gross to not take a shower every night, but let me explain.  I have to take showers in the morning in order to do my hair.  I have curly hair and it has to be wet to be styled.  So I've always just taken my showers first thing in the morning.  When we moved to Brazil, however, the heat and humidity kind of forced me to take showers multiple times a day.  And I came to love showering at night, right before bed.  It's relaxing and puts me in a sleepy mood.

3.  Baby wipes are not just for babies.
Use baby wipes to freshen up when you don't have time to take a shower.  Bring them to work and do a mid-day armpit, back of neck, under-boob, and any other sweaty places touch up.  If I don't have time to shower at night, I like to wipe my feet with baby wipes.

4.  Use vinegar to clean your house.
Dilute vinegar with water or just use it straight up.  It disinfects and cleans nicely.  I mix in some essential oils and use it diluted to clean countertops and straight up to clean the toilet bowl.  If you need a little more "scrubby" action, sprinkle on some baking soda first.

5.  Frozen vegetables are just as tasty as fresh veggies, but they're so much easier to use.
I use frozen vegetables all the time.  Sneak them in spaghetti, lasagna, stir-fry, steamed as a side, soup, and pretty much any other time you'd use a vegetable.

6.  Summer dresses can be worn all year long.
If it's a maxi dress, throw a cute sweater on top, put a blazer over it, or wear a long-sleeved shirt underneath (depending on the style).  If it's a strapless or "tube top" dress, pull it down and make it a skirt.  For short dresses, pair with tights, boots, and a cardigan.  I've made many summer dresses "work appropriate" by layering other shirts or blazers over top.  This is very dependent on your climate, but I live in the South and it doesn't get very cold in the winter (it doesn't snow!).

7.  Don't wash your jeans very often.
I actually read an article by a jean designer who said that you should never wash your jeans!  I don't know about that, but I don't wash them very often.  The color stays true longer.

What are some things you wished you learned sooner in life?

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Little Things

When you're tired and stressed and can't think of anything else other than "When will I be able to sleep again?!" it's hard to remember to enjoy the little things that spark joy in your life.  But it's so important to remember that life is more than work, sleep, repeat.  Here are some things that I often neglect in my busy life, but when I do make time for them, I'm so much happier.

Reading poetry

I have always loved poetry.  I actually used to want to be a poet until I realized that 1) I don't have anything unique to say and 2) you can't make a living as a poet .  I recently put a stack of poetry books on my bedside table, to remind myself to read a few verses every now and then.  It is very refreshing to the mind and spirit.

Rubbing lotion on my feet

This one probably sounds odd.  I'm on my feet all day for my job, often in high heels, and my feet get so tired.  I love foot massages, but, sadly, my husband hates feet.  Rubbing lotion on my own feet is not as relaxing, but it still feels good.


I carry my stress in my shoulders and neck, and stretching can help relieve so much tension.

Listening to music, just for fun

My students think I'm crazy because I don't like to listen to music.  "BUT YOU'RE A MUSIC TEACHER!" they cry, followed by, "You're so weird."  The truth is, for me to enjoy what I'm listening to, I need to give it my full attention.  And I don't always have time to do that.  Also, I'm around music and noise all day, so when I get home I just want some peace and quiet.  However, music does have a profound effect on my emotions and stress levels.  Plus, as a music teacher I'm around amateur musicians all day.  I need to listen to real music every once in awhile to remind myself why I do what I do.  Some of my favorites are: Anything by Vaughan Williams, Claude Debussy, Gabriel Faure, Mozart (some, but not too much... I really like the horn concertos), Bach cello concertos... And for some more "contemporary" musicians: Andrea Bocelli, Diana, Krall, Jason Mraz, John Mayer (are you noticing a "mellow" vibe?)...

So what are the little things in life that spark joy and relieve stress?