Friday, February 24, 2017

Things I Like - February

My monthly round-up of 5 things I'm liking, all affiliate link free. =)  See more here!

1) Target Weekend Wanderer Sweatshirt
I had been looking for awhile for a crew neck sweatshirt to wear around the house on lazy or not as lazy but still needing a sweatshirt days.  I can't say I'm much of a "weekend wanderer" in the winter...more a "weekend stay at home and avoid the cold" person but it's blue and that's enough for me.  It's super cozy and soft AND on clearance.  I'm wearing it right now!

2) Burt Bees Lip Balm
For over a year now this has been my favorite and go to lip balm.  I buy 4 packs when Target has them on sale, at least 25% off.  They keep my lips moisturized the longest of any I've tried and I particularly like the Vanilla Bean and Coconut flavors.  I keep one on the kitchen counter and one in each of the purses I primarily use so there is almost always one close buy.  I've used a lot of different lip balms over the years but none I've bought as consistently or long as this one!

3) Cash app
This app is awesome and so so handy.  With you you can send money to others directly from your bank account to theirs.  You have to know the person's "cashtag" and initiate the transaction (with a finger print confirmation).  Then you just put in how much you want to send them and the next day it is deposited in their account.  It's free to download and free to use.  My sister and brother-in-law are on our cell phone plan and she uses this each month to send me their portion of the bill.  It saves me a trip to the bank, saves her a check, and saves both of us remembering every month (she has a reminder set on her phone and can pay me instantly!).  Even if that's the only person I use it with (although I recently converted another sister!), it's worth it's spot on my phone!  We've been using it for well over 6 months now with no security problems and it's widely enough used that I think I would have heard if there were any.  Highly recommend to pay other people!

4) Lynwood Navy Fabric
I could almost post a different fabric each month as my new favorite because Jo-Ann sucks me in very easily (although, I bought none on my shopping trip today!).  I've heard leopard print frequently lauded (by bloggers) as the perfect neutral but I could never get into it.  At all.  Then I found this navy leopard-ish print (at least that's what I see) and I'm a little heart eyed over it.  I bought a yard when it was on super sale and it's going to be throw pillows.  Eventually!

5) ELF Eyelid Primer

This stuff is amazing and only cost $2.  That's a pretty high bang for your make-up bag buck.  I don't think I own another make-up item that cost $2!  I put this on before any eye make-up and it makes it last, and not crease, so. much. longer.  It's magic.  Totally worth $2 in my opinion.  $2!

I'd love to hear what you're loving this month!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

{7} Ways to Spend Less Time on Your Phone

I am constantly trying to sever my (sometimes deep) ties to my phone.  Smart phones are wonderful things that can do so much, almost anything you need, but they can also be huge time suckers.  I know that.  You know that.  Everyone knows that.  A few ways that have helped me put away the phone and actually live life.  Sometimes I even get two days out of a charge! (Who else remembers the early days of flip phones when you could get a full week out of a charge??)

1) Delete social media apps
I have the Instagram app because it's the only way to use it but I don't have the Facebook app.  Or the Facebook messenger app.  Or the Twitter app.  I don't use Snapchat or whatever else "the kids" are using these days.  I delete my internet history multiple times a day (I hate that websites track me) so logging into Facebook is about a 60 second process, which is plenty enough time to realize I should be doing something else.  Making it harder to get to the social media makes it much easier to stay off! (Like freezing your credit card, give yourself obstacles!).

2) No games
I have not a single game on my phone and haven't for years.  Sometimes I miss Words with Friends but then...not that much.

3) No push notifications or auto e-mail checking
The only alerts I get from my phone are phone calls (duh), texts, and Swipes.  My email only checks when I refresh it.  I don't get push notifications from any apps.  Saves data, saves battery, and saves my sanity.

4) Keep follow lists low
I have little problem unfollowing people on social media if they become too post heavy.  Instagram is the biggest one, I frequently review my followings and edit out the ones that are no longer interesting or useful.  I've unfollowed or unfriended people on Facebook.  The less you follow the less there is to keep up with!

5) Particular times for social media
I talk about this often but it's been 18 months and is still the schedule I stick with 95% of the time.   I don't refresh Instagram when I'm bored or check Facebook 20 times a day.  It might take me 24 hours to reply to comments or messages but I am ok with that.  We don't need to be connected all of the time!  (Sometimes it takes me a day to respond to texts and I get those notifications immediately!)

6) Take social media breaks
Starting this year I've decided to stay off social media on the weekends.  I check Facebook and Instagram during quiet time on Friday and then not again until Monday.  I occasionally pop in to post something quick but don't scroll my feed.  It's amazing how freeing it is and how much more time I have for reading! (Not that I need that...)

7) Have other things to do
I almost always have a preschooler around me to talk to.  Or I have a book with me.  Or other people to talk to.  Or a puzzle to do.  Or sleep to catch up on.  Or the rare times I'm waiting in the JoAnn cutting line alone, I use that time to respond to e-mails or comment on blogs sitting in my Feedly or just observing the people around me.  (And trying not to buy more flannel because I certainly have more burb cloths than I currently/ever need.)

(I didn't even get into my favorite "stay off your phone when you are around other people" rant!  If you've been reading awhile then you've already heard it.  My feelings haven't changed.  Stay off your phone when around other people!  Or at least stay off social media when there are actual humans in your presence you could socialize with.  Your life will almost always be better for it!)

I'm not perfect about my phone but I think I am slowly improving.  How do you stay off your phone? (Besides not owning that...that's not helpful to me.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Homemade Goo Gone

Homemade Goo Gone was one of the very first DIY cleaning products I tried 4 years ago.  It was included in a list of neccessary supplies for a sink polishing tutorial I was following but I didn't own any and I wasn't about to run out and get some (This was during a blissful one month stretch when I was unemployed, waiting to adopt Luke.  Now it seems crazy that I had whole days with nothing to do and I got away with it!  I'm pretty sure I get more done in a day now, while mothering a 3 year old, than I did during most of those days.  Besides sleep.  I slept a lot during that month.  And then I ended up going back to work almost full-time until we got Luke.)  I quickly did a Pinterest search and came up with many many results for homemade goo gone with just vegetable/canola oil and baking soda, two things I definitely had on hand.  I never bought the real stuff before and still don't see a reason for it!

I always have a batch of this under my sink and it comes in especially useful for getting stubborn grease spots off the stove, counters, and the sink.  I've also used it to remove sticky labels or any sticky residue, remove price tags, and even remove sticky stuff from my hands.  It's amazing and so so easy.  I typically just use my fingers to apply but if that grosses you out a rag works well too.

Homemade Goo Gone
2 parts baking soda
1 part oil

Mix together.  Store in airtight container.  Keeps a really long time.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Sharing the Liner Love

Sometimes Saturdays can be a struggle around here.  We want to get things done, but also relax and spend extra time with Luke.  I have a whole list of home projects I want to accomplish this year but also am trying to pace us so we're not overwhelmed with getting all the things done at once!  Which means I'm doing various little things while Matt works through his basement organizing (It's happening!  We're making good progress down there!).

On one of these mostly quiet Saturdays I was kinda looking for a project and realized my make-up bag really needed cleaned.  I bought it at the Vera Bradley outlet almost 11 years ago and not sure it's been washed since.  And apparently I often reach for it with make-up covered fingers.  It was really dirty.  That make-up bag cleaning quickly turned into medicine cabinet cleaning.  Which then turned into medicine cabinet lining.  And major heart eyes going on afterwards!

It's a project I had been considering since pretty much these were installed but was worried it would be too busy with all the different bottles and jars.  It turns out, nope.  Lining the backs made them beautiful.  It's been a few weeks and I still get a stupid smile on my face every time I open them. 

As far as bang for the buck projects go, this one was a huge one!  I used leftover liner from drawers and it took maybe 45 minutes to clean, purge, and line one cabinet.  I've learned over the last few months that I have a strong preference for that dark blue with white contrast (throw pillow with that color combo coming soon-ish).  Even though it should be no surprise to me, seeing as even Luke knows "Mom likes all the blues!".

At the time I only did "my" medicine cabinet (although almost a whole shelf of toddler medicine is clearly not mine) and then Matt started asking why is cabinet wasn't pretty (not his exact words) since I was so thrilled with mine.  I actually took a before picture of "his" (He needs less than one shelf.  I am practically overflowing two...):

This was before purging.   Then after:

Isn't it so much better??  Also, very obvious where we do most/all our household/personal care/healthcare shopping? 

My niece was recently amazed that the mirrors in the bathroom open and even told me "You can fit a lot of stuff in there for them being so small!".  And it's true.  Along with our massive vanity, we've packed a lot of storage into our (not quite) 6'x6' bathroom.   

Probably didn't expect that I could write almost 500 words just about lining some bathroom cabinets.  I didn't expect to be this excited about lining bathroom cabinets.  As far as easy, satisfying home projects, I highly recommend.  May you be as enamored as I am.  Sometimes it really is the little things.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Book Love: Moon over Manifest

I've been posting about books a lot lately but I've read so many great ones that it's hard not to! 

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
page count: 368 pages
approx. read time: 4.5 hours

This book was Newbery Medal winner in 2011 so right there is a pretty good sign it's going to be good.  It came recommended to me by a friend and I'm usually up for some good middle-grade fiction and this was one of the best ones I've read (which really isn't saying much because I haven't read many in the last 20 years was good).

Abilene Tucker has lived a mostly transit life with her father, Gideon, in her 12 (I think) years.  She knows how to jump on/off rail cars for one thing.  She has grown up hearing about the town of Manifest and after a slightly grusome accident, her father ships her off to live there with an old friend named Shady.  Who is a little Shady but in a mostly harmless way (that might sound bad but there is never even the slightest hint of possible or potential abuse).

The story takes place over two time periods - 1918 and 1936, when Abilene is a resident.  She arrives in town on the last day of school and makes a couple friends.  She is wondering how to spend her summer and time stuck in Manifest waiting on her father when she discovers a hidden stash of items and what she believes to be a treasure map.  This leads her and her friends on a bit of a chase to figure out the meaning of the various items and where this map leads to.

Abilene also befriend/is forced into helping Miss Sadie, a "diviner" who seems to know a lot about the people of Manifest and all the items from from Abilene's hidden stash.  Miss Sadie shares stories with Abilene from Manifest in 1918 and the people who were around then and some are still there now.  Things happen.  Abilene slowly learns about the town's past and how that affects her in the present.

In the beginning it took me a little bit to keep the characters straight but then by the end I couldn't get through it fast enough. Things happen and are connected in ways I did not expect or see coming.  And just when I thought the revelations were done there was something new.  It was really incredible story telling and so well written.  I really felt like I knew the people of Manifest and understood their struggles.

I've read a decent amount of fiction set around World War II but not nearly as much as World War I (the earlier time line) or even the time before the second war (the later time line).  It was refreshing to read about a different time in history.  Highly recommend to any interested in history, small town America, or just good story telling.  I imagine it'd be great to read in a school setting too!