Friday, August 2, 2013

Day 2 Home

I know I'm only on day 2, but I'm really excited about this goal. If my excitement dwindles, it's something I will need to assess.

Day 2 of the Style Cure requires that you go shopping all weekend. Better read as doing research. I won't be too adventurous with this because I do not have access to the car and baby makes traveling to cool little shops more challenging. However, I am not to be stopped. I scoured the internet and put together a fantastic board on Pinterest. Hopefully on Sunday I can make a quick outing to Target or Chapters; there's something to be said about seeing things in person.

At this time, I'd like to outline more of the "whys" behind this goal. I think it really hits a lot of my core personality traits, which is probably why I'm so darn excited about it.

The Artist
Not only is interior design and styling a form of art, I also want to work on having more art in this space. This means working on the painting that has slowly made it's way to the back of the closet. I'd also like to pull out other long-lost art to display. I have so much art and yet the walls in the living room are totally bare. That is about to change and my inner artist wholeheartedly approves.

The Homebody/Hostess
I spend a lot of time at home these days. I would love to be more inspired by my surroundings. It would also give me that extra kick to have people over and be proud of my place, instead of always apologizing for it.

The Explorer
I would love to represent my travels in the space. I like being surrounded by things that have stories behind them and remind me of adventurous times.

The other personality traits can be represented more generally, by keeping the overall mood calm and refined, adding elements from nature and just a touch of whimsy.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Day 1 Home

I have decided to start my goals on the easy side. Working on our home comes quite naturally to me because it is something I truly enjoy. I am constantly gathering inspiration and building pinterest boards and thinking up grand projects. However, I rarely actually accomplish anything. More think than do. So this goal will be all about being inspired and getting things done.

Everyday I will work on creating a more inviting, inspiring and beautiful home. I will spend at least 15 minutes every day gathering inspiration, organizing, or working on projects. My goal for the end of the month is to have a guest-ready main floor and a routine established for keeping it that way.

In order to keep me in line, I will be working on the Style Cure at Apartment Therapy. This is one of the first blogs I started following years ago, so it feels right to go back. I know this will help.

The first task is to fill out the interview. Here are some of my answers.

Actor: Clive Owen
Actress: Rashida Jones
Artist: Steven Nederveen, Joseph Cornell
Writer: Murakami, Calvino
Music: Bon Iver, coffee shop playlists
Restaurant: Burgoo
TV: anything about cooking
Clothing: sweaters, scarves, tortoiseshell frames
Furniture: West Elm, meaningful pieces

Words to describe my personal style
Cozy/earthy, casual, creative

Favourite room from childhood
Living room; it was full of plants, books, items from travels and beautiful carved wood furniture.

Favourite room from adulthood
Current nursery; it isn't perfect, but I made a large alphabet painting and I love seeing all her little clothes hanging in the closet.

How I would like my friends to describe my home
Inviting, organized and inspired

There is a thread of warmth, layers and comfort that I believe brings everything together. Nothing is too stuffy or too modern, rather more earthy and casual. I see a lot of ties with my core personality traits - explorer, artist, daydreamer, poet.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Possible Goals

Here begins my quest to develop meaningful goals. I've had the chance to ponder my core personality traits and have come up with some interesting thoughts.

Most dormant lately: Artist and Explorer
Since having a baby, a lot of my hobbies have been put aside and I find most of my days are spent feeding and trying to get the little one to nap. Such luxuries as art and travel are very low on the list of priorities. However, I feel that these sides of me can still be expressed in little ways, perhaps by involving my little one somehow or taking something I do anyway, and giving it a creative twist.

Most intriguing at this time: Homebody/Hostess
Probably because I have been spending so much time at home lately, I am increasingly aware of how it appears, how comfortable, how inviting. Interior design is something I have always been interested in, so I am constantly restyling my surroundings. With the little one, this has also become more important. What type of environment do I want her to grow up in? What makes this feel like home?

Most resistant toward: Student/Inquisitor
I have always had a push/pull in being with other people. I like people, I enjoy being around people and learning about them, asking questions, helping out... however, I am very introverted. I do not talk often and find it difficult to make friends. I do not want this to effect my daughter. At this age it is up to me to introduce her to people and potential friends. I feel an obligation to go to mommy groups and community events, but have been resisting it because it is just so unnatural for me. I am still unsure how to categorize this one; it is something I am working on.

So, these are the core personality traits that I will begin to develop habits for, such as...

Possible goals for the Artist:
Craft a book of memories for my daughter
Learn how to sew clothes for my daughter

Possible goals for the Explorer:
Do something spontaneous once a week
Find unique baby-friendly places

Possible goals for the Homebody/Hostess:
Find ways to make home more cozy and inviting
Bake once a week from fresh, yummy ingredients

Possible goals for the Student/Inquisitor:
Be brave and go to mommy groups
Be brave and find ways to get to know the neighbors

My Core Personality Traits

First, a quick word. My family has been visiting the past couple weeks and I completely dropped my gratitude goal. Of course I was thankful for so many things over the duration of their visit, but I neglected to write them down, and haven't even thought of visiting this blog. Clearly this is a problem. Was I too busy? Not motivated enough? Simply not interested? Yes, yes and yes. (although, I never ever ever like to use "busy" as an excuse). However, I think the biggest reason why I stopped is that it is not important enough for me at this time. So, in order to be successful, I need to delve into the things that are deeply important to me. Maybe I will end up dropping the goal, maybe I will modify it... we'll see.

In order to be more careful and efficient and inspired with my choice of habits, I have chosen to go back to square one and start by defining my core personality traits.

This is an initial list. I realize there are overlaps and it most certainly isn't perfect (the titles need some help) but it feels good, it feels like me, the me that I want to be and the me that I already am.

1. The Artist
Keywords: design, painting, colour, creativity, craft, using my hands, cooking, baking, beautiful materials, texture, touch, senses, messiness

2. The Homebody/Hostess
Keywords: coziness, inviting, warmth, rusticity, coffee, a good meal, dessert, indulgence, farmers markets, cuddling, creature comforts, pillows, blankets

3. The Daydreamer
Keywords: relaxing, leisure, quietness, simplicity, nature, flowers, gardens, slow, calm, enjoying the moment

4. The Optimist/Child
Keywords: smiles, big belly laughs, silly, candid, whimsy, hope, optimism, mother, child, innocence, joy

5. The Student/Inquisitor
Keywords: learning, asking, listening, being around people, community, open-minded, kind, respectful

6. The Yogi/Poet
Keywords: introspective, contemplative, reflection, aware, attentive, growth, yoga, stretching, walking, hiking, thoughtful, patient, calm, careful, grace, refined

7. The Explorer
Keywords: spontaneity, adventure, travel, being in new places, taking detours, independence, free spirit, curiosity, wonder, awe

Future goals and habits will come directly from this list. Super motivated now! Looking forward to contemplating this and returning for the next post.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Day 12 Gratitude

Today I am grateful for

1. When I am breastfeeding and the little one gives a big smile. Feeding these days has been trying. Anyone who has had challenges in baby feeding will understand. In such a vulnerable position, the little things become really really big things.

2. Having a tidy home. My life has seen many messy times, to my embarrassment and dismay. But now that I live in a larger home, and am extremely careful about bringing new things into the home, everything seems to fit perfectly and it is easy to keep tidy. Tidy home equals tidy mind.

3. The great outdoors. While the little one was fussing today, I took her out to the backyard and she almost instantly calmed down, bobbleheading her head in awe. I believe it's something about the light shining through the trees. Does it every time.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Day 11 Gratitude

Today I am grateful for:

1. Reuniting with old friends.

2. Kids birthday parties, (even if they are getting out of hand!).

3. Long car rides.

Can you tell, today we took a long car ride to a kid's birthday party of some old friends. It was a nice day, full of laughter, cute kids and cupcakes!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Day 10 Gratitude

Today I am grateful for:

1. Baking these muffins. They were scrumptious, and turned out exactly as shown in the photo. That NEVER happens.

2. Laughs. Before today, my daughter had laughed twice at most (one incident was questionable). Today she laughed for real, three or four times. The sweetest sound I ever did hear.

3. Introspection. I've been making a list of all the things I truly enjoy and value, in an effort to discover my core personality traits. It's such a fun exercise and should be ready to share soon!

Personality-Based Goals

I've recently been reading a very interesting series of articles by Steve Pavlina about choosing your goals. In "Do Your Goals Conflict with Your Personality?" he points out that the traditional method of categorizing goals (health, work, finance, etc.) can quickly lead you astray, because the goals are not aligned with the things that motivate you.

This has me thinking. I have read before that in order to be successful with goals, there needs to be a deeply meaningful reason behind it. For example, saying "I want to run every morning" is not enough. It is obviously more effective to say "I want to run every morning because I value being fit, it makes me feel strong, it clears my mind to set me up for a great day..." whatever the reason, it has to strike a deeper cord within. But, this article suggests to start with the values and build goals out of them. For example, again, instead of saying "I want to run every morning," you might say "One of my core personality traits is a Champion; this side of me could be satisfied by running every morning."

Of course it gets deeper as you start to mix and match your core personality traits, but the gist is that your goals should express your personality rather than conflict with it.

Meraki: To do something with soul, creativity, or love - See more at:
Meraki: To do something with soul, creativity, or love - See more at:
Today I'll be working on my list of core personality traits. I've been thinking a lot about what habits I'd like to do in the future; I might also like to overlap them. So, this is a great place to start.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Day 9 Gratitude

Today I am grateful for

1. "Dream a Little Dream of Me" specifically the version by Dala. I've been singing this wonderful little song all day.

2. Our Skip Hop Play Mat. I needed to eat some actual meals today. While cooking, this play mat kept the little one entertained, even though she doesn't really know what to do with it yet. By the way, hubs calls it "the arches of neglect." I call it "the arches of independence."

3. Bacon. Total hipster cliche, I know I know. But it really elevates a lot of otherwise boring meals.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Day 8 Gratitude

Today I am grateful for:

1. My Mother. I have always been fairly close to my Mom, but since having my own child, I feel we have become even closer. Unfortunately, we are separated by a short plane ride (or a really long car ride), so we don't see each other as often as I would like. However, we do have nice long conversations over the phone several times a week. I love this Mom time. She always has an open ear and is ready to offer sound advice, without being pushy or disrespectful towards my own opinions if they differ.

2. When I say something quietly and lovingly to my daughter and she gives a big smile. I expect her to smile when I'm goofy or boisterous, but it's less expected when I'm quiet. I think it shows a deeper, more instinctual level of understanding. What a beautiful moment.

3. Spaghetti. Simple and delicious. Wonderful for when the hubster is working late and I feel like having a 'real' dinner.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Day 7 Gratitude

I've been running into a lot of articles lately regarding habits, gratitude, and happiness. The Habits of Happiness posted at Zen Habits is especially timely. One of my favourite feel-good blogs, he lists gratefulness as one of four essential habits in his life. The others include "help someone," "Meditate," and "Exercise." These are core habits. In developing them, other habits will fall into place more easily. It is interesting to look at this goal in a more long-term perspective. It is also scary. But that's a whole other ballgame.

I'm so happy to be falling into these articles. So much motivation.

Today I'm grateful for:

1. Taking the little one for a walk. Sometimes we don't get out too much. Our family shares one car, which hubs often takes to work, so going out becomes a huge ordeal. But going out for walks is nice. Little one loves being outside and today was just beautiful.

2. Songza! Especially the Sweet Lullabies playlist. It has come to my aid a number of times now. The best thing about this playlist - I actually enjoy a lot of the songs! They are not too baby-ish.

3. Eggs. I had to give up dairy because the little one appears to have a sensitivity to milk proteins. I realize eggs are also high up on the list of possible sensitivities, but I went for it today. A bit of an experiment perhaps? I forgot all about my previous addiction to grilled cheese because egg on toast made the perfect quick lunch today. If it goes okay, I may graduate to egg on toast... with bacon! and tomato! and avocado! Delicious.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Day 6 Gratitude

I am so so so grateful for:

1. Hubby. We just celebrated our 1 year anniversary. During this time, we hit a lot of milestones: we bought a new home, we traveled and biggest of all, we brought a new little life into the world. I cannot imagine taking this ride with anyone else.

2. Coffee. I really look forward to my morning cuppa. nuff said.

3. My new watch! Finally I can tell what time it is all by myself! (without having to rummage for my phone)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Day 5 Gratitude

Today I am grateful.

1. I am feeling an overwhelming degree of gratitude towards our daughter right now. Our little one is amazing. Of course I am biased. Of course I would say nothing but the best of my child. But, I actually really mean it. Her main temperaments are: super chill or big smiles. Sure we have had a few trying times, but nothing that doesn't pass quickly. She sleeps from 11:30 to 6:30 every night, give or take 30 minutes. I try hard not to brag too much, especially around those I know are having the all-too-common sleep issues. I keep quiet, but inside, I am so proud. Feeling so much love right now.

2. Board game night with friends. hanging out, getting to know each other better. ps. I won!

3. Friends pets. I have never had a pet, except for fish when I was a kid. They didn't last long, though. But I always enjoy friends pets. It's also really cool to see how our little one responds to them.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Day 4 Gratitude

Part of the success of habits and blogging is a matter of time. I came into this personal challenge thinking it would be a morning task, every morning, around the same time. But, life gets in the way. Always. And needs change. And you have to adjust. For this particular goal, it seems to make more sense to record the things I am grateful for at night, before bed, as a beautiful conclusion to the day. This also gives me all day to be aware and take note. My eyes, mind and heart really do seem more attentive to the little things, even though I've just begun. I will do anything to make this work.

I will talk more later about how I plan to make this habit stick. For now, my idea is to buy a beautiful notebook and pen them in before bed. Simple and lovely.

Today, I was grateful for:

1. A quick visit with family passing through town. My little one got to meet her uncle (my bro)! It's so special to see her interact with family, and how my family interacts with her. Especially the guys. Girls usually go ga ga over babies, but guys are a little less predictable. It was really sweet to see my brother chatting it up with my honey, calling her a hungry hippo, making funny faces.

2. My child asleep in my arms. How her body has a little extra weight. Her feet flop back and forth as I walk her upstairs. Her hair tickles my face.

3. Leftover pasta. We made penne with sausages and peppers last night. It was delicious then, but even more delicious tonight, as the depth of sauce really thickened. And it was especially nice to not have to make dinner.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Day 3 Gratitude

Today I am grateful for:

1. Morning free time. Before having the little one, I would sleep as late as possible every day. I had never been a morning person. But now, I get up around 6:30, feed my babe, and do my thing while she goes back to sleep. Sometimes I will nap next to her if she's fussing (another favourite moment), but I'll mover her into the crib and get up shortly after. I really cherish this little slice of me time.

Actually, this morning time is what inspired me to develop new habits and start this blog. I was spending most mornings watching tv, interneting, being totally unproductive. I kept thinking it would be nice to spend this time exercising or organizing or working on a creative project. I'm so happy to see my thinking turn into doing.

2. Midnight giggles. Sometimes I get the giggles. Usually late at night, while hubby is trying to get to sleep. It's hilarious and gives me the biggest feel good vibes ever.

3. Socks. My toes are cold.