Archive | Everyday Life

Too Tired for Anything but Real Housewives

Too Tired | kaileenelise.com

“There never was a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep.”
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

The dishes are done, the baby is down, and my bra is off. I slump onto the couch and a long list of “shoulds” rushes over me.

Soak the onesie in OxiClean from today’s experiment with beets. Meal plan. Write the grocery list. Catch up on months 7, 8, and 9 in the baby book. Order photos from the last three professional photo sessions. Unsubscribe from all the junk mail that’s overcrowding our recycling bin. Send those prints off to Framebridge. Clean out my closet. Start planning our summer trip. Finish reading that book. Finish writing this essay.

The “less than necessary” and “must be done” buzz and swirl around me like a busy bee. I swat them away and reach for my second glass of wine.

My bones ache. My muscles groan. My hair is falling out by the handfuls. I’m nearly ten months postpartum, but my body feels like someone else’s on a regular basis. And it often feels like I’m living someone else’s life… because I am.

All day I’m on his schedule. I anticipate his needs, decipher his cries from coos. When he wakes up, I spring into action. When I see him fading, I pounce into our “sleepy routine” and use Jedi mind tricks to lull him to sleep.

Dressing him is like wrestling a tiger. Changing diapers is like pinning an alligator. Mealtime is like feeding a snapping turtle. Motherhood, at this age, is a full contact sport and my battery drains hour by hour until my next cup of lukewarm coffee.

In the early days when my son was a cuddly little creature who didn’t know day from night, I found comfort in the stillness of 3am feedings. That was when I got a break from the “shoulds” and settled into a space that was just me and my baby. Even on the worst nights when I felt like I was the only mother in the world who was ever this exhausted, this confused, this overwhelmed… I knew the summer sun would rise in the morning. Each day was a fresh chance to do it all again, a little better this time.

As my son grew from brand new baby to infant, the seasons shifted. Winter came and with it a dark blanket of sleep deprivation covered me. After 5 or 6 months of not sleeping, it is no longer cute or sweet or darling to wake up several times through the night. I was exhausted, but staying up later and later. I was searching for that stillness from before.

One of those nights, I was lounging on the couch, scrolling through my Instagram feed, with the TV on and my glass of wine close by. As my husband headed upstairs for the night he asked, “Honey, why don’t you just go to bed?”

Because all day I’ve been living his little life. I get to live mine when he’s sleeping. And sometimes, most of the time, I’m too tired for anything but Real Housewives.

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Tiny Risks

Tiny Risks - image via Unsplash | kaileenelise.com

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud
was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
(Anaïs Nin)

I have been trying something new lately — taking small, tiny risks. They are so small, I doubt if any one else would even notice or dare to call them risks. It is a fun little practice. Something that nudges me outside my comfort zone. If you are looking for a way to switch things up, I recommend you try it.

This started when I was trying to find a mat towel for hot yoga classes. Lululemon had a grey one that felt like the safe choice, but they also had this white and black striped one with a jungle leaf pattern on it. Sounds a little crazy, right? Well, I usually buy “basics” for my wardrobe and accessories… so buying it felt daring and risky to me.

It is a silly example, but I was waffling back and forth as if it were a big decision. Do you ever agonize over tiny things? I find myself spending time and brain power on small decisions that don’t matter one way or another. Maybe it is a form of procrastination, or a way to distract myself from bigger things.

Either way, I am working to make quick, tiny risks with the small decisions. I bought the crazy jungle, striped yoga mat and moved on with my life.

This strategy works for all sorts of things. If there is a recipe you have been wanting to try, go for it. If there is a workout class that looks intriguing, give it a try. If you find yourself thinking of excuses not to try something, pause, turn around, and take that tiny risk.

Do not let the fear of failure, or the force of routine, stop you from the little joys in life. Tiny risks require a small effort, but they can have a big impact on your happiness.

Image via Unsplash

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Study Habits: Cooking and Eating Healthy

Study Habits: Cooking and Eating Healthy - image via Death to the Stock Photo | kaileenelise.com

People who love to eat are always the best people.
(Julia Child)

I have always enjoyed food, but in the last few years I’ve found that I also love meal planning, cooking, and eating healthy.

Food is an interesting thing. We need it to survive. It defines cultures. It’s an expression of love. Too much, or the wrong kind, can make us sick. I was a vegetarian for a few years but that didn’t automatically make me healthier. In fact, I am leaner and happier now that I’m eating meat again. I believe food choices are all about what works for the individual, and this can change over time.

Cooking and eating healthy have become objects of study for me. I have tweaked and practiced, altered and adapted. I deepen my skills with each new recipe. I broaden my knowledge as I learn about new science. There are few topics I am more interested in than cooking, enjoying good food, and eating healthy — and there’s always more to learn.

The documentary Food Inc. influenced the way I look at food. If something on my plate has been genetically modified, pumped with antibiotics, or factory-processed, it is hard for me to consider it food. I am not perfect and I’m not an expert, but this definition drove my decision to become a vegetarian… and it is what helped me refine my choices when I started eating meat again. I feel fortunate that we have access to organic produce and many varieties of grass-fed, pasture-raised meats.

At the same time, the movie Julie & Julia inspires me in a completely different way! It is such a great movie, one that I re-watch when I’m in need of some extra sparkle. There is something magical about the way two women found their way in life through cooking. (If you liked the movie, consider reading Julia Child’s book, My Life in France. I listened to it on audiobook and it was amazing!)

Earlier this year, I read the book Grain Brain. The science (and logic) in the book helped me decide to limit the amount of carbohydrates, sugars, and grains in my diet. I would have never dreamed of trying this when I was a vegetarian, but I’m willing to change my ways if there is a healthier option. Around the same time, my Mister joined CrossFit, which promotes a Paleo diet. We are not strict or hard core, but we have shifted to eating more vegetables, healthy fats, fish, and meat. Along with working out regularly, these changes have resulted in both of us being lighter and stronger than we have been in years.

While I own a ton of cook books, there’s one in particular that helped me with the basics. I received the The Vegetarian Student Cookbook as a Christmas gift. It’s written as a guide book for college students, but it is great for anyone who is cooking for 1 or 2 people. The first section shares “Kitchen Know-How,” which are helpful basics from food safety to taste tips. Then the book flows from light bites and sides, to salads and pasta, then entrees, and finishes up with “food to impress” and desserts. The book has a ton of pictures and easy to follow instructions. Even if you are not a vegetarian, there are plenty of great ideas to build meals around.

I have also enriched my cooking “studies” through blogs, Pinterest, and YouTube videos. Some of my favorite blogs for food inspiration and knowledge are:

There are so many food-related books that I want to read. Since shifting my diet away from sugars, carbs, and grains, I have started to research study materials. One of my goals for August is to read It Starts With Food and begin my Whole30 later this month. At some point, I am also planning to read Wheat Belly, Clean Gut, and Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism.

As with any favorite subject, there is no limit to the amount of inspiration and knowledge out there. The exciting thing is that I eat every day, so there are plenty of opportunities to refine my study habits!

Image via Death to the Stock Photo

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Falling Into Place

Falling Into Place - image via Unsplash | kaileenelise.com

Be in love with your life. Every detail of it.
(Jack Kerouac)

This has quickly become one of my favorite seasons. Things seem to have just clicked into place. The weather has been perfect. My Mister and I have been busy, but we have found a balance between fun and relaxation during our down time.

Not everything is easy, but I have a sense of ease in my heart. A calm of what’s familiar, while teetering on the edge of so much that is new. My Mister has taken on a lot of new responsibilities at work. I am starting a new business. This past weekend we celebrated 6-years as a couple, and yet our life together is just getting started.

The mix of new and old is nice. Like sandwiching new recipes between favorites in a meal plan. Getting to test and experiment, while also counting on the proven.

I have felt this way before. In the summer. When everything is a little breezy and sweet. And it feels like it won’t last, because it never does. For now, I’m going to focus on how I feel and what is right in front of me. Because it’s delicious and I know it could go away.

Here are a few things I have been loving lately:

  • Listening to summer tunes and inspiring podcasts
  • Starting my days with bulletproof-style coffee
  • Taking afternoon breaks for rooftop yoga classes
  • Watching The Bachelorette and Real Housewives OC + NYC
  • Sipping on Harmless Harvest Coconut Water over ice
  • Making new friends, exploring new parts of Austin
  • Using CoSchedule to plan blog posts here and on Happy Living
  • Finding fresh inspiration on Instagram
  • Writing on the patio, reading by the pool
  • Letting my hair dry naturally and going days without makeup

Image via Unsplash

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click + purchase I will receive a small commission. Thank you for reading & supporting An Extraordinary Adventure!

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Another Week Goes By

secretitos encartados

If we look at the world with a love of life,
the world will reveal its beauty to us.
(Daisaku)

Hello lovely friends. I hope you’re having a fantastic week!

Mine has been a bit wild—and I’m looking forward to having the weekend to regroup. There’s been a lot to balance at home with getting back into a workout routine, trying to blog more often, and preparing for the holidays.

After struggling through that 5k on Sunday, I’ve managed to run 3 more times. I sometimes find myself expecting instant results after just a few days. I want to weigh less, look better in my clothes, and be able to power through a few miles with little effort. This time around I am trying to remind myself of how much better I feel when I’ve ran. If feeling better can be the motivation, the results will follow.

Work has been busy, but so good. I am officially past my 3-month introductory period and had a very positive review yesterday! I’ve barely seen my Mister all week, so I’m hoping we will have some time to catch up tonight. I might even put on something cute and take him out to a nice dinner.

I am loving Florence + the Machine’s new album Ceremonials, double tall skim cappuccinos, and the MyFitnessPal app on my iPhone.

I hope to post a Creative Weekend To-Do List tomorrow, as well as start a new series about gratitude and delicious food (two things that I find are key to a happy, healthy life). I have plans to run once or twice more, and maybe even catch up with this lady for a yoga class.

Keep a look out for a Sparkle Swap recap soon. I have tried to write the post several times, but keep getting stumped. There are some people who never received a gift and I’m just not sure how to address it. Any thoughts?

Image Credit: secretitos encartados via Andreu Robusté

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A Weekend Recap

{ Image :: Untitled }

Energy and persistence conquer all things.
(Benjamin Franklin)

Hello lovelies! How was your weekend?

Mine was quite wonderful. On Saturday, my friend and I drove 2 hours to our nearest Ikea. I picked up a few goodies including some picture frames and Christmas ornaments. I also had my eye on this NYC print, but I couldn’t think of where it could go in our apartment.

We stopped at a great outlet mall on the way home, where I found the cutest Kate Spade sunglasses (at a huge discount)! Saturday night my Mister and I stayed in, enjoyed some veggie chili, and relaxed on the couch. I painted my nails — Holly by Zoya on my toes and Milky Way by Essie on my fingers.

I’ve been trying to get myself in the habit of waking up early, so on Sunday I set my alarm for 5:00 am. It was a quiet and peaceful morning spent sipping tea and reading. Something I don’t do too often, but oh what a treat!

Yesterday I also ran a 5K with some friends. I figured it would be nice to run through some local neighborhoods, especially since the leaves are so beautiful this time of year. I haven’t trained seriously in months, so the race turned into a bit of a reality check. I have some work to do before signing up for my next half marathon!

Last night I sat down with my Filofax and November goals for a quick check-in. Can you believe that this month is nearly 1/2 over?! As I mentioned in my Intentions for November post, it’s been awhile since I really focused on achieving the goals I set for myself. While I’m not on track for everything, I have made some nice progress:

  • Blog 5 times a week :: Week 1 – success! Week 2, just 2 posts. Week 3, working on getting back in gear.
  • Try 2 new recipes :: Done and done. I’ve already tried 3 new recipes already this month.
  • Workout 5 times each week ::  Not quite, but I’m working on this too. I’m on a 2 day streak with yesterday’s 5K and an easy 2 mi run this morning.
  • Run 2 races :: 5K complete. Now it’s time to get some good training in before the 8K on Thanksgiving.
  • Finish reading A Place of Yes and Loving Frank :: I finished Loving Frank yesterday, so I’m half way there!
  • Finish Christmas cards :: Still on the hunt for these. I really want to work on these over Thanksgiving weekend, so hopefully I’ll make a decision soon.
  • Plan gifts for family & friends :: Making significant progress! I ordered some great gifts from DAVIDsTEA and Sephora last night.

I’m hoping to follow up this great weekend with a lovely week. What about you, my friends? Did you have a nice weekend? What are you looking forward to this week?

Image Credit: Untitled via Always Bë Cool

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A Return to Blogging

Light is Good

At times our own light goes out and
is rekindled by a spark from another person.
Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude
of those who have lighted the flame within us.
(Albert Schweitzer)

Hello lovelies! It’s been a little over 1 month since my last post — and oh how I’ve missed you. The time away provided some much needed space for reflection.

By placing a small distance between me, my laptop, and my life online, I’ve come to realize the joy all this brings me.

There’s an unlimited amount of information, inspiration, support, guidance, love, and creativity for us to discover. The energy that courses through the hearts, minds, and fingertips of complete strangers (and our closest friends) appears like magic on our screens.

I have a renewed sense of excitement that I hope to carry with me as I dive back into blogging. I feel energized and eager. Enthusiastic about what this site has grown into over the past 2 years. Hopeful about what it might become as the future unfolds.

My break from blogging was filled with extraordinary moments. My Mister and I went to the NC State Fair, dressed up as Waldos for Halloween and snuggled while watching How to Make It in America. I made new friends on Twitter, tracked down packages and sparkle for my latest swap, mailed lots of hand-written letters and collected inspiration in magazines & books. The time away was nice, but I’m ready to spring into action.

Want to join me in celebrating a new season of inspiration? Receive Inbox Inspiration {blog posts via email} and/or Muse Memos {monthly newsletter} by signing up here.

Image Credit: Light is good from whatever lamp it shines. via nattu

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Pause, Steep, Breathe

Chris Chavez Yoga at Spanish Banks

You may wonder, ‘How can I leave it all behind if I am just coming back to it?
How can I make a new beginning if I simply return to the old?’
The answer lies in the return. You will not come back to the ‘same old thing.’
What you return to has changed because you have changed.
Your perceptions will be altered.
You will not incorporate into the same body, status, or world you left behind.
The river has been flowing while you were gone. Now it does not look like the same river.
(Steven Foster)

In a recent conversation with my Mister, he pointed out something I’ve known to be true my entire life. I write about it often and you may find pieces of yourself in my story.

I tend to bite off more than I can chew.

Eager aspirations, best intentions, and ambition-infused plans are my weakness. Mediocrity makes me uncomfortable. Not finishing a project—or just putting forth 80% effort—is not in my nature.

This combination of perfectionism and internal drive has been a great gift. The places I’ve been, the relationships I’ve built and the things I’ve done are a result of that hunger.

“…but not at the expense of happiness. Of enjoying your life,” he reminded me.

He makes a valid point.

I am a busy lady—and while stopping to smell the roses is something I try to pencil in, it often feels ironic and contrived. I want gratitude, mindfulness and joy to become practices deeply rooted in my daily life. I know this will take time, attention and intention.

I’ve never been in the practice of saying no. I’m not one to take time for unscheduled bliss and unstructured exploration. As someone who always wants to do more, be more and share more of myself, this may prove to be a lesson for lifelong learning.

//

I’m putting the blog on pause. I will be posting less frequently, with a bigger focus on reading, connecting, tweeting and keeping a light touch on the happenings.  I’m taking time to let my tea steep. Soaking in the tiny moments that make up this life. I’m letting my red wine breathe. Spending time with friends, family, my Mister and my thoughts.

Image Credit: Chris Chavez Yoga at Spanish Banks via lululemon athletica

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Looking Forward

Deb

It’s faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth living.
(Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.)

Hello friends! How was your weekend? Mine was fun and productive—my favorite kind. On Friday, my Mister and I went to Chipotle to have dinner and margaritas on their outdoor patio. On Saturday I sent Jenn my last two Roots of She Summer Tribe posts, then met up with my girlfriend for coffee at a local coffee shop. That evening, my Mister and I went to dinner & bowling  with our friends who had their first baby boy a few weeks ago. Yesterday was filled with catching up on emails, doing laundry and getting ready for the week.

Thanks for all the sweet comments & tweets about my blogiversary! I’m very excited to see what the 3rd year will bring. I hope to take things to the next level and would love to know if you have any suggestions, questions or things you would like to see in the future.

Also, thanks to those of you who signed up for my Sparkle Swap. You will receive more information, a survey & the swap timeline by tomorrow morning! If you missed out or the timing wasn’t good for you this time around, don’t fret. There will be more swap opportunities soon.

There are a lot of things I’m looking forward to right now. My new laptop case should arrive today and my package of home try-on Warby Parkers will be here tomorrow. I hope to share the styles I selected in a future post. I’d love to know which you like best! On Wednesday I’m getting a fresh cut and color—a little mid-week pampering. Also, my grandparents are visiting from Napa this weekend. We have some fun things planned, which I’ll share more about on Saturday’s Creative Weekend T0-Do List.

Hope you have a delightful week, my lovelies! Take some time for yourself. Find an opportunity to make someone else smile. Be inspired. Inspire. Relax, read & enjoy the final days of summer. Keep looking forward.

Image Credit: Deb via Astragony

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A Fresh Path

Railroad Weeds

Whenever you undertake a new project,
attempt to make as many mistakes as rapidly as possible
in order to learn as much as you can in a short period of time.
(Dan Zadra)

Hi there. What’s alive in you?

For me, it’s carving out new routines. Discovery. Change. A fresh path.

On Tuesday, I started a new job with a really amazing company in downtown Raleigh. I’m delighted to be able to do what I do (corporate recruiting) within an incredibly talented and creative atmosphere (digital agency). I cannot even begin to express my delight. My joy. The excitement bubbling up inside.

I’ve kept my shifting employment status a bit of a secret on the blog because I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to write. How much to share. When the search might end. What feelings were fleeting and irrelevant. Which were worth exploring and sharing in a public forum. Exposing personal details has been a challenge for me, so I’ve shied away from going too deep.

This life’s journey continues to evolve and develop into an amazing adventure. I feel so blessed and grateful to have an opportunity to learn alongside so many smart, funny and inspiring people.

At home, my Mister and I are learning to balance his demanding MBA program with my new commute and work schedule. It’s a juggling act for sure, but we’re both in the pursuit of our dreams. So we feel lucky.

Online, I am part of this unbelievably supportive community. Getting back into a blogging groove has filled my heart with joy. Opening my MacBook is like a little gift I give myself. Each time I sit down to write I wonder what might unfold. When I open my Google Reader, I revel in joining you for pieces of your journey.

At the office, each minute is about learning. Today marks day 3. There are pieces of me that feel like I already know how to dive in. Other parts still feel like the new girl. It’s an automatic beginner’s mind, disorienting and wonderful at the same time.

Image Credit: Railroad Weeds via Kevin Dooley

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