Power of Positive Thought

Hey There.

I believe I’ve mentioned before that my mother edits my blogs for me, and half the time I almost hold my breath waiting for a text message that reads, “Huh?”

I know sometimes she must shake her head at me, her crazy daughter, and wonder how did I get so “woo-woo.” (I’m going to go ahead and blame liberal college and friends for that one btw.) But I don’t think I’m too terribly crazy . . . Remember that going forward.

You know when people tell you things, and you just kind of nod and shake your head and go, ok . . . For years, I felt like positive affirmations fell into that category –   somewhere between healing crystals and hypnosis for weight loss.

It’s always sounded just a little too out there for me. However, the more podcasts I listened to and articles I read regarding growth, development, and success, the more I learned about the importance of mindset and your internal monologue.

The fact is it’s pretty darn hard to change the way you think. Your thoughts have comfy, little patterns set in your brain, and it’s a bit painful for them to change.

So just for kicks, I decided to try listening to some positive statements before bed and in the morning. To my surprise, they really worked!

My mood has drastically improved, and I’ve been able to cling to a few little mantras when my work environment got stressful. I even went to a party and managed to use a phrase or two to help my socially awkward self make some new acquaintances. I think I’m hooked! (The fun, calming music in the background is also a plus.)

Even if it is a little “woo-woo,” I think we should all be open to trying anything to make ourselves happier and improve how we treat ourselves. If you haven’t given positive affirmations a try, check out this one. It’s just a quick 10-minute video to remind yourself – You’re awesome, and you’ve got this!

 

 

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Body Positivity

Hey There!

I’ve been hanging out in some weird online spaces lately. Post-wedding, I have next to no interest in scrolling on Pinterest. All it does is flare up my anxiety and make me feel like I need to be following other people’s rules and guidelines for a picture-perfect house and life.

Right now I am choosing to focus on getting my life and house to where I want them to be. Not where everyone else is or thinks I should be.

I’ve been spending time working to improve my mindset and have been taking a break from a LOT of things. If I ever miss a post, please know that I love you, but I’m choosing to be with loved ones or to take care of myself rather than rushing and stressing to get something up.

The places at which I’ve been spending most of my online time are Instagram and listening to podcasts. However, both spaces look completely different. My podcasts are self-improvement and marketing-based. (There’s a lot of woo-woo positive mindset and love yourself happening there.) My Instagram world is heavily focused on vintage and pin-up fashion, which surprisingly also has a lot of positive mindset aspects to it as well.

I think there is some criticism from those outside the vintage fashion community. It is thought to be dominated by women who are unhappy with how they look or their bodies, so they paint and contort themselves with extreme makeup and corsets. Or that it’s purely for the pleasure of men and is all sex and sex appeal.

I don’t really believe any of those things.

For me, I see just as much body positivity and self-love from the pinup models and brands I follow that I do from people who subscribe to a more natural beauty style like Jenna Kutcher who is an aeriereal model. It just looks different.

Loving yourself and how you look and how you feel isn’t solely limited to natural makeup and embracing your stretch marks (and trust me, with hips like mine, I know a thing or two about stretch marks). It’s about embracing whatever makes you feel fabulous.

When I look at professional pinup models or even just other women posting their daily outfits or hair sets, I don’t think it’s oppressive or they’re twisting their real selves into a form only for the pleasure of a man. All I think is how beautiful and happy they look. They feel empowered and sexy. I know nothing makes me feel more confident than an amazing outfit and my red lipstick. I don’t feel fake or untrue to myself. I feel like I’m doing exactly what I want. I’m focusing on well-cut pieces of clothing that accentuate my form and femininity and that is AMAZING.

I love that two cultures I participate in – that seem like they should be so different – both focus and promote the same thing: that it doesn’t matter if you prefer natural beauty or high glamor, just as long as you love you. Do whatever it is that makes you happiest.

Another Year Older

Hey There!

Have you ever met someone and forever after whenever you think of them the image ingrained in your mind never ages? No matter how long it’s been they are forever the same as when you first met?

I’m bad for doing that. There are people in my life who I’ve known for more than a decade and even though our relationship has spanned from AOL instant messenger to Myspace, then Facebook and on, when I think of them I still imagine them so much younger than we are now.

It seems that I do this with myself as well. I felt like I’d be 17 forever; then I hung on to 19 as long as I could, and in a few days I’m getting ready to say goodbye to 25, but I think I’m going to be feeling it for a long while yet.

We spend so much time when we are growing up wishing we were adults. Now, looking around at my “adult” friends, I don’t know what type of adults I thought we’d be. No one has it together like my mother always seemed to, but if different, we’re all doing pretty well.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this upcoming birthday. I wish I’d done more things in my early 20s, that I’d gone on more adventures before things were quite so serious with a full-time time career, a house, and husband when travel becomes ever so slightly more difficult. (What is it with the US and their 2 weeks of vacation time? Europe has 3 weeks y’all. Can we hop on that bandwagon?) But now I have my own cozy space to call home and someone waiting for me when I get there from my little adventures.

There are things that I still want to do and places to explore. I can’t wait to see what 26 brings!

After Work Burnout

Hey There!

Whew. Heading back into work after our vacation has been ROUGH.

I hoped the relaxation of our vacation would last more than a week, but my shoulders are tense, the eye twitch is back, and I have absolutely no motivation to do anything when I get home.

I can’t be the only one who experiences this, right?

All day at work I’m engaged and working, making sure that everything gets handled, and I make lists of all the things I need to get done in the evening, but as soon as I cross the threshold at the house, I’m done.

Try as I might it’s nearly impossible to summon any energy to do any of the things on my list. I manage to get dinner made and most times to do dishes but outside of that . . . it’s #netflixandchill.

Half the time I convince myself that tomorrow I WILL get up early and take care of things, but 5:00 hits and so do I – the snooze button that is.

I’m considering getting a coffee pot with a timer, so I have the promise of caffeine when I wake up, but I hate the thought of being more caffeine dependent. I’m down to about 1 cup a day at the office.

What are your tricks for beating the end of day slump and getting up early? I need your help!

 

My Style Struggle

Hey There!

I skimmed over this topic a few times in recent posts, but I really need to update my wardrobe. Most of my pieces no longer fit after my weight gain last year, and the pieces I have are cheap and unflattering. This time around I am working to buy nice quality pieces that can be mixed and matched and will serve me for a longer time.

I’m looking for brands that I love that I can return to. It seems like every time I need a new pair of jeans I have to start the terrible struggle over again – finding something that fits my curves, finding a fabric l like and the color of denim I like, etc. It’s exhausting!

The more I think about it and browse, the more I find that I’m running into 3 problems:

1. I hate the idea of investing so much money into clothes that I’m hoping won’t fit soon as I’d like to lose weight.

2. I really hate trying on clothes (and online shopping is a complete nightmare!).

3. I’m struggling with my personal style.

Since we’re cozied up with our tea, chatting, I wondered if you’d give me your advice on style!

When it comes to fashion, I like pretty dresses, full skirts with pockets, and I love vintage fashion. Like . . . love it. If I could wear full out pin-up (corset and all) every day, I would.

I know. I know. Most of that isn’t practical for everyday wear; owning jeans is a necessity. As much as I love it, I struggle with buying vintage fashion as I’m worried about how it would be viewed.

Luckily, I work in a really accepting workplace. We have girls with purple hair and multiple nose piercings. The Fellow wears bowling shirts. Red lipstick days are my favorite because I get so many compliments, and everyone is supportive.

But we’re also on the first floor.

For me, the silhouettes of by-gone eras are captivating. I love the structured look of fitted dresses and the fun whimsical nature of a full skirt. I enjoy playing with pin curls and following pin-up dolls on social media, seeing their next outfit and how they accessorize. It’s everything I love.

Yet, I don’t know how to incorporate it into my life.

I feel like . . .

1. I really don’t want to open myself up to negative dialogue about my body or fashion. I know humans can be cruel, and I can just imagine what going out in full pin-up would look like.

2. I struggle with how that makes me look as a professional.

Since my dream of opening a tea shop is probably a thing of the future, I want to do well at work. I am already young, and I worry that wearing full skirts and frilly dresses draws attention to that fact and make me look unprofessional.

It may seem like such a trivial point, but as someone wiser than me once said, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” I spend a lot of time trying to improve myself, and I don’t want my clothing choices to undermine all that I’m doing.

But then again, I follow Reese Witherspoon on social media, and I love watching her pushing women everywhere to change the world, all while looking feminine and fabulous.

moonshine in a teacup

What are your thoughts? I need your advice!

Eating Naturally and Baking Bread

Hey There!

I hope you had a fabulous weekend. I know we did. Despite the rain, we went out with friends, worked on some projects around our cottage, and I got a little bit of baking done.

Now, about that baking – The Fellow has always been on board for living a more natural existence. I, on the other hand, have been eating diet foods as long as I can remember. I’ve used artificial sweetener in my coffee and tea my entire life. I think I went on my first diet around age 13. Well, no more. I’m joining The Fellow in his way of thinking and am making an intentional choice to eat more naturally.

While we’re embarking on that journey, I’m also not dieting or limiting my intake of foods. If I want ice cream, I’ll eat it, and I’m also putting some heavy focus on not acknowledging any sense of guilt associated with that bowl of frozen deliciousness.

My hope is that once I stop depriving myself of things that I won’t binge them when I “fall off the wagon.” If it’s not a forbidden fruit, I can just enjoy them when I want them. In reality, The Fellow and I’s meals are really not unhealthy. It’s my snacking that needs some fine-tuning. I’m excited to see what my body does on real foods when I truly listen to it.

We’re in our third week, and I’ve made some great steps. I went from 5+ beverages a day (most with 2 packs of Splenda) to using a tablespoon of real sugar. We swapped our lunch meat out for whole turkey breast without any preservatives, and I decided that I would try to make our own sandwich bread.

My first attempt at bread making was an overwhelming success. They had a beautifully even color and were perfectly sized loaves of honey-sweetened bread. The recipe made 2 loaves and lasted us about a week and a half. The Fellow said it made for the best French toast he’s ever had.

Moonshine in a teacup bread
My beautiful bread

Fast forward to Sunday night – I went to make the same bread for our next week’s lunches. I decided to experiment and see if I could squeeze by with regular all-purpose flour instead of bread flour. It was also a little bit warmer in our house. The dough went wild. I’m not sure if it was the flour, the temperature, or the amount of time I let it proof, but it exploded. The dough expanded over the edges of the bread pan dripping everywhere. It was a monster!

I trimmed the overflow off (which, of course, you should not do, as I was later advised by our friend who is in culinary school) and popped it in the oven. Half an hour later, I pulled the massive loaves out. After letting them cool, we managed to pry them out of the pans. The overflow had cemented the bread into the pans. I tasted some of the baked spillage, and it tasted nothing like the amazing loaves from the previous week. I double checked the recipe and there it was – salt. I was baking the bread amid dinner preparations and neglected to put in the salt!

The fellow says it tastes fine, just too sweet, but all I taste is disappointment. I didn’t even photograph it for on here.

(Update, if I spread it with butter and sprinkle some sea salt on it, it’s actually a nice snack.)

It was certainly a learning experience though, and I gained some valuable knowledge about bread. I am excited to try again next week.

What are your best recipe fail stories? Share them with me in the comments so I know that I’m not alone!

5 Ways to Manage Work Frustrations

Hey There,

Have you ever had a really rough time at work? I have. As a matter of fact, I let it get to me just last week. Things just build up and when something or someone upsets you, it’s easy to let it drag you down, to get defensive, and start a downward spiral of anger, frustration, and resentment.

When this happens at work, your day can go from great to awful and kill any desire you had to be productive. Add a bit of anxiety to the mix, and you can be two steps away from becoming overwhelmed and shutting down – or worse having an anxiety or panic attack.

Here are 5 ways to avoid that negative path before it gets out of control:

5 ways to manage work stress

1. Assume the best.

Just because you heard one message doesn’t mean that was the message the speaker was intending to send. That’s why communication is such a common struggle. There are so many nuances involved that can create confusion.

2. Flip it.

When someone asks you to add yet another thing to your already overwhelming task list, think, “They know that I am reliable and trust me to get everything done” instead of thinking, “As if I don’t have enough to do.” Actively look for ways to spin negative encounters. (As a note, if you truly are too busy for any other tasks try the “Yes, and . . .” trick – “Yes, I can do that, and in order to complete that to the level we need, I will need assistance or an extension on this other task.)

3. Take a deep breath.

Get up from your desk, walk outside or to a break room, empty conference room, or even the bathroom. Stand or sit up straight and take 3 deep breaths. Then repeat. The neurons in your brain send signals to relax when you breathe deeply.

4. Listen to music.

If your work allows it, pop your headphones in and jam out. Your favorite tunes should drown out anything negative around you and put you in a much better mood. You could even try calming meditation music!

5. Talk to someone.

Try not to linger on it, but sometimes a rant really makes you feel better. Try setting a timer and only being allowed to be negative for 1 min. If you are in a toxic work environment, you may need to speak with your manager or HR. Talking with a therapist is also an option. Therapists are trained professionals who can help you learn valuable tools for communication or coping mechanisms for stressful situations or anxiety.

What are your favorite tips for dealing with work stress? Let me know so I can try them!

Why I Started Using My “Good” Teacups

Hey There!

In my dining room, I have a hutch. In that hutch are several teacups and teapots. (Ok, more than several. For a while there, I brought back teacups whenever I traveled.) These cups have been shuffled around from location to location, and to be honest, I’ve never really used any of them.

Why I Started Using the Good China Moonshineinateacup
The Fellow brought me this cup back from England!

Teacups are pretty. I like the idea of them, but most of the time I end up drinking a cup of tea from my favorite pottery mug. In my mind, there was no point in using the “good” teacups when I wasn’t making a full pot of tea. Making a full pot of tea is an endeavor and too much work I felt when I only want just a single cuppa.

If I’m being honest though, the reality is that when I’m sitting or working, I don’t drink just one cup of tea. I have a few. It takes the same amount of time to make a pot as a cup, and if I have a pot in front of me with a little pitcher of cream, I don’t have to get up as often and interrupt my workflow.

Since I now have a pot of tea, the “good” teacups are justified, and now I am finally using my pretty cups because after all – teacups are functional objects. There is something so beautifully civilized about tea in a proper cup. I still love and use my pottery cup, but now my teacups get their own share of tabletop time.

Disclaimer Good

I enjoy sitting down to write with a pretty tea set in front of me. It’s amazing how it elevates a simple cuppa. I want to love everything in my life and my house. We’re going through things and trying to pare down unnecessary things, and while I’ve never read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, it’s on my list (and her principles are all over Pinterest). One of my goals is for each item I own to serve a purpose, bring me joy, or have a functional use. (I am also working towards not keeping items out of guilt, but that is a topic for another day.) Pretty teacups just happen to hit all three points.

Do you use your “good” items or keep them back for special occasions? Let me know in the comments!

3 Ways To Start Living Intentionally Today

Hey There!

Anyone out there feel when you are motivated you have a thousand thoughts and ideas racing through your head each second? I do. If you’re like me, you jot them down into a list, but it seems like the list never gets finished.

I work all day, come home, fix dinner, and then I’m usually exhausted, so we just Netflix and chill until it’s time for bed. As I’ve mentioned in past posts, I try to have a well-kept house, but if you judged me by the standards of Mrs. Lind from Anne of Green Gables (or my mother), I fall just a bit shy of the mark.

I find that after a busy work week, what ends up happening is that household chores pile up – and then the weekend is spent cleaning.

I am working to get myself in the habit of cleaning as I go. If there are things that I can do in 2 minutes to tidy up, I do them. It is something that I’m intentionally doing to improve my day-to-day life.

Today I wanted to share with you 3 things I started doing to help me kick-start this new mindset, and I think you could do these things as well. It’s amazing how much these three simple tasks ground me and make other things I still need to do less overwhelming.

3 Ways To start living intentionally moonshine in a teacup

1. Make your bed when you get up.

The Fellow will not make a bed on his own. He will help me if I’m making it, but not if it’s just him in the house. He says it’s just going to get wrinkled again in a few hours. I disagree. I love walking into my bedroom and seeing a neatly made bed. We don’t have a ton of throw pillows, and our room isn’t a Pinterest perfect snapshot of perfectly matched furniture and well-framed original artwork, but I’m working on it. Having the bed made makes it look tidy and welcoming. It also encourages me to do other tasks in the bedroom like putting away my folded laundry immediately, so that it doesn’t detract from the order of the room or clearing off items from the dresser so that it doesn’t become cluttered.

2. Lay your clothes out the night before.

This has been a game changer. No more standing half-dressed in front of the open closet door frantically putting things on, taking them off, and usually leaving them lying on the floor because I’m in such a rush, there is no time to hang them back up. I put a command hook on my closet door, so all I have to do is grab the hanger with my outfit and take it with me to the bathroom when I go to shower and get dressed.

I have perfectly coordinated outfits because I did all of the work already. No more waking the fellow up before his alarm because I’m digging through the closet using my cellphone as a flashlight. (Don’t judge, you know the struggle!) Now there’s time for a morning cup of tea!

3. Go to bed with an empty sink.

Nothing is worse than when you have to do the dishes. There’s a giant pile in the sink, and it takes an eternity to finish them. I’ve started doing my dishes directly after dinner, so I never have a full sink. In the event that I have to run and do something in the evening, I make sure the dishes are done before I go to bed. It’s refreshing to walk into the kitchen in the morning and see it all neat and tidy just waiting for me to put the kettle on.

What are your must-do tasks that keep you grounded and your house running smoothly? Leave a comment and let me know so that I can try them out!

Why My Self-Care Fridays Are So Important

Hey there!

Part of my focus on intentional living is taking better care of myself, and self-care Fridays are one of the things I’ve implemented to do just that.

Self-Care Fridays Moonshine In A Teacup

On Fridays, the Fellow goes out with friends, and I get the house all to myself. Now I love my husband, but we both live and work together so we’re together all the time. When he goes out on Fridays, I relax. There is no rush to get dinner made and get things done so we can get to bed at a reasonable time. I stay up just a little bit later than usual. I watch the terrible TV shows he hates and paint my nails.

My self-care Fridays are the time I intentionally set aside to rest, recharge, and reinvest in myself. Giving myself permission to enjoy my “me time” has been amazing. I have to manually turn off my brain and say, “This is OK.” I don’t allow myself to feel guilty if the house isn’t clean, or I should be working on MIAT, or whatever else has been pressing on my mind (like the bathroom closet which needs to be reorganized). I enjoy the little things that bring me happiness, like a new nail color. Knowing I have Friday night coming and that I am allowed to use that time to decompress makes such an impact on my week.

give yourself permission to be happy moonshine in a teacup

I  started getting acrylic nails a year or two ago and learned that I love how my hands look when my nails are done. I don’t have the daintiest of hands, but long nails make me feel feminine and graceful. I work in an office so I stare at my keyboard and hands all day. I’d much prefer to look at well-manicured nails than chipped and uneven ones.

Having my nails done make me feel that much more put together. It makes me want to pick out my outfit for the next day and do other things to put my best self out there. What are some of your favorite self-care practices?