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!

 

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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.

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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.

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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!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

Choosing to Live More Intentionally

Hey there!

I wanted to sit down with you today and talk about that little Intentional Living button in the menu bar. If you noticed a few weeks ago, Moonshine In A Teacup (MIAT) got a new layout, and this little button appeared. Up until now, that category has been empty. I want to share with you why that spot appeared, what it means, and why I’m choosing to live more intentionally.

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The next section here is very real. I am going to be upfront and open with you about my life behind the curated blog posts, and my decision to start trying to live more intentionally. I decided a long time ago if something I’ve experienced could benefit someone else, I would share it. But I haven’t done a good job of that here.

I love MIAT. It’s a fun way to chronicle what I’ve been up to and share it with all of you.  That being said, I’ve had a hard time sometimes fitting it into my busy life, and that makes me sad.  I look on Pinterest and compare my blog and my home to the perfect snapshots of other people’s lives on social media. I think, “Why am I doing this? It’ll never look as good.” Or worse, I think, “I don’t want friends to come into my house because it’s not perfect.” I’m jealous of adventures other go on because I don’t have the time or funds to go globe-trotting. I go out shopping and grab whatever fits and I like in the moment, or because it’s on sale, and it sits unworn in my closet. Or I wear the same outfit with it every time because only a few things match. I stress and obsess about being sure everything is done; everything is perfect. That I am perfect. Food and I have the worst relationship, and every time I eat something that isn’t a salad, I feel it’s the worst failure or a justifiable reward for something that’s happened. I have a hard time letting go of anger.

All of these things are the reason that little “Intentional Living” button appeared. I’ve never been one for New Year Resolutions. See above. I don’t do failure well, and whoever succeeds with those?

However, in January I started to think about my life. I know I mentioned it a bit in posts about the wedding, but last year was rough. There were some wonderful spots! The wedding, our honeymoon, time with friends, but I spent a lot of time trying desperately to claw my way out of the depressed, anxious place I was in. I took on too many large projects I truly couldn’t handle. There were health issues in the family. We bought a new house, work stress – then I was promoted to a new team that met me with a lot of resistance, the wedding, not being able to work on our house because I was working on the wedding. It was all just too much, and I couldn’t handle it. I gained 20 pounds and had to buy a new wedding dress. For three months, my anxiety level was so high that I had chest pain and sometimes heart palpitations. (Yupp, that’s a thing.)

I could never do a minimalistic life, but I can live an Intentional Life. This is what I’m working towards and it’s hard. It’s very hard. If I’m upset, emotions are emotions. What I can do is intentionally make an effort to not to let that impact those around me. I can choose to flip the situation and intentionally find something good in it. I can intentionally plan my wardrobe and purchases so they make a cohesive look, and I have the money to pay for better quality items that will last and serve me. I can intentionally schedule my day so I have time to work on the projects that I love.

Live Intentionally Moonshine In A Teacup

This blog and sharing with you guys is one of the things I love. Thank you for listening and sharing in this adventure with me. I hope you enjoy the new topics and posts coming, and I promise to be more open with you.

Let me know what questions you have or topics you want to hear about. Ask me anything, I’ll answer.

Feel Small When You Stand Beside the Ocean

“With age comes wisdom and with innocence youth, so listen, my friend, to the cautions of the young and the wise.”

If you hear the same advice from more than one older person or from the mouth of a child, it may just be something you should listen to.

I recall when I had just started to stretch my ears, and my parents hadn’t noticed yet (Sorry, Mama!), a girl at camp, who was maybe 15, had stretched hers out so large that only surgery could reverse it; she said that she regretted her decision. I thought about that, getting life lessons from a child, and immediately took out my gauges.

There was an older lady at the nail salon the other day who was sharing stories about her life as a young adult in Paris, and she said to me, “That’s one of the best and worst things about getting old; you look back at the things you could’ve done but didn’t and think, “Man – I could have done some stuff, and the reasons I didn’t weren’t good enough to not have done them.”

As I was driving to work last Friday, I heard women on a morning talk show talking about how stressful it is to purchase a swimsuit. I recall my first bikini, and the sheer panic and up-talking it took for me to step out in it. I had spent years of sweltering summers in jeans because I hated the scars on my legs and my stretch marks.

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Me at age 18, in my first bikini at 176 lbs

The expectation of perfection is everywhere. We are constantly bombarded by imagery of what we should be. The sizes of our jeans are tiny and fluctuate from designer to designer. It’s difficult to find a two-piece above a size medium. Regardless of size, we’re subjected to judgement. We are either too skinny or too fat. In a room full of women, we are constantly discussing, analyzing, and apologizing. I don’t recall the last time I wasn’t on a diet; the last time I ate a giant cheeseburger without feeling guilty or apologizing; the last time I didn’t barter with myself for a cookie, or the last time I wasn’t hyper aware of exactly how many calories were in my meal.

I’ve been 180 lbs. and 150 lbs. I’ve been called hefty and athletic. I’ve baked cakes and pies and worked out at the gym 5 days a week. I’ve taken diet pills and starved myself. I’ve eaten low carb, counted calories, used artificial sweeteners, done cardio and lifted weights, and I’ve seen countless other women in my life do the same.

To quote the song, “Time takes its toll on a body; makes a young girl’s brown hair turn grey.” My skin will wrinkle and my hair will grey, and my body will change – it’s supposed to. We trade in youth for experience and years of life. That is exactly how it should be. We’ve forgotten how to celebrate age, and we idolize youth and perfection.

This is our struggle, a society of judgement.

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When packing for the beach this year, I needed a new swimsuit. I’d gained a bit of weight back, and my instinct was to grab my one-piece and shield myself from being the girl who should’ve known better on the beach – and then I rejected that thought. I’ve struggled with body image; some days I’m content and some days I’m embarrassed, but the fact is I work out several times a week. I eat more vegetables, whole grains, and balanced meals than I ever have, and I have nothing to be ashamed of. I may not be a Victoria’s Secret model, but I am in the best shape of my life.

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I try to dress professionally at work and pretty modestly at home. I keep my hemlines reasonable and my tops decently cut. There’s a quote attributed to several famous women which says, “A dress should be tight enough to show that you’re a woman but loose enough to show that you’re a lady,” which I tend to follow. Sometimes though, I just want to cut loose and wear whatever ridiculous trends are happening in the world. I figured, I’m on vacation, why not? I grabbed a crop top, high waisted shorts, and a bikini and said, “My body is acceptable just as it is” and headed off to the beach.

You know what? I wasn’t the thinnest or thickest girl there, and I had a blast.

We all need to tune in to the positive and accept what we are at the moment. Society judges us; we don’t need to also judge ourselves.

 

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Presidential Election

“Whose garden was this, did it have flowers? I’ve seen pictures of flowers, and I’d love to have smelled one.”

That is a lyric from Tom Paxton’s “Whose Garden Was This.” I feel his sentiment about the general destruction and ill care of nature, but also in a broader sense.

I listen to NPR in my car on the commute to work, and lately the airwaves are focused on one thing: the Presidential election.

While listening to the speakers, a comment caught my ear and has stuck with me. “This race will be toxic.” The nominees are vicious, hurling rude insults, and the result will be that many Americans will simply throw up their hands in disgust and not vote.

A toxic race. I’ve lived through toxic relationships, and I know the havoc they can wreak. They undermine confidence and cripple. They result in anxiety and fatigue; they belittle, intimidate and confine. If we found out that our child was in a relationship with someone who behaved in this way, we would be outraged; we would want to shield and protect them.  We wouldn’t want this for our daughters, and we shouldn’t want this for our country.

Our nation’s leader is to do just that – lead. He or she is the figure head of our country, the Commander- in-Chief, our guide as we navigate this increasingly complicated and frightening world. The President is responsible for the protection of our people, to mind our best interests, promote equality, and increase our prosperity. Should not our leaders also lead by example?

I understand human nature; I work in customer service. I have been on the receiving end of threats, cursing, blustering, anger, frustration, and tantrums. At the end of each of these experiences, I shake my head and say the same thing, “In what world do people believe that this is acceptable behavior?”

If I would have ever reacted in this manner with my mother in ear shot not only would she have washed my mouth out with soap, she would make me call back and apologize. I’ve received the above treatment in one conversation from a grandmother, her daughter, and her granddaughter – in that case I know where the behavior was learned.

It seems that all I see and hear these days is vulgarity, hate, and filth. We allow and promote this behavior for a cheap thrill and a tabloid sale.

People are saying that some voters are disgusted by their options. If this is our accepted environment, what else could we expect when it comes time to look for a new leader?

A toxic race?  Toxicity doesn’t fade once you slap a label on it; you need a hazmat suit and special care instructions. We’re courting our candidates and from where I’m sitting 4 toxic years is a long-term relationship with a political situation that I’m not willing to commit to just yet.