Sunday, January 15, 2017


"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style."
-- Maya Angelou

“I always thought that the “thriving” would come when everything was perfect, and what I learned is that it’s actually down in the mess that things get good.”
-- Joanna Gaines

I'm consciously not trying to add anything to my plate this year. I feel like I'm in a good spot, a really good spot. My goal is to dig in and thrive. Thrive at home, thrive at work, thrive as Alex. Thriving right where I am, right now.

In working through my PowerSheets, I uncovered 7 goals for the year. For the sake of accountability, I wanted to share them. In no particular order, here we go:

Why: After finding our new home last year, it's really been at the forefront of my thoughts that this is where Declan will grow up. It's so important to me that this house be full of love, family, and friends. Full of life. A safe place for all of us to put down roots and spread our wings. 

Starting Steps: De-cluttering! I love to hush the house after the holidays. For January, I want to get at least three bags full for donation or trash. Simplify, simplify, simplify! While I don't think I'll ever be a minimalist, I can definitely appreciate paring down and focusing only on what matters and brings us joy.

Why: After being pregnant and having a baby, my body went through quite the transformation. My stomach stretched, my boobs sold themselves to my pump, my hair fell out, and 5 (or less!) hours of sleep became standard. All totally normal but hard to transition to after I had gotten into a good rhythm with my health. When I had Declan, I gave myself a year of grace to not worry about getting my body back. Because let's be serious, that's never going to happen. I have a completely new body, one that made a baby, and evicted him after a grueling 30 hour labor. I'm continuing my quest to give myself grace to respect that a miracle happened here and to honor that. So, this is less about getting back to the old me, and instead being the best me that I can and honoring my body.

This goal originally was START WEIGHT TRAINING but I realized that it's more than that. So I'm changing it, two weeks into the new year. And I love that I'm okay with that. Honoring my body means taking care of it with good food and exercise, as well as checking in on my mental health throughout the year, especially during stressful times.

Starting Steps: I launched into a January Whole30. I'm on day 8 since I waited until after our company party to start. I'm also going to one group exercise class each week. I'm also planning to start lifting weights at home once a week. Little by little it all adds up!

Why: This is something I've been wanting to do for the last couple years, but never had the space to do it. But now we do, and so my big project of the year is going to be grow a garden. My grandparents had a large garden at the lake and I loved going out there to pick our salad for supper. Growing our own garden gets us outside after work, an activity to do with my boys, and incentive to keep eating healthy. Win win. Plus, growing something and digging in the dirt is just so therapeutic. It will be good for my soul.

Starting Steps: Right now we're in planning mode! At the end of the summer we picked out a spot and need to just finalize the size and shape. I've ordered a few seed catalogs to get inspiration. The first one arrived this week!

Why: Why not?! Seriously though, I love that man more than ever. Finding alone time, however can be a bit tricky with a new babe. We are committed to building a strong marriage and partnership, so we are committing to go on a monthly date without Declan. But since we love that boy, we're also want to make family adventures a priority with at least one adventure a month.

Starting Steps: Scheduling a date for this month. We love trying new restaurants and have a few on our list to get to. But since variety is the spice of life, I'm always looking for fun date ideas!

Why: These things give me joy and moments to pause and reflect.

Starting Steps: Turn on my Kindle. I have loads of good books on my reading list so I just got to find time. One way I'm doing this is having a social media free weekend. Instead of scrolling Instagram, I'm reading. I've already finished one book and am on to the second!

Why: More than ever, we need to empower women and girls. The Center for Girls' Leadership does just that and I couldn't be more proud of all that we've accomplished over the last five years. But now is the time to amplify our efforts. We can't give up now.

Starting Steps: Our third annual Girls In STEM event is in February (tell a friend!) and we're working on a new curriculum to launch our mentoring program late this year. If you felt that 2016 ended with a kick in the pants to take action, there are plenty of ways to get involved.

Why: Because I believe. I believe in good people. I believe in doing the right thing. I believe in giving back. I believe in my faith.

Starting Steps: I'm praying daily. And reading something from the She Reads Truth app each week to keep me focused on my faith.

Are you still reading?! So there are my current goals for the year. All focused on thriving in the present. I'll do a refresh in a couple months and will keep you posted on any progress. 

Now, I'd love to hear from you. What are your goals for the year? How can I encourage you in cultivating what matters? Remember, progress not perfection!


P.S. Any fun date ideas for us?

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Hello 2017!

Hello 2017! And a big hello to all of you! I hope you all had a fabulous holiday season! Thanksgiving to New Year's is my favorite stretch of the year and I just feel so lucky this year to share so many moments with the ones we love. It was the perfect way to end our incredible 2016.

A new year always brings new possibilities. Last year, I was about 7-months pregnant with Declan at this time so I consciously didn't make any new year's resolution other than to be courageous for what was to come. I gave myself a year of grace as I discovered how to be a mama. Grace in trying to do too much. Grace in learning to love my new body. Grace in working through a new relationship dynamic as parents with K. Grace in leaning back into my professional life when my maternity leave ended.

I can't say I succeeded in all these areas. It definitely a year of stretching and growing for me. And a year of absolute pure joy.

This year, I'm focusing on cultivating what matters most. I'm using PowerSheets to uncover my goals this year and I can say, I'm LOVING the process. The PowerSheets are all sold out this year but you can still follow the goal-setting process here.

One of my goals is to write more. I feel like I say this all the time but this year, I'm going to really try and have at least one new post each week. My posts range from recipes, home improvement, musings on motherhood, and of course, reading recommendations. A little of this. A little of that. All things I love. But if there is something you'd like to see here, let me know in the comments below.

I'll share the rest of my goals here soon. I'm really excited about them this year!

A couple fun things - I'm giving this space a little refresh. Every couple years, I'm looking for a new look. So here we are, a lot simpler and cleaner look.

There's also a new tab up above - recommendations. In this spot, you'll have links to our favorite books and my current reading list and essential products I love. I also removed the ads from the sidebar. I want to make sure if there is an affiliate link on the blog, it's something I am confident in recommending. So if you are looking for a good book to read or some of Declan's favorites, check it out!

So, I'll leave you with some words I've been soaking up:

Here's to listening
to ourselves
To compassion, kindness, and 
To being present to the parts 
of ourselves that are asking 
for the attention they need in
order to heal
And to feeding the pain 
with what it is that already 
resides in each one of us:
Courage + Bravery.
To leaning in and to sharing it.
Over and over again.
And to come out softer the
other side.

-Vienna Pharaon

Happy New Year!

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