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Fact: When I stood on the table to get this overhead shot of our pizza, I burnt my arm on the chandelier.  Now I have a huge, fake flame sized burn on my elbow.


Another fact:  My kid thinks nothing of the fact that I stand on the table to photograph pizza.  Hah.


How are you doing?  I’m good!  But super busy.  We are trying to pull ourselves together for a crazy two weeks.  My mom is coming to town, and after a short visit together, the Husband, Henry, and I are leaving on an epic road/air trip while mom stays behind to watch the pets and the house (she’s the best).


We’re hitting up a wedding in Pennsylvania on Saturday, and then I have Operation Beautiful speaking events in New York, Iowa, Maryland, Virginia, and Denver – five events in a week!  The Husband and Henry will be with me some of the time; we’ll be apart some days, too.  But I’m really looking forward to some quality family time, even if we are all just stuck in a car traveling from event to event!


Fuel for a busy day:


I’ve been using BLACK sea salt and – OMG – it’s so good.  Even better than pink Himalayan salt, which was my previous favorite.  If you’re still using plain old white table salt… you really must try one of the colored ones.  They are so much more flavorful.


Let’s see… What else?


I’ve been making an effort to be really good about exercise.  Exercise currently means walking, although I have squeezed in a few swims.  But Henry has been kind of boycotting the stroller (I walk so slowly that it’s super boring for him, I think), so I’ve been limited to late-night strolls… or 1-mile toddler torture sessions.  Hah.

photo 1

I read that Little One gained a 0.5 pound in the last week.  Crazy.  No wonder I’m so tired!

photo 2

Other things…


I picked up two fun products on my Celestial Seasonings trip.  I’ve been doing tea + face mask + night cream every evening for a week or so now – it’s so relaxing.  Especially when paired with chocolate.  Hah.  I have mixed feelings about a lot of beauty products, but I’m all for pampering and relaxation at this stage in the game.


This Deep Sea Facial Mask is super creamy and gentle.  It contains kaolin clay, which is supposed to stimulate cell regeneration (I’m always dubious of these claims, but I guess my skin looks nicer than usual…).  No animal testing or artificial colors, no parabens, and no SLS.  And a few organic ingredients!  It does say “hypoallergenic,” but it contains a perfume (?).


I really like this Ultimate Night Cream.  The lavender is super soothing, and it leaves my skin feeling really moisturized without being greasy.  I typically use coconut oil to moisture my skin, so that’s a nice change!   It’s organic, too!


Thought of the Day:



First things first:  snack of the day.


Brown rice cakes and hummus.  Oh man.  So good.


So while I’m munching on that, I thought it was definitely time to give you all an update on my Put Down the Phone Challenge.  Back in August, I wrote about my desire to check my phone less often and included some tips on how I’d actually make that a reality.


Well, I can’t say that I’m ready to downgrade to a ‘dumb phone,’ but my efforts have made a big difference.  At first, I removed major social media apps from my phone (namely Twitter and Facebook), but over time, I reinstalled Facebook because I use it throughout the week to make meet-up plans with friends. I kept Twitter off and didn’t reinstall my list of favorite websites.  Those actions alone greatly reduced my screen time.


Changing my password every now and then also made a big difference. I theorized that a new password would make me think “Do I REALLY need to check my phone?” and it definitely worked. 


Another key was wearing a watch.  I’ve read some estimates that out of the 150 times a day the average person checks their smartphone (!!!), about 15 of those instances is to know the time… and then we fall into a wormhole of Facebook and emails.


I’ve gotten pretty consistent about watch-wearing!


I also got a clock for beside my bed – I was checking my phone in the middle of the night for the time.  At a minimum, the harsh light of the screen would wake me up further; worst case, I’d see a text from someone and start chatting!  Now I have one of those ‘old school’ alarms with red digital numbers – it’s much less startling to wake up and check the time on that.


But probably the thing that made the biggest difference was just acknowledging that I had fallen into a bad habit and wanted to change things. 


I don’t want to be constantly attached to my phone.  There are some times that I really like browsing it, but I don’t want to be picking it up just because I’m just bored, ya know?  Making little tweaks to my behavior – like leaving the phone upstairs through most of the day – really helped me interrupt my habits and change my actions for the better.


On a related note… this year, I also switched to a paper planner!


I got an Erin Condren Life Planner and switched over from my Google Calendar system to a paper-based system.  And I have to say – I love it!   There were some hiccups as I adjusted – I missed a few calls and appointments – but after a few weeks, I figured out a new way of planning my life.


I really, really love the Erin Condren planner, mostly because of the cute and durable cover.  It’s so nice to have family pictures on the front.  I still love many of the aspects of the planner’s format (here’s a complete breakdown of the planner), although I don’t really utilize all the sections as I thought I would.  I mostly rely on the overall calendar and the weekly calendars to plan my days. 


And I went back to just making To Do lists on scraps of paper instead of in my calendar because it got too messy and complicated to put everything in there.  I could probably force myself to write neater (my friend Brandi has the same planner and she is so neat in hers!), but scraps of paper work well for me on the day-to-day thing.


The planner is also SUPER durable.  It has held up really well over the year.  I mostly keep it on my desk, but I do toss it in my purse or suitcase and there are zero tears.


I still use Google Calendar to keep addresses and travel info (so I can easily access it on my phone when out and about), and I use Google Drive to manage my editorial calendars for the blogs and my freelance jobs, but otherwise – it’s paper all the way!


I am thinking about ordering my 2015 planner because I’m starting to have appointments and plans for January (I can hardly believe it).  But I’m not 100% sold on getting another Erin Condren planner – I love it, but like I said, I don’t utilize all its options and maybe there is a better fit for me out there.  Any planner suggestions?


Are you a electronic calendar or a paper calendar kind of person?