1.17.2018

Five Ways to Make 2018 Your Best Year Yet!


The start of a new year is a great time to reflect and also to think about ways you can change and grow. You can focus on improving your life in general by making big plans and goals but the best way to reach those dreams is by making the most out of each and every day along the way. Here are five awesome and easy ways you can make 2018 your best year yet!


Go outside more often! It seems like something super simple and easily taken for granted but you'd be surprised how much your mood can improve just by finding a bit of time each day to go outside and breathe some fresh air. Even if the sky is full of clouds and the flowers have all wilted, some outside time can brighten your whole day and add a little pep to your step in no time at all. So park in the last row of the parking lot and enjoy your stroll to the grocery store instead of stressing and trying to find the closest spot possible. Grab an umbrella and dance in the rain. Take a walk around your neighborhood and try to find a new local coffee shop.


About a year and a half ago, I stumbled across Allie Casazza and jumpstarted the process of decluttering our apartment and I was forever changed. I no longer roam the aisles at Target [well, I do, but I don't end up buying much at all] looking for all kinds of randomness. I am happy to donate some of our things to free up space in our home and to also free up space in our minds and schedules. The less we have to take care of and clean up after, the more valuable and free our lives will feel. It's priceless. 


Being a stay at home mom seems like the kind of occupation that would enable a person to have a lot of "me time" they could spend pampering themselves or learning something new but let me tell you, it's tough to carve out some time to really and truly focus on yourself. It's so easy to let your mind dwell on all of the things you "need" to do [dishes, laundry, vacuuming, etc] instead of letting yourself relax and read a book or meditate or just enjoy a TV show uninterrupted. One of my goals for this year is to find more time in my day to do something I really enjoy so I'm going to find 30 minutes a day to read - even if it means the dishes wait a little longer to be washed or the laundry doesn't get folded immediately. My goal is to read 40 books this year and I'm already on book number five. Not a bad start!


Oh, sleep... I love you so! And you're so hard to catch and hold on to. Finding a way to sneak some more sleep into your routine is so important to feel refreshed and your best. Try going to sleep 15 minutes earlier than normal each night until you wake up feeling wonderful and then keep that same sleep schedule all week. Yes - even on the weekends! I know the thought of waking up early on the weekends can feel terrible at first, but your body will soon thank you for the routine and you'll find you can be more productive when you start and end your days at the same time. Try some guided meditation at bedtime to help switch your brain into rest-mode or do some easy reading in bed to help you drift off. 


Working up a sweat each day can really help to improve your mood [especially in these long and dreary winter months] and help your health tremendously. Find something fun to do so you look forward to your daily sweat sessions. We love to go rollerskating at our local roller rinks so we can listen to our favorite songs while we roll around and around. Riding a bike is also an awesome and fun way to get some exercise, too, as long as your weather isn't too full of rain and snow. Even a fun dance party in your living room is a perfect way to raise your heart rate and have a blast doing it. 

There are so many great and easy ways to improve your health this year. This infographic from Hims is full of awesome suggestions and information for both men and women. 
Make sure that you're taking care of yourself - you are your own best advocate so make yourself a priority and make 2018 your very best year yet! 

love & cupcakes,
elissa





1.08.2018

back to the grind!



Scarlett is back at school today and it feels almost weird to be home by myself, enjoying the quiet. Scarlett was so super happy to see all of her friends at school again this morning. She hopped out of the car so fast at drop-off and didn't even look back. She even wore a celebratory headband for the occasion. School is her happy place. 

I've spent my morning working on getting my planner all organized and figured out for 2018. I've added a habit tracker for the first time ever so we'll see how that goes. So far, there's already too many blank spots for my liking, but we'll work on filling them in as the month goes on. 

Today is a day for getting back into the swing of things. Chores, routines, errands - all the fun stuff. Happy January!

love & cupcakes, 
elissa


1.05.2018

currently...



Happy Friday! Today is the last day of Scarlett's winter break from school and I'm kind of sad to see it end - although I'm so happy to be getting some of my daily quiet time back again! Here's what I'm up to right now. 

Watching - I haven't really been watching much during the break since some of the shows I watch [Black Mirror, American Gods, Supernatural, etc] are best watched when Scarlett is at school but I'm looking forward to catching up next week. 

Reading - I just finished Turtles All the Way Down last night and I didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped I would. I'm still working on The Language of Thorns and I'm about to begin reading The Young Elites. So many books to read! 

Eating - I made steak pinwheels stuffed with garlic butter and spinach for dinner last night and while it tasted pretty good, the smoke that came out of my oven from the garlic butter was out of control! The smoke detectors started going off and I had to open up all the doors and windows to let the smoke out. So embarrassing and stressful! Maybe next time I'll just make a salad. 

Anticipating - Scarlett and I are headed to the movies this morning to see Ferdinand [we should actually be almost ready to go right now and I'm still in my pajamas - oops!] followed by some rollerskating with our friends! Such a fun way to end winter break. 

Listening To - My best friend got an Amazon Echo Dot for us for Christmas and Scarlett has been all over that thing ever since. She loves to talk to Alexa and ask her to play the same songs over and over again each day. It's cute and funny but it's starting to get a bit annoying. 

Working On - I finished getting my planner all set up and now I just need to fill everything in and get myself organized! Baby steps! I'm also still thinking of what my word for 2018 should be, as well as working on my goals list for the year. Stay tuned for those posts sometime soon. 

Loving - It's been gray and drizzly outside and I'm loving it! Perfect coffee and reading weather. 

I hope you have something fun planned for this weekend! What are you up to right now?

love & cupcakes,
elissa


1.04.2018

Declutter Like a Mother - Take 2!



So, it's been eight months since I last did the Declutter Like a Mother challenge from Allie and I'm thinking it might be a good idea to give it another shot. Since the last go, we've moved to a new area and while we still try to be purposeful in the things we buy, we still seem to have so many things! 

I'm  few days behind the start of the official challenge but I think I can catch up. I've even forwarded the link to the challenge to a few friends and family members so we can motivate and encourage each other. 

Are you doing the challenge, too? What area do you find is the hardest to purge and simplify? Mine is definitely anything Scarlett related. I can get rid of my own stuff pretty easily but as soon as it's something of hers or something she made, I'm a blubbering mess. 

I'll drop back in after a while and update you with my progress. Good luck and happy purging! 

love & cupcakes, 
elissa


only four days?!?



How is it possible that we've only been in 2018 for four days?? It feels like it's been January for an entire month already. Maybe that's just because Scarlett is still out of school for winter break and I haven't really had any alone time since the middle of December... As much as I love hanging out with her, I've really noticed that I need alone time regularly in order to function as a normal human being. I'm really excited for Monday to come and for school to be back in session. It will be so quiet around here! My happy place!

I'm still thinking about my 2018 word of the year. I thought it was "focus" but the more I think about it, the less it feels right. Scarlett chose "confidence" for her word and has already started applying it to her everyday by ordering for herself at restaurants and speaking more to cashiers instead of defaulting to me speaking for her. It's pretty adorable. 

We've been spending the end of our winter break doing fun stuff like finally seeing Coco, going rollerskating, heading to the library and finding yummy snacks. It's nice to be able to just go with the flow this week instead of being run by our crazy weekly schedule of school and activities. Next week it's back to the grind and while I'm happy to get some quiet time, I must admit that I'm going to miss having this crazy little lady around. 

love & cupcakes, 
elissa


1.01.2018

Happy 2018!




Happy Happy New Year! We made it to 2018! Woo hoo! I hope this year is your most amazing yet. 

love & cupcakes, 
elissa


12.25.2017

happy christmas!


The last two days have been a blur of torn wrapping paper, twinkling lights and grinning faces.  And it's been fantastic! 

















Happy Happy Christmas from my family to yours! 

love & cupcakes, 
elissa


12.24.2017

sister sister!



You spent the beginning of our years together working your hardest to make me insane each and every day and you've spent our adult years becoming one of my favorite people on the planet. We've had some serious tough times, times we've made each other completely out of our minds and we've had some of the best times I can remember where we've laughed so hard, we couldn't breathe. 











Happy Happy Birthday Alana! I hope this year is your absolute best yet and that each one just gets better and better. Cheers to you! You'll always be my fish and I'll always be your dude. 

love & cupcakes, 
elissa


12.23.2017

currently...



Happy Christmas Eve Eve! Tomorrow is one of my favorite days of the year - full of family, fun, presents and smiles! Here's what I'm up to right now...

Watching - I just finished watching Big Little Lies the other day and I enjoyed it, even though some of it was pretty tough to watch. I'm still catching up on Supernatural and thinking about what else I should dive in to. 

Reading - I just started The Language of Thorns and I'm still reading Athena the Proud. Hopefully next week I'll be able to find some more time for reading since Nick and Scarlett will both be home. Maybe I could even sneak out to grab a coffee and read in peace. Fingers crossed! 

Eating - I made some shrimp enchiladas the other night and I really liked them! They were pretty easy to make, too and we ended up with a ton so we have leftovers for easy lunches and dinner. I'm definitely going to make them again. 

Anticipating - Tomorrow is Christmas Eve!! How excited are you?? I'm super juiced. I'm pretty happy that we have zero plans for Christmas Day except for spending time together in our pajamas and relaxing. It's going to be awesome. 

Listening To - Right now, Christmas music is all over our apartment. Here is one playlist I've had on a pretty constant rotation...

Wishing - I wish it would snow on Christmas. Pretty much because I know we have nowhere to go that day, so I wouldn't be freaked out by a little dusting of snow on the ground and also because how magical would that be? So perfect! 

Working On - Right now I'm working on cleaning the apartment up and getting everything ready for Christmas morning so I don't have to worry about dusty cat prints on the furniture or un-vacuumed carpets distracting me while we're opening presents and checking out our stockings. 

Loving - I'm loving that I'm all ready for Christmas and not dashing around like a maniac at the last minute like I've had to do so many years before. Next year I'd like to be ready by Scarlett's birthday so I can spend almost all of December just relaxing and enjoying the holiday season with zero stress! We'll see how that goes next year, though. 

I hope you're having an amazing Christmas weekend and the best season ever! What are you up to? Baking holiday cookies? Wrapping like a madman? Still dashing out for last minute presents? 

love & cupcakes,
elissa


12.22.2017

Christmas Wishlist


Dude. Christmas Eve is Sunday!!! How in the world did that happen?? It really snuck up on me this year - but I guess that's pretty true every year, right? Have you finished all of your shopping yet or are you dreading your obligatory last minute trip to the mall? I'm an online shopping person and I absolutely wouldn't mind having to wait a few days for any of these awesome things from my online wishlist - no parking lot induced rage required! 

This slow cooker is awesome - and the fact that it's covered in Pixar characters makes it even better!


I would love to light a candle in this adorable little mug. The deer is so sweet! It would be super cute with some plants in it, too.


I so want to see this series! I even signed up for Starz with my cable company and still managed to not see a single episode yet. Definitely on my wishlist!


I want to learn how to play the piano so badly and this keyboard could totally work in our apartment. I might just have to buy this for myself after the holidays if Santa doesn't deliver one to my tree by Christmas.


After baking all of those sugar cookies for Scarlett's birthday party, I completely see the appeal of using a Silpat instead of blowing through foil and cooking spray. So much easier!


This little bird shaped watering globe is adorable, right?? And anything that helps to prevent me from killing all of my plants is a major win in my book.


Coffee, books and rain - three of my favorite things, all on a pillow. Perfection!


I adore this doll! She's amazing!!!


And this doll is just out of control awesome, right??

What is on your holiday wishlist? Anything new and amazing or are you sticking with the old tried and true classics? I'm so excited for Christmas this year! Stockings are my favorite, but honestly, watching Scarlett's face as she opens her gifts is definitely a highlight for sure. Happy Christmas!

love & cupcakes, 
elissa