Spring Cleaning Tips!

Monday, February 27, 2017

It's Spring cleaning time!  I usually get the itch to tidy right after the Christmas decorations get put away, so I've been picking away at getting my house in order, including the spots that don't normally get cleaned.  (Baseboards, I'm talking to you.)

Here are a few tips from one practical-mom to another:

1) Make a List: Take a little time to write out a grand list of all the big to small things you need to do.  Things on our list this year included different spots that needed organization and deep cleaning, and some big things like replacing our doorknobs so the doors finally close, as well as going through all of Brad's boxes filled with his childhood that need scrapbooking.

2) Invite People Over: We all know that if you have guests coming over, then you're more likely to clean, and clean quickly.  But if you know in even more advance that someone special will be paying a visit, then you'll also have time to chip away at those deep cleaning/organization tasks.  We did this recently!  My folks stayed with us to watch our kids so Brad and I could go on a get-away.  That gave us some great incentive to crossing off the bigger items on our list (like those doorknobs!).  But I'm also having a girls night + fundraiser at my home soon (you can see more about that here!), and it's giving me a concrete deadline to finish some bigger items on my list (such as finishing reupholstering my settee and touching up the paint on my crown molding).

3) Eat An Elephant: I'm sure you've heard that story before about eating an elephant, right?  One bite at a time.  Your grand list is sure to be long and overwhelming.  I like to realllllly break things up, and make smaller goals of things I want to do each week.  Spring cleaning might take months, and that's OK!  Sometimes that means seen just one goal for the week.  For example, in January, I wanted to reorganize my kids' toys (and give away half of them), their closet, and, well, the rest of the house, actually.  So one week, I worked on going through the toys; the next, the closet; after that, the credenza, etc.  It's almost March, and I've reorganized and deep cleaned all the cupboards and closets in our home.

Oh, and in case that depresses you--our home is 1,200 square feet.  I can promise you that if we had a larger home, I'm sure I'd illicit some house cleaners to help with the deep cleaning tasks once or twice a year.

What tips do you have for spring cleaning?

Other moms are sharing some tips, which you can see below.  If you'd like to participate in Mommy Style Mondays, you can sign up on Kiana and Madeline's blogs.

Kiana at Glitter & Donuts // Madeline at CaseyLand
Rachel at Tutus and Heels // Britt at My Little Sunshine
Cayli at Nightchayde

Kaycee Sogard || Deliberately Living a Life of Joy

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

"I love to be enjoying any situation that I'm in.  Obviously that's not always easy . . . but I think if you're having fun in what you're doing, it's way better than being miserable."

Kaycee Sogard is so refreshing.  Yes, she's a beloved blogger and Instagrammer; but in SO many ways, Kaycee breaks the mold.  For one, she is frank, silly, and genuine.  For another, she is very grounded in what matters most to her, and she holds strong to her own priorities and refuses to give in to the pressures of keeping up with the Instagram Joneses.

Kaycee's ability to rise above came in large part to her lifelong passion with softball.  Not only did sports instill an incredible amount of work ethic and other valuable life skills, but Kaycee faced some difficult choices early on in her collegiate career where she was surrounded by incredible pressure.  Her decision to push back and do what was right for her enabled her to grow more fully into who she wanted to become, and also centered her when she could have easily succumbed to a lot of disappointment.

In this podcast, Kaycee talks about all of that, plus her purposes behind her blog and Instagram, her experiences with anxiety, how she's faced postpartum depression, how she's both "OCD" and "super laid back," her next exciting project, and her hilarious response on what goal-making looks like for her and what she's terrified of.

You can listen to the podcast episode below, or on iTunes, SoundCloudStitcherPocketcastsGoogleplay, or search for "About Progress" on your favorite podcast app.  If you like the show, please subscribe!!

Show Notes:
Kaycee's blog, Instagram, and Facebook
Monica's InstagramFacebook, and Contact page
More on "Do Something" here and here (includes a short podcast episode that explains the series)
More episodes from the podcast, including Heather Fujikawa's interview
Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife's special deal on her courses is still going on! (And her interview)
Song Credit: "Sweet Promise" by Nicolai Heidlas

As Requested! (Transcript for Dr. Finlayson-Fife's Interview)

Friday, February 17, 2017

So many of you who listened to this interview with Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife requested a transcript.  Well, we've got now for you now!

Here it is.

And if you loved that interview, I believe her courses are still at a discounted Valentine's day rate here.  I've taken a few of them.  They are worth every. penny.  I can't recommend them enough!

Katharine Arnold Luce || Confronting External Pressures

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

"Don't waste time feeling inadequate . . . "

Katharine and I have been friends for 18 years.  (Side note: Whoa.  What scares me most about that fact is that we were 12 years old when we first chatted in band class.  I swear I was just 12!)

After high school, Katharine left our small town of Farmington, UT and headed to the east coast to study music, theology, and art history.  She attended a small private liberal arts college in Boston followed by Yale Divinity School.

Yes, that Yale.

Obviously, Katharine is a real smarty.  But even she dealt with "imposter syndrome" in these high stress, achievement-oriented environments.  For one, Katharine was not tailored for ivy league schools since birth like so many of her colleagues.  Also, on top of struggling like she didn't measure up to both her external and internal standards, Katharine faced huge obstacles within her family, including a major spinal cord injury of her only sibling.

Despite that, Katharine chose to shift her perspective on these really difficult times, and instead embraced them as something that would make her more resilient BECAUSE of what she was facing. Katharine found her own way! Now, she is in a career that melds all her interests together in a beautiful whole, one that is "Katharine" instead of what her external pressures told her she "should" be doing.

Oh, and you won't want to miss what Katharine shares about how perfectionism for her is interwoven with her people-pleasing nature, as well her antidote to combat it.  (I love what she said SO, SO much about that! You classic "underachievers" or "procrastinators" will especially benefit.)

You can listen to this podcast episode below, on iTunes, SoundCloudStitcher, Pocketcasts, Googleplay, or search for "About Progress" on your favorite podcast app.  If you like the show, please subscribe!!

Show Notes
Katharine's Instagram
Photographer for Katharine's photo: Jess Smolinski, Yale University Art Gallery
Painting in Katharine's photo: Fortissimo, Hans Hofmann
Monica's InstagramFacebook, and Contact page
More on "Do Something" here and here (includes a short podcast episode that explains the series)
More episodes from the podcast, including Amber's interview
Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife's special deal on her courses is still going on!
Song Credit: "Sweet Promise" by Nicolai Heidlas

How We Stay Connected

Monday, February 13, 2017

In honor of Valentine's Day tomorrow, I'm sharing a few ways my husband and I stay connected.

We've been married a little over nine years.  I say that not to declare how awesome we are; I say that because we are still very much newbies at this.

Our three children bring us SO much joy.  They also bring an incredible amount of work and stress.  Brad and I were lucky to be best friends before we got married, and that friendship has sustained us through these very busy years.  But we were drifting towards feeling like roommates instead of "man and wife."  So, this past year, we've stepped up our game in trying to purposefully nourish our marriage.  And that means taking some time away from the kids on a regular basis.  (We're leaving on a five day trip sans kids soon, and I'm so excited and so nervous!)

Here's our top-five favorite ways to connect:

1) REGULAR DATE NIGHTS: We secured an every-other-week babysitter and it's life-changing.  To have that set has helped us immensely.  We've also been taking turns planning, and although our dates tend to be simple, it's nice to know the other person has it covered.  Money spent on a babysitter and date is a lot cheaper than money spent on therapy.

2) MOVIES: Brad and I both love movies--but for the longest time, we never actually went to see them. (#toocheap) We've been starting to pick up our movie attendance and it's crazy how much fun that is for us.  We always smuggle in some treats and get to sit and chat beforehand, and it lends us days of something to talk about afterward too.

3) CHILLING and TALKING: After the kids go down for bed, instead of chilling on opposite sides of the room doing our own things, we try to at least sit on the couch together.  We usually end up chatting a bunch there, but we also try to actually talk to each other over our children's requests.

4) AT-HOME DATES: When we can't get a sitter, we LOVE watching something at home together.  We're pretty simple!  Some episodes from the Office or Scrubs, some ice cream, and Brad sitting on my always-cold feet and we're happy!

5) CUDDLE: Nothing is better than ending my day by setting my head on the crook of Brad's muscly arm.  It's just the nicest pillow!  And while we're not super affectionate in public, at home we like to be by each other and holding hands/cuddling.

Pssst, want another V-Day post that's a little different?  Check out mine from last year, where I wrote a letter to the boy who broke my heart!

What do you do to connect with your spouse?

Some other ladies are sharing on a similar topic today!  Feel free to check them out and if you'd like to participate in a similar series, make sure to sign up on Kiana or Madeline's blogs.


Kiana at Glitter & Donuts // Madeline at CaseyLand

Chandler at Life as a Larsen // Rachel at Tutus and Heels
Kahana at A Beautiful Life // Andrea at Snow by Heart
Erica at Good Job Momma // Cayli at Nightchayde

Design: Eclectic Fun Living Room

Thursday, February 9, 2017

My friend Baley is an incredible photographer.  She also has a bright, cheery, fun style that absolutely matches her personality!  But she was running into some trouble with her living room.

She already had a gray couch that she needed to use, a hutch, and a mirror.  But other than that, she had an almost empty space that left her scratching her head.   

Oh, and this happens to be the first room you see as you enter their home.

As such, it's not a room where the TV would be, it needed to be welcoming and pretty, but it also needed to be functional too--a place for reading, playing games, and hanging out with family (including their 2 year old!) and friends.

So, I did what I do--talked Baley's brains out and then came up with a plan for her.  

Baley wanted COLOR, but enough classic furniture pieces to keep things tied together.  She was in love with a dalmatian-printed chair, too, and just needed some assistance on blending the room together so it wouldn't be so disjointed.

We decided on a color scheme of grays, deep blues, and touches of pinks and yellows. I created a few design boards for her, incorporating the things she already had in her room (note the real-life pictures included in the boards).  I normally do just one board for a client, but the biggest thing that hinged this room seemed to come down to the rug.  We wanted the rug to be a bit more classic so it could transition to multiple styles that might come into play in their future; we wanted it to be fairly neutral (blues can be neutral!) but also have some fun elements to it; and we wanted it to help tie the room together.

So, no pressure.

I gave Baley these four options for rugs.  Which one would you choose if you had been in her shoes?

Option #1
Option #2

Option #3

Option #4
Baley is well on her way to getting this room together--they bought the settee, the dalmatian-print chair, and her husband made a bench.  The rug she chose ended up getting sold out, so we're back to square one with that.  Maybe it's time to reconsider our original options!

Once the room is completed, I'll give you some solid before and after photos!

If you're interested in my design services, please contact me!  I'm still offering a discounted rate.

Amber Brueseke || Pushing for Growth (Biceps After Babies)

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

“I don’t think that we should be stagnant and not ever want to change ourselves.  It doesn’t have to do with not loving ourselves, it has to do with just wanting to be better.”

Amber Brueseke's arms speak for themselves, but just a quick glance of her Instagram page--Biceps After Babies--will tell you that this woman knows what she's talking about.

Amber is all about goals and helping others achieve theirs.  But that doesn't mean that she shies away from failure.  In fact, Amber recognizes failure as essential to really learning what life has to offer.

Listen in to hear how Amber got into fitness and what inspired her fitness account, what she hopes people gain from following her, her views on goal-making, how she can be passionate without being obsessive, and what big lessons she gleaned after a near-drowning of one of her children.

You can listen to this podcast episode below, on iTunes, SoundCloudStitcher, Pocketcasts, Googleplay, or search for "About Progress" on your favorite podcast app.  If you like the show, please subscribe!!

Show Notes:
Amber's Instagram
Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife's interview and COURSES
Monica's Instagram, Facebook, and Contact page
More on "Do Something" here and here (includes a short podcast episode that explains the series)
More episodes from the podcast
Song Credit: "Sweet Promise" by Nicolai Heidlas

Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife || A Psychotherapist's Take On Perfectionism

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Many of you will know today's guest--Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife--as "the Mormon sex therapist."

Yes, she is indeed an incredible therapist who deals primarily with relational and sexual issues.  But, as Jennifer says, her therapy focuses mostly on "just being human, and the challenges related to being human."  

Turns out, one of the largest developmental hurdles her clients often face is perfectionism.  

Jennifer unveils what is really going on behind perfectionism, how it's an immature behavior common to the human condition, beginning with a lack of development.  She talks about the flawed thinking behind perfectionism, what perfectionists are seeking, as well as the damaging effects of perfectionism on people's lives and their relationships.  

Many listeners will be shocked to see a lot of what Jennifer talks about in themselves, including those who would label themselves as "underachievers."

But there is hope!  Jennifer also shares what someone can do to combat this flawed thinking and behavior in their own life, and how they can develop a better capacity to refine who they are with integrity and grow more fully into the person they'd like to become.  

More on Jennifer:
Jennifer Finlayson-Fife grew up in Burlington, Vermont as one of eight children.  She studied Psychology and Women's Studies at Brigham Young University, and went on to receive her Masters and PhD in Counseling Psychology from Boston College.  She has a private practice  in Chicago, IL where she works primarily with LDS couples on relational and sexual issues. She is a frequent guest on LDS-themed podcasts, and has written articles for LDS-themed magazines and blogs on the subjects of sexuality and modesty as well as mental health and faith.  She is married to John Finlayson-Fife and has three wonderful children. 

POST EDIT: After many requests, there is now a transcript of this interview.  You can read it here.  If you loved this podcast episode, then you'll enjoy another interview on "goodness" recently aired with Jennifer.  See it here.

You can listen to this podcast episode below, on iTunes, SoundCloudStitcher, Pocketcasts, Googleplay, or search for "About Progress" on your favorite podcast app.  If you like the show, please subscribe!!

Show Notes
Jennifer's website, Facebook, and COURSES 
Monica's Instagram, Facebook, and more podcast episodes
More on "Do Something" here and here (includes a podcast episode that explains this series)
IRONMAN podcast episode, referenced in the show
Song Credit: "Sweet Promise" by Nicolai Heidlas
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