A Little Life Chat

The second half of June has historically been a time of reflection for me. It is the halfway point of the year and a good time to sort of do a little check in and evaluate. So that’s what we are doing today. It’s a bit early, but I felt like it was just…right. That and I don’t have my next Castle’s post fully ready to post ha-ha.

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So, 2020. What a year so far, right?! We’ve faced a global pandemic and a global uprising/protest. We’ve seen communities, families, strangers all come together to accomplish some incredible things. I’ve learned some things about myself, about those that I am close to, and how to get uncomfortable. 2020 is going to be a year for the history books and I think we are going to see some real changes moving forward in regard to both the pandemic and the uprising. We aren’t going to go back to “normal” because that wasn’t working, but I do think the changes that we are starting to see, and initiate will lead to a better world. I don’t want to call anything a “new normal” because “normal” in any sense just doesn’t work for us anymore. It makes it sound like we are just striving to the average way of life, instead of always striving to do better, be better, make better changes.

For us as a family 2020 has been full of changes so far as well. We’ve seen our oldest go into his first session of preschool, to then do virtual schooling, our youngest has grown quite the little personality, and both have narrowed down their current interests quite a bit (dinosaurs, cars, Lego’s, and trains are the top). We’ve gone through a couple of work separations, work changes, and some disappointing news that I’m not sharing just yet ( I KNOW how annoying that is, but it’ll come).

It’s also ONLY June. We still have a full half a year to go in 2020.

Something else I kind of wanted to do was do a little check in on some of my resolutions that I shared. I want to see where I stand with them, while understanding that a lot of things have drastically changed from when I wrote those in late December.

So, my New Year’s Resolutions post can be found HERE

My first goal was to spend the first half of the year focusing on my website and SEO. I’ve been doing quite a bit of learning in this area, but haven’t yet gotten on Pinterest. When quarantine hit I thought it was going to be a great chance to really focus and hone in as, well…we couldn’t do anything else. But, as I quickly learned it was the complete opposite of that and trying to make drastic changes was not in my wheelhouse. I plan to refocus this goal to the second half of the year and have a good Pinterest thing going in the next 3 months or so.

My second overarching goal applied to the second half of this year (in regards to writing and publishing), so I still have time on that one!

My next group of goals was in regards to content. I wanted to make sure that what I was posting was what I felt 100% about and not to feel pressured to constantly be posting. I think that I’ve actually been really good at this, partly because of Covid-19, but also just because I’ve tried to be very intentional about posting. I love sharing and writing, but I also want to continue to enjoy that. I took a bit of time in February off, there were a couple weeks in March (or maybe April) where I only posted once a week, and that all just felt good. It keeps me feeling fresh and allows me a breather to re invigorate myself and my content.

The next group was in regards to reading, family time with my boys, travel, and quality time. I was doing better about reading a wider variety of books, but I’ve recently (like many others) been reminded that I can continue to do better in this area. I am pledging to myself to not only read a wider variety of genre’s and stories, but read a wider variety of authors. As for the family time with the boys, well we’ve been really forced into that, haven’t we? I will say in so many ways this has been so good for our family. We’ve really just gotten a chance to be together without the whole outside world distracting us. It’s been nice for the boys to have mommy and daddy home all the time, but it’s made our recent work separation all that much harder.

We all know what is going on with travel and the lack of it due to Covid-19. However, we recently just were informed that our restriction for travel within the country of Germany has been lifted so I am eagerly looking for some getaways within the country. We are also starting to hopefully be able to plan for some Fall or Winter trips. Keeping our fingers crossed.

My final goal was to do more date nights with my husband and well…that’s gone about the same way as the travel goal ha-ha. Hopefully though, now that our restrictions are being lifted more and more we can start doing those date nights again. I know that I am ready for some kid free time with my husband.

So, that’s my check in on 2020 so far. As we go into the second half of the year, I want to continue to listen, inform, and better educate myself on our community and world at large. I want to strive to be better and do better.

How is your 2020 so far?

Round the Kettle Ep. 22- Entering February (finally!)

Oh hi. It’s been a while since I’ve done a Round the Kettle chatty post. They are still happening (as if you were really worried ha-ha), but I really felt the “workload” of the Christmas Season at the end of November and through December. I didn’t want to inundate your feed and email boxes with a ridiculous amount of posts, so I let them go until after the New Year past. This is probably going to be a “thing” that I do every year while we are in Europe. There is just so much to do and see around Christmas Season that I want to share, that they just aren’t possible.

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Let’s start with a little catch up…how are you doing?

So, a brief catch up…as you will now know we spent our New Years in Rome on a weeklong holiday that still seems just so surreal in my mind. I can’t believe that I can say that I’ve been to Rome…just like I can say I’ve been to Scotland, London, Dover, The Netherlands…I mean the list goes on. It’s even more surreal and reflective as we are starting to come up on our one-year mark of living in Germany (that post is coming up this coming week). It’s funny because we are just living our normal lives, day to day, and then going on these incredible adventures that we only dreamed about.

I digress…

January passed by as January always seems to, dragging by, giving all of us that New Year’s funk at the end and making us wonder…will February ever come?! Don’t worry, February is here, and we’ve all survived. In a way January wasn’t too bad for me this year, a couple rough spots here and there, but overall pretty good. But February? I anticipate February being a rough one. We’ve got quite a few changes coming our way starting on Monday and I just feel like settling into a new groove is going to be…interesting. Our oldest is starting his preschool program, my husband has been much busier with work in January and into February, and I’m trying to figure out what our “normal” is going to be moving forward once again. It’s all good things, but it just means we’ve got a bit of a transition to make.

With that being said, I am going to be taking a little step back from the blog for a couple weeks in February. This week there will be posts as normal, and then there will be two weeks where I am not going to have any blog posts going up. I will be active as normal on IG/FB, but in terms of blog content, it’ll be quiet. I really try to take a week or two weeks “off” a couple times of year as I find that it helps me quiet my mind and refresh my brain. I’ve been writing pretty consistently for a few months now without a break (I posted a 14 posts in December where I normally average 9-11 posts a month) and I really just need to take a minute, not stare at a blank word document, and just breathe. February tends to actually be a pretty good time to do this as it is slow and quiet as it is (we aren’t traveling at all this month) and with these couple things changing at home, I need to just be able to focus on life.

How was your January? Did you have a good month or are you just ready for February?

 

5 Tips to Keep Your Headspace Clear and Positive

A lot of times we work through our day to day hoping that we can get everything done that we need to and we do this everyday until we get to the weekend. There are always ways to be more productive and be better in our own headspace. I don’t necessarily want to focus on how we can be more productive. More so, I want to focus on how we can keep our headspace clear when life gets extra busy and then in turn, be more productive.

Today I am going to give some tips on what helps me keep my head straight and clear when I am trying to conquer those especially busy, juggle all of the things, weeks. Earlier in the year, I went through a couple of just back to back busy weeks. It just constantly seemed like I was trying to keep my head above water and just get stuff done. There were some long days and almost sleepless nights. These times happen and while sometimes all you can do is just go through it, there are a few things to just keep your headspace clear and continue through it with minimal “damage”.

Here are my tips on keeping your head up during those busy weeks that seem never-ending and especially hectic:

  1. Wake up 30-60 minutes before you have to do anything. If for no other reason than to get a little you time in. This is going to be essential to keeping your head clear. You can spend this extra time doing things you need to get done, but I would actually recommend that you take this time to treat yourself. Not only will that give you a little decompress time, but it will start your day off with a positive note, rather than just having to get up and jump right into it. I did a post all about how to wake up earlier that you can read HERE.
  2. Start the morning off with some yoga, stretching, a quick jog, some sort of physical activity to get your body moving and warmed up. Again, we are working on keeping your headspace clear. A little yoga session, jogging around the park, or some sort of exercise will not only get your body moving, but the endorphins that you’ll get from that little bit of movement will lighten your mood. It’s also just a good habit to have.
  3. Open up the blinds, windows (if warm enough), and let the natural daylight rule your roost. I’m a huge believer in sunlight/Vitamin C being such a big mood lifter. The first thing I do in the morning after I work out is to open the blinds. Once I leave our bedroom, I open all of the blinds in our house. It instantly puts me in a good mood and instantly makes me feel like I can conquer the day. Simple daylight.
  4. Write it out. Have some way to get your thoughts, your to do list, everything out of your head and onto something. Whether you have a note or app in your phone, or like me, you use a planner, getting all of those thoughts out of your head will lighten your load, allow you to break down tasks and keep your head clear to complete those tasks. You wont forget things, you’ll be able to stay more focused, and overall keep your headspace clear to complete your tasks.
  5. Be Realistic. When you’re at the height of that busy time of your life you need to be realistic about what you can actually accomplish. Do not set yourself up for failure by setting too many expectations. Look at the tasks that you have to accomplish and prioritize those tasks. If it isn’t necessarily, does it really need to be done? What exactly is necessary? Be realistic about what you can actually do in one day or one week and don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t gotten everything done.
  6. Stop yourself from mindlessly scrolling on your phone. I’m throwing in a little extra tip here because I think this one is so so important. It is unnatural how much time we spend during our day looking at technology. A lot of this is related to the work we do and can’t be helped, but what can be helped is the time that we spend watching television or mindlessly scrolling on our phones. It is so easy to just reach for your phone and next thing you know an hour or two has past and you don’t know what exactly you even did. Put the phone down and do something different. This series two purposes, it gives your eyes and brain a rest, and gets you working your brain or your body in a different direction. This has been one of the biggest changes I’ve made lately and I’ve noticed a difference in myself.

These are my top 5 tips. It’s hard when life gets hectic and you feel like there is just so much going on and you can’t see that light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes it’s much too far away, but it is my hope that by implementing a couple small changes, you can at least keep your head clear and in turn be as productive as possible.

Real Talk: Spring Outlook (Spring Cleaning Part 3)

I’ve started off April in a rush to purge, to clean, to have a fresh outlook on how the year is progressing in our life. This included purging a lot of items, doing a deep clean of our house and now that both of those items are done, it is time to look out our spaces, our mindset, our intentions for 2018 to see what we can freshen up.

I’m a big believe in always coming back to your intentions. Always revisit any goals (or *cringe* resolutions) you’ve set for the year and see how your progress is going. It is a good thing to check and see what is working and what isn’t working. Where are you thriving? Where could you use a little work? What can you tweak or re set with to continue on the path that you want for yourself this year.

As I’ve mentioned before, Spring is a great time to do just this. Not only do we all naturally start to shed away the layers of winter, but Spring almost brings the same feelings as the New Year with that fresh start, fresh outlook type of feeling.This is the time to take a step back and re evaluate how your year has started. We are still early enough into the year that a lot can be accomplished. It’s OK if you’ve looked at your intentions for the year and decided that you need to jus scrap them and start fresh. It’s also OK to say I’ve been rocking these and I want to take it up to the next level. NOW is such a great time to make these adjustments and changes.

In coming back to our intentions, I’m a big believer in setting up our spaces, setting up our day to day, to reflect what we want to accomplish and what we need in our life. Spring naturally allows us to freshen up our wardrobe and spaces by having warmer temperatures, more sunshine, and a general feeling of “freshness” in the air. We are already having to shed those thick winter layers and large fleece blankets for shorter t shirts and lighter sheets. Windows start to open more frequently (which already leads to a more positive outlook) and allows you to look at yourself and your space for another change.

Often times with Spring, we bring down the lighter blankets, put out the pastel decorations, and shorter clothes. While you are already creating a sort of change, don’t just stop with your clothes and a couple of decorations. Look at your space, whether it be your entire home, where you work, where you sleep, wherever, and really take a moment to check it out. Is this a good space for you. Are you going to be able to continue to excel or do you maybe need to change something up. This is the time to make any changes that you need to in your physical space to continue on with your year.

Re evaluation your intentions for the year and evaluating your physical space go hand in hand right now. You’ll find that you have a fresh look both in your mind and in your space to accomplish everything that you want. And if you’re finding that you are starting to struggle or plateau in your intentions, this may be the little kick in the but you need to keep going.

Spring is Right Around the Corner…

4315430272_IMG_0546Seriously. Our first blooms have popped through on the bushes and even though the weather may not be full “spring” beauty and warmth, the first official day of spring is tomorrow! First off, where is this year going? I feel like already the time is just flying by. Second off, spring seems to be a season similar to the new year. An almost “out with the old, in with the new” type of vibe to it.

We start to shed all of the layers of winter, not just in our clothes, but in our homes, our meals, our everyday life. Spring seems to bring a new lightness to everyday. It appears slowly, with a massive Spring Cleaning to start off with. A purge of the old, of what no longer works in the home, of what is no longer needed. Then comes the cleaning of spaces. A whole house and self scrub down you could say. Then, finally, it is in with the new.

Spring is a season of change. If you would have asked me just a few short years ago if I liked it, I would have shrugged my shoulders; “I’m more of a fall type of gal”. While I am still a “fall type of gal”, I have started to see the love of Spring. When the worst of winter starts to fade away, and a glimpse of summer peaks through. I thoroughly enjoy the idea of clearing away and cleaning out our wardrobes, home, and meal ideas. I also LOVE the fact that spring brings the “cool warm” temperatures that allow me to open our windows all day long.

Following along with the start of Spring, you will start to see the scheduled Wednesday blog posts following along with the concept of purge, clean, refresh for the month of April. It is really easy to do the spring overhaul in April as the weather is still finding its way and it really is just a transition month to the full warmth of spring in May. It’s a good time to look at how your year has started off, what you want to change and keep from the first few months, and what you want to do moving forward. I will be doing this myself in our own home, so I’m looking forward to sharing it with you!

The First Month Has Ended…

IMG_8930So, January 2018 has come to an end. How was the first month for you? How is the year starting? If you made any resolutions have you stuck with them or have they already gone out the window?

If January was good to you- great! Now you’ve got to keep that momentum going. February is a hard month, but if you can channel all that momentum you had going at the beginning of January, you can power straight through February and right into March. Remember how you felt each time or day that you accomplished your goal and hold on to that feeling when you want to skip a day or slack off on whatever it is that you want to accomplish this year.

If January was not so good – that’s ok! February is a new month and a fresh start. Put everything that was bad (or not so good) about January behind you. Don’t hold onto that negative as you head into a new month. Set a new or revised intention to start February and work towards that. Just because January was not the best DOES NOT mean that 2018 is doomed or that you need to hold on to it. Start fresh.

For me, January was a good month. Definitely not the best month I’ve ever had, but it was a really good and positive moth. I said at the start of the year that I don’t set resolutions, however my intention has been going alright. I have been avoiding speaking negatively about people (although I have slipped up a time or two being honest) and I’ve already accomplished so so much. I’m really positive that 2018 is going to a really good year all around.

For February I am looking forward to not only continuing with what I’ve been accomplishing, but expanding my intentions to include some more bits with A Cuppa Cosy. I am going to be taking some time to create a path and full vision for what I want A Cuppa Cosy to really be. I’m excited to share with you along the way!

Until Next Time

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Planning in 2018

I’m a paper and pen kinda gal. I firmly believe in writing down goals, plans, to do’s and believe that it helps organize not only your life, but your mind. Once it’s written down, you are more than likely not only going to get whatever it is done, but you’ll feel better just by writing whatever it is down. I am not someone who really uses my phone as a main calendar, but rather as a back up system. I like to be able to disconnect and disengage from technology and by using a physical planner and journal, just makes it that much easier.

So, what am I using for this year? Excellent question. I tend to switch things up throughout the year, but one of my intentions last year was to stick through one single planner. This year I want to carry through with that same intention. I spent the better portion of the year in a bullet journal and considered that intention a success. While I love the bullet journal and think that it is great, this year I have decided to go back to a pre filled planner. At this point I really would like the bare bones of my planner already filled in and I can just write in my specifics.

IMG_7327This year I have picked out a Blue Sky and Day Designer collaboration planner from (big surprise) Target. I have used Day Designer planners before and I love them! I may actually end up going back to a full size Day Designer planner, but for now I have gotten this simple month and week layout going. I typically spend about 15 minutes or so Sunday Evening or Monday Morning mapping out my week and then about 5-10 minutes each morning with any specifics I want to mark down.

The other item that I have is my own personal journal. Once again, I am a firm believer in the paper and pen method and I write down 95% of everything. Some things I do not, but if something is bothering me or I’m having a rough time, I find that sitting down and writing it out helps so incredibly much. I try to write regularly and typically do about once a week (if not even more than that). It is just so helpful in getting things out of your head, off your plate, and a lot of times it helps me sort through my own thoughts.

This year I have a feeling I’ll be filling more than one journal, but I am starting with, yet another Target find, a Pink Light Design Notebook. It’s not what I typically go for, but I really liked it and I feel like it fit what I was hoping for for the beginning of my year.

So that is that! Those are the paper items I am using this year to help me stay on track for my year. Are you a pen and paper person? What are you using to keep organized this year?

Looking Forward Into 2018

I’ve always loved beginnings and endings. I know that the bulk of a story can be wonderful, but there is something truly special to me about beginnings and endings. The beginning of a new year is a special time for many. It gives a chance to have a “fresh start” a new chance to have the best time. This year is no different. In fact it seems like this year is special because so many people seem hopeful for a good year, a better start.

For me, every year I set my one word and in the past year, I’ve set a motto for how I want my year to go- how I want to approach life. I also give myself a challenge for the year. I don’t typically share any of these, but I figured this year it might be nice.

My motto for 2018 is:

“Every day is a new day, treat it that way. Get Up, Dress Up, Show Up.”

I really want to be better about approaching everyday with fresh eyes. I don’t want to bring the negativity of a previous day into a fresh new day. It just prolongs the bad and you miss out on the good of a new day.

As a rule, I don’t set resolutions. I set guidelines and intentions for what I want to accomplish in the new year. I find that resolutions end up being so final and a full year can ebb and flow as it goes. I also find that setting a “resolution” is like begging for failure. If you set something slightly different, it allows you a little more freedom, doesn’t feel as rigid, and is much easier to achieve/less likely for failure.

My biggest challenge that I want to work on this year is an overall of just being a better person. I have noticed this past year, I have had a lot more moments of being petty and judgmental and just an ugliness that I don’t like. It is not a normal for me and something that I really want to focus on eradicating from my life.

What are your intentions or guidelines for 2018?

Starting the Road to Change- One Daily Thing

I’m going to start doing some posts about making changes in your life and being more productive and positive in your day to day life and interactions. This is a change that I have been working on and just trying to be the “best me”. I promise you it won’t be too cheesy or self-help. I just found some of these things really worked for me and they may work for you if you are wanting to make a change or just read some positive!

“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret to you success is found in your daily routine.”

I’ve always realized that if you try and make a slew of changes all at once, you are bound to fail to an extent. A change or two is bound to fall through the cracks, or it gets overwhelming and they all fall to the wayside. I don’t know about you but when I am feeling like I need or want a change, I do a whole bunch at once rather than one thing at a time. Every time I do this, I fail at everything I’ve tried to change. This is a much better approach, that will lead to results.

When I had just gotten through the “newborn” stage with our Little Fox and had been able to settle up a routine with him that worked for both of us, I had a bit of a reality check. Let’s have a little story time…

I posted recently about Bad Habits as a Stay At Home Mom. I’ve done all of them at one point or another, but the one that this post is relating to is the not getting properly dressed every day. I was in sweats all day everyday and my hair was usually brushed and thrown up in a ponytail or bun. One afternoon one of our neighbors stopped by to bring us some honey as a little “Welcome” gift. I answered the door and to them I probably looked like a complete mess. I could see in their faces that they were a little surprised and as we continued to talk and they realized what all I did, I could just see them still being a little…taken aback. That’s when it hit me.

What would I think if I saw someone out and about in the same clothing that I was wearing? Albeit, I wasn’t leaving the house (I always made sure that I was dressed when I left the house), but the concept remained the same to me. I found myself realizing that my attitude and productivity were also being affected. I just felt like more of a “slob” than I should have.

So, I decided to change ONE thing at a time.

The first thing I changed was my wardrobe. I made myself put on jeans, a skirt, a dress, something other than sweatpants. I started by focusing solely on what I was wearing. I didn’t worry about hair or makeup at this time, just on clothes. I found that this way I was able to  I made sure to wait at least 2 weeks before I started to make another change. For me, 2 weeks is a good amount of time for a new habit is formed and I find that after a full month, if I go back to something different or pre habit it is “odd” to me.

My biggest take away would be to start with something small and easy every day. It is true that changing ONE thing in your daily routine will lead to more changes and eventually lead you to change your life. Choose something that you find is really taking away from your outlook, your productivity or that you want to change in your life. For me, it was my clothing, for you it may be getting up before your kids or husband, or doing the dishes before bed. Whatever it is, make sure that it is something manageable and something that you can commit to. Don’t try and change your everyday clothing, getting up earlier, and breakfast routine all at the same time. It will only lead to you either feeling overwhelmed or one of those tasks falling to the wayside.

Once you’ve got one task set up and you have done it every day for a few weeks, implement another small change. Once I was getting dressed properly everyday, I started making a full breakfast in the mornings. More followed and I found that not only did I feel better about myself, but my productivity really started to increase. Things around our house started getting done and not only am I happier, but I’ve noticed a huge change in our family dynamic.

Once you’ve got a solid foundation throughout your day, everything changes.

Let’s Talk About 2017 Resolutions!

Good afternoon everyone and Happy Monday! I hope that this week has started off well and wasn’t too bad of a day. For me, it’s been a day. In between my son being extra picky about food and drink (thank you first molars), trying to get all of the work that I wanted to get done today, oversleeping this morning, and my husband being off (which sounds like it would make things easier, but not always LOL), it’s been a busy day. I make sure that I carve out some “quiet” time throughout the day for myself to regroup, but today just hasn’t allowed that. That is ok though, things will even out as they always do.

I wanted to take a little bit to talk about my “plans/resolutions” for 2017. I don’t typically set actual resolutions each year as I find they are easily broken and that it is similar to what I already do when I sit down at the beginning of January and evaluate everything. I do a little bit of self reflection- looking at what went well the previous year and what I want to improve on in the new year. From that point on depending on what the items are will determine what I change for the new year.

I also try to assign a word to each year. This is a common thing that I have seen and after trying it last year, it is something that I want to incorporate into each year. This is something I do after I do my self reflection and have determined what changes I want to incorporate.

This past year has had a few rough patches, some things I could change, others that were out of my control. The first chunk of the year was navigating several changes to include our son, new home, new working hours, and just overall new balance of life. While I personally think that I navigated all of the changes well, I know that there were times that I could have done better or could have reacted to certain situations differently.

In looking at the upcoming year, I think that the biggest thing that I want to change is bits of my attitude and reactions. I want to learn to trust my gut again (that may be a separate post at a later time) and know that there are times that I may know best and to go with that. I lost my trust in my gut and myself at times this year and I want to keep in mind that my gut is usually pretty good. Basically, trust in myself and in my instincts.

Another thing that I want to focus on, especially in the first half of the year, is really focusing on our little family. With our new addition coming halfway through the year I want to make sure that we are able to have some good times as “just the three of us” before we become the four of us. Our sweet son is going through quite a few changes changes this year, the biggest obviously being a sibling, but a couple before #2 comes along. I want to make sure that he feels the love from Mommy and Daddy and that we have some good times together. Going along with that, I want to make sure that we also get some good memories as “the four of us” when that time comes in the second half of the year. It’s going to be a busy year I feel!

Lastly, I think that my word for this year is Peace. There were so many times last year, especially the beginning, that I just didn’t feel at peace with myself, my family or where I was at. This year I want that to change and I feel like the second half of this past year I have really managed to find peace at most times. I want to carry that through this year and keep it going.

What are your resolutions or changes that you want to make for 2017? Do you have a word set aside that you would like to focus on for the year?