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    A Year of Better

    Last night I tried pulling together my thoughts on this year and found myself numb and uninspired. After looking back on my year in review for 2018, it was painstakingly obvious that “numb” and “uninspired” were my words for the year in 2019. It hurt me more than I expected coming to that conclusion, mostly because all year long I’ve looked back on 2018 as the hardest year of my life—I’ve been very boisterous about it too. And while it was, in fact, hard, I somehow still managed to find and remember joyful moments that filled my cup that year. I can’t say the same for this year. 

    I know there were good moments throughout the year, but I see now that I was simply going through the motions of life at whatever stage I was in as opposed to actually living my life. I don’t remember much of 2019 because I just flat out wasn’t present for it. I showed up, but I was not invested. Writing that pains me to my core.

    Sitting with this epiphany overnight has brought a lot of clarity as to why I’ve been feeling the way I have. I’ve kept everything, and everyone (including my kids), at an arms length. I’ve been protecting myself from a lot of things, which I was right to do, but I never let the line blur, or the wall down, during moments I absolutely should have found joyful. Instead I was annoyed and flustered. That is not how I expected to remember this year, nor do I want to experience another year with such disdain and numbness.

    Many times throughout the year I remember proclaiming to those around me, “I’m doing the best I can!”; but that was a lie. I did not do my best, not even close. I did the bare minimum to get by, because doing anything more would exhaust me mentally and sometimes physically. As I write this, it’s becoming clear that I’ve lived most of 2019 under a cloud of depression. Who knew? 

    So what does 2020 look like for me? Well, I can tell you what it doesn’t look like: it doesn’t look perfect, or grand. It doesn’t look exceptional or exciting. It won’t be full of grace either, because that phrase has been a crutch for me—a lie to myself when I needed an excuse for not doing better. So that’s exactly my plan for 2020: just do better. I have lots of room for better, and by not attaching some extreme proclamation to it maybe, just maybe, I will actually be able to accomplish it. 

    So to all of you who are coming into 2020 ready to hustle, and slay your big + wondrous goals: I am here, cheering you on from the sidelines. To those of you who are looking to slow down and find more balance, I see you and commend you. As for me, I will be committing to living a little bit more, being a lot more present, and just trying to be better than I was before. The only way to go is up! 

    Xo,

    Jess

    SELF-TRUTH: HOW ARE YOU, REALLY?

    How many times have you answered this question, “How are you?” with a simple, “I’m good, thanks” when in reality you haven’t been so good? Go ahead and raise your hand. I have no doubt that everyone has done it at least once.

    Now, how freeing would be if the next time someone asks us that question we answer with the truth—be it good or bad?

    Not interested in hearing the truth from someone on how they’re actually doing? Then ask them a different question!  Our standard expectation of small-talk puts us at risk for dismissing our own feelings or getting our feelings dismissed by others, which in turn becomes a cycle of denying how we’re actually feeling. I truly feel like this whole process plays a huge part in our own mental health and how we show up for others. I feel (fear?) that this is also a big reason we often find comfort in isolation; not wanting to be surrounded by those we can’t truly communicate with. 

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    Disneyland + Zyia Roundup

    Admittedly, when I first started packing for this trip I was solely focused on the opportunity to wear something other than leggings, which is my daily “momiform”. This trip was to celebrate a wedding anniversary, and I wanted to look more put together than my normal, daily look. So, I happily went out and purchased cute shorts/tops, with the intention of grabbing a pair of low-top sneakers (like Vans) to wear with my outfits for all the walking; however, a few things happened: 

    1. My husband questioned why I wasn’t bringing leggings, encouraged me to leave the jeans at home, and pack comfortable
    2. I checked the weather again the night before we left, and now it was going to be pretty chilly, with a chance of rain, while we were there. My shorts were now useless
    3. I didn’t get a chance to shop for shoes, and gym shoes and dressier shorts are not my favorite look

    So! Needless to say, I chose my Zyia leggings, and a few other Zyia staples instead, and I am beyond happy I did!

    Given the weather and our activity level, I thought it would be helpful to give a more detailed review of each outfit in order to give you better insight to the capabilities of each Zyia piece. As you may or may not know, I don’t work out regularly (despite my best intentions), and while I’ve put my pieces to the test for daily wear, and a few HIIT workouts here and there, this would be the first time I truly tested them to the max! Here’s how it went:

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    Planning for a Tidy Home

    One thing I’ve learned over the years is that life is messy. Whether you have kids or not, the emotional mess of life can be overwhelming to the point where sometimes you just don’t know where to start. Now that kids are in the mix, the mess extends into a whole new level and keeping up with it all, between the other demands of life, can be exhausting. 

    I grew up knowing that when Saturday rolled around, it was time to clean house. My mom would have everything ready to go after breakfast, and there was no play-time unless chores were done. Even at a young age I had chores. I was responsible for cleaning my room, bringing my laundry down, waxing + windexing the living room tables, and vacuuming the living room. I suppose the chores didn’t start until I was around 6 or so, but you can imagine all I wanted to do when I woke up on the weekend was get outdoors and play!

    I spent my adulthood thinking/doing the same thing, and scheduled most of my Saturday mornings, into early afternoon, for cleaning and grocery shopping. Thankfully, the past few years have taught me that weekends don’t only have to be for cleaning. I know, it sounds ludicrous, but trust me when I say it’s true. If you’re spending your weekends doing a majority of your house cleaning—whether you work out of the home, or stay home with your kids—you’re missing out on tons of weekend fun!

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    Something’s Gotta Give

    Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, things just don’t work out. For the longest time I’ve held on to and harbored resentment to this fact, especially since I’m your typical type-A planner freak. I love to organize and plan the details of our day, including all the food we will eat and what time I need to start preparing it to make my life as easy as possible.

    But lately things just have been all wrong.

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    Leftover Lovin: 3 Ways to Repurpose a Roast

    Leftovers. I have always disliked them. Growing up I would spend time at my Grandma B’s house, and when it was time for dinner (at 4:30pm!) she would almost always pull some type of leftover from the fridge and make a “new” meal appear in front of me. For the most part I remember always liking it, but I also remember throwing tantrums with her about eating leftovers….again. Yes, even into my teenage years I protested—only to be proven wrong.

    My hatred of leftovers continued well into adulthood. You’d think after years of being proven wrong I would have gotten my act together, but I felt rebellious in my “because I can” stage, and just didn’t eat leftovers (unless we’re talking next-day cold pizza; that I will always get behind!) because I didn’t have to. This didn’t bother me one bit, but my best friend and roommate couldn’t care less for my spoiled behavior. I’m certain it was this, and likely this alone—minus some pen chewing habits—that made her blood boil when we lived together. Oh, and dishes. We’ve always differed on that too. I digress.

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    Spring Break Part 1: A Moment for Me


    Sometimes when things get hard, or just don’t feel right, it’s ok to take a step back to reevaluate. I felt a tug at my heart to do just that, and give myself a little break from everything/everyone over the last week to just internally focus: on me, my family, and my business goals. It was so needed!

    It was the first time we have really followed any sort of a break schedule for school, as it’s our first year having a kiddo in school full-time, but talk about perfect timing! Knowing we had nowhere to be, and no rushing to do, I kept the week free of any scheduled appointments or grand plans to do anything in particular. Funny enough, though, Spring break also aligned perfectly with my favorite decluttering mission I do each year: Simplified’s Ruthless Declutter Challenge.

    Decluttering our home is a non-stop work in progress, and I’m finally ok with that. We evolve as individuals and our family goals change, too; and therefore our home has to adapt to account for that. So the first thing I really focused on was getting the house in order a little bit each day, and let me just tell you…being able to stay on top of our home without overwhelm actually allowed me to feel like a human being—not just a robotic maid, short order cook, and project manager. Raise your hand if that feeling sounds familiar!

    When we weren’t decluttering, we spent a ton of time outdoors, as long as it wasn’t raining. Chalk drawing, bike riding (lots of bike riding!), outdoor picnics, picking weeds (who knew the kids would enjoy such a thing!), baking yummy treats, and going to the gym. Was it an elaborate trip, or staycation? Nope! But we had the best time. Even better, we have a whole other week to get in some more Spring break fun. I’m thinking a backyard water day, a museum or two, and an at home movie experience, complete with popcorn & boxed candy!

    Although I made sure the kids had plenty of fun last week, I really tried to focus on me too. Disconnecting from social media really allowed more time and focus on areas of my life that have been neglected for a little while. One of the top things I made sure to do was read. In place of Facebook or Instagram, I picked up books and magazines instead. Here are a few things I read (& listened to) last week:

    THINGS I READ

    THINGS I LISTENED TO

    Our second week of break will be more of the same, but with a bit more focus on long-term goals/plans for the rest of this year. It’s crazy that despite setting these things up at the beginning of this year, that some pretty drastic life changes can really change things up!

    Hope you all had a wonderful St. Patrick’s day and the sun is starting to shine ☀️

    5 Ways to Rest Your Day 🌱


    Bad days happen, we all have them. Sometimes you wake up on the wrong side of bed and you already know it’s going to be “one of those days”. But sometimes, a seemingly good day turns into a not so good day.

    First, I feel inclined to say: have your feelings. While in most cases we all want to get ourselves out of the funk we’re in and turn our day around, there are times where we should just sit in those moments without the need to “fix”. Sometimes we need to have our feelings and try again the next day. Sometimes those feelings of overwhelm and frustrations are too far out of reach, and our control. Let them be.

    However, more often than not we do have control over our attitudes and the ability to regroup + reset. So when you find yourself in need of a little re-do, here are 5 ways to reset your day:

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    Weekly Prep

    I thrive on routine; sometimes to a fault. I am your typical type-A, plan everything kind of gal. I am the one who has an idea in her mind as to how all the things will go, and how blissful they will be. And then get pissy when something goes awry. Although that last part has lessened a bit since having kids because: kids.

    I can’t say what made me this way, really, but if I had to guess it was the never-ending list of moments in my life where my mom made us late for something. We were always flying by the seat of our pants. There may have been ideas of having plans, but we were none the wiser and just spent our childhood rushing around from here to there and everywhere. 

    Yep. That must be it. 

    So here I am: a planner! YOU’RE WELCOME FAMILY! 

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    Meal Plan: Week 1

    You may have noticed that this year has brought a few new changes to our meals and way of planning. I have to say, I’ve been very happy with how it’s been working for us and I’m already feeling less angst about the whole meal planning process as a whole!

    At a request from a few of you, I’ve decided to share our weekly meal plan with you where I will include links to the corresponding recipes (if one exists). 

    But before I do that, here’s a little recap of how I’m tackling this part of our lives:

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