Posted in Positive Life

Spring Cleaning: Beauty Edit

By this time of the year I start to get spring fever and the itch to clean or purge areas of my house. One area that I completely neglect is my bathroom vanity and bathroom closet. I take so much time and effort selecting beauty and hygiene products…I should probably take the same approach at managing these items.

My goal is to clean, purge or pass on products I have in my makeup bag or closet. I especially need to check things I buy in multiples. If you are at all like me you love to save a dollar, so super-sized items or sales tend to make me happy, but if products aren’t being used at a healthy rate…then I’m really not saving if things expire and I have to toss.

Lotions and Potions

I first start in my linen closet to check the dates on body products. I live to get a deal and if I think we like something I buy multiples. Checking the expiration date on shampoo bottles, lotions and soaps is very important. Your skin is the barrier between you and the world. I know I try to select clean beauty products and want my body absorbing health ingredients. Using expired lotions and potions is counter productive, so I trash and recycle what needs to go!

Makeup

Same idea for my makeup. I look through and see what is old. Time to toss. I also clean up my pieces. I use a microfiber cloth and warm water to wipe off product residue, dust or hairspray film. Giving everything a fresh wipe makes things seem a tiny bit new. Also, when I go through everything it allows me to mentally inventory what I have.

When going through my makeup I try to see if there is anything unopened that I can pass along to a friend. Sometimes I buy things bundled in a set and don’t need or like each piece. Typically this is with eye products and lip products. I never wear black eyeliner, so if it comes in a set I put it in a drawer…time to pass it along.

Brushes

Cleaning all my brushes and sponges is so gratifying. I do this on a regular basis, but now is the time to look at wear and tear. Keeping my tools clean and functional is key to stress free application. I like to clean my brushes with an oil free facial cleanser. I know there are products just for cleaning brushes, but I find my face wash works well with a silicone brush cleaner mat.

Haircare

I went through a period where I was bent on getting the best dry shampoo for my hair needs, so I have tried many. The brands and formulas that don’t work for me are something I can easily pass on to a friend. I consider this re-homing.

Most of my hair products are used at a consistent rate and are replaced as needed, so not much to purge, but cleaning bottles, containers and cans is something I can do. Hairspray is something that I experiment with too. I see something new and think ooohhhh, but if I don’t use it up it gets relegated to the back of the closet with the dry shampoo. This too could be passed on or tossed.

Nails

If you are like me one day you open a drawer, makeup bag or bin and wonder how in the world you acquired so many nail polishes. Nothing lasts forever, so I check them out. Goopy, super separated and just not my color polishes can be tossed or passed on. I like to check out clippers, files and removers. If any of these tools seem well used or dirty, they too get a refresh.

Hand Soap

I have gotten very picky about brands and scents I like for hand washing. I typically store hand soaps in each bathroom and each bathroom has different kinds because everyone likes something different. There was a time that I could just stock up and grab all the fun seasonal scents, but over the last two years with the increase in hand washing and sanitizing I have sought out different, clean beauty brands, so I found a few expired bottles and a few that were new, but no one liked the scent. Which leads me to my last point.

Re-purpose, Pass on or Recycle

Throwing out gross, old, expired and used up items is the easy part. I find that I struggle with what to do with they things that are still good but not my jam. I hate wasting money, so I know that’s why things end up in the land of the lost beauty products. Hoarding things I don’t like but will never use is not helping anyone. I love a good purge but if I can find a product a new home…aka a friend’s vanity or counter that makes me happy.

Another’s place I can relocate a product is a staff bathroom. If you work somewhere that has more than company soap and paper towels. I find leaving a lotion, body spray, hair spray or hand soap is the perfect place to share. This also goes for new products that have been gifted. You might not love something, but maybe a coworker will. This seems much better than the trash can regardless of price point, drug store items or high end products deserve a second chance.

If you don’t love to clean or purge…I totally get that, but I really think that making sure your personal care and beauty products are safe and healthy is something you should make time for. Maybe clean, evaluate and organize everything in baby steps. Just don’t neglect what you put on your hair, skin or nails. This is a part of selfcare!

Posted in Gluten Free Life

Eating Gluten Free: Disney 2021

We are annual Disney trip people. We love our time together.  This was our 9th park trip, my 3rd trip gluten free and I think maybe the best.

Many people love to eat and drink at Disney. I totally get that, especially when we were living in the age of the dining plan. Eating yummy meals and the fun Disney specialty treats is part of the magic. Who doesn’t love a Mickey pretzel?! I personally loved them before I had to go gluten free. My people still enjoy, I grabbed a bag of cotton candy. Not complaining!

My first trip when I was a newbie to the gf life was a tiny but stressful and I was still missing all the good gluten favorites. The last trip was easier and I felt more comfortable with the modifications and speaking with a chef if I had concerns. This trip I was smart and made sure I added the allergy notification to our reservations. This was great because they knew before I sat down that I would need a different menu.

Flourless Chocolate Cake. Shared this with my hubs. No one was sad here!!

The staff was fantastic. I found that more were better versed with the allergy friendly choices. I also love how they label and serve for people with allergies. Quick service restuarants put my meal on a completely seperate tray. At our resort they even use a different color tray. Makes it very easy to see the order and if I were to get a meal like someone in the family we can obviously see which is mine.

GF Pizza Quick Service. This also came with a side salad. Disney uses Ken’s dressing…which if gf. Win. Had blue cheese dressing.

I find travel with Celiac is getting better. I have to obviously be aware and not just assume staff is knowledgeable, but overall I find that if I am mentally prepped that I might only be able to eat a salad, then I can enjoy myself.

Cesar Salad….only difference was the croutons.

Eating in Italy was a tiny bit sad. My people ordered this amazing pizza at Via Di Napoli. I ordered the gf pasta and chef salad. Both were good. The sadness comes in because I miss being easy and part of the group. Ordering pizza used to be a fun group experience.

I mean come on!!!!!

Many of the restaurants had great gf options or meals that were naturally safe to order. I always say if I stick to eating cave woman style…I should be safe. Fruits, veg and meat are typically safe.

Beef and Vegetables

I didn’t photograph every meal. I think in the future I might and do a day by day post, but for now these are some of my highlight meals!

Bread basket if gluten filled, they brought me sliced white bread in Italy.
Gluten free fish fry at Raglan Road. It was super crispy! The garlic parmasan fries were yummy!

Another magical trip spent with my favorite people. I didn’t take photos, but I had another family favorite…Dole Whip, which is automatically gf! This was a great summer vacation and being able to eat safely and calmly is something I am very grateful for. Looking forward to our 10th trip.

Posted in Positive Life

An Itinerant Teachers Summer Balancing Act Part 2

Well, I have been trying to be in the moment and enjoy the summer. I am just about half way until school resumes and I do feel like I have recharged a bit. It has not taken as much effort as I thought to recharge.

Hot Tub

We decided to buy a hot tub or spa, whatever you prefer to call it, back in the spring. We knew it would be a while until it was installed, due to all of the delays and shortages of cars, boats and other mechanical things. After waiting a month longer than estimated it arrived and has been a place to unwind and chill out.

The entire family has been enjoying it. I personally call it our hot pool! I hope we continue to enjoy it into the cooler months ahead, but for right now it is a great way to spend time device free.

Snacks of course!

Yoga

I have been back on the yoga classes train and I am loving it. It is so fulfilling to go to a live, in person class. Yoga in the park has been great too. Honestly, I just love hearing my instructors voice again! I need to also be around people…who love it it. The vibe adds to the experience.

Baking

Baking is obviously something I do frequently and share frequently. If you follow me on Instagram you will see I love to post my latest gluten free creations. I have been exploring new recipes, people post to Pinterest, and tweaking them to be gluten free and in some cases less fat too.

When you bake as much as I do and actually eat the treats too….cutting out some of the fat is not a bad thing! I find that I am substituting butters and oils for applesauce and Greek yogurt. None of this is completely new for baking, but when making things gf it can be tricky for consistency, texture and how moist something is. Some recipes taste great and others I head back to the mixing bowl!

Summer isn’t over. Hoping to enjoy and continue to recharge before the start of school. I will share more in the upcoming weeks. You can always follow me here and on Instagram to see what I’m up to.

Posted in Teaching Life

An Itinerant Teachers Summer Balancing Act: Part 1

I think most people who work year round think that when teachers close the door to their classrooms for Summer break we are done working, are ready to relax and have multiple weeks to do anything and everything we want.  This may be true for some teachers, but I think for many of us the first weeks off can be a blur and filled with so many thoughts and emotions. I know this last statement to be true for me.

I love this message….what does this mean to you?

I have been off for a couple of weeks and I have definitely not felt like I was on vacation.  I still wake up at my alarm clock time. I am still getting up early. I still have all of my momsibilities.  By no means am I complaining, but I woke up this morning with my to do list on my mind and did one of the worst things I do when I get up….I check all the apps.

Checking all the apps is such a habit. I really need to make it a priority to not open my eyes and think I need to check multiple email accounts, Instagram and Facebook.  When I figure out how to do this I’ll let you know.  I know I’m not the only person who does this.

During my morning scroll I was looking at all of the awesome things people are doing this summer.  I love Instagram because it is visual and quick, but this morning it seemed like I was seeing endless summer fun and I found this to be overwhelming.

Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled people are enjoying life, but I have no idea how they are there yet.  It takes me a few weeks to unwind from school and after the year we have all had, I am finding it more difficult to feel like I can relax and enjoy summer. Like I said I woke with a to do list on my mind.

Ending the year and practically jumping into the 4th seemed fast and not like a holiday. I was also driving my mini me to camp the first week off. Thankfully we chose a close, afternoon camp to attend, but I was still in turbo mom mode.  I also started looking around, my mostly tidy house, and started to think of all of the neglected nooks and crannies that need a reboot. So, a few days off and the brain can not shut off, the to do lists can not stop and that internal pressure of I’m not doing enough can not shut off.

What I’ve Done So Far

  • Cleaned 20-21 teaching things out of my vehicle.
  • Organized cupboards.
  • Repotted some house plants.
  • Cleaned my closet.
  • Chauffeured child.
  • Started packing and planning for family vacation.

I know this is not a crazy amount of things completed, but I feel guilty that I am not doing more, not squeezing every minute of productivity out of my day. I also realize this is a wackado way of thinking. My mental to do list needs to take a vacation.

This might even get tweaked some more.

What I Think “Needs To Be Done”

  • Make more TpT resources.
  • Organize my basement teacher area.
  • Purge cupboards, closets and drawers.
  • Redo child’s playroom.
  • Paint front doors.
  • Deep clean.
Resource that is in the works!!

Notice zero relaxation or fun on my list. The list is reasonable and totally doable, but there needs to be a mental balance. Achieving this balance of projects and guilt free summer chill time is definitely going to be a challenge for me, but I know that rest is incredibly important, especially after this year of teaching.

What I Need for Balance

  • Yoga(in person)
  • Chats with friends
  • Books….not teacher PD
  • Family time
  • Less screen time
  • Netflix and chill
  • See or do something new
  • A little nature
  • Ice cream
  • Pedicures
Eat the good things….

I think that if I can balance external responsibilities with internal responsibilities this could be a restful and productive summer vacation. Having these weeks off are a gift. I never take the time off for granted, that is definitely where some of the guilt and pressure comes from, but if I don’t reset my mind and body I won’t be the best teacher I can be for my students this September.

I am going to try my best to walk the talk!

  • Complete tasks without feeling like I “have to”
  • Have 1 lazy day per week
  • Self care
  • Spend time with friends
  • Remember to breathe
  • Spend quality time with my people
  • Ignore the calendar

This is obviously the start of summer and I have weeks to go. I am going to add more posts about my summer balancing act, so check back for updates!

Creating balance is living with purpose.

-The Listening Ladybug

Posted in Yoga Life

Sunday Night Yin Yoga

If you read my blog on a regular basis you already know that yoga has been a very good addition to my life. It is my jam. I am still growing and learning, which is one thing that keeps me coming back.

I love taking a class that kicks my ass. That amazing yoga high…where you feel tired but accomplished all at the same time…that is what I love the most. I think with my personality and my level of experience I am not in the zone where it is this awesome spiritual experience. It is a workout.

This being said, I know that so many of us are not practicing in person. Classes maybe be offered, but they are not like they once were. Life has changed and I have tried to adjust. I miss my classes so much.

I decided to make a space in my house where I can practice and not pick up. Zoom classes in the family room and kitchen were not my jam. I tried. I really did. Even though I really love the physical work component of a class…I did not get mental bonuses from this set up. Being out in the open, in my house, was not relaxing. So, I made space.

Ignore all the Amazon boxes to the left…holiday shopping.

I love the space I’ve created and I find it very easy to try on my own and do my own flow or take a class. I am happily surprised by how much this small personal change has helped with the changes that were forced upon us last year. I have added and edited my space over the past couple of months, loving the items I can look at before, during and after I flow.

My yoga instructor started a Sunday night yin class via Zoom. It is a slow and low impact class. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, but it happens to be a perfect way to chase away the smonday vibes. She suggested we keep the lights low or practice by candlelight. I added some battery operated candles to my space and it is Sunday night perfection.

This is how it currently looks.

The longer holds stretch my body but they also stretch my mind. This year, this school year has had my mind racing. Taking time once a week to slow down takes effort. It seems like it should be an easy thing to do but it isn’t for me.

A faster flow doesn’t allow my mind to wander. I just listen and do. Yin classes encourage me to focus and try to practice being present. I love to think I am present in my daily life, but if I’m honest, I’m not. Atleast not everyday, all day. Deliberate and dedicated time is helping me see that I need to make and take time for my mental health.

I think I am not unlike many people, many women who think about physical health and appearance. These two things help support eachother, but what goes on inside my head is obviously masked and can be something I don’t acknowledge. Acknowledging the positive thoughts and moments is just as important as taking time to deal and cope with stressors or negative thoughts.

I’m very glad I made time and space to invite in another new layer to my yoga practice. I am overjoyed with how doing something out of my comfort zone has stretched me inside and out.

I am looking forward to the day when I can get back to in person classes, but until then I am going to continue to try my best and keep an open mind about different options for practice.

Posted in Book Life

2020: My Library Picks

This year I did a lot more reading with my ears, than I did with my eyes. When I opened our Audibles account I wasn’t sure how much I was going to like hearing a story. I am typically a fast reader and a control freak, so I enjoy reading and skimming at my pace, but with listening I get every word the author intended.

Audibles

Every book listed here I would recommend and enjoyed. I feel like I sort of had a few categories.

Mystery, stories with strong women and guilty pleasures.

This cover and title caught my eye. Sometimes I judge a book by it’s cover…truth. I adore that chair. Granny chic at it’s best. This was a sweet listen.

This book was along timencoming. I remember reading the leaked chapters from a decade ago. I always had hoped Stephanie Meyers would revisit the idea of telling Twilight from Edwards perspective. I read the series when it came out and wasn’t a die hard fan, but I love a series whether it be pages or on the screen, so reading this was inevitable.

This is one guest list to not be on! I loved the flow and narration of this book. I highly recommend.

I am glad I gave this book a chance. I thought it was going to be a rip off of The Giver of Stars. NOT. It is about a pack horse librarian, but the details are a very different story. If you enjoy a tale based in some historical context-give this a try.

This book was a deal and I very much enjoyed it.

I enjoyed this story….very curious tonsee hownit will translate to film.

Can’t go wrong with a classic title with British narration.

This was GOOD. Read it! Listen to it…gasp!!! I recommend to my book club and we selected it for our next meeting….that was almost a year ago. My huge hope is once we are living normally again we will get together and discuss this book, among any others we read in the time apart.

This selection was because I let my mini read the Twilight series and she discovered this book. I guess I was to busy reading other types of books to even realize she wrote this flipped Twilight. I actually enjoyed the story. We listened in the car during our rides to and from school. I love that my little reader and I can listen, discuss and share books!

I pray I never get amnesia….even to forget some aspects of this unreal year! This thriller was good and I enjoyed the narration.

These two books (above and below) were Hallmark like and perfect when I needed some sweet, happy endings.

Paperbacks

So, I have to say that I picked up a book much less than I thought this year. Maybe it was the stress of what this year brought or that I was loving Audible books. Whatever the reason it looks like I need to step out up in 2021 and read the titles that long to be read.

This was a juicy read. Might try another by this author.

I needed some small, chill but of information to digest. This book was perfect with coffee in the morning before I hit the distance learning/teaching.

This book was recommended by my yoga instructor. I love it. I love that it can be picked up, turn to any page and take in the message. There are short passages and passages that take about a minute to read, so essentially it is a noncommittal book. This was perfect for me this year. I didn’t have the mental focus to digest a full novel, so being able to really think or just not was a blessing on the page.

This is my current read. My plan was to finish it, but like everything this year….eghh. I want to keep reading it for fun and I wasn’t going to push myself. I think that has been a huge take away this year. I don’t have to. I don’t have put pressure on myself, especially when it comes to things I should be doing for enjoyment. I will get to this and when I do I’ll let you know how it was.

Until then, I will keep listening and reading what and when it suits me. 2021 is going to be what it will be. Hopefully it will be another healthy, safe and productive year. Read on friends!!!

Posted in Family Life

Falling Into The Past

I don’t know about you, but I have been looking forward to this long weekend.  The start of school has had so many mixed emotions.  I am so glad to be back, but I have needed some family time and fall foliage.  Fall is my favorite season and we definitely enjoyed what nature had to offer.

Normally we take the October weekend and go somewhere, but with things being less than normal we decided a short car trip was manageable. The drive was a cornucopia of colors.  We took a drive out to a museum and Colonial/Victorian  village.  We are a bit nerdy, so we like a little bit of history and since my mini me has never been we thought- why not!

It was incredibly therapeutic to be out and about enjoying some beautiful fall finds. We still had to be masked at points, but in moderation. It is sort of strange to think about how much has changed in a year. 

I was looking back at pics in my phone this week and I almost gave into the covid crankies. It started with looking for a cute fall pic for my work desktop.  I wanted to fire up my computer and see something uplifting.  I found many great pics and it got me thinking how this Columbus Day weekend was doing to be lack luster if I or we didn’t think of something to do. Something relaxing, new and manageable.

Luckily we settled on visiting the museum and had a very blessed day. Blessed with good weather. Blessed with low crowds.  Blessed with beautiful scenery.

We loved walking the lanes of the village. I think in better times there is more to be seen and more to do, but it was satisfying to explore something new as a family. We didn’t look at everything because we want to go back and we didn’t feel the pressure to see it all…like we do when we explore farther from home.

The gardens were so picturesque.  I can see why this is a popular wedding destination. It was very peaceful and there are multiple vignettes for a beautiful background. 

The staff was incredibly friendly. My hope is when we visit again there will be more staff to learn from and watch “living life” in the past.

The man inside was making real leather shoes.

Being out in the sunshine, no schedule, with my favorite people…perfect way to spend a October Saturday. We stopped in a house and in the kitchen was a woman dressed in period clothing  baking.  We found out that they make the bake good in the confectionery.  Of course we had to get something. I am not going to be able to sample it, but the maple bread looked delicious. I think it is cool that they aren’t just acting the part, the staff that is dressed in garb circa 1800 something, they are really doing functional jobs that sustain the museum.

Trying to be normal is some days harder than others. I am very thankful for this simple day. Being in nature with my favorite people checked the box for a fun holiday weekend.

This village visit also inspired a family movie night.  We watched M. Night Shymalan’s The Village. It’s October, gotta get a spooky movie or two in!

Posted in Yoga Life

Sunflower Yoga

I told you I was going to have one more summer yoga event to share. This sunflower yoga class was heavenly. It was hot and happy. Everyone there seemed to be so excited to be in the field.

Everyone was spaced out, of course, because social distancing is becoming the new normal. We decided to be in the front row. I think this was a fantastic idea because all we could see was the field ahead of us. No downward dogs to look at, just the sunshine and flowers.

This event has become an annual event for my yoga studio. I think this will become an annual event in my life. It was truly spectacular. I was super pumped to be there. I felt like I could push myself and go a little further. I think it was the magic that the space generated.

These are two women that are so supportive and pure sunshine to be around, so I was beyond thrilled when they were available to come to this event with me. Both are very new to yoga, you wouldn’t know it. They looked beautiful and kept up with a very flowy class. Doing things with people that fill my bucket is priceless.

After our class we were permitted to pick sunflowers from the field.

I love that there are different varieties of flowers to cut and enjoy. It was very relaxing to walk the rows and see the bees working their magic.

This just such a happy flower. When I see sunflowers I just think and feel summer. I am not ready for this summer to end. The weather has been beautiful. We have had a slower paced schedule and I’m not mad about that!

Don’t you love how tall these get?! I know being a petite person many things are taller than me, but this stroll among the flowers gave me an Alice in Wonderland vibe. It was definitely a golden evening.

I hope if you are ever able to experience something like this….you jump on it. I thought I might be a little nervous in the field as the sun was going down, but with good friends and all the magical vibes I had not one instance of stress. If you read my posts regularly, then you know it is my mission to be sure with who I am-fears and all, but never be to stubborn to try to be a bit brave.

Watching this sunset, as we made our way back to the car, was the cherry on top. Nothing but gratitude for nature, beautiful friends and myself. The summer of 2020 has been pure yoga magic.

Posted in Yoga Life

Plant Yoga

Plant themed yoga was a fabulous night out. Burning calories and plant shopping is a total win! This is my second special yoga night this summer. If you want to look back in my Yoga Life posts, you can read about Lavender Yoga. There is something about practicing in a beautiful place that gives all the zen like feels.

The location was very green and lush. I am getting used to outside locations for class. I wasn’t an outside yoga gal until covid forced my hand. I had ideas of what it would be like. I was certain last summer I would not like it, all the while people were flocking to outside summer classes. I was so wrong. I have pushed past the little ants that join me on my mat or anything that buzzes by. One thing hasn’t changed-I still do not love being hot, in the full sun with humidity. Thankfully there was a breeze to keep me cooler, because it was a tad warm in the sun. It felt good to be there.

How great is this!!! Sunglasses were totally necessary, but I noticed as I was flowing, the sun and heat were definitely helping my poses. I appreciated the boost.

My teacher is the best. I love how she keeps thinking of ways to support us and other local places. These special locations always offer more than just yoga. We get to flow and the location gets positive exposure. I had never been to this local greenhouse, so I was thrilled to shop someplace new.

This event allowed us to plant shop after class. Yes please! No one had to twist my arm to look at all the plant babies that need homes. I very much enjoyed talking and shopping with my yoga peeps. It seemed sort of normal…except for the mask on my face. This is still not a normal feeling or behavior, but trying to be positive. I try chewing minty gum, it helps me wear the mask and feel refreshed after class.

Shopping with plant minded gals was super easy.

There were so many beautiful plants and accessories to look at. Sorry no pictures, I was trying to be living in the moment. I was honestly having that awesome after class happy vibe, my phone was not a priority. I was very impressed with the pot selection. I often have trouble finding a pot I really like, but no problem this night. I have to pump the breaks and limit myself to the pot and plant I purchased. All the more reason to visit again.

I found this beauty and of course could not leave it. The pot is beyond pretty. The little succulent was a take away from attending the class. I have ZERO green thumbs when it comes to succulents. Crossing fingers and toes this little guy survives. I would love to report the succulents I bought in the winter are thriving, but sadly I can not.

I am not a quitter, so I will try again!

This new leaf baby is currently residing here in our living room. I figure it will be one of the first things I see in the morning and perfect to look at when I am working from the couch. The location could possibly change because I see a plant stand in my near future, just a few clicks away!

If you enjoyed this…stay tuned I have one more special event class to attend this summer!!!!