Monday, October 20, 2014


I wasn't kidding when I said I was open to guest posts for this series! Monica Fastenau, who writes at Consume Less Create More, was kind enough to take me up on my offer and write a beautiful piece for today's post.

Monica writes:

When I saw that Allie‘s theme for Write 31 Days was “Start Now, Improve Later,” I knew that it was something I needed to explore. This month, as well as writing my way through my own Write 31 Days series, I’m trying to start up an online business. These are words I never thought I would say—I’m not fond of the uncertainty of working for myself, and the vulnerability that it places on me. But since a recent unexpected job loss has left me working outside my home only three days, I knew I had to try it out.
As a perfectionist, I want to make sure that everything is perfectly planned and arranged before I get started, but I know that if I wait until then, I’ll never begin. There will never be a better time than now, I keep telling myself. I don’t have to know everything about being a sole proprietorship to start looking up the legal requirements. I don’t have to have a perfectly designed website to begin putting up informational pages that all start with “Under Construction!” I don’t have to launch a huge social media campaign, but I can start telling close friends and family about my plans.
My current goals are to have the rough draft of my website put up by the end of this month, and to be open for business by January. Of course, I’ll spend plenty of hours between now and then polishing, organizing, and researching the requirements of my new business—I want to be a consultant for people who need a little organizational help for their schedules, big events, or lives in general, and there are still a lot of decisions I need to explore with that. But I’m trying to remind myself to start now. I can always make things better—improve later—but I have to have something to improve, first. So here’s to taking the plunge, even when things seem confusing and plans are haphazard. Here’s to living more and worrying less. That’s my goal this month, and I hope it’ll carry over into the rest of my perfectionist life.

Monica  - thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on this topic and best of luck with your new online business! Here's to taking the plunge!
Monica's #write31days topic is 31 Days of Women Who Dare. I've been enlightened reading through her posts - check it out! If book reviews are your thing, she also writes at Newbery and Beyond. So, to recap, she writes two blogs, reads books, is starting a new business, is not falling off of this writing challenge like I apparently am, and also managed to write a post for my series. 
Thanks again, Monica!

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Our pantry is a hardworking space.

Because of its convenient location off of our kitchen/living/dining room (it's all one space), and proximity to our path as we dash out the door, it ends up holding more than just food. It stores not often used kitchen stuff, extra household supplies (toilet paper, hand soap, ammonia?), the huge Costco foil that won't fit in a drawer, file boxes for the kid's art and school papers, a file thing for receipts, coupons, papers that should really be filed elsewhere, my Bible study materials, and all the other crap that for some reason I'm showing you.

I love the pantry for it's ability to hold (and hide) things that would otherwise be cluttering up the table and counters. But, um, it was beyond out of control. Obviously.

I set the timer for 30 minutes (did you read yesterday's post? The FlyLady says to set a timer) and cleaned it up.

It was barely enough time, but I made it work. It's not perfect, but it's a lot better. No need to obsess, it does, after all, have doors.

Set a timer and go declutter a closet, cabinet, drawer, or some messy little space in your home. I'm not the only one hiding messes behind closed doors, right?

Wanna read more? Clicking this chalkboard will get you to the Day 1 post where there's an index of all the posts for the month.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


clear surfaces make me :)

Having a home that looks nice and functions smoothly doesn't come naturally to me. Without guidance, I would (and did) fluctuate between a home that's perfectly clean and tidy, or a home that's a hot mess. With the home in the hot mess state most of the time. No middle ground. I would spend a day organizing a completely out of sight area (bathroom cabinet, linen closet), while a huge mess sat in the rooms we actually lived in. When things were finally neat and clean, I was frustrated when it so quickly became unneatandclean.

Mess and stress. It's not how I wanted to live anymore. I was ready to start showing the home some respect. The pretty decor and hard earned DIY projects are wasted if things are a mess.

Somehow I found the FlyLady, and with her help I've improved my ways. She helps me figure out what to do, when to do it, where to put the stuff, and how to get the family helping. I don't do everything the FlyLady way. In fact, I don't even have to check in with her as often (read her emails.) But she's there if I need her, and some of her ideas have stuck with me. It's getting easier. 

Any other FlyLady followers out there? If you need help getting started in the cleanliness, tidiness, organizational sorta ways, she's your girl.

Yes, the house is looking better. But still don't call me a homemaker. I just don't like that word. ;)

For the other posts in the series, click the chalkboard. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Yes. I took 4 days off of my 31 day writing challenge. Go ahead, call the internet police! I was leaf peeping and spending time with family, loving every minute. Well, maybe not every minute of the long, rainy drive there. But the rest was great. 

I'm not throwing in the towel on this challenge yet. Today we're gettin' deep.

I'd love for you to pop over and read this article: Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Lives.

Here's a peek: 

A “fixed mindset” assumes that our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static givens which we can’t change in any meaningful way, and success is the affirmation of that inherent intelligence, an assessment of how those givens measure up against an equally fixed standard; striving for success and avoiding failure at all costs become a way of maintaining the sense of being smart or skilled. A “growth mindset,” on the other hand, thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities. Out of these two mindsets, which we manifest from a very early age, springs a great deal of our behavior, our relationship with success and failure in both professional and personal contexts, and ultimately our capacity for happiness.

This entire article is the fanciest possible, Stanford psychologist way of saying start now, improve later. Because you're capable of  doing the things you want if you believe you can! Don't try to be a perfectionist, and learn from your mistakes. (Don't accept my oversimplified summary - go read the article!)

So much is possible if you have a growth mindset. In school, career, love, life, everything. Thank goodness! Fascinating stuff.

Want more? Click the chalkboard to go to the index of all the posts in the series.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


Even Sir Charles sucked wind when he started Crossfit. Photo via my friends at CrossFit North Atlanta.

I used to work at a Crossfit gym. It was surprising the number of people who put off joining the gym because they planned to get in shape first. I get it, Crossfit sounds scary, and people don't want to be embarrassed by their out-of-shapeness. Or worse, injured.

The thing is, there's no way to prepare for Crossfit that's better than just doing it. The movements can be technical and the intensity is high. Time spent "trying to get in shape to start Crossfit" is time that would have been better spent just doing it and getting results. In fact, the people that planned to get in shape first rarely ever joined. They were waiting to be fit first. But hey, that's what gyms are for. They totally missed the point.

These people also underestimated one of the best aspects of Crossfit. In the midst of the suck of hard workouts is a supportive community. People will finish their workouts then stick around to cheer you on. Everyone struggles when they start, so they get it.

Don't try to get fit before joining the gym. 

You see this is about more than just the gym, right? Don't try to excel at something you've never tried. There's value in the struggle. And don't underestimate the community waiting to cheer you on when you decide to start.

Want more? I don't have any more pics of me and Tiny and Charles Barkley with our other workout buddies, but you can click the chalkboard to get to the index of all the posts in the #startnow series.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Fall is here! Jeans and layers and cooler temps, oh yeah!

If you did the closet cleanout with me back in the summer, did you tackle your fall/winter clothes, too? If not, now's the time!

Today I moved my summer only clothes out of the way. I even put a few of them on notice as I did it. They probably won't come back out next season, but I'll hang on just in case my budget in 6 months doesn't allow for replacing them right away.

I brought my fall clothes out, front and center. It's fun to get clothes out that I haven't worn in 6 months or so. They feel all shiny new again!

It's also time to toss some old stuff. I let go of a few summer things that I didn't wear all season, and tossed a few fall things that were ready for retirement.

The change of seasons is the perfect time to take a look and ask the important questions:

Do I like it?
Does it fit and flatter right now?
Is it in good condition?
Will I wear it?

Take stock of what's left and where you have holes. Here are some tips on how to fill the gaps in your wardrobe.

The more I do the closet cleanout thing, the easier it gets.

Wanna read more? Clicking this chalkboard will get you to the Day 1 post where there's an index of all the posts for the month.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Any perfectionists out there who want to #startnow? Try something that's fun and low risk...what do you have to lose?

Here we go...

One day I was thrifting and found this for $2.

I have no idea what it is, other than someones DIY discard. Or dare I say DIY disaster? But it's a 24 x 36 inch canvas, which you can't otherwise buy for $2.

I first planned do a DIY word art project with it, but before that happened, inspiration hit to change up this table vignette. Repainting this weird thing to hang over the table was part of my plan.

I decide to use this Easy Abstract Art tutorial as my guide. 

Now, what colors? The whole problem with the previous table vignette is that the colors weren't working right. I wanted to pull together the colors from a nearby painting (red and navy) as well as the turquoise and orange accents I have going on in my house.

Uh, red, navy, turquoise and orange sounds like another DIY disaster in the making. I popped over to Design Seeds to find a palette that includes some of the colors I need. I cannot be trusted to pick out paint colors without guidance.

Cool, I wasn't sure that was going to work. Design Seeds saves the day. Now off to WalMart for cheap craft paint.

I matched the Design Seeds palette as closely as is possible with 50 cent paints. That's about $6 worth of paint. Don't try to do the math.

Now for the fun part! My only tools were a paintbrush and a some putty knives. First I painted a coat of white over the whole canvas. 

Here I am with the fanciest painting tools in the world trying to match up the orange from the palette, and then deciding that orange plus a little white would be just fine.

I painted orange all around the edges. At this point I'm flipping back and forth between the abstract art tutorial and the design seeds palette wishing I knew what I was doing. 

I smeared some gray around at the top. The putty knife was great for smearing one paint over another (dry) color while allowing some of the underneath color to show through. 

Right. Apparently I stopped taking step-by-step pictures. I think there for a minute I lost faith that this would turn out. I layered colors over colors, still loosely following the tutorial, but with different colors. When I didn't like a color, I added another color over it. Either spread on with the putty knife or mixed with water and applied with the brush. I'm taking the liberty of calling this paint plus water technique a "glaze". When the turquoise was too bright, I painted a gray glaze over it. You can see it towards the top of the stripe.

I added in some touches of white. I did that around the edges, in a few streaks across the middle, and in some of the spots where different colors touched. I applied the white with the edges of the putty knife. Sometimes I left it in a line and sometimes I spread it out with the putty knife. 

Then I applied a gray glaze (again, paint plus water, more water than paint) over the whole thing. I had a wet paper towel handy to wipe it off in some spots. 

Here it is in it's new home. I don't think I'm missing my calling as an artist or anything, but appreciate having $8 custom wall art. This was so fun, I can't wait to try it again!

What fun project are you going to try?

Thanks for reading! Click the chalkboard to go to the index of all the posts in the series.

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