January 2019 Favorites

It’s hard to believe that January is done.  It’s been a difficult month for me and for what I understand it’s been a difficult month for many.  I’m not sure what’s going on but the planets need to align quickly or I’m going to fully run out of energy before the end of February.  Another month like this one and I will go into hiding and not come out until it’s safe out here.

There are some things that stood out for me this month and because I like sharing what makes me more productive, organized or just plain happy, I thought I’d share those with you.  Let’s make this a thing.  At the end of every month I will share a few things that made me happy, productive or even just happy.  If at all possible I’ll insert links and hopefully have some pictures to make it more visually pleasing for you.  Who wants to just read? Right?

So I’m thinking types of things I’m thinking about are:  Music (there may not be a lot of these since my music tastes vary so much); Movies (mostly what I’ve watched on my Apple TV which is a favorite of mine and makes me happy and not so productive); Netflix or Amazon (mostly series that I binge on); Technology (I’m a huge fan of technology and use it as much as possible); Books I’m reading or have read; YouTube (I enjoy spending/wasting my time watching YouTube); and planner related things (these can be sticker shops, planners in general or how I’m planning and why)

Let’s get this started:

Music

The month of January was all about listening to things that gave me comfort and peace and allowed me to just be present.  Being present was a topic that kept coming up for me this month.  Everywhere I looked it felt like the universe kept telling me that I need to be more present.  Since my brain doesn’t really understand what being present really means I’ve been trying to learn more about it.  So, music that is calming and has no words helps because with no words then I’m not tempted to let my brain wonder and thing about what the lyrics are making me feel.  I prefer to concentrate on what I’m feeling at that moment.  I think that is what “being present” means.  Feel the moment.

I’ve been listening to mostly classical music.  Mostly violin.  I know BORiNG!!!!!! but …. get over it.  the next few topics may be more interesting.  This one … yeah I get it.  Not for everyone.  Why did I chose to start with this one?

Moving on

Movies

Again, another dud.  I didn’t watch any movies this month.  I’ve spent some time binging on Amazon Prime so moving on to the next topic.

Netflix/Amazon Prime

Here’s a good one. Finally!  In January, Actually I started in December but finished binging in January so I’ll count this one.  I finished The Marvelous Mrs. Meisel

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Set in the 50s and 60s I first fell in love with the fashion and the looks.  I’ve always been fascinated by this era when women were women and a different type of powerful.  This may be a topic for a different post but I truly believe that women’s power is much more different than men and that’s why we’re are complimentary to each other.  Anyway, although the fashion brought me to watch it, the story line kept me hooked and I spent many a weekend glued to Amazon Prime watching episode after episode.  I even went as far as looking up clothing that I could wear that would sort of kind’a look like that.  I liked the humor and the drama and I totally recommend it.  I can’t wait for the next season to start.

Technology

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I’m not sure how many of you know but I have a very long commute to work.  Most of the time on the train I like to listen to podcasts and/or books.  Sometimes music but I prefer to do more productive things.  Music on the train is reserved for when I want to fall asleep and forget that I have to be in that same position crowded by a million people for almost 2 hours.  Also, if any of you have been on the trains and/or subways in New York City you know that protecting your hearing from the craziness that happens outside your own head is probably one of the most important things.  Most of us wear headphones so we can block that stuff.  I have a set of the regular pods from Apple and they work fine.  I don’t like the wire which in the winter (again if you ever had to maneuver a bag, a huge coat hats and gloves and have a wire hanging can be a pain); I also have a set of noise blocking bluetooth headset but the problem with this one is that it blocks the noise extremely well.  Again, walking in the City or even being on the train, I want to block unwanted chatter but I also want to be able to hear and be aware of my surroundings.

For my birthday, at the start of the month, my husband gifted me a set of Apple AirPods.  Those little things are amazing.  I absolutely love them.  I can wear both of them and cut out most of the outside stimuli or I can wear just one pod and be more aware.  They are not as noise canceling as the headphones I have and that’s the point.  I don’t want them to be.  They stay charged for a very long time because the case is also a charging station and when you put the AirPods in the case they charge.  They automatically turn on as soon as you put them in your ears and if you take one out of your ear they stop playing.  Amazing, right?  It’s a little magical thing that happens.  The AirPods know when they’re inside your ear.

I was afraid that they would fall out but they don’t.  Perhaps because they are not attached to the chord hanging down so there’s nothing to weigh them down and because they are so small you can still wear a hat when it’s cold outside.  If you live in the Northeast you know what type of cold I’m talking about……. It’s 5 degrees outside right now without the windchill …..

Anyway, I’ve been loving these two little pods and I can’t remember how I lived without them for so long.

Book

One of the things I’ve been trying to learn and hopefully do is start a YouTube channel in 2019.  I’ve been playing around lately but I’m sooooooo bad at it.  I’m not even ready to tell you what the name of the channel is.  It’s really horrible.  So I want to learn how to film, edit and post.  The plan is to also place some videos here and also on YouTube and to discuss basically the same things I discuss here.  I also want to film planner videos.  I enjoy planning my weeks with stickers which then turns the planner into a memory keeper thing that I can look back and see where I was and who I was.  Sometimes I write thoughts in my planner but most of the time it keeps me grounded and productive.

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Anyway, I want to learn all the things and be somewhat good at it before launch…. no launch date yet.  I’ll let you know when.

I decided to buy Vlog Like a Boss and have been listening to it on Audible on my way to and from work.  I’m really enjoying the book.  Amy Schmittauer, the author, has been on YouTube for a very long time and I’ve followed her channel for a number of years now.

In the book she discusses how to set up a channel and how to present yourself in the best light.  She’s a guru on productivity and setting up companies and people like me and you on branding themselves on video.

I’m not going to do a review of the book here because I’m not even half way done with the book.  I want to finish it so I can give it justice.  For now I will say that I am really enjoying it and as of right now I totally recommend it to anyone thinking about having a presence on video/online.

Planner Related

I think I said this above.  I enjoy planning with stickers.  I know…. stickers are mostly for kids.  I thought that too just a few months ago.  However, right now I’m really enjoying the look of stickers in my planner.  They make me happy to look at.  Can planning be done without stickers?  Yes, of course.  It can and in some instances it probably should.  I have no stickers in my work planner/notebook.  My everyday life planner is full of pretty stickers.  It’s my planner and I’ll do with it whatever I want to.  If you thing that’s nutty, then just move on 🙂

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Yep…. the above is a shot of all the stickers that I printed.  Yep, I printed.  I have discovered that I can save a few bucks…. quiet a few …. if I just print the stickers myself.  Not only can I save a few bucks but I can have instant gratification…. who doesn’t love instant gratification?  I don’t have to wait for someone to send me the stickers and worst of all, by the time I get the stickers I no longer want to use them because things have changed.  By printing my stickers I am able to, on the day I need to plan my week I can go searching for a kit that speaks to me and immediately start planning.

I am really enjoying the sticker paper that I purchased this time because it’s removable.  That means that if plans change I can move the sticker and not rip up my pages.  We all know that plans change all the time.

My favorite stickers to buy are from OnlineLabels.com.

They have a huge variety of labels but the ones I ordered and have been using are OL_177WR Removable White Matte.  They come in a whole 8.5 X 11 Sheet which I can use in my printer.  I like the matte better than glossy because I can use any pen.  If you’re going to write on the labels (and of course if you’re planning you will be writing on the labels) and you’re using a glossy sticker you will have to use a permanent marker.  I don’t know about you but I don’t normally use markers in my day to day so I prefer the matte where I can use whatever pen is at my disposal at the moment.  More often than not I use a Pilot Frixion in a .5 *the pen is erasable which also makes it easy to change appointments if I have to.

so there you have it.  My favorite things in January of 2019.  What are your favorite things?  Do you enjoy these posts?  I am thinking that maybe I can also add other categories….. hmmm teas I’m drinking, coffee I’m enjoying?  what do you think?

Thanks for hanging with me.  I’ll be back next week with another post.  I think I will be doing something on what worked for me the month of January and what didn’t work as well as habits I want to start and habits I want to keep.  Maybe even habits I want to stop.  I have a few ideas.  Just have to figure out how to best present it.

also, stay tuned for the video situation.  I have so much to learn…. time to get my day started.

XoXo

 

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Home Body and Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines

Every year for Christmas I get one or two books from my sister in law who knows how much I love books.  This year she gave me two Joanna Gaines’ books “Home Body” and “The Magnolia Table.”  I can’t tell you how happy I was to see those two under the tree this year.  Yeah I got jewelry and other stuff too but the gifts that made me the happiest were these two.  I couldn’t wait to sit down on the couch and browse through the pages of both.

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Out of the two Home Body is the one I’m most excited about.  I can’t wait to put some of her decorating advice to work here in Camelot.  One of my goals this year is to make this home a place where DrP and I can relax and leave the craziness outside.  Where peace rules and where everyone feels comfortable.

The book is huge….. literally huge.  I have a hard time sitting on the couch and reading it. If I have one complaint about it that would be it.

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Magnolia Table was already been put to use.  This past weekend I made a chicken pot pie – Ok maybe it wasn’t exactly the pot pie Joanna would have approved of (I forgot to buy the biscuit and didn’t have the ingredients to make her famous biscuits).  It was mostly the filling for the pot pie but it was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!! I still have some in the refrigerator and am looking forward to having it for lunch today.

I can’t wait to try more of the recipes and become a pro – – Ok a semi-pro at home decorating.  I promise to come back here and tell you about these two beauties that my amazing sister in law left under my tree.

Hope you all had an amazing Christmas.  Wishing you all an awesome 2019 and I hope to see you here again.

XoXo

Ana

 

Can We Really Have it All

The car should be here any minute.  Today I’m traveling for work and I couldn’t be more annoyed about it.  With the holidays approaching and the recent decision that Thanksgiving is going to be in Camelot, the amount of things to get ready for is a bit overwhelming.  We are both super busy at work and as if that wasn’t enough, the in-laws will be arriving the day before the holiday.  There’s a table to get ready, make sure all platters are set up and counted for dishes and Camelot needs a good cleaning.  Going away is going to slow things down quit a bit.

I worked from home yesterday so I could get my bag packed and the house in order for my being away.  Work has been so hectic that at 6:00 p.m. I was still sitting in front of the computer, I had not gone to the bank and I still had not packed one single piece of clothing.  I’m not sure how one person can ever have this much time.  I am being reminded of the saying that women can have it all.  I’m not sure I want to have it all and honestly, I’m not even sure that is totally possible.  Have it all, how?  at what cost?  Am I just slower and less able than other women who seem to have it all?  How many are getting it all done?  Is my all so much more than others?

The trouble is that in getting one thing we must give up on something or someone else.  When we do that, are we telling that something or someone that they are not as important?  Worst yet, are we telling ourselves that we are, in fact, not able to have it all?  That in order to have one thing this minute that other thing or person must take a backseat until we have time?  Isn’t that the exact definition of not being able to have it all?  If you have to decide when you can have one thing or the other aren’t you by definition saying that you can’t have it all?

So, here I am.  I’m thinking in order to have it all, maybe we have to pick those “alls” that compliment each other.  Perhaps having it all means, having it all as long as they are in the same categories.  Having it all at work – being a great leader, being a great researcher, getting the promotions…. etc. and then there is the getting it all in other areas of our lives…. I’m going to use home for example.  Having a clean house, a cooked meal for the family, the house ready for guests, the time to do that one special thing that you know they enjoy, the birthday card written out and mailed on time, all the bills paid and ready to go, the checkbook balanced and the laundry done.

I look around at the women where I work who seem to have it all.  They have amazing clothes, they have the coveted office in the corner with the best views (I work in law, so those old fashioned things are still very important), they have the time to get their nails and hair done on a regular basis and don’t have to give up their weekends to do it.  Those women seem to be the ones telling me that I need to be better at prioritizing so that I can have it all.  But…. Prioritizing what?  How do I do that when the two places where I am needed or where I feel needed are in two different places?  How can I be making sure my house is organized and ready for the holidays when I have to get on a plane and travel for business just before the holidays?  Yes, H can handle it, but he also has to go to work.  This is where normally I’m told that I have to be better at time management.  Ohhh ok…. so maybe that’s it.  Maybe I’m just not that great at managing my time.  This is where I start getting angry.  Perhaps I should have started planning for the holiday and cleaning the house in the Summer when I had my one week vacation.  My time to relax should have been spent cleaning and cooking for the Thanksgiving Holiday…. Ohhh wait, the house would have been dirty by November and food would have spoiled.  So wait…. that’s not it.  Time management in this instance doesn’t work.

I truly believe that our grandparents had it right.  Women can, in fact, have it all and marriage is absolutely a partnership where each party to the partnership is responsible for one of the processes to make the partnership work.  Women were successful as household CEOs because they didn’t have to go out of the house for the entire day and spend their brain power and decision making powers on something unrelated to their “career” and men were successful because they didn’t have to worry about anything else besides bringing home the money to keep the household running smooth.  I am not saying that the roles can’t be reversed but a partnership means that each member of the partnership has a job to do and each one of them plays to their strengths.  Men can very well be the household CEOs while the woman can very well go out and bring home the finances so that the household can run.  I am also not saying that a partnership needs to be a man and a woman.  What I am saying is that a partnership needs to have people in place who are good at what they do and are given the opportunity and, dare I say, the liberty to do that 100%.

Now I know that this is going to be a very contentious post and I am pretty sure that this is going to probably bring a whole lot of bad comments or disagreements.  Personally, I am not particularly worried about that.  I am merely stating my thoughts and my feelings.  I know that personally, this is what I believe.  I do much better when my energy is not being spent trying to be great at a variety of things.  I much prefer being awesome at one thing than just ok at a variety of things.  Again, that’s just me.  I’m sure that there are some of you who are ok with doing all the jobs and I’m also aware that there are many of you who have no choice.  If that is the case, I’m really sorry and I wish things could be different.

So…… give me your best shot.  I would love to hear how you feel about this.  Are you someone who thrives on doing it all?

See you all soon, hopefully.

Ana

 

 

 

 

Becoming a CEO

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What a week! Who knew that being on a staycation could change one’s life in such huge ways?  If you read my previous post…. if you didn’t you should go back and read it here …. I’ll wait….. ok let’s move on.  Today is Sunday and I have been making lots of plans all week.  Nope, not the plans that one makes when they are getting ready to get back in the rat race.  Not the plans that one makes when they are getting ready to go back to work all rejuvenated and ready to tackle the latest meeting or conference call or the latest project and eventually use that to get promoted or get a raise.  Nope, neither of those.  My plans this week have been a whole lot different from the other times when my vacations or staycations, as is the case here, are coming to an end.

Earlier this week I cried.  A whole lot.  I came to the realization that what I’ve worked so hard for is not what want anymore.  It sort of feels like a waste of my time.  I should have been working towards something a bit more permanent but who knew I would arrive at this place in my life?  Someone should have told me or given me a life manual.  I would have been more productive with my time these past 50+ years.

After I dried my tears on November 1st, I decided to pull up my big girl panties and start the process of redirecting my life, and in the process my family’s life, in the new and very scary yet exciting direction.  I am going to quit working and I’m giving our family six months to get ready for it.  On November 1st after my mini-nervous breakdown (being dramatic) I told my husband that I can no longer play this dual role.  I no longer have the temperament to care what happens in the race.

This rat is done and no longer wants to cross the finish line before everyone else.  It doesn’t matter anymore… Not to me.

So the plan is to give our family of two 6 months to make the transition to becoming a one income family and me becoming a full time housewife.   I’ve even come up with a title for myself and I’ve started to put things in place to prepare us for it.

I will call myself CEO of Camelot.

We are both super scared, albeit for completely different reasons.  He’s afraid that our lifestyle will not be able to go from a two income family to a one income family;  I am feeling guilty to be putting the financial burden of Camelot solely on him.  However, I think we both agree that in order for me to remain sane (debatable that I am sane at all) and for me to feel fulfilled and happy this transition needs to happen.  You know what they say, “Happy wife, happy life.”  I think that secretly he’s hoping I will change my mind but I am pretty sure that’s not going to happen.  Not this time!

We have been married for 25 years, no children.   Through our entire marriage we have both worked full time and have built pretty good careers.  We have both been responsible for all that comes with renting or owning a home.  We have shared everything, house cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, home repairs, decorating… EVERYTHING.   It’s always been a 50-50 partnership, financial and otherwise.  Besides bill paying which is something I do and mowing the lawn there really aren’t any home related tasks that are his or hers.  We instinctively know who is going to do what and we work things around both our schedules and abilities.

This is a really scary time for both of us.  I will also admit that I am worried about finances.  I certainly am not looking forward to giving up my very comfortable life and I’m hoping I don’t have to.  We will have to cut down on some things but I’m hoping that my being home to handle all the things that come up will lighten the stress of it all.  Camelot will be a happier place when I have the time and the energy go pour 100% of myself into it.  When I don’t have to figure out which part of me needs more of my time.  All of my time will be used up on making our family happy, healthy and comfortable.   At this point in my life that is the challenge I want to take on and that is the goal I want to achieve.

See you on my next post

Ana

 

 

When Priorities Shift

It doesn’t feel that long ago (actually, just last week) that I would have done anything or almost anything to be promoted.  To get that new title and to be that high powered (or whatever the word is these days) person at the office.  The compliments from colleagues seemed to justify all the hard work, the hours I put in, the weekends when laundry didn’t get done, the house was a mess and dinner was just something I sometimes thought about.  Lucky for me H is a very understanding person and pretty self-sufficient so most nights he would just figure out what to eat and he never said anything about the dust bunnies all over the house or the kitchen floor that didn’t get cleaned.  He understood that career was probably more important than anything else for me.

I have been on a staycation for the past couple of days.  Monday I checked email a few times and spent most of the day cleaning and organizing my closet.  On Tuesday, I will be honest….. I did absolutely nothing but watch YouTube and Netflix…… New show I’m completely addicted to……. “Designated Survivor”….. Go check it out and let me know what you think.  Yesterday, Wednesday, I spent most of the day creating a comfortable home.  I went grocery shopping, Target, Joanne’s and I bought all things Fall.  I set up flowers at my kitchen table, I mopped the kitchen floor, I put a few pictures in frames and placed them around the house and I decorated the front hallway and got it ready for trick-or-treaters.  I even baked halloween cupcakes for my husband and made sweet and sour shrimp for dinner.  Yesterday was an amazing day.  I could not have been happier.  It was as if I had found what I was truly meant to be doing.  This is not a new feeling.  I have felt the the same other times when I have stayed home for an extended period of time.  However, somehow, as familiar as yesterday felt to me there was an element of newness.

As it’s always the norm when I’m on vacation/staycation I check my work email a few times a day.  At some point yesterday, after my shopping and happy homemaker bliss, I opened up my work email and was faced with an email that in the past would have made me angry.  I’m not going to deny that I felt a bit of disappointment, but this time it was different.  It’s as if the earth shifted.  I started to respond but immediately deleted it.  “It’s not important anymore” I said to myself.  It’s like I no longer care about being outwardly recognized.  It doesn’t matter to me if I have 2 direct reports or 6 direct reports.  In the span of one day my priorities completely shifted.  As I was deleting my response to the email a little voice inside me quietly said; “you have bigger things to do with your time.”  I have heard that little voice speak on other occasions but the difference is that this time I believed it and didn’t attempt to keep it quiet.  I DO have much more important things to do.  Somehow, this week, work became secondary or even last to everything else.  The career I have worked so hard for has somehow become unimportant and only a means to an end.  Work is no longer a priority in my life!

So what did that voice mean when it said I have bigger things to do with my life?  In 2018, I set two goals for myself (among others) One was to start a non-profit to help girls overcome obstacles.  To help girls understand that losing a battle does not mean that the whole war is lost and that everyone, with a little bit or a lot of work, can pull themselves out of a bad situation; to teach girls that everyone has someone who will extend a hand; that sometimes things look really dark but that’s just before the “sun comes up.”  The other goals was to be a better wife, friend, sister and neighbor.  I am not saying that I was bad at any of these things but I wanted to give more and be more in those areas.  I didn’t realize either of these goals because I kept telling myself that I was so busy.  However, something clicked this week.  As I sat in my kitchen writing my to do list I realized that I have just a few short months this year and if I’m going to make a dent in those goals I need to figure out what I need to let go of in order to make room for what is important.  I think this thought empowered the little voice because it spoke up again “work is no longer serving the same purpose it did before.”

I still need my job and I still want to be good at my job.  That has not changed at all.  It’s the rat-race that I’m ready to give up.  Now, don’t assume that I’m saying that that this is how everyone should be feeling.  We are all at different places in our lives and some of us will continue to push through and get those promotions and make it to the big window office in the corner.  I’m just saying that this week my priorities have shifted and  I am no longer willing to do what it takes to get to that place because to me that place is no longer a goal.  It’s as if this week while I wasn’t looking two roads appeared before me and I decided to go in a different direction.  I’m excited for all the possibilities.  I’m excited to see where it takes me and those around me.

Love

Ana

Why a Blog?

Perhaps there is a reason why I’m starting this blog today.  Halloween has always been the beginning of one of my favorite seasons — Fall.  The leaves on the trees are the perfect shades of red and yellow, the air is crisp and everything smells like cinnamon and apples (not my favorite fruit but my favorite scent).  A cup of coffee or tea always tastes better in the fall and sitting outside all bundled up in the morning with a warm drink is perhaps the best time of the day.  Not that I stay outside for long, I don’t particularly like the cold but I do like that no-one else is out and the quiet is deafening.

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This is Camelot

While sitting outside with the dogs and my morning cup of coffee I began to feel angry.  Angry because my staycation was coming to an end and that in a few short days I would not be able to sit outside as the sun came up with my cup of coffee every day.  Soon I would have to be all dressed up, ready for work, sitting on a crowded train with other commuters.  Angry that I haven’t accomplished everything on my to do list and angry that I was getting angry which was going to impact my enjoyment of the next couple of days.  Most of all I was getting angry because as hard as I work, both at home and in my career, I still don’t feel that I have accomplished anything.  I began to think that, if I feel this way others are probably feeling the same way and since misery loves company maybe I can find others to be miserable with.  Don’t get me wrong.  Most of the time I think my life is amazing.  I have everything I can ever want.  It’s the extra stuff that seems to be the point of contention.

So, why this blog.  Well, H and I moved to Camelot in 1993 and since then we have been working hard at getting things repaired in the house, entertaining family for holidays and building our careers.  You would think that at fifty the careers have been built but I’m here to tell you that’s not always the case.  We live in an ever changing world and if you stop you will be left behind.  Sometimes it feels that we are always either repairing something that broke, maintain things so that they don’t break and getting up at dawn only to work a full day and come home exhausted at night to start the madness all over again.  On weekends, we are both playing catch up with the rest of our lives, either visiting friends or cleaning up after a crazy week at the office which left us both with no time to maintain the yard or dust the living room, wash the kitchen floors or do laundry.

As I sat outside this morning with my cup of coffee while the dogs ran around the yard I thought about creating a community.  A place where anyone can come to and find a not so perfect person living a not so perfect life.  This blog is being created as a way to help me (yes, being selfish here) but if it can also of help to others then that will be the icing on the cake.  So here you will find my successes and failures; No filters will be added.  I will discuss books, cooking, career, clothes, home decoration, finances, movies and television shows, podcasts, planning, restaurants, family issues, anything and everything that happens in Camelot.  I know that if it’s happening in Camelot, most likely it’s happening somewhere else.  I hope you come back to visit.

Thanks for reading

Ana