Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I'm not a born minimalist but truly I've come a long way in the last year...the great declutter of 2010/11 has (sort of) morphed into an entire life philosophy and in these last 8 weeks before baby no.2 I'm determined to simplify to the max (hmmm...that might be an oxymoron?)...Since you lovely readers are such founts of wisdom I want to know what are your tools for living an easier lifestyle? where do you cut corners? ways you try to be more present, less scattered?
Here are a few things I've incorporated and a few things that need a bit of work...
1) I've finally learned to write EVERYTHING down...if it's not on the list it just doesn't happen (getting it to happen in a timely fashion is another story all together though...
2) Delegate & hire - heck, if I could afford it I would pay someone to take care of practically anything and it is, the absolute best thing I spend money on is having someone clean my house (yes, I know, roll your eyes - I pay someone to clean my tiny bungalow). Honestly I would rather not buy clothes for a year than give up coming home Friday afternoon to a sparkling home that I didn't touch...also, hiring a lovely assistant for my store to take care of the nuts and bolts has been a if I could only find someone to cook dinner every night I'd be set!
3) Declutter, declutter, declutter - I'm only about 40% there...but anything that hasn't been used in the past 2 years is donated, sold, or disposed of...and I love Joslyn's new 5 year theory for aquisitions
4) Shop online -,, Amazon...seriously, it takes far less time to reach my doorstep than for me to make that Target run (and far more pleasant experience!)
5) Socially Decompress - with twitter, facebook, blogs, email, cell phones, etc sometimes you don't even have to get out of bed to have a stressful encounter with someone...lately I've cleaned up my social network...Anytime I feel annoyed by someone on facebook I simply "hide all", blogs that make me feel icky - unsubscribe...I have a hard enough time returning emails and calls to people I truly love without spending time perusing things that don't make me feel good - and since the internet is endless there's always something new to discover and be inspired by!

Okay, here's what I need help with:
1) I'm still stuck in meal planning hell - and I take WAYYYY too many trips to the grocery store...4:00 "what am I making for dinner?" is the bane of my existence...thinking of checking out a grocery delivery service post baby? thoughts? and do I sign up for a CSA this year or is the sight of veggies going to waste in the midst of newborn crazies going to give me a complex? (is it wrong that I secretly love winter because I don't feel guilty about using frozen?)
2) I need a better blog schedule - most mornings I blearily turn on my computer, try to think of something inspiring and end up wasting a couple of hours searching for that perfect would be great if I could break it up into daily features (like some other bloggers that I do my best to copy)...I know I've asked before but what do you love here? what do you loathe( ahem...these longer think pieces?)? I know I need to get back to Everyday Obsessions on a weekly basis but what else?
3) Better preschooler managing skillz - why is getting my daughter dressed and somewhere the most stressful part of my day? any tips? My frined told me about a parent that dresses her kids before they go to sleep and then she doesn't have to deal with it in the morning - extreme or practical? Does anyone else have a child who would rather stay home all day? help!!

Okay - this post is becoming as cluttered as my basement - back to short & sweet tomorrow...
and luckily I can make today's Recipe Exchange offering without a trip to the co-op... Dyan of Passion Foodie's Mango & Avocado Salad  looks amazingly delicious and easy...thanks lady! 
xoxo, M

ps - I just added in new Stewart + Brown to the shop! It's a great little collection of pieces that would take you from resort through spring and into summer!
pps - Estelle has great piece over on Huff Post about chemicals in your cosmetics - ack! - another example of why simple is best, no?


  1. this made me feel good..thank you..i have been so overwhelmed i can't deal with much so i start random unfinished projects around the house, get more overwhelmed and go for a walk..
    i like ur motto...simplify!

  2. Ah, big thanks for the shout out, Michelle. You are the best!

    So, I have a few thoughts and suggestions. NO MORE GUILT. Period. Over anything that makes your life easier. i.e. the weekly house cleaner. Cancel the CSA until the baby starts sleeping more than 4 hours at a stretch. You do not need that kind of pressure. Meal plan. The only thing that has worked for me - and you know this has been a tough one - has been making my meal list on Friday evening, then the grocery list, and then doing the shopping on Saturday or Sunday for the week. You can do this. I have a few other thoughts that I'm going to email you with later today. Hang in there. You're in the final stretch, mama.

  3. I love these long posts...I love the interiors and style photos that you post...I love the authenticity in your writing....I love that you are trying to de-clutter too - as I am obsessed with it at the moment - really convinced there is magic to it - makes me feel so good when I do it.. I love that you want to be more present - am struggling with that one - but again, convinced of its power for good in my life.
    I love your taste - you always post great links..
    emm can't think of anymore for the moment...but basically this is one of my favourite blogs.. thank you for doing it and sharing
    Therese x

  4. Heading over to read Estelle's post...and then I will probably purge my makeup bag! LOL!
    We are two gals on a similar mission. Every spring is purge time at the Casa C. I could use some tips of my own so I will anxiously see what everyone else is sharing! I agree on the delegation piece. The year I had my son, Hubby was working full time, going to school full time and working an internship part-time. I was starting a new job. It was a nightmare. I hired someone to clean the house, mow the lawn, walk the dogs. I even hired someone to scoop the dog-doo!
    I agree with Estelle. There is no way I can make it to the store after work and get dinner on the table. I plan my menu for the week on Saturday and shop and prep produce on Sunday. I wouldn't worry about the CSA for now. If the mood moves you and you are rested, hit up the local farmer's market.
    My suggestion for getting your pre-K tot dressed? CHOICES! CHOICES! CHOICES! Most battles go down because they want to be the boss. So with my tot it usually goes like this: You have a choice! Do you want to wear the truck shirt or the green shirt? You choose the truck shirt. It's time to get dressed. Would you like to get dressed in your room or in Momma's room? You choose your room. Shirt first or pants? You choose pants!
    See where I am going? Sounds tedious but choices encourage cooperation. I promise!
    On another note? You are a strong and fabulous mama! You are a rockstar! So excited for your new little one.

  5. I feel you. I'm always trying to find ways to make life simpler. i really wish there was a big red "easy" button i could push...

    btw... those heath mugs are amazing. I got a set of 4 and I use them everyday.

  6. I feel ya...don't be hard on yourself! It sounds like you are doing great!!! As for meal planning I have heard from a few people that relish meal planning is great! And hopefully Some sweet friends will help you. That was the best after having my second.

    Ugh...preschooler dressing. Nighmare. I try to ambush E as soon as she gets out of bed, while groggy, and throw on the clothes I picked out the night before.

    Oh and your blog rocks, cluttered post and all!

  7. Okay, I have way too much to say here, and only a little time- so for now, I'll just say- I tried the huevos rancheros last night! Mmmmmmmmm. As good as it looked.

    Love your post... more later (don't worry- I won't write thaaaaaat much =).

  8. Wow, I think you sound pretty organized already! You sound like you are doing an awesome job of getting your ducks in a row before the new bebe is born. Don't worry if you can't get everything accomplished...go easy on yourself. As for your questions, no guilt if you cancel the CSA. It's sometimes hard to use all the veggies when you have a newborn (believe me, I speak from experience). Menu planning can be a little more challenging, too; you need to look for recipes that have your ingredients & you don't necessarily know what you will get in your CSA box when you are meal planning. You can go back to the CSA when you have a little more time! As for preschool moodiness, it totally kids all went through it and it drove me crazy. To tell you the truth, I can't remember how we weathered it, but thankfully it passes. :) I just try to remember to try to ride the waves as best I can...

  9. I like these longer, text-heavy posts. Your style is personal, so they're interesting to read. I'd say that in general my favorite posts of yours relate to your life. In the spirit of keeping it simple, I'll leave it at that!

  10. i like that you're simplifying. i'm doing that now too in prep for moving. nothing like an episode of hoarders to keep the motivation going.

    re: getting L dressed. if she's driving you nuts for getting dressed, than why not dress her in her day clothes for bed? i've done it with my own life before. i wanted to be AT the gym at 5:30 AM, so i went to bed in my gym clothes. an extra 5 minutes of sleep right there! i just rolled out of bed, grabbed my gym, a banana, my keys, and i was out the door.

    re: meal planning. just read about relish on thought about trying it. not sure. here's the link to the blog post.

    re: socializing. i have a love hate relationship with social networking. hadn't really thought about the "hide all" option instead of defriending. i've never defriended someone, but often wish i had the courage too.

    good luck!

  11. i think you're rockin it lady...and i second the other comments on giving L a couple of outfit choices and letting her pick before school...

    that said, i'm no expert in this area, as both of my girlies had world-class EPIC meltdowns this morning over clothes. It was really quite something ;-)

    and for the record i love the long, thoughful posts...

  12. Hey there (again)! So...

    {numbering- in an effort to simpli-fi this comment.

    1) As you can probably tell (with all of my "oh, I'll make that tonight" comments), I've totally gotten away from menu planning. But what I have started doing is majorly stocking up on fruit and vegetables, so that I'll have to use/eat/incorporate them throughout the week. And it's worked. We are back to eating a ton of fruit & vegetables- fresh or frozen. (Jillian says frozen can be better in many cases... "frozen @ it's peak"! I agree with the other commenters... I'd cancel the CSA.) So that's my first step. My next step is to get back to meal planning. I read the above comments and like Estelle's & Tina's approach. Plan either Friday or Saturday, shop Saturday or Sunday, and be ready to go on Monday. I'd leave the weekends a little flexible for trying for last minute recipes that I see and want to try, or just deciding to eat out. And I'm still going to use my Knock Knock "What to Eat" pad. The apps/online programs don't work for me... at least for now.

    2) What I like to see here: fashion advice (You posted a pale pink skirt with a gray top in November that I still remember. It recently helped make a skirt decision! So, your these posts really do inspire.); snippets of your life (a few more pictures?? Totally not trying to be nosey, but I loved seeing your home office project pics!); these types of posts, in which you share what you are doing, and ask us what we are doing (I don't mind if they're long!); recipe exchanges (of course you know this one :); product/pop culture posts (You have a great knowledge of great products, shows, songs, brands, people, and I like when you share- even in the form of a picture and a quick statement & link! In the "real world", or in mine anyways, my friends don't pay much attention to this kind of stuff, and it's nice to have blog friends that do- so I can learn/share/discuss/gossip =).

    3) Tina's advice says it all. (as it should, given her profession!) But I will say, that sometimes I just lay down the law, and say, "You're wearing these..." or "You're not wearing those..." And what also works is picking out the outfit the night before (so we don't have to deal with the morning sleepiness/grumpiness). And she feels like she picked it, so it's not even a battle. We get busy and don't always do this, but it works really well, every time we do it.

    Okay, so much for simplicity here, but whatever... my brain is complex (@ least, that's what I tell myself) =).

  13. Okay... look @ my comment compared to Joslyn's "cool & compact" one!!

    Didn't realize it was so long!

  14. Don't feel guilty about the housecleaner. My grandmother gifted us a few month's of a housecleaner as a post-baby gift and it is GLORIOUS. So fantastic that we're keeping the housecleaner even though we have a measly 800 sq. ft. of home. I'm a mediocre cleaner, my husband is awful and I was sick of feeling resentful about it. Best thing ever. Guilt gone.

    I just cancelled our CSA after a pathetic 2 weeks. I loved it but could only eat so much kale. Plus, visiting the farmer's market is a nice way to get out of the house.

    Feel you on the meal-planning.

    As for getting dressed...I just remember as a kid that we had to lay out our clothes for the next morning before we went to bed. It was the most fun part of the day and my brothers and I would lay them out on the floor exactly how we would wear them (ie shirt and pants spread out, socks tucked in shoes placed below pants....). Good luck!

  15. this is short term meal planning for when your new bean gets here: (def ditch the csa btw!)

    you know all those friends who offer to bring meals after baby is born? say YES! and by this i mean: have your best gal pal organize a meal schedule for all who offer. she can send out a simple email. (you want me to do it? =) this was quite possible the BEST gift my friends gave me after baby number two. dropping a meal off in containers that don't need to be returned (or washed-- even better! save the environment for another day...) meals can be home made or from a fave restaurant for those who don't cook. your friend can stipulate guidelines for meals and drop-off. (for example, i was not up for a visit at 5 pm when i had a newborn (and preschooler!), so my friends knew this wasn't "visiting time" this was "help steph from going psychotic time" =) of course, everyone's different, you get to decide!

    i love your longer posts. i relate to the realness of life, not perfection. perfection is nice to aspire to but it's something i'll never attain.

    have a great weekend.

  16. Michelle, your blog is absolutely awesome! The images, the tone, all the great finds you post...don't change a thing!

    And long posts (when you can get them in) are great! As most folks have indicated, we all sympathize in one way or another. And we all benefit from conversation that ensues via comments.

    I'm a total newbie at the blog thing, but I've realized that a free-flow approach to blogging feels a bit less stressful. Perhaps at some point I might be better at keeping to daily features, but it feels like a bit of unnecessary pressure at this point. It can be very time consuming to hunt for things, but I've started keeping a list of things I want to blog about or things that catch my eye.

    Meal planning...I often question if there's really a solution to this! But I will say, the shopping list I posted from inchmark has been a godsend. Since the list is built around the meals (which you write on the list), and you can customize it per store, it makes the process much easier. And one-pot dishes! They're the best.

    Morning meltdowns...ugh, I hate to start the day with so much drama! It sometimes helps if I let Jules watch videos on the iPhone. I'm able to dress him and get him over to door. But then there's a meltdown when I take the phone away to walk out, but that one ends pretty quickly. I've also noticed that it helps to follow the same routine every morning. As crazy as that sounds, it makes him feel great when he knows what we're supposed to do next.

    Go easy on yourself. You're one busy mama...busy prego mama! It's so easy to get on yourself about all the things you need to do/want to do/should do, etc., but we forget to acknowledge all the amazing things we're able to pull off as super busy women and moms.

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  17. Holy crap, my comment is a novel! How did that happen?? :)

  18. I've been meaning to get back over here and finish reading this post. love it. love the simplifying thing that is happening all over bloggy land. Wish I was better at it. I'm trying too and thankfully I have the nesting thing going for me but I'm not a natural at it. I tend to pile and clutter, not in a crazy way. I'm all about a clean house {and I too have a cleaning lady - don't feel bad - I'm so with you...I'd give up clothes, makeup, etc. this is my sanity} but I have a hard time not buying little crap that piles up. Totally challenged by Joslyn on this.

    Maybe try laying out your littles clothes the night before. Getting ready for school and out the door is a tough task, for sure.

    As for blogging... I've started to try and do a few posts ahead of time so I have some in reserve and having a few regular series def helps. If I'm not feeling it, I'm trying to just let it go and post the next day because I'll waste hours and not come up with anything & then the post feels contrived anyways.

    Sorry for being so long!


  19. oh and i'm taking away the tips on hiding things on facebook, etc. and getting rid of stuff if i haven't used it in 2 years. 1 year I struggle with but 2 would work! :)


I'm hanging on your every word...let me know what you think!