Thursday, April 14, 2016

April | small goals

March was quiet a month! As much as I expected it to be one of the best months of the year... it wasn't exactly as peachy as I had hoped. I won't bore you with the details. Overall, I feel that I did fairly well on my goals. Here's a quick recap.

1. Drink 64 oz of water a day.  I can't say that I drank 64 oz a day, but I did do a much better job of increasing my water in-take. Small progress is better than no progress at all, so I will be continuing to make this a goal an important goal in April as well. 

2. Upper body exercises 15-20 mins a day. I didn't do upper body exercises with weighs every single day in March, but I was able to do it more frequently than before. In addition, I incorporated more walking, yoga, and meditation into my routine this month. There are tons of helpful videos on YouTube and I've linked two of my favorites below. I'm trying to really listen to my body and being extra careful during these last few months of my pregnancy.

3. Complete my project for my nephew's playroom. I am so happy to report that this project is complete! I really enjoyed drawing and painting baby Loony Tune's characters for my nephew's playroom. My SIL plans on ordering square canvased photographs of my nephew to alternate on the wall with these cute paintings. I think it'll be adorable!

4. Continue to keep my gratitude journal.  Another goal accomplished this month! :) I've tweaked my routine a bit. Instead of writing in my journal at night, I've started to write in it during the mornings. I've made it a point to clam my mind, sit down, and enjoy my breakfast for at least 5-10 minutes instead of literally eating while I'm heading out the door. During this time, I like to reflect on happy moments from the day before and get in a positive frame of mind for the day ahead.

I realize that we are already two weeks into April, but I've had these goals listed on my phone since late March and have already gotten a head start. So, onto my April #smallgoals.

1. Start on our annual Shutterfly scrapbook. I have been scrapbooking since I was in high school. I really love it and Shutterfly makes it so easy! I've been creating an annual scrapbook since our first year of marriage and this one will be last one with just the two of us!

2. Pick out a color for the nursery. You would think that it doesn't take a whole month for a person to select a color for a room, but when you have two very opinionated parents, this can be a very difficult process. I'm leaning towards a more of a mint or soft turquoise color and my husband is more for a neutral gray or soft pink.

3. Complete our baby registry. We had previously put everything for the baby on hold at the end of February, while I was admitted into the hospital and then put on bedrest. But we have officially been cleared so we still have some time to get together with my friends and family for a small shower. I've really been putting off completing our registry because I just get so overwhelmed every time I start! How can something so tiny need so many items?! And why are there are billion options for every single product?!

4. Improve my diet and exercise. Pregnancy has been a great excuse to let myself go. Although I'm not looking to loose weight or fit into a particular outfit, I do want to be as healthy as possible... not only for myself, but also for my baby. My sweet tooth has definitely been getting the best of me lately. So, my plan is to cut down on sweets and continue to incorporate more walking, yoga, and light weights into my daily routine.

What are you goals this month?

Thursday, March 31, 2016

March | Few Favs

March is one of my favorite months of the year! Besides being my birthday month, it's a month that typically marks the beginning of Spring, my favorite of the all the seasons. I love the beautiful sunny, yet breezy weather which is perfect to get back to running outdoors. The leaves on the trees are bright green and the beautiful flowers start to bloom everywhere you look. It's also the best time to go shopping since the stores are filled with refreshing new styles in cooler colors and lighter fabrics. Plus, I'm one of those people who actually enjoys a little spring cleaning to help recharge myself. What is there not to love about March?

So, this month I thought I would write a post to share a few favs I've been enjoying all month long. I'm not quiet sure if this will turn into a series of monthly posts, but let's live in the moment and just get started, shall we?!

1. I have absolutely been loving this desktop wallpaper on for my laptop all month long by Dawn Nicole. Besides doing some spring cleaning around my house this month, I also did a little digital spring cleaning. It feels good to have a clean desktop and organized folders so I can easily find all my documents. I just feel so happy every time I open up my laptop and see this beautiful calendar.
I've already downloaded the April Wallpaper, which is just as pretty. Dawn even has free a high resolution 8"x10" size calendar printable as well as a phone wallpaper. She is so talented and I'm so thankful that she offers such amazing art every month for FREE! 

2. In addition to doing some spring cleaning for my home and computer, I've also been trying to spring clean my mind. Although I have had so many things to be thankful for this month, there have also been days that I've really struggled to look on the bright side and keep the bigger picture in mind. I could easily blame it on pregnancy hormones, but I've been feeling like it's more than just that. So, I've tried to incorporate more yoga, meditation and soul healing practices into my daily routine. This spotify playlist: The Soul of Healing Affirmations by Deepak Chopra has really helped me declutter my mind and focus on long-term goal of becoming a better version of myself. I listen to it both on my morning and evening commute. It really helps me get in a positive mindset for my day ahead and reflect on my experiences at the end of work day, plus relaxes my mind for the evening once I've reached home. 

3. This month I rekindled my love for painting. I find painting to be very relaxing and therapeutic. Chirag actually found a great way to incorporate this into my birthday this year (birthday post?). While I was put on bedrest in late February, we moved in with my SIL for a short while. Since my husband was at work most of the time, it was nice to have my SIL and my nephew Anand's company during the day. My BIL is a big fan of looney tunes and so I decided to draw and paint baby looney tunes characters for Anand's soon to be playroom. I thought it would be special gift all three of them would love. I've finally completed the project and really happy with the results. If you're interested in making similar prints, there are some great YouTube videos to help guide you - like this one

4. While on bedrest earlier this month, I spent some time catching up on reading blogs and watching youtube channels I like to follow, as well as discovering some new ones. Miss Louie's youtube channel definitely caught my eye and I pretty much watched majority of all her videos in one day. This Austin-based blogger and youtuber has a great sense of style, not only when it comes to her wardrobe but also her home. I've gotten some great inspiration for my spring shopping list from her latest video on Transitional Spring Outfits.

5. Since the beginning of my pregnancy the one question that often gets asked is "What are you craving?" Honestly, I really wasn't craving much of anything until this month. After going through about 3 or 4 boxes of Halo Mandarin Oranges in the past few weeks, I guess it would be right to say that I'm craving these little cuties quiet frequently! If you haven't yet given these a try, I would definitely recommend them. They tend to be sweeter and juicier than regular naval oranges. Just one is never enough!

What were some of your favorites this month?

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Second Trimester Capsule Wardrobe

Second Trimester Capsule Wardrobe

As mentioned in my previous post, I'm now into my second trimester of pregnancy. Although looking cute and fashionable during pregnancy should really be the least of my worries... I'll admit that it's still pretty important to me. Somehow all the little discomforts and pains seem a bit more bareable when I feel and look good on the outside. 

I was able to get through my first trimester in most of my regular clothes. A few first trimester essentials for me were my Luxe Essentials Maternity Leggings and a slightly thicker, more expensive version by Pea in the Pod for the cooler days. I also found myself reaching for this Beband from Target for those days when my precious leggings were in the wash and I literally had nothing in my closet that fit me. I would wear it over my dress pants for work or jeans on my days off. The Beband was a perfect solution during that in between phase before I really showing versus looking like I just had a big fat meal.  Besides that I probably only bought 2-3 tunic style maternity sweaters on sale to help me get through the cooler months. 

Second trimester has been a bit different. I have definitely popped and squeezing into my regular clothes has become quite a challenge. I'm still trying my best to stretch my current wardrobe as much as I possibly can before spending money on maternity clothes. My job allows me to be fairly casual. So, my go to items have been pre-pregnancy loose fitting tee-shirts and stretchy tanks which layer well under cardigans. Maxi dresses have also been a great versatile item in my closet. I can wear them on their own, with completer pieces (cardigans, jean jacket, or vest), or as skirts with a tee and a belt! 

Prior to getting pregnant I was really trying to invest in a few key pieces a month in an effort to minimize my wardrobe to only those items I truly loved. Although it's harder to do so now that I'm pregnant, I'm still trying to keep a few principles in mind when building my second trimester wardrobe.

1. Items must be stretchable and last throughout the majority of my pregnancy - I'm sure this is going to get extremely tricky towards the end
2. Items must be versatile - work and play appropriate
3. Items must be reasonably priced - you will not believe how expensive maternity clothes can get!
4. Invest in completer pieces and accessories - these can be used post-pregnancy and keep me from getting bored with the basics
5. Don't be boring - add some color!

I'm always intrigued by capsule wardrobe posts by other bloggers. Editing a wardrobe down to 30 something pieces and mixing them so effortlessly is a skill I'm constantly trying to master. Although I love a great basic capsule wardrobe, I also crave color and personality. So I definitely think it's important to have a few pieces with some great color, a versatile pattern, or just a basic item with some unexpected interest. A few of my favorite items is my polka-dot maternity top, the simple blue maxi dress, and a recent addition - my lace-up flats.

One tip I also recently learned from the Mademoiselle blog was to leave a little room for growth in your capsule wardrobe. Instead of selecting all 30 something pieces at the beginning, select only about 15-20 items upfront. Then add additional pieces as you slowly progress through your capsule and figure out what works and doesn't. I think this is also great way to help me shop for only those few specific pieces I might have had my eye, instead of everything and anything currently on sale. Plus, this tip is especially helpful if you're pregnant, as you always need a little extra room to "grow" - quiet literally. 

I plan on doing a separate post to show the outfits I've been creating with my current capsule. Although it can be challenging at times, I've had fun working with these pieces. Whether you're pregnant or not, I hope this post will be helpful if you're looking to try a capsule wardrobe this season! 

What are some of your essential capsule wardrobe items?

Monday, March 7, 2016

{Rewind} Early 2016 and March | small goals

So, it's been a while... but I'm back! I've missed blogging, but quiet honestly there was just too much going on in the past few months. This post is a bit of a quick recap, sharing some exciting news, and setting a few small goals for the month of March.

First, let's recap the goals from December! Seems like forever ago, but I'll make this quick.

1. Host a holiday party. We hosted a small dinner party with our dearest friends. I wanted it to be a bit fancy, yet still fun for some of the kids who would be attending. We did a chocolate fondue and hot coco bar for the kids, decorated an elegant dinner scape for the adults and had fun with a white elephant exchange. 

2. Bake and decorate holiday cookies. Chirag and I both visited my family in GA right before the holidays and had a great time with all of my family. I thought this would be an excellent time to host a holiday cookie decorating get-together with all of my cousins. Everyone loved the idea and we're thinking of making it a holiday tradition.

3. Create a gift idea to give to extended family.  I decided to make the raspberry-chocolate-chip banana bread as a little gift to give all extended families in GA this year. I was hoping to get a lot more creative than this, but everyone still loved it. 

4. Drink at least 48 fluid ounces of water a day. Can't say I did very good on this goal. Increasing my water in-take is something I struggle with still. I think for me it will always be a goal in process.

5. Continue keep up with my gratitude journal. I did well through most of December and early January, but I totally slacked off in February. So goal is to get back this in the month of March. 

Again, 3 out of 5 - not too bad. I'm pretty happy overall with how December went. January and February have been a bit of a blur. So we will just start fresh with my birthday month - March! 

Before I get into my small goals for March, I would like to share some very exciting news. Chirag and I are having a....

Overall, the first trimester was a breeze. No morning sickness, just feeling quiet tired with some back and hip pain. I'm currently in my second trimester and although this trimester has had some complications, we are still hanging in there strong. We are both super happy, excited, nervous, and anxious to meet our little baby girl! 

Now onto my #smallgoals for the month of March.

1. Drink 64 oz of water a day. Since my water goals have always been a challenge for me and it is now more important than ever before. I've decided to make small goals through out the day to ensure that I complete my 64 oz in a 24 hour period. 

2. Upper body exercises 15-20 mins a day. While I was quiet active in my first trimester, my doctor has put me on bed rest for now. Although I'm not allowed to go on long walks, run, or do squats, I'm trying to focus on building up my arm strength. My goal is to start with 15-20 minutes of upper body exercises daily with 3-5 lbs weights.

3. Complete my project for my nephew's playroom. I have started a small project painting baby Looney Tunes characters for my nephew's playroom. His Dad loves Looney Tunes and already has a print currently in the area they plan to turn into this playroom. My plan is to complete a total of 6 characters. I hope my nephew will love and enjoy them for years to come!

4. Continue to keep my gratitude journal. These past few weeks have really made me realize that although things got a little tough, I still have so much to be grateful for. I want to make sure that I continue to count my blessings daily and stay strong and positive for my baby girl. 

Although a couple of the goals for the month of March are repeats from December, I think they are extremely important. I really hope I can follow through with all of these goals and hopefully stay positive, motivated, and on track for this month.

What are your goals for March?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

December | small goals

It's been a while since I've written a post. Quiet honestly I've been pretty tired and feeling a bit uninspired. So in order to motivate myself back into the spirit of the holiday season, I figured let's focus on some small goals for December.

But before we get to December, let me do a quick recap on how I did in November. Here is how I did on my goals for last month:

1. Finish our yearly scrapbook. I'm so happy to report that I kept on track and completed our yearly scarpbook. It's actually on its way from Shutterfly and I can't wait to share it with everyone.
I think Shutterfly is one of the best sites if you're interesting in making a photo book. They have so many pre-made templates to choose from, plus their customization tool allows me a lot of freedom as well.

2. Start a new book. I started Beyond Religion - Ethics for the Whole World by HH Dalai Lama this month, but quiet honestly I have not been very inspired to finish it. I don't think it's the book's fault... I just haven't been in the mood lately.

3. Attend a photography class. I attended a 4-hour photography class by Sam Anise at Beaux Art Photography this month. I have to say, if you live near the Dallas area, I would highly recommend Sam's class. He is really a great teacher and I felt like he simplified a lot of the technicial aspects of photography. I learned a great deal and have already started playing around with my camera a lot more without being totally clueless.

4. Overhaul my closet for fall/winter and make a list of the holes in my closet. Unfortunately, this one just didn't get checked off my list! :( I think it had a lot to do with feeling tired and feeling quiet uninspired. I just wasn't even interested in shopping much this month, even with all the great Black Friday deals. This is on my list again for December, so I'm determined to get it done!

5. Be present. I will give myself a C this month. Sadly, I have to admit that I don't think I put as much effort into accomplishing this goal as I could have. I was doing better earlier in the month, but then just kind of fell off the bandwagon. My phone seems to be the biggest distraction.

Three out of 5, I guess that's not too bad. Although I would have loved to give me a 5 out of 5, I'm pretty happy with the progress I have made this month. Now on to the...

1. Host a holiday party.

2. Bake and decorate holiday cookies.

3. Create a gift idea to give to extended family.

4. Drink at least 48 fluid ounces of water a day.

5. Continue keep up with my gratitude journal.

What are some of your goals this December?  Be sure to link up with us over on Nicole's blog

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Packing Post: Fall Edition

This weekend we are off to Tennessee to spend some time with the in-laws. In addition to spending with the family, I'm also looking forward to enjoying the beautiful Fall weather and the colorful scenery of the Tennessee mountains.

I'm headed off for a total of six days. Packing for this trip has been especially challenging because the weather in Texas is quiet different. Here I'm still able to get away with a light cardigan on most days and haven't had to reach for a sweater quiet yet. However, the temperature in TN is going to in highs of 60s and the lows in the 40s.

So in packing for this trip my formula was quiet simple - leggings or jeans, a sweater, and a vest or jean jacket. I really wanted to pack as light as possible. Since we don't have any major plans or parties to attend (that's a first!), I was able to get away with just a single pair of shoes for my entire trip. Now, that's a first too! I also packed a basic long sleeve swing dress which is also going to be quiet versatile for a relaxing day at home or a night out with friends.

As I've mentioned before, taking outfit pictures as I pack my bag as been super helpful to me. It helps me remember any accessories or completer pieces I might be forgetting. Plus laying everything out together also helps me sees how all the pieces in my capsule wardrobe for the trip will easily go together. I'm learning that sticking to a color palette is key to minimizing the overall number of items packed.

Express Dress | Style & Co. Booties | Jean Jacket from Khol's | F21 Necklace

I just purchased this Express dress last week and I can already tell it's going to be one of my favorites.  It's really comfy and flattering. Plus, it's a plain canvas that you can totally dress up or down with different accessories.

Left: Gap sweater | BP necklace | J.Crew Vest | Lou & Grey leggings | Style & Co. booties          
Right: Oversized sweater | Lou & Grey leggings | Style & Co. booties

These Lou & Grey leggings are so comfortable! I've gone through several different pair of black leggings and these are by far my favorite. They are thick enough to keep me warm and I never have to worry about any sheerness. They also wash and wear really well - an added bonus! 

This J.Crew vest was also a good purchase from last year. It can be layered on any of these outfits for little extra warmth. I considered more affordable options before pulling the trigger on this one, but for me the pattern of stitching on this version is much more flattering without adding too much bulk.

I wore this chambray shirt a lot last year. It's great to layer under sweaters, over dresses, or just with by itself. However, looks like I've gained a little weight since last year and it wasn't as loose over the leggings as I wanted. So in the end, I didn't pack it simply because I knew I wouldn't wear it. 

Left: Old Navy Sweater | Loft skinny jeans | Style & Co. booties      
Right: BR sweater |  Lou & Grey leggings | Style & Co. booties

TN tee | Jean Jacket from Khol's | Loft skinny jeans | Style & Co. booties

This last outfit is what I wore on the flight there. I was really proud of myself for managing to take only one pair of shoes to go coordinate with almost a week's worth of outfits. I purchased these booties last year and they are my favorite! I'm sorry that the exposure in some of these pictures isn't very good, but the first picture with the black dress shows the exact color of these booties. This color is no longer available, but I'm thinking of purchasing them in black as well because the heel height is perfect and they are super comfortable. 

This is everything I took with me in my carry-on bag. I love my packing cubes and I don't know how I ever packed with out them. The only item not pictured is a compact blow-dryer. As you can see I also opted not to take brown my cross-body bag.  Instead, this black one was big enough for to carry my small make-up bag without being oversized. I also decided to leave my sunglasses at home and opted to take an umbrella instead since rain was in the forecast. I wore my jean jacket and jeans on the flight and packed my vest instead.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with everything I packed. I've come a long way from overpacking, being frustrated and unhappy once I've reached my destination. The only thing I plan to improve on next time is the amount of items I took in my toiletries bag. I guess it's like the saying goes, there is always room for improvement.  

What are you packing for your upcoming holiday?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

November | small goals

I thought about waiting until January to finally join Nicole's monthly "small goals" link-up, but then again any month is just as good as January to start something positive, am I right?

I have been following Nicole's blog for sometime now and her monthly posts are my favorite. She is always super down to earth, open, and honest. I always feel inspired and motivated by reading Nicole's as well as other people's goals and aspirations. Just the fact that Nicole adds the word "small" in front of her monthly goals gives me hope that I too will be able to accomplish some small goals of my own.

Priya takes her monthly goals a step further and has been setting monthly one-word motto's for herself for almost a year now. I typically take a few moments after reading her post to self-reflect on word of the month. It's interesting how one small word can have such a profound impact on you life, if you only take the time to comprehend the true essence of it's meaning and then apply it to your daily life. I'm always eager to find out what her next one-word motto will be.

Both these ladies have inspired me to start setting monthly goals for myself. At least one these monthly goals will be focused on self-improvement (mind or body). I'm hoping that by documenting my goals, I will be motivated to hold myself accountable.

So without further ado, here are my small goals for the month of November!

1. Finish our yearly scrapbook.

I have been making a yearly scrapbook for us ever since we got married. It runs from August to July of the following year.... don't ask me why! I'm currently on my fourth one and I'm definitely starting to get a bit lazy. I know that if I drop the ball just one year, then it will only go downhill from there. These scrapbooks are very important to me so I really want to make sure to stay on top of it and get it done before Christmas.

2. Start a new book.

The last few books I read have been really good. I'm just now getting into reading and really enjoying it so far. I feel like one bad book and I may fall off my bandwagon. So, I being super selective about my next book in order to stay inspired and motivated to read more. I've been considering Beyond Religion - Ethics for the Whole World by HH Dalai Lama.

3. Attend a photography class.

I have already signed up for a 4-hour introductory course next Saturday, but I want to make sure that I actually follow through without any excuses. This has been a goal for mine for several months now, so this month I'm determined to get it done!

4. Overhaul my closet for fall/winter and make a list of the holes in my closet.

This was partly done over the weekend when I donated several of my old fall and winter clothes from last year. But I still need to go through my inventory and decide what pieces are I'd like to add this year. I always get overwhelmed with all the sales around the holiday season.  This year I want to be prepared so that I'm not distracted and filling my closet with absolutely nothing I actually wanted or need.

5. Be present.

Around the holiday season I forget to be truly present in the moment. I'm always trying to juggle too many projects, worried about the decorations, buying presents, wanting everything to be perfect and trying to attend too many events all at once. So even though I'm surrounded by people who are most important to me, I'm rarely paying much attention to them at all. This year, I want to make sure to be fully present with my all family and friends at each and every gathering. This may mean that I have to make some trade offs, but I think they will be well worth it.

I'm very excited to see how I do at the end of this month! Be sure to check out the Nicole's link-up and share your goals for the month!