What have we been up to? A September update!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

In short, here's what we've been up to this past month. 

Rebuilding a deck. Getting estimates for our new roof (wind damage was WICKED this spring!). Turning a nursery into a big boy room. Turning a guest room into a nursery. Growing a person. Watching our two-and-a-half-year-old grow and change before our very eyes. Running an at home business. Soaking up as much summer weather as possible. Zoo days. Park days. Beach days. Sidewalk chalk days. Coloring. Libraries. Target runs. Riding Sandy the horse at Meijer. Practicing our somersaults (the small fry, not me!). 

It's been busy, y'all! 

I'm starting to feel the need to nest kick in, so Henry and I have hunkered down the past few mornings to start organizing the house. If you've ever been to our house, you know that Henry's items have essentially taken over, and I imagine this will grow by three once new baby arrives and we need things like a swing, floormat, and pack and play back out again. So I haven't been too upset about having some concentrated time to get things done. Next week starts back to our normal morning activities - gymnastics, music, and library story time, so the time at home has been welcome! 

I'm 30 weeks pregnant (tomorrow!) now, and DEFINITELY starting to slow down. I feel like it's happening earlier this pregnancy, but that could also be from the combination of chasing a toddler all day too. My workouts are not what they once were, and I feel like my activity level is decreasing, so I'm attempting to combat that with more time on the elliptical and some stretching. Hoping to work some yoga into third trimester too! 

So, that's us in a nutshell. Livin' life. Workin' hard. Raisin' kids. And lovin' it all! 

Home reorg 101: Moving all the things!

Monday, July 3, 2017

I purchased my first home ten years ago this summer. I can't BELIEVE I've lived in this house for ten years, and looking back, my how it's changed! What started out as a home for three roommates eventually turned to two which eventually turned to my own humble abode. Later, this became the house my husband moved into and the house we brought our son home to. And now that he's two and we have another sweet pea on the way, well, we're outgrowing it FAST. 

We've been back and forth on when the right time to move will be. While we love the South Bend area, it doesn't make sense to stay here long-term when Dan is working 45 minutes away in St. Joe, Michigan. It made sense to stay here when we were both working, because this was a central location for our workplaces, but now that my business is completely flexible, we'll most likely move to St. Joe. We've been debating the right time, and we even talked about this summer, but when we found out we were pregnant, we kaboshed that. Our hope right now is to get somewhat of a routine established as a family of four before we uproot everything we've ever known. Makes sense, right?! ;) But really, trying to house hunt while pregnant and mildly hormonal just didn't make sense for us, so we decided to work with what we had. 

In order to make room for a nursery, that meant disassembling our guest room. But, we hated the thought of not having anywhere for guests to stay - because while we don't get them often - we do LOVE having them! So that meant moving our guest room from upstairs to our downstairs gym/office. As you can imagine, that meant taking apart and reorganizing the gym/office to fit a queen size bed, AND, finding a new location for a giant (read: heavy as hell!) dresser. We knew this was our June task...

...so naturally we accomplished it on July 2! 

But, ohmigosh, you guys, I'm in LOVE with the changes! I SO wish I had taken before photos, because unless you've been to our house since it became a kid zone, I don't think you'll understand how exciting these changes are! 

Our guest room was taken apart, and will eventually become our new nursery. The weights and elliptical went into the storage room (still usable! Just less scenic in there!), and the guest room went to my KEEP office area. It's super cozy in there, and we love guests! 
And the dresser - this is my FAVORITE! We took the mirror off the back, and it's now being used in our kitchen as a buffet! And ohmigosh, we love it put together! 
So for now, we're enjoying our new space and looking forward to making it even homier before baby number two arrives! 

When it's been three months since you've blogged, you start where you are

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Look at these cute P kiddos!
Lordy, it's been a long time since I've blogged! Time has absolutely gotten away from us these past few months, but allow me to explain.

We survived the winter relatively unscathed, and we even took our first family getaway to Keylime Cove. Henry LOVED the water park and had so much fun going down the water slide, so that makes me super excited for summertime adventures. Since we basically had no snow all of February, and some really mild days, we started spending time outside. 

You guys. I've learned that my kid would live outside if we let him. Like, seriously, I don't know that he'd ever come in if given the option. So, again, summer is going to be a good one! 

So we were cruising along into March, when all of a sudden, I got in a car accident. It was the one slick night we had that month, and I was driving home when another driver lost control, sideswiped me, and hit the median. The driver's side airbags deployed (ouch, y'all. Those hurt. And they're LOUD), and there was significant front end damage. And because it wouldn't be fun unless it was complicated, I was driving my mom's car because she had my car with the car seat in it while babysitting Henry. The whole ordeal was odd. Two amazing good Samaritans stopped and stayed with until police arrived, and I'm still incredibly grateful for them, because this story takes a twist. 

While we were all stopped on the side of the road, a man pulled up behind our cars. He talked to us for a few minutes before announcing that his wife is the one who hit me, and he was looking for her because she called him. My new friends had the brains and the calm demeanor to ask for his insurance info, which they took a picture of before he left (his wife had stopped, but about 300 feet away and around the corner on a different street). 

Four weeks later, I saw that man's face in a mugshot photo on our local news. He had stabbed his wife to death in front of their three children - she died on their front lawn while a neighbor held him at gunpoint so that he didn't go after their children. It's the understatement of the year to say the whole situation gives me incredibly bad vibes. I never saw the woman who hit me, but the thought of her dying in front of her babies like that kept me up at night for weeks. To this day, it still bothers me, but I'm trying to make my peace with it. 

And then, just about a week after the car accident, as Dan and I were prepping for our all inclusive (and completely free) rewards trip to KEEP Collective's Glam Getaway in Punta Cana, we got something we'd been wishing for for months: A positive pregnancy test! 

Let me digress a little more here and tell you that our first child was born nine months and three days after we got married. There was no trying there. Just, BAM, pregnant, and I'm pretty sure God intended it to be that way, because this time around, there was a lot of trying. And a lot of months where it wasn't the result we hoped for. And a lot of sadness when it wasn't. So, that positive pregnancy test was so, so exciting! 

Except because of the car accident, it made me high risk for the first trimester. Two early ultrasounds later, we saw the heartbeat, and now at almost 15 weeks pregnant, we're moving right along! Baby P 2.0 will be here in November, and we're so excited to meet him or her! 

The same week of my positive pregnancy test, both Dan and Henry came down with strep throat. So we were all feeling pretty miserable (all while cancelling a trip to Zika-infested Punta Cana, by the way - a trip I'd been looking forward to for months!). So March ended with a bang! 

Then April rolled around, and I pretty much just wanted to fast forward it. While I was super sick in the mornings with Henry, this baby led me to be super sick from about noon to 10 p.m. daily. It. Was. Not. Fun. 

So here we are, and it's mid-May, and I'm just now getting life somewhat back together. I won't even pretend that it's fully back together! I know this blog reads like a diary entry, and at some point, maybe I'll break it down and elaborate more on the situations, but that's life in a nutshell out of our household these days! 

Bring on summer vibes, please! 

40 bags in 40 days

Monday, February 27, 2017

Like many people we know, we've acquired WAY too much stuff. We combined two households and never completely purged from that. Then we had a baby, and he has, you know, a ton of stuff! 

So, when a Facebook friend of mine posted an article about clearing out 40 bags in the 40 days of Lent, that sounded kind of perfect to me! 

The premise is simple. Each day for the 40 days of Lent, you pick an area and clear it. The goal is to donate 40 bags - whatever size bags you'd like - to local organizations in need. There's even a Facebook group you can join for ideas, inspiration, and motivation. I shared the article with my husband, and he jumped on board immediately. And since Lent starts March 1, we're off and running. 

Yesterday, we got the brilliant idea to move our bedroom furniture. For one, it hasn't been moved since I bought this house... almost a decade ago... so, it was time to deep clean anyway. And for two, the set up was just sort of not really working for us anymore. We spent three hours moving, cleaning, and purging, and the result was three LARGE bags we're taking to Goodwill, one laundry basket of items to resale, and a LOT of paperwork in the recycling bin and shredder. Our room looks amazing, and we FEEL amazing, and we're excited to keep digging in and clearing the clutter. 

It's amazing that we get to organize our house. But what's more amazing is that we get to donate great, useable items that are quite literally collecting dust in our home. It's a win-win, and really, our evenings can probably be much better spent doing this than watching more Netflix than I care to admit. :D 

What are you doing for Lent? And what do you think of the 40 in 40 challenge? 

Flexible entrepreneurship: Choosing the right Direct Sales company for you

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

When I was teaching, I loved my work hours. I loved going in early (hello, I'm a morning person!), I loved getting home before 5 p.m. I loved having two weeks off at the holidays. And let's be honest, I loved having time off in the summers to recharge. 

But when I had our son, I knew that this schedule wasn't one I wanted while trying to spend time with H. Those early evenings after work were great... but they were often spent grading until my eyeballs fell out. Weekends too. And summers could easily be spent revamping lesson plans, attending professional development, and rearranging the classroom for hours or days. So that schedule wasn't ideal for my image of mom life for me. 

I really didn't intend to work while I was home, but when our son was five months old, I got the itch. I needed something that made me feel productive. I needed something that was just for me. 

I needed something flexible. Something I could do from home. Something that would add a little income but on my terms and my hours. And I wanted something I truly believed in. I'm not a saleswoman, and I didn't want to sell. I wanted to share something I loved with people I love. 

Find a company with a mission you believe in. 
When I set out looking for a company, I knew I wanted one that primarily focused on women. I was looking for a company that related to my passions: people, family, reading, writing, story telling, or working out. And I wanted something that I hadn't seen 100 other people selling. 

If you ever get the chance to hear Jessica Herrin speak, you need to listen. I don't care if she's reading you her grocery list. There's a chance she's throwing in nuggets of wisdom sandwiched between her spinach and her bread. Her mission - to help women design their one-of-a-kind lives - is maybe my favorite ever. KEEP was a no brainer for me. Find the company that's a no brainer for you! 

Make sure it's a product you love. 
I have mad love for all sorts of products. Peanut butter. Shoes. Carbs. Facebook. 

But I wouldn't go broke trying to keep up my supply of those things. The second I saw my company, I knew I kind of NEEDED it all. It took me a week to place my first order because I couldn't trim my list. And the more I learned about it, the bigger my list grew. Financially, it TOTALLY made sense for me to join! If you love the product, you'll never have to sell a day in your life. Choose something you love. 

Think about the initial investment (not just of money, but time and energy too). 
I've never sold a thing in my life. I majored in English. I spent ten years in the classroom. The thought of owning my own business?! That was a scary one. What if I couldn't sell anything? I was invested emotionally, but I was scared to invest a lot of money into something that I didn't even know if I could do. For me, it made sense to go with a company that didn't require a huge start up. On the flip side, I know a lot of people who liked having a larger investment in their company because they felt like it would push them to be more successful. Whether I spent $149 or $10,000, I knew I'd make a push to make it succeed. 

Decide how much you're willing to invest. And then stick to that. Direct sales companies range from a super low start up to thousands and thousands of dollars. Make the right choice for you based on finding a company you love. 

Take into account how much space you'll need for inventory. 
Ya'll. Let me tell you a story. For MONTHS now, I've been trying to find a place in our house to put a desk. We used to have an office. But then we had a baby. And our workout room became a work out room/office. Only, we can't fit two desks in there. Alas, our house is FULL, friends. 

So when I was starting a business, I knew I needed something that didn't take a ton of space. I couldn't devote an entire office to paper products and inventory. And futhermore, I really didn't want to be with a company that I had to hold inventory for! I liked the idea of customers receiving their products directly from the company. I chose a company where the space needed is nothing more than the top of my jewelry case and my inventory is my own personal collection - my inventory! I don't ever have to worry about having inventory for customers because the company does it for me (and super flipping fast, might I add!)! 

Know what resources are available through your home office. 
Knowing nothing about business prior to starting with KEEP, I wanted a company with a ton of support, not only from my mentor and upline, but from my home office too. I wanted a company that had written resources that I could access whenever I needed them (especially because I was up a lot to nurse at night and had time to look!). I knew I needed resources I could look at when I had the time to look - and I loved that they'd be there for me. 

Ultimately, pick a company where you see happiness. 
There are so, so many direct sales companies to pick from. But ultimately, you're going to want to be somewhere that makes you happy. Do your research. Ask other consultants about their experiences. But in the end, pick the place that makes you happiest. Happiness wins - every single time. And if you're happy, your business is going to thrive. 

New year, new plans: My Plum Paper Planner obsession!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

So life has been, well, busy. 

Like, super busy. 

And it means that every minute I can be productive, I need to be! I've always been a paper person - paper books, paper record keeping, paper planner. I've been on the hunt for the perfect planner for MONTHS now, and I'm pretty sure I found it! 

The past two years, I've used gorgeous Kate Spade planners, and I love them! They're beautiful, they were monogrammed, and they were a super simple design. But now, as life has become more complicated, it's been crucial to have areas to plan out family time, business obligations, and the normal hub-bub of every day. I went on the hunt for something different for 2017! 

I did a lot of planner research. Like a LOT of planner research. There are so many great planners out there, but I was sold on Plum Paper Planners for a few reasons. 

1. They have a gorgeous layout that can be broken down into M-A-E (morning, afternoon, evening). I love this because it helps me to budget my time throughout the day and not feel super overwhelmed by a daunting list. I can totally handle a few things in each subset of the day! 

2. They offer a lot of really unique and fun add-ons - sections for meal planning, finances, cleaning schedules, direct sales, stickers, and so much more! (More on what I added on in a bit). 

3. There are monthly goal planning sections at the beginning of each month. I'm incredibly goal oriented, and I LOVE that I can sit down at the beginning of each month and decide what's most important to get accomplished that month. I'm using my three sections for the three most important things for me: Family, KEEP, and House. One major goal for each category each month! (January's goals include planning a family getaway in the next few months, soaking in all the amazingness I can at Director's Summit next weekend, and finally tackling the organization of our walk in closet!)

4. There are SO many places to take notes! Like, every section has at least a note page or two, and there are additional note pages at the beginning and end of each month! If ever I'm out and about and genius strikes, I can jot everything down here instead of on something that will most likely get buried in the bottom of my purse. And since everything is tabbed and broken up, it makes it that much easier to find said notes!

So, now for my add on sections. There are truly so many to choose from, but I opted to keep it simple this year. 

Meal Planning add on: This is a constant struggle in our house. I have the best of intentions when I go to the grocery store every week. But inevitably, I walk out with things for breakfast, a ton of sides, and maybe a dinner or two. I sort of dread my brain around 3 p.m., because I know that's the time when I'm going to start thinking about dinner and how little I have in the way of an actual meal. So, I'm REALLY excited about this section. It's not fancy - sections for monthly meal planning and grocery lists, favorite meals, and take out places - but, I'm already seeing a difference (meals are planned through January 14, what what?!). I'm hoping this will help take the stress of what's for dinner away and in turn give me some time back in my daily routine!

Direct Sales add on: This is the one area of my life where I don't mind having the digital help, and I'm SUPER lucky because KEEP offers us an amazing Lounge that organizes our orders, contacts, sales, and reports. So while I don't need the help keeping track of hostesses or parties, I DO want to have a visual for goal keeping, and I LOVE that this add on provides that! Each month, I can sit down to decide my goal number of parties, sales, incentives, and so much more. There's tracking for expenses, mileage, and month to month revenue, and I'm REALLY excited that this will be another component I can use to track my progress! 

And I didn't even get in to all the OTHER customizing that can be done - covers, names, monograms, quotes, graphics, and so, so much more! Seriously, you have to take a look for yourself! 

Question of the day: What do you look for in a planner? Do you have a company that you stick with year after year? 

Stitch Fix #23: A fashionista's dream!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

You guys. WHY has it been so long since I've blogged?! Seriously, where did the time go?! 

In short, here's what happened. Our already super active almost two-year-old has continued to ramp up his activeness, so we spend a good chunk of our day doing anything and everything.  He's into SO many different things now. We love treating any apparatus in our home as jungle gym equipment, reading lots of books, and all things Frozen (Henry Hugglemonster has taken a momentary backseat). And that makes it a little difficult to find the time to sit down and blog (because when there is time to sit down, I'm doing things like working my business or finishing laundry or cleaning or doing all the things).

And speaking of business, holy WOW has it been an amazing few months with KEEP Collective! My crazy-amazing incredible team hustled like no other in November to promote to a Director team! Say WHAT?! That means my team sold huge volume and all hit incredible goals in order to get us there, and I'm REALLY excited to see what's coming down the pipeline. But, I'll save that for another blog. 

Let's get down to why we're really here today: A fabulous Stitch Fix to end 2016 right! 

If you don't know about Stitch Fix (<--Referral link!), let me give you a little rundown. Stitch Fix is a clothing subscription service, and you decide how frequently, or infrequently, you'd like a shipment. You'll fill out a detailed style profile about your sizes, style preferences, and budget (and it's super fun to fill out the profile to see what your style preferences are!). Not only does Stitch Fix offer clothing, but they have accessories, bags, and even shoes now! Their maternity Fixes were amazing while I was pregnant, and I've been getting Fixes on the regular just because it's so much easier than toting our sweet 22-month-old to the store with me to try things on! 

And, if someone signs up through your referral link, you get a $25 credit to use toward your next purchase! (And let me tell you, that adds up to some awesome free close!) I was lucky enough to snag a Stitch Fix gift certificate for Christmas too, so happy shopping to me! 

You can see my previous Fixes here:
Stitch Fix #1

I love Stitch Fix because it comes directly to me! This is perfect for seeing if the pieces you receive will work with the pieces you already have. Your Fix also arrives with detailed styling cards to give you ideas of how to wear each item. Each Fix costs $20, but the fee is credited toward anything you decide to keep. When you've decided what you don't want, you simply check out online and mail the items back in the prepaid mailing envelope. If you keep everything, you score a 25% discount! I love that I can work with my current wardrobe to see what will work best with what I already have. 

So for this Fix, I asked for some gorgeous pieces I could wear to our upcoming KEEP Director's Summit in Tucson! I wanted to get a few new fashionista pieces (since most days, my wardrobe is comfy casual), and I wanted to try some things outside my comfort zone. Serena, my AMAZING stylist, never EVER disappoints! Seriously, Serena, if you're reading this, and you ever find yourself in northern Indiana, you just let me know, girl. You come over. I'll make you your favorite meal! Per usual, Serena picked five amazing pieces, so without further adieu, onto the goodies! 

1. Octavia Hayley Bird Print Infinity Scarf, $28 
2. Fate Goodwin Cowl Neck Sweater, $64
When I saw these two pieces coming, I wasn't immediately sure what I thought. The poncho looked a little, well, poncho-like, and having never tried one, I didn't know what to expect. But, I've come to completely trust Serena, and she didn't disappoint here! She suggested pairing the poncho and scarf together (P.S. NEVER would have done that with a cowl neck, but it totally works!) and said I should pair them with the burgundy leggings I kept from many Fixes ago. And I kind of LOVE the look! What do you think? Better with or without the scarf added? I know which way I'm leaning! 

3. Loveappella Pola Pocket Knit Top, $48
This top right here, this is my jam. I think if I could summarize my style in one top, it'd be this one. I love the mixed material (the back is the same stripe as the sleeve!), I love the pop of color on the pocket and trim around the neck. I just really love it! 

4. Collective Concepts Krystal Dress, $78
When I saw what was coming in this Fix, THIS was the piece I was most excited to try! I've been looking at styles like this for ages, and I LOVE a good polka dot detail, so I couldn't wait to see what it looked like. And it did NOT disappoint! I love that I can dress it up with a great pair of heels, boots, or a statement necklace OR dress it down with leggings and flats. I love the shimmer. I love the 3/4 length sleeves! And it might just be perfect for a party in the desert! 

5. 41 Hawthorn Carla Crochet Detail Blouse, $58
Okay, so, story time. When my Fix came, I liked this top! I loved the jewel tone, and the sleeve details were cute too! I immediately liked it when I tried it on. But when I showed it to my mom, she pointed out a stain on the front, right smack dab in the middle. It looked a little like oil, maybe, but I wasn't sure. I emailed Stitch Fix immediately to ask if they had another, and they got back to me less than an hour later to say that this absolutely isn't up to their standards, and unfortunately, they didn't have another of the same top available (bummer!). They did offer me a discount on the shirt if I decided to keep it, but without knowing the origin of the stain, it made me a little nervous to keep it without knowing if I could get it out. So I emailed back saying as such... but I also asked about the buy five discount. Could I still get 25% off if I chose not to keep this top but still keep the rest of the Fix? And they responded immediately and said yes, they would take care of it if I chose to do that! Umm, that's some awesomeness right there! 

So what do we think, friends?! Do we like the other four pieces enough to keep them all? Are there any you would definitely send back? I need your feedback! 

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