This is a House Blog, right?

Months ago, I had started to write up a post on all the big projects we’ve done in the last 7 years. Long and boring much? 

So instead, here’s the timeline:

2014 – New Water Heater installed

2015 – New Hardiplank siding installed in Natural
Big Bucket list trip to Rome, Paris and London

2016 – All windows replaced with Thermal Double case windows (22 altogether)
Big Bucket list trip to Japan

2017 – Recovery trip to Hawaii
Puppy Fitz is adopted

2018– A&Z are born
Nursery is done!

2019 – Flower beds installed
Back deck is replanked 
Landry closet is converted to a split laundry/walk-in and pantry
Doorway is widened into dining room
Escape trip to Amsterdam/Paris

2020 – Pandemic Year
Backyard is resodded 
All trees trimmed back
Bathroom lighting and chandeliers replaced/rewired
Vents, light switch plates, accessories replaced
Moving Phase I initialized

Now you’re all caught up, reader.

Moving, Phase 1

After our twins were born, we threw around the idea of passively, maybe, possibly looking for a new house. At the time, my mother was living with us and was proving to be a bit of a disgruntled roommate. 

We started wishlisting what this new house would entail: an in-law suite (priority), a big enough office space for the two of us to share, a bigger kitchen with an island instead of a breakfast nook, etc.

Then my mom decided to move out.
Then the girls turned two and started pushing the boundaries of our living space.
Then the pandemic came and house-bound all of us.
Then the market started exploding with all of these available houses?! (WTF)

We’ve lived in our home for 7 years now, and we’ve upgraded/remodeled/touched up every (reasonable) space of this investment. 
What was the real tipping point besides all of the above? The kitchen. 

The kitchen is due for its first actual remodel, and that’s not something we want to take on in a home where our time is limited. I’d rather save our time, effort, and cash for customizing our next (I’m not going to say forever) home. 

So after the back and forth and dates and Zillow-stalking, I’ve started “Moving Phase 1”. What does this entail?

  1. Decluttering, as if it wasn’t already a pandemic thing. I think I’d already done a pretty good job of letting things not pile up. I do declutter seasonally, but this is like a ruthless editor with a red pen. We went through the basement last weekend and probably donated/trashed/consolidated until we had at least 7 empty Rubbermaid totes, and a space big enough for the girls to roller skate in, if they were actually coordinated enough to skate. I went through the fridge, pantry, dining room, hall closets and Christmas decorations. Next are guest room closets and the Master suite. All of the extra basement furniture is in a temporary storage unit.
  2. Fixing odds and ends. We’ve laid sod in our backyard, trimmed back all of the trees on property, replaced air registers and bathroom vents, changed out chandeliers and ceiling fans. All little details to update the space and make it look a bit more uniform and polished. 
  3. Depersonalizing. This I got from one of the 10 home design emails I get everyday. When staging your home, you want the space to look inviting but not like you. The next homeowner needs to be able to see themselves living there, so pictures, personal collections, pet and kid stuff all has to be out of sight. 

The plan is to contact a realtor and figure out financing by February, setting us up for a move in May. Fingers crossed it won’t take six months like finding this house. 

In true Passion Planner fashion, I’ve kept a month-by-month checklist on my phone to track Phase 1 progress

New Workflow, Who Dis?

I’m writing this from a very quiet hotel room. I’m on my last work trip of the year, and after some productive alone time, I’m left with a ton of thoughts scrambled in my brain and the tiniest baby hotel notebook to brainstorm it out.

I mentioned earlier that my biggest goal for 2019 was just to time mange. I used Fringe Hours to help set my 40-hour (plus 10% travel) work week around the girls’ schedule. That meant not splitting my focus when I’m exclusively with them, and using the hours that they are sleeping or with the nanny to do the bulk of my work.

This gave me a solid window of time (9:45am-4pm) where I only have to be at work, and as soon as they wake up from afternoon nap, they are my only priority. When Troy’s time is available as well, then we can split tasks until they go to bed. Any sleeping/cleaning/me-time/us-time is reserved for 8pm-8am. I make it a mandatory that I get out of the house at least once for a longer period of time over the weekend to do whatever it is I may need to do, and Troy has the same opportunity as well.

Twelve months later, we have the girls on a very good schedule and I am able focus and be more time-efficient. While this has been great for my postpartum sanity, I also adopted a “Done is better than perfect” mindset. Next year, I want to switch gears, which brings me to The Passion Planner! (Not an ad, just really excited!)

I’ve been looking for a bullet journal/weekly planner hybrid to plan my days, but also to do some goal setting. My current planner (a standard weekly agenda from Staples) was transformed this year with highlighter for the girls schedules, color-coded pens to differentiate work and home tasks, and lots of stickers because I admittedly am a terrible doodler. I also had small Post-its for my #101in1001 goals, big Post-its for my monthly goals, and Post-it lists for seasonal planning.

All of this I want to synthesize into a workflow, a daily schedule where I can build and plan for both the short-term and long-term. Super nerdy, right?

Which brings me back to this hotel room. While I have an talent for planning and lists, consistency and motivation have always fallen by the wayside. One of my authors is a life coach, and she has really been my inspiration to help build and exercise my executive function. In the last couple days, I’ve done a deep dive into productivity podcasts, blog posts, and Pinterest tips. I’ve also been doing follow up on social media tools and webinars that I want to start incorporating into my work skillset.

I imagine the new workflow might look something like this, jk…

giphy-1

The Passion Planner gives me my basic weekly timetables, but leaves additional space for goals/braindumps/squiggles, anything I need to commit to paper. Some people get creative with their planners, in additional to their Passion Roadmaps.

I’m looking forward to this building process and seeing what new toys I can play with.

November: Book Review

One of the things that fell by the wayside postpartum is reading for fun. The girls slept in our room for the first 5 months, so my reading-in-bed habit became a rare occurrence. The list of titles to read became longer and longer.

But then it was like fate…the new Girl with the Dragon Tattoo book was going to come out on my birthday.

I had avoided going into bookstores for the better part of a year, knowing that whatever I bought would just sit in a pile and make my bookshelf look good. But, I love the writing in The Millennium Series and Lisbeth Salander is one of my favorite literary characters of all time. So whatever half-read books were in my eBook queue, I quickly returned or finished just so I could be ready when The Girl Who Lived Twice came out.

Now that I’m (hopefully) back in the habit, these four titles are my standouts this month:

43062982._sy475_The Girl Who Lived Twice (Millennium Series #6), by David Lagercrantz
The marketing of this book was nothing compared to the original three titles. It is a good continuation of the series, but not if it was meant to be a finale. Lisbeth Salander is one of my favorite literary characters and this book got into her vulnerability. There isn’t as much overlap between her plot line and the main “mystery”, but it does get into espionage, racketeering, secret Russian troll factories, and Mount Everest.

43575115._sy475_The Starless Sea, by Erin Morgenstern
This book is brand new, just came out this week. Erin Morgenstern’s first book, The Night Circus, is one of my favorite fantasy titles, and I’ve been excited to get my hands on The Starless Sea for months. I’m about 40 pages into it and it’s already one of the most beautifully written fantasy books I’ve ever read.

41138424._sy475_The Guest Book, by Sarah Blake
I got this advance copy in February, but finally got to deep dive into it at the beginning of October. Whenever a review says “This book is the next great American novel”, I fall for it every time. This is a sizable historical fiction that brings together wealth inequality, racial prejudice, Nazi profiteers, and complicated mother/daughter relationships. Yes, this book is a good candidate for book groups, and although it’s long, it’s not heavy.

38390751The Infinite Game, by Simon Sinek
I’m in the first half of the book now. Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why” completely changes your expectations and motivations when it comes to work. Before buying this book, I downloaded every podcast episode he was featured in, and my mind started considering productivity, collaboration, innovation, work-life blend, true connection–everything that makes a job more than just a job. One of my favorite sentiments in this book is that it is impossible to have continuous profit growth year after year, in life and at work. There are ebbs and flows. Strong businesses and true leaders know that taking care of your people is what makes companies thrive beyond the foreseeable future.

It’s worth mentioning that I went and bought three of these books the day they came out. That’s how excited I am about them. At this rate, I could probably do another book review post in two months. Always an avid reader, but never a fast one.

Follow me on Goodreads for more reviews and titles to add to your list.

Just Blog Already…

giphyIn February, I was at a work conference in Vegas and I brought my best girlfriend along. I  work in the Higher Education field and I love being surrounded by people who are doing amazing things on their campuses and beyond. My girlfriend was also feeling the inspiration and one afternoon, we starting mapping out her plan for a new blog.

This past week, she finally put the plan in motion and was daunted/terrified/intimidated by the process of starting up this new venture. I admit, I might have overwhelmed her talking about tagging posts and scheduling and domain names… and content creation and target audience and visual elements… and social media and Introduction vs. Personal Bio…

We have a tentative work day scheduled to get the blogging basics down, but naturally my mind drifted back to this little space. If I’m consulting and helping her build a new online identity, I should probably spend a little time working on my own.

My goal for this first year of working mom-hood was to just time-manage, find a way to get back to single-life productivity while having twin infants and a full household. At the one-year mark, I think I fulfilled that goal with the help of family, a part-time nanny, and my husband’s new job that allows him to work most of the week.

I will be the first to admit that this does feel like cheating. With both parents working from home who can also afford outside help, we didn’t have to compromise as much of our time or our professional lives to make our family function.

I knew that our unique situation would allow me the freedom to create a schedule and work-life blend. It also makes our home a little more egalitarian. I did not have to make sacrifices as the female, my husband does an equal share and spend equal time with the girls, and we are both able to get out of the house as needed for time alone.

So now that I have a new 2020 planner (and have #101in1001 items like “Start a bullet journal/planner hybrid” and “Instate a weekly blog time”), it’s time to put that plan into motion.

Here are my Motivational Prompts to get back to blogging:

  1. Writing comes easier the more you do it.
    I work with authors. They have writing goals. Write often. Make it a habit. Just get the words down.
  2. If you are not excited about what you’re writing, no one else will be. If you’re doing it right, it shouldn’t feel like work.
  3. Ideas have their own lives. 
    If you put your great idea on the backburner for to long, it will find someone else. (As per Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert)
  4. So it is written, so it shall be done.
    I found that the more I write and share my goals, the more I get them done. I posted about every run I had training for my last race. I took photos of my accomplished goals and shared them on Twitter and Instagram. If I want to make a shift and start reaching for higher and higher goals, writing about them makes me accountable and motivated.

This blog doesn’t really have a target audience or a mission. I don’t have a content calendar, and I’m not trying to monetize. It’s about building my home, literally and metaphorically. It’s not inspirational or influential, but if it fills that need in genuine way, then I’m happy.

PERSIST

748BCF7F-EC26-4EB8-B3AE-FC42194D9E37Last Friday was a first for me. I attended an Elizabeth Warren 2020 Barnstorm.

This was a first call for volunteer leaders in the North Atlanta area, a run down of the new political canvassing apps, and the first time I’ve ever stepped into political community volunteer leadership.

I got into volunteering through my high school, and later built on volunteer management from serving on the St. Margaret’s Alumnae Council and Board of Governors. I helped transition in social media engagement, and the importance of frequent event and fundraising communication on multiple platforms. While all this is well and fun, a political arena, even locally, is…scary.

When I was 21 and looking at grad programs, I had a brief affinity for the Political Campaigning Masters at UF. I was chatting with a friend (ex-boyfriend), and when I brought up this program as possibility, he asked “Are you serious? I mean, you’re not political…”.

Yes, this was rife with chauvinism and condescension, seeing as though he never even asked me what my political stances were.

At the time, I reasoned that I was an Advertising major, and political campaign isn’t that different from an advertising campaign. They both are selling a product to a sometimes-resistant audience. They require market research, clear messaging, creative imagery, etc.

He didn’t seemed convinced, mostly because I wasn’t well-versed in post-9/11 foreign policy (even though I’m pretty sure he just regurgitated what his dad and brother actually knew).

Flash forward to now, as a blooming feminist and voter on both the federal, state, and local levels, I’ve decided to back Senator Elizabeth Warren in her bid for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

It is a bit early to pick a favorite in this field, but I actually jumped on her support wagon at the 2016 DNC. I even have the tweet to prove it (assuming an HRC victory and eight more years for Cory Booker to develop in the Senate). IMG_6958

Since this is a big step for me, I would like to follow my progress through this campaign on the blog. Campaign volunteers are not trying to turn you into a Liberal/Conservative, and this blog series isn’t going to do that either. I’m definitely not going to knock on your door if you don’t want me to. In addition, I don’t troll your blog, so I’d appreciate the same courtesy.

Bottom line, regardless of optics or strategy or polling, when I can pick my favorite candidate and not just a person who can beat Trump, I choose Warren.

1,001 day break up

It was pretty easy to calculate. I had just posted my 2nd #101in1001 list, and now I’m back on the blog to prep for my 3rd list.

The period between October 2016 and November 2017 was filled with just that, periods. Troy and I went on a depressing and frustrating trip through unexplained infertility. After we decided it was time to pull out the medium-sized guns via IUI, we finally became pregnant with two ridiculously cool fraternal girls.

Now the girls are closing in on their first birthday and I can get back to writing on this blog, instead of feeling stressed, exhausted, depressed, and wishing all singleton mommy-bloggers would just suck it…

One of the items on my new list is to find time once a week to blog. I’m not really sure about the direction or purpose I want this blog to fulfill just yet. I’m beyond giving people advice just because, and no one needs another “see how cool my life is” social media influencer.

But now that I’ve committed to this project and am over the break-up, I’ll slowly be updating and refreshing the sections of this page, including an updated restaurant list, new photos of our recent home projects, and my new #101in1001 list, fresh from the kitchen.

xoxo, ~Patti

#101 in 1001, Round 2

101-in-1001Start: October 1, 2016
End: June 29, 2019

  1. Create a 2nd list of 101 things to do. (10/1/16)
  2. Everything important not completed from my first list.

Home

  1. Buy a car March 2018
  2. Buy an instant camera June 2018
  3. Create a P+T photo album January 2019 – Japan and Europe photobooks
  4. Finish styling our first house, inside and out
  5. Frame and hang all of our art
  6. Get a rain barrel June 2019
  7. Get a second pet for the family October 2017 – Fitz
  8. Finish landscaping our front and back yards
  9. Host Thanksgiving November 2018
  10. Make emergency kits/food storage June 2019
  11. Scan all of my mother’s photos
  12. Scan/file/back up our photos
  13. Start a garden May 2018 – Ongoing!
  14. Sustain a lemon tree in Atlanta May 2018
  15. Throw a Quentin Tarantino Party

Style

  1. Buy a pair of Louboutins
  2. Buy my first investment handbag
  3. Have a dress made for me
  4. Get everything on Nina Garcia’s 100 list (24 to go)
  5. Invest in a pair of good hiking boots Hiking shoes will do for now

Travel

  1. Continue trying to visit every state (13 to go, got HI and MI off the list)
  2. Go back to Montana
  3. Go back to Paris and stock up on beauty products
  4. Go on a fitness-based trip Wanderlust Festival April 2019
  5. Go on a girls vacation with more than one other person
  6. Go on a trip with my mom August 2017
  7. Go on a west coast road trip June 2019 – Oregon Coast
  8. Go on an overnight hiking trip
  9. Go south of the equator
  10. Go to a Black Tie function
  11. Go to a cranberry bog
  12. Go to the FL/GA game in Jax
  13. Plan a surprise trip for Troy’s 35th April 2019 – Asheville, NC
  14. See a fjord October 2017 – Hood Canal, WA
  15. See a glacier
  16. See the Northern Lights
  17. Start planning a trip for my 35th – Surfing in Coasta Rica August 2020!
  18. Take a photo with a giant Redwood or Sequoia in California
  19. Take another bucket list trip
  20. Take Troy to Portland June 2019
  21. Travel abroad for Christmas
  22. Visit 3 new countries

Culture

  1. Blow glass or create a stained glass ornament
  2. Buy a substantial piece of art
  3. Create a substantial piece of art
  4. Get my library card October 2016 – Fulton Co. Library
  5. Complete a 642 Things to Write About journal
  6. Complete a Wreck This Journal
  7. Go berry picking, then make jam, then can it June 2017
  8. Go for a full day at the spa
  9. Learn calligraphy April 2019 – GA Pinners Conference
  10. Learn darkroom photography
  11. Learn stick shift
  12. Learn to pick a lock
  13. Re-read Portrait of a Lady
  14. Read every Jane Austen Novel (3/7)
  15. Read the entire Dark Tower series (1/7)
  16. Read the Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide
  17. Read Women in Love
  18. Read 50 books (Only got to 32… I blame being pregnant and tired…)
  19. Reinstate Netflix DVD’s October 2016
  20. Watch the rest of the 100 best movies of all time
  21. Re-learn how to play Cribbage
  22. Ride a Vespa January 2017 – Hawaii
  23. See a Broadway Play April 2017 – Waitress 
  24. See Mariah in Concert February 2019 – Las Vegas
  25. Stay up all night and have breakfast at 3am
  26. Take an oil painting course
  27. Go to a rave
  28. *Bonus* Watch another Oscar Best Picture Showcase February 2017

Health & Fitness

  1. Bowl a 150 average
  2. Complete another indoor Tri January 2019
  3. Do an early morning run every day for one week
  4. Do another 3-day refresh February 2017
  5. Do a juice cleanse
  6. Finish a 10k in under an hour (Best time 1:02)
  7. Learn to play golf
  8. Learn to snowboard (better)
  9. Learn to surf (better)
  10. Nail a crow pose and yoga head stand
  11. Ride a mechanical bull
  12. Run another Disney half marathon
  13. Stay at 120 lbs except if pregnant
  14. Take regular boxing classes
  15. Try acupuncture May 2017-May 2018
  16. Visit a chiropractor September 2017-ongoing

Professional & Finance

  1. Create a Living Will
  2. Develop an idea for a novel
  3. Be a guest blogger/writer on someone’s website
  4. Be part of a startup company
  5. Learn how to code
  6. Pay off my entire Student Loan Debt March 2019
  7. Reach 700 Twitter followers
  8. Take a grant writing class
  9. Take an online class
  10. Write an article for a magazine

For Others

  1. Be a part of the SMS Centennial – SMS Alumnae Board Secretary 2019-2021
  2. Organize one big St. Margaret’s fundraiser
  3. Buy someone the absolute best birthday gift January 2018 – Troy TSA Pre-check
  4. Complete another 52-week giving challenge and donate (most) of it 2017

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter at @CoxswainPatti to keep up.

 

3 Month Warning

My #101in1001 list ends September, 29th. That’s 3 months to finish a lot of stuff…

In the last year, I’ve:

  • Run a Disney race/half marathon
  • Visited Japan, gotten harajuku makeover, dyed my hair purple(fuchsia) and got as close as I could to the apex of an active volcano
  • 2 books away from reading 50 books in 2.75 year
  • Seen Taylor Swift in concert
  • Visited New York City and Portland, Maine
  • Completed a 52-week money-saving challenge and donated the bulk of it

But in the next 3 months, I have much much more to tick off the list. Those that do not get accomplished before deadline will be added to my next list, starting October 1st.

Some fun points on my next list: Read The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide and The Dark Tower Series, Host a Thanksgiving, Take regular kickboxing classes, Learn how to can, and Visit Crater Lake.

But before we get to that, I’ve already scheduled my next mud run (Rugged Maniac in August). I need to schedule a fun shopping scavenger hunt to pick up things from Nina Garcia’s One Hundred, and I have to finish re-finishing my great-grandmother’s dresser.

Troy and I have our full-day date planned for this weekend (in Chattanooga), and I am *this close* to making the appointment for my first tattoo.


Yesterday, I got a Facebook comment that dressing up Harajuku is “Kinda weird, no?”. Isn’t that the point? Not to mention, who makes trolling Facebook comments at 32. Get a real life…

I pride myself on being able to walk the line between non-traditional and classic. Building an interesting life with a little bit of old and the experiences of the new. The outcome? I always have something to look forward to.