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Invented Charm Posts

Five Favorite Lessons from the Happier Podcast

I shared previously that I’ve been listening to the podcast Happier with Gretchen Rubin. Usually I’m obsess over a blog or a book to get my inspiration or motivation fix, but I love the portability of a self-help podcast. It feels extra efficient! I also really like the sisterly banter between Gretchen and her sister, Hollywood writer/producer Elizabeth Craft. I think it can be very discouraging when you’re trying to work on yourself and the people you’re reading/listening to are preaching and make it seem like they have it all figured out, but Gretchen and Elizabeth don’t do that. In fact, they give themselves demerits and gold stars at the end of each episode, and I find that very relatable.

Here are my five favorite lessons I’ve learned from Happier with Gretchen Rubin:

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Respite for the Introverted

I’ve been revisiting some of my Pins about parenting and motherhood, and one blog post really struck a nerve. Allison over at Our Small Hours wrote Tips for the Introverted Mom and I found it very useful to help me name the frustration I’ve been feeling lately.

I discovered in the last few years that I am an introvert. Even though I enjoy being social, I become very worn out when I have to interact with people for extended periods of time. In my former job I got to strike a good balance of working independently and working one on one with students and colleagues. It was always those independent blocks of time that I relied on to get me through the day. I don’t get many of those alone hours now that I’m a stay at home parent. Usually I’m able to power through, but sometimes it’s a real challenge. When I feel my patience wearing thin, I say things I don’t truly mean or I speak in an irritated tone.

We all have situations at home or work that can really try an introvert’s patience. If your’e an introvert, here are some tips for finding respite.

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California Kid Room Inspiration

Hey there! I’m here with an update about our Tudor house. We have been here a little less than a month and it’s been a whirlwind of projects and repairs. Most things are in a state of being half-completed or not started at all. Rory’s room is the furthest along, but still not quite ready for a proper post since I haven’t done figured out new artwork and a few key items haven’t even been pulled together.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, here’s an inspiration board I came up with back in May right after we closed escrow.

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A Capsule Wardrobe for Hot Hot Heat

So it’s another summer capsule, but this time I’m in a new city! I’m back in my hometown, so that means adjusting my wardrobe for the 90s and 100s. We had a longer spring this year, so I got away with my spring capsule until half way through June and then I started swapping out my jeans for SHORTS and DRESSES. You heard me, I am wearing shorts and dresses and skirts with a whole new zeal. Did I suddenly get over my body image issues? NO, but I did decide that being comfortable and not sweating my face off is important.

a capsule wardrobe for hot hot heat

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DIY Foaming Hand Soap with Essential Oils

Foaming hand soap is not really a riveting topic, but I decided when I moved that I wanted to introduce more natural products and eliminate harsh chemicals in my home where possible. I noticed how much soap we go through, how often I had to buy it, and how much it costs and thought this might be a good item to DIY. I read a bunch of tutorials and found that most bloggers talked about how easy the project was to do (key for me since I’m a noob), and how much money you can save by DIYing your soap (yay! $$$)

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Losing My Cool Dot Cool

I developed this really awesome editorial calendar for myself and I managed to stick to it for two whole weeks. Then yesterday I had a post about DIY foaming hand soap almost ready to go and life just sort of got in the way, as it so often does with me. I forgave myself as my head hit the pillow at 11:24 PM and swore I’d get up in the morning and finish it up and hit publish.

But my mornings this week have been unusual, and I can only partially blame my toddler The electrician, county inspector, and HVAC people have been so prompt (I’m talking 7:30 when they say 8), but it’s definitely made the mornings feel less than normal. We’re still pretty much in the thick of the moving in process. Stuff isn’t where it’s supposed to be. It’s hard to develop routines or get back to business as usual when nothing my house doesn’t feel like my home yet.

via my Instagram @inventedcharm

The chocolate stash hasn’t made its way to the pantry, and that led Rory to discover a See’s Easter chocolate bunny and bring it to bed to share with us at 7 AM. Up until a few days ago I couldn’t find measuring cups or spoons, which is why I’ve avoided cooking and we’ve eaten mostly sandwiches and breakfast. The curtains that did get hung up are two inches too long so I can’t run the Roomba without them getting chewed up, hence my very dusty floor.

Gone are the days where I could plop Rory in the pack n play for a bit with toys. He’s officially learned how to climb out of the damn thing. So I’ve been relying on Sesame Street and the iPad to entertain him and keep him safely distracted. I always feel like I’m on a slippery slope with media though, because when he gets too much of it he’s crabby, distracted, and can’t seem to stay engaged with anything. And when Sesame Street is on a loop I can’t help but hear the words to all those catchy songs and internalize them. I find myself inwardly singing What Makes U Useful or Are you cool dot cool? And that’s when I realize I AM LOSING MY COOL DOT COOL.

Stay at home parenting is a lonely pursuit. You don’t have coworkers you can bitch to about the (little) people you’re serving. The pay is shit. Literally. It’s not always easy to find or build community. Often, you don’t know if you’re talking to someone who can (or wants to) relate about being in the trenches until you’ve already spilled your guts and they look at you like you’re ungrateful for the privilege of being a stay at home parent or they step up with support and match your war story with one of their own.

I don’t regret the choice I made to move 350 miles, or my choice to leave my job, or my choice to have a family in my thirties. But I do regret that I haven’t found my niche yet, my squad (ugh), my tribe (feels like appropriation, sorry), my friend circle that I can call or text whenever I need a moment to blow off steam. Sometimes I just need to vent.  The DIY soap piece can wait.

 

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A Round-Up of Fast Casual At-Home Meals

For the last five months we’ve been living with my parents and my mom and I have been splitting up cooking duties. I haven’t had the time to experiment too much, but here is a round up of my favorite fast causal style meals that I’ve been making lately.

Mac and Cheese with Ham via Mouth Half Full

This is a family favorite dish, and definitely toddler approved. It’s from my friend Cassie and I’ve linked it on my blog before (it’s just that good!). I think my favorite part is the dijon mustard and the fresh thyme. Sometimes I make this as a side to grilled meats, but it’s certainly hardy enough as a main if you eat giant bowlfuls like we do.

via Mouth Half Full

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Tudor House Progress and Move-In Tips

I am back with an update about the Tudor House! I am going to come up with a catchy name for our new abode, I promise!

We FINALLY got to move in on Thursday night after the world’s most protracted water heater replacement saga ever. I won’t go into details, but let’s just say that it’s no fun spending 2,100 bucks on something that’s not exactly broken but not functioning either. But I do love having hot water!

Since it’s fresh in my mind, here are five things I learned from unpacking and moving into my new home. Think of this as a continuation of my Ten Tips for Moving.

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Five Things to Remember When You Feel Like You’re Failing at Adulting

I’ve listened to many podcasts and read blog posts recently that have really struck a chord with me. Though their messages were a little different, they essentially boil down to the same thing: As busy adults we have the right to claim time for ourselves, to be unproductive and unplugged, to pursue creative talents, to dabble in a hobby, to unburden ourselves from side-hustling, and stop worrying about the state of our homes. But how do we square this with the messages about “adulting”? Whether you use the word ironically or detest it, adulting still aptly describes the way adults spend most of their waking hours—working and performing other essential responsibilities. I say most, because there are those little stolen minutes or hours that we may use doing something shameful according to society/your parents/journalists/the media/politicians/you fill in the blank. The shameful stuff I’m talking about are the unproductive hours consuming media, engaging in hobbies or skills we can’t or don’t want to monetize, performing self-care, or just generally not engaging with culture the same way previous generations did (gambling in Las Vegas, eating at chain restaurants, golf, the list goes on).

I’m not making the argument that using the term adulting means I’m looking for affirmation for being a grown up, and I don’t want to rule out my dream of being a mermaid either, but I do want to address the guilt people feel, particularly women, when they spend any amount of time not attending to their careers, family obligations, and homes—all in the domain of adulting.

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