Category Archives: inspiration

#ootd november

I sit here sipping coffee from a plastic Drury alumni cup because I have no clean mugs. Because I am on Winter Break and I am not with it. But in November, I more or less had it together and I have evidence below:

As you can see things got a little hasty last month and on some days I just had to bust out the dress pants, prop my camera up on the stairs, snap a picture, and run out the door.

Things I am looking forward to for the rest of December…

…reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil for ABM’s January book club selection.

…sipping on these during my family Christmas party.

…tackling a smaller, humbler Croquembouche as part of my 26 before 27.

…listening to the new album from She & Him, plus all of their Christmas music.

…wearing what may be the best cardigan I’ve ever purchased.

 

What’s in store for your December?

–Cat

#ootd october

#ootd october

This was the first month I decided to start Instagramming Outfits of the Day (#OOTD).

I wanted to try this method of documenting outfits (snapping a pic just before I fly out the door, no special accessories or styling, and then Instagramming it when I get a chance) for two reasons.

First, I wanted to just get comfortable with publishing less than perfect photography onto my blog. Last year I noticed that my belief that every. single. photo. I put on the blog had to be 100% perfect was totally tanking my motivation to post. So I decided to just get over the fact that I shoot with an iPhone and that my house is full of photo bombing dust bunnies. Sometimes, In the mornings, I’m able to snap a pic when the light is perfect, but if it’s early I just have to work with that AM twilight. I just shove all the junk out of the way and go with it. And I’m happy enough with the results.

Second, I wanted an easy way to document how often I wear certain items of clothing. At the beginning of my elementary internship this semester, I dug out my black dress pants and tried to decide if the blazer I had worked with the pants. (Is it black or is it navy?! I still don’t know.) I’ve known for a while that any derivation of the power suit is not my style, so I decided to make my clothes work for the elementary classroom.

My personal style isn’t so much an issue. Teachers are certainly expected to look put together, but we don’t have to look corporate. I just wasn’t sure I had enough clothes. So I decided to draft a list of as many possible combinations that I could wear in the classroom and keep track of how often I chose to wear those combinations. The most frequent flyers include my mint chip skirt (above, bottom right) and anything black and white. I do believe that the photos above have captured the very beginnings of a capsule wardrobe, for weekend wear and teacher wear alike.

Yep yep! I love clothes, I love blogging, and less-than-perfect-photography will never stand in my way again. You can follow my #OOTD adventures by following my Instagram.

–Cat

P.S. Have you considered adopting the capsule wardrobe philosophy?

26 before 27

Le Relais Gascon

Another birthday is right around the corner and my heart is all aflutter as I ponder an updated yearly to-do list. (Check out my 25 before 26 list to see last year’s goals!)

The first item on the first draft of this year’s 26 before 27 list was “really, seriously try to master a sewing skill.” Sewing is one of those things I keep thinking I’ll enjoy. I want to sew an elaborate quilt or alter a vintage dress, but the fact is that I can barely sew a straight line–still! And when it comes down to it, I certainly don’t enjoy practicing the skills necessary to be successful at this art form.

I’ve since tossed the first draft and decided to come at my 26 before 27 list from a different angle. What if, this year, I stopped traveling down creative avenues I think I might enjoy eventually and instead, dedicated a whole entire year to something I know I enjoy doing everyday?

Mind. Blown.

If there is one thing in this world I love doing day in and day out, it’s cooking and baking. (I also love shopping equally that much but probably shouldn’t embark on 26-ways-to-end-up-declaring-bankruptcy-before-27!)

I have this strange motivation to master the art of carving a turkey. I’ve penciled my 18th attempt at French macarons into my calendar for next Sunday. I flip over the vibrant colors of fresh vegetables. I feel no stress in the kitchen and often spend an entire weekend in there. I also have a husband that is glad to eat anything and clean up any and all messes I inevitably create in the name of good food. It’s a win-win.

Because I love a good theme, I’ve decided to embark on 26 French recipes. Wes and I spent a couple of days in Paris two years ago, and it was by far my most favorite stop during our belated European honeymoon. Because pastries. And cheese. And wine. And pastries with chocolate. And baguette!

I want to make it all. I’ll start with the following 26:

Baguette

Boeuf Bourguignon

Charlotte

Confit de Canard

Chouquettes

Galette des rois

Coq Au Vin

Crème Brûlée

Croquembouche

Croque Madame

Croque Monsieur

Duck a l’Orange

Éclair

Gratin Dauphinois

Madeleines

Oeufs en Cocotte

Petits Fours

Pot-au-Feu

Quiche Lorraine

Saint Honoré

Soufflé

Soupe a l’Oignon

Tarte aux Fraises

Tarte flambée

Tartelette

*promptly renews gym membership*

…Bon appétit!

sundays no. 3

Kitty Meow does Sundays right ^^Kitty Meow always does Sundays the right way.

Today IS Sunday, right? I can’t seem to keep track of the days of the week right now. At the start of the semester I was taking it week by week. Then day by day. Now, it’s task by task. “Write lesson plan.” “Eat breakfast.” “Wait on that table without forgetting silverware.” “Pick up niece from practice.” “Make Halloween costume.” “Grade papers.” “Run the dishwasher that’s been full for days.” “Feed cat.” “Text Wes to feed the dog because you forgot.”

And the next thing I know it’s Sunday again and the time is gone and I dream of the day I can sit by myself and catch up on Sleepy Hollow and Scandal without cat hair fluffs floating about all over the place at the slightest movement. Maybe–just maybe–that day can be today.

This Sunday, in particular, is for…

…no makeup. I did a terrible thing this week (and last week) and slept in Thursday night’s makeup and then, because it wasn’t too smudgy, just added more for my Friday night shift. You can judge.  I was busy. Today, my pores need some air.

…no photo filters. I don’t have the time and the sun is shining almost optimally.

…no homework. I’ve been doing it in my car before my internship, in 3 minute bursts while waiting tables, during class, and in my sleep.

…no stress. Lots of hot tea, a little bit of record playing, and finishing up The Great Gatsby. And some Sleepy Hollow and Scandal, of course. What are you doing this Sunday?

–Catherine

Sundays no. 1

Sundays no. 2

reasons why you should get up early

Because coffee is delicious and early bird parking spots are the best.

But if you need a more elaborate argument, read on. This is coming from a night owl who finally learned how to wake up before afternoon o’clock.

…because there is nothing better than sipping a morning beverage in peace and quiet. I do coffee. You might do tea. A hot chocolate definitely has a place here. Brew, sip, think. Letting the day start slowly rather than harried has done wonders for my mental health.

…because you’ll have an endless supply of with-it-ness. Did you know that while studying education, I’ve actually seen the term “with-it-ness” appear in the academic literature? Teachers just have to have it. Have to be on the ball. Be able to multitask. Manage a professional and personal life without missing a beat. So do most professionals. So get up, get organized, and get out the door on time.

…because it allows for more free time in your day. I spend about 30 minutes browsing Instagram, Bloglovin’, and Twitter in the morning, usually while lounging in my covers. It feels lazy but I have time for it because I get up early. Building in the amount of free time that I want helps me choose to do more important things later in the day, like writing this blog post instead of marathoning three Parks and Rec reruns between class.

…because you just get more done. Like making your bed, slashing through your to do list, updating your blog, killing it at work, a coffee break with a good friend, and a quick living room spruce.  Sleep the day away or achieve your dreams. Do it to it!

P.S. On a related note, Joy the Baker and Tracy Shutterbean shared their number one tip for waking up early on the Joy The Baker Podcast. Love those girls!

sundays no. 2

Sunday is here. I try to be particularly intentional about how I spend the laziest–yet somehow, the busiest–of weekdays. Items on the to-do list include a fall fashion photoshoot for Goodbye Bernadette, whipping up some healthy food to last through the week, and stretching every last minute in the day before school starts tomorrow.  In addition, I am…

…Juicing for the first time in a long time! My go-to basic juice is lots of cucumbers, green apples, and lemon juice. I find that if  I’m not in the habit of drinking fresh veggie juice on the regular, things with kale or bok choy or beet just freak my taste buds out too much. Here’s some interesting recipes to try.

…Practicing photography with a handful of new-to-me photography apps, including TimerCam, & Pic Tap Go. I’m so glad to have found an easy-to-use timer–much needed because today it will just be moi taking photos of moi! Pretty much any photo you see on Goodbye Bernadette is taken and edited exclusively on my phone, so I’m always looking for better and easier apps. Any suggestions?

…Relaxing. Or at least attempting to. It seems like there’s still so much I need to do to have a good fresh start to the school year, like cleaning out my car and getting all the laundry folded. But! I did get my inbox and mobile office spruced up, so a little R & R should still be had. Definitely reading the latest issue of this magazine, browsing this fun Instagram account,  and drinking copious amounts of coffee while obsessing over this mug. Also, mega-laughing, as usual, whilst reading Gemma Correll’s misfit inspired comics.

Oh! Also, check this t-shirt out. Is it just me or is the everyone’s motto when they get home from a long day?

sundays no. 1

Sunday is here. I try to be particularly intentional about how I spend the laziest–yet somehow, the busiest–of weekdays. Items on the to-do list include buying textbooks, deep cleaning the house, and thrifting something to create a small vanity in my bedroom. In addition, I am…

…wishing I was still in Colorado (above ^^) during these last few days of summer. So much adventure and beauty there. Although sometimes I forget that the Ozarks are beautiful (and outdoorsy) too!

…making this grapefruit “soda” from The Skinny Confidential. I bought far too many ruby reds last week. They were just too pretty to pass up.

…detoxing with this charcoal face mask from Bioré. It just goes so well with the pore strips!

…watching episode after episode of Luther. The BBC just knows what’s up.

…trying a new Barre workout. Have any of you taken a class before?

…sipping on the most delicious chai tea I’ve tasted yet, as recommended by my dear cousin Carrie.

…dreaming about trying this Peach and Cardamom Lemonade from my favorite online lady, Joy the Baker.

…baking my new go-to dinner: The Londoner’s Lemon and Garlic Chicken. So good, and so easy.

…listening to my current favorite podcast, The Lively Show. Jess Lively chats with successful bloggers about career, wellness, relationships, inspiriation–it’s a great one!

 

What are you up to today?

–Catherine

five ways to be frugal (and still have fun)

If you’ve been reading Goodbye Bernadette lately, you know Wes  and I have embarked on a year long journey to pay off as much of our debt as possible. We are using And Then We Saved as an inspiration and guide. I first blogged about the why’s and wherefore’s here, and this is just a little update about our progress.

The first month was challenging. We quickly learned that curbing our spending would take a lot of conscious effort, a lot of communication, and the ability to move on if we spent a little too much on something we didn’t need. I’ll be the first to admit that I spent every single penny in my coin purse that’s designated for metered parking on coffee from Starbucks! Oops. And when that ran out, I turned to bartering with my sis: one small coffee in exchange for me cleaning her bathroom? Done deal.

As January wore on, however, I got a little more creative and stopped searching the house for nickels and dimes. Here’s four things I’ve been doing to eliminate spending and still enjoy my free time.

1. Find a way to maintain a costly ritual that you truly enjoy. 

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I really (and I mean really) love to grocery shop. I like to go by myself. I like to drive the same route to and from. I like to methodically weave through each aisle. And I really, really  like to buy a small Caribou Coffee to fuel my grocery inspired therapy session. Unfortunately, a weekly $3 is not on the needs list. So, I decided to use  a Starbucks gift card that I got for Christmas to invest in a to-go mug. Now, instead of purchasing coffee, brewing a small pot of my own at home has become a part of my grocery shopping ritual. It doesn’t take long–I just brew while I’m writing my shopping list. Sipping on my coffee while I grocery shop has helped me reframe the chore into something really look forward to each week, and it was important to me that I continued this ritual without spending money!

2. Turn something you consider a need into a luxury.

For me, this was changing up the type of conditioner I buy. Is it just me, or do you also go through your shampoo a million times faster than your conditioner?  It takes me up to six months to use up a full bottle, but I find myself purchasing a new bottle to match my shampoo every month.  (Am I  falling for some sort of sneaky marketing scheme? You bet!) I’ll usually stash the half empty bottle in the bathroom closet, but sometimes, I  throw it away. This is a shameful habit, and I decided to use my new found frugality to try and battle it. So, instead of buying a matching brand of conditioner with every new bottle of shampoo, I’ve decided to opt for a brand or a scent that I find particularly luxurious. Something that’s just a few dollars more. Now, instead of spending $4 every month on conditioner I just waste, I’ll be spending about $8 every six months and feel much more compelled to use it all up. The math works out in my favor, and I feel like I’m treating myself.

3. Discover all of the good and free things your city has to offer.

Springfield’s art museum has tons of exhibits, and there’s no admission fee. Try finding a small history or art museum in your town that’s also free. Seek out festivals and multicultural events–these are great events that are often zero cost. I also like to window shop at flea markets and antique stores, and one thing I’m really looking forward to is browsing the farmer’s market when it reopens! There’s always opportunities to volunteer, and Wes replied “Heck yes! They have free snacks!” when I suggested donating blood for our next date night. And don’t forget about your local library! Besides it’s obvious use, the library usually has a good magazine collection, which helps me curb my habit of purchasing two or three magazines every month. A cheaper habit, and a greener one, too! And although it’s impractical for us right now, the library could deliver on your internet needs if you can manage with about an hour a day. A technology fast and a spending fast at the same time? Go you!

4. Perfect a new skill instead of paying for someone else to do it.

I’ve never had a professional mani or a pedi in my life, but I recently decided to keep my fingers and toes a little more polished and a little less Where The Wild Things Are. Spending money at a nail salon was not in the budget, so I’ve been learning more about nail shapes, cuticle health, and painting techniques. I’ve gotten a lot better at doing my own nails and now it’s something I enjoy doing while watching SNL. Before this journey, I would’ve just gone out and payed for a service, but know I stop and think–can I do that myself? This is a great opportunity to learn something new, practice something you’re not good at, and find new hobbies. Maybe next you’ll see me changing my own oil. (But probably not.)

5. Catch up on all those projects you bought supplies for.

Not allowing myself to spend money on things like hot  yoga or shopping sprees to entertain myself has forced me to tackle some creative to-do lists. When I decided I wanted to learn how to sew nearly two years ago, I quickly started stockpiling fabric for an endless list of sewing projects. Last month I made six couch pillows (too much?) and new covers for my mid-century chairs, projects that were a part of my 2013 goals but never got started. As each project nears completion, I feel less and less guilt for filling up a closet full of craft supplies and never actually using them. And my living room is looking a lot cuter now, too! Next up? I’m diving into the 8 Dresses project I outlined a while ago. I was afraid to take a seam ripper to a lot of the dresses, but there is no time like the present. I’m currently deconstructing the Samantha Dress and will be rebuilding the bodice soon! Wish me luck.

What creative ways have you found that help you spice up life when money is tight?

P.S. Becca says hello! She has been ridiculously busy with homework–I mean, “homeplay,” as they call it at Paul Mitchell. She’ll be back soon! In the meantime, read about her journeys in the world of cosmetology at The Teacher and The Stylist!

embrace your failures

I am a planner, a dreamer, and thinker upper. I love nothing more than to settle into a little nook on the couch with a notebook and plan things–vacations, semester schedules, weddings, science lessons, website layouts. I keep mini clipboards stationed all around–in my purse, on my bedside table, in my car–for planning purposes only. I research, I outline, I draft, I brainstorm, all the time. It’s what I do best and it’s how I solve problems.

Do you have a problem with keeping your closet organized? I can make a plan for that.

Do you have trouble eating enough vegetables? I can make a plan for that.

Do you want to learn Spanish in seven months? I can make a plan for that.

I can plan until the cows come home.  The planning comes easy, but the doing takes practice. And when the stars align and the planning actually becomes doing, there is a hard truth that I have to try and accept: eventually, my plan will fail.

Plans are tidy. Plans are square. Plans are black and white (unless you use fancy pens to write them).

Life is unpredictable. Life is messy. Life does not always ever go according to plan.

So. Let’s talk about fitness plans. Do you have one? I did. I’m working on a new one. From August to December, my fitness goals were threefold: eat something green at every meal, drink at least  5 bottles of water a day, and do at least 30 minutes of HIIT or strength training.

I made a list of things I could eat for breakfast that included something green, because I usually default to oatmeal or cereal. I washed my Brita and bought a 24 pack of water to keep in my car in case I ever left my water bottle at home. I  made coordinating fitness and  cleaning schedules to make sure that the living room was always tidy on a day I needed the TV for a DVD workout.

My goals had plans and my plans became actions. I lost 7 pounds and earned the ability to actually do ten pushups in a row. I maintained through Christmas’ roast beasts and chocolate feasts. And then a cold, aimless winter set in. My plan, which had centered on a busy school schedule, quickly gave way to sleeping in and eating awesome sandwich concoctions made from left overs. A new semester started, and panic set in. My plan had run its course. What if life had finally gotten the best of me?

So what did I do? Did I settle? Nope. I made a plan for when plans fail. (I like to make Inception jokes at times like these, when I find myself making plans for plans or checking my to-do lists of a to-do list To-Do List. But I’ll spare you.) Here are the steps I’m taking right now to get my fitness goals back on course:

1. Identify why the old plan stopped working.

Is it a matter of motivation? Did the plan lose relevance? Can a tweak here or there put the plan back into motion? If you’ve noticed your eating habits have become a little more “fast” and a little less “fresh,” but you’re plumb fed up with spinach salads, you might just need to up your creativity when it comes to planning lunch. And definitely don’t include spinach salads as your go-to when you devise your next healthy eating manifesto.

Why did my fitness plan stop working? Simply put, it became a matter of the winter blues, blahs, and blargs. And while I tried to keep up with the program, my lack of motivation totally derailed my success. It was time to embrace a physical and mental break.

2. Let go of your feelings of failure.

In case you’re familiar with the if-you-fail-to-plan-you-plan-to-fail adage, let’s reflect. Making a plan does not eliminate the possibility of failure. Planning is important, doing is necessary, and readjusting and adapting is crucial. So when you plan, plan to fail. Get comfortable with it. When a ball comes at you curvaceously, plan to catch it. But when it hits you square in the nose instead, readjust and adapt. You aren’t failing. You’re learning. If you’re in a failure funk, reflect on why and just trust that you’ll find your groove thang again.

Letting go of failure–real or perceived–is especially hard for me to do. It’s January 26th and I’m still a little angry at myself for taking what has now become a 30 day respite from all things gymnasium. But a new plan is in the works, and I’m focusing on mini successes, like making it to the gym once a week and tackling Insanity here and there. Did I tell you I finally made it  through the entire first week with Shaun T? For the first time ever?! I’m raising the roof over here.

3. Give yourself time to determine the best course of action.

If your plan isn’t working anymore, it’s probably because your life is different. How have your circumstances changed? How have YOU changed? What are your current struggles? What is inspiring you? Have your goals evolved? Answer these questions and forge a new path, but realize that finding what works best again might take a long time. Usually just long enough for your life to change again. C’est la vie!

What is my new plan? My general goals still include daily workouts and maintaining a healthy diet, but my schedule for this semester is, in a word, wonky. Morning classes here, night classes there, and long stretches of time that could easily be filled with reruns of Parks and Recreation. January has been a month of trials and errors. I tried getting up at the crack of dawn to work out, but the temptation to sleep in was just too great. I tried working out in the middle of the day, but the temptation to just schlep around in sweaty workout clothes all day long was just too great.  My next work out move? Nighttime workouts. Typically, my drive to sweat it out after a day of classes is not remarkably high, but I think this might be the ticket–for now, anyway!

This week’s fitness highlights…

Addicted to: Lime flavored Greek yogurt. My favorite is Oikos. I eat it everyday for breakfast–it’s delicious and portable. Eating this for breakfast is one holdover from the old fitness plan of last semester!

Something new I learned: Definitely check out this series on beginning weightlifting. I’m trying to learn as much as possible to boost my confidence and frequency with the free weights.

Confession of the week: I definitely admit to fast forwarding through any instance of globe jumps during Insanity. I hate them. Do you ever allow yourself to point at the TV and yell “NOPE, NOT DOING THAT, YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!” Because I do!

Don’t forget to pay Samantha a visit and see how her fitness journey/Insanity marathon is going!

–Catherine

To read each post in this series, click the links below.

Embrace the Uncomfortable

embrace the uncomfortable

On Sunday, January 5th, 2014 I began my fourth attempt at Insanity.

I don’t know what it is about this program. I can’t seem to get into the groove yet can’t seem to stay away from it. So time and time again, I start over with stars in my eyes, imagining a Memorial Day beach romp in a teeny bikini sixty days in the making.

I get through the fit test. I get through Day 1. And then, I quit, formally parting  ways with Shaun T by yelling expletives at the screen and stomping through the house yelling about how much I hate working out.

Well, here’s the thing. After taking an enormous break from any physical activity and generally eating a little more and little worse than usual during the Holidays, I began Insanity (again) with the wrong intentions. This is my Insanity mantra:

“I don’t want to do this. This is uncomfortable.”

And lo and behold, I never get past Day 1.

But I will forge on. I just want to get it done. Maybe so I can high five myself for finishing something I currently associate with failure. Definitely for the physical benefits. So I will pick up Day 2’s workout come tomorrow and move forward from there. I think the most important thing for me to remember is that Insanity (or any other workout program) is not a bullet train to achieving some fitness goal. I look at the 60 day calendar and mentally check off each workout and imagine that any and all health and body image problems will be solved forever. That is not a sustainable mindset.

Instead, I’m trying to keep the following  things in mind:

1. I am physically capable of doing anything.

2. I am content to work out even if I knew my body would look the same day in and day out.

3. I can embrace the discomfort.

4. I can integrate Insanity into my fitness plan any way I want–it’s not all or nothing.

My overall goal will be to just move–and move hardcore–everyday, whether its Insanity or not. So maybe it will take me four months to finish. Or maybe I will hit my stride–Samantha promises I will find a  groove. And you know what? I think I believe her. I think that maybe if I can just get past Day 1 and  positively align my mentality, I could maybe, possibly learn to love Insanity. We shall see.

Regardless, here’s some fitness tidbits from this week:

Favorite (fitness) article: This one reminded me that the only person I need to compete with is myself.

Goal for next workout: To battle the bore by practicing mindfulness during my workout.

Biggest mini-success: Doubling the number of switch kicks since my October Fit Test.

Workout saboteurs: Insanity is loud and my poor neighbor let me know in the middle of my first workout. Well, at least I think that’s what she was going to tell me. I quickly shied away from the peephole and hid until she went away, and then moved the workout upstairs. Thank goodness we have a loft. (Also, I know, I’m very mature for not answering the door).

Favorite pin: This is definitely my mantra for next week!

Sorest muscle:I hardly moved my bod at all this week. But dang. My calves feel like a monster truck ran over them.

I will be back next Saturday with an update. Please send good vibes my way!

Catherine