Confessions of a spa newbie

The true story of what happens when an extremely low-maintenance girl goes on her first spa day.

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Ah, a spa day! Sounds so relaxing, right? And who doesn’t deserve a little pampering these days? My mom treated me to a spa day as my birthday gift this year, and thanks to a special that the spa was running, I got to choose three services for a flat fee. I am seriously a low maintenance girl — I wear a little make-up and earrings, but this world of massages, manicures, facials and waxing was a whole other world. Not wanting to go too far outside my comfort zone, I opted for massage, shellac manicure, and eyebrow wax.

The massage was awesome. I’ve only had about 4 massages in my life, but that’s enough to realize that a good massage therapist can really make a difference. This gal really got in and dug around on my tight muscles, which left me sore for days. I’m sure it’s personal preference, but I also prefer a massage therapist who is just a bit of a talker. Laying there in complete silence while a stranger rubs oil on you is just awkward.  So we talked about running and kids and new restaurants in town.  You know, the normal stuff you talk about while you’re naked.  =)

Next up was the shellac manicure. I almost never paint my nails because (a) I can’t sit still long enough to let the paint dry and (b) I am not careful with them and inevitably they chip in a couple days. Not worth it. And how freaking annoying is it to pay for a manicure, then mess up the polish while you’re opening your car door as you leave the nail place? But I’d been told that shellac manicures are more durable, so I decided to give it a try.   You guys… It’s so true. The polish is completely dry and hardened before you leave, and it lasted a week and a half weeks with no scratches, chips or anything.  (It probably would have lasted longer but I went swimming one day and chlorine is evil.)  They are a little more expensive than standard manicures, and I’m a bit of a cheapskate, so I doubt I’ll be getting these on a regular basis, but if I ever have a big event that I want my nails to look nice for, shellac is the way to go.

I loved my first shellac manicure!  It really (really!) doesn't chip or dent.

I chose a really neutral color since I’m not used to having my nails painted.

The eyebrow wax… Did I mention it was my very first waxing experience? It’s just always sounded SO painful. But actually, it wasn’t that bad — very similar to pulling off a band-aid. I guess I expected it to be more like a haircut where we would discuss ahead of time what I wanted (there are definitely eyebrow “styles,” right? I don’t want then super thin!) to have more of a discussion about what I wanted before she started slathering got wax between my eyebrows. I am a pretty committed tweezerer, and I think I’ll stay that way, but it was nice not to have to worry about it for a couple of weeks.

My very first eyebrow wax! It was a weird experience, but it was nice to be able to skip tweezing in the mornings for a couple of weeks.

So, how about you – are you low maintenance or high maintenance? Do you think I’m a weirdo for trying some of this stuff for the first time at age 35? What’s your favorite spa treatment if money were no object?

Humpday Confessions :: linking up with Vodka & Soda

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April Goals, and March Goals in review

Monthly Goals // Beauty School Dropout

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Hello, April!  It’s a good thing April is a long month, because I’m feeling extra-motivated this month.  I think it’s that involuntary spring cleaning thing kicking in!  But before that, I always think it’s good to look back and see how I did on last month’s goals.

March Goals Recap

Crafty stuff.  A-.  I finished the cross-stitch and dropped it off for framing.  I hoped to have a photo of the finished project but the framing isn’t done yet.  I did start a new knitting project (a hat for my husband) but I’ve only half-heartedly worked a few rows on it.  It should hopefully be done by next winter!  (I don’t do as much knitting, stitching, etc. in the spring and summer because I’d rather be outside playing.)

Banish the Mean Mommy Monster.  B.  I am getting better… I’m becoming more aware of what triggers the MMM to rear her ugly head, but I certainly haven’t been 100% perfect about not yelling.   My son has also learned the word “annoyed” this month, as in, “Mommy, are you annoyed with me?”  Yes, son… yes I am.  Just being able to have that conversation really helps take the uncontrolled emotion out of the situation for me.

Yoga.  B.  I didn’t do yoga twice a week like I’d hoped, but I did go to class a lot more than normal.

 Self care.  A-.  There always room for improvement in this area, but I’m starting to look at my calendar differently and carve out some time for me, even if it means burning an hour or two of vacation time at work to do it.  I have also made peace with cooking much simpler meal (and repeating them a lot) at this point in my life.  Let’s just hope my family doesn’t get sick of crockpot meals!  Actually, they probably will, just in time for grilling season to start, which is equally easy in my mind.

April Goals

Start running again.  Now that the weather is not mind-numbingly cold anymore, I am excited to get back into running!  My running buddy is on the injured list, though, so I won’t be able to rely on her for  motivation.  I’m thinking of registering for a Superhero 5K!  (yes of course I’m going to wear a costume!!!)

Plant the garden.  Obviously it’s not warm enough to plant everything yet, but I can clean out the old plants, put in some new soil, and get spring plants like peas and lettuce started.

Closets.  Do seasonal clothes switch-out in my closet and donate stuff I don’t wear anymore.  Get too-small clothes out of the kids’ closets and box up or give away.  Clean out our disaster of a hall closet.  Bonus points if I manage to also slightly reclaim the living room from being a playroom.  (I was inspired by Steph’s decluttering tips, Kathy’s epic closet organization project, and Seana’s post on how to Organize Like a Kindergarten.

April Wallet Watch with Steph & Marla.  This is a choose your own adventure spending freeze — make your own rules!  Life According to Steph

My rules are:

1. Wallet watch lasts from April 1 – 30.
2. Track every dollar spent and stay within budget (under if possible!)
3. No buying clothes, shoes, beauty products, or Easter basket junk, except a new Easter outfit for Josiah and gifts for a baby shower and birthday party (staying within budget of course!).
3. Only one meal out per week except for weekends we are traveling.
4. Cook out of the pantry and freezer and really use what I have before food shopping.
Linking up with Ginger at Just One of the Boys.
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A Happier, Healthier Me

Ginger at Just One of the Boys has been writing a great series lately called A Happier, Healthier You, where she sets a small goals for taking better care of herself, so she is better able to care for those around her. She announced recently that she would be hosting a link-up today for others who need a little encouragement in taking better care of themselves.  Since one of my goals for the month is to focus on self-care, I thought I’d play along.

Last week was an interesting time for me to try to document the ways that I’m taking better care of myself, since I was solo parenting while my husband was on a spring break mission trip.  I also got sucked into a big project at work, which made for a little more stressful work week than normal, but it was actually kinda fun to be working together with people, since my work is normally kind of isolated.  Here are some of the ways I pampered myself last week:

Went to visit my parents.  Since Matt was gone a full week, plus the weekends on both ends, I decided to brave a car trip my myself with two little kids and drive to visit my parents for the first weekend.  It was a great decision!  My mom always spoils me when I visit, plus I love giving my son the opportunity to spend my time with his cousins.  They are old enough to entertain each other for a long time, which is great.

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Booked a massage.  My mom got me a gift certificate for my birthday, yippee!

Took advantage of the longer daylight & nice weather and sent Josiah outside to run off some energy in the backyard most nights after we got home .  This makes me so excited for warmer weather to arrive for real!

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Super simple dinners.  My mom sent me home with lots of leftovers from the weekend, so we pretty much ate those all week, plus carrot sticks and apple slices as side dishes.  Haute cuisine, right?

Lunch with a friend at a new restaurant. I almost always pack my lunch, but I’m so happy I splurged for a lunch out — great conversation and delicious food.

Let Josiah stay up late for a FaceTime call from dad (and Spiderman!!!) in New York City.  Apparently there’s wifi in Times Square, because my husband was able to walk around and give us a tour of Times Square via FaceTime — pretty cool.

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Got a haircut. Even though I didn’t love the results because my normal stylist is on maternity leave, I feel better to have all the split ends tidied up and my bangs trimmed.

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I can definitely say that making the effort to take better care of myself in these small ways did help me have more patience to handle solo parenting last week, even during the daylight savings time change, argh…. (Single parents, I bow down in awe of you.)

This week, it’s my birthday week — woo hoo!  Also, I need to get back to the gym, I’ve been slacking a bit.

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March Goals, and February Goals in review

Photo Credit: Geomangio via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Geomangio via Compfight cc

March is here… BIRTHDAY MONTH!!!  Let’s start the fun with some goal setting, shall we?  (Yes – that’s my idea of fun.  I’m a nerd.)

February Goals Recap

Running.  B.  I didn’t run too much in February, between the very bad weather and an injured running buddy, but I lifted weights and swam a lot, so I’m counting it as good.

Project Clean Eating.  A.  My goal for the month was to get into the habit of packing healthy snacks for work.  I mostly succeeded at this, by sticking to a few snacks that I like but don’t set off my sugar cravings.  (apples with peanut butter, a homemade trail mix, cheese sticks) I also started tracking on My Fitness Pal (skerner79) to help me get a handle on how much I should be eating.

Relationships.  A.  We didn’t actually get out for a non-kids date this month, but I’m going to give myself top marks for this goal because I’ve been a super-supportive wife this month.

Project Life scrapbook.  A.  January pages are done (and February photos are already ordered… booyah.)  I’ll post some photos soon.  I’ve spent a little time playing with the manual settings of my camera, too, although not as much as I would have liked.  I still need to remember to set the speed faster so all my cute baby photos don’t have blurry hands in them.

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March Goals

Crafty stuff.  Finish the cross-stitch for my niece.  (I’m SO close.)  Start a new knitting project.

Banish the mean mommy monster.  Lent starts this week, so I’m counting this as a March and April goal.  Here we go… keeping it real here.  I’m giving up yelling and spanking for Lent.  (Obviously I don’t do either of those things to the baby.  It’s my older child that drives me to the brink.)  I hate that I do either of those things, and I know that I need God’s help to change my patterns.

Yoga.  Yoga yoga yoga.  It is exercise and therapy all wrapped into one.  I love the calming effect it has on me.  I’d like to do yoga at least twice a week this month.

 Self care.  It seems almost cliche at this point — another blogger preaching self care! — but I really need it.  For me, this looks like a 2-3 hour chunk of time once a week by myself to do whatever I want — sleep, write blog posts, watch TV…  I’m going to make this happen!  (I also think my lack of this is directly tied to my lack of patience with my older son.)

Parents of 3-4 year olds (or those that have been there) — any tips for me for getting Josiah to cooperate with having to yell?   (Not that it works too well anyway.)  Everyone else… do you love yoga too, or is it too woo-woo for you?  Are you doing anything crafty these days, in any sense of the word?  =)

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February Goals, and January Goals in Review

Photo Credit: Lotus Carroll via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Lotus Carroll via Compfight cc

It’s that time again, when I look back to see how I did on last month’s goals and set some goals for the upcoming month.  I’ve set monthly goals for a while now, but this year I’m trying to be a little more intentional about linking these short-term goals to some longer-term goals for the year.  Let’s start by looking back:

January Goals

Strength training. B+.  I’ve been doing a little strength training as part of my new favorite group fitness class, Cross-Cycle (spinning + strength crosstraining.  It. is. awesome.)  And I found a bodyweight workout that includes a lot of back/shoulder work to help get me to my goal of doing a pull-up.

Morning quiet devotional time. D.  Didn’t do it.  (Well, maybe three times?)  No excuses.  Try, try, try again, right?

Savings.  C.  Well, I set up the savings accounts, but haven’t put any money into them yet.  Still dealing with some cash-flow issues related to an unexpectedly high personal property tax bill at the end of the month.  Isn’t being a grown-up fun?

Work.  B.  I still feel pretty incompetent most of the time, but I’m asking tons of questions and I’m trying to rely on my strengths (making lists and keeping my tasks organized) to make the most of what I’m doing right now.  I definitely feel better about work than I did at this time last month, when I was emailing law school classmates who’ve left the profession about how they made their escape!

Project Clean Eating.  B+.  I had a run of 2 weeks where I did really well — eating almost no sweets.  (I’m an abstainer, not a moderator, so I pretty much need to go cold turkey or it doesn’t work for me.)  I’ve backslid a little in the past few days (stress eating? Definitely.)  Still, major accomplishment for me.

Goals for February:

Running.  Sign up for a 10K (or longer) race to motivate me to go running more often.  (Mother Nature, you could work with me a little bit here, too.)

Project Clean Eating.  Pack healthy snacks every day.  This makes or breaks healthy eating for me!

Relationships.  Since it’s February, I’m going to focus on love and making my marriage a priority — schedule a babysitter for a night out, finish reading Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage, and find some time that we’re not dealing with the kids or work to just spend time together…on a regular basis… what a concept!  (And yet, so hard?  Please tell me we’re not the only ones!)

Project Life scrapbook.  Complete the January pages and continue to play with the manual settings on my camera.

If you’re a goal setter… what do you do when you have an utter failure?  I waver between doubling my resolve, and abandoning it altogether.

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2014: Welcome

Photo Credit: bitzcelt via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: bitzcelt via Compfight cc

During 2013, I became very inward-focused, more concerned about growing a baby, recovery from a c-section, adjusting to having two kids than about reaching out to meet new people or help those outside my bubble.  We stopped hosting the weekly Bible study & dinner for college students at our house and I spent almost all my free time at home with my family.  

I think all of this is probably pretty normal for someone with a new baby to take care of.  (They’re fairly demanding little creatures!)  But it creates such a conflict within me — I may not be a full blown extrovert, but I start to get really sad and lonely if I don’t get to see friends and family on a regular basis.  And taking care of my family is a high priority, but volunteering to help those close to me, as well as people in the community and around the world that I’ll probably never meet, is really important to me, too.

As I mulled over what I want my 2014 to look like, wrote some goals, and made plans for January, the word welcome kept crossing my path.  This lovely post about unexpected hospitality pushed me over the edge — welcome it was… my word for 2014.  For me, welcome means…

  • Continuing to welcome my sweet baby into our family and see his personality develop (I can’t completely get away from that baby stuff!)
  • Welcoming each day with a moment of quiet reflection and prayer
  • Making my house a welcoming place for friends, family, and yes — even those hungry college students
  • Making people feel welcome in this space, my little corner of the internet
  • Carrying a welcoming spirit with me in all situations — I’ve seen time and time again how people open up and really shine when they feel welcome in their environment, whether at work, at church, visiting friends, or even just interacting with strangers at the grocery store

Do you have a word that’s resonating with you right now?

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January Goals, and December Goals in Review

Photo Credit: Geomangio via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Geomangio via Compfight cc

I have a tendency to go a little crazy when it comes to setting goals.  I know this about myself, but I just can’t quit.  One year I did 12 Days of Resolutions instead of the 12 Days of Christmas!  It was a little ridiculous.  For the past week or so, I’ve been brainstorming all the different things I’d like to work on this year, and my list just kept growing and growing.  Even though it seems a little overwhelming, I’m going to share my list with you, then try to set my goals each month to move towards accomplishing them.  Ready?  Whew… this is kinda scary.  Here goes:

  • Fitness/Health: Run a sub-2:00 half-marathon, do a pull-up, practice yoga regularly, clean up my eating
  • Financial: Save for a summer vacation, backyard swing set, and next year’s Christmas gifts.  Try not to go into debt as my husband finishes his last year of the never-ending seminary degree.
  • Blog stuff: Write a guest post every month.  Create some value-added content, like an e-book?  Do a reader survey?
  • Professional: Put some serious thought into what I want to be when I grow up, and how I go about making that happen.
  • Home: declutter/streamline, um… everything.  Find an “office” that’s not the kitchen counter.
  • Family/Friends: Make time for the most important people in my life – visit relatives, spend quality time with my husband, plan social events with friends.
  • Spiritual: Build some quiet time into my day, make Bible study a priority
  • Hobbies: Work on Project Life scrapbook at least once a month.  (The Jade kit is so cute!)  Learn to use the manual settings on my camera.  Finish the cross stitch piece that was my new niece’s Christmas present.

Okay, now that you’ve looked far deeper into the recesses of my mind that you ever wanted to, let’s look back at how I did on my December goals, then we can close the books on 2013 and get ready for 2014!

Strength training.  C+.  I didn’t really get to the gym too often in December, there were just too many bad weather days and office holiday parties, but I did as much strength training as cardio, so I feel ok about that.

Put up Christmas lights.  A+!  We did it, early in December even.  As I suspected, my son was thrilled that we had lights on our house.  Every day on the way home from preschool, we talked about whether he thought our lights would be on yet.  (They were on a sensor so they turned on when it got dark.)

#photosoritdidnthappen

#photosoritdidnthappen

What you don’t see in the photo is the two-story side of our split level house.  We don’t have a ladder that tall…

A goal about goals.  A.  Umm… yeah, I’d say I came up with a few goals for next year!

Catch up on my Project Life scrapbook.  A-.  I’m done through the end of November, and the December photos are ready to picked up at Wal-Mart.  (Ugh… that means I have to go to Wal-Mart, doesn’t it?)

January Goals

Strength training.  Find a plan to follow, preferably one that incorporates building up to being able to do a pull-up.  (Ah, the elusive pull-up!)

Quiet time.  Read Jesus Calling devotional book daily, and spend a few minutes journaling, praying, or just sitting quietly before rushing off to start my day.  (I’ve got the book on the table next to my rocking chair in the baby’s room, so my plan is to read it while I’m nursing him in the morning.  That’s a solid 20 minutes right there!)

Savings.  Set up automatic savings plans for Christmas next year, a summer vacation, and a swingset.  Dump any unexpected earnings into those funds, too.  (I use CapitalOne360 for all my savings accounts, which used to be ING Direct.  It’s really easy to use and you earn a teeny bit of interest on your money.  I highly recommend it if you want to set up automatic savings plans.)

Work.  I haven’t been super-thrilled about work lately, and I think it’s because I feel extremely incompetent in my new assignment.  So before I completely give up and go begging for a new assignment, I think I need to really lean in and try to learn as much as I can.  Maybe I can learn to like it?

Project Clean Eating. The first habit I want to change is my snacking — bring healthy snacks to work so I’m not tempted by the office candy dish, and have a nice cup of hot tea in the evenings after dinner instead of raiding whatever cookies or candy we have around the house.

Can you do a pull-up?  Where should I go on summer vacation?  Are you sick of all this goals/resolutions stuff, or do you love it like me?

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Christmas Traditions with Kids

Traditions - with kids

I have really fond memories of the holiday activities my family did when I was a  kid, but living in a different town, 30+ years later, I am discovering that it’s nearly impossible to recreate all those same memories for my own kids.  (This seems so obvious when I type it out. Sometimes I’m a bit of a slow learner.)

Creating new traditions sounds like serious business, but there is no Christmas  police! As the saying goes, “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good.”

If you’d like to hear about how I’m creating Christmas traditions with my kids, in a very low-key, no-pressure kind of way, join me over at Missouri Women Bloggers!

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December goals, and November goals in review

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It’s December! Are you excited? I love this time of year. Before I jump into my goals for the month, let’s take a quick review of how I did on last month’s goals.

Date night. A+! After an epic fail in October, we had not one, but TWO date nights during November. Considering we have a 4 month old, I think this is fairly amazing.

Christmas crafting. A.  I am making good progress on the Christmas stocking and I might just might have the other project done by Christmas (although probably not in time to have it framed.

Strength training. D.  I think I’ve maybe lifted weights twice in the last month?  Tsk tsk.

Thanksgiving prep. I (for incomplete).  Plans changed and we didn’t host Thanksgiving after all, so I was off the hook for this one.  I did make some yummy sweet potatoes and kale salad, though!

Goals for December

Strength training.  Let’s try that one again!  I really want to try to stay on track with my workouts through the holidays.  Not only does it help balance out my chocolate-covered almond consumption, but I think staying active helps my energy level during these cold, dark winter months when I really just want to hibernate.

Put up Christmas lights.  I love getting out our Christmas decorations every year, but I admit I’m a bit of a scrooge when it comes to outdoor decorations.  It’s cold, we can never find the right extension cords, I don’t like to get up on ladders… I have plenty of great reasons why not to decorate the outside of the house.  But my son LOVES Christmas lights, so for his sake, I will suck it up and put up some lights.  (And you better believe I’ll be recruiting my husband and anyone else I can find into helping me!)

A goal about goals.  Next year, instead of these haphazard monthly goals, I’d like to use my monthly updates to work towards some bigger yearly goals.  I need to figure out what those are going to be!

Catch up on my Project Life scrapbook.  I think I might have it done through September?  I don’t want to go into the new year with the 2013 album not finished.

Linking up with Hayley at The Tiny Twig.

 

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November Goals, and October Goals in Review

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It’s no big surprise that if you set a bunch of goals, then never look at them or think about them again, you probably won’t accomplish them.  October was a busy month for me, and I did a lot of things I wanted to do, but not necessarily the things on last month’s goal list.  Oops!  Oh well… onward.  Here’s a quick review of what I mostly didn’t do in October:

Decluttering.  B-  I definitely didn’t declutter for 15 minutes a day like I wanted to, but I did get the seasonal clothes switch-out accomplished (woo hoo!), although all the summer kid clothes storage bins are still sitting in my bedroom.

5K Training.  A-  I didn’t run quite as much as I wanted to, but I feel ready for my race this Sunday.  Training for the race also helped me get back into a semi-regular workout routine, which is a good thing since my natural inclination in cold weather is to stay inside, wrap up in cozy blankets, and drink hot chocolate.

Daily Bible study.  B+  I started reading Jesus Calling, which is a daily devotional reading, and much shorter than the One Year Bible that I was trying to read before. I didn’t read every day, but I’m doing better.

Date night.  F  Two date nights in October?  Apparently that was a bit of a lofty goal, since I managed zero.  Trying again next month…

And for November’s goals:

Date night.  One measly night out with my husband and without my children.  Surely I can manage this?

Christmas crafting.  I have two projects that I’d like to get done before Christmas, so I need to finish one so it can be framed, and make good progress on the other during the month of November.  Both are already started, but when I do find myself with a little free time, I need to make working on these a priority.

Strength training.  I’ve got some serious baby-holding arm and shoulder strength, but other than that, I’ve lost most of the strength that I had gained before I got pregnant and had to scale back my workouts.  I want to add strength training back into my weekly workout routine this month.

Thanksgiving prep.  We’re hosting Thanksgiving for my husband’s side of the family this year, so I want to plan ahead enough so that I’m not scrambling around like a maniac the day before trying to get the house clean, groceries bought, etc.

What does your November have in store?

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