July 31, 2013

Back to the Basics (Insta-Gratitude Week 31)

This last week, we have spent quite a bit of time getting back to the basics.  We are working on decluttering our house, spending a few minutes each day just being quiet and spending time with people that we love.  Seems simple, right?  Then why is it so easy to forget to take time to do these things?  My biggest goal for August is to try not to over think everything.

1 - Mackenzy turned 5 this week.  Crazy how time has flown by and she's gotten so grown up.
2 - Spending time watching a "concert" put on by all three girls Friday night.
3 - A day with Timmy & Jen - doing what we do (clearly we love to attempt to recreate murals.)

4 - Free music in the park.  Joey Ryan and the Inks - they are one of the best around here.
5 - Sunday funday with Lola - I think we left the couch only three times after breakfast.

6 - 3 HUGE bags of clothes delivered to a donation site.  Our closets & our dresser got decluttered first.
7 - Declutter day 2 involved the refrigerator, a shelves in our bedroom and part of the kitchen.  Two days in a row meant that I got to reward myself with wine, a face mask and my new favorite website - www.getsomeheadspace.com. I read about it first on Jessica's blog Gin & Juiceboxes and had to try the 10 minutes for 10 days challenge.  It's worth a try.

I also have to say that I am extremely grateful that people have been linking up every week.  I get so excited to see what things other people find happiness in.  How do you acknowledge the little things?  I've heard of gratitude journals, but that's kind of what I use this blog for.  Thanks again for joining me in this weekly, monthly, one time.  I can't express how happy it makes me.  Click around, make new friends.
Insert Classy Here - Gratitude

July 30, 2013

I like people who...

There are some people in the world that I look at and just know that I'm going to like them.  It might be something small, their first words to me or something that happens after I've known them for weeks.
I like people who...

...have an open heart.

...send mail - like real postcards and real letters.

...have dogs.  If you are a dog person, I will just love you.

...can get lost in a book all day long.  But only if you tell me which book.

...say please and thank you, but even more importantly, excuse me and no thank you.

...can laugh until the wee hours of the morning.

...offer me wine, beer or coffee the second I walk in the door - doesn't matter the time of day - sometimes I just need a drink (other times I might need cream cheese wontons, Caramellos or yoga pants.)

...say things like le duh, BOOM or truth bomb.

...eat like I do.  Everyone eats.  It's OK if you're picky or you don't like something.  Order whatever you want, try new things, be picky.  It doesn't matter to me, just enjoy your food like I do.

...watch the trashy TV I watch.  Don't act like you're better than that.

...speak their mind.  No matter what.  I have an opinion, but sometimes I don't have the courage to shout my beliefs from the mountaintops.  I support you even if you think differently from me.

...smile all the time and appreciate all the little things.
...think working out sucks.  All those people who do it daily and don't admit that it's a struggle - I have a hard time with you.

...are sincere - I think that says it all.

...do nice things for other people.  I really like people who do nice things for other people even if they don't always deserve it.  It's those little moments that can change another person's whole perspective.  Trust me, I've seen it happen.  You never know.

...listen to music and share music.

...walk fast.  I can try and walk slow, but it's so hard for me.  I like you better if you go my pace.

...read this blog.  Yep, I just like you a ton.  I feel like I've met some just awesome people out there in the world and it makes me so happy every day.  I write whatever is on my mind and knowing that sometimes other people find that entertaining blows my mind.

What kind of people do you like?  Tell me all about it.  Also, just a reminder that tomorrow is gratitude day, so come and link up with something that you're grateful for.

Insert Classy Here - Gratitude

July 29, 2013

Family Time

This weekend was all about family and it was awesome.  My brother and Jen made a trip home and we spent as much time with them as possible, but before we were with them, we spent a few hours with J's parents and all 3 of our nieces.  2 of them were running around non stop, but Kennedy doesn't mind taking her own picture.

We hung out with my family Friday evening and then had a full day with them on Saturday.  Breakfast at the Bad Waitress, donuts at Glam Doll, mimosas at Spill the Wine and then a whole bunch more fun in NE Minneapolis.

Saturday night, we met up with a few of Justin's friends in Minneapolis and ended up at a "club" that I didn't love.  Sunday morning, we had breakfast with my family.  Justin & I had a thrilling trip to Home Depot and the grocery store and then sat around ALL day.  It was lazy and amazing.

I don't get to see my brother too often.  He moved away to a little town in South Dakota after school and he met Jen there.  Being 6 hours away, they don't get to come home too often so when they do, we try to have as much fun as possible.  Even with the gross beard my brother is growing, it was really fun to spend some time with them this weekend.

On a separate note, go win some stuff and then go check out Sami's Shenanigans linkup.

July 26, 2013

Minnesota 2 - England 1

This post is dedicated to one of the most loved baseball players that Minnesota has ever seen.  He is our hometown boy, rocks sideburns like no one else can, has T.I. playing when he steps up to bat, has an old school bromance with Justin Morneau, has his mom star in Kemps commercials with him and married a hometown girl he's known since high school. What's that?  There's more???

HE JUST HAD TWIN GIRLS.  You heard that correctly.  Our favorite Minnesota Twin decided to go and have himself twins.  This is probably the sweetest thing ever.  He was pulled last minute from the game on Monday night to race home and get the hospital before these two little girls were born.

Yes, meet Joe Mauer.

I can't believe I've waited this long to tell you this story, but I feel like it's appropriate today for Fan Friday.  I went to the same high school as Mr. Mauer (and his beautiful wife.)  We were not friends, we were not in the same grade, we did not have any classes together, I cannot get you his autograph today, he would not recognize me now, but we shared one special afternoon. (and yes, I get asked all those questions all the time)

I was a freshman in high school and didn't really have too many friends yet.  I didn't come from one of the middle schools that the majority of my grade did, so it took me a little longer to mingle and put myself out there.  I was lucky enough to know some neighborhood kids that would pick me up for school and bring me home afterwards.  Ronnie was my favorite to ride with.  He was kind of a jerk in a big brother like way, but I knew he'd help me out any time I needed anything.

There was one afternoon in September that I needed a ride from him, so I waited by his bright blue Geo Metro (yes, the car that is the size of a teaspoon) in the parking lot for him to finish football practice.  He showed up with another tall kid and said we were dropping him off first so I'd have to crawl in the backseat with their backpacks.  I was a little tiny girl, so I didn't argue (even though the front seat was so much cooler.)

We started our ride home with football talk.  They asked me a few questions about how my first month of high school was going and then we just listened to the radio.  A few minutes go by and a song comes on the radio that we all know.

The two guys in the front seat (both over 6 feet tall) began singing along loudly and I was trying not to laugh while trying to pretend like I knew all the words so I could be cool too.  Just as the song ended, we pulled into an alley and dropped this kid off.  I immediately hopped up to the front seat and asked Ronnie who it was.  He looked at me like I was crazy.  Once he realized I had no idea, he told me to pay attention to that kid.  He told me that he was the "golden boy" and would make millions someday.  He was Joe Mauer.  

Over the next two years that we were in school together, we said hi in the halls and shared a few more carpools.  I watched him help our football team win the State Championship.  I watched him hit home run after home run in baseball games.  I saw him at other sporting events because he always supported other teams when he could (I'm pretty sure he came to at least one girl's hockey game while I was there.)  I watched ESPN come to our school for a press conference.  I never really talked to him again, but I'll never forget that day in the car.

So that's reason #1540385 why I will always be a Twins fan and I will always be a Joe Mauer fan.  Congrats again to him and his family on their new additions.  This song is dedicated to them, because even though they will be loved by all of MN, they will never actually be real royals.

Venus Trapped in Mars

July 25, 2013

A Day in my Life

OK fine, I know many people are intrigued and wondering what happens during each hour of my day, so I'm going to take an idea from Steph (funny, not me - my other favorite Steph) and give you my play by play.  Here is her post (way funnier with better characters.)

6:00 AM - Alarm goes off.  SNOOZE
6:09 AM - Again

6:18 AM - Again (seriously, he's going to kill me, but this is the sweetest picture EVER)
6:27 AM - OK fine, I'm up.  I stumble around for a little while and figure out what I'm going to put on that day.  I shower, brush my teeth, comb my hair, put face lotion/sunscreen on my face and if the rest of the world is lucky, I put on mascara.

Head downstairs, check email, fight with the dogs about how long they need to bark at the neighborhood and feed them their organic dog food.  Pour myself some iced coffee and grab my fruit for breakfast.  Quincy eats as fast as possible and Lola eats one kernel at a time.

7:00 AM - I'm out the door for my 16 minute commute on the backroads.

7:15 - 9:00 AM - Meetings, emails and staring at my desk realizing how messy it is - how will I ever clean all these papers up?
9:00 - 9:30 AM - Take a walk around the office, check in with people, check mailbox, check gmail.
9:30 - 11:15 AM - More meetings, emails, conference calls.
11:15 - 11:45 AM - Lunch time, blog reading, check CNN (to find out the prince's name - duh) and chat with random office people - that is our IT guy wearing that shirt

11:45 - 2:00 PM - More work things, emails, meetings, still attempting to clean up my desk.
2:00 - 2:15 PM - Walk with Nicole - my sister-in-law who works with me and happens to be pregnant with my first nephew :) She sometimes needs to get up and walk around for a while, so I volunteer my services, plus she shows me adorable pictures of my niece.

2:15 - 4:15 PM - Having conversations with Heather, responding to emails, eating a freeze pop and getting things cleaned up around my desk.

4:15 - 4:35 PM - Drive home using the backroads and laugh at all the poor people driving from Minneapolis to St. Paul on Highway 94.  I love our drive to and from work because we cross the great mighty Mississippi River each day and it's beautiful.  The Minneapolis skyline is always visible.  Once we pull in the driveway, the dogs are up in the window - no fail.

4:35 - 5:00 PM - Throw a load of laundry in, get the mail (10 year reunion invite - crap), water the plant, wrestle with the dogs for a while and feed them because they can't possibly wait another minute.

5:00 - 5:30 PM - Yoga (more to come on this later)

5:30 - 6:00 PM - No clue, probably just wondering around the house pretending to pick things up.  Maybe having a conversation with the dogs.  Eating random things out of the refrigerator.  When Justin isn't home, I don't usually have a conventional dinner.

6:00 - 7:15 PM - Reading on the patio with a glass of wine.  Listening to the dogs tell the neighborhood about Prince George (why else would they be barking obsessively).  Chatting with the next door neighbor.  Trying to get pictures of my dogs.  And when my husband is gone for long days for work often, the stubborn gray dog (aka Quincy) decides to actually give me attention.  It's one of my favorite things.

7:15 - 9:30 PM - Blogging for the next day, watching Netflix, Jeff Lewis and wine.

9:30 PM - Crawl into bed, move the dogs around a little bit and fall asleep peacefully.  Sometimes this involves me shoving Lola off my pillow numerous time.

So that's a thrilling day in the life of yours truly... well, a summer day.

July 24, 2013

Inspiration (Insta-Gratitude Week 30)

Thanks Nikki for letting me use this!
Last week, a few of my favorite bloggers in the world decided to host a link up today and I couldn't pass it up, but I also have a commitment to myself to post my daily gratitudes every week.  The beautiful thing is how much these two things are one in the same for me.  Their brilliant link up is asking what inspires you, what gives you ideas to write about.

Helene in Between

I started this blog for a few reasons.  I like writing.  I love pictures.  I love taking a little time each day to reflect on the things I've been thinking about and the things that make me happy.  I wanted a way to document my 30 before 30 list.  I wanted a place to dump the past attempts at blogging I've made so they are in one place.

Other places I go to when looking for ideas?  Other bloggers (StephErinTami and Nadine are a few that I find awesome content on), funny emails, random quizzes in magazines, wine - yes just drinking it inspires me sometimes, trashy television and then there was that one time (or two times) that I went MySpace old school and answered these questions and these questions.

I started my #dailygratitude on Instagram right after Christmas and this is week 30 of sharing it on the blog.  It is one of my favorite posts to write each week because I look at the 7 pictures I posted and get happy about them again.  Being able to make this a link up has been awesome on a whole new level.  Seeing the little things that make other people happy is great for me.

1 - On a 97 degree day, it was kind of nice to reminisce about our awesome Big Sky skiing trip.
2 - I love when those two cuddle... seriously.
3 - Burrito night with J's parents - no meat and they still liked it.
4 - A really good girl's night at the Package Tour and then a slumber party at our house (plus a husband that drives us and puts up with a house full of giggling girls.)

5 - Interrupted yoga is OK when it comes in that little gray form.
6 - My husband to the rescue with a mini flower and an iced Starbucks drink.
7 - The most beautiful summer evening.

So there you have it.  If you are looking for inspiration, take a look around and appreciate some of the little things.

Insert Classy Here - Gratitude

July 23, 2013

iPod Reboot - Classy Meets Gila Monster

I found this clipping in a magazine a few years ago about "rebooting your iPod" that listed nine different categories.  You are supposed to pick the first song that comes to mind.  The reason the magazine published it was the medical study that chronic pain sufferers who listened to happy music for an hour a day reduced their hurt by 20%.  I'm not a chronic pain sufferer, but everyone needs a little iPod reboot every once in a while.  So, I decided to share my playlist with you, plus something else really exciting...
I'm excited to introduce you to Gwen (aka the Gila Monster) who is my very first real life sponsor for this little blog.  I secretly want to live in her neighborhood because it sounds amazing - dance parties on the front porch?  Yes, please.  Get to know her by checking out some of my favorite posts - a post about -isms and the simplicity of a child's mindwhy she's called the Gila Monster and the most fun parade I've ever seen.

She is a music lover so I thought this would be a great way to team up.  I sent her an email begging her to send me her songs to fit these categories and she agreed to play along.  Let us know what songs you would line up.  I'm always looking for some new jams.

The song I've requested most of wedding deejays lately:  

Steph:  I can't seem to get enough of "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk.

Gwen:  I don't usually request songs but this is funny because we were just talking about this recently.  My husband's number one favorite is "Kiss" by Prince; my request would be "Walkin' on Sunshine" by Katrina and the Waves.  It's just so happy!

I dance naked in my bedroom to:

Steph:  Anything by Ke$ha or "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke

Gwen: "Can't Hold Us" by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

I cannot NOT bop my head along to:

Steph:  Fitz & the Tantrums.  I am so in love with them right now and I love all of their songs.

Gwen: "I Love It" by Icona Pop.  I hope I don't get sick of it.

The tune I'm most likely to belt out at the top of my lungs on a road trip:

Steph:  "Sister Christian" by Night Ranger and "Paradise by the Dashboard Lights" by Meatloaf

Gwen:  Just about anything, but I'll say "Eternal Flame" by the Bangles (which I wrote about in this post.)

The song that has occasionally been known to inspire me to do the Robot:

Steph:  I was kind of thinking the same thing as Gwen here.  I'm not a great dancer and I definitely can't do the robot.  The running man is kind of my move.  However, "Push It" by Salt-N-Pepa has been my recent dance song because of the cheesy movie, Something Borrowed.

Gwen:  I can't say that I've ever done the robot.  But for some reason, I'm drawn to a different topic which is "the song that occasionally inspires me to CLEAN" and that song is "If" by Janet Jackson.  I can't explain it but on the rare occasion that I actually get down and dirty and clean, I play the "Janet." album to get me moving. 

I'm not at all embarrassed to tell you that I know every word to:

Steph:  Miley... duh.

Gwen:  "Mean" by Taylor Swift.  I'm not a huge T. Swift fan, but I love the "I'll show you" attitude.

My prom/wedding/special occasion song:  

Steph:  We didn't do a first dance at our wedding, but I would have picked "This Kind of Love" by Sister Hazel.  Our favorite song to sing to one another is this:

Another Like You by Hayes Carll on Grooveshark

Gwen:  I don't really have one, but if we got married again or if we renew our vows, our first dance will probably be "Sign Your Name Across My Heart" by Terence Trent D'Arby.

My no-fail seduction song:

Steph:  I guess I don't have one, but I think I might test out "Gimme Some Lovin" by G. Love & Special Sauce and see what happens.

Gwen:  "If I Had You" by Diana Krall.  My husband loves Diana Krall and if I sang this song to him, he would be putty in my hands!

The song that puts me to sleep (in a good way):

Steph:  "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac or "Indian Moon" by State Radio.

Gwen:  "North Dakota" by Lyle Lovett with Rickie Lee Jones.  This is from the "Joshua Judges Ruth" album and when I listen to it, I just close my eyes and enjoy the beauty and the sadness.

So there you have it.  Go check out her blog and let us know what you think of our jams and what your answers would be.  For those of you with Spotify, here's our playlist.

July 22, 2013

10 Things I Learned from the Package Tour

My weekend really revolved around 2 things - work (which no one wants to hear about) and boy bands.  Saturday night, a few of my girlfriends got together and went to see the Package Tour at the Target Center.  It was everything I was hoping for and more.

Since everyone loves a good list, here is a list of the things I have learned from the Package Tour:

1.  Boyz II Men can wear anything and make it look cool.  Even white suits with sequins on the shoulders.

2.  Rose petals falling from the ceiling makes "I'll Make Love to You" even cheesier.

3.  98 degrees really is the worst boy band.  Sorry.  Not great dancers and so many songs no one knew.

4.  Wearing suspenders hanging down from your waist makes me hope that you don't have a stylist...

5.  Donnie Wahlberg is the man - don't forget that - but it's a little weird to make out with an older lady at every show you do (I had a lot of people ask if this happened in Minneapolis - 30 seconds, full on tongue).

6.  Fake tuxedo tanks/t-shirts will never get old in my book.

7.  Paying $60.00 through Groupon for tickets was worth every penny.  There was fire, fog, glitter, different stages and 3 1/2 hours of entertainment.

8.  There will always be that one super fan in front of you that tapes the entire concert while singing every word... oh, and he's with his girlfriend.  Literally, he taped the entire concert.  I hope he got all of our commentary throughout the show.

9.  Sparkly Bruins jerseys are not OK.  In Boston, you'd get your ass kicked for those.  Still love NKOTB though and I love that they are representing their hometown pride.  You can't really see the sparkle in this picture, but I promise it was there.

10.  Never underestimate boy band fans.  The screaming was like nothing I've ever heard before.  When you add in the fact that it was pretty much Magic Mike live on stage, things really escalated quickly.

So there you have it.  The concert recap.  Mind blown.  We had some bar shenanigans afterward and then a sleepover at my house that my husband survived.  That pretty much sums up my weekend.

Sami's Shenanigans