From 1954 Single-Family Home to 1990’s Era Condo Living: culture shock

Anxiety

I didn’t think that this whole process would be easy, as we were in our former home since May of 2005 (a three bedroom ranch-style home in the historic Beverley Green neighborhood, near the south-side of the Strip and downtown). I didn’t expect to move so soon, either (a 30-day close) but we found something we liked very much: in our price range, located on the west side of the valley, something built in the 1990’s, and convenient to the shopping areas we like. I would’ve preferred a 60-day close, but I think that the investor was happy about moving the closing date a month sooner.

Anticipation

I now know, that in real time, 6 months would’ve been more suitable for our situation (we are collectors, including our son). Yes, we were downsizing (about four hundred square feet) but I was almost ready for that change, but this was a dramatic change for us. I’d read in articles, a few times, that once a purge was done (ie. setting aside for donations, give-away’s, and having a big yard sale) that another purge would be necessary (I was packing and purging at the same time, a few hours a night, after working at my full-time job—this was pretty time-consuming). We were able to sell some furniture and appliances on craigslist just before the big day.

Frustration

The move itself was pretty rough, as we were still packing things while moving, not something that I recommend as it gets pretty crazy trying to manage multiple people in your house. Luckily, family members were helpful and very involved. We had to rent the truck for 2 days and we made multiple trips between both properties. Our new place was filled with boxes and stuff. This made life crazy for the first two weeks. Our goal was to go through as many boxes and edit our collections as much as possible (it needed to be done—I found it liberating to let go of things that didn’t bring me joy, didn’t have a use, or something that was just taking up space). We also made numerous donations (this felt good, too, as we were helping the community) almost nightly for the first week.

Epiphany

To gain a little more clarity and sanity, we did rent out a storage unit, just temporarily; just to get some breathing room and not continually bump into this or that. My husband’s goal is to go through things at his leisure. Regarding the clothing purge, I was glad to have less to keep track of, and thankful that there was room in my closet for my favorite items: my dresses and handbags— that was my silver lining. I really made an effort to edit those items, as I keep remembering that all the experts say we use 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time. My closet is pretty much set, but I might need a few other organizational items. The neat thing is I know what’s inside my closet.

Coming together

I was so glad that most of the items we selected to keep in the kitchen had a place. This was unpacked and completed early on, which helped a lot. It’s nice to see the living room as a beach-themed sanctuary. It’s nice to see the pretty view from the dining room. Some of the furniture we opted to keep didn’t fit our new space but we were able to find some small-scale items at IKEA. We also went to T.J. Maxx, Wal-Mart, Ross, Marshall’s, and Bed, Bath & Beyond for some items we needed. We found some pretty aqua colored baskets for the laundry area; editing made a big difference, and it’s nearly the way we want it. We are placing an Amazon order. I also want to visit The Container Store.

More ahead

We have a couple more areas to tackle (the patio and our son’s room), then we can move on to the other items needing attention (other collections, items in storage, etc.). But, it is nice, that our place is becoming a home for us. It’s been a long, eventful, painful process, but once, we’re done, I know that I’ll be glad that the hard work was completed. And, don’t get me wrong, I know this is a continual thing, but I’ll still be glad that we did it together.

 

 

 

 

Beauty School Bargains in Las Vegas, Nevada- guest services by beauty school students

I’m not one to go to the Day Spa, although, I really must make the time to go (I’ve gone to the massage school to get a massage a couple times: http://www.nevadasmt.com)—info is on the school, but you can call for details or look up the address—also, you can purchase gift certificates at the school), but here are some bargains worth looking into, for locals and tourists alike.

I went here once when I was pregnant, but the service I had is no longer available (sad face); it was a body scrub treatment, and it was divine! This one does skin care, body care, nail treatments, makeup, waxing services, and hair services, as well as hair color services. I also like that this brand focuses on natural ingredients. I do intend on going there in the very near future. Also, you can purchase gift certificates online, which is a plus! Located in a strip mall, East Tropicana and Eastern corner, near Walgreens.

https://avedalasvegas.com/aveda-guest-services/

This is a longtime running beauty school here located on the west side (Charleston, in the Red Rock Plaza strip mall) ; they do hair care (many services!), skin care, back facials, add-on services such as makeup, eyebrow tinting, eyelash application/removal, spray tanning, epilation, and beauty packages here.

http://www.ahdvegas.com/hair-services

Here is another option for you. This one does primarily, hair, and makeup. Located on Eastern, still Las Vegas (89123 zip code).

https://paulmitchell.edu/lasvegas/programs/guest-services/details

Hope this information is useful.

Inspiration for Physical Activity

It is just a few days until Christmas, and then a week later, after that, New Year’s. Wow, just like that, another year is over. Like I always say, “Time Flies!” I’m not one to make resolutions, because my general philosophy is that I am always working towards being a better person, in many ways, all year long, day in, day out. I did decide this morning, that I would challenge myself with a 30 day cardio challenge. I’ve already proven to myself that I’ve got the diet part down pat (last summer; I no longer have any food addiction issues and I completely understand the moderation concept), and that I recently completed a 12-week stint of  straight workouts (I guess, I was a yo-yo fitness type, before that; I had a female issue (pain) that has since been handled with a surgery that I felt was necessary—Yes, it’s made a huge difference in my well-being), so I figured, why not do the second part of my doctor’s suggestions?

I found a resourceful website http://www.darebee.com, and I dabbled into some of the workouts (and there are a ton, I’m serious, one could not be bored on their many workouts!!!), but TODAY I will go all in. I just have not yet decided if this will be a singular challenge (just cardio) or a dual challenge (cardio plus abs). Of course, this challenge is in addition to my regular Weights/ Yoga routine. I will have to post another one with regards to my progress, and maybe post pics too. I would love to share another success story. I was curious about this procedure called Cool Sculpting but hope to do something on my own (if you set your mind to something, there is no stopping you, but you must believe before you can achieve), like I did recently (no trainer, no dietitian, no surgery, no medications, no magic pill, etc.)

I also did find another resource for becoming more active: 

https://steemit.com/life/@fitiliper1985/50-ways-to-be-more-active

And another:

http://tone-and-tighten.com/2014/04/50-ways-to-increase-your-physical-activity-how-to-get-more-active.html

Last one:

https://caloriebee.com/workout-routines/101_healthy_activities

 

On Health & Beauty- important links to articles you should click on, read, save, and share

I subscribe to many health-related e-newsletters and I wanted to compile some of the best ones regarding women’s products, namely health and beauty-related items, that you may not be aware of, containing harmful ingredients to our health (**our skin is the largest organ**). I am highly considering going chemical-free or rather, drastically reducing our household usage of these things (I have allergies to parabens and my young son’s general exposure to chemicals also concerns me). It is pretty scary that we just assume that these products are safe for the general public to use everyday (the FDA’s approval doesn’t really mean much), for years, without a second thought. It is up to each of us to become responsible for our own health and well-being. Hope that you find some of these articles to be useful, informative, and eye-opening.

This article discusses the most commonly found chemicals in our cosmetics:

https://foodrevolution.org/blog/toxic-chemicals-makeup/?utm_campaign=frn16&utm_medium=email&utm_source=email-automated&utm_content=2071&utm_term=existing-email-list&email=ms925lining%40gmail.com&firstname=margret&lastname=

This article addresses the cosmetic companies who test their products on animals (along with a list of cruelty-free companies and ***DIY recipes***—love that!):

http://www.thealternativedaily.com/should-we-torture-animals/?utm_source=internal&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=N161206

I currently use Burt’s Bees, Pacifica, Josie Maran’s Argan Oil, raw shea butter from Africa (purchased on Amazon) and Lush products, just to name a few, of the responsible cosmetic brands. I think there is a real push  or boost for these natural and/or organic beauty brands, as we are becoming more aware, nowadays. 

This article discusses toxic hair color and the direct connection to cancer:

http://www.naturalhealth365.com/hair-color-2057.html

I have not colored my hair in a long while (these products were really rough on my hair), but when I do, I will use henna from Lush.

This article discusses feminine hygiene products:

https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/dirty-secrets-feminine-hygiene-products/?gl=58520eb1dc7f1f0b7209de50

There is an excellent documentary titled “Chemerical” featured on http://www.fmtv.com; features ***DIY recipes*** for finding solutions to reducing or eliminating chemicals in our daily lives. For more information, I provided the link below:

http://www.chemicalnation.com/content/

The site http://www.fmtv.com is a great resource for documentary lovers; there is so much information on the site, for paying members (subscription).  

Aromatherapy uses essential oils as solutions for our care and well-being. Many of those available  to us, however, are not all-natural; beware of synthetic products. This one is backed by the people behind “The Truth About Cancer.”

https://epigeneticlabs.com/el-essential-oils/?a_aid=1605727&a_bid=39d2acc0&gl=582845757

This one addresses Top 27 Essential Oils to Diffuse:

http://www.thealternativedaily.com/top-essential-oils-to-diffuse/?utm_source=internal&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=N161209

This one is specific to rosemary essential oil:

https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/rosemary-essential-oil/?gl=582845713

This one is specific to tea tree oil:

https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/tea-tree-essential-oil/?gl=582845703

Disclaimer: With essential oils, it is important to point out that this is not a One Size Fits All kind of formula, so you must experiment to see what is best for you and your family members (it is an individual thing, every person is different). Dr. Z. has a website that very helpful and informative:

http://drericz.com/eo-club-free

Here is another resource (same doctor) that I found online:

Be Consistent and Persistent with Physical Fitness Goals

The week before Thanksgiving, this year, marked the end of my milestone of completing 12 straight weeks of workouts. I have found the winning formula (FINALLY!) for me (this is completely an individual goal): 2 days of weight training and 3 days of yoga. I know that I need to work on my cardio pursuits, but let me dwell in my major accomplishment, a bit, though. Side notes: Every weekend, we do lots of walking. Some weekday mornings, I dance to a few songs on my iPod, to get my day started off on a positive note. I also try to move and stretch throughout my work week, as well (ie. walking the property and taking the stairs).

What did I notice after these monumental 12 straight weeks of workouts? (1) I have muscle definition in my legs without having to flex them. I can honestly say that this is a first for me. I swear by squats. I love them. On a good day, I do three types of them! I keep hearing good things about squats (magazine articles).  (2) My jean size is zero (Ann Taylor LOFT, Gap and Old Navy) (I actually need to get new jeans and donate my old pairs). My waist is smaller, but I did not really work on my abs (maybe something else I can work on, sometime, in the future, but it isn’t my number one priority).  (3) Though, I don’t focus on pounds, my current weight is just a few pounds over my high school weight (I definitely have more muscle at this stage of my life). I just had a birthday recently (I’m in my 40’s) and I didn’t feel bad about my appearance (it’s bad enough how society reinforces how old a woman is; there are constant reminders, and I am speaking from experience). When I see old video of me, I see the chubby cheeks but, I don’t look like that anymore. (4) My energy level is better than it used to be. I used to be exhausted at the end of the night, with 3 pm being the major slump in my day. (I don’t depend on artificial energy. I limit my caffeine intake.) This is a major thing for me. Though, I didn’t think anything of it, until the new normal was concrete. This was a fairly recent revelation.

I would also have to credit my physical well-being to my work week diet (monday- friday); I’ve always known that it’s pretty much 75% diet and 25% exercise. I have hypertension so when my cardiologist told me I’d have to change my diet last summer, I made pretty dramatic changes. I dropped seven pounds, two pant sizes, chubby cheeks, and my double-chin (this was never my goal, it was merely a side benefit of getting healthy) by switching to salads (greens, with colorful veggies—sometimes I add wheat pasta or organic tofu to keep it interesting) for my lunch meal. I stopped eating sandwiches and chips for lunch. I made my own seasoning, without salt. I check all labels for sodium content. I do most of my grocery shopping at either Trader Joe’s or Sprouts. It’s a challenge, but with careful planning, I manage pretty well. The food prep can be a pain in the butt, sometimes, I’m not gonna lie. (This year, I took the extra step and limited my meat intake to once a day. I also make my own salad dressing, too.)

So, why all of this effort? The bigger picture is that I get to spend my days with my family, with a much better quality of life. I am not sickly (maybe a couple colds during the year), I don’t have an auto-immune disease, though I do have numerous, unknown food allergies. I do have some minor pain issues, but they are not what they used to be, pre-ablation. I am aiming for longevity. We have a young son, and I want to be here for him, as long as I can (motivation). I have a family history of heart disease, so I am just trying prevention (listening to my cardiologist was the best thing I ever did). I don’t smoke, I don’t do drugs, I don’t drink alchohol. I am fairly healthy. I want to keep it that way. I also want to do things naturally without the aid or dependence of prescription medicine (I already take a couple, but I don’t want to add to that list). I am proud of the fact that I did all of this on my own. 

 

Success should be redefined

SUCCESS in this society, needs to be redefined. Clearly, lots of people have gotten sidetracked into this conspicuous consumption (shopping) idea that they are “trying to keep up with the joneses.” This has landed them into debt. The average household debt is $15,355, according to a source online in December 2015. Another source in 2016 cites the average  credit card debt is $5700. The source found online: http://www.valuepenguin.com/average-credit-card-debt

This is no surprise that the housing market  (real estate and mortgage) fell apart a few years ago during our “economic downturn.” This in turn, created, the great foreclosure trend across the country. We were spending too much money anyway, on the houses we could not afford, the cars we were driving, the clothing labels, the bling, the dinners, the drinks, and the list goes on and on.

I admit, I am a recovering shopaholic (shopping year-round gives me some leeway during birthdays and Christmas, though—I’ve had a gift closet for years). Getting what we wanted put everything into perspective for me. I became pregnant, after five plus years of trying to conceive. Yes, I had to get my S**T in order, which meant, I had to get into the habit of sticking to a budget (back to basics, kind of reminds me of when we were wedding-planning). I don’t like carrying debt. I am not one that borrows from friends; in fact, the last time I did this, I was in college. I pay my bills first. I have a retirement account. I have some savings accounts. We have a couple vacations every year. We don’t buy new cars every three years, which seems to be the norm. We’ve been in the same house for over a decade.

My priority is doing right by my family. It’s the reason I buy things for myself only when they are on sale. I enjoy some things here and there, but shopping’s not my main focus in life. I don’t rush into buying anything and everything for myself anymore, like I used to, when I was single. I make more informed choices. We do buy our son the essentials (and then some) at any given moment, and I could not avoid it, but he is a spoiled little man (my husband is an only, and he is an only, so…). My goals today involve paying down our credit card debt. I am so proud to be doing that right now. I am chipping away at that, until one day (hopefully, in a few months) each one is zero (after that, new goals are needed). Of course, there are some blockers (dental work, $$$), but I don’t stay down and out, I get back up, I push forward, and I move on. Each day brings new adventures, challenges, and opportunities.

Success is doing the best you can, with what you’ve got, doing hard work everyday, working on yourself everyday, treating your body and mind as a temple, holding true to your values, and enjoying time with the people you truly love. I used to focus on what wasn’t done but at the end of the day, if I have done my best, then that is enough for me. And that is the big picture.

 

Layering Stylishly, Winter Outfit Ideas

I have a definite uniform in the summer, which is a dress with a cardigan—the AC is always on, in case you were wondering… (note, I have lots of those items), but for the winter, it’s basically, a pair of cords or skinny jeans, with a layer (top and bottom, usually, thermals, cuddl duds, or fleece lined tights), a sweater, a pea coat (lots of those too!), a colorful scarf, and boots (it is super cold in my office lobby, plus when the front doors open, all the cold air outside rushes in). It’s kind of tricky, because I want to be warm, but I still want to have some mobility (don’t like that stiff feeling) and if I’m not careful, I could get hot, like if I pair a fleece sweater with a wool jacket (some places have the heat on full blast). I have to find the right balance, a happy medium. (Also, I am debating lining my not-so-warm jackets with interlining (with thinsulate, if I can find it at JoAnn’s) sometime, maybe, hoping.)

It’s fun to see how other women layer their clothing, just to get the creative juices flowing (you want to have some style, but you don’t want to look boring or stuffy). Plus, I’m trying to get some ideas generated for the upcoming vacation on a cruise ship (it’s cold and windy; did not bring enough warm clothing, the last time, so I want to be better prepared). Anyway, hope that this post helps you in your fashion journey, too. I didn’t want to post so many links to get you all confused, but just enough to give you a good idea of winter style.

Here’s a good link for the basics in layering:

http://www.wikihow.com/Stay-Warm-and-Stylish-During-Winter

Another good one on the basics:

http://www.wardrobeoxygen.com/2015/01/winter-fashion-tips.html

I  really like “Ways To Layer A Button-up

http://www.gurl.com/2015/01/31/style-tips-on-how-to-layer-your-clothes-tops-for-winter-outfit-ideas/

Here’s one using real people pictured on the streets of New York:

http://www.refinery29.com/nyc-winter-layering-street-style

And another one with real ladies sprinkled with a few celebs, too (I really like the looks on pages 7,8, 12, & 15 and I like the belted look—might need to try this one sometime; also, I’ve been looking for an olive utility jacket, but hubby thinks that I have way too much clothing—I swear, I’ve been donating lots of stuff lately and I’ve been pretty selective about what I buy for myself nowadays):

http://thefashiontag.com/2013/01/10/how-to-do-layers-in-style/

Ok, the more I search online, the more cute winter outfit ideas I find! I really like the looks on pages 5, 9, 10, 11, 12 & 15!

http://www.styleoholic.com/15-warm-and-stylish-winter-layered-looks-to-recreate/

This one covers sizing/proportion as well as a nicely pictured layering formula:

https://www.themuse.com/advice/layering-for-winter-without-looking-like-a-snowwoman