We are less than three months into 2018 but I feel I’ve had so many epiphanies and realizations in my life to jolt my life already . Today, I thought I would take a time out and reflect on some of those because I love sharing new favorite things, tips that work in real life, and those AH-HA! moments with you. While they are a bit random, here are the seven best things I’ve learned in 2018 so far. I hope that you can also glean some very useful discoveries with me!
I Love Cleaning my Entire Home with (Almost) Only Water
Yep, you read that right. I ditched almost every cleaner in the house earlier this year. It is unbelievably amazing to not have to drag a big ‘ol bucket of cleaning supplies around to each room, upstairs, downstairs, and back upstairs again. I discovered Norwex late last year, but I was a bit slow to the change with the holidays and incoming guests looming. For the last few months, I have cleaned my entire house with a few enviro towels, a window cloth, and a dusting mitt. I still can’t give up my stainless steel cleaner, but it feels liberating not to drag that bucket up and down stairs, and I actually feel like the house is cleaner!
At least upstairs, that is.
Living in Renovation Chaos Still Sucks
Home Buyer asks, “Would it be better to remodel the home after we buy it or get everything we want now?”
Contractor answers, “Well, that depends. How strong is your marriage?”
There really is truth in that (and my marriage rocks!). While it seems like we are in constant renovation (we just finished the bathroom remodel last November), it has been a year since we have been majorly inconvenienced by a DIY project. In 2015, it took 4 months to install the main floors. That meant we moved furniture, packed away furniture, and lived with plywood sub-floors throughout the entire winter. It was awful. Apparently, the horror of living like that had subsided enough that we decided to tackle the kitchen flooring. Living in renovation is still no fun – the dust is a mega-monster, my socks are full of splinters, and trying to plan out how we are going to eat with no fridge or wash dishes with no sink looms over me. I want to be honest that remodeling is a strain, but knowing that I am saving thousands helps to keep my spirits up. I know that everything will be so worth it, and in the mean time, I can take a nice bath in that renovated bathroom to ignore what’s going on outside it.
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The Instant Pot is my New Best Re-Discovery
I actually got my Instant Pot well over a year ago now, before it was the big trend that it is now. I made a few recipes with it that were frustratingly incorrect in the guidebook, so it sat neglected in the pantry most of last year. However, now that the trend is growing and there are many more recipes out there, it is very much worth all the praise it is getting! I’ve adapted great recipes like Cinnciati Chili, Ginger Soy Beef Bowls, and even perfect mashed potatoes! Stews are perfectly tender as soon as it’s done, although I will be honest and say that beef stew does seem to be best the day it is made, rather than the next. That seems rather odd to me because I think of stews being the best on the second day usually. I do plan on sharing our new favorite recipes that we have created soon. I have an older model which is the 7-1 instant pot, but here are the basic model differences so you can find which one is best for you.
- 6-1 instant pot – Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Sauté, Steamer, and Warmer
- 7-1 DUO – Everything above plus Yogurt Maker (i.e. low pressure cooker)
- 9-1 Instant Pot DUO Plus– Everything above plus egg cooker, sterilizer and it makes cakes, but does not have a cake setting
- 10-1 Instant Pot Ultra – Everything above plus a cake setting
Costco is Amazing for Home Stuff
I will be the first to say that I am super picky about my bed. Sleep does not come easy for me, so my bed needs to be as perfect as possible to lull me into dreamland. Not too hot, not too cold, and just the right amount of snuggly-softness. So when we had to replace our real down comforter after a disaster, I think I looked every where in town. In fact, I returned 2 different comforters I purchased online before I found out that Costco has comforters. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before, since I have bought sheets, towels, and many other quality home goods at Costco. Anyways, I purchased a new comforter online from Costcos and it is everything I dreamed of! Lofty and thick without being heavy, but the warmth is excellent for DC winters. Oh, and I paid much less than the acceptable ones I found at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Kohl’s, Macy’s and Overstock.
This Box is worth the Hype and More
I have actually never purchased a subscription box. Although I have been dying to try one for a couple of years, I’ve always balked. Would I actually love everything or be wasting my money? Are they really a value? And would I really use everything?
Honestly, I waited for just the right box. I gave myself a little present right before Christmas and ordered the Fab Fit Fun Subscription Box. It’s a box of girl themed stuff that is themed with the title – Fab, Fit, and Fun stuff, and it comes out quarterly. This box is $50 (although you can get your first one for $40) and here is what came in my spring box:
Yes, all that for $50! And it’s super high quality products. The total retail value of this box was $368. You can learn more about these boxes from Fab Fit Fun and My Subscription Addiction.
Have We Disconnected on Facebook?
While I think that most of us in the blogging world are well aware of the somewhat terrible treatment we have received from social media algorithms in general, I know that those of us regular users have better things to worry about. This year has seen yet another engagement dwindling update where Facebook wants to decrease the amount of people who see my page’s posts of great crafts, recipes, and happy things while increasing the reach of posts that “promote discussion”. So, if your wondering why your Facebook feed seems even more flooded with people’s drama and prayer requests, you can thank Facebook for that!
It’s just me on the blog and social media; I don’t have an assistant. I spend about 6-8 hours a week finding and scheduling the very best creative ideas for my Facebook page. It’s honestly a great page that I am proud of, but watching something I spent so much time become stagnant is soul crushing.
For those of you who have followed along on Facebook or the blog, I do truly appreciate it and it has driven me to work harder than ever to provide value to each of you who come to visit, comment, or just learn a new tip to get something done. If you want to make sure you are catching all of my posts, subscribing to the newsletter is the best way to do that. If you want to see more crafts, recipes, and new posts of our adventures on Facebook (and make your Facebook a generally more creative space), if you go to our page, there is a drop down menu under “Following”. You can choose to hit “See First” and you will see all of our posts. I don’t post THAT often so it would never be overwhelming. Alternatively, the more you comment on posts, the more likely you are to see more posts from us.
The Best Trick to Prevent Under Eye Creases
I know that I don’t usually write anything beauty related, and truthfully, most days I am in workshop clothes and any sort of makeup happens maybe every few weeks. However, I realize that I am in my 30s and I have all new challenges when it does come time to “doll up”. I have particularly started noticing small changes around my eyes with dark circles and puffiness. Unfortunately, it would seem that despite the thousands of great makeup tutorials on youtube, few are targeted towards us gals over 25. All those layers of primer, concealer, and foundation honestly seem to exacerbate the problem rather than helping. I have tried the whole powder and baking thing but that just makes everything look dry and scaly. That is, until I finally discovered this new trick!
I actually got this trick from an ASMR artist that I listen to for my insomnia problems. You can see the full tutorial in in this makeup video. However, it goes something like this: First, the less product the better. After applying your concealer, let it set up for a few minutes and then buff out any creases you may see. Immediately spray a finishing spray on the back of your hand and, using your ring finger, pick up a generous amount of the finishing spray and dab under your eyes. With my genetic dark circles, I use a bit more product than she does in the video, but it really works even with my own makeup setting spray! Of course, nothing can stop time, but I can’t believe I finally found a good solution. This was eye opening!
Finding new things about life is it’s own reward but I would love to hear from you as well. Have you learned anything new this year or discovered some tricks that make your life better?