Winter Weekend in Charleston - The Outside and In

Last weekend we took a quick little trip to Charleston with our friends/next-door neighbors, Dave and Julie.  Taking a quick adult vacation in late January/early February is becoming a little tradition for us. Last year we visited Savannah around the same time. Working with a quick little window of 2 nights for our getaway, we chose Charleston for our destination this year.

Charleston is about 5 1/2 hours away from us. That’s probably the limit of how much we want to drive for a 2 night/3 day stay. We left on Friday morning and arrived in the afternoon. Before we left, I did my typical scouring of the internet to get recommendations of what to do and where to eat. Like I mentioned in THIS post, I have a specific websites I go to get ideas on where we would want to eat. I mostly focus on recommendations from bloggers whose style I like that happen to live in the city or have recently visited. Then I save all my findings on a trusty Pinterest board like this one I made for Charleston.

Charleston Weekend Getaway - The Outside & In

Charleston Weekend Getaway - The Outside & In

Charleston Weekend Getaway - The Outside & In

Where we stayed:

We used AirBnB to find a cozy place to stay in Charleston. Staying in an AirBnB home worked out really well for our Savannah trip, so we tried the same for Charleston. The unit we chose ended up being a super charming upstairs apartment in a historic home. The house was built in 1852 and has been restored by the young couple that live downstairs over the past couple of years. We loved the layout and the comfortable features. Our young hosts greeted us at arrival and walked us through the home to make sure we were comfortable with everything.

In case you are interested in staying in this same apartment, I have to warn you about the location. The home is located 2 blocks from King Street, which if you know anything about Charleston, is the street. However, this was upper King Street, which is definitely growing but not a prime tourist area. The neighborhood around the home is still in “transition”. The host actually emailed me to let me know that before we booked to make sure that would be okay with us. I really appreciated her letting us know and we chose to book anyway. To be honest, if we hadn’t known ahead of time, I would have been a little freaked out by the location. Despite the neighborhood’s looks, it turned out to be great jumping off point for biking around the city, which is what we did all day Saturday.

Charleston Weekend Getaway - The Outside & In

Our Airbnb apartment

Winter Weekend in Charleston - The Outside and In

What we did:

Last year when we went to Savannah we took our bikes and never once got in the car during our visit. That was such a memorable part of our trip that we decided to do it again for Charleston. Especially after driving 5+ hours to get there, it felt good to stretch our legs and ride all Saturday long.

Biking around this city was an absolute blast. Julie had studied a map of the city and gotten a travel guide before our trip, so she guided us to the different areas of interest. In between stops for meals and refreshments, we would weave in and out of all the residential streets of the city filled with so much to look at. We absolutely loved the historic homes with their charming side porches. What a beautiful city!

If you can bring or rent bikes on your visit, I would highly recommend it. Every time we would want to stop and walk around, we would just lock the bikes up for a little bit and then hop back on when it was time to move on.

Winter Weekend in Charleston - The Outside and In

Weaving through the streets on bike

Winter Weekend in Charleston - The Outside and In

Scoping out the historic neighborhoods

Winter Weekend in Charleston - The Outside and In

Although soaking up the city on bikes was a blast, the highlight of the visit would probably have to be the amazing meals we ate. I am sure we could have stayed a month and eaten at a different place every day.

Where we ate & drank:

Husk – This was our first dinner in Charleston and man, was it good. Southern-inspired and completely focused on local ingredients, there was not one menu item we didn’t love.

The Daily – This small but beautiful cafe serves Stumptown coffee and has a delicious little breakfast menu. I ordered the avocado toast with a fried egg on top and I am still thinking about it.

Black Tap – The day we rode our bikes around the city was cold! So we needed a place to refuel and warm-up in between stops. Black Tap was that place. They had a nice selection of coffee and tea drinks, but most importantly, a warm and sunny spot to sit and chill.

Xiao Bao Biscuit – Although it is nearly impossible to pick a best meal of the places we ate, if someone put a gun to my head I would probably pick Xiao Bao Biscuit. The menu had about 5-6 items on it, and wouldn’t you know we ordered all of them because they all were so tempting.

FIG – Brian and I actually ate here on our visit to Charleston 10 years prior. Despite how long they’ve been around, FIG is still holding a spot as one of Charleston’s most innovative places to eat. It’s a special occasion place and one that you will want to make reservations for weeks in advance. But you will be so happy you did. FIG was out of this world!

The Park Cafe – On our last morning in Charleston we struggled with making a decision for breakfast. We all remembered The Daily so fondly, we kinda wanted to repeat it. But the “try and see new things” part of us was calling to try a new place. I think we chose well. We showed up at the cafe about 10 minutes early and there was a small line of people already waiting at the door.

Winter Weekend in Charleston - The Outside and In

Winter Weekend in Charleston - The Outside and In

Xiao Bao Biscuit

Winter Weekend in Charleston - The Outside and In

The Park Cafe

Winter Weekend in Charleston - The Outside and In

Counter at Xiao Bao Biscuit

Winter Weekend in Charleston - The Outside and In

Our visit to Charleston was absolutely fantastic. The city is absolutely magical. A charming combination of historic streets and homes with a buzzing young energy. I know we just touched the tip of the iceberg with all there is to do in Charleston. So we’ll have to plan another trip soon!

Have you been to Charleston lately? What were your favorites?

 

30 Day Minimalism Game - The Outside and In

Have you heard of the 30 Day Minimalism Game? I recently completed The Minimalist’s 30 Day Minimalism Game in January and the experience was quite positive. In fact, so positive that I am doing it again this month! Who would have ever thought that decluttering and tidying up could have been not only fun, but also (dare I say) addictive.

Whenever the topic comes up, people usually react quickly to say 1) “I need to do that!” or 2) “There is no way I can do it!”. After going through the experience, I can tell you there isn’t  better way to lighten the load of invisible “stuff” your house is carrying than to play this game. As a simplicity lover and an underbuyer, I was wondering if I would make it through the first month. Yet somehow I am halfway through the second month without an issue. And I’m here to tell you about it.

My experience with the 30 day Minimalism Game - The Outside & In

How it works:

If you are unfamiliar with the game, here’s how it works: on day 1, you get rid of one item from your home. On day 2, you get rid of two items. On day 3, three items. And so on throughout the month until you get to day 30 when you would be releasing 30 items from your home. If you stay on track and make it to the end, your home will be approximately 500 items lighter at completion.

This game is definitely best played with a partner to hold you accountable. So I decided to throw it out there on social media to see if any acquaintances were in the mood to join me. It turns out a lot of people were interested.  Must have been something about the post-Christmas starting a new year vibe in the air. I created a private FB group page so that we could all play the game “together”. For this January group, we had about 40 people. Although I had hoped the game would translate to a larger group setting, I wasn’t sure. I figured it couldn’t hurt to try. I was happy to find it worked perfectly!

30-Day Minimalism Game - The Outside and In

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Playing the Minimalism Game:

In general, I do not have much visible clutter out around the house. For me, I need a tidy space before I can work. I listen to THIS minimalist podcast every week. I read THIS famous decluttering book which triggered me to cut my wardrobe by at least 60% a few years ago. Yet, despite all my desires to not have too much “stuff” around me, I was able to sail through the 30 day challenge and find 500 items that needed to go.

I decided to start the game in my bedroom area and not tackle any other part of the house until I had combed through every drawer, cabinet and storage nook available. My bedroom area consists of my bedroom, closet, bathroom, and home office. Wouldn’t you know that I was in there decluttering for 21 days! That is equivalent to at least 231+ items that I removed. Days 22-30 involved a lot of the boys’ clothes, toys, and some craft supply cleanouts. I saved the junk drawer for the last day because – it’s the junk drawer!

How did I have so many items I wasn’t using, you ask? There are so many things all around  us that we no longer even “see” them. Decluttering became a game to hunt for these formerly invisible items. In fact, I am also embarrassed to tell you how excited I was every morning to go for my hunt.

And just like that the challenge was over. Our home felt like it had gone on a detox. And I hadn’t even touched the main living areas!

Day 24 haul

Revelations from my experience:

Sorting through my junk allowed me to understand how my stuff accumulates. My biggest weakness is “out of sight, out of mind”. The easiest way for stuff to accumulate around here is to be “stored” somewhere. If we had surplus supplies after a session of crafting, the remnants could just sit quietly in a cabinet for years. Knowing this about myself will help me make better decisions moving forward.

Participating in a group made the mundane task of decluttering fun. Technically, you could play this by yourself as many times as you want whenever you want. Having other people playing along made all the difference though. I would wake up every morning excited to find my allotted items for the day. Needless to say, I didn’t feel the same way about decluttering before. The game aspect of this chore made all the difference for me.

Breaking up the jobs into tiny bit sized pieces made a big job super manageable. Yes, a few times a year I will clean out my closet, or perhaps the junk drawer. It usually takes a couple hours, and after I finish, I do not want to do it again for a long time. However, finding the clutter in small batches is extremely manageable. It took on average of 5 minutes. Once we got to the higher numbers, it took a little bit longer, but not much. I would throw out what was not usable, and added the other things to specified donate piles. Once the pile was significant, I would take a load away.

Doing some intentional reading and movie watching can help fuel your motivation. One of the most motivating factors for participating in this challenge was watching Minimalism: A Documentary about the Important Things. If you have not seen this insightful documentary, I cannot recommend it enough. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less are two excellent reads that also reinforce the why’s and how’s of streamlining.

Utilizing the 20/20 Rule on “just in case” items is the way to go. We all have items that we are not using but that we think we might need “some day.” These things can sit for years. One of the most helpful guidelines for us came from The Minimalists 20/20 Rule, which basically saves you so much time from waffling between “should I” or “shouldn’t I”? If you can replace the item in less than 20 minutes for less than $20, let it go. Life-changing!

My Experience with the 30 Day Minimalism Game - The Outside and In

Day 10 haul

If you think that you might want to get a group of friends and play, here are some tips on setting up the group online. I will tell you I also tried to manage it with email communication, but that did not work too well for me.

Playing the Minimalism Game online:

Set up a secret FB group. It’s important that people feel comfortable sharing photos of their homes and their things without fearing the whole world will be seeing them.

Try to post at least once a day. Besides posting my junk, I like sharing one positive tidbit, motivational quote or helpful blog post that could serve as conversation fodder.

Decide what your max limit of members should be. One of things I have noticed in other FB groups I am a part  of is that the higher number of people, the lower the percentage of engagement. We closed the January group at 40. Plus, that also helps people feel “safe” to share their photos without wondering who is seeing them.

Close out the group to new members within the first few days. Going back to making your group members comfortable with sharing, if new people are hopping in at all times during your 30 days, it might hinder openness. Also, one of the magical elements of the game is starting from the beginning and ramping up, so it benefits everyone to start as close to the beginning as possible.

Celebrate reaching the finish line. Since our members were all across the country, we celebrated by sharing a fun “We did it!” image to close out the month.

My Experience with the 30 Day Minimalism Game - The Outside and In

Day 8 haul – lots of stuff that fell within the 20/20 Rule

Overall, I could not have been happier with the experience of participating in the 30-day decluttering challenge. Besides having empty drawers and a closet that is full of space, the best part was the camaraderie of the group. The process brought out many fun discussions, self-discovery, and a renewed energy to take on 2017.

Have you ever tried the 30-Day Minimalism Game? Would you ever do it? Moving forward, I think I will play every January.

In Pursuit of Buying Less & Doing More - Dana Miller of House Tweaking
It’s been a while since I shared my favorite podcast of the week. I certainly have not stopped listening to all my favorites, but it wasn’t until I heard Dana Miller on the Young House Love podcast that I felt compelled to share this most recent podcast episode. This week’s episode recommendation is: “In Pursuit of Buying Less & Doing More” on Young House Love Has a Podcast.

In Pursuit of Buying Less & Doing More - Young House Love Has a Podcast

To give you a quick background, Young House Love Has a Podcast is a fairly new podcast hosted by John & Sherry, the authors of the massively popular home DIY blog, Young House Love. On their blog, John and Sherry share all of their DIY projects and adventures and they do it well. For some odd reason, I only check their blog once in a while, but I listen to their podcast religiously. They are just super talented at audio and of course since they talk about home improvement and decor, I love the subject matter.

Imagine my delight last Monday morning when John and Sherry shared that their special call-in guest would be Dana Miller, author of one of my favorite blogs, House Tweaking. A few months ago, I highlighted Dana’s home as one of my favorites in THIS post. On this week’s podcast episode, Dana and her husband share why and how they moved their family of five into a house half the size of their previous one.

n Pursuit of Buying Less & Doing More - Young House Love Has a Podcast

In Pursuit of Buying Less & Doing More

If I told you Dana and her husband lived in a 3200+ square foot house and then moved to a house half the size with 3 kids, you might think that something bad happened.  Someone lost a job, they got into credit card debt, or some other negative life circumstance. But what if I told you they did it out of a bold intentional choice? A choice to live a simpler life with more freedom. A life that allows them to live mortgage free and travel with their family all the time. And leaves them in a home where every room in their home is used every day. To some, that might not sound so appealing. To me, it sounds like heaven.

n Pursuit of Buying Less & Doing More - Young House Love Has a Podcast

Even though I am familiar with Dana’s story and how they downsized their life back in 2011, listening to her and her husband share it on the podcast motivated me all over again. I could sense a lot of their values overlapping with ours – freedom, security and adventure.

These are the highlights that really struck a chord:

  • Dana and her family downsized their house by half. They went from a 3200+ sq ft home with a full basement and detached garage to a 1600 sq ft ranch which needed a lot of work. Not only did they survive, they thrived in the smaller space.
  • Going smaller doesn’t mean sacrificing quality or style. In fact, it can mean the complete opposite. Because the house was small, they actually used higher quality materials than they would have with a larger one. They were able to customize it to suit their family’s lifestyle.
  • Having a passion for aesthetics doesn’t have to conflict with your desire to have less. Dana is clearly a talented stylist and photographer. She still updates her home and keeps it looking beautiful. Her desire to live with less makes her a much better at selecting what she will bring into their space. Which results in a beautifully edited home.
  • If your job stops lighting you up, make a change. Dana quit her job as a pharmacist and swapped to one that suited her current needs. Living in a smaller home allowed her the financial breathing room to switch careers. In this case, one that afforded her a lot more freedom – blogging.
  • Once you identify what you enjoy most, start doing it. Don’t wait for someday. Dana and her husband talk about the realization that they love traveling to experience other cities and cultures. So they do. All the time. Plus, Dana has an amazing knack for finding the coolest AirBnB properties. Sometimes they pick a destination based on the property.

n Pursuit of Buying Less & Doing More - Young House Love Has a Podcast

n Pursuit of Buying Less & Doing More - Young House Love Has a Podcast

If you get a chance this week, give “In Pursuit of Buying Less and Doing More” a listen. I am curious to hear your thoughts on this family! Even if the idea of going smaller to live bigger doesn’t light you up like it does me, it’s still fascinating.

To see more of recommendations on compelling podcast episodes, CLICK HERE.

A Few Days in Lima + Pierina's Eclectic Urban Oasis

I cannot believe it has been over a month since we came back from Peru. Even though I dedicated a post to our time in the Peruvian rainforest, I also wanted to share a few details with you about our time in Lima.

If you ever plan on visiting Machu Picchu, most likely you will spend some time in Lima. At close to 9 million people, this is not a small city. And they have insane traffic to prove it. Despite its size, there are 3 main districts where most of your stops will be: 1) Barranco, 2) Miraflores and 3) San Isidro, which are all adjacent to each other.

A Few Days in Lima + Pierina's Urban Oasis - The Outside and In

One of the things I enjoy about visiting Lima is seeing all of the amazing handiwork and designs for the home. There are a few really cool shops that are hidden among all the chain and department stores (which are not worth visiting). Luckily, my aunt Pierina knows my taste and takes me to these special spots.

A few cool shops

Dedalo Arte y Artesania – My absolute favorite. Located in Barranco, Dedalo is part art gallery, part store and cafe. Talented contemporary artists and artisans display their wares in this deceivingly large home turned store. You will find everything from jewelry, dinnerware, fashion, and home accessories in here.

Petit Thouars Market – This massive market in Miraflores is filled with more traditional handicrafts. If you want to pick up something that says, “I just came back from Peru”, this is where you want to go. The vendors sell beautiful alpaca shawls, ceramics and silver pieces. Some with more quality than other. You can also bargain a bit here – not something I enjoy doing.

Indigo Gallery – This store is very similar to Dedalo in that it is filled with contemporary artist pieces. Formerly a house, walking through it is like walking through a museum where you can (kind of) afford to buy the pieces. There was also another beautiful shop right across the street from Indigo owned by the same person, but I cannot remember the name. You’ll see it if you go to Indigo though.

A Few Days in Lima + Pierina's Eclectic Urban Oasis - The Outside and In

The back patio at Dedalo

A Few Days in Lima + Pierina's Eclectic Urban Oasis - The Outside and In

A Few Days in Lima + Pierina's Urban Oasis - The Outside and In

Shopping with my parents and the boys at Petit Thouars Market

Most likely, if you are heading to Peru, it’s to visit Machu Picchu, and not Lima. However, there is one BIG reason why you will want to schedule at least 2 or 3 nights in Lima on your way to or from Cusco. The unparalleled food scene. You could spend a month eating your way through this city and not hit all the incredible restaurants and cafes. Regardless if you go casual or upscale, I guarantee you will have some memorable meals when you go. Below are some of the highlights from our last visit.

Where we ate:

Gelateria Blu – Amazingly delicious gelato shop in the Barranco district featuring creative and super fresh flavors. Even if my cousin didn’t co-own this place I would have been all over it. They pride themselves on sourcing the freshest and most local ingredients possible for their gelato. If you are in Lima, you have to stop here.

Hotel B Restaurant – My aunt took me to this restaurant because the hotel is just really cool. Situated in the heart of the Bohemian Barranco district, Hotel B was formerly a residence which has now been transformed into a luxury hotel. You don’t have to stay here to soak in the decor and contemporary art. Just come enjoy a meal here. The food was delicious, but the atmosphere was even better.

Cafe de Lima – Loved this casual bistro with indoor and outdoor seating. The food was not pretentious but it was so good. I ordered a salad and a fresh squeezed juice, but then I saw the table next to us get some really good looking open faced toasts, so I added them to my order. Glad I did because they were super yum.

Mo Cafe & Bistro – With a focus on sustainable, nutritious and innovative food, Mo Cafe was such a surprise. If you didn’t know where you were, you would assume you were in San Francisco with a menu like this. I would totally come back here in a heartbeat.

Puku Puku Cafe – This cafe has two locations I believe. We went to the one in Miraflores – two or three times! The coffee is made from small batch Peruvian beans. You can really tell the difference. Plus the boys liked their sandwiches.

La Sanahoria – Okay, this is not actually a restaurant. But I could totally make a meal out of all the goodies at La Sanahoria. It’s a health food store with the vibe of a hip boutique. We went to the one in Barranco. I could have browsed forever, but my dad was rushing me to be quick. I picked up some yummy roasted Brazil nuts for my flight, plus a bag of aji amarillo which I am still using in my soups. They also had a tempting array of organic dark chocolates and an espresso bar. I will be coming back here for sure.

El Pez Amigo – You cannot leave Lima without experiencing their unparalleled ceviche. I am not going to tell you this is the only place to get amazing ceviche in Lima because it’s not. Amazing ceviche is available all over the place. But if you want to experience the the variety of incredible seafood Lima has to offer, you will want to hit up El Pez Amigo in Miraflores.

A Few Days in Lima + Pierina's Urban Oasis - The Outside and In

Sampler plate at El Pez Amigo

Pierina’s Apartment

During our time in Lima, we stayed with my aunt Pierina. She lives in an apartment in the Miraflores district. Her place is in walking distance of everything – her gym, coffee shops, and excellent restaurants. I snapped a few pictures of the living area and patio of her apartment right before I left so I could show you her place and eclectic decor.

Pierina inherited a lot of my late grandfather’s antique furniture, which she loves. But she is also a big fan and avid supporter of contemporary art as well as primitive art. I think she mixes all three seamlessly in her space.

A Few Days in Lima + Pierina's Eclectic Urban Oasis - The Outside and In

Isn’t Pierina’s urban home so personal and inviting? We certainly love staying here. Thank you for being such a generous hostess, Pierina! Next time we will continue to work on some styling projects together 😉

Looking Ahead: Plans & Goals for 2017 - The Outside & In

I don’t know about you, but I am never ready to make plans for the new year on January 1st. December is usually the absolute craziest time with so much going on. How does anyone find time to reflect on the past year and decide what they would like to change during all the hooplah? It takes a few weeks into January for some productive thoughts to come out of this jumbled mind. Finally, I am ready to start reflecting on the past year and making a few plans for 2017.

Looking Ahead: Plans & Goals for 2017 - The Outside & In

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Looking Back at 2016

Before looking ahead and deciding what I want 2017 to look like, it was important to me to look back at 2016. What were the pivotal events and decisions that worked and didn’t work? Here are things that came to mind:

Unemployed myself. After 14 years of working for the same non-profit organization, I finally left in May. It was time. As you can imagine, it was hard to leave security, benefits and easy work. That’s why it took me two years to build up the courage to do it. So I did. And guess what? It was still scary, but I was eerily calm about the choice. When you listen to your intuition, you can feel peace despite the anxiety of the unknown. It’s weird. Depending on how you are wired, a decision like this may seem like not a big deal. As an over thinker, I will be forever proud of myself for having the courage to take the leap. If I could go back, the only thing I would change is that I would have done it sooner.

Did nothing for a while. Once I stopped working, it took me a few months to get adjusted to the idea of not having a job. Or an income. One thing I knew for sure was that I needed time to figure out what was next. Summer came and I kept busy keeping the boys busy. As school started back up, I started thinking very hard about what I wanted to commit to and not commit to moving forward. Thankfully, I recognized that jumping into a bunch of new projects would be a perfect way to procrastinate figuring out what my new chapter would look like. Instead, I focused on paring down commitments to a bare minimum.

Dipped my toe into some freelance and contract work. Once I adjusted to the fact that I no longer had a job, it was time to start figuring out what I did want to do. I’m envious of people that have that one singular thing they love. That would make deciding so much easier! But I have so many passions and interests, it was a little intimidating to think I had to choose the one thing I was going to do next. I came to the conclusion that I could explore and maybe try a few different things. How would I know what I would like unless I try? So I gave myself permission to go down more than one path.

I started doing freelance interiors and architectural photography. I make that sound so easy. It took me about 4 months to actually announce it publicly. I also reached out to a creative design agency who was doing work I admired and have recently started doing special project work for them. I am really loving the challenge plus the flexibility to work from home on these projects. In 2017 I want to explore a few new paths and see where they lead!

Idenitified some non-negotiables. One of the other productive outcomes of last year was experimentation. Experimenting with different freelance lines of work, different schedules and different approaches to tackling the day have helped me to identify some habits I need to drop and keep in 2017. For me, those non-negotiable are: my health (which includes sleep, exercise and nutrition), time with my family, and time to create.

I guess the best way to describe 2016 for me was transitional. The year was filled with so much change. I would say the approach I took was one of careful observation and not that much action. Part of me wishes I could be more impulsive with my decisions so I can move faster. But that’s just not me.

Now that 2017 is upon us, my hope is that I can build upon the experiences I had in 2016. Here’s what I hope to accomplish in the coming year.

Plans for 2017

Continue experimenting. I know myself well enough that I will continue to experiment and change. Learning and growing is my jam! I will continue to expose myself to new thoughts and ideas. Try them on for size. Keep what fits and discard the rest.

Continue to be me. I will continue to find ways to share my gifts in service of others. I will not be keeping up with the Joneses. I will relish in the simple things that make me happy – mainly reading, exploring new ideas, creating and being with my family.

Push my boundaries a little more. With that being said, there are a few areas that I have been studying and preparing for a while that I should be able to jump into in 2017. It may require a lot of inner pep talks, but my intention is to continue making courageous choices. Not taking the safe road every time. In my career, this might look like expanding my freelance services beyond interiors photography. In my personal life, that might be agreeing to getting a dog (we’ll see). I want to take some online classes that will push me in new areas of growth.

Fine tune my daily schedule. There are several things I want to do every day before my kids are finished with school. With 6-7 hours from the time they leave to the time they return, I should be able to get everything in without rushing. The only way to do this is to set my schedule up so that I can. I am acutely aware that uncompleted tasks take away from my joy when the boys come home. From 3pm on, I want to be 100% there for them. In 2017, I hope to be able to get this down better.

Dive back into more home decor projects. Last year I kicked off the year with a resolution I had around home projects. This post explains the details, but basically it involved focusing my attention to one room per month and doing what I could for that month before moving on. Home design is a creative outlet for me that I truly enjoy. The plan worked really well. Up until April. As soon as I had no job, it just was not in the budget to work on projects like these. Plus, my attention was just not there any more. This year, I want to get back on the horse and try again. There are so many rooms I am itching to work on. I will post the new game plan on the blog soon.

Bump up the blogging a notch. In 2016, I celebrated 2 years of blogging. Similar to the job change thing, it took me about 2 years of saying I wanted to start a blog to actually do it. Once I started, it took me over a year to make it public and start sharing posts. Are you starting to spot a pattern? Blogging is something that fills my cup and I want to keep doing it. It’s time to step it up a notch. I want to go from posting once a week to twice a week. Consistently. That is totally doable as long as I figure out that daily schedule thing I talked about.

Explore some tools to help me be a better parent. My kids are not babies anymore. They are not little kids either. As they are turning the corner into “tweenhood”, I feel like I need some guidance about how to be a good parent to this age. I can already see how much more challenging the years ahead are going to get. Instead of dragging my feet and hoping they stop growing (which is what I have been doing), I think a better bet will be to more equipped. I recently enrolled in THIS course to help open my mind to some new approaches. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!

Protect the white space. I know I just made it sound like I want to conquer the world this year. But not at the expense of time with my kids and white space. White space is a graphic design reference to the amount of space left around a graphic or image. The more white space something has, the more impact that the design element has. Because nothing is competing. And that is what I want for myself. I value white space so much. When I don’t have it, I get real cranky. I need time to read. Time to do nothing. Time to be spontaneous. The thing about being scheduled, is that you can schedule white space into it. In 2017, I want to continue making white space a priority.

Looking Ahead: Plans & Goals for 2017 - The Outside & In

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So those are the thoughts I’ve had about the new year. Who knows what curveballs or opportunities 2017 may have up its sleeve? I certainly don’t, but I will pivot as needed when those times come. In the meantime, off I go!

I wish you all the best in the coming year. What are you making happen this year?