Thursday Check In – Something New I’m Trying

Earlier this summer, Apartment Therapy told us that we should never ever say we’re sorry when we have guests over.  And then their sister site, The Kitchn went and jump started everyone’s fall with a crappy (on purpose!) dinner party.

cookies and cream puff pastry donuts.:

i really want this.:

And so I did it.  I stopped saying I was sorry.  I had friends over for coffee and I didn’t say anything about the volume of Gooplet’s toys still on the floor.  The dinner I had to order for a group didn’t work out exactly the way I planned, but I didn’t apologize for bringing what was my second choice. I ordered a crazy caloric dish at brunch*, and made no comments about it being a cheat-day, or having a salad for dinner, or some such nonsense.  I ran into someone at the grocery store.  I wasn’t dressed.  I didn’t immediately bring it up.  It’s kind of freeing.  Dare you.

*And while we’re discussing indulgent brunch dishes, let’s discuss Jessica’s Cookies and Cream Puff Pastry Donuts, or Love and Olive Oil’s Fruit Loops French Toast, shall we?

Thursday Check In – Two Things

I’ve talked at length about my love of Whitney English and her Day Designer.  She ran a series on planning on both Periscope and Facebook Live that I enjoyed over a series of nap times.  I highly recommend it if you’re someone who is either a) already super into planners and schedules and systems, and that kind of thing or b) someone who maybe wishes they were, but needs more information.

Regardless of where you fall on that continuum, Whitney said two things that I couldn’t get over.  Like, already changing my life, couldn’t get over.


If it takes more than 20 minutes, it’s not a to-do, it’s a project.  Holy moly, people.  As a lifelong list maker, this one is a game changer.  And perhaps the answer to why a lot of my to-do’s remained undone at the ends of my days.  Twenty minutes is a reasonable amount of time for me to dedicate to almost anything on a given day.  Your number of minutes might be different.  But figure out what seems like a good amount of time to cross something off your list, and call anything that takes less time a to-do.  If it will take longer than that time, it’s a project, and you’ve gotta break that **** down.

I needed to order dinner for a group of 25 for an upcoming evening, and I knew exactly where it would come from and the specific foods I wanted.  I put the call in and it was done in 20 minutes.  To-do.  And I know that my on-going kitchen/pantry/dining room reorganizing is a project.  It’s a huge task, and would never make an appearance on a daily to do list.  But.  There are some in-between sized tasks that masqueraded as to-do’s, but were actually projects once I snapped awake and listened to Whitney.  So when I write “swap out Gooplet’s closet” on my to-do list, I’m setting myself up to fail.  I don’t have the uninterrupted time it takes to get that done.  I need to break it down.  Sort T-Shirts, sort pants, get out long sleeved outfits, store summer outfits, size up in PJs, etc.  Those I can do here and there, and with enough smaller chunks of time, the project will be done.

Schedule 30 minutes into each day to work on a project you’ve been avoiding.  Which for me, right now, is the ongoing struggle to get things that don’t belong in certain rooms out of said rooms.  It’s daunting.  It involves a million more trips up and down stairs than I care to take. It’s completely overwhelming.  This little sparkly piece of advice kicked my butt into gear, and also made me think of Elise.  Just start.  Also Mary Poppins. “Well begun is half done.”

Now, each day, I set my phone timer for 30 minutes and walk around the house, moving crap from one room to another.  That’s so much less daunting than thinking, I really should work on that giant project I don’t want to spend hours working on. About half the time, that 30 minutes ends and I am over it.  I move on with my life.  And the other half of the time, I keep going, not too much longer, but long enough to make a bit more headway.  And after only 7 days of chipping away, I’m so much farther along than I imagined I’d be at this point.

Got any other tips on making projects happen, dear readers? You could give me my next life-changer!


Thursday Check In – Tidiers vs. Scrubbers

Gretchen Rubin categorizes people in the most fascinating ways.  One of her dichotomies states that people are either “tidiers” or “scrubbers,” when it comes to keeping house.  The tidiers among us go around swiping at whatever graces the horizontal surfaces of our homes, while the scrubbers get down and dirty with cleaning products.

At first, I thought I was neither.

Then I realized I am a tidier who is always tidying.  Because I amass clutter at an astonishing rate.

organize.  simplify.:

The Day Designer Instagram account posted this a few weeks ago, and dear readers, it was an aha moment for me.

I had been sitting, paralyzed, knowing that I needed to overhaul our kitchen and dining rooms, but not knowing where to begin.  When I unpacked those two rooms shortly after moving in, I threw items in the drawers and cabinets where I thought they should go, with the understanding that after working in the kitchen, I’d need to adjust.  The tricky part here is that though I know it’s time to make some changes, I can’t seem to find any clarity in terms of what those need to be.  (Too bad I can’t hire The Home Edit to come in and make sense of it all for me.)

So I’m starting with this quote.  There are some items in the kitchen and dining room that don’t serve food-related purposes, and they need find other homes.  And perhaps with that freed-up physical space, I’ll have some freed-up mental space to figure out where my 9 trillion wine glasses truly belong.

Hopefully I’ll make some good headway on this project, and we’ll see whether it’s true that outer order leads to inner calm.

Thursday Check In – On Birthdays



So I’m sitting in my Wednesday moms’ group, talking about ways we take care of ourselves, and I’m sharing what I’ve learned about Sabbath, about intentionally leaving one day free of obligations and commitments so that it can be what I want it to be instead of what it has to be (I truly think this idea is genius, and this podcast was a great listen for me).

Then another mom echoes my thoughts, and shares that for her family, that day has always been Sunday.  They go to church in the morning, and then it’s a day for family time.  She said her daughters know that if they get invited to a birthday party on a Sunday, they understand that they probably won’t be going.  That a lot of birthday parties her girls get invited to are those, “invite the whole class,” kinds of birthdays, and she feels comfortable turning those down.  I nod my head in agreement, because that makes sense to me.

And then I find this post, from one of my most favorite blogs, What Would Gwyneth Do? all about saying yes to birthdays.  Because some kids are just waiting for a classmate to say yes.  Because inviting the whole class is a display of kindness that not everyone shows.  And again, I’m nodding my head in agreement, this makes perfect sense, too.  And it sounds a lot like celebrating everything, which we know is something I’m into.

This is about the 800th reminder to me this week alone that there is no right and wrong, good and bad, black and white way to be a family.  What works for one unit doesn’t work for another.  One family has a great reason to turn down Sunday birthdays.  Another has a great reason to gratefully accept all the invitations they can.  When birthday party season hits us (preschool? kindergarten?) I don’t know where we’ll come down in terms of our RSVPs.  But I am forever grateful for the moms who share the real whys behind their choices.

Thursday Check In – The Other Half of the Sentence

Wooden Nickels claims that I started talking at 9 months and haven’t really stopped since.  CV(D) tells me I’m a verbal processor.  I have to talk things through before I can get any kind of clarity.  But that doesn’t mean my thoughts come out of my mouth with clarity.  I find myself stopping in the middle of a sentence to switch gears too, too often.

live simply (the wheatfield):

(The Wheatfield)

Tsh Oxenreider writes extensively (and quite well) about living simply on her blog.  When I read her book, Notes from a Blue Bike, I learned that Tsh and her family live simply, so that others can simply live.  I had no idea that was the second half of the sentence for her, and it completed the picture for me in terms of the way her family frames so many of their choices.

Since I’m in this new season in life, where my days just sort of stretch out in front of me, with no routines quite as well established as those that were in place while I was working full time, I’m playing a lot with saying yes and saying no.  So much so that I realized that there’s one sentence I always get halfway through.  I’ve said no to some things.  But I do that so that I can say yes to others. Ah, there’s the other half.

All the Lean In-ers, and Girl Bosses will tell you no is a complete sentence, and I firmly believe that (never ruin an apology with an excuse and all).  But though it’s a complete sentence, it’s not necessarily the whole sentence.  A no to one activity or task means a yes to another, hopefully much more meaningful something in its place.

Huge blog confession coming up here, dear readers, but one thing I don’t do right now is make Gooplet’s food from scratch.  It was always my intention to, and I did for a little while.  But here’s the thing.  Right now, he’s pretty much eating single-ingredient foods.  And while I once babysat a toddler who ate risotto, and have since dreamed of having a child just like that, I’m totally fine with feeding him butternut squash that someone else made and pureed.  Or kale and pears and raspberries (a recent favorite).  You know there’s no kale in our house.  This choice means way less dishes, less time at the grocery store trying to buy a CSA’s worth of veggies to make sure he’s eating a variety, and way less time spent praying that he can happily occupy himself in his jumper while I steam it, puree it, and store it in those little food blocks.  (I do really love these food blocks.)  And that choice, that “no,” or even that, “not right now,” opens up space for more of the things I want to do.

p.s.  Here are two other lists of no’s in my life.

Thursday Check In – Ten Slices of Internet

SCL recently commented that I was on a roll when it came to finding Internet, so we’re overdue for a roundup here at aglassofmilk.  Cheers, dear readers:office space.:
(I so badly want built-ins, and my husband and I keep agonizing about whether or not it’s worth losing hours of baby nap time while they’re being installed.  So instead, I will pin all the built-ins.)

1.  Emma Watson is going to star in Beauty and the Beast, and Emily Blunt and Lin Manuel Miranda will be in the new Mary Poppins, and this is entirely too much for the nostalgic part of my brain to handle.

2.  Speaking of all things Hamilton, I like Miranda’s freestyle on Jimmy Fallon much better, except for the little part of this one with Oprah.  You get a car!  You get a car!  Dying.  (Also, I loved this piece, and I truly think, whether you’re a hardcore Hamilfan or not, Miranda is a genius, and we haven’t even seen the best of what he has to offer yet.)

3.  This parking lot (via Tsh) is the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen.

4.  AGOMYR sent me this link, and it’s a testament to what Leo is most known for.  Numbers 4 and 12 are my favorites.

5.  JK Rowling is inspiring (see above comments on absolute genius)

6.  Loved listening to this (old) Lively Show episode with Mica May, the founder of May Designs.  I love her books!

7.  I love, love, love Read it Forward.  You can’t click on a bad link.  (And if you like kidlit, The Nerdy Book Club is my favorite)

8.  This is a long piece (via Joy the Baker), but at the end, I was weeping.  It’s about a dad, acceptance, and the struggle that comes with growing up and taking the first steps into the world on your own.  (WEEPING.)

9.  I wish people were honest about how much they tip.  Do you agree with this about food delivery?  It makes me wonder if I’m tipping everyone correctly.  Hair coloring, anyone?

10.  Years and years ago, I followed Brown Eyed Baker’s blog every day.  Time passed, and I fell out of the habit of checking, but I’m right back on board with her now, and loving her Weekend Dish posts as a way to get caught back up quickly.

There is so much I want to watch right now.  Netflix is starting a series about Queen Elizabeth, called The Crown, I’m dying for The Affair to come back (fast forward three years), I’m testing the waters with The Good Place and This is Us (undecided on both of those so far), and Joy the Baker wants me to watch Tony Robbins: I am Not Your Guru on Netflix.  All that and I still haven’t finished the latest season of Kimmy Schmidt, or caught up with The Mindy Project, which I hear gets better in the latest season.  Phew!  Looks like I need to hunker down with my TV.

Thursday Check In – Technology

Click the photo to shop the look | Kristin Brophy of Fancy Things blog featuring a gold moroccan pouf, West Elm rug, Voluspa candles, West Elm desk, Kate Spade gold dots agenda, and Urban Outfitters gold desk lamp | Follow @liketkit on Pinterest for more outfit inspiration #liketkit:

What technology do you have at home?  What do you really use?

We had:

  • 2 phones
  • an iPad
  • a Kindle
  • an iBook
  • a ChromeBook

But the Kindle doesn’t work anymore because it’s so old (3G anyone?).  And the ChromeBook was for work and I don’t work anymore and I miss it.  And the laptop is not going to last too much longer.

So I think I want:

  • a ChromeBook (you can get one for $150!!!)
  • an iMac (they’re less than laptops, and I’m shallow and just like the way it will look as “command” central in my house)
  • a new Kindle?  No new Kindle?  Help me out with that one

Okay, your turn.  What do you have? What do you use?  What don’t you use?  Is my plan a good one?  Or totally a waste?


Thursday Check In – On Being Full

Whenever I watch someone blast their life all over Facebook and Twitter, declaring their happiness each step of the way, I always stop and wonder,

“If you need to announce your happiness to everyone, are you really that happy?”

Happiness just is.  It doesn’t need to be announced.  It’s a feeling that takes over every part of you and makes you feel full inside.

I want to feel full.


And for once, that has nothing to do with food.

When I feel full, I don’t check my phone compulsively.  I don’t worry about what everyone else is doing rightthissecond.

When I feel full, I make time for friends.

When I feel full, I’m not afraid to say no to something, if it means more quality time spent on something else.

When I feel full, it feels like my priorities are in line with my actions.

When I feel full, it means I’m happy to sit on the floor with Gooplet and watch him try to figure life out.

It’s the best feeling.  And I’m making it happen more.

Starting now!


Thursday Check In – Planners

Can we use Thursdays to check in with each other, dear readers?  Can I ask you random questions and tell you random thoughts about important (read: not important at all) things?  Okay, great.

Sixth grade was the year I ditched the school-provided assignment book for a seriously swanky planner I scored at CVS.  (It was the most boring, gray book in the world.  But it was mine to do with as I pleased.)

I practiced writing my assignments in my best handwriting.  The girl who sat near me in science had the most perfect handwriting in the history of ever and I strived to make mine the same.* She “crossed out” her to dos in highlighter, and I tried so hard to make it work for me, but I’m forever a scratcher-outer girl.

As the years went by, my planners got fancier, until one year, when I splurged on my first Day Designer (side note-I miss vlogging).  It was the first time I went from the layouts showing me a week at a glance, to each day at a glance.  I haven’t looked back since.  (The last two years, I’ve purchased my Day Designer through Whitney’s line at Target, and I love those just as much as my big purchase.)

There are so many great-looking planners out there, I thought I’d round up the ones I see on my Instagram feed the most, along with a bonus accessory to go with each.  Do you use any of these?  Is there one you love I’m missing?  Is your Instagram feed not clogged with planners because you’re maybe a little less type-A than I am?  Strange!

Undated Blank Day Designer - A Yearly Strategic Planner & Daily Agenda for the Creative Entrepreneur. $55.00, via Etsy:

The Whitney English Day Designer / Day Designer for Blue Sky

Whitney English Day Designer For Blue Sky at Target:

Day Designer for Blue Sky desk accessories

Giveaway: Win a Free Simplified Planner by Emily Ley! // by gabriella @gabivalladares:

The Simplified Planner

May Designs Blog:

May Designs x Emily Ley Collection

How I use my Get To Work Book | Nicole Reaves:

Get to Work Book

“I put my new Clearly Kelly planner stamps to work in my @gettoworkbook to organize details for the PDX workshop this weekend. Look how well they work…”:

Clearly Kelly planner products

*Bonus point to SCL and Queen Cupcake if they know who I’m talking about.