Although this is ridiculously embarrassing for me to admit, I have a huge knack for starting things and lacking follow through. When it comes to big projects I like to get right to the point where just little details are left and that’s where I check out. We all have our faults, and that is a huge one of mine that I totally own. Over the 10 years I’ve been blogging, many series have come and gone on this blog. Here I am starting another one, and I truly hope that I will have more follow through on this one because it’s with purpose. I’ve been digging a lot into what I want from my life, where I want it to go, and how I can better serve you while doing what I was put on this earth to do. While this blog originally started as a place where I shared furniture makeovers, over the past 10 years it has developed into something other than that. Of course, I enjoy DIY and design, but the reason that home is so important to me is that I believe it should be a special place that reflects you and where you can be your truest self. I also believe that we restore our souls while working our hands to create beautiful things. I’ve recently changed my instagram bio to read “Home improvement – Self improvement” because I do believe the two are intrinsically linked, and my hope is to help you not only create a beautiful and personal home on a budget, but for you to grow and develop as a human being. There is always room to improve and more to learn, and there are things we can do to continue to educate and develop ourselves. I strongly desire to live my best and truest life here, and I want that for you, too! In that spirit, Feel Good Friday is going to be a series where I share podcasts and books, recipes and food tips, life hacks, exercise tips, and more! (This blog uses affiliate links).
(Photo included because it looks pretty “feel good,” right? This was taken the last weekend of September at a local Greek festival, before Sober October began.)
Without further ado, let’s dive into what’s truly helping in my life lately! Again, I share these things because I hope that they help YOUR life; this is not all about me! I am here to help you feel good, too!
Wilder drinking his morning smoothie after I got back from a walk. I wish I loved smoothies as much as this kid! Also, this rug is from the Rug Bits collection where you can grab awesome deals on rugs that have been trimmed down to salvage. They’re an awesome deal and you can get an extra 15% off with code Cassie15.
Change Your Habits & Change Your Life: Lately, I am hard core drinking the Hollis juice… I’ve started binging Rachel Hollis’ podcast on all of my walks and runs, and I learned about a challenge she was putting together called The Last 90 Days. At the end of each year, she and her husband do this challenge to finish it out on a great note, rather than letting the holidays ruin all of their healthy habits. They can then go into the new year ready and on top of things. During this 90 day period there are 5 habits that you work on to improve yourself, and there’s even a facebook group to help keep you motivated and accountable, and every day they share a live video in the morning (which you can replay any time). Now, I do realize that this challenge has already started, but here’s the thing… you can start ANY TIME. You can still go sign up! So what if you missed the first week or so? Don’t let that stop you from becoming the best version of yourself! As it turns out, these are the last 90 days of an entire decade, so let’s end it on a high note and start the next decade as our best yet! I am going to share with you the 5 habits that are the main focus of this challenge, but each week also has its own theme. (For example this week is habits, and we’re challenged to replace a bad habit with a good one. I am a chronic nail biter, so I am quitting and replacing it with taking deep calming breaths and to be honest, I am doing pretty good with it!)
OK, so the 5 habits that are the major groundwork of this challenge are what Rachel calls the “Five to Thrive.”
- Drink Water: Not just water, but drink half of your body weight in oz of just plain water (not carbonated, flavored, or in any other form!). I weigh 132 lb so I have to drink 66 oz o water a day. To be totally transparent, water is the one thing I have always struggled with. I know down to my bones that it is SO good for me, yet I just don’t do it. I normally drink plain black coffee in the morning, and then maybe 16 oz of water after that during the day. I have heard over and over again how good for your skin drinking water is, so I was willing to give this a go, plus it’s part of the 90 days challenge, so count me in! So far, I’ve had more than my 66 oz of water each day and I’ve found that it’s starting to become a habit to carry around my water bottle with me. Because I care deeply about being eco-conscious, I highly recommend a good aluminum bottle that you know the volume of so you can keep track. I use this Swell bottle that I stole from Chris and fill it up at least 4 times a day. Naturally, yes, I am going to the bathroom much more than I ever have in my life, but I know it will be worth it! I’ve had a cold this past week so I can’t yet see any difference in my skin, but if I do I will surely let you know.
- Wake Up Earlier: The intention behind this one is to make time for yourself in the morning- time to exercise, read, journal, meditate, write daily intentions… just time for you. I already get up at 5:35 daily (6:30 on the weekends) so that I can get out for a run or walk, and I listen to podcasts while I do that. I then get home and quietly have a cup of coffee before anyone is up yet. Because I was already doing that, I simply started getting up at 5:10 to make just a little more time for myself when I get home from my run. I am still figuring out the best use of that time aside from exercise and coffee, and considering writing in the wee hours of the morning. Either way, I always love to start my day with that bit of time alone because it helps me focus and start my day in the right mindset, as opposed to jumping out of bed to a house full of three kids, barking dogs, and chaos.
- Give Up One Category of Food for 30 Days: Oh man, this is always a struggle for me, so I was excited to have some accountability in this challenge. I’ve done Whole30 before so I knew I could do it, but that doesn’t make it easier. With this challenge being 90 days you have the option to give up something for all 90, or a new category each 30 days (that’s what I am opting for). I decided to give up any wheat product- so no bread, anything baked with regular flour, etc. I chose this category because I am like a human trash can when it comes to my kids plates… “You gonna eat that crust? I’ll take it! Can’t finish that slice of pizza… I can!” It’s a habit that doesn’t make me feel good and just serves empty calories. When you gobble down “just the crust” it doesn’t feel like much, but trust me it all catches up to you. Yes, I hate to waste food, but I also hate to put it on my hips. We desperately need chickens again so that I can throw them the crust and not think twice about it!
- Move Your Body Every Day: I joined a gym in August, and I LOVE it! I absolutely love the classes, the fact that it’s a little break from Wilder, and he loves going, too. When I tell him we’re headed to the gym and it’s time to get socks and shoes on, he is at the door, shoes in hand. On the days where I feel like not going, I remember how much he looks forward to it and that motivates me. Additionally in the morning as I mentioned, I like to get up and out early to get some fresh air and hit the pavement. I’ve found that having podcasts or audiobooks to listen to really helps push me out the door because I am excited to hear them. My dogs also need walking and they’re much calmer if I take them so that’s another motivator. Obviously, I want to be healthy and fit, and who doesn’t want to look good in their clothes? When those desires aren’t enough or feel trumped by my body telling me it’s tired, these other motivators are major players in getting me out the door. If you struggle with making exercise a habit, find some other things to motivate you. Start a series on Netflix and only allow yourself to watch it on the treadmill; find an audiobook you’ll only listen to while you run. Or you could find classes at the gym because those instructors notice when you aren’t there and that will also help hold you accountable! I missed a class one week because of an appointment and the next week when I walked in the instructor said jokingly, “Well, look who decided to show up!” I thank her for holding me to it!
- Practice Active Gratitude: Each day you are to write down ten little things that you are grateful for… not the big things like “my health” but little things like, “someone left a quarter in a cart for me at Aldi.” This practice will teach you to really appreciate life’s little moments. I have the worst time sticking with a writing/journaling practice of any time, but I am adhering to this one, and it’s definitely helping me to learn to appreciate all of those small things that happen each day for which I am grateful. Even something as simple as “my coffee turned out perfectly,” could be on there. It’s just about the little things that spark joy in you. Acknowledging them causes you to notice them so much more.
Say yes! Back in August, I read Shonda Rhimes Year of Yes, and I honestly didn’t really go into it with any expectations. It had just popped up when I was looking at other books, had great reviews, and I thought, why not? I am SOOOO glad I ended up picking this one up to read because Shonda is funny, relatable, and an inspiring go-getter of a person. Her life had become a little crazy with 3 adopted daughters and 3 successful television shows, and she almost always turned down invitations to be on talk shows, or really to go do anything. One Thanksgiving, her sister casually says to her, “You never say yes to anything.” Those words hit her like a truck, and she decided that for one year, she would step outside of her comfort zone and say yes to all the things! The year that followed was one made up of some of the best moments of her life, and she grew as a person, and became so much healthier, happier, and more comfortable in her skin. What really encouraged me in this book was that saying yes to things meant that she learned how to ask for help more as well, something I know I struggle with one hundred percent. I will work myself to exhaustion and not even think to ask for help. I read this book, and just after, I started being invited to step out of my own comfort zone and attend local events. While I am outgoing, I tend to be a huge homebody. I will say yes to something, and then as it approaches I am digging for all of the excuses as to why I shouldn’t go. However, this book changed that for me… I started saying yes to attending different local events, and in doing so, I’ve made real genuine friends and connected with local artists and business people. I even said yes to a playgroup this past week, and I am usually not one for playgroups. I went, and gosh was I so glad we did! Wilder and I both made new friends and the atmosphere was totally my kind of vibe… it was a relaxed, yoga pants accepted here kind of place!
Compliment Someone: Speaking of Rachel Hollis, I want to share an episode that I found truly inspiring. I was out for a run one morning and tuned in to hear Rachel interviewing Darbie Angell, founder of CRU, a beautiful house ware company. I was absolutely blown away by her story of how she basically founded her company while on bedrest with no funds and no support from her husband. She simply had an idea, gumption, and a creative approach to how she could make it work. The best part is, her company has succeeded and gives back. She actually was recently in Bangladesh visiting the site of a school she’s building there for her factory workers’ children… oh, I just got chills! Anyhow, after hearing her interview, I was moved to go find out more about her and found her on instagram. What blew my mind was that she was following me! I immediately sent her a message letting her know how inspired I was by her efforts to change the world while making it more beautiful. I then proceeded to share about it on my stories and talk about the amazing things she’s doing. She wrote back that morning to let me know it had been a tough week and my reaching out and sharing her in my stories uplifted her. Wow! You truly never know what someone might be going through, but a simple compliment or act of kindness can help put a spring back in their step. In return, I had the gift of knowing I had positively impacted someone’s day. Last week, a similar thing happened to me in a conversation with an instagram friend of mine when I was just struggling. She happened to reach out that day to tell me how much I inspired her and it truly made my day and gave me back my confidence. If you think something nice about someone else, don’t keep it to yourself! Let it out and change the course of their day.
Bonus- Check out Darbie’s potter’s wheel collection in rosé. Swoon!
Well, guys, that is all I have for you today, but I hope you take something with you as you head into the weekend. We are going to be busting our butts on the house, hiking, hitting a fall festival, and attending my favorite local workshop. I would absolutely love it if you would drop me a comment or email me and let me know if you enjoyed this post and what you’d like to see more of here. I hope that together we can become the best versions of ourselves!