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Be Open…And You May End Up Nicknaming a Dog Gaylord and Achieving Your Goals

Mr Gaylord/Perry

How cute is he? And how equally strange is that title? Well, we had an interesting night last night. It started off like any other night with dinner at our fav pho place and a trip to Target (who else goes multiple times a week? I digress…). We were just getting home when our friends call to say they found this cute little guy chasing cars and after an exhaustive search, were unable to locate his family. I was thinking “sad story… what do you want me to do?” like any semi-reasonable person when my friend asked me to watch him and help find his family. That’s when it all clicked.

You see, I’ve been a little down on myself lately because I’ve been feeling like I’m not setting and achieving enough goals. I was bathed in the waters of Franklin Covey and 7 Habits and was truly converted. But like with most things, after a while your conviction can fade and mine was no exception. But then this dog.

You may remember back on my birthday last year I wrote a list of 30 goals before 30 and one of them was to foster a dog. I thought that this would be an easy one considering my friend runs a rescue and Austin is a no-kill city but heavens, the timing was always off. It was not for lack of trying, believe me(!), but I felt like life was constantly in the way and sending me the same message my husband was: Not now! That can be incredibly frustrating when you’re trying to achieve a goal that you feel like is a worthy and fairly selfless act.

So last night, after much cajoling and eventual husband acquiescing, this little guy came to stay and play with us. I wish I had videoed him because he has the most adorable little gait and walks like a little gentleman. This is where the whole Gaylord thing comes in. We couldn’t not give him some sort of name and after scrolling through other fancy British sounding names, he somewhat responded to Gaylord and it stuck. I’d like to say that it was all sunshine and roses but there was crying on his part and a slight allergy attack on mine. Thankfully we both made it and I awoke from my allergy med-induced sleep to texts and calls from his owner.

All the coughing and watery eyes were worth it because watching Gaylord (whose real name is Perry) see his owner again was the closest I’ve ever come to witnessing one of those touching reunification stories you see on Hallmark movies. Definitely my feel-good moment for the week. And selfishly, it feels like I can cross off “fostering a dog” from my list. It might not be considered fostering 100% but I feel like this was the universe lobbing me a slow pitch, letting me get an easy hit. And because my friends (and Google) are so awesome and it fit in so well with my baseball analogy, I feel like I have to share with you that there is actually a Hall of Famer named Gaylord Perry. He was a renowned cheater but let’s save that story for another day and keep our eye on the ball, er story.

So there’s my story on how being open and ready to help can also help you. It’s totally a cheesy trope but they exist for a reason, right? And getting to call an adorable little animal Gaylord was hilarious and almost as satisfying as completing one of my goals.

-Katy


Lovely Links

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Here are some interesting, beautiful or inspiring lovely links from around the web this week as I’m hurriedly packing and trying desperately not to stress about leaving in a few days:

We love inviting people over but haven’t really had almost anyone over since we moved. I’m sure we’ll get back into the grove and have parties again once we’re a bit more settled because it feels so strange to not have them. But then I read that dinner parties a thing of the past?

The Pope chuckles meeting his tiniest fan- how adorable!

Trying to fit most of my previous apartment’s decor into the new house has been a bit of a challenge, especially when it’s already time to start decorating for the holidays. I’m trying to keep my decorations more muted and “grown up” this year so I loved these brilliant fall decor ideas without a single pumpkin in sight.

I’m leaving for Ireland Friday and packing this and this to help my skin stay fresh with all of the travel.

Every home decor blogger has mentioned this ottoman lately and it’s life changing (OK, maybe just room changing) abilities.

This FREE printable is beautiful and would be perfect to pop into a frame and give as a gift.

I’m not normally a hat person but I’ve seen everyone wearing these lately and it might be prudent to have something to cover my head out in windy Ireland.

Trying to talk myself out of buying this for our bed, especially since it’s still over 90 degrees here! But oh, the knit!

Self worth vs self esteem– which one we should actually strive for.

What awesome things have you found on the Internet lately? Make sure to check in next week and follow on Instagram and Facebook as I’ll be putting up posts and pics from beautiful Ireland!

-Katy


Make a Difference Monday: Never a Finished Product

Give them the chance

 

I’ve had this quote on my mind the past day or so. I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets frustrated with someone because he or she is deficient at a certain thing. But I know that just because I’m not alone in this, doesn’t mean that I’m right. In fact, I’m probably more self-righteous than right, if I really think about it. It’s a little ridiculous to expect anyone to be perfect, or even near perfect, yet how many times do I become exasperated with someone over a small mistake or faux pas without realizing they’re just as human as I am?

I’ve been working on quite a few projects lately and frankly, I’ve been amazed at some individuals’ lack of consideration, especially when it comes to respecting others’ time and effort. Initially I was letting their actions get to me and I started to take it a little personally. Thankfully, one of my friends pointed out that perhaps this one individual (whom I consider a serial offender) might not have ever had any prior experience with the particular subject matter and is probably out of her depths. I’d love to say that I immediately got over my hard feelings and invited her over for brunch, but I didn’t. If I’m being completely honest with myself, I’m probably still not quite over this individual’s behavior but that’s OK because I’m human too. But just because I’m not perfect, doesn’t mean that I can’t really try to be better. Human or not, everyone could use a little slack and that extends to her as well as to myself.

So I’m on a mission to start applying the quote above in my life a little bit more and see if that helps lower my blood pressure and exercise my patience a bit more. I think we all could use a little bit more kindness in our day-to-day and the world would be a different place if we could all try a bit harder to be nice to ourselves and the person next to us. My challenge for myself (and you) is that one day this week when someone has inadvertently wronged you that you will consciously let it, just roll off your back. It’s ridiculously hard for me but i’m actually kind of excited to try.

Would you be willing to give it a go and flex your patience muscle a bit this week or have you done so recently? I’d love to hear your stories-leave a comment!


Make a Difference Monday: Humans of New York Indiegogo

HONY

*Welcome to another Make A Difference Monday where I highlight a good cause, an inspiring person, or even just a new way to do something to make your life a little better.*

I’m sure you’ve all heard of Humans of New York (HONY), the photographer who takes photos of New Yorkers and tells a little snippet about their respective lives. This year he’s traveling the world again and has landed in Pakistan. You can check out so many beautiful pictures of his on his Instagram or Facebook but you should definitely check out the latest Indiegogo account. He does a great job of describing the issues there but the one that touched my heart the most was his feature on modern-day slavery.

Fatima (pictured above) is a women in Pakistan trying hard to end slavery through education with only very little by way of resources. She’s endured multiple beatings and threats on her life, and she remains unwavering in her quest. Fortunately, HONY photographed her, spoke out for her cause and an Indiegogo account was set up to help her help her people break the cycle. They’ve already reached their goal of $100,000 in less than 1 day but every additional dollar helps. Head over here to the Indiegogo to find out more details on the situation and how you can help. Not one of us can fix the world’s problems by ourselves, but together our efforts can make a difference.

Have a great Monday!

(Image from HONY Facebook)


My 30 by 30 List

Setting Goals for Future

So yesterday I turned 29 and while I realize that it’s not old, it feels like I’m getting old. But instead of wallowing in the sadness that only accompanies the loss of youth, I decided that I was going to make a list of things to do that would make me feel accomplished or at least a little bit better. Because if you’re going to get older, you might as well get awesomer, right? Exactly.

Now I know that these “30 by 30” lists aren’t new but who cares, right? Plus, isn’t it in your 30’s when you stop caring about what other people think? I was just going to keep this little list to myself since it’s not a cool for anyone to be the last one jumping on the bandwagon, but I feel like sharing it with the lovely people of the Internet will make me more accountable and I’ll probably end up going through with it if every month I have a public check-in with my goals. So, without further ado, here are my 30 by 30:

1. Buy a House: Kinda cheated on this one since we closed on my 29th birthday yesterday but I’m telling myself needed a win to build momentum.

2. See NYC: I’ve been to a ton of major cities, even some in Europe, but I’ve never made it to the Big Apple. I’ve got some flight vouchers I need to use up so I’m planning an autumn vacation with the husband. Central Park in the Fall seems so lovely to me.

3. Paint and Hang a Painting: I’ve always wanted to be an artist but never put much time or money into doing it. This year I will face my fears and paint something to go up in the new house.

4. Re-read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: This book is amazing and I even worked for Franklin Covey years ago so I’ve totally bought into Covey’s ideologies. I need to be more effective and disciplined so I’m hoping this will help me get back on track. It’s time to be an adult, after all.

5. Ride All the “Big Rides” at Six Flags Again: I grew up going to Six Flags every Summer and some of my fondest childhood memories are being there with my siblings and dad. Even though time is definitely marching on, I want to do things that remind me of the childlike wonder I used to have. Plus Six Flags is just fun.

6. Buy the Husband a Piano: You guys, my husband is a dreamboat. Smart, handsome, successful, kind, and talented in so many things, especially music. He put down his trumpet in college years ago and now wants another musical outlet. He’s wanted a piano but we haven’t been able fit one into our home until now 🙂

7. Go to Hamilton Pool: I’ve lived in Austin for over 3 years and have never made it to this other-worldly place. Many film scenes of alien planets and heavens have been shot here because it’s beautiful and unlike any other place in the world.

8. Take Ballroom Dance Lessons: Oh how things change! As a child I would have been mortified if I was forced to take these classes. Now, I cannot wait. We’ve already purchased the lessons, now I just need to conquer my fear of looking dumb and get on the dance floor!

9. See My Abs: Even if this is only for a day, I want to see my abs before I die. It only gets harder (or so I’ve been told) so I’m having that now or never feeling right about now.

10. Adopt an Angel from the Angel Tree: I’ve done this before and it’s one of my favorite things during the holiday season. These goals are only for the next year but I hope to do this each year until I pass. It really is that fun and rewarding.

11. Write a Short Story of My Grandma’s Life: My sweet Gran is one of the most kind and charitable people I’ve ever met. She taught me about love, service, kindness and so much more. During my last visit with her I realized that I only know a fraction of what there is to know about this wonderful woman. I want my future kids and their kids to know how wonderful she is and the only way of doing that is writing it down.

12. Paint My Entire House: Our new house is beautiful. It also needs a paint job. I’ll talk about the more later on but for now, know that this is on my list.

13. Have a Random Acts of Kindness Day: I want to take a day off and fill it with acts of kindness. The world needs more good and I could sure use some more feel-good in my life.

14. Hot Air Ballon Ride: I  am deathly afraid of heights but I have always wanted to go on a hot air ballon ride. Husband said he’ll help make it happen so I’m pretty much waiting with baited breath for this one.

15. Make a Delicious and Legit Cake: I’m not a good baker but I’ve always wanted to be able to make a beautiful and delicious cake. I’m friends with some fabulous ladies who have promised to help me out on this one and I’m excited! Side note: I should probably start this after I’ve seen my abs.

16. See an Opera or Symphony: I’ve already seen both of these but it’s been nearly a decade since then. How can I call myself cultured if it’s been over 10 years since I’ve been to one? 😉

17. Do a Head Stand: My balance is horrid, especially since they gave me a new leg bone, so I want to work on that. Hopefully the yoga it takes to achieve this will also help with the abs thing.

18. Be Featured on Another Blog: Blogging isn’t always easy and fun but it’s a great outlet for me. While I’m not treating it like a business, I do think that I should make so goals around it. This one seems like a fairly easy one but we’ll see.

19. Re-do Our Kitchen: Our new place is gorgeous(!) and I promise to show you lots of pictures. While so many things about it are wonderful, it needs an update since it’s pretty much been untouched since 1969!

20. Take the GRE: I want to go back to school and get my PhD in psychology and the first step towards that goal is taking the GRE test. Math is not my friend so I’m completely intimidated but at this point I’ve realized that I can’t let that stop me.

21. Have a Real Photo Shoot: We don’t have children so I haven’t hired a photographer since we were married 6 years ago because I thought no one would care to see photos of a child-less family. I’ve just realized that that’s dumb. We’re taking pictures this year with our adorable dog-child and I don’t care if no one wants to see them. I do.

22. Watch a Meteor Shower: I’m not sure if I know anyone who doesn’t love shooting stars. They just feel magical and lucky. Instead of going to bed like a responsible person, one night I’m going to count as many shooting stars as possible. Besides, who doesn’t need a little bit of extra luck?

23. Take Husband Horseback Riding: He’s never really been and I love horses and rode them quite a bit when I was younger. He doesn’t understand my obsession and I can’t fathom why he isn’t really interested in going. Adding this to my list pretty much forces him to go with me.

24. Re-Take My French Course: In college I was forced to take French to graduate. I hated it. Now after visiting France, I wish I could speak it better so I’m hoping that if I practice it enough that when we go back (hopefully soon) I’ll be more proficient at it and have a more authentic experience. Plus, French is so freaking classy.

25. Re-Read My Favorite Classics: To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, and The Secret Garden are some of my favorite books and I just don’t read them often enough. With all of the husband’s travel this year, I’m hoping I’ll crack open these books at night instead of turning on Netflix.

26. Go to a UT Football Game: I love my Alma Mater and it turns out they’re fairly decent at football. The tickets are expensive but the games are so fun so this season we’re making it to one of the games! Hook’em!

27. Make a New Friend: I love people and I love having friends but sometimes I just don’t make time to meet new people because life happens. This year I want to make a new friend, hopefully someone who’s pretty different from me and will help me see the world from a different perspective.

28. Sing a Duet with My Husband: I love to sing and husband does as well. I’m not sure whether it means singing together in church, at a social function, or even just karaoke but I’ve always wanted to sing a duet with him and this is the year!

29. Foster a Dog: So many little pups are out there without homes and need love. While I’m pretty sure that Oakley is the only dog for me, I want to foster a dog and help it find it’s forever home.

30. Do Something For Someone That They Cannot Do for Themselves: I honestly can think of no greater goal than helping someone who feels like they’re in a situation where nothing can be done. I’ve been down and out and wonderful people have reached out and helped me when there was nothing more I could do. I’m not sure how exactly this one might come about but I believe if you keep your eyes and heart open, ways to give will find you.

Ending on the kinda sappy one wasn’t what I planned but sometimes you gotta just go with what feels right. So I have to know, any of you out there set goals each year on your birthday? Or have you done any of the things on my list? If so, I’d love to hear about it!

P.S. Don’t forget to enter the Kate Spade giveaway here!

-Katy


Birthday Giveaway- Kate Spade

Kate Spade Giveaway

It’s my birthday and today I thought I’d giveaway a pair of Kate Spade earrings to celebrate! I bought a pair of these 14k gold beauties for myself this past weekend and decided that I wanted to give one pair away as well! While I’m off partying the day away (I wish!) make sure to enter by following the steps below. Good luck!

How it goes: Each comment will be considered one entry and an individual can have up to 3 entries. (Make sure to leave a comment for each one!)

1. Leave a comment (anything positive and lovely)

2. Follow me on bloglovin’ HERE and leave a comment letting me know

3. Follow me on Facebook HERE and leave a comment letting me know.

Winner will chosen randomly using a random number generator and will be announced on the Friday, August 14th blog post. Winner must contact me within 48 hours to claim prize. This contest is not affiliated with Kate Spade, Bloglovin’ or Facebook.

Have a great day everyone! -Katy

Want to see more on Kate Spade? Check out my updated post to see which purse I decided on here.


Why You Should Donate to Salvation Army Instead of Goodwill Inc.

salvation-army-and-goodwill-logos

We all reach that point when we realize that we have far too much “stuff” that we really don’t need. So we usually grab a bin or a plastic bag and gather up all of our “stuff” and then load it into the car/bus/train to donate. Well, before you head to the nearest Goodwill, think twice.

Goodwill does somethings like most charity shops. They take donated items, price them, sell them and use the money to cover costs, fund charity programs, and pay their employees. The problem really lies in the payment of their employees. A loop hole in labor laws allows them to pay their employees less than minimum wage- some just 22 cents an hour! And it’s not like they aren’t making enough to pay these employees, most of which are disabled, they just choose to spend their money else where, especially when it comes to CEO payouts. The international CEO reported a salary of over $725,000 all the way back in 2011. Then they have local, regional, and state CEOs, many of which make well into the 6-figures. Fortunately, there is a bill in the house that would end their ability to take advantage of the loop hole and force them to pay minimum wage to all employees.

So with that good news, what can each of us can do in the meantime is donate our “stuff” to other good causes. So why the Salvation Army? They pay their employees fairly, they are run largely by volunteers, they donate grundles of money to women and children, and their National Commander makes less than $200k.

So let’s each drive an extra mile or two and donate to a company that does the most good.

 

 

 

Image source


Make a Difference Monday: The Easiest Way to Donate $5

target-bullseye

We all want to give back but sometimes we’re limited by time, money, resources, etc. Today I want to share an easy way for you to help children in need get access to school supplies. Target (oh how I love thee!) will donate $5 to the Kids in Need Foundation for every download of a song. The best part about the song download is that it’s free. So basically, you download a song for free and Target sends $5 to children who need supplies for school. Free song, free supplies. I’m not really seeing a downside here.

So head on over here and pick up a new tune while helping out!  Happy Make a Difference Monday!

*I was not paid or perked by Target Corp for this post- I just think they’re awesome and had to share!


Settling Into Yourself

Peony and Marble

I’m sure that we’ve all had times when we’ve taken a step back and realized that we’re not where we thought we’d be or even who we thought we’d be. It’s not necessarily a comfortable moment but I’m coming to realize that’s OK. In reading Dan Harris’s book 10% Happier he talks about meditation and how we find discontent when our idea of how things should be confronts the idea of how things are. I’ve thought a lot about it and how it relates to my life, my goals, and my general ideology. I’ll admit that I used to be somewhat of a self-help junkie- working at Franklin Covey will do that to you- and I’ve taken so much advice to heart but honestly, there are so many conflicting messages out there. We’re told to by some schools or thought to “never stop improving” and then other camps declare to “love yourself” so much and so hard until everything becomes clear. 

But is any of it true? Are there any magical mantras that will fix lapses in confidence or times when you’re sure you’re the strangest, most unloveable creature? Well, I haven’t read every single book out there but I’m pretty sure that there isn’t. Now it doesn’t mean that all of these writers and gurus are complete hacks (although some of them certainly are) but rather that they found their personal compass, their “personal truth”, if you will, and want to share it. So how do we find our “truth” when we’re in the middle of life, deadlines, and everything else? How do we decide what message we should repeat to ourselves when times feel rough, or when life feels all turned around?

I can’t claim that I have the right answer but I’m working on having the right answer for me. I’m trying to walk that fine line between over-planning and letting go and I’m not always good at it. In fact, I often struggle with the balance of it all. But even though I’m not even close to mastery, I think that it’s good to talk about it with other people. I’m always surprised when I’m struggling with something and find out that there are many other people who are struggling with the same issue, especially when I was sure that I was the only person that couldn’t get it together on that certain thing. I feel ridiculous each time I come to that realization. There is power in common goals and even in common suffering and we do a disservice to ourselves and others when we pretend we have it all together because we don’t. None of us do.

So I’m here today declaring I’m imperfect and still finding my way. I’m still on the path trying desperately to settle into myself, my life, and my relationships with others and that I’m fine with it. Or at least I’m working on it.


You Deserve a Treat: Easy Frozen Hot Chocolate

Seredipity's Frozen Hot Chocolate

Ever wish for a week to end only for the next one to be just as bad? That has been my past month- or at least it’s felt that way. And I don’t know about you, but when I’m down in the dumps I love to shovel junk food into my mouth as fast as possible. But junk food never was happiness. Chocolate on the other hand, I firmly believe is. Lately my treat of choice has been Serendipity’s Frozen Hot Chocolate.

I love it for so many reasons but mostly because it’s delicious and cool during these months that try their hardest to melt your soul.  And it’s made by the serving so limited indulgence can actually be a reality instead of a broken promise to yourself. Another wonderful thing is you only need a blender, ice, milk, and the mix and at this point, I keep all of those things on hand. This hasn’t changed my life, but it’s helped my day and I thought I’d share it with any of you out there who need a little pick-me-up.

You can pick up a canister at Williams and Sonoma or order it HERE on Amazon.  Hope you’re making it through!

-Katy