.nightly routines.

nightlyroutine

By nature, I’m not a great sleeper.  I hear all the creaky noises and I notice when my cats are wandering the house with their noisy little paws.  We live near a main highway, so the people driving by at 2:00 a.m. blaring something abysmal {think Florida Georgia Line} automatically become my least favorite people.  And the coyotes…well, they sound like screaming babies that have entered some kind of Mad Max/Hunger Games alternate universe.

Tomorrow is my first official day of summer vacation and I plan to use my time wisely and really focus on my self-care {more on that later this summer}.  I believe that a major component of self-care comes from developing a nightly routine that lets my body know it’s time to unwind and relax.  Here’s my plan:

1.  Eliminate screen time.  Just run a search on screen time before bedtime and you’ll see that researchers agree that it’s pretty bad for you.  Scrolling through social media or even reading on your iPhone or iPad make it harder to fall asleep and/or stay asleep.  Not getting enough sleep can trigger a lot of other health problems like obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.  My ultimate goal is to flip my phone to the “Do Not Disturb” mode around 8:30 every evening in order to let my body know it’s time to get ready to sleep.

2.  Remove my makeup.  I’m pretty religious about washing my face.  I love how relaxed it makes me feel when I combine hot water with the soothing scent of Noxzema {yes, people still use Noxzema}.  I use this moisturizer and I’ve been really pleased with the results.

3.  Slather up!  I have super dry skin and pretty bad eczema, so my moisturizing routine has to be pretty strict.  I use this lip balm every night and I love that it doesn’t get sticky throughout the night.  I use this moisturizer on my hands, elbows, and feet and I usually mix in a little Lavender essential oil.

4.  Diffuse something relaxing.  We use our home diffuser every single day.  Each night around 7:30 or so, we start diffusing a nice mix of Lavender & Stress Ease.  Just the scent of the oils lets my body know that it’s time to relax.

5.  Have a cup of tea.  My current nighttime teas are Tension Tamer {especially with a drop of Thieves!} and the old standby, Sleepytime.  Having something warm {and caffeine free} is yet another way to let my body know that it is time to unwind.

6.  Read a book.  I’m talking a real-life-can-still-smell-the-printer’s-ink-honest-to-goodness-book.  This summer I’m focusing on re-reading series that I’ve always loved like Harry Potter and Anne of Green Gables.

I am a creature of routine, so I know developing practices that help me relax will ultimately result in better self-care for both myself and Josh.  I’m really hopeful that this is a routine that can stick!

What about you?  Do you have a nightly routine that works for you?

XOXO,

Court

P.S.

These nightgowns from Target are my favorite.  The fluid knit feels so soft and stays cool all night.

These linen sheets from Restoration Hardware are on my future splurge list.

These are two great examples of bedtime routines:  link & link.

.in summer.

I’ve noticed a horrific pattern in my blogging:  I’ll blog all Fall and most of Winter and then punk out the second it starts to warm up.  It’s possibly because March–May is my busiest time of year but it’s also possible that I go a little weak in the knees for warmer weather.  Either way, this Spring has been the busiest of my life:  working full time at school, coaching, writing copy for four campaigns, boots on the ground in one campaign, and still trying to maintain some semblance of a home//social life.  Pile on my brother’s wedding bookended by my brother-in-law’s wedding and I found myself on the verge of a major meltdown.  As always, I pulled through and have three glorious months to focus on my physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

 

Setting goals seems to be part of my DNA.  What’s the point if we aren’t striving towards something?  This summer I want to…

1.  Read more.  I’ve always been an avid reader, but during election cycles, I find it hard to read anything except copy…lots and lots of copy.  My summer reading list includes:

Book1 Book2 Book3

2.  Spend more time outdoors with this guy.

photo-5

Because who can resist this face?

3.  Go to Lake Burton and turn off my phone.

A little slice of Cuz Club Heaven on Earth.

4.  Drink loads of tea.

Source {a great article from Garden & Gun}

5.  Take lots of naps.

Hint: I’ve already met this goal but I’m a total overachiever.

What about you?  Do you have lofty summer goals?  What books are on your summer reading list?

XOXO,

Court

P.S.  This granita sounds amazing…maybe pineapple & mint?

Medoc, France has been added to my bucket list.

I can’t wait to get my hand on this and this.

J’adore.

Resolution Update

It seems a little silly that we’re already updating about our resolutions, but I made a crazy amount of progress on our 52-week organizational challenge today.  I drew five very satisfactory lines through weeks one through five.  You read that correctly.  Today I spent the day completely overhauling my kitchen and even though it’s 10:00 at night and I’ve got horrific dishpan hands, the feeling of satisfaction is so worth it.  It felt great to pull out everything, sift through the growing pile of unwanted junk, and sanitize everything.  I even had Josh pull the stove away from the wall so I could scrub up everything that had been hiding {greasy dust is the worst}.

photo 4

My cheerful kitchen which coincidentally mimics a lot of Pantone’s 2014 color choices.  Follow me on Instagram @courtneycallicutt!

What about you?  What resolutions did you make?  Have you already broken any?  What keeps you motivated?

XOXO,

Court

P.S.

We’re prepping for the Daniel Fast along with my parents, so Mama and I will be updating with fast-friendly recipes.

I’m super excited about Laken’s 14-Day Healthy + Wellness Challenge {it’s not too late to sign up}.

I was up to my elbows in this cleaning set today and it was amazing.

We have the world’s laziest puppy:

photo 2

New Year, New Goals {2014}

2014

In the past we’ve always posted our goals separately.  Men and women are truly different beasts and as such, our goals typically differ.  This year we’ve made a joint decision to build new habits in order to make our home a more successful place to love and live.

2013 was tough.  We were away from home far too much {for this introvert’s taste}, we ate out far too much, and our home was far too messy.  We both coach during the fall {Varsity Football Cheerleading for me & middle school wrestling for Josh}, and our home just sort of spiraled out of control when the two seasons overlapped.  Laundry was done on an as-needed basis, deep-cleaning never happened, and clutter piled up at an astonishing rate.  Coaching isn’t going away and neither is our busy schedule {or the traveling}, so last night the Captain and I sat down and listed our daily, weekly, and monthly goals to keep our home running in ship-shape {his words, not mine}.

Building good habits takes time and we’ve reached the point where we’re ready to make a commitment to change.  We’re implementing a 52-week organizational challenge, keeping each other accountable to our daily, weekly, and monthly goals, and making a commitment to making us better.

Here are a few of our weekly goals:

  • Wipe down the counters each evening.
  • Put away random clutter each day.
  • Cook dinner each evening.
  • Prepare lunches the night before each workday.
  • Stick to a consistent laundry schedule {wash, dry, fold, and put away clothes each Wednesday & Saturday}.
  • Follow the chore chart.

Here are a few tools I’m using to keep me organized:

The Simplified Recipe binder {on sale for $18, buy here}.  My MIL gifted me this binder along with the organizer sheets for Christmas.  I’ve already started filling it with menu ideas, shopping lists, and old family recipes.  Everything that has to do with food is in one place and as an added bonus, everything is pretty.

The Simplified Life Binder {starter kit, $54binder, $24}.  I love this product because it’s easily personalized to tailor-fit your needs.  I’d recommend buying the binder separately and purchasing the refill packs that suit your needs.  I love these dividers, the t0-do sheet lists, these goal-planning sheets, and these monthly/weekly calendar sheets.  You can also access tons of free printables for Emily Ley here.

The best part about blogging is the accountability we’re burdened with.  When we talk about a goal or plan, we feel extra pressure to succeed.  In addition, when we fail, we strive for transparency by being honest about it.  In an effort to stick to our 52-week organizational challenge, we’ll be updating you each week via our Instagram accounts.  Just check for the hashtag #52Callicutt to see our progress.  In addition, we’ll continue talking more about our daily, weekly, and monthly goals and how we’re planning to build better habits.  In the end, our ultimate goal is grace, not perfection.

What about you?  What are your goals for 2014?  Are you losing weight?  Hitting the gym?  Let us know in the comments section!

Happy New Year!

XOXO,

Court

 

.atlas.

IMG_2076

In case anyone missed it, we’re getting a puppy.  He’s an adorable Boxer-Lab mix and we’ve decided to call him Atlas.  All of our pets are named after Greek deities…Atlas is no different.  We named him after the Titan Atlas, forced to hold the universe on his shoulders.  As a bonus, his name is a not-so-subtle tribute to one of our favorite works of literature.  And yes…we’re those unfortunate, cold, strange Libertarians who quote Rand at an annoying rate.

Though I have little experience, puppies must be similar to babies as they require tons of stuff.  As first-time parents, we obviously want our little one to have the best of everything:

DIY project via

Emily at Jones Design Company also has a pup named Atlas.  She has a gorgeous, simple DIY project that features natural-colored drop cloth and hand-distressed lettering.

Bourbon and Boots has a wonderful selection of collars.  I like the gingham one for Baby Atlas and the leather one for 70-pound adult Atlas.  Bonus:  the leather collars are made in Georgia!

$24//available here

$30//available here

These dog food canisters from Ballard Designs are so appealing.  The price is {of course} completely outrageous for the actual purpose of the product.  I’ve saved several of those popcorn containers that children receive at Christmas {you know…the ones full of neon orange cheddar popcorn?} and I plan to give them a coat of chalkboard paint.  Functionality that is aesthetically pleasing makes me giddy.

I love this food/water bowl combo because it comes with lids.

$27.99//Purchase here

I like this harness because it’s preppy and sweet.

$18.99//Purchase here

And it makes sense that his fashion sense matches his proud Papa’s, right?

$10//Purchase here

In addition to watching training videos online, Josh has been reading Water Dog .  It’s sentimental for me because he’s using the same copy that Daddy used to train my beloved Golden Retriever, Catfish Sally.  Both Daddy and Josh highly recommend Water Dog as an excellent training manual and peek into the psychology of a dog.

We’re so ready to welcome our baby home.

IMG_2088

As a side note, does anyone have any advice on how to acclimate our buddies to their new brother?  We’re a little nervous about the big transition!

IMG_1917

Daydreams & a Happy Weekend

Do you daydream?  I do, quite often.  The Captain* daydreams too, but I’m far more guilty than he.

Some dreams are nearly tangible…we know when they’re coming and what they’re going to look like…

Some dreams come true on a week-to-week basis {if we remember to slow down!}…

Others already have a savings account attached to them…

And then there are those dreams that are so far away and evasive {for the time being} that while they don’t have names or faces, you know you already love them…

I hope you have a perfectly lovely Labor Day Weekend.  The Captain and I are going to be completely worthless…tonight we’re finally watching this movie and I’m making his favorite chicken pie.  Tomorrow we’re going to have a long, leisurely lunch at our favorite restaurant {and spend a least an hour browsing Target!}.  Sunday brings about church  and Monday will be completely perfect and lazy.

Happy Weekend to the lovers & dreamers!  XOXO,

Court

*I’ve recently come into the habit of calling Josh by a new nickname.  He rolls his eyes and puffs out his chest but secretly he adores being the Captain.

Dieting & Transparency & Eating Crow

1Me at a happier time with a hand-battered corndog in my hand and a Romney sticker on my blouse.  Though, for the record, I still have my Ron Paul sign proudly displayed in my front yard.  That’s another post for another day.

Please let me preface this post by saying that Josh has a goal to lose 20 pounds this month.  Coupled with the 25 pounds that he has already lost, he’ll finally be at his desired weight.  Also, I’ve been having very painful, very random allergic reactions to some mystery food item that I cannot quite pinpoint.  I’ve considered allergy testing, but I’ve read over and over again that the testing is often inconclusive and to be honest, I have to lay down to even get a flu shot.  Needles and I are not pals.

On Sunday, Josh and I began a no dairy, no gluten, no sugar, no red meat diet.  For him, it’s all about weight loss.  For me, it was all about avoiding dairy {for my eczema} and possibly pinpointing grain as the culprit of my allergic reactions.  Josh surprised me with Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest cookbook, “It’s All Good,” as a way to have tasty, gluten-free alternatives in our diets.  The book is beautiful and I’ve found multiple recipes I’ll use for many years to come.

I’ve tried the vegetarian thing before.  I gave up meat for Lent one year and then my iron levels went all wonky and my doctor advised against continuing my fast.  So I went to Firehouse Subs and ordered the most delicious, most horrific sandwich laden with every possible Italian meat and it was glorious.  Then, I got sick.

Last year after watching Forks Over Knives, Josh and I gave up all meat, meat by-products, and all dairy.  Cold turkey.  We lasted four days.  On the fifth day, I drove straight to the market after work, bought the most expensive, thickest bacon I could find, and I fried up the whole lot.  Then I ate it.  Again, it was glorious.  Again, I got sick.

Fast forward to last night, merely a few days into this month-long experiment.  It was late and I was hungry.  Our fridge was stocked full of healthy snack options like watermelon, citrus fruits, and cherries.  I had the option of Ezekiel toast with avocado or even a fruit smoothie with coconut milk and Kefir.  Instead, I threw a massive temper tantrum and begged Mr. C to drive me to McDonalds.  I purchased a Big Mac, fries, and a large Dr. Pepper and I devoured it.  I attacked that food like Rosemary attacks that raw beef in Rosemary’s Baby.  I was unstoppable.  I nearly had tears running down my cheeks.  It was magnificent and disgusting and completely glorious.  And then…once again…I got sick.

Mr. C, in his supreme wisdom, very gently said that we needed to talk.  He was right.  He’s always right.  So we talked.  We talked about moderation and my cravings and how it’s okay to indulge every once in a while.  We also talked about how it’s okay to have a Dr. Pepper every once in a while and how using three Chick-fil-a sauces for my waffle fries is probably not something to feel guilty about.

Together, we developed a few ground rules that will offer really healthy options while allowing for the occasional craving.

1.  All meat should be free of hormones and antibiotics.  Poultry should be free-range and all beef should be grass-fed.  When in doubt, cook venison.

2.  All eggs should be free of hormones and antibiotics.  Eggs should be free-range.

3.  Unsweetened almond milk is perfectly fine for day-to-day consumption, but if a recipe calls for cow’s milk {or even heavy cream!}, it’s okay.

4.  Most vegetables should be locally grown.  Out of season vegetables will be avoided.

5.  Salad Sundays, Meatless Mondays, and Soup Saturdays will be respected.

6.  Ezekiel bread is the only bread for us {barring the occasional loaf of French bread}.

7.   MSG should be avoided.

8.  Cookies are okay in moderation.  Like, once a week.  The same goes for Dr. Pepper.  Baking a pound cake is not the end of the world.

In essence, Josh stressed the importance of whole foods, lean meats, and minimal junk.  Moderation has never been my strong suit…I’m an all-or-nothing kind of gal.  But the rules we developed will allow for the flexibility this free spirit needs while still adhering to Mr. C’s desire for law & order.

I felt like I needed to share my breakdown because I desire true transparency in my life.  On Saturday, we went from Trader Joe’s to the Fresh Market, and then we ran to Wal-Mart in order to stock our pantry.  I silently judged everyone I saw reaching for those Cool-Ranch Doritos or a package of terrible-horrible-no good-very bad Purdue Chicken {seriously guys, don’t eat that crap}.  To the people I judged, I’m sorry.  To everyone that received my YOUR BODY IS A TEMPLE, HOW DARE YOU PUT EVIL GLUTEN {OR MSG, OR CORN-FED BEEF} INTO IT?!? speech, I’m sorry.  

This is me, eating crow.  And I’ve wrapped that crow in the most gloriously buttered crust you can imagine.

Life is for living, bacon is for frying, butter is for eating.  Amen.

XOXO,

Court

Rock On, Mullet Man…

We’re celebrating Spring Break with a lovely, lazy time in North Carolina.  We’ve eaten out far too much, reconnected with old friends, and lounged about in our pajamas until a shockingly alarming time of day.  Frankly, we needed the rest and the relaxation has been a welcome change to our schedule.

On Thursday, we attended a Carolina Hurricanes game {match?}.  I’m not one for crowds and I also don’t really understand hockey, but I never really mind attending sporting events as long as I can sneak a book into my purse.  Josh caught me this time and insisted that I leave my book at home.  Instead of delving into Coulter’s latest, I was forced to pursue another passion:  people watching.

Do you people watch?  It’s a wonderful pastime and one of the many reasons I prefer flying over traveling via automobile.  Airports and train stations are frightfully packed with people bustling about, never noticing that I’m observing them from my terminal.  Though I’d never dream of approaching someone I consider a stranger, it’s rather fun to imagine where they come from, what they do for a living, and who they love.

Upon entering the PNC Arena, by eyes immediately latched onto my first victim:  a middle-aged man with a greasy mullet that actually went the extra mile by being a bald-in-the-front-party-in-the-back kind of ‘do.  Judgement immediately pooled in my brain.  The Lord chose that exact minute slather conviction on my heart.

Who are YOU to judge a creature I made lovingly in my image?

My heavens, I declare I nearly burst into tears.  I think conviction is taken to a whole other level in the South because you not only feel the weight of the Lord upon your heart.  You also know you’ve probably disappointed your Grandmother, former Sunday School teacher, and quite possibly Andy Griffith in the process.

It dawned on me that I’m guilty of judging dozens of people each day.  And it’s wrong.

I told Josh right in the middle of the PNC Arena that I was done.  No more laughing at the appearances of others, no more judging extenuating circumstances–in a whole, I’m going to train my flesh not to seek to judge others at all.  Instead, I’ll offer a smile, a helping hand, or even a hug.  The world will certainly be a better place with one less person passing judgement on others.

To the man with the mullet at PNC Arena:  I’ll never know your name or even cross paths with you at the market.  Please accept my humblest apologies for judging you.  Rock on, Mullet Man.  Rock on.

Rejoice & Encourage: A Crusade for Women

6

 Though the Lenten season is a difficult one, I rejoice in my quiet times of reflection.  My thoughts come with clarity and I feel I have a better ability to draw conclusions from my journal entries.  One reoccurring theme in each entry is the idea that life is like a great juggling act—some balls float effortlessly through the air like graceful butterflies in the spring breeze while others balls constantly clunk clumsily to the ground like a baby learning to toddle.  Things like Relationships and Faith seem to be more delicate and are juggled with great care.  Other necessities like Mopping, Ironing, and Not Eating Cookies for Dinner Because You’re a Freaking Adult seem to be of less importance.  Those juggling balls are sturdier and can be dropped without fear.

 If my conclusion is true and life is an epic and fragile act of balance, we as faulty humans need assistance in our efforts to keep the important things afloat.  Surely the good Lord is watching over us in our acrobatic attempts for His eye is on the Sparrow, but we humans require relationships with other humans.  We need positive fellowship because as living creatures, we relate to other creatures.  While every one of us is different in our abilities, I’ve noticed that as a whole, women struggle with this.

1

 Picture a mother in the grocery store who is well shod, perfectly coiffed, and dressed like she stepped freshly off the streets of Paris during Fashion Week.  Her children are of course, in perfectly starched outfits with pleats and smocking.  The smart looking bow tying back her daughter’s curls perfectly coordinates with her expensive looking stockings.

 The immediate reaction is to think something dreadfully terrible like who on God’s green Earth has the time or money for that?  What a Stepford Wife!

5

 Picture yet another woman, a career minded lady with goals and aspirations.  Perhaps she’s without children or a spouse but she has a sporty car and a plush penthouse.  She’s an ace in the business world with a firm command of the boardroom.

 Why doesn’t she get married and have children?  This isn’t Working Girl!

3

Or how about this scenario?  The Room Mother of your child’s class makes Easter goodie bags for the students.  They’re sweet and cute and obviously took a lot of time and effort.  She delivers her wares with pride and the children enjoy their homemade sweet treats along with the perfunctory Cheetos and store-bought cupcakes.

 Who has time to make goodie bags?  And homemade candies, cookies, and cheese straws?  She’s just trying to show me up!

4

 An exhausted looking woman shuffles through the freezer section at the market dressed in yoga pants and an oversized Atlanta Hawks t-shirt.  Her hair is obviously filthy, she’s wearing Chacos and she isn’t even hiking, and her eye makeup was totally done for hours ago.  And to be honest, that frozen pizza she’s reaching for isn’t going to do her any favors.  {P.S. this is me}

 That girl has let herself go.  She obviously hasn’t worked out in months, so why’s she wearing yoga pants?  And her toenails are totally ratchet.

2

 The point is women need to give each other a break.  We need to rejoice in womanly triumphs and support one another in both good times and bad times.

 The woman with the seemingly perfect children?  The balls she likes to juggle are obviously different from the mom who allows her daughter to dress herself.  And you know what?  That’s okay.  We need to rejoice in both the triumph of perfect pleats and the beauty of holey jeans.

 The Working Girl?  Yes, her aspirations differ from the dreams of a stay-at-home mother.  We should rejoice each time a merger and acquisition takes place.  Likewise, we should validate each batch of homemade play dough.

 That Room Mother who finds fulfillment in baked goods?  Rejoice in her accomplishments!  The mother who is doing all she can to drop off a bag of Lays and a two-liter soda should be celebrated as well.  Why does one have to be better than the other?

 And that poor woman in the freezer section who is obviously wearing her husband’s ratty old t-shirt?  Instead of instantly judging her for looking exactly how we all feel at the end of the day, offer a smile or nod of encouragement.  As women, we have days when we’re at the top of our game.  Likewise, we have days where we’re so low, we’re not completely certain that we’ll regain our footing.  If women as a whole could switch off that sinfully automatic “judging” switch in favor for the “encouragement” switch or the “rejoice for the accomplishments of others” switch, the world would be a better place.

 Life is a balancing act, both delicate and intricate in nature.  The balls or clubs we juggle may differ, but we each require support and encouragement from others.  Once the Lenten season is over, I plan to continue to encourage other women instead of judging them for having different priorities.  Will you join my Crusade?

The Art of Meal Planning

In my two years of marriage, I’ve come to appreciate homemakers worldwide.  Setting up housekeeping is no easy task, especially whilst juggling a full-time job and a mildly enthusiastic social life.  Somehow, things like dirty floors, dusty shelves, and unorganized closets continuously find themselves forced onto the back burner of my life for the more important things like an impromptu Audrey Hepburn marathon or taking a rare afternoon nap.  I’m really trying to build better housekeeping habits, but working a full day and then coming home to mop hardwood floors is just not appealing.  There’s really only one part of keeping house that I do relish…meal planning.

I’m quite the creature of habit.  Though I freely embrace new experiences and tastes, it’s only to reassure myself that what I love is the best.  I adore ritual.  In this fast-paced, technology riddled existence, ritual is a true comfort.

Each Sunday afternoon, I partake in my most favorite ritual–meal planning.  I brew a large pot of Lady Grey, enjoy something sweet, and drag out my old friends {Julia, Nigella, and Ina, to name a few}.  I consider each weeknight with care, constantly assessing what my larder holds and what is in season at the market.  It might seem antiquated…the little wife consulting her cookbooks, but it helps me make purposeful decisions about what we’re eating.  Armed with a handwritten list and a plan, I am in control when I march through the marketplace doors.  It makes avoiding things like cookies, chips, and bought dressings much simpler.

Monetarily speaking, planning meals in advance is a wise decision.  I can consult the advertisements and make notations about what we’ve already got in the larder.  I’m able to feed our family of two for approximately $200 each month, and that’s buying organic vegetables, meat, and dairy products.

DSC_0015

What about you?  Do you plan your weekly meals?  Or are you a Domestic Goddess, planning meals for a month at a time?