Category Archives: Time-management

Declutter your closet, declutter your life

how to declutter closets, declutter clothes, capsule wardrobe, yoga pants, mom fashion, fashion on a budget

I’ve mentioned recently that I’ve been going through a “mommy makeover,” making self-care a priority now that Tristan is a little older and can actually survive not being held for a minute or two. I’ve gotten contacts, new jeans that actually fit me, and even ditched my laziness-encouraging yoga pants. If you saw my Instagram, I even placed a large essential oils order with some self-care essentials: a bar of citrus bath soap, orange and rosemary shampoo, the most incredible skin care set you have ever used in your life, vanilla protein powder, and a blend called whisper, which I use as perfume. It’s been so delightful to use quality products that are good for me and make me feel pretty again.  And I’ve started wearing mascara and earrings on the regular. So basically I feel like I’m 14 and excited to look like a grown up.

Anyway, as part of the mommy makeover, I’ve been focusing on paring down my wardrobe. I have entirely too many clothes that together create entirely too few outfits and, like my hair, the ends needed to be trimmed. Since we are moving on Saturday this has suddenly become even more important!

I followed Crystal Paine’s 500 things decluttering challenge and was inspired! A quick tour of the closet/dresser revealed 15 things that were removed and either repurposed into rags or sent to ThredUp, an incredible online shift store, via their super convenient clean out program.

I love the idea of a French capsule wardrobe where everything goes together no matter how you choose to wear it. I tend to be attracted to solid colors in bold neutrals and simple jewelry. This knowledge helps me when choosing new clothes. I keep patterns to a minimum and prefer textural differences instead. It might be boring, but it’s simple and I do not like being fussy about clothes. I like to look nice and put-together but trendy is not a term most people would use to describe my style.

There are 3 big benefits to this kind of style and minimalistic strategy:

  1. Less laundry. We do laundry in a portable washing machine that we hook up to the kitchen sink every time we use it (but not for long! Our new house has hookups!!!). Then our clothes are air-dried on racks and hangers. Less clothes mean less laundry, which is very nice. We already feel like we do laundry all the time between our clothes and cloth diapers!
  2. I actually know what I have. Have you ever pulled something out of your closet that you had forgotten existed? I have. Now that I have a smaller wardrobe consisting mostly of my favorite pieces, this doesn’t happen. And I like what I wear!
  3. Everything goes together. Call me boring, but I like that I can basically reach in and grab a shirt and a pair of pants and know that it will go together. It really cuts down on my getting ready time in the morning.

Ive tried to be trendy. I really have. But I always end up feeling like I’m trying to be someone I’m not and it takes too long to decide how things work together. I much prefer this route of simple pieces working together for a classic look. I always did favor Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn anyway.

Do you have a system for keeping control of your closets?

How to Create a Rockstar Morning Routine

how to create a rockstar morning routine, how to get more done in the morning, productivity tips,

When I was a baby I rarely went to sleep before 11:30pm. I’ve always said I was naturally a night owl, and when I was a teenager you could usually find me wide awake at 2am. This was helpful when I became a nurse and worked night shift, but after I left the hospital environment I was still very much a night owl who hated mornings.

This only got worse as I got older and became a wife and mom, but recently something changed in me and I’ve been able to take control of my life and find the freedom that comes with taking advantage of the still of the morning.

Here’s a peek at my “new” life:

– I rarely go to bed with a dirty kitchen. This allows me to wake up feeling like I’ve already won the day, and not like I’m already behind on something.

– I have found the time to blog! Writing has always been a passion of mine but as a new wife and new mom I was having trouble making it a priority. Now that I wake up at 6am and usually I can get some blog work done while the house is quiet.

– did you get that last part? I wake up at 6am! This night owl has reformed, my friends.

– I have a bedtime routine that involves picking up whatever Tristan has lovingly reorganized around the house, settling him down for bed, getting all my work things together and mentally picking out my outfit for the next day.

I went from being frazzled, disorganized, and chronically late in the mornings to now I am calm, organized, and on time. I wake up happy, and even if I don’t want to be awake I am usually energized after just a few minutes. Even Peter has commented and asked how I can be alert and joyful before my coffee now? Ahem. Miracles happen.

All these changes are a result of committing to the 14-day Makeover Your Mornings course. Full of practical suggestions and loving encouragement, Crystal Paine’s course requires 15 minutes of your time for just 14 days. I love going through the workbook and changing things as I need to, based on the needs of my family. This morning routine works for us and I’m so excited to be getting so much more accomplished each day!

How to Set Goals You Will Actually Want to Accomplish: 2016

setting goals to live a better life

I can’t believe it’s almost 2016! As much as I am so not a winter girl, I do love the end of the year because it’s time to set goals again. Being married at this time is even more fun because I get to set new goals with Peter and we can achieve them together!

How to make goals you will actually accomplish in 2016

Everyone posts “how to set goals that actually work” posts around this time. But rarely do I see posts about setting goals that not only may be necessary, but also goals that excite you. That motivate you to get out of bed each day.

Don’t forget to set a reward!

For instance, we want to go to London to see Arsenal play at the Emirates stadium and visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (with the actual movie sets!). But before we even start saving for that, we have a financial goal we want to hit first. So all the scrimping and saving we do this year will help us get to Harry Potter faster! That’s plenty of incentive for me!

how to write goals for 2016

Here are some of our goals:


– by December 31, have a certain amount saved. We are starting the year with about 41% of this goal saved.  Each month I will post our progress!

– pay off all student loans (this will make us debt free!)


– Peter to start learning a martial art

– Peter to finish his degree

– Amanda to get a workout routine down

– Tristan will continue being awesome


– take at least 3 small weekend trips as a family

– gradually transition to an 80% organic diet (made possible by buying our nonperishables online using swagbucks gift cards!) Each month I will post our progress with earning swagbucks and how much we were able to purchase.


-find 4 blogs to feature a guest post

– publish 4 articles

– continue to study blogging, Pinterest, and periscope

– conquer my fear of periscope and actually start scoping

What are you going to accomplish in 2016?

Makeover Your Mornings: November Challenge Day 1

Good morning!  Welcome to Day 1!  I’m so excited to be going through this Makeover Your Mornings course again. And I need it too – for full disclosure I should probably tell you there were dishes in the sink when I woke up this morning.  But since I implemented other parts of the course last night and this morning, I was able to get multiple things accomplished (including the dishes!) before 6:30 this morning.  It’s now 7 and I wanted to blog before work.

Tristan and I watched the video for Day 1 today and I pulled out my workbook from when I did this course the last time.  It’s funny to look back and see that I had written “lunch break” as the time I had committed to watching the videos and doing the challenges.  Back when I did this the first time, Tristan was only a couple months old and I was feeling very overwhelmed.  The thought of waking up consistently at 6am seemed impossible.  Now that he’s sleeping better, it’s easier to wake up and be productive in the mornings.

Day 1 challenges:

  • Pick a time to do this every day: 6:15am
  • Tell someone you’re doing this challenge: hi!!! (and also my husband knows)

How did Day 1 go for you? If you haven’t gotten your copy of the 14-Day Makeover Your Mornings course, you can find it here.

See you tomorrow!

November challenge

When I started at my new job in August, I agreed to a Monday-Thursday 8am-6pm schedule.  Tristan is still waking up at least once during the night (usually twice), so needless to say I require coffee in the morning.  By the time I get home I am usually exhausted and only want to spend time with my little family – NOT have to worry about household tasks.

Before, this would mean that dishes wouldn’t get done until we were out of silverware.  I had no idea what we were having for dinner so I would either convince Peter to stop at Aldi for a $6 pizza or we wouldn’t eat dinner until past 8pm.  And then I would be too tired to do dishes.  God help us all if Tristan was running out of diapers and I needed to wash a load of cloth diapers.

Imagine my excitement then when I found an email one day from my favorite blogger, Crystal Paine, talking about her new Makeover Your Mornings course!  I signed up right away and started the challenges.  The timing was perfect!  In the course of the 14-day program, I implemented a morning routine, a list of easy dinners that I can either throw in the crockpot the morning of or put together quickly as soon as I get home from work.  I was also able to start what I feel is the most important for our family’s success – an evening routine!  Thanks to the evening routine I have the dishes washed (waking up to a clean kitchen is so refreshing!), I know what clothes I’m going to wear the following day, and I have everything packed up and ready to leave.  This means I can arrive at work prepared and with the full knowledge that I have taken care of my family while I’m gone.


It was so helpful that I’m going to work through it again, this time blogging my way through it as well. With the holidays (and Tristan’s birthday, our anniversary, and Christmas all within the same week) approaching, I thought it would be good to fine-tune my mornings for optimal productivity, and to allow the maximum time with my family instead of procrastinating or using time inefficiently.

Will you join me?  I’m starting tomorrow so grab your own copy of Makeover Your Morning and join me here tomorrow morning!