House Beautiful

2012: So Fresh & So Clean-Clean

Happy 2012!  Ah…  clean slate.  This time of year, instead of feeling sad that the holly-days are over, I always feel a renewed sense of hope and a WHOLE lotta motivation.  And excited to purge clutter and trim belly fat and wash windows & stuff.  AH (!) Twenty-tuh-TWELVE!  The possibilities!

So since I have a crack addiction to Pinterest & am an expert dilly-dally-er, it’s never a bad idea to get some goals on paper to keep myself on the course.  Or better, yet, slap ’em in a pretty frame and post it up in a place where you can see them every day to hold yourself accountable, à la Emily over at Cupcakes & Cashmere last year (pictured at top).  Smart gal, that one.  Furthermore, here are my two cents on resolutions:  Don’t write yourself an unreasonable, insurmountable list of rules and rigid resolutions.  Instead, I think the trick – for me, at least – is to simply ask yourself what will make you happier and enrich your life – and why, and then find little ways to change your behavior so you can work towards reaching some of those goals.  You gotta have a plan, because what they say is true:  when you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  And I think the other trick is to know your weaknesses – and know where you might slip up – and then work around those.  So here are mine…


Cause all that treadmill-ing I love to do doesn’t do a body great if you have a post-workout Chicago hotdog and wake up with cookies in your cleavage.  I have gotten much, MUCH better at eating clean in the last year…  and it has made a world of difference in my physical & emotional well-being…  and in my pant size.  As for the gym, if you have a tough time squeezing it in, this helps me tremendously:  I whip out my calendar, and first write in my work schedule and obligations.  Then I look at my gym’s schedule and squeeze classes and treadmill time into free pockets.  And then, when I reaaaaaaaaaaaaally don’t wanna go, I think to myself, “Self.  In 2 hours, think about how happy you’ll be and how good you’ll feel that you went….  and what a sloth you’ll feel like if, after 2 hours, I have just watched another 2 episodes of Dexter and haven’t moved, except to fetch a bag of Doritos from the kitchen.”  And that works (almost) every time.  But every once in awhile, you gotta give yourself a worthless sloth day, and that’s alright too.

How-To Keep in Check: 1.  Toss out your junk food.  2.  Fill the fridge with fresh fruits & veggies, yogurt (has like, 40% of your daily protein intake), lean proteins, nuts and whole grains…  and use sites like Whole Living for good, clean recipes that don’t make you feel deprived.  3.  If you need to slice veggies on Sundays or the night before, do it the night before, so you can pack-a-snack to work, or so you reach for veggies to pop in the steamer at night instead of ordering take-out.  4.  Know your weaknesses and work around ’em.  For instance, I know I like to slam peanut butter cookies after dinner, because I always want something sweet.  So, I stock up on Werther’s Original, and I will eat 1 after dinner with a glass of milk.  They’re so rich that 1 fixes my sweet craving for like, 40 calories.


Since I know I totally stink at saving, I have to put things in place to automatically do the work for me – e.g., maxing out my 401K and auto-rigging paychecks to send chunks to savings so I never see them and they go to a secret hiding place far, far away.  My saving motivation?  Travel makes me really, really happy.

So does financial security.  And if I see a surplus in my bank account, I’ll convince myself that I positively cannot live without a new pair of flats, a bedazzled doggie collar for GusGus, or something equally ridiculous that I do not need.  Side note:  have you guys tried  It’s a free online budgeting tool that analyzes all your spending patterns, and sends you little happy-grams to let you know when and how you can save in certain areas.


Ever heard that expression, “Do one thing every day that scares you?”  or the “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” one?  Welp.  Those are on my list, because in my limited experience, it seems like those are the things that help you grow and build character.  Life is so, so short and I don’t know about you, but anxiety – the deep-down underlying kind – takes up waaaaaaaaaaaay too much space in my little universe.  And for what?  It’s inhibiting, unnerving, and does nothing but squash my joy and make me kinda nuts.  So I’m resolving – if there’s something that’s dragging me down or consuming my thoughts – to TACKLE it.  Attack it head-on, give it my best shot, and do it with a great attitude.  That’s all you can do, right?  And after that, choose to be happy and let it go (…cause really.  Will it matter in 1 year?  In 5 years?  Probably not.)  PS: please remind me in a few weeks, when I have to give a huge presentation at work, to re-take my own advice.


To your Mamas, Papas, Gusses, friends – whomever.  I think Karrie and I have seen our fair share of heartbreaking stuff this past year – some things we saw coming, and others we didn’t.  Regardless…  things like that have made me want to make sure everyone I know knows how I feel about them, all the time.  Or how much they’re appreciated.  Or how wonderful they are.  Because you never know when you might not have a chance to tell somebody.  Plus, dang.  It’s just nice to hear that stuff sometimes.  Yesterday, I heard my best friend from college tell another girlfriend of ours why I was the best person in the world to travel abroad with…  she probably thought I knew, but what she had to say was kind of news to me, and it was really sweet to hear.  Today, I sent my accountant a thank-you-for-always-being-so-awesome email, because she is the bomb dig.  And last week I gave a handwritten card to a longtime friend who I think is truly one of the best people I know, cause I just thought, huh.  I wonder if he knows, or if anyone else ever tells him that.  Cause somebody needs to.  And yes…  that is a homemade envelope.  (Karate chop!)  …just call me Martha.

You never know what kind of battles people are fighting, so I just think if you have something nice to say, say it out loud…  I promise, it will never go unnoticed and could do somebody else some serious good.  And I’m resolving to crank one of those handwritten notes out every Bob Dylan-coffee-Saturday morning this year.


When you’re throwing a party…  or, say, a wedding in Karrie’s case…  your attitude 100% sets the tone for your guests.  If you’re happy, they’ll be happy.  If you’re nervous and going berserk, it’s contagious and you WILL make your guests uncomfortable.  And that is not very nice.  Example:  I went to a party a few years ago where the host was stressing out BIG time over the silliest details, pouting, and generally being pretty wretched…  so naturally, everyone at the party was walking on eggshells around her.  Conversely, Karrie and Tim’s wedding in November was a monumental success, mainly because the bride and groom were super laid-back, incandescently happy, and just went with the flow…  and believe me.  I was more than a little worried when Karrie WASN’T remotely fazed over – oh, I don’t know – place cards not being filled out until 10 minutes before the ceremony…  not being dressed (or even showered) for the rehearsal dinner when guests started to arrive, etc.  But you couldn’t do anything to break those two kids’ stride that weekend.  Ask anyone who was there, and they will tell you it was the most fun, relaxing heartwarming riot of a wedding wedding they’ve ever been to.


Letting some people get to you is like letting them live rent free in your head.  Toxic and not worth it…  just let it go.  Last year, I received a few unsolicited, delusional, cuckoo for bad $#*t cocoa puffs, monumentally offensive emails from a certain couple who had a place in my past eons ago…  and initially, I was so flabbergasted by the sheer nerve of these *quality* folks that I thought my head might explode…  and I would’ve been well-justified in firing off a serious zinger to set those clowns straight.  But gyaaaaaash… it just was not worth the energy, and I just didn’t want any part in it.  Plus, you can’t argue with crazy.  And then, literally, it just floated away.  Tra-la-la, The End.


‘Tis true.  Earlier this year, I was gunning for a job that I did not have the traditional road map of experience to, and at a company in an industry that’s next-to-impossible to break into, but I got in…  Because I wanted it bad enough and I did my due diligence, pounded their pavement and banged down their door until they let me in.  I love everything about it…  except that there are no pillows & paint swatches involved.  And folks, that is why God made Covet Living.

In closing, if you put this whole post in your pipe & smoke it, here’s what I think comes out the other end:

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it this year.  Did you make any resolutions this year, and do you have any fun tricks for keeping em?

Happy Happy 2012 to you!

5 Responses to “2012: So Fresh & So Clean-Clean”

  • Love this post, and am here 100% to support my fellow blogette with her resolutions! I definitely think, if you *want* to let me know how much I mean to you, peanut butter cookies are the perfect way to express that. Love, Karrie

  • Good advice Stephanie! I totally agree with the idea that growing is a little uncomfortable and scary, and that’s one of the ways I know I’m doing the right thing.

  • For someone so young…how did you get so smart? You should consider starting a “Dear Stephanie” column. I know I would be a faithful reader. Wonderful post…I’m sending this to my kids.

    • Lora: Sending it to your kids?! That is the nicest compliment E-VER! Thank you so, so much 🙂 If you ever have any ‘Dear Stephanie’s’ to send over, shoot ’em out way!

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