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Two years from now.

The other day I was (wait for it) distracted on the internet. I was sitting at my desk, gazing at the paper mill from our window and my mind went down a rabbit hole, which I followed all the way to YouTube.

I saw a video that reminded me of a text I got two Decembers ago.

Two Decembers ago, Kristen texted me to tell me that Layla was diagnosed with alopecia and her hair was falling out. My precious little Layla, sweetest Layla in the whole world (I’ll fight you on it) and truly one of the best little humans I’ve ever known.

Otherwise healthy, but losing her hair. I remember laying in bed, sobbing. I remember thinking it would change her life, and what if it dimmed her spirit? I sobbed, and then a month later Ernie posted it on social media. That text suddenly became very real. It wasn’t a “maybe” or a “possibly,” but it was an actual thing. I remember standing in the church building we worked at, crying while Justen hugged me. and then I picked my phone up and told Kristen “I’m booking a flight out there, just tell me when.” Β I asked her to send me videos and pictures of Layla so that I wouldn’t burden her with any looks of shock or surprise or anything.

and a few weeks later, I arrived. To my delight, she was the same spunky Layla (with some extra emotional moments about random things). She asked me to put her hair in a ponytail for gymnastics, which I gently did with her wispy hair. Right before I went to the airport, Ernie asked me to help him film a video for his Patreon. He’d chosen Randy Travis’ “Forever and Ever Amen” which has the line “honey I don’t care, I ain’t in love with your hair, and if it all fell out well I’d love you anyway.”

As he was listening to the song, the girls were dancing around and he had his camera out. He got footage of Layla hearing those words for the first time (it’s in this video and it’s the point I feel myself turn into a giant tear drop of love because she is so excited). He also included little clips of the girls, and me with the girls, and I have watched this video so often.

Here’s the thing. It’s been two years since I got that text from Kristen about Layla’s alopecia. and those moments of worrying about it affecting her spirit, the nights of crying because I wished I could protect her from anything hard… they are memories.

Those hard moments are gone, those worries and fears and tears… in the past.

and now the unknown is normal. To Layla, her twin, her parents, her family, her classmates, to me.

I think of the things right now that are unknown. That worry me, keep me up, bring me tears. Mountains that seem unclimbable, decisions that seem unmakeable.. and I wonder what those will be like two years from now.

The brilliant thing about mountains is that they just get bigger and bigger the closer you get to them, but they’re smaller and smaller the more you move past them. and taking a tip from Layla, just shave the remnants of old life off and step into new chapters of your life with boldness and a resilient spirit.

ps if you made it this far without watching the video, that’s wrong of you. Watch the video. It’s my favorite.

 

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That time we moved like 30 feet away.

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My head is spinning right now. Not literally but it’s getting there.

Last Monday we got a notice to vacate our apartment. A week later, we turned in our keys.

Here’s what happened. Last year, there was a leak in our apartment. Last month, they replaced the roof above our unit and around our skylight… aaaand then it leaked some more. It wasn’t just normal leaking this time, though. This time the plaster on the ceiling started peeling and falling.

The property maintenance manager asked us if we’d like to permanently move into the studio across the hall, to which we said no thanks. After a looooooong Thanksgiving holiday wondering if we would have to leave our first little home, on Monday we got the official notice to vacate.

I called up the maintenance manager and asked if we could be first to know when 202 was repaired and she said absolutely, though they had no idea of a timeline. I thanked her for the offer to move into the studio and said we’d be willing to consider it if we could be put on a month-to-month lease instead of a year, because obviously it would just be temporary while we waited for our unit to be fixed. She said absolutely. On Wednesday morning we checked out the studio, and on Wednesday afternoon we signed our amended lease and got the keys to our new, smaller living space.

They asked us to be out of 202 and turn in the keys by end of day Monday, which meant we had 5 days to downsize, pack, move, and process that we would be moving. We immediately moved our bed, desk, coffee pot and Christmas tree over to our new unit. Followed by all the things and all the stuff and bada bing here I am, sitting at our desk in our new apartment on the first day we don’t have keys to the only place we’ve lived as the Martians.

It’s been really challenging. Justen is fairly minimal in his belongings and I’ve been trying to constantly donate bags and boxes of things I just don’t need, but unexpectedly needing to downsize AND move AND process was really hard for me. I’ve never considered myself materialistic but I was actually shocked to see how I responded to the thought of not having something I didn’t even remember I owned until I found it in a cabinet.

One thing I really regret is the way I was never happy enough with 202 to share it. I was constantly telling Justen “once I get this little area figured out, I’ll take pictures and post them on my blog,” or “it’s too messy to take pictures,” or something similar. I kept waiting and waiting to share our basically perfect apartment and I missed the chance. So once we’ve finished hanging one box of pictures, I’m sharing photos of life in our little studio apartment overlooking downtown Camas.

And here’s the thing: sometimes the waiting is really the hardest. Once you have the information you need, you can do something, but waiting to find out can be the worst.

Our new digs, while we were still moving things over:

 

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Five on Friday // My five best Goodwill Finds

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I’m going to cut to the chase: this week, we found one of our best Goodwill finds. The next day, as I was taking a shower, I was thinking about how we’ve found some REALLY COOL STUFF at Goodwill. Some of these aren’t best because of the high price value so much as meeting a need/overall use. But here are our top 5 Goodwill finds!

ONE // end/coffee table

While at Goodwill, we saw a box that was open, and when we glanced inside all I saw were gold pieces. I immediately looked up the words on the side of the box and found a photo of a beautiful gold/glass end table that retailed for $110. I immediately hugged the $20 box and asked Justen to get a cart because we were taking it home.

My mom had purchased two gray couches for us before we even knew where we’d live, and they’ve made it really difficult to rearrange most of the furniture in our apartment. After we bought the next item, we turned this table into our coffee table. I love it so much.

 

TWO // brand new ottoman

Our little living room has undergone a few different arrangements, but there’s only so much we can do with the space. After our last rearranging, I began to hunt for an ottoman. I saw some cute ones at Target, but I wasn’t about to pay $70 for them! We were perusing Goodwill one day when we saw a beautiful gray ottoman with the Target tags on it. $30 for a brand new ottoman! Again, asked Justen to get us a cart because we were taking it home. After bringing it home, we rearranged the furniture we could to complete our living room with this setup.

ps this ottoman is still on sale at Target, for $70!

THREE // smart scale

I have no idea why, but for awhile Justen was on a kick where he was determined to find a smart scale at Goodwill. We finally found one! The only bummer is that I’m avoiding that thing like the PLAGUE and Justen… well, I don’t know what his excuse is. πŸ˜‰ So it’s the ONE good find that we’ve not put into use.

FOUR // t3 hairdryer

After being in the blogger world for awhile, I’ve become familiar with the t3 brand. It’s the super expensive often mentioned in the Nordstrom sales hair styling brand. When Birchbox was having a big sale, I actually bought their curling wand (don’t even get me started on the price, but I’ve not regretted it once). So when I glanced over the hair styling products at Goodwill and saw the white hair dryer with rose gold accents, I almost lost my mind.

T3 micro featherweight luxe 2i Rose Gold found at Goodwill for $7

and for $7.

I’ll take a used $7 t3 hair dryer over $20 new in box conair hair dryer ANY DAY. I took it home, cleaned off a few marks on the side and this bad boy works like a dream. It didn’t include a diffuser or anything, but I don’t care AT ALL. It was originally sold for $225.

FIVE // brand new kitchenmaid mixer

This is the one from this week! We were about to leave Goodwill with a few random things – a little Lilly Pulitzer votive and something else I can’t even remember, when we saw a stack of KitchenAid mixer boxes at the end of the checkout. For $100. My eyes got big and I asked Justen to hold my stuff while I went over to check it out, and sure enough… brand new 5 qt Kitchen Aid mixers. It’s black, which wouldn’t have been our color of choice but for $270 off/almost 75% off a brand new Kitchen Aid mixer? Yeah, that’s a no brainer.

Okay now I HAVE to know: what is the best (either cost wise or just your own personal opinion-wise) thing you’ve ever found at a thrift store? Talking about thrift store finds might possibly be my favorite past time πŸ™‚

Linking up for Friday Favorites, Five on Friday, and High Five for FridayΒ 

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Friday Favorites // Fall 2018

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Happy Friday!

This week has been bananas. Justen was home sick one day, another day there were people working on our roof and it was SO LOUD it shook the apartment and I couldn’t concentrate so I had to peace the heck out for the day. THEN we woke up in the middle of the night with a leak in our ceiling! Aye aye aye! It’s been a weird, wonky week for sure.

But here we are! It’s Friday and I’m going to share with you five of my FAVORITE THINGS I’ve discovered/am loving this fall!

friday favorites // stephanieorefice.net

ONE // BLUETOOTH HEADPHONES

Kate Spade Wireless Headphones

Oh my word, y’all. I hate the little ear buds that fall out of your ears, so when I was at TJ Maxx and saw these Kate Spade white/gold glitter bluetooth headphones I asked Justen if I’d be able to use them and he assured me he’d get them working and I am in LOVE. No strings, and they make working from Starbucks super fun (and sparkly). There’s ONE PAIR on amazon (for $110 what the heck! I paid… $30?) but I’m sure there are other great bluetooth headphones out there.

TWO // STARBUCKS

K OBVIOUSLY I love Starbucks but lately I’ve been ultra impressed with them. FIRST have y’all tried the iced maple pecan latte with cold foam because if not you need to get on that asap.

But with the whole anti-plastic movement, I LITERALLY told my friend Kristen a few weeks ago that instead of just getting rid of straws (and did they? because i definitely have had one recently) and keeping their all-plastic cups, they needed to offer an incentive for people to get reusable cups. And right now I’m sitting across from my husband who is drinking his $0.50 off peppermint mocha in his reusable cup. Actually it’s 1/2 off AND 50 cents off because happy hour.

So way to go, Starbucks. Putting your money where your mouth is.

THREE // THE BEST SPOTIFY PLAYLIST

best boy bands & 90s pop spotify station

This Boy Bands & 90s Pop Spotify Playlist is literally the best thing I have EVER heard. It’s full of N’Sync, Spice Girls, Dream, One Direction, BSB, Hanson, Boyz ll Men, Justin Bieber, and more. It’s my new favorite of ALL TIME and I cannot get enough of this playlist. I feel like I’ve been searching for it for FOREVER and now it’s finally here and I can just die happy.

FOUR // MY NEW POLYMAILERS

I think I’ve found THE MOST perfect polymailers. My whole thing is pink watercolor and gold, yeah? Well check out these polymailers I found on amazon for sending out my Poshmark packages. Β I’m so happy with them!

 

FIVE // YOUTUBE

I’m not sure what’s happened, but overnight I’ve become OBSESSED with YouTube. I literally watch Plan with Me, Clean with Me, Decorating, Home Tours, day in the life… I could literally spend all day watching people perform mundane tasks. The cleaning videos especially. I can watch like 20 minutes of them before I’m ready to clean EVERY CORNER OF OUR SMALL APARTMENT.

 

Linking up for Friday Favorites, Five on Friday, High Five Friday

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10 things that make me happy

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One of my May Goals was to take photos of 10 different things that make me happy as part of my 101 in 1001 list. I’m rounding up those 10 photos right here. Hopefully they’ll make you happy too πŸ˜€

We were walking around our neighborhood the other day and I saw this plant that IMMEDIATELY reminded me of a unicorn. It is the perfect start to my pictures of happy things because I cannot get over how happy this plant makes me.

Any day where Space Mountain fast passes are involved πŸ™‚

 

Finally taking my rose gold ears to Disneyland… and capturing this great picture of a stranger and his girl.

 

This is Justen sharing my Poshmark closet for me. Almost completely out of nowhere, Justen got really into working on my Poshmark closet in his free time.

 

My new River Maiden shirt! I have 0 shirts from local coffee shops, and I was so excited to buy this. River Maiden had a pretty rough year this past year, and I’m proud to be a customer of theirs <3

 

I spent MONTHS trying to find these Sam & Libby sandals on the internet. I finally found them on Poshmark and bought them and I am SO GLAD I did. The big huge bows just make my freaking day. Also my distressed embellished jeans were like $11 at JC Penney, which ALSO makes me happy.

 

Piles and piles of Poshmark packages really make me happy. I look at this and I get dollar signs in my eyes because this is my JOB, y’all. How unreal. It makes me so happy.

 

My new pajamas! Halfway through the month I developed a pretty severe, distressing eye twitch. It was on and off all day for over two weeks. at one point we called the advice nurse who gave us a bunch of suggestions, one of which was to allow myself to oversleep. While we were out, I bought a new pair of pajamas and an eye mask and really started to take the whole oversleeping thing seriously. HOW CUTE is the print on these pjs, y’all?

Freaking PEONIES! I picked these up at Trader Joe’s, but I’m just all the heart eyes over peonies and I’m on a mission to figure out how I can keep them alive forever and make a bed out of them. I guess that’s a bit extreme but hey that’s me.

Starbucks Happy Hour with my Justen. We’re not frapuccino people, but when they’re half off then sure. We walked the 1/2 a mile down to Safeway to get these and enjoy the warm afternoon.

My camera roll was full of more moments and photos of things that make me happy and THAT made me even happier. πŸ˜€

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On being spread thin.

Every morning I wake up and think, “I should really blog!” and then I begin the hour-long task of sharing my Poshmark closet, because my blog, on average, makes me like $10.00 a month in Adsense money and Poshmark makes me like $1000+ a month. I’m going where the money is, y’all.

But then I find myself thinking about my blog and wanting to blog and wishing I blogged and I get weighed down with guilt and frustration when the day ends and I’ve not even logged into my blog’s dashboard.

My friend Gregory once said it’s possible to be in so many places that you’re really nowhere at all, and that’s how I sometimes feel. I’m a part-time reseller, a part-time (overnight) nanny, and I am a very casual essential oil advocate. I try to be a housewife and stay on top of the laundry which has to be done elsewhere, and the dishes which have to be hand washed, and the cleaning of the counters and apartment and running of errands and… I just feel like I’m doing most of it at 30%.

I get the same “start a routine” feedback, but I never spend more than 6 nights in a row sleeping at my apartment in any given month, so it’s really hard to get ANYTHING on a routine.

I need to side note all of this with this statement: I am so grateful I don’t have a 9-5 job. My anxiety levels have significantly decreased since I’ve started really working for myself. It’s been hard to stop seeing Poshmark as a “side hustle” and acknowledging it’s my actual source of whatever income I make that month, but that shift in thinking has been so incredibly beneficial for me.

When I can, I try to set myself up for working in a coffee shop, where the buzz of human connection keeps me moving and motivated, even if I have my headphones in and the human connection means watching someone walk in and walk up to the counter, or noting that I have the same shoes, or smiling or answering a question.

When I worked with kids every day, my main goal was to help each child succeed every single day. In the midst of conflict, I’d brainstorm ways to help the child succeed even in the smallest ways. You’re unable to sit and listen to the devotion? Would you like to help wash the windows? and then a celebratory “The windows look so clean! Thank you so much, you are such a huge help! Thanks for being on my team!” Choosing to not dive into the struggle of asking a child to sit still and leave defeated because they kept squirming.

I’m trying to try that trick on myself. How can I feel like every day I have succeeded? Maybe it’s because I woke up and got dressed, or I took photos of every article of clothing I bought at the thrift store yesterday. Putting away the dishes. Responding to 5 e-mails. Reading for 10 minutes. Hitting my FitBit steps.

But they’re all over the place, and some days I celebrate an empty sink and other days I celebrate a photo roll full of clothing. There’s no consistency, no common thread and sometimes it feels like I am not actually treading water, I’m more doing the flail thing trying to grab onto anything to give me a moment’s break. Kind of like:

But I think that I’m remembering that the overall trend can be up even if some days feel lower and thinner than I’d like. Positive trend graphs sometimes go two steps forward and one step back.

and I think I’m needing to stop pretending like a blog needs to be something that is teaching people or has some Pinterest-worthy image. There was a season when I blogged every day. I found this in my image files:

may blog calendar // stephanieorefice.net

…I cannot fathom that these days, and so I’m reminding myself it’s 100% okay to just blog what I personally need to blog, with no concern for if it’s SEO friendly or pinnable or whatever. I can’t do that right now.

{Oh well.}

And so even though it’s my natural resting place to sit in the ways I’ve failed or only given 50%, I’ll celebrate the positive trends happening all throughout my life:

  • I’m on my last week of a StepBet and last week I didn’t have to walk around my apartment at 11:00 trying to get in 1000 more steps because I’ve been more active.
  • In January I made less than $900 on Poshmark, but in the months since then, I’ve pushed past $1000 consistently.
  • I get up by 6:30 every day when Justen leaves.
  • Overall, I feel more energized/stable than I ever have in my life. I don’t always see it in the day-by-day but when I think back to life 2 years ago, it’s really obvious.

To little victories, y’all.

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