Category Archives: Inspiration & Thoughts

We could all use a little encouragement every now and then!

Puzzles & Pajamas

I wrote this post several months ago (as you’ll be able to tell by the fuzzy pajama pants), but I never got around to posting it. However, after a slight mental breakdown on Sunday night, I decided this message was relevant again. I suddenly realized that I haven’t taken a day or even a few hours off, since I started this new real estate career. I was both mentally and physically exhausted, and I didn’t even see it coming. Finally, I realized that I have to be just as diligent in giving myself a break as I was when I was running Salt & Pepper. Therefore, I decided to come back to this unpublished post. It’s as much as a reminder for me as it is to share with you guys. So here it goes…

Puzzles in pajamasI have a habit of putting off things that I want to do in an attempt to accomplish more of what I have to do. Problem is, I’ll never finish everything on that must-do list, which means I’ll never feel like I can let myself have a little fun.In this post, I mentioned several little things that I wanted to do (like this blog) and said I was going to make a better effort to actually let myself do some of them. And I have!

One of those little things was wanting to put together a puzzle. My mom and I did puzzles all the time as a kid, and I loved them! I bought a puzzle probably 3 years ago and haven’t given myself the go ahead to do it at any point over the past 3 years. How sad is that?!

Soooo…I finally decided that life was too short to keep putting things off and made a goal to put my puzzle together. Turns out my BFF also enjoys doing puzzles! (We’ve been friends for almost 8 years. I can’t believe I didn’t know this already.) The puzzle I had was of a man and little boy propped up against a tractor in a field….not very exciting. Needless to say, we ended up with a whole lot of green pieces that all looked the same. Ultimately, I decided that “life is too short to waste time on miscellaneous greenery” and bought a new puzzle. (Amanda will appreciate this because it’s the exact text I sent her when I decided to give up on puzzle #1.)

Matt & I stumbled upon a cool Las Vegas puzzle, and it was perfect because Amanda and I had just returned from Vegas. We needed a good place to start the puzzle (other than my dining room table like before) and we didn’t have a big box or any of the other puzzle tricks, so Amanda jokingly suggested rolling up the living room rug and then rolling it back over the puzzle when we are done for the day. It was one of those moments where we all laughed and then simultaneously looked at each other because it was a great idea!

puzzle piecesfinished productWhile this puzzle story seems a little useless and trivial, it was actually a big turning point for me. A point where I decided that in order to stay sane and enjoy this ole life of mine, I’m going to have to sprinkle in things that I enjoy among the things life requires. Rather than puzzles waiting, clean baseboards can wait. Laundry can wait. It can all wait…and give me the opportunity to have a little fun. I already have my next puzzle lined out, and I will make a diligent effort to begin working on it as soon as possible.

Andy Warhol puzzleAre there any fun things you’ve been putting off? You’ll be amazed at the refreshing feeling that comes after you make a little time to enjoy yourself. What sort of fun activities have you been putting off? Leave a comment!

Taking a Break

It’s almost midnight on Monday, and I’ve spent the last hour and a half working on blog posts and catching up on the latest Bayou Life Magazine.

Bayou Life Magazine w/Duck DynastyAfter a not-so-great afternoon, I spent most of the night cleaning and working on switching my closet over to spring (post coming soon). This Monday has been a pretty tough and exhausting one, and I really needed some time to stop for a bit.

When I finished the project I was working on, I decided to sit in my big, comfy chair and flip though the new magazine. To be honest, I really needed the time to wind down. All to often, I don’t give myself that opportunity, but today it was much needed.

Whatever you’re doing, be sure to give yourself a chance to check out for a bit. Whether you like to read, catch up on a TV series, or knit…it doesn’t matter. You deserve a chance to relax! Plus, taking a minute or two to wind down gives your mind the break it needs to come back refreshed and ready to go.

Salt & Pepper adSalt & Pepper Photo ShootBayou Gypsy AdTonight’s “time for myself” session included reading some great articles and scoping out Salt & Pepper’s presence in the magazine. Plus, be sure to notice the ad for Bayou Gypsy/Bayou Beaux. My friend, Courtney, has some precious things in her store, and you should definitely go check it out!

After taking this time for myself, I’m feeling much more capable and in charge. Here’s to hoping for a productive Tuesday!

Tuesday update: I obviously planned on posting this earlier today and didn’t. However, I still found it relevant. As a matter of a fact, I took a little extra time for myself again tonight (Tuesday). After cleaning up from dinner, I sat on the patio and painted my nails while watching the latest episode of “Nashville.” (Yes, I’m addicted!) Both my Monday & Tuesday night “breaks” have been ordinary, run-of-the-mill activities. However, they’ve both been things I don’t usually give myself the free time to do, and actually doing them has made me feel like a new person. If you haven’t planned to already, make a point to do something special for yourself this week…Pamela’s orders!

Musings of a Monday Morning

Go confidently..I woke up this Monday morning at 3:30 am. This is NOT normal for me, as I’m the farthest from a morning person as you can get. Here’s what I thought about as I laid in bed for several hours wishing I could go back to sleep:

1. Our role: You should be the type of person that you enjoy being around. Furthermore, you should be the best version of yourself possible. There is always someone looking up to you and learning from you, whether you know it or not.

2. Outsourcing: Everything that I’ve read about being a successful, productive person says that you have to learn to leverage other people. I struggle with passing tasks off to others, and the fact of the matter is, I’m going to have to learn to delegate and let go of things that other people can help me with. This is going to be especially important as my life takes on a new look in the upcoming months.

3. This blog: A lot of times I hesitate to post things here for fear of what other people will think/say. I can only hope that other bloggers felt this same insecurity in the beginning. However, I’ve decided that this is a place for me to clear my head. It’s a place for me to share my experiences and journal my place in this life. Certainly a few people will read along, but it’s primarily a place for me. I know I’ll continue to struggle with it, but I’m hoping to make some progress in not being so afraid.

4. Life in General: I’ve come to the harsh realization that life almost never goes according to plan. The things you plan on happening, don’t. The things you don’t plan on happening, do. The people who you know won’t hurt you, do it over and over again. The dreams you never thought you’d have, suddenly you can’t stop thinking about. This life never ceases to amaze me. You just never know what to expect. As for me, the girl who always had a plan, I’m not doing that anymore. I don’t know where I’ll be in 5 years. I don’t know where I’ll be within this next year! But what I do know, is that I’m along for the ride. “What will be, will be.”

Big Things

Little things are big things journalSince Matt & I have been married, I’ve been in search of the perfect journal to keep notes about our adventures. Both Matt & I have pretty awful memories, so I’m afraid that we will eventually forget about a lot of the great times that we’ve had.

I’ve literally searched for months, looked practically everywhere, and not found anything that felt right. (Plus, Matt vetoed most of them!) I’ve even looked at genuine leather, custom made books that were hundreds of dollars and still didn’t feel like I’d found the right book. Well, this week I stumbled across this little fella at none other than TJ Max and thought it was perfect! And to make it even more exciting, it was only $5!

What do I plan to do with it? I don’t plan on actually journaling the events. I won’t write detailed accounts of everything. Instead, it’ll just be quick notes about what we did and why it was special. For example, I’ll include things like this: May 2012 – the time that we sat on the floor in his living room and talked for 4 hours.

This was a turning point in our relationship and the day that we both knew there was something different about our relationship. There are several little things like this that I don’t want to forget, and I know there will be hundreds more. Now, we have a cute little book to jot them down in to provoke our memories if we start to forget. I think this will be a treasure to have one day when we’re old and gray. It’ll also be useful on those days when we won’t really like each other! We can use it as a reminder maybe??

See why this book is so perfect? It will be full of “little things” that are actually big things for the two of us. Be sure to celebrate these little things in your relationships. They’re often the most important.

Blank pages waiting to be filled
Black pages for writing lots & lots of special memories.

This type of book would also work well for jotting down special memories of your kids. They’d love to read it later on! If you have kids that are older or you’re years in to a relationship, I know what you’re thinking. You’ve missed too much already. No way! It’s never too late to start. Even if you’ve missed several years, it’s better to have something to look back at rather than nothing. So, go ahead…get started! Find a little notebook like this one and starting jotting things down. You’ll be happy to have it later and so will your loved ones.

Anyone already do something like this?? I’d love to hear about it!

Walk to Work

Running Shoes in the GrassI walked/ran to work today. Well, not to actually work…that would be gross. I decided at the last minute to squeeze an ad into the new Bayou Life Magazine and had to get outfits together for a photo shoot. (Look for Salt & Pepper in the April issue!)

I live about 2.5 miles from the store, so it wasn’t too bad of a trek. Besides, it’s a beautiful day and the perfect opportunity to get in some exercise. I ran about half of the way and walked the rest. (I didn’t want to be a total mess when I got there!)

Ouachita River from the Levee

Lea Joyner Bridge on Foot
Crossing the bridge on foot was a tad scary with those grates moving up and down as cars passed! Yikes!

This walk was one of the best ideas I’ve had in a long time. It was a chance to clear my head, a chance to admire the beauty and serenity of my surroundings. During this commute, I thought through some things for work, relaxed a tad, wrote this blog post (and the beginning of another one), and solved a few of the worlds problems, not to mention the actual exercise…multitasking at its finest!

Dandelions

Dandelion in the Wind
I tried to capture me blowing the dandelion into the wind. It was only somewhat successful.

Most importantly, this walk got me back to my happy place. A place where I feel good about life. A place where I am happy and content.

The weather man says tomorrow is going to be just as pretty here. So get out and enjoy it! It doesn’t matter what you do…just go outside and do something that makes you happy and soak up this wonderful sunshine!

Don’t Die!

“Many people die at 25, but aren’t buried until they’re 75.” – Benjamin Franklin

I think this quote is all about having purpose. When real life hits, it’s so easy to get bogged down by the mundane and literally die inside. I think this feeling is sort of inevitable. But what do you do about it when it happens?

I have a bad habit of “waiting” to do things that I want to do. Waiting until I have more time, more money, less “work” to do. Well here’s the deal with waiting…you’ll never have more time or money, and you’re always going to have a million other things you should be doing. My husband says you have to balance work with play. He opts to do a few things he has to do and then do something he wants to do. This theory has opened a whole new world for me. Lets face it…if I waited until all the baseboards were clean and fan blades dusted, I’d certainly never have time to do anything for myself.

So here’s my challenge to you: do several things that you have to do today, but make room for something you want to do as well. Play with your kids. Make a craft project. Read a book. No matter what it is, make time to do something to free your mind. Reward yourself for all the work you’ve done.

Even taking a few seconds to appreciate a flower as you walk by can severely improve your day. I’ve walked by this tree every day for weeks without really stopping to look at these flowers. Stop. It only takes a few seconds and can give you that breathe of fresh air that you need.

Stop & smell the flowers.
Stop & smell the flowers.

I think Mr. Franklin was really on to something with this statement. If you don’t make time for yourself and do things to keep you alive inside, you’ll end up dead at 25 and not be buried until you’re 75.

I have several projects up my sleeve that I want to do will do (including this blog). What are YOU going to do??

The Five Year Plan

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Does that question send a chill down your spine like it does mine? Once upon a time, I was quite the planner. I had every aspect of my life planned and figured out. (If I could only tell you how many times I’ve had to start from scratch with a new plan!) After plans A-G fell through, I finally gave up.

Finally, one day I realized that’s not how life goes. You don’t get to plan everything. For example, owning a business or getting married in 12 days weren’t included in any version of my life plan! But, if I had stuck to these plans, I would have missed some of the most exciting times of my life.

In short, what I’m saying is, throw that rule book out the window. Every single day is different than the last. Every single day, you get a chance to do something different or be someone new. Don’t pass it up! The best thing I ever did was tell the life plan of mine to hit the road. Where will I be in 5 years? I have absolutely no idea. And I love that idea better than any scheduled version on my life.

Keep in mind that I don’t think anyone should float through life aimlessly with no goals. However, sometimes we focus so much on the “plan” that we miss other opportunities and adventures.

My advice: embrace unidentified tomorrows. Let each new day control your destiny. Don’t be afraid to be a new person. Adapt to your surroundings and make the most of every situation. After all, this life will be over before you know it. Make sure that you can look back on your yesterdays and be happy with what you see.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” -Anonymous

I’d love to hear about your plans. Leave a post with your thoughts!

Why did I get married??

Let me start by saying that I don’t want to be one of those people who over-post about how wonderful their spouse, baby, etc. are. So, if you’re one those people who might want to gag at my bragging (like I probably would), you might want to turn away now.

However, as I’m unwinding in my comfy bed, eating a brownie my husband just baked and brought to me, I realized there might be some solidity to my thoughts. I realized that someone might could benefit from hearing about my day. What started as a simple Facebook update, has turned in to a story about waiting for the “right” person.

A lot of pressure is put on girls, starting at a very young age, to find Prince Charming & get married. I went to college, worked a good job, and started my own business all before I was 23, but none of that amounted to anything because I wasn’t married yet. (Please be cautious with your comments so as to not to make a young girl feel slighted because she hasn’t tied the knot yet.) I came close to marrying the wrong person a couple of different times. Now, I thank my lucky stars that something inside of me stopped me each time.

How do you know who is “right” for you? Here’s how I know. Today, I had a particularly crummy afternoon. I got so bogged down by things going on around me, and I really let it get me down and discouraged. My new husband knew I wasn’t having the best day. I came home to dinner cooked and ready with the table set, awaiting my arrival. This in itself was a treat, because I probably would have broken down in the kitchen if I couldn’t find the right spatula. Then, he spent our entire dinner listening to me rant and rave about every tiny, minuscule thing that bothered me today. Next, we went for a walk around the neighborhood (my request), while I ranted some more. He listened, which was the most important thing I needed, but also provided such beneficial suggestions/comments. (He always says the best things.) How do I know I picked the right mate? Because my husband reassures me and builds me up when I’m down. Now, I’m chillin’ in my cozy bed, enjoying a brownie and milk that he cooked, recuperating from my trying day. (Reason number 7,462 I married him – he cooks!)

Moral of the story: it is so very important to pick someone who is a good balance for you. Life isn’t a fairy tale made up of exotic vacations and leisure activities. Life is days like today, where you come home exhausted, beaten down, and ready to give up on everything. That’s what the real world is. So, you need to pick someone who makes those days worthwhile. When picking someone you’re supposed to spend forever with, you need to pick someone who picks you up when your down. Someone who balances out your negatives. Someone who listens and helps you make tough decisions. Someone who fixes dinner and/or brownies when you just don’t have the strength. It’s like a seesaw…when you’re down, they bring you back up. When they’re down, you bring them back up. The roller coaster ride of life doesn’t end until you close your eyes for the last time. You have to pick someone based upon how you are as a couple during those times.

That being said, if you’re not dating someone who does this very thing for you. Get rid of them! Starting over isn’t nearly as scary if you think about eventually finding someone who can be the partner you really need.

I’m not writing this just to brag on my husband (although he deserves it). I’m writing this in hopes that someone may read it and realize they could do better. I’ve struggled many times over the years, not getting what I needed from a relationship. (And guilting myself for needing “too much.”) But that’s not the case. Girls, if you don’t have a guy that can turn a bad day around within seconds, then you don’t have the right guy. Just keep waiting. Do not settle for anything less than a man who takes your bad days away.

This post turned out to be quite a bit longer than I hoped, but I felt burdened to share my thoughts. This life is tough. Every day brings a new struggle. The purpose of marriage and relationships is to find someone who makes things more bearable. I am so very blessed to found such a good man. I thank God for him every single day. If you’re not quite there yet, don’t worry! Your time is coming. And one day you will sit back and be thankful for not settling for anything less than wonderful.

Post Marriage Plans

I’m going on a month and a half now of being married to the most wonderful man on the planet. I didn’t really expect much to change after getting married, but surprisingly things have. I’ve found myself becoming much more Suzy Homemaker-ish! Many of you don’t know this yet, but my new husband is going back to school. While taking care of his dad after the plane crash in the spring, he decided the he might really like that medical stuff. So now we, (I say we because it’s going to take the both of us!), are off to try out a nursing degree.

So what does this mean for our new little family? Two things. 1. We will be taking an income reduction because my sweet husband won’t be able to work as much. 2. Our costs are going to rise as he will be commuting 40 miles/day to school and we have to pay for his schooling this time around. (Too bad TOPS doesn’t give you a chance for a second degree!)

Long story short, I’ve been consumed with things that I can do to cut costs around the house without changing our lifestyle too much. I’ve seriously spent hours and hours on Pinterest looking at cool ideas. It’s like my new mission to make things more efficient around here!

So here’s what I have so far:
1. Canceling cable. I’ve seriously watched it maybe 3 times the last 6 months. What a waste! Plus, we have Netflix and Hulu+ to keep us entertained. (I just gotta figure out how to get Salt & Pepper’s big tv debut off the DVR first.)

2. Making my own laundry detergent. My BFF did this over the summer and she loved it. I found a pretty simple recipe for liquid detergent and it claims to cost just $6 for over 500 loads. Sign me up!!

3. Making my own cleaning supplies. I’ll be honest. I always thought this was so lame. However, it is proven that the chemicals in cleaner you buy are bad for you. Did you know that those companies have NO regulations on what they can put in their cleaners? Crazy! Plus, some of the cleaner recipes I’ve found, swear that they clean better than traditional cleaners. I’m certainly willing to try anything that means less scrubbing!

4. Now here’s the real shocker. I’m about to try freezer cooking. It’s gonna be tough for anyone who really knows me to not fall over dead after seeing this but, I’m just so intrigued by it! Basically, you make one big shopping trip a month, prepare a month worth of meals at once, and freeze them! The big plus with this idea is that we’re approaching the hubby and I’s busy seasons at work. Plus, he has schoolwork now, too. Having time/energy to cook an elaborate meal just isn’t going to happen. So I’m going to give this little notion a try. In addition to saving time & energy, you also save money by making just one trip to the store (less impulse buys) and by buying things in bulk.

All of these things are very unlike me. I can’t decide if I’m just intrigued by the simple living styles, or if this marriage thing has gone to my head. I’ve always been a pretty thrifty gal, but sure as heck never considered making my own soap! Either way, I’m gonna tackle a few of these ideas soon & I’ll let the 3 of you who read this first-ever-blog-post of mine know how it goes.

(In addition to these, I have a million other DIY projects up my sleeve, so I’m going to use this blog to keep track of my progress. Follow along if you’d like!)

Pamela P.