Mudroom Paint Refresh

Last month was one for the books for sure. I’ve been trying to find some time to jot down and document some of the updates we’ve made at the homestead but with my day job, my side hustle and annual volunteer obligations, I’m finding it difficult to sit down and capture everything.

This post will likely be akin to my brain on 4 cups of coffee, a bit all over the place.

I was talking with a coworker about some of the cosmetic updates we’ve been making at the house and I was explaining to her that although this isn’t our “forever” home we want to make it comfortable and cozy while we are calling it home. She said, “It might not be your forever home but someday you’ll want someone to walk in and say “wow, this is definitely our forever home”. YES! Exactly! That little comment put some wind back into my sails and really encouraged me to change my mindset on avoiding or putting off tasks just because it might not be a permanent situation. This mindset is applicable in so many areas of life not just home improvements!

Rewind to a couple summers ago: when we moved into our house I only painted the rooms that *needed* painted and left everything else that could be tolerated alone. For the most part, everything was pretty neutrally painted it kind of just looked dull (like a super flat paint). Except for the master bath, it was purple and turquoise. That was the first thing to be updated.

So I decided it was time to paint the north wall in our living area (the only drywall- all other walls are logs). It’s a pretty large space and very tall. I will need to have scaffolding to paint where the wall meets the ceiling. So I found a color that I liked, it was called granite steel or something like that. I thought it would look really pretty against the white bead board and make a nice clean contrast. Since I hadn’t bought any scaffolding yet I decided to paint the mudroom. It was a small enough area I could likely knock it out in a couple of hours. Plus this would give me the opportunity to see the paint color after it dries and make sure I loved it enough to paint the living area.

Boy am I glad I did a “trial” room. The color is pretty but I would not have liked it on a larger scale. The grey pulled a blue undertone, which is fine for the mudroom but not really what I was going for in the living area.

I ended up painting above the bead board and the entire ceiling. The difference in color appears to be very subtle in these before/after photos but IRL it looks SO much better. I especially love the french vibe the flower painting and the blueish gray walls give 😍

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This photo was taken before deciding what decor I was putting back up

This photo was taken before deciding what decor I was putting back up

So that was the morning of July 4th. Then come Friday morning I got up early and drove over to Bartlesville to pick up my Lowe’s order. And a platter of Chic-fil-a’s chick-n-mini’s for all of my great help to feast on. :)

It was finally back splash time. Stay tuned, I’m going to write a different post on the process of installing the back splash.

xx, Riss

Recipe: Fresh Bruschetta
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Sharing a quick + easy appetizer for your next dinner party. A garlicky-crowd favorite 🙂

Quick story before I begin. Last year I started a small basil plant. I live for fresh herbs. Basil and Cilantro, especially. When I say "started"- I mean actually planting the seeds and starting the basil plant from scratch. I remember doing a small happy dance when the first little leaf sprouted. This plant was thriving and living its absolute best life. It was big and voluptuous. Couldn't have been more proud of any of the other 333 plants in our home.

Fast forward a couple months. I'm going about my own business, tidying up the homestead when I come across a disposable water bottle. Side note: me and water bottles have a very VERY love-hate relationship. I refuse to buy them in bulk for the house anymore. Mostly because 1) they're wasteful and #somuchplastic and 2) I hate having to pick up empty and half-empty water bottles all over the place. In the couch cushions, under the bedside tables, counter tops, bathrooms, overflowing bedroom wastebaskets, you catch my drift. However, JF still buys them at the convenient store on occasion. I do too, but it's pretty rare these days!

Anyways- I come across this water bottle that was about half full. This particular water bottle was pretty large, definitely bigger than your typical 16 or 20 oz'er. So what does any plant momma do when they see a half-empty bottle of water? Water her babies of course. I vividly remember using that water bottle to water the yucca plant next to the refrigerator and the basil plant next to the kitchen sink.

Fast forward to the next day:

JF: Hey where's that water bottle that was on the counter?
Me: I threw it away.
JF: Did you dump it down the drain???
Me: No, I used it to water a couple plants.
JF: ...
Me: ...
JF: That was vodka. Not water.
Me: ...
JF: ...
Me: *visibly raging* *Googles 'how to revive plant after alcohol poisoning'*

I ended up bathing those poor plants. Yes, you read that correctly- they got a root bath in the bathtub. I wish I had better news but they did NOT survive the incident. I haven't forgiven myself for this irresponsible behavior quite yet.

Back to the recipe!

The Perks: You hardly need any pantry items.

The Cons: You might eat your weight in bruschetta and ruin your appetite for dinner.

What you need:

  • 1 pint grape tomatoes (or 1 - 2 large tomatoes)

  • 1/4 medium onion, chopped (I used a white onion)

  • Small bunch of fresh basil

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 1 loaf French or Italian bread

Throw it all together but first preheat your oven to 350° F.

01 Chop the tomatoes into quarters or smaller. I prefer a bit of texture but you can certainly slice up the tomatoes to your desired size and thickness. Toss into a medium-sized bowl. Chop the onion, garlic and basil, add to the tomato bowl.

02 Grab your loaf of bread and slice into small bite-sized pieces. Drizzle (or spray) olive oil over the tops and then turn over and drizzle more. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Toss in the oven for 5ish minutes- or until just golden. The goal is to have them toasty on the top but still a bit soft on the bottom.

03 Spoon generous amounts of bruschetta onto toast. ENJOY.

Fresh Bruschetta
Fresh Bruschetta
Fresh Bruschetta

Do you have any plant horror stories?

xx, Riss

Maverix Muse 005 - Loving & Lusting Lately (+ Quick Career Update)
Travel

Hi, how’s it going? Long time no talk.

I’ve been pretty MIA on social media lately unless you’re following my occasional stories on Instagram- and even those are typically just snaps of my dogs. So I’m jumping on today to share what’s been going on and a few things I’m loving + lusting lately.

First and foremost an explanation as to why I’ve been MIA. I tend to keep my professional life private from social media but thought I should share a bit since it has become such a huge part of my life and who knows, maybe it’ll inspire someone to pursue a career in corp America. Last month I was promoted to the Capital Projects Cost Control Analyst. Stepping into this position has been equal parts exciting and challenging and has been such a fun change of pace. Plus I’ve been getting to do a little bit of travel down to our corporate office in Sugar Land, TX. (Sugar Land is a really dreamy town.)

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In this position I’m responsible for controlling the cost of our Capital projects within the refinery (I work at an oil + gas refinery) and it’s exciting to me, because 1) I’m a certified control freak and 2) I love crunching + running numbers and balancing / budgeting. I get to prepare trends and forecasts to analyze where our projects will be (financially) 3, 6, 12, 24 months from now and help identify project cost exposures and overrun risks. It’s truly a dream job and I feel extremely lucky to have landed this gig. It’s kind of funny how things just fall into place when you stop forcing and start letting.

Okay, on to the fun stuff. Things I’ve been loving + lusting lately.

Rad Maverix

01 Cap Toe Nude Heels – It has proven to be a bit challenging to find a chic + comfortable (closed toe) heel for the workplace. They’re calling these the “12 Hour Heel” because they are so comfortable. Yes, they are currently in my shopping bag, I need them!

02 UV Protective Hair Perfume – Last week while my mom was in town we stopped by Bath & Body Works and snagged this new goody. As someone who goes several days between hair washes, I’m a sucker for a good hair perfume. Havana smells so heavenly.

03 Vintage Silver Stacking Teapot – I’m a sucker for vintage housewares. Would love to add this to my growing tea station. Love that it stacks so it doesn’t take up so much shelf space.

04 Watering Can – Watering plants has never been more fun- I look forward to it! I actually keep this sitting out on the kitchen counter, it doubles as décor. I love this one too!

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05 How to Raise a Plant and Make it Love You Back – This book is a goldmine. So many cool tips + tricks on raising beautiful and thriving plants. I would suggest this book from the novice planter to the veteran green thumb.

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06 Furbo – If you know me in real life, then you’ve probably fallen victim to having to watch my dogs on this cool app on my phone. Several months ago I purchased the Furbo dog camera + treat thrower and it’s probably one of the best purchases I’ve ever made as an adult. It’s basically a security camera that allows you to fill it with treats and toss one to your dog(s) while you’re away from home. This camera has lots of neat features like being alerted if it notices a person in your home or if your dogs are barking. 12/10 would recommend.

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07 Desk Sign – Found this cute little sassy desk sign during one of my trips down to Sugar Land last month at a store called Charming Charlie- this store is literally walking distance from the office. Dangerous.

08 Chic Canvas Mules – I’ve been living in these lately. Comfortable but dressy enough to wear to work and perfect for summer.

Bonus: The Morning Brew - If you’re in the mood to receive daily biz updates, I highly recommend the Morning Brew, a daily newsletter catered to young biz professionals that shares short + digestible briefs on the most important business news as well as stock market recaps. Since this is a daily email, I filter them to their own folder so they don’t clutter up my inbox :)

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Until next time,

Riss

LifeMerrissa
Deep Cleaning Area Rugs w/o a Carpet Cleaner
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I'm all about having the gadgets + tools to help improve your day to day life if they truly add value and not just clutter. One tool that I have not been able to justify purchasing is a carpet cleaner. Our entire house is hardwood floors and honestly with dogs and cowboys constantly walking in and throughout the house without any regard to mud or dirt, it is a dream come true.

On the flip side, having hardwood floors can sometimes make a place feel cold. So to add a bit of depth + coziness, I added a few area rugs to our living areas. Unfortunately, these rugs aren't exempt from the aforementioned dogs, cowboys, mud and dirt.

So a couple weeks ago I noticed the rugs were getting pretty dingy looking so I pulled them out, rolled them up and stuck them in the guest bedroom until I could figure out how to clean them or get them cleaned by a professional. Dad has one of those fancy carpet cleaners and he has mentioned in the past that I could borrow it anytime so that crossed my mind. But then a couple weeks ago, the weather wasn’t too terribly bad so I decided to load them up (okay, maybe JF did the heavy lifting) and run by the car wash to see if I could just “power wash” them. I AM SHOOKETH TO THE CORE. You never really realize how dirty something is until you clean it.

This is my officially official disclaimer:

Check the cleaning instructions on your rugs prior to taking them to a car wash. Do not take a high dollar Persian rug to the local car wash and drench it in VEHICULAR grade soap followed up with a high-pressure rinse. PLEASE SEE A PROFESSIONAL FOR YOUR BOUGIE-ASS-HIGH-AFFLUENT RUGS.

TIPS

  • Before dousing your rugs, first turn the knob to the rinse setting and spray away from the rugs for a minute or 2. This should clear out any wax or spot-free chemicals that you don't want soaking into the rug fibers.

  • Use the 'rinse' setting and spray each rug before you really go to town with the high-pressure wash. If you don’t want to use the vehicle-grade soap then I’d suggest just trying the high-pressure rinse!

  • Work from side to side making a pass from one side to the other. After cleaning 3 rugs, I quickly learned that you will get much better results if you work in a horizontal fashion and clean from side to side rather than just going every which way. This will work the dirt + grime in an orderly fashion rather than just spreading all over the place.

  • Use the high-pressure rinse and rinse until you no longer see soap suds.

  • After washing + rinsing, roll the rug back up and carefully walk back and forth on top of it, performing a small 'pounce', to ring out as much water as possible.

  • If you have weak upper body strength you are definitely going to need help loading these back into your vehicle. They will be unbelievably heavy! Also, it would be ideal to tote these back and forth in the back of a truck because no matter how much water you ring out, they will still be drenched.

  • Once back to the homestead, unload and let air dry.

How to deep clean area rugs
How to deep clean area rugs
This rug was on our front porch, hence why it was so dirty :)

This rug was on our front porch, hence why it was so dirty :)

Like I mentioned above, this was a few weeks ago but I haven’t noticed any fading, tears or other damage from cleaning them at the car wash. I’m actually probably due to take them back soon after all of these Spring showers we keep getting.

Do you have any tricks up your sleeve for cleaning obnoxiously large household items? 

 

Xx, Riss  

LifeMerrissaHome, Cleaning
Recipe: Homemade Granola Bars
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These granola bars are quick, better than store-bought and cowboy approved. What more could you ask for?

They are perfect for when you have a sweet tooth or just want something quick to snack on. I just really love how versatile they are because you can really make these for whatever mood you’re in. You could easily add raisins, craisins, mini chocolate chips, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed, cinnamon, nutmeg, or even protein powder! I’ve even swapped honey for agave and peanut butter for almond butter. As long as your dates are pitted, you cannot mess this recipe up!

5 ingredient granola bars

What you need:

  • 1 heaping cup dates, pitted

  • 1/4 cup honey or agave (I’ve used both and they are equally delicious)

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter or almond butter (again, I’ve used both and they both work great!)

  • 1 cup sliced unsalted almonds

  • 1 1/2 cups oats (i’ve used both quick oats and old fashioned, couldn’t tell the difference)

    Optional: 1/3 cup Chocolate chips or dried fruit like Craisins!

Throw it all together:

  1. Place your (pitted) dates into a food processor or blender with a splash of water. Process until it forms a doughy texture. This will be the glue that holds all of the ingredients together.

  2. Combine your processed dates, honey and peanut butter into a large mixing bowl and mix until well combined.

  3. Add your oats and almonds to the date mixture and go to town mixing. This might take some upper body strength! It should be pretty thick after you get done mixing but gooey and wet enough to stick together once pressed into a pan.

  4. Toss in your optional ingredients. Normally I use mini chocolate chips but all I had on hand was regular sized. Mix well.

  5. Line a baking pan with parchment paper. I used one of my smaller (9inch) baking dishes for a thicker bar. (The larger the pan, the thinner your granola bars will be.) Press the granola mixture with the back of a spoon until it’s pretty flat. Then place a sheet of saran wrap on top and continue pressing the granola with the palms of your hands until smooth. Using a small book will help compress the granola bars! This is a crucial step and can make or *break* your bars!

  6. At this time, I like to place the pan in the freezer for 20 - 30 minutes. This makes cutting them into bars so much easier. After you’ve sliced them up either put them back into the pan and cover with the saran wrap or into a freezer friendly storage container.

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I prefer to store these granola bars in the freezer or fridge. They have never lasted more than a week so I’m not really sure how long they’ll stay fresh past that!

xx, Riss

Maverix Muse 004 - Things That Have Made Me Smile Lately
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Today I’m sharing small things that have brought me joy lately. In an effort to design a delightfully simple life, appreciating + enjoying the small pleasures are key.

01 Not Your Typical Valentine's Day Flowers. I know a lot of people are not big on Valentine's Day celebrations but I have to give a quick shout out to JF. I love flowers in all forms but for vday this year, instead of a dozen roses, he gave a couple plants that will last (hopefully) many years to come. So thoughtful as he knows my black thumb is slowly but surely turning different shades of green. My grandma June would be so proud. Plus! He finally admitted that he is loving my obsession with plants as it makes the house feel cozier. His words!

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02 Birthday + New Baby Celebrations. I got to spend a Saturday morning celebrating + sending off well wishes to a good friend who will be expecting her baby boy in the coming months. The following afternoon we spent celebrating another friends birthday with Mexican food, margs + Flying Tee (similar to Top Golf). We finished the night at the Casino and didn't leave empty-handed. So all in all, a great day.  

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03  A couple warm winter days. this cold weather has me in a major funk. My motivation to do anything besides the bare necessities is really lacking. Really loving Mr. Billy the Kid gracing us with his presents. He is a free-range goat and has been spending the last several months in one of our heifer pastures and I'm just sure he thought he was going to get lucky. 

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04 These new-to-me wicker/bamboo chairs. I snagged these at a flea market and immediately new they’d be great for additional seating in our living area. 

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05 Fresh Bruschetta. It's the little things in life that truly bring me joy, like baskets of bread and + fresh tomatoes + garlic. Been craving a soul-satisfying comfort food like bruschetta for a long time and finally whipped up the nerve to give it a try. Why did I think making bruschetta would be so hard or time consuming? Literally in less than 10 min, fresh + extra garlicky brushetta was served. 

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06 The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. If this isn't already on your watch list and you're looking for something to binge, you should definitely add it! A very spunky "Mrs. Maisel" ends up separating from her husband and is learning to navigate life as the strong, independent woman she never knew she was. She learns that she is quite the comic and takes on this new adventure of being a comedian and a "divorcee" in the late 1950s. Excellent show! 

What little things have you been enjoying lately? What’s your petit plaisir (petite pleasure)?

xx, Riss

LifeMerrissa
Review: Benefit Boi-ing Brightening Concealer
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I’m such a creature habit when it comes to makeup that sometimes it doesn’t occur to me that there are better products out there that might do a better job! With that being said, I have been using Maybelline's Instant Age Rewind Eraser for under-eye coverage for many many years. You might remember seeing it from the “What’s in my makeup bag” post a couple years back. It has always done such a great job concealing but no matter how much I would try to blend, it always made my eyes look like coon eyes...So instead of dark puffy eyes in photos they would look like bright white puffy eyes.

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I stopped into Ulta to see what the latest and greatest product was with the plan to try Tarte's Tape Shape. There are so many rants and raves about Tarte's *holy grail* concealer- it sounded like something I needed to get my grubby little paws on, ASAP. I’m sure, looking a bit lost, one of the Ulta artists asked if I needed assistance...explained to her what I was looking for and she asked if she could test out a couple of swatches with Tarte and Benefit. Welp- about 45 minutes later I ended up walking out with Benefit's Boi-ing Brightening Concealer.

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REVIEW + My thoughts

The product comes in a small pink + silver pot. Cute? Yes. But ideal for a self-proclaimed amateur makeup applicator? No. So I picked up Ecotools version of the beauty blender to help with application. On occasion, I have also applied this concealer by “dipping” my ring finger into the pot to grab a bit of product and then rubbing with the other ring finger in a circular motion to sort of “warm up” the product. Doing this allows for a gentler application!

It is very thick and creamy- something that was different from the Maybelline product I had been used too. This was actually one of the selling points because according to the Ulta artist, my under-eye area is very dry. So! It can be moisturizing for dryer under-eye areas if you have that problem too.

The flip side of it being very thick and creamy. I didn’t like how it laid on my skin/pores when I brought it down in a V-shape to the apples of my cheeks. It made my pores to appear larger and that I had gobs of foundation on (I don’t wear a foundation). I did notice it blended better when I applied a primer, but that is not something I wear on a daily basis.

 

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I've been using the concealer for a couple of months and overall I think its one of the better ones I've tried for the price point. Have you tried this product? What’s your go-to under eye treatment?

 

xx, Riss

Beauty + WellnessMerrissa
Maverix Muse 003 - Currently Loving
Marie Kondo Tidying

Hi friends. It’s a dreary day in Oklahoma and all I want to do is lay up on the couch with a hot cup of tea and watch true crime documentaries.

Coming back to ya to share a few things I’m loving lately. I really love that “Maverix Muse” is sort of a catch-all for random posts that don’t really fit into any sort of category. Let's get started. 

01 Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, a new series on Netflix. Warning: if you watch this, you will NOT stop throwing clutter away! I have to laugh though, because apparently I took it a bit too far. I was cleaning off our bar cart and noticed an empty bottle of Tito's Vodka. So I trashed it. Well, this particular Tito's bottle was wearing one of those holiday sweaters, honestly I didn't think much of it when I trashed it (mostly because JF had purchased the vodka and...he's really not that sentimental when it comes to holiday garb). Until I received a phone call...

JF: Hey do you remember that bottle of Tito's vodka that was wearing a sweater? 
Me: ...Yes?
JF: Do you know where it's at? I don't see it on the bar cart.
Me: ...*shit* Um, yea, I threw it away.
JF: Seriously? Why? That was a collectors item!!!!!

Thank you Marie Kondo. You just cost me $10 on Amazon to replace a freaking holiday sweater for a bottle of vodka!!!!!!!!!!! If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you can see the sweater here.

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02 My 2019 Day Planner. Loved getting to crack open this bad boy the first couple weeks of 2019. If you’ve started in your new day planner like me, here's a #radgirltip to get a head start on the new year:

Write in important dates + birthdays + events. Something I like to do is add a sticky note at the beginning of each month (on the monthly spread page) and simply jot down any gifts I will need to purchase that month. This helps to plan ahead and actually makes me feel like I have my life together a bit better. 😁

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03 A new meaning for a garage door. These past couples of years I have significantly parred down my inbox. Deleting and unsubscribing from newsletters that no longer align with my goals or visions. However, I have kept my weekly Zillow emails because I love getting to take a peek inside newly listed homes just to get a dose of inspiration. This little home in Colorado hit my inbox and I'm feeling très inspired. I could definitely see myself sitting in this living space with the garage door open and the fresh spring air breezing through. BRB, adding this to my "must haves" list when JF and I decide to build. 

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See more of this Colorado beauty here. Photos by Zillow!

 

04 My two Seagrass totes coming in clutch for catch all's, grocery hauls + chic storage. The one pictured below, I got back in the fall at the L'Occitane storefront at Utica Square, it's petite and could actually double as a purse. Found this (much larger) cutie and decided to add it to my collection. I've already been using it as a catch all and at the grocery as I'm trying to consume less plastic bags! 

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05 Bubly. Have you tried this sparkling water? I've only tried the cranberry flavor but it is really tasty! Especially with a splash of wine! #radgirltip if you're trying to ditch the pop but sparkling water doesn't really do it for you, try mixing a pack of your favorite crystal light with a can of sparkling water! Don't add the entire pack- it will likely fizz over and be way too sweet. Rather simply add half the pack, stir, taste and add more if you desire. I found that a half a pack of crystal light per can does the trick! 

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Anyways, that's it for today- hope you have a great week.

 

Xx, Riss

LifeMerrissa
What’s Your 2019 Word Of The Year?
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Last week I had a few ladies over for a little Q1 business-life-planning-dinner party. We had all purchased Lara Casey’s Powersheets / Cultivate What Matter workbook so I figured why not get together, have fun with it and keep each other accountable for our 2019 intentions + aspirations?!

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If you’re not familiar with Powersheets – it’s essentially a workbook that helps you hone in on what you truly want and it helps you ‘cultivate what matters’ too you. This is the second time I’ve purchased the powersheets but the first go ‘round I didn’t really take it as seriously as I could or should have. Maybe I wasn’t ready to be real or honest with myself the first time? I’m not sure but after digging into the first few pages of the workbook I forgot the emotions evoked and hard questions that needed answered. Now these aren’t hard as in, you need an entire whiteboard to figure out the answer, I mean these questions are hard because it makes you get real with yourself by bringing up touchy topics that you’ve been suppressing.   

While going through the workbook and discussing with the other ladies, the “word of the year” topic was brought up. You know, a word of your choosing that will be your ‘focus’ or ‘intention’ for the following 12 months. The word that will help guide your daily actions, intentions + goals. The word in which will be your main focal point, so that when shit is hitting the fan you can come back to center and realign with your overall intentions.

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Without aim, my 2018 was certainly a year of rest. It was nice but ya girl started to feel stagnant towards the end of the year and honestly I’m ready to make some moves (cardi b, “money moves” voice).

Now you probably know by now I am a lady of many personalities so one in such capacity cannot simply choose just one word of the year.

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So I’m choosing 3.

Simplicitynoun, the quality or condition of being easy to understand or do, the quality or condition of being plain or natural.

Purposefuladjective, having or showing determination or resolve, having a useful purpose, intentional

Resiliencenoun, the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness, the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.

You might be thinking by now, ‘okay enough about you, how can I pick my own word of the year’? It’s pretty simple:

  1. Think about the best version of yourself. What kind of person do you want to become? Not where you’re at now, but where you want to be, in say 12 months. (don’t think about the how, think about the what!)
  2. Write down the traits and characteristic of the person you envisioned in step 1. How does this person handle stress and hardships? How does he/she stay motivated and inspired? Is this person philanthropic?
  3. Now pick a trait identified in step 2. Which characteristic do you want to obtain? How do you want to live your 2019?

Examples:

  • grace
  • free
  • peace
  • brave
  • restored
  • purposeful
  • health
  • present
  • focus
  • happy
  • renew
  • driven
  • bold
  • rest

#radgirltip if you have commitment issues and choosing a word for the entire year scares you, what about narrowing it down to a monthly- or even a quarterly word? 

Have you chosen a word for 2019? If not, I challenge you to pick a focal point to help guide the next 12 months to the highest version of you. 🖤 

 

xx, Riss  

Recipe: Boozy Hot Chocolate Pudding Cups
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So I made these treats for Thanksgiving and wanted to share the recipe I used in case you wanted to take these to your Christmas shenanigans. It is a super easy chocolately + boozy recipe that is sure to knock everyone off of their feet…….figuratively + maybe literally too ;) depends how heavy your liquor pouring hand is!

Now word to the wise- you might get tipsy when you’re making these. I mean, what good and wholesome chef serves a meal without taste testing their work?

What you need:

  • 3 boxes of instant chocolate pudding mix

  • Enough milk to make each box of pudding

  • A bottle of Bailey’s Irish Crème

  • Mini marshmallows

  • Hot cocoa mix

  • 10oz clear serving cups

  • Optional: mini chocolate chips

How to make these chocolatey-cups of goodness:

1. Make the 3 boxes of instant chocolate pudding as directed on the box

2. Add 1 tablespoon (or 1 packet) of hot cocoa mix and stir

3. Add the Bailey’s Irish Crème until you’ve reached your desired boozy taste

Best thing my mom ever taught me in the kitchen: You can always add more but you can’t take back! This is actually just solid life advice in general.

4. Grab your serving cups and start by adding a short layer of mini marshmallows in the bottoms of the cups

5. Next, evenly distribute the pudding and top with a small handful of marshmallows, mini chocolate chips and a sprinkle of hot cocoa mix

The original recipe actually included a dollop of whipped cream on the top- this is a great idea because it will help cut down on the sweetness of the treat + also dilute the alcohol if you added too much 🤪

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PS - it might not look like a lot per serving but these are more of a decadent treat, a little goes quite a long ways.  

 

Xx, Riss

Food + DrinkMerrissa
Sprucing Up Our Log Cabin Kitchen (+ Inspo Pics)

If you follow along on Instagram you might know that we finally ordered new kitchen counter tops. I've been (not so) patiently waiting for these since we moved in last summer! I'm so stoked and it has kind of sparked a new sense of motivation to get back to sprucing up our house and making it more of a home. Or maybe it's just the colder weather and I'm nesting? 

So here's my issue: where do you start when you don't really align with any one specific style? I'm not country. I'm not boho. I'm not a minimalist. 

I like minimal but cozy (hygge/Scandinavian style), I like industrial but I also love french farmhouse vibes. Trying to bring all of these flavors together into one cohesive soup has proved to be a bit troubling- especially since the canvas I'm working with is a bit, set in its ways. We live in a log cabin, not one of those homes that look like a log cabin, but a legitimate log cabin and most of our interior walls are timbers of wood. Yeesh, trying to transform a very country setting into a not-very-country-at-all vibe has been an undertaking. 

A little backstory: When we were looking at our house last summer before buying it, I walked in and fell in love with the open concept and vaulted ceiling. But immediately wanted to paint every single log wall in the house. It's too dark and gloomy for my liking. Unfortunately, at the time I couldn't convince JF into agreeing that we should paint the logs. At the time, I was envisioning the walls looking like ship-lap after being painted a light light grey-almost-white color. It wasn't until a few weeks ago when JF was like, "we should paint these log walls to help brighten up the house." AS IF IT WAS SOME BRAND NEW AND NOVEL IDEA! I just looked at him like...

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At this time, I've decided to leave painting the log walls as my very last option, mostly because I hate painting and what if we end up not liking the end result?! And also because this isn't our furrever home, so that leaves me with the question: does the value outweigh the effort? Sometimes I wish I could just turn off my business-geared mind.

So we've bought the granite, and the sink and faucet. After all of these are installed I plan to install a backsplash. Not anytime soon but eventually! Something light + airy to offset the moody walls and flooring.

Of course, I've done what any basic woman would do and resorted to good ole Pinterest. Below are a few kitchens + spaces I'm drawing inspiration from.

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I just really want to take bits and pieces of each kitchen above and create one big masterpiece! What’s your favorite kitchen + home style? Also, occasionally I’ll go on a pinning spree, see what I’m pinning here!

 

Xx, Riss  

How I’m Designing A Delightfully Simple Life, One Day at a Time
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Edited to add: Wow- I missed the perfect opportunity to title this “How I’m Designing A Delightfully Simple Life, One Meal at a Time”

To design a delightfully simple life.

My new + improved manifesto.
My beginning goal.
My mid goal.
My ultimate end goal.

What does it mean to design a delightfully simple life? To me, it means more than what words can describe, it's more of a feeling. But I'll do my best:

  • it means spending more time doing things that light you up...even if that means absolutely nothing,

  • enjoying the petite pleasures in life,

  • more happiness + less stress, 

  • simple yet thoughtfully curated,

  • in most cases quality over quantity,

  • soul-satisfying but also altruistic, and

  • deliberate contentedness.

It's like the mission statement for my own personal life. The way in which I will move from day to day, always keeping in mind those things that do not align with my mission statement + values have got to exit the stage. And those activities and people and petite pleasures that bring me joy- more of those. I think it's safe to say we all want to live our best life (cardi b voice). But if we don't outline values or craft a personal mission statement, how do we make that 'best life' a reality?

Your best life...and my vision of what it means to be living my best life are likely very different views. What you define as success and how I view success are also likely defined very different. What’s your mission statement in life? What does it mean to be living your best life?

So, basically I never really thought I would write this next statement which is today's topic. 

I’m actually learning to enjoy cooking.

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Phew. There, I said it and somehow after all these years of conditioning myself to believe I hated cooking I still somehow don't believe myself. 

My 20-year-old self wouldn't even recognize me today. 

Confession time: I was the worst offender and the best customer of local fast food joints. It all started when I was interning at the local Chamber of Commerce back in 2010 and 2011. Every morning I would stop by the Woodshed (a popular gas station in northeast okla / southeast kan) and grab TWO bottles of coke and a pastry, biscuits and gravy, or a bag of chips and then head in to the office. That would normally suit me until lunch time and then 9/10 I would go grab a bbq pork sandwich, french fries and another coke. OR if I was feeling a rather "healthier" option that day, I would walk down the street to the Sunflower Soda Fountain and grab a tuna salad sandwich, chips and a chocolate shake. HA 

BUT IT GETS BETTER!

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After work I would stop by and grab whatever fast food JF thought sounded good for dinner. 

Fast forward to fall of 2011 and after leaving my internship, I went to work for a bank. The bank was literally 55 ft from a donut shop. Yes, you guessed it! Sausage rolls, donut holes and cajun pies EVERYDAY. These bad habits just transpired and I continued to eat fast food almost 3x a day for almost 3 years. Every once in a while I would make a home-cooked meal but it was not a regular habit I enjoyed or ever consistently picked up. 

Looking back and reflecting on all of this, the most ridiculous part is the fact that it wasn't even the health aspect that broke the camels back. It was after calculating how much $$ I had spent on FOOD alone in any given month. I kept recalculating and thinking "this CAN'T be right". 

Needless to say, this is about the same time I actually started paying attention to my spending habits and trying to be better about investing and making my money work for me

#radgirltip If you have a habit of regularly eating fast food and you'd like to kick it, do me a favor and start keeping tabs on how much money you're spending on just food. Go through your checking account over the last 30 or 60 days and take a look at how much money you're eating...and just think: what ELSE could you be spending your monies on besides overpriced bbq pork sandwiches?! Add those extra dolla's to your savings account. (I LOVE using Ally because I can't immediately transfer funds to my checking account if I want to make an impulse purchase.)

But Merrissa, it is so easy to run by my favorite fast food joint or Chinese takeout when I'm in a jam or when it's been a long day and all I really wanna do is go home and relax and not have to worry about cooking a meal!!! I totally agree! And there is definitely a time and place for those scenarios! But not everyday, like I used to tell myself. 🤪

So back to today’s topic, not only is eating at home better on the wallet but it's ultimately better for your waist and overall health too. The best part is knowing exactly what ingredients you're using and this typically means less junk + preservatives. Yay! With all of that being said, for me, aiming to cook more meals at home makes me feel just plain good.

I feel better on a mental + physical level when I choose to regularly eat nourishing meals rather than junk. I feel satisfied when I can cook a good meal for myself + JF + company.

BUT PLEASE DO NOT GET IT TWISTED. I WILL DEVOUR CHIPS + SALSA + QUESO + ALL OF THE SANGRIA MARGARITAS.

(cue the 80/20 nutrition rule- actually I’m pretty happy with a 70/30 ratio if I’m being honest)

Here’s the recipe for success if you’re anything like my 20-year-old self:

Find or develop a couple of really good recipes that are easy, delicious and something you excel at. You know, the kind of recipes that are SO simple you will almost always have the main ingredients on hand and you could literally cook it with your eyes closed. Jot these recipes down and add them to your recipe vault. Keep these in mind when you're having one of those days where you’re tempted to stop for fast food. Or stop for fast food. #70/30 #yolo

If you're still riding the but-fast-food-is-life struggle bus and need some inspiration, check out some of my favorite recipes + food blogs.

 

Go-to Food Blogs:

Real Food Whole Life - Robyn shares so many great (+ simple) recipes! 

Pinch of Yum- Lindsay has a way of making you salivate through the computer screen. Her photo's make you want to cook ALL THE FOOD.

Minimalist Baker- Although a vegan food blog, she has many dessert recipes that you'll want to try, like yesterday.

Budget Bytes- If you're looking to ball on a budget, Beth has your back. 

JSHEALTH- I love Jessica’s approach to healthy living!  

Recipes:

Parmesan Chicken Tenders 

Homemade Granola Bars

A Healthier Take on Taco Tuesday 

This post is just the beginning of how I’m designing a delightfully simple life. If this is something that sparks your attention then be sure to check back and read how else I’m curating a deliberate + purposeful life. As a remixner, for you and me, this is simply a guideline- not a do or die recipe for success. 🖤

On another note, we ordered our new counter tops last night and I CAN’T WAIT until they are installed. I have waited so long to order them. Mostly because we didn’t know which route we wanted to take, what material or vendor. Finally bit the bullet and bought exactly what we wanted.

Who knew buying new counter tops meant signing your life away too? Will also admit I did a little happy dance when they said it should all be installed by the end of December. 💃🏼

Do you enjoy cooking + eating meals at home? Have you ever had a fast food problem like me?!

Xx, Riss

LifeMerrissa