Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Divorced Moms column: Spring is here! Now it's time (for me) to refresh, renew, rejuvenate, celebrate

From Divorced Moms. Spring is my favorite time of year! Ok, so is Fall. Let's call it a tie. Regardless, I'm on a mission to clean, purge, refresh, rejuvenate and celebrate. For real. Celebrate LIFE, LOVE, RENEWAL. Like my upcoming wedding (in October), the fact that I'm still alive, and that I have the energy and ability to LIVE, LOVE, hang with my children, explore the world, and find meaning. Despite some pretty big life challenges, I am a warrior and survivor.

One of the most amazing feelings for me is "newness." I love fresh, happy, and whimsical. If I were a major brand, I'd be Kate Spade because it encompasses all of those attributes. I love the smell of flowers, lemons, and lavender. I love yellow, apple green and orange. Citrus. And so I am on a quest each day to toss out the old, clean, organize, replace and breathe. So zen, calming, peaceful, joyful and happy. So today's column is about how I'm attempting to accomplish that.

And now I'm off to get some exercise, outside, smelling fresh air and getting a little of that vitamin D I write about. Happy Tuesday!

Spring Cleaning: 12 Ways To Refresh, Rejuvenate & Celebrate 
by Lizzy Smith                    
March 24, 2015
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The weather is warming up, Spring Break is around the corner, and I'm feeling an insatiable desire to clean, celebrate and rejuvenate. I made a list and I started working on it last week. Here goes:

1. Closet Purge - cost $0
Last week, I went through our closets and purged, purged and then purged some more. In my nine-year old daughter's bedroom, I took two enormous trash bags to a re-sell shop and scored $50, just like that! Between my 14-year old daughter and my closets, six huge bags of clothes went to a different re-sell shop. Hello $200! I also re-organized those closets, putting shoes on new shoe-racks on the back of our doors, placing ski clothes in bins, and dividing drawers using shoeboxes. I seriously feel like I have taken a major shower when it was over.

2. Scrub Down - cost $0
I cleaned and scrubbed our bathrooms. I went through drawers and cabinets, re-organized and tossed out tons of stuff. And then I rubbed the floors down with lavender oil. Next, it was our bedrooms. I vacuumed, had the carpets professionally cleaned, re-organized, dusted, and rubbed lemon essential oils around the windows. Oh my, it smells delicious around here, which is so rejuvenating and calming.

3. Handbag Swap - cost $0
I switched out my black and cream-colored handbag for my bright green Kate Spade bag. I love the daily pop of color.

4. Shopping! - cost after the $250 I earned from selling clothes to a re-sell shop $400
Because my youngest daughter grows like a weed, I basically started from scratch on her summer wardrobe. And for my older daughter and I, it was time for a refresh. Shorts, sundresses, flip-flops and swimsuits. Bold, fun and happy colors (think apple green, bright yellows and soft pinks), along with super bling-y flip-flops. Since I sold so many clothes back, it was amazing how far $250 stretched. I started at Ross (three pairs of flip-flops for just $13 each), Old Navy (clearance rack for shorts at just $4 each), Walmart (they had an entire section where everything was $3), and Target for my daughters. I splurged on a few fun items at Anthropology and Free People for me, two stores that I am obsessed with these days. My favorite purchase so far is a navy blue floral sundress ($28 from Old Navy) and a bright orange lace retro-sixties top ($12 from Ross).

5. Spa Day - $120 for facial and lunch; Botox $550
Not long ago, I met a new friend who is a fellow myeloma survivor and just a few years younger than I am. Together, we are going to get facials and lunch next week. After loads of chemo, doctor appointments, and more drugs than one should ever need to take, we deserve it. Plus, my skin is tired and dry. I'm also getting a Botox refresh on my forehead, something I did for the first time back in December.

6. Power Walks - cost $0
Because the weather is beautiful here these days (knock on wood), I've re-started my outdoor walks. Fresh air, vitamin-D, and a good workout that doesn't take place inside is amazing. I am constantly on the prowl for new hiking trails and I discovered a new canyon nearby on a random drive. I'm heading there in just a few hours to check it out on foot.

7. Vacation Time - $1,200 (2 adults, 1 child), not including air, for seven days
I'm a big huge fan of education and school. But I'm also incredibly tired of homework, structure, and more homework. Thus, Spring Break is one of my favorite times of year and many months ago I found killer deals on a cruise and booked it. We leave in ten days and I'm counting the minutes until I can sit at the pool and worry about absolutely nothing. Truth is, cruises are not my favorite way to travel. There is too much food and when in port, it's a bit like a cattle call. That said, when traveling with children, it's a great way to travel. But if that doesn't fit the budget, there are stay-cations (vacation near home) where you can rent a hotel and explore your city like a tourist. Or, consider spending Spring Break doing something unique in your own neighborhood every day, like a hike, a local museum, trying out a new recipe, or walking animals at the homeless shelter. If you're really brave and have the cash, do something really "out there" like skydiving (this is on my short list). Anything new, fresh, and that puts a smile on your face is a great way to welcome in a new season.

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