Thursday, February 28, 2013

hippie lessons: a clean home

One of the first projects I took upon myself after The Husband and I returned from the honeymoon was something I had been thinking about for quite a long time. After reading The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking (thank you to Ms. Stephanie M. for that recommendation!) and with the wedding behind us, I was ready to take the plunge. After years of loving the magical whitening power of bleach to brighten the horrifically stained old sinks in our rental home, I was sick of having a headache after cleaning the bathroom, worrying about The Cat Who Thinks She's A Dog getting those chemicals in her system, feeling guilty over what I'm contributing to the watershed, and generally hoarding an embarrassing amount of cleaning supplies.

speaking of embarrassing.......The Husband rocking clip-on earrings with two of my favorite people

Here's what I use to clean our entire house***:

Vinegar + Water + Lavender Essential Oil cleans the bathroom, kitchen, windows, basically everything. Vinegar is wonderful at killing mold and mildew, and the essential oil cuts through the vinegar smell while you're cleaning. And no worries, the vinegar smell disappears when dry. Instead of having a bleach cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, and window cleaner, I have ONE BOTTLE. Also, it's great for wiping down thrift store or antique store finds that smell musty or like cigarettes.

Mrs. Meyer's All-Purpose Cleaner is what I use to clean wood furniture, as I have read that vinegar can dull wood over time. Considering The Husband and I built our own coffee table (so much fun! so much work!), I am not going to risk messing that thing up. I love the lavender scent. Mrs. Meyers does not release their formulations for their products (especially the scents), which is why I limit my use of it to only wood. I'm not going to use a product more than I have to if I don't know what it is made of.

Nature's Gate Disinfecting Multi-Surface Cleaner is my answer to smug anti-hippies who worry about the fact that vinegar is not as strong a disinfectant as bleach. This cleaner works as well as bleach, killing 99.99% of household germs. Thyme oil is a very strong disinfectant, but it doesn't pollute your home or your watershed with chemicals. I spray this on toilet seat handles, door knobs, etc. The thyme smell is very strong, but very worth it, in my opinion.

The Shark Steam Mop was a wedding gift, and probably one of my favorite things ever. Nothing but water, and it heats up enough to disinfect the floor and knock out the toughest stains.

That being said, can anyone recommend a hippie toilet bowl cleaner that won't require me to shut off the water to our toilet tank? The Mrs. Meyers toilet bowl cleaner sucks. Any recommendations for eco-friendly products I may have missed in this post?

***KEEPING IT REAL DISCLAIMER: we still use bleach every couple weeks to whiten our kitchen sink, which is severely old and incredibly stained. Not every hippie is a perfect hippie (and I am incredibly far from being perfect).

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

cabo san lucas

Thanks for all the love and support for my last post. Lots of texts, calls, and emails, all so inspiring and beautiful. The Internet can restore faith in humanity - who knew?

On a lighter note, I found some pictures from my trip to Cabo San Lucas with The Husband and some extended family in January. We've been there twice now, and one of our favorite places to eat and drink at is Hacienda Cocina y Cantina at Medano Beach. 

medano beach: everyone tries to sell you everything

seriously, this restaurant is so darn pretty

What's better than a mojito? 

i don't usually drink cocktails but holy cow this is the best mojito ever

 Answer: a GUAVA mojito!

when summer arrives, i will try to recreate this and post the recipe here

The food is also amazing. The Ensalada Hacienda is so refreshing and full of great fruits and veggies. It's not the easiest thing to find a meatless meal in Cabo. The Husband swears by the Carnitas tacos and we both fell in love with the Pollo con Mole de Puebla (chicken with mole, plantains, and rice).

the husband prefers a classic margarita. i secretly judge him for liking tequila.

Monday, February 25, 2013

i can do hard things

Nine months ago, I married The Husband. Best decision, hands-down, I have ever made. It has been the best nine months of our relationship and I have tried to treasure every moment of these early days of marriage. 

sands beach, january 2013. check out that channel island in the background.

I thought our lives would look very different by the time 2013 came around. These first months of my marriage have been quite the lesson in control and acceptance. After feeling hopeful, despairing, frustrated, numb, insecure, guilty (SO MUCH GUILT), and exhausted, I am sitting here today feeling hopeful yet again. I am hopeful that today will be the first day of tangible progress, but even if it's not, I will do everything I can to still have hope for progress in the future.

While I do not pray, I do hope. I don't necessarily have faith that this will be resolved, as reality has shown that sometimes it has other ideas in mind for the path that my life will take. I do, however, have faith that, despite how things end up, I have it in me to deal with this with as much dignity and grace I can muster. It's so silly, but I am so proud of myself for wearing mascara today. It is my promise to myself that, no matter what, I'll keep it together and face what comes with optimism and dry eyes.***

*** I struggled as to whether or not I should post this, as it's really personal. I've decided to do so in the hopes that putting this out there for others to read will help me hold myself accountable for how I deal with this stuff. Also, if this can help anyone else who is going through hard times feel a little less sad or isolated, that's a win, too.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

a true partnership

One of the more important choices in our lives is who we choose as a partner, and what we want that relationship to look like. Who we choose to spend our lives with will certainly affect how we choose to spend our lives, but I barely thought about the impact of my relationship dynamic on the rest of my life until I listened to this talk by Sheryl Sandberg a couple years ago. I never even thought about what I wanted my dynamic with The Husband to be like as we started to build a life together. I knew I loved him, and he me, and that we were happy. We had been together for a couple years before I even thought about how we would compromise on life's obligations, career choices, and family, in the future. I always thought that these  "little things" don't really matter - our love for each other was the only thing that mattered, right? I had no idea how much these "minor" things would affect so many aspects of my life.

(we paid a lot of money for our wedding pics so i will be using them on every post for all eternity)

Luckily, I am married to a man who is my true partner. I have never wanted to be a housewife, responsible for handling everything in the household excepting the finances; Reed does want me to be, either. We split the chores - in fact, he probably does more dishes than I do. We have had long discussions about whose career would take precedence in the future, and we have decided together how that would work out. We talk about shared obligations, and manage those obligations accordingly. This has fostered an incredibly happy and healthy relationship between the two us, which is pretty much what I had expected. 

What I never knew was how much of an impact this would have on my career.

When I was working at a nonprofit, overworked and underpaid but dedicated to the organization's mission, I never could have pulled off the 12 hour chaotic work days leading up a fundraiser if I also had to cook dinner, do dishes, and fold laundry when I got home. I was already handling the responsibilities of two positions, and there is no way I could have taken on the obligations of another - housewife. Even if I had managed to handle all that, that would mean I was probably half-assing both sides of those obligations, which isn't exactly how you want your work to be known if you're trying to get a leg up professionally. Thankfully, The Husband believes in being an equal contributor to our home and our life together. He has saved my sanity many times during my career. And when you're in it together, that's just what you do. 

This also bodes well for the longevity of my professional career. My work inside and outside of the home is of equal value as that of The Husband's. If, in the future, we see a need for one of us to be at home, we will resolve that together, instead of me automatically sacrificing my career because I handle everything at home already anyway; it will be a discussion between two equals that will result in the compromise both of us are comfortable with.

And don't think I am the only one benefiting from our equal partnership. When the tables turn, as they often do, and I am the one more flexibility in my schedule or less on my plate, I step up and try to do as good a job as The Husband does for me.

I thought that my professional success would be due my work ethic, accomplishments, and abilities. I never thought that I would owe much of my success to the person I chose to spend the rest of my life with.