What I’ve Been Up To

It’s been a hot minute since I posted here because life is chaotic and wonderful all at once.

In the last few months every room of the house has experienced a big shift in furniture and even paint. I’ve refinished a mirror, bought a new desk chair, rolled out new rugs…

In the garage I gave the wood storage units back to my dad and replaced them with a new HDX unit from Home Depot. Can’t wait to show you how awesome it looks out there! If I have time later this summer I’m going to move my canned goods storage and maybe even add another work bench.

Inside, I’ve finally trimmed out the kitchen windows and added new curtains. In the midst of moving out of my office, I filled in nail holes and caulked the window in the old office.

Project: Backyard Oasis is on-going and I’ve been pulling a lot of weeds and trimming a lot of rose bushes. I picked up 3 awesome wood planters which got a coat of outdoor paint from the oops section at Home Depot.

Back in May I went to LA for an event and then to the East Coast for a wedding and to visit friends in DC. In early July I spent a week at my parent’s place near Yosemite, mostly painting and writing.

Nearly done remodeling my master shower stall from the studs up and will have some of that to share soon.


January Project Recap

I had high hopes for January but I was also out of town for 2 solid weeks so the number of projects I could conceivably complete was greatly reduced. However, I got a good start!

1. Garage – add security film to window

This one was a lot easier to install than the last privacy film – it was easy to reposition and remove to adjust. I got it on Amazon here for $10.




2. Living room – have fireplace tested and inspected

This one was a little “good news/bad news” situation. I had a professional company come out to inspect and clean the fireplace and overall it’s in good shape. However, there’s a crack in the floor of the fireplace which means heat can go down and impact the flooring, walls and create a lot of other problems. So it’s still do not use until I can budget and schedule to get that replaced. While I don’t use the fireplace very often, I do want it to be working properly.

10. Garage – trim out the window

As you can tell on the update above, I did manage to trim the window with 1x4s before I worked on the privacy film. Here’s a picture of it before I caulked all the joints:

There’s a small patch piece there on the window sill because I can’t fit my nail gun behind the clothes dryer to install it. I’m going to get some liquid nails and tape and see what I can do!

All in all, not a bad January! I have my next few projects in the works from this master list and I’ll be working throughout February to make good progress.

2018 House Planning

By mid-November I get easily swept up in the planning for the new year and all the fun things I want to do. This year I took off for London, Dublin and Manchester in early December and by the time I got home I was right back into planning mode.

Business plans are underway and I’ve already set my personal goals.

Now, let’s talk about the house. Realistically if I am working out 4 days a week, doing Whole 30 5 days a week, reading 1 book a week and traveling around the state twice a month then I’m not going to have a TON of free time for other projects.

Good thing the house is looking damn good these days. Instead of going room by room I’m going to list all the things I want to do and then put them in priority order.

I have a total of 30 goals (about 1 per week) and 3 potential bigger projects that require things like redirecting gas lines, water and drywall. Those are bonus projects that I am hoping to get to this year. One project that’s not on this list but will be carrying over from 2017 is replacing my gutters and downspouts. That should be coming in January.

1. Garageadd security film to window

2. Living roomhave fireplace tested and inspected

3. Dining room – touch up paint around the built-in

4. Dining room – add finishing piece to the built-in

5. Office – finish caulk on window trim

6. Guest room – remove hooks from ceiling

7. Kitchen – replace garbage disposal

8. Garage – add overhead lights in 2 banks 

9. Kitchen – trim the windows

10. Garagetrim out the window

11. Master bedroom – remove the canopy and patch ceiling

12. Master bedroom – touch up ceiling paint

13. Living room – replace overhead light

14. Guest bath – fix shower can light 

15. Side yard – add hooks for second ladder to hang

16. Office – trim and paint closet shelving

17. Backyard – build a cart for table saw

18. Master bath – replace bath fan

19. Kitchen – add new curtain rods and curtain

20. Front yard – replace mailbox and post

21. Living room – refinish the dresser

22. Master bedroom – rebuild bed frame

23. Office – replace ceiling drywall (patch) 

24. Backyard – build pergola in the corner 

25. Living room – reupholster the 2 wingback chairs 

26. Backyard – make a walkway to the sideyard

27. Front yard – re-pour sidewalk up to the front door 

28. Master bedroom – replace sliding glass door, trim and fix transition piece

29. Front yard – plant a tree

 30. Back yard – plant a tree

Potential Garage Project

Garage – drain the water heater, build a new box

Garage – add water softener 

Potential Kitchen Project 

Kitchen – re-configure cabinets and dishwasher / new countertops and sink

Kitchen – relay flooring with new configuration

Potential Bathroom Project

Master bath – replace pan in shower stall

Master bath – replace shower fixtures

Master bath – tile shower stall

2017 Plans – Recap

I was just looking back through the year of posts (in a word: pathetic) and came across my 2017 Home Goals post. I’m copying it over with an update on how things have gone this year.

Overall I’m really happy about the bigger projects that got done including the whole house trim, 7 new windows and the whole house painting. I’m also eyeing a few of these smaller ones which I might be able to get done over the weekend (but no promises).

The kitchen:

  • Get the counter tops re-sealed
  • fix or replace garbage disposal
  • remove the pull out trash can

If budget allows:

  • Replace the stove/oven
  • Replace (3) windows
    • Trim windows inside and out

The dining room:

  • Install bookshelf
  • Add lighting to bookshelf
  • Fix chain on hanging light
  • touch up wall paint

The living room:

  • Re-finish the dresser (possibly paint)
  • Get fireplace working
  • Replace window
  • Trim window inside and out
  • Hang new shade in window

The guest bath:

  • Install a can light in the shower
  • Fix transition piece
  • Touch up wall paint

If budget allows:

  • Re-tile around bathtub
  • Replace bathtub fixtures

The office:

  • Touch up wall paint
  • Replace damaged drywall on ceiling
  • Finish off closet shelves
  • Replace window
  • Trim window inside and out

The guest room:

  • Hang rod in closet for curtains
  • Remove hooks from ceiling
  • Replace window
  • Trim window inside and out
  • Hang new shade in window

My master bedroom received a whole new bed set up and mattress but I’m still eyeing that sliding glass door.

  • Trim transition piece by back door
  • Touch up ceiling paint
  • Remove canopy and patch ceiling
  • Fix chain for hanging light

If budget allows:

  • Replace the sliding glass door
    • Trim back door

The master bathroom:

  • Remove glass door
  • Hang new shower curtain

If budget allows:

  • Replace shower floor pan
  • Re-tile shower stall
  • Replace shower fixtures

The backyard :

  • Remove 2 dead rose bushes
  • Remove corner patio
  • Replace fence boards on east side
  • Add lights to fence for night
  • Create a walkway to the side yard
  • Disassemble flower boxes on corner patio
  • Fix gutter downspout
  • Build cart for table saw

The side yard:

  • Empty compost bin
  • Hang lights
  • Replace damaged siding
  • Take the old gutters in for recycling

The front yard :

  • Replace gutters and downspouts
  • Set up bricks along the fence
  • Replace mailbox and post

If budget allows:

  • Pull sprinklers
  • Pave square by front door
  • Demo sidewalk
  • Re-pour sidewalk
  • Extend fence to front of the property
    • add a gate to the end of the fence
  • Landscape the front yard

The garage:

  • Add overhead lights
  • Trim the window, caulk and paint it
  • Build a new box for the water heater
  • Build workbench

If budget allows:

  • Add a water softener

There are a few bigger projects that impact the whole house: 

  • Add quarter round to all baseboards
    • Hallway and hall closet
    • Office
    • Guest room
    • Master bedroom
    • Living room
    • Dining room
  • Re-caulk and paint all trim
    • Hallway and hall closet
    • Office
    • Guest room
    • Master bedroom
    • Living room
    • Dining room
  • Replace rotting facia boards on roof
  • Paint house exterior
    • back wall
    • Sideyard
    • Entryway
    • side from kitchen to garage
    • around garage door
    • up on the roof

I’m currently working on plans for 2018 and I might be organizing this a little differently in the coming year. My big 2018 goals are already set (on this page) but looking at projects around the house is always part of the process.


A year in review

I was looking back at my goals this year and I’ve been super happy with my progress.

-I’ve donated 790 items and I’m close to my goal of 800

-I’ve had 131 workouts with my trainer out of my goal of 130

-I’ve read 60 books out of my goal of 52

-I published my print book

Since it’s not fun to look at the items I’ve donated or workout selfies, I wanted to take a look back at the books I read. Instead of grouping them by month, I sorted the books into general categories.

Category 1 : Autobiographical (comedy) 

10 books in this category and these were mostly fantastic, strong women with a few (British) men included.

Favorite Pick: Scrappy Little Nobody & It’s Not Me It’s You

Category 2 : Alphabet Series Mysteries

25 in this category which makes up nearly half of my annual goal. I read A to X from Sue Grafton plus Kinsey and Me. Great series and really got me back in my reading groove.

Category 3 : Vonnegut

Years ago someone suggested reading one or two Vonnegut books a year so you’ll always have a new novel and I tend to follow that advice. Also, I can’t read too many in a row or I go a little crazy. 2 in this category this year.

Category 4 : Graphic Novels

3 books in this category and these came recommended from MSNBC host Rachel Maddow. I can’t recommend them highly enough. Should be required reading for all Americans.

Category 5 : Food

Total of 3 in this category in 2017. I started the Whole30 in May and read these books over the second half of the year.

Category 6 : General Fiction

4 in this category and the Handmaid’s Tale was my clear favorite.

Category 7 : Non-Fiction

Five this year and it’s so hard to pick a favorite. I was so impressed  with Gloria Vanderbilt – her life stories and intelligence into her 90s was inspiring. Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air was so beautiful I cried. The Psychopath Test was really interesting as a subject and while I loved the content of Braving the Wilderness, the font and type was so poor that I struggled to understand the message.

Category 8 : Mystery / Drama

Just 4 this year, but I made the Sue Grafton books separate for a reason. If you haven’t read Murder on the Orient Express it’s a great read, reminds me of Sherlock Holmes. Otherwise John Grisham’s Rogue Lawyer was a favorite. Steve Berry is very similar to Dan Brown only… better.

Category 9 : Real Life

These were more real life non-fiction and both were enjoyable. I recommend the Women in Science book for anyone with younger children. The illustrations are beautiful and I’d like to pick up Women in Sport next year

Category 10 : Fantasy

While this is not typically a favorite category of mine, the Sarah Maas series came highly recommended and I read the first 2 books on vacation this summer.

Total Read: 60

I do have quite a few books that I’ve started and not yet finished. I purchased a half dozen more for Christmas but I also want to finish up the ones I started earlier this year. Here are the 4 I have in progress:


December in the UK

Thanks to an amazing travel deal I found back in September, I traveled to the UK this month and had a fantastic time. I started at SFO with a flight on WOW airlines to Gatwick airport via Reykjavík.

If you do travel via WOW you’ll find great prices but everything (every. thing.) is an upsell, including water on an 8 hour flight. wow.

I arrived in London and picked up an Oyster card and made my way to my first stop right off the District Line on the Underground.

This was the front path just about a mile away from the station. I love staying at AirBnb locations so I can get to know the local people.

The hallmark of London was meet ups with clients and friends and it’s always good to talk in person with those I’ve only met online.

This is Kris, she edited my books in 2016 and I was so glad she was visiting family in London and could make time to play tour guide.

Together we went to the National Gallery, rode on a double decker bus, went to the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Regent Street and more places I’ve forgot.

We did a quick walk through of the National Gallery after brunch:

My favorites are always Van Gogh and they had some lovely Impressionists pieces.

After the National Gallery we walked outside into a pouring rainstorm and ended up jumping on a double decker bus to reach our next destination. From St. Paul’s Cathedral we walked across the Millennial Bridge and toward the London Eye.

At the modern art museum we took in the big installation which was a swing set. So much fun!

By the time we crossed the river and made it over to Waterloo the sun had begun to come out!

We shopped a little along the street markets and I adored these restaurant… bubbles? I don’t know but I want one for my backyard.

When it got dark enough we made our way to Regent Street to take in all the decorations and they didn’t disappoint!

Even the window displays were on point:

On Friday, after our Conquer meet up, we went out walking and ended up at Buckingham Palace at dusk. The flag above the building mean the queen was in residence:

For a late lunch we stopped at Belgo, a Belgium mussels, chips and beer stop that was fantastic! You can essentially get a kilo of mussels and sauce for under $20.

We spent a good amount of time walking around Covent Gardens and their markets.

On Saturday I left London for Dublin, right before the first big snow storm London had seen in a decade. It was a quick 40 minute flight from Gatwick and it took a little while to find my AirBnb. That day I started feeling sick so I had an early dinner and slept in.

Sunday was my only full day in Dublin so I took a taxi down to the shopping district where I promptly found a really cool donut shop:

Since I hadn’t had real food I picked one up for later and stopped for fish and chips at a local pub.

Everything was decorated up for the holidays:

and there were tons of vendors out on the streets:

I didn’t buy much but considering the weather is much cooler than California I bought a sweater, hat and gloves to supplement my winter coat.

On Monday it was back to Manchester on an early flight where we had another Conquer meet up and I got to meet Rachel, who designed my books and website in 2016, in person for the first time!

After our meet up I took the train to Sale and met my cousin’s former husband and his family. The last time I’d seen my cousin’s daughter Coral she was 3 and now she’s nearly 11!

It was a quick visit but lots of fun!

Tuesday I was on the train to London and taking in the countryside:

On the trip back to San Francisco I had another layover in Reykjavík and we departed just at sunset.

As we were flying west, the plane tracked the sun all the way to California and 8 hours later I watched it set over the Pacific Ocean.

Back in San Francisco I had another meet up with Conquer Club members and client meetings.

All in all it was a fantastic trip and I am so glad I took the time to go explore more of the UK!

When did Instagram become > Memories?

Today was a rollercoaster. It began early and I was out the door before 8am for a massage. I don’t go as often as I need to but after a month of tough workouts, still getting my ankle and shoulder back into alignment and a long ass launch month, I was super excited for the therapeutic massage and my therapist I see in town has become a friend, she’s even referred me a house sitter for my upcoming trip.

After the massage I had a productive client call, got some admin work done and took Jackson in for a nail trim. In 20 minutes he only tried to bite the technician 5 times so overall it was a good visit. But about this time I began to feel punky.

At home I gathered my weapons and retreated to bed surrounded by my current favorite candle (blood orange), laptop, cell phone, books, Kindle, work notes and calendar plus a stack of magazines, some pens, my wallet, chapstick, tea, water, heating pads, pain pills and comfortable clothes.

I successfully lounged for several hours, watching nothing of import on YouTube and resting while I worked through some papers.

When I felt better I went into the living room and had a picture perfect evening. But you’ll have to picture it in your head because there are no pictures.

This time of year I try to keep the lights on low, I found that too bright or harsh lighting in the winter can lead to headaches easily. Instead I’ll turn off the overhead lighting and light up some candles, lamps, my library lights and, of course, the Christmas tree.

I was sitting comfortably on the bench of my dining room built in, with an extra pillow for cushioning and blanket to keep me warm. I’d changed into my new pajamas which are adorable and make me feel like a child on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa. I brewed a cup of hot chocolate on the Keurig and turned on the small space heater. The dogs were snoozing on the couch and chairs, each jockeying for the best blanket or vantage point to watch me work on a puzzle.

I was comfortably full after dinner but not stuffed, had cold water and hot chocolate, a puzzle and a Netflix show playing on my laptop. All in all it was a lovely, quiet evening after a long day of ups and downs. 

But even as I enjoyed it there was an insidious part of my braining thinking I needed to take pictures for Instagram. And, if something looked off, fix it. You know, pick up the Fastrak receiver on the table and hide it away, straighten up the blankets Wilson always burrows under and tidy up the bookshelves where I’ve been stacking up the books I’ve finished. Wipe down the countertop, vacuum the rug, light a few more candles, move the sewing project…

…before I knew it I was planning chores upon chores and why? Not because any of those things were bothering me or needed to be done but simply because it would make for a better photo.

When did chasing an image online become more important than a memory. Sitting and working on the puzzle I felt content. Thinking about sharing it I felt discontent.

This evening I was feeling better, thank you pain pills, and my muscles were relaxed after the massage, my hunger satiated, my brain stimulated, my clothes comfortable. There was nothing I needed except, perhaps, the desire to share it.

Why share? 

I go back to this question all the time. Why am I sharing this? As a business owner and leader there are many overlapping reasons to share on social including to showcase my work, share client wins, give people insight into my life, maintain a public presence, show people I’m funny, brag about my adorable dogs, teach something I’ve learned and sharing to connect.

This year I’ve shared about funerals attended, events hosted, sick dogs and dressing up for Halloween, recipes I tested and workouts completed. But whenever I get the feeling that I’m sharing to project an image of importance or bragging about my life I reconsider. It’s not that the temptation isn’t there – this is the digital age – but I am so sick of seeing it from posters with way more followers than me.

No one really lives in those perfectly Instagrammed homes and I’d much rather have more relaxing evenings and hot chocolate than online likes and comments.