Farewell Madison

"Your idea of a perfect life might change. And that's okay." | Thyme is Honey

Is it possible to love a city and still want to leave? Is it possible that if you find a city that might be a perfect fit forever that maybe, just maybe…it makes sense to go try something new?

That’s kind of the conundrum we found ourselves in recently. We’ve lived in Madison, Wisconsin, for the past 5.5 years, and we’ve absolutely loved it. We’ve loved the city, the house we lived it, the people. My husband loved the company he was working for, I loved the supportive freelance community I had discovered. So why in the world would we choose to leave? Well, the decision wasn’t easy, but I hope that if you’re curious about our upcoming move that this post helps explain a little bit about where we are coming from.

When we purchased our home a little over 4 years ago, it was the house that we saw ourselves growing into, eventually filling the extra bedrooms with a kid or two. After our trips to Japan, Thailand, Germany and Austria last fall  and winter we started rethinking our plans for a family. We realized that our 5 year plan might be more of a 10 year plan, and that we weren’t really ready for all that parenthood entailed (read more about that in this post). So we returned home and started thinking about putting our house on the market. We knew if we were 2 or 5 or 7 years away from wanting a family, that we’d enjoy moving into a home that was smaller and better suited to us and our lifestyle. Something with less responsibility so that we wouldn’t feel bad about being gone every weekend or not investing time in home or yard projects (over the past 4 years we’ve realized that this is totally not our scene).

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Visualize an Incredible Day

Take Time to Visualize an Incredible Day | free printable file from Thyme is Honey

Lately I’ve been starting my mornings with the HEALERS podcast from Beauty Bets. She has one of the best “podcast voices” I’ve heard (I could probably listen to her discuss socks) but I also love her podcast because she dives into topics you probably aren’t thinking or talking about. Last week I listed to one about colonics. I’ve listened to one about her favorite psychic medium. There’s a great one about astrology. Definitely not my usual scene.

But spending an hour each day listening to these woo-woo topics on life and love has opened me up a bit to the potential benefits of living a life that is more intentional and more focused on the type of energy you are putting out into the universe. Does the energy we put out come back to us? Does it influence our lives? The book, The Secret (which I just started this weekend), would argue that indeed, what we are putting out there matters.

And so with that I say: take a moment this morning to visualize an incredible day. Take a moment to think about what you want to materialize over the next 24 hours. Think happy thoughts, my friends, and if you need a constant reminder for this practice you can get this print to hang in your home or office. Get instant access to the printable file in either an 8.5 x 11 or 12 x 16 layout when you enter your email, below:

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8 Changes I’ve Made to Live a Healthier Life

8 Changes I've Made to Live a Healthier Life: why I stopped coloring my hair, stopped painting my nails and went off birth control. | Thyme is Honey

I think we all have goals of living a healthier life. For me, that started with a complete and life-changing overhaul surrounding my nutrition and hydration. I had to teach myself how to eat properly and in the process I lost around 30 pounds. In the 6 years since that transition, I’ve continued on this journey and have found that small changes can make a big impact not only on your immediate health, but also on your long-term health. Here are 8 small changes that I’ve made in addition to nutrition that have had positive impacts on my overall health:

  1. I stopped painting my fingernails and toenails. It’s been TWO YEARS since my fingernails have seen nail polish and 5 months since I last got a pedicure (not sure I can stick this out over the summer but I think going sans polish in the winter gives your nails a great chance to recuperate). Not only does most nail polish contain toxic ingredients, but your nails aren’t meant to be covered and sealed with a varnish. Benefits: I’ve realized that natural nails can be beautiful, and that I didn’t have “naturally shitty nails”, I was just dousing them in chemicals. It takes a while…but after a few months of regrowth you’ll notice that your nails are really beautiful by themselves (even your toenails!). 
  2. I went off hormonal birth control. I went on the pill at 15, after experiencing a really bad ovarian cyst. The Pill is often used to regulate women’s periods and help with different types of issues (cysts included). I’d been on it for over 13 years when I finally ditched hormonal birth control altogether and have never been happier. Benefits: Actually understanding my body’s natural cycle, the ebb and flow of my own hormones and how they affect me throughout the month. I know what 3 days of the month I’m going to be particularly moody and they are clearly marked on a joint Google calendar between me and my husband (so, you know, he’s been fairly warned). I feel more mental clarity and emotional stability being off birth control and have found it much easier to regulate my weight. Plus, I feel healthier knowing that I’m not putting hormones into my body that don’t need to be there.
  3. I stopped coloring my hair. It’s been about 18 months since I put color into my hair, although I did get a set of partial highlights about 12 months ago. Since then, I’ve been letting it do it’s own thing. Benefits: I have really liked the way the summer sun lightened my hair up and seeing the natural color come through. I’m not sure this is one I can keep up forever, but so far, so good. 
  4. I started paying attention to ingredients in the products I use. Have there been less product reviews around here lately? Yep. When we were in Thailand last fall I read The Green Beauty Rules by Paige Padgett (you can download it instantly and get reading, it’s so good!). It made me realize that being more conscious about ingredients isn’t just about protecting ourselves, it’s also vital to having a safe earth. If we use that crappy shampoo or hand soap, those chemicals go down the drain and back into our ecosystem. This is about more than just us! Benefits: I’ve since thrown out TUBS full of makeup, nail polish, shampoo etc., and have been replacing all of my products with healthier alternatives that are better for me and the environment. 
  5. I stopped getting Facebook notifications on my phone. Yes, I know I do social media for a living, but that doesn’t mean that my days have to be bombarded by my personal facebook notifications or chats. I don’t get notifications for either of them and have had it turned off for at least a year. If I want to see who commented on a photo or who is trying to chat with me, I have to actively open up the app to check. Benefits: Notifications of any kind have a way of bombarding your life and distracting you. Did you know that on average it takes you 23 minutes to get back into “the zone” once you’ve been derailed? Woof. I’ve found a lot more focus and also a lot more joy. I think its more fun to log into Facebook at the end of the day and get caught up on 10 notifications at once, than it is to get beeped at throughout the day for every little thing.
  6. I switched to Drier Balls. This change is so tiny but so worth it.Along with cleaning up my personal care products I realized the value in removing toxins from something else that impacts you all day every day: your clothes. Washing and drying your clothes with chemicals just means surrounding yourself with them all day—breathing it in and absorbing it through your skin. Drier Balls are 100% wool balls that you infuse with a couple drops of your favorite essential oil, then pop into the drier with your clothes. Benefits: I’ve realized that drier balls and essential oils actually work way better than any drier sheet ever has. The balls help your clothes dry a little faster, and the lingering scent of lavender or lemon is so much more pleasant than any artificial scent.  
  7. I found a fitness routine I love. Being active is a lot easier if you enjoy it. I have several hobbies that keep me active, but finding a routine that I would willingly make time for was always a challenge. We’ve been doing Orangetheory Fitness for over a year now and still love it (see my recent post about Orangetheory Fitness here)! Benefits: I never dread going and it’s something Josh and I enjoy doing together, so it doubles as quality time for the two of us. 
  8. I make time to do nothing. I’m not talking about taking a bubble bath or going to yoga (although relaxing, those are still things). Over the past 6 months I have made it a point to take at least one 5-minute break throughout the day to literally do nothing. I just enjoy the quiet and breathe. Benefits: It’s a very simple thing but centering yourself and your energy has the ability to benefit you in countless ways. The biggest change I’ve noticed is that it helps me create an awareness for time. It helps me stay focused on the present rather than letting the day slip away. 

I recently conducted a survey to gather feedback from readers. This post is a result of a question asked on the survey! If you have feedback, a topic you’d like me to cover or a question you’d like me to answer you can submit it here (it’s anonymous!). 

WELL LIVING BEING HEALTHY

When Should You Have a Baby

"The best time to have a baby is whenever you are ready." | Thyme is Honey

Life is full of lessons and adventures and there are so many things that we have to learn along the way.

When we first got married our plan was to wait at least a year before having kids. 3 months after our wedding my husband started a new job and we relocated. His company has an amazing sabbatical program, sending you anywhere in the world for a month after your 5 year anniversary. It wasn’t hard for us to decide that a family would wait until after that milestone. I think we were both relieved to have such a convenient excuse when people asked when we were having kids. “We’re going on a sabbatical in 2016 and then we’ll think about it!” was our go-to line for 5 years.

I’m a planner by nature so it won’t come as a surprise that having this planned out so strategically and so far in advance appealed to me. When we were a year out from the trip I read “What to Expect Before You’re Expecting” and Josh read “Dude, You’re going To Be A Dad!” I had a prenatal appointment and started taking prenatal vitamins. Those were the things that were supposed to happen a year before conception and I was checking things off the list.

Last summer, as we entered the final countdown to our sabbatical in Japan and Thailand we finally looked at each other one night and realized that this wasn’t what we wanted. We’d been going through the motions and preparing for a baby that we weren’t ready for. When we stepped back we realized that we were doing it because it was the plan we had put in place 5 years ago, hadn’t really reassessed it at any point along the way and because society had made us feel like this was what we were supposed to do next.

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