my legs are jelly.

Yesterday...I found my personal hell.

Spinning class. 

Chad and I go into the gym, not realizing that Zumba is at 6:30 instead of 5:30 (which is when we got there). We check in at the desk and the employee says "So what are you guys doing tonight?" "Oh probably just gonna do some cardio" we replied. "You guys should go to spinning -- it starts in fifteen minutes!" she says eagerly. And then this cute little blond energetic woman bounces up to the  desk "Yeah! Do it!" Little did we know that woman named Brittany would be kicking our butts for 45 minutes.

Now, I am not a very athletic woman. Yes, I do my walking and my elliptical machine, but spinning class? Never thought I would do that. This was my very first time spinning, and I just wanted to remember the thoughts that I had tonight:

Minute 2: Well this isn't so bad...

Minute 5: I hate Ke$ha. Why is she singing so loud?

Minute 7: I'm going to barf. 

Minute 8: I can't believe we have only been doing this for eight minutes. 

Minute 11: I hate looking at myself in the mirror while I'm doing this. 

Minute 17: Am I the slowest one? I feel like everyone else is doing so much better than me. 

Minute 26: I want to sit down. 

Minute 30: I HATE position two.

Minute 33: I want my mommy. 

Minute 38: Why was Chad excited to do this? 

Minute 40: I don't want to run up a steep hill anymore. Please let me sit down.

Minute 41: I. am. going. to. barf. and. kill. someone.

Minute 42: Why didn't we go to Zumba?

Minute 44: Yay! We're sitting down. And going slow.

Minute 45: Done! Let's never do this again!

And strangely enough, Chad and I walked out of there and he said to me "We should do that again. Even though our legs feel like jelly, we should do that again. We should go several times a week."

And...I agreed with him. Call me psychotic, but we are going again, no matter how much it intimidates me. I am going to endure position 2 -- if it kills me.


day off.

Days off are unheard of in this house.
Days off mean slowly waking up and making a quality breakfast of granola, toast, and fruit (opposed to sugary/cavity-inducing cereal at work).
Days off are for stamps, Juno, walks with Leo, and chores.
Days off are for Zumba and grilled cheese.
Days off are a rare gem -- which we completely treasure.

Happy Wednesday, whether you are working or not -- enjoy it! :)


The winner of 2012 weekly planner is Michelle H. who said: I'm thankful that in 2011, my boyfriend passed the Bar Exam and was able to get a new job as a lawyer. Here's hoping that 2012 has other exciting developments for us...
Michelle H.! Congrats! Since I can't get your contact information from your link, please email me at: projectsimplelife@gmail.com and we'll get you your new planner!  


there's nothing like being an aunt.

I went back into the archives to see how long it's been since I shared pictures of my neice and nephew // Baby Z + UJ. It was September seventh . I know. My apologies.

But, today is the perfect day to take a mental break from all the to-do lists and look at five pictures of them on Thanksgiving, right?

So thrilled I get to snuggle with them all weekend! Who are you looking forward to seeing?


crunch time.

There are 4 more days until Christmas -- are you guys feeling it yet? Are you still wrapping that gift for your nephew or are all those gifts neatly and orderly in laundry baskets waiting by the door for when you go to the grandparents' house?  Have you sent out those Christmas cards to your loved ones or are some of them all of them sitting in your backpack because you haven't bought stamps yet?

Okay, so I'm the guilty party. I haven't wrapped any of my gifts and I haven't sent out any Christmas cards...I know. I'm chalking this Christmas prep fail up to school work and finals and how they owned my soul for the entire month of December.

But, even though it appears like I have forever failed Christmas, it sure hasn't failed me. I have done all the Christmasy things -- sampled my mother-in-law's vast cookie collection, watched the quintessential holiday movies for me (Elf, White Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, Love Actually), and we've read through the Christmas story. And, even though some of our Christmas decorations are still in boxes and most likely won't be making an appearance this year, we still are in love with Christmas.

One of my favorite things to look at this year is our Christmas card tree. I have cards from friends and family arranged on the door right next to my television so that I can glance over and look at all the Christmas greetings that we've gotten. My favorite Christmas decoration by far! _______________________________________________

Meghan, from The Perfect Compilation Tape was in need of some blog posts last week, so I thought I would lend a hand and did a guest post for her. Read about my thoughts of Christmas music and enter to win a Christmas music cd: here.


making monday a little sweeter // giveaway from alex

Hey Monday readers...how are you today?

Excited that there are six days until Christmas? 
Thrilled that the semester is almost over? 
Ecstatic to see loved ones this week? 

If you answered 'yes' to all the above, then you + I are in same boat. This week is going to be crazy busy, but let's just sit back and take it one day at a time, shall we? Grab a cup of coffee and read on to find out about a sweet deal from a sweet friend of mine.

I first heard of Alex who blogs over at defteling when we were paired up for the calendar swap hosted by design crush + greedy girl. She kindly offered me a 2012 weekly planner in addition to a 2012 calendar, but since I already have an academic planner that goes into the new year (filled to the brim with assignments), I asked her if I could offer it up on the blog...

Luckily for you -- she agreed!

One of you will start out 2012 with a brand new handmade weekly agenda planner!

How to enter (open to all readers -- U.S. and beyond!): 
01. Leave a comment on this post sharing your answer to this: I am most thankful that _________ happened in 2011. (Mine is my trip to Europe and my niece, Baby Z, coming into this world!)
02. As a special thanks + bonus to my subscribers, those who follow are allowed an additional comment (just leave one telling me that you follow).

**A winner will be announced the Monday after Christmas (the 26th). That way, it's like I'm prolonging Christmas gift opening for one of you! :)

**Even if you aren't the lucky one, you can still save! Alex created a discount code // PSL2011. If you use it in her etsy shop during checkout, you will get 20% off your entire order (excluding shipping).

For more of Alex's work:
etsy | Alex Wijnen
blog | defteling
website | defteling.com


calm before the storm.

My little distraction during my late night paper writing last night. Can't get enough of this pup.

Consider this, tonight, my one-night-to-relax. 

I'm giving myself a one night only pass to do whatever I want before I have to do three take home tests and two finals tomorrow through the weekend. This week has been sprinkled with late-night paper writing (my least favorite thing about paper writing ever). Last night alone, consisted of me staying up until 2am alone on the couch with my snoring husband in the bedroom and observation notes on my lap. The worst part of being a student.

But...one of the best parts of being a student is that I get to declare tonight my relax night. I pledge to sit on the same couch that saw me stressing last night and do absolutely nothing. If I want to go on twitter, I get to go on twitter. If I want to watch old episodes of Parks + Rec (the Christmas episode) I get to. I can browse etsy to my heart's delight and 'pin' as much as I want. It's my prerogative to be lazy for one. night. only.

 Do yourself a favor -- if you can, declare a relax night sometime.

Tomorrow, it'll be a different story :)


yay december.


I am already loving this month even though it's only day five. I know that it is the busiest, most stressful month to end the year with, but it's also the most special to me. Sure we have our hands full, but I am loving it.

And it also helps that I now live in a marshmallow world. It has been snowing the last two days -- those big, fat, fluffy flakes that I told you I loved. Those flakes create a wonderland and a perfect excuse for staying in which is exactly what we did -- except for the tree-getting (before the storm hit).

1. Friday night. hot glue gun. 4 glue sticks. 6 boxes of clearance ornaments from last year + wreath form. 
2. Saturday morning. oh Christmas tree. finding the perfect tree for the corner of our little living room. all tree pictures now require a high-kick when posing for your sister-in-law.
3. Saturday afternoon. flaky chocolaty croissant from a local bakery split in two. cold glass of milk to wash down. well-deserved treat after signing a worthy petition and browsing our local co-op.

While browsing the blog posts today, please check out my friend Celia! She featured my butternut squash soup that I happen to love and make monthly. If you're looking for a good soup, check this one out...


preparing for december.

For the first time EVER, I am linking up to lovely Lauren's Fill in the Blank Friday! As a long-time blog reader of hers and a self-proclaimed Christmas enthusiast, I thought I would share some of my Christmas thoughts....

1.   The holiday season is   (in my humble opinion) the best time of the year. seriously. This time of the year you will often see me grinning stupidly when I see an endearingly sweet Christmas commercial or nudging Chad and saying (over and over) "Do you know I love Christmas?!!!" "Seriously, Do you?!" "This is my favorite time of the year!!" To which my dear husband replies, "Yes honey, I know."

2.   Snow makes me stinkin' happy. That soft, quiet snow steals my heart every time. As long as I don't drive in it. I am from Wisconsin, so we get our fair share of snowstorms and I have this really irrational fear of driving in the icy snowstorms....I think it might have to do with the fact that my parents used to have this van that didn't have 4-wheel drive + I spun out several times while driving it. Did I ever tell you that, mom and dad?

3.  The best comfort food to eat when it's cold out is   something from the oven -- hotdish, bread, cookies, chili. I think when I made my meal plan for December, we are making 5 different chilis/soups which is basically perfection in our house .

4. Winter is the best time for  being together. and also, some reflection. since it's nearing the end of the year, I always go back and think about what has happened to me and how much we have to be thankful for in our little life. we are truly blessed.

5.  I can hardly wait for  my weekends with Chad. I have always had to work every weekend in December (once I had to work on Christmas Day...) and I can't wait to do all our Christmasing together this year. we have big plans -- sledding, playing with Leo, watching probably 10 holiday movies, quiet advent devotions, hot cocoa, shopping, decorating, being together!

6.  When it comes to holiday gifts I prefer to   give ones that matter. My parents have instilled in their kids that it's important to not put the focus on the gifts, but on the valuable gift that God gave us on Christmas. We are all starting our own families now, so we give gifts that are really thought out and something the person can truly cherish. One of the most exciting things that happens when we are opening presents is when I see people like what I've found for them -- the look they get. I completely LOVE that.

7.  If I were to rate my excitement about the holiday season on a scale from 1-10, I would say I am at about a    5 (right now). I have put Christmas on the back burner so far (all our decorations are still in the basement next to Leo's food) since schoolwork has consumed every spare second of mine...but after this weekend + our decorating extravaganza, I think that number will be bumped up to a solid 10. Even though I still have finals week...

Did you Fill in the Blank? (If you'd still like to, link up to the current one here .)

In other news --
01 | The calendar page is the last one (obviously) in the calendar that Danni gave me, so I felt it needed the proper recognition. Along with our Anthro initial mugs that we bought in London.
02 | If you like that calendar, the other ones paper source might interest you. I think this wall calendar looks most like the 2011 one I have.
03 | While writing this post, I listened to the beautiful Christmas playlist Arielle made. And then listened to it again the next morning.
04 | Katie featured a highly entertaining video called: Mall Santa Musical. super funny.
05 | As Thy coming was in peace, Quiet, full of gentleness, Let the same mind dwell in me that was ever found in Thee. -- something to pray for during the advent season.


wake up + go.

pin no. / 242425966
Happy December. Am making it a point to enjoy this merry and bright season through all the muck of studying, cleaning, laundry, and the like. 

Right now the sun is shining, the to-do list is shrinking and I owe some of it to the tunes playing in the background. Yes, it's true, I have been playing Christmas music since the beginning of November, but... sometimes you need a little break from Band Aid + Mariah Carey + The Beach Boys.

Recently, I asked you readers if you had any 'on the road'/energizing music suggestions and thanks to you, I can drive to my 8am classes with a little more pep.

Listen to Project Simple Life // for the road:

I do still love those cozy Christmas carols while I snuggle on the couch, but I'll be playing these songs when I'm hurriedly wrapping the last of those presents and studying for finals. With a cup of hot cocoa, of course.

Happy Listening. :)


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