Cleaning Hacks for a Working Mama

I’ll be honest, I was at point in my life where I felt like I had no time at all to clean my house. Whenever I got home after, I literally felt feelings of discouragement, inadequacy, and just legit lazyness solely based on the fact that I had no time to clean. I would’ve rather spent those couple of hours with the baby and hubby than to spend hours cleaning so I hired a cleaning service. They came faithfully, every other week and all was well in the world. That is until I became aware of toxic chemicals in cleaning products and the implications that arise from inhaling them. (Thanks to the Colorful Eats Podcast for bringing me to this awareness!)  And aside from that, I wanted to involve Noah in a cleaning routine so I womaned up and told our cleaning crew that Mama was taking over!

 

 

Now by any means, my home is not sparkling on a daily basis. If anyone knows our home always has family or friends over for dinner just I mean everyone is welcome pretty much so there’s typically company. Also Josh has sleep issues worse than a baby so he’ll set up shop on the couch-down comforter, pillows and everything. It’s insanity. But I mean I love him so yea. The point is I kept seeing these homes on Pinterest and Instagram and I’m like how the eff do people have time to keep their home spotless! And while I realize that is simply a moment in time for them, I would still get in my feelings aforementioned. So I pulled out a notebook and wrote down each room in my house.

I also found a crazy cleaning product hack and subscribed to Grove.co for all non-toxic home products that get delivered straight to my door. This is in no way sponsored I just LOVE this service because if I don’t have to leave the house I’m into it. Anyway I wrote down each room in my house and all the things that needed cleaning for each room. If you reduce it to each room, it becomes less intimidating and then from there you can delegate what needs to be done.

Main Rooms:

Kitchen | Bathroom | Dining | Living

Kitchen:

  • Counters | Floors (sweep ups) : DAILY
  • Stove | Fridge : Sundays

Bathroom :

  • Counter  | Floors (sweep ups) : Daily
  • Toilet | Shower : Sundays

Dining: Wipe down surfaces

  • Floors (Vaccum or Mop Sundays)

Living: Wipe down surfaces

  • Floors (Vacuum or Mop Sundays)

I use this as a base and work my way room to room.

**MAJOR TIP** NO MEANDERING or WANDERING. Don’t float otherwise you’ll never complete a task. This will turn your cleaning into an entire day event which we do not want! Unless that’s you’re thing than do you!

 

**MAJOR MAJOR TIP**

Keep the cleaning product underneath the kitchen sink or bathroom sink. SOOO much easier to just grab, spray, and wipe. (we use method or Seventh Generation from Grove Collaborative-linked above and eco-friendly and sustainable paper towel also from Grove). This helps me especially because somehow I feel it is a major inconvenience to walk “all the way” to the laundry room to grab the cleaning basket….I sound super lazy I really am not though I promise! 

Also, just get a little wool duster. It’s easy to just swipe over everything as you go. Maintenance is key because you know I’m all about efficiency and using my time wisely, hence the deliver for Grove Collaborative products.

Oh and also, try a timer. Some people work well under pressure. Put that thing to 15 minutes per room-you’ll be surprised how much you get done.

I hope this simplifies your cleaning process like it’s done mine and maybe you can fire your cleaning lady too if you had one 🙂

What quick and easy cleaning hacks do you have? I’d love to hear!

XO,

GV

 

 

Chapter 32

It’s kind of crazy turning 32. I distinctly remember feeling that this particular age was so far away so I basically felt like I blinked and here I am: grad school graduate, married 5 years, and baby boy that’s cuter than I could’ve ever asked….and turning 32. When I thought about my 30’s I always imagined, I’d have it all together. That there was this grand plan that plateaued at 30 and that was the epitome of being a grown up. Boy was I wrong! And I’m so glad I was wrong.

I am still growing, but I will say since I did enter my 30’s, I’ve learned the art of self-reflection. This is a difficult piece of maturity that can be chilling when we search within to find out who we really are and sometimes we come face to face with the fact that we need to change. I never thought I’d be in my 30’s and be a completely different person and in many ways I’m still that 22 year old girl who can get wild when the mood strikes. But those raw parts of me, the parts that never allowed vulnerability, seeing it as a weakness, yet self-criticism was a ritual for me, I not too long ago was faced with challenges that forced me to look at who I truly was and really just started asking myself, “Giana, is this who you want to be?” The answer was no for the most part, so I changed my habits, my thoughts and perspectives. I realized the power of choice and my GOD was that freeing. We all know we have the choice to do or be or say things we want, but have we really ever taken advantage of those choices and actually made them? So what choices have I made ushering me into the 32nd chapter.

  • I have made the choice of happiness. I am choosing to be happy, regardless of circumstance and situation.
  • I am choosing my husband-everyday. Because that’s what marriage is. The choice to love that person every damn day until you die. And I happily make that choice. (We’re renewing our vows soon btw! Stay tuned.)
  • I choose freedom in faith. My unwavering faith in God knowing He’s got me. No questions asked.
  • I choose to create time, instead of complaining that I don’t have it.
  • I choose to be present. Making eye contact when my son calls my name, leaving my phone in the other room while I play with him or put him to sleep.
  • I choose to pour myself into every facet of life where my passion leads.
  • I choose to share. I choose to share my experiences, lessons I’ve learned, the times I’ve fallen. Because mistakes are what make us great. And hiding those mistakes in shame does no one any good.
  • I choose to learn. I choose to accept that I don’t know everything and that every moment is an opportunity to grow.
  • I choose to be brave-standing firm in who I am, drawing boundaries, and demanding self-respect. From strangers, friends, and family. It’s important to see that there are limits to what we accept into our spaces.
  • I choose to see each road block as a redirection to something better instead of using my energy to move it.
  • I choose to see every person I meet and everyone in my life as a teacher with a lesson. Whether they see it that way or not. I choose to ask myself what I can learn from every encounter.
  • I choose to let my curls be crazy sometimes and not really care.I choose to see make up as an addition to beauty and show my son a woman’s natural beauty.
  • I choose to accept the responsibility of being a mother and understanding that sometimes it means putting myself, my well-being, and mental wellness first.
  • I choose to be my best everyday and I choose to understand that my best each day can look different.

That being said, hello 32!

XO,

GV

Meet Your Veggie Meat

A couple weeks I posted a question on IG stories-well a vote really asking what people thought was healthier-veggie meat or free-range organic meat. The results reflected that a majority believe free-range meat to be a healthier choice more so than the processed veggie meat, but there were quiet a number voting that it’s opposite lead the pack. But I’ll be honest, I was raised on meat, just chicken and turkey, and made a choice to go vegetarian at 25. There were a few periods of wings and tacos sprinkled in there, but for the most part I said adios to meat. Reasons ranged from health to mercy for animals.

Whatever the reason, choosing a meat substitute, many meat-free people believe they are choosing the healthier option much like I did when I went vegetarian, but even then those savory veggie meats some of us grew up with are processed and contain some pretty questionable materials. I took it upon my self to flip over the bags of some common veggie meat brands and noted what I found. Some surprisingly disappointing and some pleasantly surprised. So what to look for if you’re going meat free?

  • Textured Veggie Protein or Soy Isolates. Secret word? Hexane-a toxic byproduct of gasoline basically that is literally approved by the FDA to give veggie meat that meaty protein. Uh no thanks.
  • GMO Soy. If you aren’t aware by now of what Genetically Modified anything does to your body go read Shape Magazine’s article on possible risks with GMO.
  • Pretty much anything you can’t pronounce would be a good sign to avoid intake. I mean just a suggestion.

Guys, just take the time to flip over the package. Meat isn’t abysmal, yet what it does to your body whether free-range or not is DEFINITELY for another post entirely and that’s not to run down the ethical challenges with “organic” or “free-range” meat as highlighted here by PETA. Read up on the meat industry. Be educated on what goes in your body whether it’s meatless or not.

So anyway, what’s a good sub? My two favs are Beyond Meat  and Amy’s Organics. For more things to look out for on the veggie meat front, you can also check out Food Babe’s post for more keywords to look for in your next purchase. Hope this helps answer the questions from last week!

XO,

GV

It’s About Time to Make Time

Noah is going on 3 years old in a little over a month! It blows my mind how fast time flys and no matter how many times you say that time does fly, you’ll never fully immerse yourself in a moment.

Ever since I went back to work, I was in a constant race to beat time. Until recently, time has been my mortal enemy and we’ve just started making peace with one another. When I went back to work after having him, I spent the afternoon/evening racing home to not miss dinner and bedtime routines. Most of the time, I’d miss the latter and it would just haunt me the rest of the night, ultimately robbing me of any enjoyment I could have with Josh. The worst part? I did it all again the next day. I eventually got tired of rushing about my day and fighting for the next moment, so instead, I chose to manage and leverage my time with baby as much as I could. So how do you take back your time when you live triple lives on a daily basis? Tactics my friends!

  1. Stop the guilt. In my case, it’s mom guilt. The “I’ll never see..” or “I’m missing everything”. Until you can do something else to change this situation don’t dwell.
  2. Make a plan for the day and choose one thing to look forward to. Write it down on a sticky or in an alarm on your phone. I prefer physically writing it because there’s power in pen and paper.
  3. Getting home, change. I can’t get out of my work clothes fast enough. Keep your comfies folded on your bed and ready to go!
  4. Remember your why. This can change through each season of life, but reflecting on my why  keeps me anchored.

I’m always curious to see what others do to manage their time so share away please!

 

XO,

Gi

Seasonal Uncertainty’s Silver Lining

Hey Friends!

So I wanted to get into seasons with you for a moment. No, not Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer type seasons, but seasons in life. I choose to look at different phases in my life as seasons, because it’s easier to digest that each earthly season doesn’t last forever therefore life seasons do not last. Seasons of life are just varied depending on who, what, and where you are and no one’s one season is the same nor do they occur at the same times.

Personally, I have been in a season of uncertainty more so focused on purpose in career and where I’m headed with what I ultimately want to do. While I already know the what, I am stuck in the “how”. And this is where I find most people become stuck, because the how is so much trickier than the what. When you feel uncertain, the self-talk tends to be on the negative side usually sounding like “why bother”, “there’s no options”, “I just don’t see a way”, etc. I’ve talked about self-talk and how powerful it seems to be mostly for me, and this type of talk is NOT the way to make it to where you want to be.

The beauty of uncertainty, because I’m all about the silver lining, is that because there is no particular way is that you get to create it! You get to create the way for you that works for you. The possibilities are endless when you haven’t done it before because it’s new. It’s not stained with process or opinion of what the “best” or “most efficient” way to do that thing is. So create and make a way.

My tips?

  1. Start small. List WHAT or WHERE where you want to be. (easy)
  2. Brainstorm the how. Write out on PAPER guys not your phone or computer sticky notes. There is magic in writing in your own handwriting and the connections your brain makes to the action. Write all the steps in YOUR mind of how it would be possible for you to get there.
  3. Turn that brainstorm magic into a list and start crossing them off. It feels way too good to cross things off of lists for me and I just feel like I’m dominating as I draw that line through that thing.
  4. Start DOING. Action is everything. Inaction is a decision. You are deciding NOT to make the way.

So lean into the uncertainty, but find a way to use it as inspiration and not defeat. See it as an opportunity not a road block and your life will change.

I want to hear from you! What are your tips for surviving uncertain seasons?

XO,

Gi

5 Musts in LA from a Local Girl

I mean nothing really beats LA in the states. In my opinion I guess. Because location is everything and weather, well that’s just icing on a vegan, gluten free cake. Minutes away from the beach and equally as close to the mountains with snow, you can’t really complain about much except for traffic. Although I will say traffic comes from overcrowding so there’s definitely too many people, but the diversity is what the migrators to this city are looking for. So we kinda need all these people for variety sake. But you guys, I grew up here and I STILL haven’t seen everything like shame on me!

Anyway, this weekend, we stayed in LA, right near Beverly Hills with some friends. In the 48 hours we were there, we saw ALOT, but we only did like 5 things. So if you’re local to LA and still haven’t been able to appreciate your city, I highly recommend the following:

  • LACMA-it’s huge and they’re always changing the exhibits which suffices for variety so this can be a regular thing and you won’t get bored. The space to walk can easily get some steps in for the day. Not to mention there are definitely some spots for the aspiring photographer or fancy Instagram-er because let’s be honest, we love aesthetic and who doesn’t want to learn to appreciate art?
  • La Brea Tar Pits- totally underrated! We can’t get enough of LA history and this has more than I really ever paid attention to. Lots of space for the kids to get their wiggles out and it’s free to wander unless you want to visit an exhibit. Definitely on the list.
  • Cofax- ok food. Who’s not eating in LA? Cofax is named after Koufax, former Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher. They have the most phenomenal breakfast burritos I’ve ever had in my life and I’ve had my fair share. And they have donuts. Burritos and donuts. Just die.
  • Rodeo- it’s still worth the trip. Whether you’re window shopping or splurging, just go.
  • Hollywood sign-get your Nike’s on and leave on your yoga pants (we all know you’re already wearing them because so am I) and head up the hill because the hike is stunning. Even the drive is gorgeous, but if you live here and you haven’t hiked to the Hollywood sign, it’s a must. And while you’re there, the Griffith Observatory is literally on the way. Do yourself the favor and allow yourself to be in awe for a min. Because when was the last time you’ve been amazed?

I had to share this mostly because you tend to forget what’s in your own backyard when you’re looking in someone else’s. So while you’re planning your next vacation and you live in LA, try a staycation and fall in love with your home.

XO,

GV

Surviving the Regression Opression

Unbeknownst to me, there is a two year sleep regression that no one felt necessary to mention as I approached toddlerhood with Noah. I had to find out through Pinterest, which I’m ok with now but why did no one write about this? At least on how they made it out alive. Well I’m writing to you as we are in the eye of the storm and let me tell you- it’s real.

My poor baby boy has begun to cry, correction, scream, himself to sleep. No amount of hugs or cuddles will soothe him. He screams for Dada if I have him and screams for Mama if Josh has him. Bottom line: no one is winning. When I get him, it’s a battle for my boobs. Part of the regression? Nursing again like a newborn. So 2 weeks of feeling lost in my own house with my own child and 2 emotional breakdowns later what have I figured out?

  • I discovered the art of letting Noah choose: I let him pick a friend to bring to bed. Mickey was the choice which I’m guessing we’ll be sticking with because consistency is key.
  • The “Dum” situation (boobs or nursing he calls Dum)- this is tricky but telling him Dum has ouchies and allowing him to put band-aids over my nipples has helped him register that they are unavailable. In my case, we are using nursing pasties called LilyPads if I remember correctly.
  • Water on hand.
  • Lastly, but certainly not least-patience. Say a prayer because it’s rough in this dark room with an angry toddler. However remembering this is a short time in your precious baby’s life will help you pull through.

Keep in mind, it’s not over for us, we are in the thick of it. So stay tuned on progress and how we’re doing next week! Any tips any one has for us as we continue to push through feel free to send them my way!