Episode #144: Priorities and The Power of Moments

Today, we are sharing our book report on The Power of Moments and we’re talking about how we set our priorities for our work life, our creative selves, and our family life.

You can stream the episode here, on the blog, or on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayTuneInPocket Casts, and Stitcher. You can find the podcast posts archive here.

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Show notes:

Tips for creative priorities: Move your self-care, a creative thing, or one thing that will make you feel good to the top of your list. Also, change up your priorities when needed. Change can be a good thing.

-Elsie mentions her DIY painted glass vases.

Tips for work priorities: Create a small to-do list, create your weekly to-do list on Sundays, and keep a schedule.

Tips for prioritizing family: Make a bucket list (listen to Episode #140: Spring Bucket List), plan two to three activities for the whole weekend, and pick the most important things (but leave a lot of breathing space in between).

To set boundaries: Ask yourself if you have the capacity for it, who is it benefiting, is it worth your time, and if you have the emotional space.

How to get past a frantic overwhelmed feeling: Talk to a therapist, make more space for self-care, pick two to three easy wins to accomplish, spend more time outside, and use aromatherapy.

Tell us in the comments what you would like to change in your life. xo, Elsie and Emma

P.S. Tell us what you thought of The Power of Moments on today’s Instagram story!

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Episode 144 Transcript

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Elsie: You’re listening to the A Beautiful Mess podcast. This week, we’re sharing our book report on The Power of Moments and we’re talking about how we set our priorities for our work life, our creative selves, and our family life. All right. 

Emma: Can I put something out there real quick for this episode? 

Elsie: Yes. 

Emma: It’s storming where I am. My dog Steve gets really anxious so he’s under my desk kind of low level whining so you probably are going to hear that in this episode and I’m just not willing to put him out of my room. So there you go.

Elsie: It happens, that stuff happens. I think it’s okay. It’s like a part of the term everyone’s nodding along being like, we don’t care, Emma. Take care of your dog. It’s cool. Okay, so I have something fun to talk about. So, I have been thrifting a ton lately. 

Emma: I’m jealous. 

Elsie: Yeah. When I first started this podcast, I would always say like, I love thrifting but I can’t right now. It was like when we first adopted Marigold and then it was the pandemic. So I didn’t go thrifting on a regular basis for several years. But recently, I’ve started going again regularly like about once a week and it’s been so wonderful.

Emma: Tell me because I want to live through vicariously because I’m now in the I don’t have time to go thrifting at the moment very often, but I love it so much. So tell me what you’ve been getting, what’s been happening at the thrift.

Elsie: Okay, normally, I do have a good amount of like, in my dining room library, there’s like the under shelves. So I have a good amount of storage for special dishes. So I’m collecting some special dishes for various holidays and fun things like tea cups and things like that and Crystal. You guys know I love crystal. Recently, I found some little side plates that look like mistletoes. I was so happy. There was a whole set of them at the thrift. So yeah, I’ve been collecting things like that. Then also recently, I got a ton of just like plain glass vaces and a painted them. Then I made the top shelf all around my library, because it’s a really high shelf. At first I was putting books up there and then I realized like I think it would look a little more cohesive if I did vases on the top. So I painted all these glass vases, various tones of, to look like Jade pottery. Well, I guess it’s glasses, like colored glass and pottery. So yeah, they look like that. Overtime, I’ll probably add some real ones in there too because there is still plenty of space to push back and put more in but for now it looks full. It was probably $100 for all the vases. Then painting them was like two Saturdays worth and it was fulfilling and it made me happy. I love stuff like that where you can just get that instant gratification from thrifting. 

Emma: I love that. 

Elsie: Yeah, everyone send us your thrifting pictures. Tag us and every single one, we’ll never get tired of it. We love seeing what people thrift. I should do some Instagram Stories next time I go because I haven’t done that in a long time but that’d be fun. 

Emma: I would watch a reality show that’s like what I thrifted. They follow someone into a thrift store and they’re like deciding and you’re like, oh no, don’t get it. Then maybe they like do and then they make it look really cool in their house or they wear it in an interesting way. I would totally watch that show.

Elsie: I’m at the point in my life where I think that having a lot of vintage is what makes my house special and good. It has enough stuff about it that’s new and nice and it needs more charm and old and patina stuff and stuff with texture and age to it. It’s super fun. I’m really happy to be back into it and finding all the spots now since we’ve moved that are close to my new house has been fun. So I love it. Yes. Okay, so should we chat about priorities? Okay, I got this email from Jennifer this past week. We’re really on a kick right now of making whole episodes from our listener emails. So always remember to email us at podcast@abeautifulmess.com. If you emailed us a long time ago, we didn’t do your idea, just send it again because like, who knows, like we might, you know what I mean? 

Emma: We’re not that organized so don’t take it personal.

Elsie: We’re not that organized. I usually only look at the last few weeks of emails when I’m making the outlines every week. So if you sent it like six months ago, it basically doesn’t exist. Every once in a while, especially on Instagram, when we do the big like, give us all your ideas I write down dozens of them and that is so helpful. Anyway, okay, so I’m gonna read Jennifer’s email, and then we’re going to talk about how we’ve set priorities in our lives. Here we go. I struggle with being overwhelmed with possible projects, interests, and experiences to save up for. This is a good problem to have and I’m grateful for it. But you two seem to have a zest for life and learning and I bet you can relate even more. Yes, we can. I bet you have excellent advice to offer. For example, I work full time, spend time with my family and friends, and I love hobbies, gardening, making, sewing, baking, hiking, and reading. We want to get back into international travel. That sounds fun. But I love the idea of also camping at local and national parks. I have some ideas for side hustles, teaching resources, etc. I love to swim and do yoga. Okay, I relate with all of this so much. This is like 90% of my personality is having too much on my to-do list and then freaking out. Thinking about getting another Master’s, it doesn’t stop. Also, I have volunteer ideas, you get the idea. Okay, how do you decide what to prioritize with your time balancing values, interests, people, et cetera? Okay, I love this topic. I think that this is so relatable to so many of us. I know, not all of our audience, but some of our audience is in the mom’s zone like we are. I think it amplifies it even more. This email was from someone who does not have any kids yet and it’s already that feeling but when you add a kid to the mix. For me, it took me like under the ocean for a little bit. I was like, oh my god, like, you know what I mean? So it’s like finding that balance again and moving around your priorities, I think is something that you’ll always be doing your whole life through. I take comfort in the idea of getting older and having more free time for all my hobbies. It’s actually one of my biggest personal struggles is that I struggle with self imposed unhelpful guilt, where I just constantly feel guilty that I want to do like eight categories of things a day, but you can only do two or three, maybe one.

Emma: Let me tell you my most stupid guilt moment this past week. So I’m also pretty overwhelmed, have a little kid work a lot, blah, blah, blah, love to do things. Jennifer’s list is amazing here and mine is not the same but I’m like nodding my head because I’m like, yes, I want to do this and I want to do this. I’m already doing these four things and I want to blah, blah, blah. So I have a puzzle. It’s like The Office puzzle. It’s been sitting out for three weeks now. I’ve actually had friends over and they’ve worked on it more than I have. I just started to feel really guilty about not doing my puzzle because I was like, I don’t have time. When am I gonna have time to finish this puzzle? It’s just sitting out and then I was like, Emma, are you stressing yourself out about the puzzle because you don’t have time to do the puzzle? You’ve got to calm down. 

Elsie: The puzzle is metaphor for everything. 

Emma: Yeah, I was seriously like, starting to get guilt inside my head and my heart about it and I was like, whoa, you’ve got to calm down. This is a puzzle. 

Elsie: Yep. No, I have that exact thing. My problem is more like having too many things I want to do, then not. People who, like my husband recently was like, I think I need a hobby. I was like, oh my God, that’s your problem. 

Emma: That must be nice. 

Elsie: Yeah, like really? I can’t imagine a life where I need to think of another hobby I want to do.

Emma: Yeah, I can’t either. Wow, you need something in your life. That’s amazing. You’re not just constantly taking out. Maybe we’re hoarders of doing instead of hoarders of things. You know what I mean?

Elsie: That’s one of the things I want to talk about when we get into like, the boundaries and stuff. I do feel like that. I do feel like it’s a real problem that affects me, if I can’t just choose one and one is enough for today. Then I won’t be able to do any of them and that is so much worse. 

Emma: I also think like just going to the example of hoarding things, which I don’t know that much about. I think there’s a lot more to it than my small understanding of it. But I also feel like there’s probably this like you don’t get to enjoy the things that you do have as much because you’re hanging on to so much. In a similar way, I would say I do that where I’m like, I’m not really enjoying my puzzle because I’m stressed out that I don’t have enough time for it because I’m doing these other things. It’s like, dude, just enjoy the things that you do have time for but you somehow like have a hard time with that because you’re like, but I didn’t get to this and I didn’t finish this and so on and so forth. 

Elsie: So first let’s talk about creative self or like, I call it my creative self I think the same thing as when people say when they mean self-care. It’s just like taking care of the inside of the old brain first, you know what I mean? If you can’t just have basic peace and joy in your daily life then there’s so many other things you can’t do. For me, more than self-care of making sure I’ve slept enough or something, it’s usually like saving a little bit for my creative self is my thing that I have to really protect. Okay, I have one tip. It’s just like, so obvious. It’s so obvious. It’s so simple. I do think it’s life-changing, is to just move your self-care, your creative state, if there’s one thing in your day that’s going to make your day good, move it to the top of your list. Give yourself that first. I’m not saying to blow off your responsibilities. I like to have one really good thing and one hard thing on my list every day. I don’t think that you can make your list too militant where it’s like, all difficult thing, difficult thing, difficult thing, and not give yourself that creative space, at least for me. I would lose my hope and wither.

Emma: Lose my hope and wither, oh my god. Yeah, I think too sometimes you just kind of have to let go or reframe, which I think is really annoying to hear. There is a little piece of me that wants to rage against that, I get it. But I also think sometimes you have to, you just have to kind of say, okay, I really wanted to, let’s say you’re really into painting. You’re like I really want to complete a painting every week and it just keeps on happening. It’s bumming you out. It’s making you sad and you just feel like, oh, am I ever even going to paint? What is my life? You need to just change it to like one painting a month or like I’m going to complete four paintings this year. You just need to change it up, like change when you do it, how you do it, redefine what success of it is. Sometimes, like you set a bar, and it’s like, okay, and you’re not reaching that and you need to change what success means.

Elsie: I agree. Yeah, changing your goal to have a smaller goal, I think is so freeing sometimes. I have the personality type where I am inclined to set too big of goals. Of course, I think I can do them. I’ve set this goal probably five or six times before, I have these like little tiny canvases. I started this like five years ago, for context. I have these little tiny canvases in my office and I’ve set the goal over and over that I’m gonna do one small, tiny painting a day, but I can never do it and it bothers me. So maybe I should change it to like one a week and then I would probably be able to do it. It’s just like, stop giving yourself a goal that you’re failing out over and over. It’s kind of like killing a plant and then buying a new one and putting it in the same spot. It’s like, at a certain point, it’s better to just get a fake plant for that spot. Let that be like a part of it. So yeah, I’m not a big fan of doing the same goal over and over. If you already have like a quote-unquote fail in your past, switch up the goal for the next time so that I don’t know, maybe it’s mental but so that you’re not starting with the anticipation that you probably can’t do. 

Emma: Yeah, because that’s just it, I would say, if you feel like you’re failing over and over and over again, maybe what you’re aiming for then doesn’t make sense. If you were in a class like if I was in like advanced algebra, I’m really bad at math by the way so this is a weird example. I don’t know, I just made something up on the fly. If I was an advanced algebra and I just kept failing the test, I would be like, you know what, I could feel really bad about myself or I could raise my hand and be like maybe I should be in regular algebra. Maybe I need to change up what is success here because this isn’t working for me. I need to have goals that I can achieve and move forward in life and not feel like a failure constantly because that’s not helping anyone. It’s not helping you. It’s not helping anyone around you. It doesn’t make anyone happy for you to feel like a failure constantly. You’ve got to change that.

Elsie: I think that that’s an important thing to realize. Once I started realizing that I was feeling guilty for stuff that wasn’t moving any needle, then it’s easier to sort of move past it. So let’s talk about work priorities. I have one tip again, this is like the one. For my brain, I have to have a small to do list for work. Several times within the past few months, I’ve made a list of all the blog posts and Instagram reels and stuff I want to do for the whole spring and summer till fall. That list is not good for me to look at every day. It’s not really helpful except for just to use as an idea reference. The list that I need to have for the week is like two things, three things, small, tangible, you know what I mean? You can always do more but it’s like, just having a starting point that’s really doable is really important for me for being productive.

Emma: I totally agree. I kind of do this thing. It’s similar but I guess slightly different in that I make my to do list for the whole week on Sunday or early Monday morning before I start working. I prefer Sundays but sometimes it doesn’t happen. Anyway, I stack Monday like nuts, I will not finish everything that I put on Monday.

Elsie: I can tell because you never text me back on Mondays. 

Emma: Yeah, because I’m just like hurtling through. But Thursday and Friday, there’s almost nothing on at the beginning of the week and I just move things. What happens is, in my mind, I’m like if I can get everything done then that leaves Thursday and Friday for a little more planning or creative work or writing my novel during my work day if I actually had time. Which sometimes happens but not very often. It just like kind of leaves a lot of space. Whereas if I packed every day, which I used to do, then you just have a ton of things that you’re moving to the next week. Every single week, you feel like you’re not getting everything done and that’s sort of a defeating feeling. Even if you are getting a lot done. It’s still like, well, you feel defeated so kind of moving in that sense. So there’s that. Then the other tip is scheduling time for things. So I feel like it’s so obvious if you’re like I have a meeting. I have a meeting at 3pm so I’m not planning to do anything else during that hour because I’m meeting with my team for XYZ. We are all pretty, we know what meetings are, that’s pretty easy. It’s not like you wouldn’t take a call or take a text during a meeting but for the most part, that’s what you’re doing. That’s what you’re planning in your mind and what you’ve scheduled. So you kind of have to do that for other tasks. I will have times where I’m like I’m doing emails for an hour. They’ve just gotten out of control and I’m doing emails for one hour. If someone tries to call me or text me, unless I think it’s an emergency, I’m not going to answer. I’m just doing that. I have to kind of like book it like a meeting in my mind. I don’t know, for me, that just helps because then I almost like, for me, it takes the guilt and pressure off of all the other things that I’m not getting done. I’m like this time is for this. It has been designated. It is email hour or it is write your two blog posts that you’ve already photographed, or whatever the task is that I have to complete. Then I don’t feel bad for all the other things that I’m not doing during that same time. It’s not like I could do them all at once anyway but somehow I’m like, this is designated, like a meeting and that’s that.

Elsie: I think that that’s really good advice. Okay, so do you have any tips for prioritizing family stuff? I have one. 

Emma: Is it the bucket list? That’s kind of what comes to my mind. 

Elsie: The bucket list is great. That’s not what I put down but do you wanna talk about that for a sec?

Emma: Yes. So we have previous episodes, we have a lot of episodes about bucket lists, but our previous one was spring. You can download a spring bucket list, we’ll link that in the show notes. But essentially, for us what it is, is a to-do list for the season. For the most part, I put all sorts of things on mine, like personal creative things, work things, and family things. But it’s more skewed towards family things. It is essentially a way to remind myself to seek out the moments and do the little things. Tonight I have something going on and I have thought multiple times this week about canceling it. But it’s on my bucket list to do it this season and I’ve already scheduled it. So I’m like, you know what, I’m just gonna do it. I’m really stressed. I’m really stressed about doing it, to be honest. I’m like I need to just stay home and work but I’m not. I’m going to do the thing that I’ve planned tonight and it’s on my bucket list. I know, I’ll get to the end of the season and I won’t look back and think oh, I wish I had canceled that and just did emails that night like I do so often. I won’t. I’ll be like, oh, I made it. I did that. Great and I made like a memory and that’s great. Yeah. So I feel like that’s sort of part of it for me with family stuff is just making it a priority, which for me having it on a list, like a bucket list, makes it like oh, even if you feel stressed, even if you’re like I don’t feel like doing this today. It’s like well, it’s on the list, and let’s just do it. Let’s just get into it as best we can and I know I won’t regret it.

Elsie: 100% yeah. Okay, so my tip, this is mainly for weekends because our weekdays, my husband’s and I’s parenting style is very structured. Even though like I consider myself a really creative person, we do a lot of like crafts and stuff, our schedule is pretty rigid. I guess a nicer way to say it is consistent. We’re extremely consistent like waking up breakfast, getting ready, bedtime, everything is the same every day during the week and there’s really like basically no variation besides what we have at dinner, something like that. The night times are not a good time for us to do a big activity or something. So on the weekends, we do all of that stuff and it’s really fun. We have a great weekend. But yeah, my tip is, for coming from a mom with two kids, to plan like two or three activities for the whole weekend and I really stick to that now. Whenever we had one kid, we used to do probably more like six because we would like go to brunch both mornings and go out to dinner both nights. It’s just not like that anymore though. Now, we will go out one time during the weekend to a restaurant and I tried to put one thing for each person. So the things that I like to do is like, I like to go to the flea markets in Nashville and I like to go to the bookstore so I put that down. Sometimes I like to go to anthropology and one of my kids loves anthropology so that works. But then I put something for the kids, the things that they like. It’s different from the stuff we like. They like to go out on the cul de sac and ride their bikes. They like to go swimming. They like to go to specifically to Barnes and Noble, so not the cute local bookstore that I like. They like they call it the bookstore with the stage so they like to go to that bookstore. They really like going to the mall, which I like going to the mall but not quite as much with kids as by myself. It’s just not shopping, different speeds. So anyway, that’s how we do the weekend. Then obviously something for my husband too. So I think it’s like, yeah, everyone gets their little thing. Then really, if you plan three things, or two to three things a weekend day, then it’s like on Saturday or Sunday, you might only have one thing that you’re planning to do. Then the whole rest of the day is free, which I find that works really well because I want to have time to do our crafts. Sometimes the kids just want to play together. When they want to play together, we want to let them play together. So yeah, I guess my tip is to pick the most important things and then leave a lot of breathing space in between. 

Emma: I feel like we talked about a lot of kids stuff though, but I still feel like a lot of it can apply to partners, spouses, boyfriends,  also friends. I kind of think of my friend group and my social life as a part of my family life. For me, that’s how I view it so it’s not my family, it is different level. But I still view that as, I don’t know, living in community. Which for me is mostly family but also that includes like friends and like random out of town acquaintances who might see once in a while or like things like that.

Elsie: Yeah. Cool. Okay, so have you ever set a boundary that just changed your life? I like the idea of boundaries, I think is like, pretty popular online. I see people posting about it all the time. But actually setting one and sticking to it, I think sometimes is easier said than done.

Emma: Yeah, definitely. Well, I think it falls in the line of boundaries so like on the subject of boundaries. Years ago, many years ago, I don’t even remember, it’s probably been four or five years at least, I really gave myself the permission to just tell people no and to just not do things. Some people that’s gonna be obvious to them but for me, it wasn’t. There was a lot of years where I kind of heard the advice a lot of like do everything or take advantage of every opportunity. I think when you’re first building a business, which was the phase of life I was in, and just what I was doing with my life at the time, that made a lot of sense to me of. I don’t know where this is going. I don’t really know how I should be building this so I should take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way. I should say yes every time because I don’t really know if I’m going to get tons more opportunities. I didn’t really have the confidence to know that I would. So I just always said yes to everything. I don’t think that was like a bad thing. I just think at a certain stage in my life that needed to change and I felt a lot of pressure and guilt around it. For a long time I thought well if you start saying no to things, opportunities, or if someone wants to interview you or whatever, it may be feel, one guilty like I was being lazy if it was turning down some kind of opportunity especially if it was paid. But I was like it just doesn’t fit my schedule. It made me feel like I’m lazy and I’m ungrateful. If I was saying no to an interview or something like that, it made me feel like oh, you must think you’re such a big deal that you’re saying no to somebody. You’re not being a helpful friend, that was the thing that played inside of my head. Somewhere along the way I like had to really give myself the permission of no, you can just say no, and you don’t need to think about it beyond that. If somebody else wants to think about it beyond that, that’s their choice and that’s up to them. But I don’t need to, I need to just do what’s most important for me because I can’t do everything. I’m starting to have more priorities in my life beyond work and I just got to make this change. I need to let go of this guilt and all these little stories I’m telling myself about how I’m a bad person and a lazy person.

Elsie: Yeah, I know, 100%, that you’re not a lazy person because you just went to my brother-in-law’s high school class and taught them all day about owning a business. 

Emma: It was half a day. 

Elsie: But I do think that when you’re an influencer, and probably a lot of different types of business owners, that people will ask too much of you. There’s too many requests coming in and it’s not anyone person’s fault. But it’s like, you’re the only one who can take control of that.  I think that if you say yes to every single, I’m like that about magazines. We’ve been in magazines since we were in our early 20s.  I’m not saying that it’s not a good opportunity to be in a magazine, I think it’s a great opportunity and it’s like a huge honor and all of that. I’ve written articles for magazines, I’ve had my home toured and magazines. Then we’ve had lots and lots of just like little reef features of content or something from our blog when they make a page in the magazine about it. But over the last few years, I just started to realize that we really didn’t have a benefit from it anymore. Basically, about a year or so ago, I told our team, we’re not going to do magazines anymore, maybe if it’s a cover. Maybe if it’s like a really special issue or something like that. But overall, it’s just not something because we were doing them about like once a month, just like constantly doing these interactions and sending high res images and getting nothing in return for it. So we decided not to do them anymore and it has made zero difference. Kind of got back a little bit of our capacity and really those are hours we can spend working on our website, which is what we need to be doing as business owners. So yeah, sometimes making those little decisions, it feels wrong, especially if you see other people doing it but you just have to think about the pros and cons, I guess. 

Emma: I think so. Also if you’re making a decision just because you feel bad, I feel like that’s a good time, at least for me to kind of gut check it and be like, well, it doesn’t sound like you’re trying to do this because for growth, for personal growth, for business growth, for a memory with your family. It sounds like you’re doing this for somebody else. So do you really have the capacity for that? Maybe you do. Maybe you don’t. It depends on the season. That’s kind of like a good place for me. Then if it’s like, oh no, I don’t get anything out of this. There’s no benefit to me and I don’t really have the capacity. If I did I’d do it like, how I did go talk at your brother in law school to the high school kids for half a day. I was like, I can do it. I kind of view that not often, but at least a couple of times a year I usually speak at some kind of school, like elementary or high school. I view that as worthwhile. Do I get anything out of it? No, but you’d never know if you’re going to be a part of changing a young person’s life and I don’t really know if I’m, I don’t know I feel a little big-headed thinking like maybe I am but I’m just putting them out there. I’m like I’d rather sow those seeds than like an interview in a magazine that’s like that’s really nice, but it doesn’t benefit me anyway, it really benefits them. I don’t know I’d rather save my work capacity I do have kind of like favors for friends or speak to elementary kids. 

Elsie: Indeed. Okay, so my best boundaries that helped my life, I have two. The first one is not fighting online. A lot of it was just defending myself too. But for years and years and years like I just would really let it drain me. I would have to have a whole conversation with my husband every time someone did like even a little weird attack or some of them are really weird. You’ve probably all seen, we don’t need to go into it but people they take the personal attacks. They take the like trying to remove your credibility to own your business. Just you know name calling, body shaming, etc. 

Emma: A lot of time people ask me like what do people say, what negative things and I’m like, think of it this way, anything you can think of I’ve heard. Been on the internet for more than a decade.  

Elsie: I think that that’s true. When I finally made the pretty much hardcore boundary that I just don’t, it saves me a ton of time and I think it is healthy. Sometimes it’s not difficult at all. Sometimes I’m just relieved that I don’t feel like I have to respond to them anymore and other times, I am kind of frustrated because I would like to have the time or I would like to be able to say my thing and defend myself or whatever. But I think that the less I do it, the better the quality of life is. It can waste a lot of time. That’s really like the main reason. 

Emma: It’s not even to me like the time, like the literal minutes or however long, it’s the emotional space. I have a lot on my plate emotionally so I just I’m like, oh, does this need to be added? It’s like no because I’m worried about my son has a little cough right now, that’s important. I’m leaving that on the plate and I’m not putting this someone thinks I don’t deserve what I have or whatever. Someone thinks we don’t post enough original content. I’m like, Yeah, I’m not putting that on my plate. Sorry, it’s just not going on there. I have other things and I can only fit so much. I’ve got to leave a lot for myself, my son, my business. You just can’t care what somebody else, just doesn’t fit. 

Elsie: It can just be just a complete waste. Okay, and then my second boundary that is really helpful is unplugging from my kids. I’m not perfect mom at all. I am not gonna say that I’m not on my phone. I’m always on my phone. I’m just like everyone else. I love my freaking phone. But if my kids say something about it or notice, then what I do is I just like put my phone away in a weird place. I’ll find it later but not right by me, just like on the other side of the room or something or in a different room or go plug it into my bedroom. Then just like have a couple hours without it and I think that that just simple little act is, for right now, just like all I need to feel like it’s likeI’m  trying. 

Emma: It’s your signal to put your phone in a timeout if one of your kids is like hey, mom, you’re on your phone or whatever. 

Elsie: It’s gotten a lot better. Since I’ve been doing that more, it has gotten better and I think that everyone deserves to have quality time. As like a married person, if I go on a date night and my husband’s on his phone the whole time, f*ck that. I’m not gonna deal with that. So it’s like, my kids don’t deserve that either. I think that just like letting quality time be quality. You don’t have to do it perfectly. Just a little bit better is better. 

Emma: Yeah, no, that makes a lot of sense. I like that. 

Elsie: Yes. Okay, this question I have for you, but I actually don’t have as good of an answer so I’m just gonna leave it totally up to you. This question is from me. Okay. So do you ever get that frantic, overwhelmed feeling? I have it every day. If so, how do you get past that like to kind of get your creative energy and your productivity back?

Emma: Yeah, I definitely have that a lot. There’s like seasons, where it’s pretty crushing and then there’s seasons where it’s like, once in a while, that kind of thing. So I feel like when it’s like really crashing, that’s more like go talk to my therapist about it or like really focus in on making some more space somehow and taking care of myself. So these are more, this is more advice for when it’s not crashing. If you’re feeling like it’s crashing, that’s a whole different thing in my opinion. So if it’s just like here and there, some things I do is like, I will feel like I’ve mentioned this before, but I will figure out a couple, like two or three, quick easy wins and accomplish those. Like, it could be send an email, or whatever, just something that kind of like basically reminds me, hey, you’re moving forward. You don’t need to be so stressed, you’re moving forward. Maybe it’s not at the speed you want. Maybe there’s some things going on you can’t control but you are taking steps to move forward so it’s like that reminder to myself. For me, I feel like once I get the ball rolling on some activities like that I’m better at keeping it going. It’s like I sometimes get myself stuck with my own anxiety and stress. So another little weird thing is to take a walk. For me, this has to do with fresh air, and gratitude practice. For some people, it could be meditating, it could be prayer, or it could be just breathwork. I think all those kinds of things and I’m not talking, you don’t have to take an hour long.

Elsie: I go outside and water my plants sometimes it’s just an outdoor break for me.

Emma: Exactly. Yeah. Then another random thing is like something with smells. For me, it’s like mint tea or some kind of tea, something that’s not caffeine because I’m already amped if I’m in this level of stress. No caffeine, but something that has a strong smell. Basically, what it does for me, I mean obviously tea is great because it hydrates, but also, it’s kind of like using one of my senses to bring me back down to earth and to get myself out of my head and put myself more in this physical realm and just focus on the nice smell. That sounds crazy, but it’s something about it kind of helps me.

Elsie: I don’t think it sounds crazy at all. It sounds like a good grounding routine. 

Emma: Yeah, and if you can tell, I have a lot of tips for when you’re really stressed so I don’t know what that says about me. 

Elsie: You have a lot on your plate right now. It’s a challenging season for sure. 

Emma: I’m in one of the crushing seasons. I’ve got therapy tomorrow. 

Elsie: There’s always just like 50% more going on in people’s lives than you can even imagine. Honestly, I think just thinking about that all the time right before you leave someone to comment about how their blog is not as good as it used to be. It’s a good habit to get yourself into and remember that person might be going through the hardest time in their life and still working, still thriving, still doing their mother f*cking best. 

Emma: It’s true. Just like smelling their mint tea and trying to make it through the day. . 

Elsie: Yeah. I mean, I don’t even have advice for that one. I just do the overwhelm and then I try to make my post it note and that’s it.

Emma: Yeah. I mean, there’s times like sometimes advice feels like annoying because it’s like sometimes you’re just going through a season where it’s like, it could be grief, like a family member died or who knows. It’s like, you know what, there is no like get yourself out of it with a walk and tea. You’re just gonna have to sit in it. Those are the crushing times. That’s why I’m like, hey, if you’re in that, that’s a whole different thing. That’s a talk to loved ones, lean on your community, go to therapy, whatever you need to do, that’s different than everyday stress of I have too many tasks. Those are two different levels and it’s hard to explain that in a concise way for me but very different.

Elsie: Totally agree, Da da da. Okay, it’s time for the book report. So the book we did this time is The Power of Moments by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. This book, we both thought it was a 10 out of 10. 

Emma: Amazing. 

Elsie: It was incredible. I’ll read the synopsis in a moment, but I’ll just say like my quick review, off the top. So it’s a self help book about how to be intentional about creating special memories, core memories for your kids, or memorable experiences with your loved ones or for yourself. 

Emma: Or career, there was a lot of career stuff too. Ways as a business, you could function for your customers, for your employees. I thought that was pretty interesting, too. That’s part of what I loved about this book is I think it’s for everyone. So if you are only going to listen or read one nonfiction book this year, I would choose this. That’s my quick review. So how’s that for a recommendation like this book rules? I think it’s for everyone. It’s not for like, if you have kids, if you have a business you own, if you’re married, like no, it’s for everyone. This is about life.

Elsie: It’s for everyone. Yeah, because you’ll see, you can apply it to wherever you are in your life. If you just want to have more moments that you remember, okay, look back at your last 10 years and think about this. There’s certain years when you remember so much and it’s usually a year when something big happened. Then there’s like those years that kind of blend together. So it’s like finding ways to make those years that kind of blend together have more of those highlight moments that stand out and you really remember them. I know how to do that now and it’s so exciting. This is one that I’ll probably reread like every year for the next couple of years because it’s a lot of stories and it’s a lot of things where it’s like certain things will hit you where you need them now and then I think if you reread it a year later, you would get different things out of it. So here’s the synopsis defining moments are small, meaningful moments that make our lives richer and give us fond memories to look back on. In The Power of Moments, brothers, Chip and Dan Heath break down the elements of defining moments and teach you how to use them to make everyday experiences meaningful and memorable. You’ll learn how to elevate moments with delightful and deliberately random surprise, guide others to transformative truths, multiply your moments of celebration and your journey to a goal, and deepen your connections with the people around you. I love it. Okay, so do you want to share some of your favorite takeaways?

Emma: One, I feel like I cried a number of times because there’s so many sweet stories in the book. it’s one of those books where he is teaching you, well there’s two of them, they’re teaching you principles or big picture ideas or whatever. Then they illustrate it with stories for real life. Then they also do this thing in the book where there’s like, clinics, that’s what they call them. It’s kind of like practical applications in different fields, or different walks of life, or whatever, and those were really interesting, too. Just some of them were very touching because this is kind of about intentional living. If I had to sum it up really quick, I’d be like this book about intentional living. So a couple of random things I took away from it. So like two real-life things. So one it’s my husband’s birthday soon and I have this big surprise planned for him. It’s actually happening this weekend. So by the time you hear this recording, it’s happened. But anyway, it’s happening this weekend, I’m not gonna say exactly what it is because it’s his gift. I feel like yeah, he’s even more private than me so I’m gonna keep that private, but I will share this part of it with you. So I was listening to this book and kind of thinking a little bit about his birthday and what I had planned and the gifts that I have for him, it’s a surprise, and it’s taken a lot of effort to put it together. There’s a lot of logistics to it. Especially like being a parent, there’s always various logistics to anything I would say. So, I was like, for me, I feel like I’ve done all this work for this gift, and I’m sure he’s gonna love it. As I was listening to this book, it kind of dawned on me, I was like, oh, I need to make it like a moment when it’s like the reveal. I was thinking about that because it’s not a traditional surprise party where people pop out and yell surprise. I’ve done those for him in the past and they’re really fun but I feel like he would see it coming because I’ve done it before. So I was like, I need that moment, the moment of like, the big moment. So as I was thinking about that, I put together basically these four envelopes, and he has to open them at specific times. They kind of tell him, what the surprise is and sort of walk him through it with instructions. It’s not like a scavenger hunt but I just feel like, it’s going to kind of highlight more like the moment of the reveal. I wouldn’t have done that if I hadn’t been listening to this book and I feel like it’s just going to elevate the gift so much more.

Elsie: That’s so cool. 

Emma: I’m happy, I don’t know, it got my mind thinking in that way. In my brain, I was like, oh, I’ve already done all this work, I had this checklist of like, you’ve got to make sure this is ready, you got to make sure this is ready, this, this, this. It’s like, okay, went through the checklist, I got it all so that’s good. I did the present. But it’s like, actually for him, like he’s not going to see that checklist. You need to have like the moment and so I think what I was kind of thinking on is like this book in a way I think encourages you to, I wouldn’t say do less, but I would say whatever you’re doing it be really intentional with it. So it’s kind of like celebrating your wins or grieving when something goes bad, like having the space for that more and making a ceremony around it or ritual around it or just not letting those big moments kind of slipped by in life because they still happen. But they then don’t become a part of your memory, a part of your brain in a way. That’s kind of what the book speaks to. So that and then the other random thing, this is so random, but I felt like our podcast listeners would be into this. I had a friend over who works at our app company, they were doing a photo shoot at my house, and I knew they were all coming over so I had picked up a little. I have a kid, small kids. So I picked up a little but there were still toys around. I picked up a little. I lit a candle. I had like some music playing, I think had Frank Sinatra playlist on or something. I remember he came in the door, his name’s Jared, and he’s super nice guy, super talented. He was like, oh, your house is so cozy and it meant so much to me that he like said that. It was also like, oh, this is a little moment and not that that was a big moment in his life or anything. It was just a small moment. But I was like, oh, it actually took less than 10 minutes to do this to pick up the few toys that would be in the pathway and light the candle and turn on a playlist but it actually made like a big difference. SO I feel like that was a little thing in my mind where I was like, I could make my house cozy every single day. I just need to take a little bit of intentional time to do a couple little things that matter to me, which for me is candles or oils and a little bit of music and that kind of thing. Make sure it’s a little bit picked up, it doesn’t have to be perfect but just something along those ways. It just like gives you this feeling when you walk into the house after you’ve been gone all day or if you’ve been on a trip or whatever it is that’s like a nice moment. So those are two random, very random and very different takeaways but I’m just trying to give an idea of all the different applications this book could have. It could mean so many different things to different people so these are just two very random ones for my life.

Elsie: So yeah, no, I totally agree. It’s so cool. I would love to be able to hear more from our listeners, what they wanted to change in their lives because it’s completely different from what we chose. I mean, we’d love to hear if you guys have anything, send it to us. I’ll put it on Instagram this week so that we have like a space to chat. Okay, so my favorite thing, probably from the whole book, business wise was, do you remember the part about how you should cater your business towards your super fans, instead of to your one star reviewers? That changed my life because I’ve never thought about that way. I will say that over the years with our website and even our podcasts, with everything, I do give a significant amount of space to the one star people who have like something pretty damning sometimes to say about what we’re doing for a living and how we’re doing it and how it could be better or how it should be different in their opinion. Then sometimes I don’t give enough space to the people who are just loyal and happy and just listening every Monday morning, like the part of our audience that listens every Monday, I’m sorry, but it’s the best part. It’s the most important part because it’s the part that’s the most loyal, excited part. Moving forward, I am going to give more space for the people who have something exciting, like people who just want to hear more about something or people who take the time to send us stories from their lives and things like that. We’ve been really into our listener emails lately so thank you for all of those.  Then another thing that I took away from it that I loved, for my family and for my friends, and just like life is the joy of surprises. I already love surprises but now I think I love them 10 times more after listening to this book. They were saying that if there’s an element of a novelty or unexpectedness, a surprise basically like something that like breaks up your normal routine. Today, I do a lot of mommy days with my kids where I let them stay home from school, and then we have like a super fun day.  I usually don’t let them expect it ahead of time because it’s more special that way. Also, I might change my mind. But yeah, like having things like that, now I’m understanding more that there’s such a big value in that and a lot of times the core memories, like the reason why kids remember every single present they got from Santa Claus, but they don’t remember all the toys you bought them for the rest of the year is because it’s like a broken up unexpected thing. It’s not in the normal routine and it encouraged me to do more things that are like a wrapped up present that’s like sitting there as a surprise and less things where it’s like, just letting them buy something at the store or just getting them something and just giving it to them. I think I’ll just like try to do things in a slightly more intentional way now, which feels really cool. Then I liked the part about goal setting where you’re supposed to set your goals as milestones rather than achievements. So instead of like for right now I want to learn to cook and if I say that just in general like I want to learn to cook and I just want to be a good cook. That’s like a very low potential goal because it’s going to change over time, my opinion is going to change. It’s not very achievable. But if I want to say like, I’m at the point with my sugar cookies where I can make without a recipe, just like bam, bam, bam, make them and it’s easy and fun. I don’t have to think. I love not using recipes. So I’m thinking like my next milestone I want is I want to be able to make homemade pasta with no recipe. It’s like when I have that moment, I’ll know that I’ve passed a little marker. I loved that part in the book. But yeah overall, I thought it was definitely one of the best self-help category books I’ve read in years, up there with The 12 Week Year. Those are my like, top two for now. 

Emma: I agree. Yeah, personal development, self-help, whatever you want to call it, if you’re only gonna read one this year, this is the one I would recommend loved it so much and I just feel like it applies to so many different walks of life, different stages, whatever it is you’re into. I really liked that too because a lot of times some of the books we’re recommending are like, this is really great for business or this is really great if you’re a parent or whatever. It’s like not everybody’s a business owner, not everyone has kids, whatever. But I feel like this one, I’m like, oh, this is super impactful and it’s for everyone. 

Elsie: All right, thank you so much for listening. If you didn’t know this every week, when we post our show notes, there is a link in there where you can see all of our sponsor codes so you can shop our sponsor codes. I use it all the time. 

Emma: Me too. 

Elsie: Yeah, it’s always in there in every single show notes. You can find the link to the master list of all the codes and definitely use them if you want to try out any of our sponsors. There’s some really good ones in there. Also if you’re reading any of the books from our book club, we would love it if you would tag us on Instagram @abeautifulmess. If you haven’t had a chance yet, please leave us a podcast review wherever you listen to podcasts, only nice ones please and we’ll be back next week.