The Silver Lining

I know, it’s been a while since I did one of these posts, huh? I really felt like I wanted to blog tonight, but I’m having trouble putting words together (so unlike me since I tend to talk wayyyy too much) so I think I’ll keep it short and sweet.

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Financially Creative // I’m using that as a better way to say on a super tight budget. Normally I would be really stressed about our budget, but this month I have decided to channel all that extra “worried energy” into one of the only parts of our budget I have any control over shrinking–our food budget. I menu planned the entire month on the first, made shopping lists week by week, and estimated my budget at $250 for the month. Yes, the whole month. So far, I am on track and I am super proud of myself. If it goes well, expect a sample menu, recipes, and shopping lists to be posted!

Time Out // This week we have started experimenting with time outs when Evan does something he is really not supposed to. It has been hard, but luckily we haven’t had to do it much. And on the bright side, Evan has quickly learned to sit quietly and say sorry…and him saying sorry is ridiculously adorable. I’m still not sure how I feel about the whole idea of time outs…suggestions, moms and dads?

Chilly // It has been extremely windy and so cold here for the last few days, and the rest of the week is supposed to stay that way. I’m not sure why I’m including this here…in no way do I find this to be negative. I am so excited for it to be kind of cold. Let me clarify though–it was 72 today. But y’all…that is COLD for Hawaii! And the wind really was ridiculous. I know. You all hate me. Some of you are probably sitting in snow up to your eyeballs. I’m sorry! Someday when we move back to the mainland and I have to live with actual freezing temperatures I’m just going to turn into a little Maria-sickle.

Money Money Money Money // I’m pretty sure I didn’t win the $5,000 I was hoping to win from the Pysicians Formula eyebooster contest. I can’t even begin to explain to you all how much I wanted to win. I guess there is still one day to hear from them, but I only had a 10% chance, so I’m not really holding my breath. But my silver lining is that even if I don’t win I found out I have a lot of really wonderful friends who voted for me simply because I asked for their help even though they care nothing about mascara. So, thanks friends! I appreciate you all!

Fraud // I found out yesterday that someone made three unauthorized paypal transactions on my debit card, so I had to call my bank, report the fraudulent expenses, close my debit card, and change all of my pins and passwords. Luckily, though, I’ll be able to recover all of the lost funds, and my bank is pretty much amazing for how quickly they were able to help me. I love USAA.

Short and Sweet? // I obviously have no concept of what short and sweet means. But if I ever get hired as a freelance writer and get paid by the word…I’ll make bank. So, there’s that.

Have a good weekend friends!

Linking up with Five on Friday and Oh Hey Friday!


The Silver Lining

Last week was so busy that I completely missed my silver lining post. Even though it was a crazy day today too and it’s super late, I didn’t want a second week to go by without reflecting on the positive things that happened! That being said, I’m sleepy, so let’s keep this short, shall we?

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Yoga // This last week has been a difficult week, workout wise. My wrist has really been bothering me which has made it hard to keep up with the Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 program that I’ve been doing. On the bright side, I’ve been switching gears and doing yoga instead to allow my body to rest and avoid injury, and I feel like I’ve made some real progress with the flexibility of my hips! So, that’s always nice!

Girl Scout Cookies // My mom sent us a care package with our three favorite girl scout cookies: thin mints, tagalongs, and samoas. I’ve been doing better not munching on sweets when I’ve been hungry these past few weeks, but with these in the house, you can bet that will go right out the window. But the silver lining is…I have girl scout cookies!!! Haha, it’s both a blessing and a curse, y’all.

Roaches // Well, it’s Hawaii, so naturally we have roaches we have to deal with. ’tis the season (aka always…thanks Hawaii) and I hate it. What could possibly be the silver lining here? We are going to have an exterminator come, but in order to have him treat our apartment properly we need to completely clean out a few areas of our apartment which means I get to embrace my type A personality and go on a de-cluttering and organizing spree! (Um, side note: just to clarify…we aren’t dirty people or anything like that, and by de-cluttering I mean getting rid of extra kitchen gadgets we don’t use anymore, old cookbooks, etc. We have roaches because it’s Hawaii, not because we are gross!)

GiGi New York // So I just instagrammed this, but I am super bummed about missing out on the oh so amazing Uber clutch in white. I was going to use some birthday money to treat myself to something really nice that I never would have otherwise…but before I could checkout they were gone. I don’t know what my silver lining is, haha. I saved money! That’s good, right? Gigi New York I know there is no way you would ever see this, but if you wanted to give out the most amazing birthday surprise ever, my initials are MAJ and you would make me oh so happy! Haha. Worth a shot, right?

GiGi New York clutch

City Noise // As you may or may not have seen in two of my recent posts, I have started delving into the world of YouTube. It has been so hard to find time to film with a toddler running around though that I haven’t been quite as consistent as I would like with posting videos. I filmed another one today while my little was napping, but it took like three times longer than it should have because it is so loud here and the background city noise was ridiculous! On the bright side, I’m not letting that stop me and I am pretty determined to find a way to make it work. Also, I promised myself I would push myself outside of my comfort zone this year, and YouTube definitely falls into that category! So all in all, even though it’s challenging to make the videos and I am nervous to post them, it’s a good experience for me to go through.

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Okay, that’s it friends! I’ll be back tomorrow with a new post and video (provided I can make the time to edit it in the morning!), so I hope to see you then! Have a great Saturday!

Linking up with Five on Friday and Oh Hey Friday!

The Silver Lining

Hi friends! This week has been kind of crazy. Regardless of getting myself organized at the beginning of the week I feel like everything has just gotten away from me and I am struggling to keep up! Does anyone else every feel like that? I did miss my promised post on my wardrobe basics (I’m sorry!) but I have a little boy who has decided to only take one nap daily instead of two, and a short one at that. It has totally thrown me off! I’m pushing that post back to next week or the week after, just to give me some more time to put my wardrobe together and to get used to my new daily schedule (I miss Evan’s two naps!!!)

Anyway, let’s look on the bright side of things that happened this week, shall we?

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Extra sleep // On Tuesday morning both Brinton and I were supposed to wake up at 6 AM so he could be ready for me to drop him off at work by 7 and so that I could get ready for work too. On Tuesdays after I drop him off I come back home, make Evan breakfast, get his bag together, and then head to work by 8am. Well, Brinton’s alarm never went off and I woke suddenly at 6:46 AM and we kind of freaked out. I don’t know how we did it, but we both made it work on time, Evan was still fed, and on the bright side, we got about 45 minutes of extra (and apparently much needed) sleep.

Independent Play // I don’t know why, but for the last few mornings I have been waking up okay, but I am completely exhausted barely an hour later. It has made it not only really hard to get anything done in the mornings, but super hard to play with Evan like I should be doing! It makes me feel not only exhausted, but guilty too! Even this morning, I just laid down on the couch and kept drifting off as he played. The silver lining? Evan has been awesome about having independent play in the mornings, and I haven’t had to worry about if he is still having fun. He lets me know when he needs me or wants me to play with him or read to him, but otherwise he has been totally cool about letting mom get a few more minutes of rest.

Getting my butt kicked // This week I started Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 week 2 and the first day completely kicked my butt. On the bright side though I have been working out for at least 30 minutes every day since the day after Christmas! Today is day 15 and I feel great. I’ve been alternating the Ripped in 30 work out with yoga and pilates, and next week I am going to try to find ways to incorporate more cardio as well. To be completely honest I don’t usually stick with working out this consistently and I certainly have never managed to stay committed to doing something every single day, so I am really proud of myself for getting past two weeks. I am excited to keep it up and start seeing changes in how I look, too!

Gas is $3.28/gallon // Ha! That IS the silver lining! That is the lowest it has been here in Honolulu since we moved here 3 and a half years ago. I’m sure to the rest of the country right now that seems crazy high, but I’m excited!


Taking down Christmas // Yes, we still had Christmas decorations up until today. I know, I know. But we seriously had nothing decorating our walls before Christmas and I didn’t want to take everything down and feel sad! The bright side though is that I have been doodling and brainstorming and have come up with the next piece of art that I want to create to hang in the den. We never decorated this apartment because it’s kind of old and sad, and we were hoping we wouldn’t be here for very long…but we have lived here almost two and a half years now and I need some stuff up on the walls. It’s time!

Thanks for being patient with me as I play catch up. I know I’m always playing catch up, and I really intended to not have to do that this year, but Evan’s nap schedule changing really has thrown off my daily schedule. Now that it has been a week and I know more what I can expect from him I think I can work on getting ahead of the game again.

Happy weekend!

Linking up with Five on Friday and Oh Hey Friday!

The Silver Lining

Well, with a new year comes a new Friday series. I have loved doing High Five for Friday, and in essence this new series I am starting is almost the same thing. I am still going to be highlighting five things from my week, but recently I have really felt like I need to be more actively engaged in looking on the bright side of life. With that being said, this idea came to me as I was falling asleep one night (because you know that’s when the best inspiration strikes!)

The Silver Lining, as it will be called, is my opportunity to reflect on my week and spin the negative things that happened into positives. I am looking forward to taking time to pause at the end of my week, change my attitude and mindset, and strive to have an attitude of gratitude and positivity!

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I hope you’ll join me! @mjsimplysmiling on Twitter or @mariasimplysmiling on Instagram, and #thesilverlining if you’re up for it!

Here are my top five silver lining moments from the past week:

Chinese food // Every New Year’s day my family has Chinese food for dinner. It’s a tradition I love and one that I have continued with Brinton and now with Evan. Last night we spent at least a half an hour on yelp trying to find a good place to go. We finally settled on one place and it was ended up not being good at all. I was so disappointed! But the silver lining is that now I know that I can make better Chinese food than they can, and next time we have a craving for Chinese we can save the money and I can cook it myself.

The break of dawn // Evan is doing a great job at keeping his resolutions so far this year. Unfortunately it looks like his resolutions are to wake up an hour to an hour and a half earlier than normal and making a sudden change from two naps down to one. I’m so tired! But, on the bright side, I have been able to get up early with him the past few mornings and get in my work out nice and early, which has really been a great start to the day. I may even keep waking up early even if he goes back to his normal sleep schedule!

Showers // Since I’ve been working out daily and been getting all sweaty and gross, I have had to take a shower every morning. Usually I end up showering every other day (is that TMI? sorry, it’s true. I’m a busy mom who only has time to shower during nap time, and usually other things end up taking precedence). Haha, that may not sound like a negative thing, and it isn’t really, but my silver lining is that now I am somewhat being forced to make sure I’m getting dressed every day into real clothes instead of just sliding by in yoga pants and a shirt. I have felt so much better about myself for the past week! Ha I even feel like it’s worth it to have to restyle my hair every day.

9 to 5 // Or, 7 to 4 rather. Brinton has had to work every day this week, including the holiday, which was slightly a bummer. On the bright side though, he got paid for working and paid for the holiday. He also has the whole weekend off which never happens! I’m excited for him to be able to relax with us for two days in a row. Evan loves being able to play with his dad!

Brinton and Evan

Clothes everywhere // I’ve been in the process of cleaning out my closet to revamp my outfits and start creating a capsule wardrobe (more on that tomorrow), but in doing so my house seems suddenly flooded with clothes everywhere. Clothes in a pile ready to donate, clothes that I want to keep but aren’t seasonal right now, clothes that I need to either transform in a DIY or get rid of, clothes that I love but have a set in stain I need to work out…I feel like a tornado came through my closet! The silver lining though is that my wardrobe is already way more streamlined and I feel like it is so much easier to find something to wear. Once I take the time to finish organizing everything, I know it’s going to feel like a breath of fresh air.

Well, that’s it! I hope that as I do this every week it will keep getting harder and harder for me to notice the negative things that happen and I’ll only be able to see the positives.

Linking up with Five on Friday and Oh Hey Friday!

High Five for Friday!

Is it just me, or did November practically disappear in the blink of an eye? Maybe it’s because we had family in town for the last two weeks, but I really am having a hard time grasping the fact that Thanksgiving is less than a week away at this point and we are almost ready to wrap up this year. How does this happen so quickly every year?! Obviously I’m not managing my time very well, because I feel like I’m constantly saying how I can’t believe how quickly everything happens. Haha, maybe I’ll work on that in the new year. But, until then, let’s talk highlights (especially since I’ve been MIA for two weeks!):

1. First things first–I need to vent for a moment. I just tweeted about how I saw an ad for “Black Friday Eve” and how it made me super upset. This bothers me to no end. It is not Black Friday Eve. It is Thanksgiving. *Inhale…exhale…deep breaths…* You know, I think I’ll just leave it at that for now and write a whole post about it separately. Moving on…

2. Brinton’s parents have been visiting with us for the past two weeks, and I have loved watching Evan play with them. We live so far away from any of our family that Evan really only knows his grandparents and aunts through Skype. Even though house guests stress me out because I’m always so worried about everything (which probably makes me a semi-unpleasant host…ha…oops) I am really glad that they were able to come and visit with us for so long. Luckily next year we already know of twice that we are going to be able to visit with them. Now I just have to figure out how I can win the lottery or something so I can buy some tickets to see my parents and sister too.

Johnson Family Laniakai Pill Box Hike

3. Having had house guests for the past two weeks means that today I should be cleaning my house like crazy (especially before the holidays hit). But really all I want to be doing is sleeping while the baby naps and doing absolutely nothing all day. Maybe I’ll finish blogging, straighten up, and take a nap when Evan goes down for round two. Haha, watch…now he randomly won’t take a second nap today.

4. Last night on facebook I saw this video parody and I have had the song stuck in my head ever since. It’s starting to drive me a little bit crazy…but it’s just so catchy!

5. Apartment hunting in Honolulu is the most frustrating thing in the whole world. It makes me hate living here sometimes, which is sad, because this is supposed to be paradise. I found an apartment listed on Craigslist this morning though that is actually in our price range, has amazing amenities, and is in the perfect walkable area. I already called and talked to the person in charge of the showing, and we are seeing it on Sunday afternoon. PLEASE SEND GOOD VIBES/THOUGHTS/PRAYERS OUR WAY!!! I’ve been on the hunt for a new apartment for at least six months and luck just hasn’t been on our side. I’m hoping that this will change on Sunday!

6. Fall is my favorite season and I’m sure I’ve mentioned here before how much I miss the mainland during this time of year. The other day it was super crazy windy here and I decided to take full advantage of the “cooler” temperature, decked out my nails in fall colors/patterns, and put on my would be go-to fall outfit. By the end of the day I was really warm, but I didn’t even care. That’s what going to places with air conditioning is for. (I know some of you are dealing with really horrible winter conditions, and I am sorry about that, but after living in pretty much constant upper 80 degree temperatures for three years, I miss the cold. I’m sure I would freeze my butt off in the mid-50s right now, but hey. I’d take it.)

Fall collage OOTD NOTDI had so much planned blogging-wise for the month of November, but I was just too busy visiting with family to sit down and type it out. Instead of playing catch up, I’m just going to post a few favorite fall/Thanksgiving recipes for next week and call it good. Maybe next year I’ll be more on top of things! Maybe not though. Life is better lived than blogged! We shall see…

Linking up with these lovelies! Lauren ElizabethFriday Favorites, Five on Friday, and Oh Hey Friday!

Catching Up

Oh how I have missed you, blog friends! The last two weeks have been CRAZY. I had every intention of posting two yummy fall recipes, a few posts about nails and such, and some miscellaneous idea posts over the last few weeks, but I ended up doing none of those things. My poor little boy was so sick for so long that I did absolutely nothing but cuddle him for days, and then literally the day after he finally started feeling a little better I threw a triple baby shower for three of my good friends. Just a few days after that my in-laws arrived for a visit…and life has just been so busy! I wanted to write a “High Five for Friday” post yesterday to recap a bit of what has been happening, but well…it’s Saturday, so I missed that too. Ha!

Anyway, let’s catch up just a bit.

[Sick Baby]
Like I mentioned, Evan was sick for about two weeks and it drained us both of all the energy we had. First he had roseola and had a fever right around 104 for almost four days before his fever finally broke and he got the rash. The day after the rash showed up he came down with this horrible chest cold that had been going around, and by the next afternoon not only was his cough terrible, but it had developed into a double ear infection too. There was a whole day where we did absolutely nothing but sit and cuddle. I hate him being sick, but I loved those cuddles so much. Luckily, except for a slight lingering cough, he is better now! Thank goodness.


[Baby Shower]
Last Saturday I threw a triple baby shower for my friends Haley, Tami, and Heidi who are all due with baby boys back to back in November, December, and January. It was a lot of fun and we had a great turn out of friends. Planning ended up being exhausting (mostly because Evan was so sick for the whole week before hand) and because it was so windy that day it didn’t really turn out exactly as I had hoped, but everyone still had a good time and that’s really all that matters. I missed out on taking all the pictures I wanted to because I had a baby on my hip the whole time, but oh well! Haha I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–try as I might, I’m just not the Pinterest mom I want to be.

Carnival Baby Shower InvitationWP_20141031_22_43_00_ProIMG_6727IMG_6726IMG_6734Me and HeidiBaby Shower Guests

[Farmer’s Markets]
For the last two weeks we have taken advantage of going to the local farmer’s markets and we have been loving it. This morning we got to taste so many yummy local treats and indulged in a few specialty things too. The weather has been beautiful here for the past few days and this morning was no different. We made sure to pick up some local avocados too–they are as big as my face and I love them!


It has been a long time since I shared nail designs with you all on the blog. I post them on Instagram more often than I blog them, but even there I have been slacking. I went a few months with bare nails to give myself a break (and because my nails were in poor condition due to my lack of TLC) but now that they are better and a reasonable length again, I’m back into doing my nails while my little one naps. I think I want to try the Jamberry nail wraps too. I hear a lot of good things about them, but I am so skeptical to spend so much money on something if I don’t know for sure that it will work. Maybe. We’ll see. Are any of you Jamberry consultants? Want to send me some for free so I can try them?

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I have been terrible with working out lately, and starting a new workout while we have visitors is probably not the best idea, but as soon as everything settles back down I really want to start up yoga again (but for serious this time). I always feel so good after I do it, and it’s a challenge for me because it’s the kind of work out where I have to go go at my body’s own pace. I can’t make myself stretch any more quickly than my muscles want to, and I know that I can’t rush balancing either. I love working out really hard and feeling the burn of cardio and weight training too, but there is something so much more invigorating to my whole body to be able to contort myself, find that core balance, and get that amazing stretch. I wish I could afford to take classes somewhere, because sometimes it’s hard to do it at home and clear my mind, but paying for yoga is just out of the question right now. I follow @jesswalkeryoga on Instagram though and her posts totally inspire me to go for it and do yoga no matter where I have to do it! (Plus, if Evan can get his yoga on, I sure as heck better be able to also…)


@jesswalkeryoga on Instagram


Well, Evan’s nap is almost over and I know he is going to want to play any second, so I’ll wrap this up. I’m hoping to be able to post some of those recipes and other idea posts for you this week! Thanks for sticking with me even as I’ve been gone. It means the world to me!

Linking up with Lauren ElizabethFriday Favorites, Five on Friday, and Oh Hey Friday! (Yeah, even though it’s not Friday…!)

High Five for Friday

Oh man you guys. October is busy, busy, busy. I can’t believe another week has flown by…mostly because there is so much that I have to do next week that I’m kind of freaking out about it! Gahh! If I can pull it all off, it should be a great week. But man oh man…I’m gonna be cutting it close. Anyway, here’s to this week!

1. My poor baby boy is sick. I hate it. He has had a fever between 102 and 104 since Wednesday night, and it just breaks my heart how yucky he feels. His fever is the only symptom though…so other than just keeping it under control at home and making sure he stays hydrated, there isn’t much else we can do for him. I was up all night last night with him because he kept waking up almost every hour. Luckily he took a pretty good nap this morning so I got to nap. I hope he’s just teething again. I know teething fevers aren’t usually this high, but last time he had a fever this high four teeth broke through at once. So…fingers crossed it’s just teeth and not something more serious.

Sick Baby Cuddling

2. I have been trying really hard for the last week to keep on top of the house, and for the most part, I have done a really good job. It feels so nice to sit down at the end of the day and not have to feel overwhelmed by a mess. It’s hard, sometimes, living in such a small space–try as we might, every time we get rid of excess or clutter we turn around and something else has taken over the space. I’ve tried hard to change my mindset recently though. I can’t change my apartment, but I can change how I think about it!

3. Halloween is next week and I was pretty excited…until I found out Brinton had to work. I was hoping he would just work the morning shift so we could go out as a family in the evening, but no such luck. Honestly, I have never cared much for Halloween. It’s not that I don’t like it…I’m just kind of indifferent to it. I think Evan and I might just stay in this year (because let’s face it…he still can’t walk around on his own from place to place–or even eat the candy for that matter–and I don’t want to be trick-or-treating for myself), but we will still dress him up for our church Halloween party on Wednesday. I’m thinking he’ll be Charlie Brown. Hopefully I can find everything I need for his costume this weekend!

4. Earlier this week I went on a baking frenzy and baked two loaves of bread and made 32 tortillas all in a few hours in the afternoon. It has been so nice having fresh bread in the house this week. Nothing beats homemade!

5. Since Evan learned how to climb last week I have spent a good portion of the day, every day, picking him up and taking him off of our ottoman, the couch, and whatever he seems to be able to scurry on to. We went from having a minor need for a baby gate to an immediate need! Does anyone have any suggestions for a good baby gate that is extra wide (more than 5 feet) and is a walk through gate, preferably tension mounted? I’m all ears, if you do! Also, here is an adorable video of his first climb, which I happened to catch on video. Sorry for it being vertical instead of horizontal…there was just no time y’all. I’ve probably watched this cuteness overload a million times. Your turn!

Okay, well, I wanted to get this post up earlier today, but I spent all day cuddling with my baby boy instead. Some things just jump to the top of the priorities list, you know?

Linking up with Lauren ElizabethFriday Favorites, Five on Friday, and Oh Hey Friday!