Interview Series – Featuring Shay from Mix and Match Family

Last week I started a new Interview Series and featured one of my good friends and her new living small adventure called Tiny House Tiny FootPrint, be sure to check out that interview if you haven’t already.
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When I had the idea to start this series I made a list of my friends and bloggers I knew I want to interview. Shay Shull from Mix and Match Family was at the top of my list. If you don’t already know, she’s kind of a big deal so you can imagine how surprised and thrilled I was when she agreed to my interview request.
I am a huge fan of hers and her blog about her adorable, sweet family; I read it everyday. She has been  married to her husband Andrew for 10 years, has a 6 year old daughter Kensington, a 4 year old son Smith, and is adopting a little girl, Ashby London. She is also the sister of Sean Low from the Bachelor. In her blog she talks about her family, shares her style secrets, blogs her recipes, and travels around the world.
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I was surprised by pretty much all of it.  I had no idea what I was signing him up for.  It’s truly amazing that my one application affected his life the way it did.
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 From time to time, yes.
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I have a degree in Journalism and have always loved writing, so I took my passion and put it in a blog.
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Yes, all the time!  I really love blogging because I will always be able to go back and revisit this time in my life, so I’m so grateful that I’ve done it for so long, but yes, sometimes, I have reservations.
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Getting to meet so many wonderful women just like me!  It’s truly a community!
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300Mix and Match Andrew and Shay
Alex Andares We are really on the same page.  We have the exact same core values and beliefs, so we rarely ever disagree about parenting.
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That to love Jesus is the most important thing in the world.  Everything else pales in comparison.
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I do think my infertility plays a part in my gratitude for being a mom.  I also am very much a “glass half full” kind of person and feel like every day on earth is a blessing (and could always be our last), so we should make the most of it.
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Get over it.  You just have to get over it and move on.
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The hardest parts for me is letting go of control.  I am sending these kids out into the world where they will be influenced by so many other people and that is hard.  The most rewarding part is the love I feel for them.  I never knew this kind of love was possible.
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The hardest part is knowing she’s there and we’re here.
(If you want to read Shay’s touching story about the adoption, be sure to go here and Andrew’s side here)
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All of our kids have British names and Ashby is a common British surname.
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I think everything will change…and that excites me.
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My parents (especially my dad) always taught me to appreciate the world and to experience it all.
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Finland.  I love Finland.
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Germany.  Without a doubt, I absolutely love German food.
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They realize that the world exists outside of their little city.  They know what it’s like to hear different languages and see different ways of life.  It’s an education like no other.  It’s also taught them a tremendous amount of patience.
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Enjoy the little things…one day, the little things will be remembered as the greatest things.
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That I love Jesus.  That I followed His will for my life and lived for him.  After that, I want to be remembered as someone who loved her husband and kids with her whole heart.
Alex Andares (Other than my family…because that would take up all five spots!)
1. Candles
2. Coffee
3. Something to read
4. Some place cozy to sit
5. Fuzzy socks
I love Starbucks
You can follow Shay on: Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
It’s easy to see why Shay is so popular in the blogging world, she’s gorgeous, down to earth, loves her family, fashion, cooking, and traveling.
I can’t thank her enough for participating in my new Interview Series!!
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What Do You Want to Do Before You Die? by the Buried Life

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This book, “What Do You Want to Do Before You Die?” is SO inspiring! I watched the show when it was on MTV and I LOVED IT! Those boys are so much fun, seem really sweet, and are all adorable.

This book tells the story of how they started as a group, where they were in their lives, and how they got their name.   They started out feeling lost and wanted something more. So together they came up with a list of things they wanted to accomplish. So they set out on the road in an RV, one thing lead to another, and people wanted to help them everywhere they went. They started a movement with their dreams.

I’ve cried more than once watching their show (which aired in 2010 and 2011 on MTV.) In addition to cross items off their list, they pay it forward and they help people they meet, to achieve one of their goals.

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This book is a compilation from thousands of answers to the question, “What do you want to do before you die?” that the boys gave to their favorite artists to interpret the drawings. This book also has the fun stories behind how the boys crossed off certain items off of their lists along with pictures and the dates they occurred.

Like this one, which was #95 on their list, Play Ball With the President, and it took them 2 years to accomplish.

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“Death has an interesting way of simplifying life. Fears, worries, and pride seem to fall away. You get more courageous and more honest when you’re reminded that you’re going to die soon. It’s that clarity and honesty that helps you decide what you want to do with your life.”

There are a variety of serious and fun items in this book such as:

  • Before I die I want to meet the surgeons who repaired my heart when I was 4 and thank them…I now have a beautiful 11 year old girl because of them
  • I want to swim in jello
  • I want to apologize to three people I feel that I have hurt the most in life, say thank you to three people who helped me the most in life, and reconnect with three people I thought I would never see again
  • I want to take a year and grow everything I eat
  • I want to not be scared to let myself fall head over heels in love again

I just adore these boys and their spirit! They prove that you really can make your dreams come true. They show you to not be afraid and go after what you want. A trip that was originally was supposed to only be two weeks turned into 7 years for them. They are so admirable and I love the message they are sending to people of all ages. Life is short, grab opportunities while you can, and life your life to the fullest!!

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You can follow them and their amazing journey on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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Sandra Bullock

I love me some Sandra Bullock. She seems so down to earth and cool. She knows how to laugh at herself and doesn’t talk herself too seriously. I am a sucker for rom coms and the movies she does. She also knows how to rock a ball gown like it’s no one’s business.

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New Interview Series : Featuring Tiny House Tiny Footprint

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I am starting a new Interview Series here on the blog because I am perpetually curious and love asking questions to get to know people better. Throughout the series I will be featuring friends, fellow bloggers, and hopefully a familiar face or two. I am lucky enough to know a lot of very interesting and well traveled friends and I would love to share their stories on my blog. Some upcoming interviews will be about a friend of mine who lived in Australia for a year, another who moved to Spain and later volunteered in South America,  a friend who biked across America, and another who took off for a year mostly in South America.
For my first interview I wanted to feature one of my good friends from high school who I played on the tennis team with, Kathleen and her awesome boyfriend, Greg. After much consideration they decided that they wanted to give up their apartment to take a year and live in 140 square foot camper to reduce their footprint, while they simultaneously built their tiny house in Colorado. They were recently featured in the Huffington Post and were kind enough to grant me an interview as well!
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Where did you get the idea of living(1)
A culmination of things led to us deciding to live differently. We wanted a place with a yard, but didn’t need an entire house. Greg lived in a minivan in New Zealand with his friend, Scott, in 2007 and it was easier than either of them could imagine. As a couple, the two of us thought that living tiny could free us up to spend more time together outdoors and that it was certainly worth trying! I was a little hesitant at first, but after living in a two-bedroom apartment with Greg, our dog Blaize and my former roommate, Stacey, I thought it might be worth a shot. We also care about reducing our environmental footprint, and because we’re reducing our square footage, we would be doing that automatically. When you’re in a small space, you’re conscious of how much water and electricity you use on a daily basis.
Where did you get the idea of living
 
We took a good month to go over the pros and cons of living tiny. I was worried about showering and getting ready for work in the mornings. I also thought it might be too small. Ultimately for me, knowing that we had the backup option to rent an apartment or a house at any time made it much easier.
Where did you get the idea of livingI told all of my friends first, but was nervous to tell my family. Eventually I did tell them and they were more supportive than I anticipated. Some of the people that I didn’t think would be interested in the project, are the ones that offer to help and want to hear updates every time we see them. I’m pleasantly surprised in the positive feedback. Some people are definitely skeptical and believe that we will be too cold in the winters. Only time will tell!
Where did you get the idea of living
So far our extra money has gone toward fixing up the camper trailer. We have been improving the existing insulation and purchasing materials to make our space feel more comfortable. Going forward, we will be saving our money for a tiny house that we will try to build ourselves.
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Where did you get the idea of living
The number one thing, patience! Things might not always go as planned, but in a way, that makes life more exciting! You have to be able to think on your toes or have a backup option in mind. Downsizing my things made me appreciate the items I use on a daily basis. Most people don’t realize that when they travel, they are using less and are still just as happy, if not more. If we are able to do that for a few weeks or months, why can’t we do it for longer periods of time? It’s easier to pack for trips when everything we could possibly need on a daily basis is in our camper.
Where did you get the idea of living
We took out the existing toilet in the camper trailer and replaced it with a composting toilet. So far, it’s been great to have! It’s not a biohazard because the liquids and the solids are kept separate. It has no smell and it’s super easy to use! We do have a shower, and enough water for two showers a day. We have to refill our water cistern when we go through too much water. Since we are conscious of the water we use, we have been showering at the gym to save our water supply.
Where did you get the idea of living
We are connected to a hose and an electrical extension cord that we can plug into. Currently we haven’t used much of either. We charge our phones in coffee shops or at work. We try to use water that we carry into the camper trailer to wash our hands and the food we eat.
Where did you get the idea of living (1)
We’re doing the best we can so far! It’s only been tough when we both want to use the kitchen at the same time. We are finding that we’re spending more time outdoors. Blaize appreciates having a backyard of open space.
Where did you get the idea of living
Hardest: Showering at the gym isn’t ideal and means planning what you want to wear ahead of time. We are more selective of the food we eat because our storage space is more limited. That means we are more careful not to waste any of the food we have.
Easiest: It feels comfortable to sleep there and hang out in the space. It’s been easy finding storage space for clothes and outdoor gear. We have much more than I could have anticipated! We have had friends over for drinks and one guest has stayed the night. So far, our friends have been comfortable sharing the small space with us.
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Where did you get the idea of living
We knew from the start that we wanted to build a tiny house. That will be an adjustment from a 1,000-square-foot apartment. Knowing that we’d have to downsize to make it work, we figured we’d start in one of the more inexpensive mobile housing options. We also thought that down the road, it would be great to have a camper trailer for trips and could leave our tiny house wherever we end up parking it. 
Where did you get the idea of living
It’s going to be around 270 square feet and will include two bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen and a sun room/living room. We will have household amenities such as a stacked washer/dryer and a dishwasher. We will try to build these items around cabinets or our kitchen so that it will be part of the existing space. We would like to have a green roof and are exploring ways that we can use recycled materials for some of our furniture.
Where did you get the idea of living
Right now it feels like camping and it’s actually kind of fun! We’re working on some interior decorating, such as adding some photographs and curtains to make the space feel more like a house.
Where did you get the idea of living
I think it’s important to remember that you can always try it out and if it’s not for you, you can go back to living how you were before. I think we’ve been trained as a society to want more space and showcase our houses for our friends and family. We feel that relationships are more important than the items you own or how much money you have. Downsizing can feel liberating.
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Where did you get the idea of living
Our website: www.tinyhousetinyfootprint.com. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.
I am so inspired by their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint in such a big way. But they’re right there are so many things you can do to consume less and not accumulate so many unnecessary things. We could all learn a thing of two from them! I think it will be fun to check in with them periodically and their progress of their tiny house and their adventures. Please leave any further questions you may have.
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Ten Things I Wish I’d Known by Maria Shriver

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“Ten Things I Wish I’d Known – Before I Went Out into the Real World,” by Maria Shriver offers solid advice. It’s nothing revolutionary but it is real, useful, advice. She is a real supporter of women and is honest in this book about failure, marriage, starting work from the bottom and working your way up, career, and motherhood. She shares her own experiences about her life and the lessons she’s learned along the way.

One of my favorite quotes from the book, “As a wise person once told me, and it actually was the same wise person as before: “If I could spare you the pain you’re experiencing, I wouldn’t – because I wouldn’t want to deprive you of the strength and wisdom you’ll gain from having gone through it and come out the other side.”

Here are her ten lessons she covers in the book:

1. First and Foremost: Pinpoint Your Passion

2. No Job is Beneath You

3. Who You Work for and With is as Important as What You Do

4. Your Behavior Has Consequences

5. Be Willing to Fail

6. Superwoman is Dead…And Superman May Be Taking Viagra

7. Children Do Change Your Careers (Not to Mention Your Entire Life)

8. Marriage is a Hell of A Lot of Hard Work

9. Don’t Expect Anyone Else to Support You Financially

10. Laughter

I recently was at an event where Maria was talking and she is such an inspiring speaker and she is so down to earth. I am a big fan of hers and really enjoyed this book.

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Lea Michele

Lea Michele is one talented lady. I recently read her book and like her even more now than I did before. She is so stylish and really knows how to play up her figure. I love when she wears dresses with high leg slits. She rocks what she’s got and makes no apologies. She exudes confidence and it shows.

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Friday Favorites: My Fall Line Up

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It is Friday so you know what that means, Friday Favorites with some of my favorite blogger ladies from Texas! Be sure to check out and link up with A Little Bit of Everything Blog, Grace and Love Blog, and Momfessionals!

With it being October it is officially Fall people! Living in Southern California, you could have fooled me that the seasons have changed, because there is only one season here and it’s sunshine. Yes it’s nice, but it also means lots of sunscreen, sunglass tans, no changing leaves, no snow days, and no rainy days for my cute Hunter rain boots. I know, I know, first world problems, and California problems.

But trust me I know all about weather. I’m originally from Chicago, where it was literally negative 40 degrees last winter with the wind chill. It was one of the coldest winters in the history of Chicago. Here is the proof! A picture I took while watching the news.

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Anyway back to the task at hand, my new favorite Fall shows.

A to Z  is a new romantic comedy show on NBC that is my absolute favorite! It is so cute and so fun. I love How I Met Your Mother, and the main character from this show is the mother from HIMYM, Cristin Milioti. She is so charming and lovable. And the guy is Ben Feldman who is most known for being on Mad Men. He is also on The Mindy Project, my other favorite show :)

Fun fact the work place from this show is filmed in Santa Monica at the Water Gardens which is about a mile from where I used to live in Santa Monica. It’s so cool to see it on tv!

This show is about the relationship of these two characters Andrew and Zelda (Hence the title A to Z) and it’s really fun to go along for the ride. It’s narrated by Katey Sagal (the mom on Married with Children, or more recently Sons of Anarchy). The show reminds me of 500 Days of Summer with its aura of romance and where the guy believes in love, fate, and destiny and the girl character is more cynical and realistic. I’m really excited about this show and already got two of my roommates hooked on it as well. So start watching!

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I’m a sucker for romantic comedies. This show is fun because you can hear the character’s thoughts as they are thinking them. It’s a show about being young and dating in Manhattan. It stars Analeigh Tipton and Jake McDorman who are fresh faces and I think it will be a light, fun show to watch each week.

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John Mulaney is a comedian who is most well known for being a writer on SNL for 5 years. He has a great stand up special that is on Netflix called New in Town which I would highly recommend. The show is very similar and reminiscent of Seinfeld. And if you are familiar with this stand up he does use a few of his jokes in the show. The show is loosely based on his life of being a stand up comedian and the people in his life. But I think he’s really talented and funny and am hoping that the show gets better. The pilot episode was kind of just mediocre for me. But I have faith in John Mulaney that the show will get better!

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