Time.  It’s something we never have enough of and can never get back once it’s spent.  How do you prioritize your time?  What would you like to make more time for?

TIME? WHAT IS TIME? WHO HAS TIME? Whoever you are….I want some. I’ll buy it from you. Pretty please?

Anyone see that Justin Timberlake movie, In Time?  It gets a whopping 36% on Rotten Tomatoes, but the premise is so interesting. People stop aging after 25 but are engineered to only live one more year. In order to live longer, you have to pay for time. Time becomes the currency. Want a coffee? That’ll be 15 minutes off your life. A cab ride? 60 minutes. The rich live forever and the poor…live hour to hour…minute to minute.

Gives a whole new (literal) meaning to “time is money,” doesn’t it?

Take my advice. Do not pay any currency to watch this movie. 

Although…you do get to look at JT for an hour and 49 minutes and let’s be honest – that’s worth something.

This movie makes me consider how I spend my time. Do I use it well? How much do I waste?

And what constitutes a “waste” of time? 

I struggle with differentiating between “wasting time” and “down time” or just relaxing. I toggle between not being able to sit still and completely zoning out for hours at a time. 

I generally have to be doing something. If Mark and I are watching TV, I’m most likely folding laundry, food prepping, creating class playlists, or writing my #reverb16 post. 

But if Mark isn’t home and I have the TV to myself? Yikes. I can binge watch just about anything and do nothing but surf Facebook while doing it. 

If the second scenario happens, I often feel a lot of guilt for not accomplishing something within that time. I have projects I want to do and goals I’ve set, but in those zone-out times….ugh. Nothing gets done. 

Do I just need that down-time? Or is that wasted time? 

I continue to wonder about this and have made a goal to try some new hobbies in 2017. We’ll see how that goes. 



Planning.  How do you take your ideas from your head to reality?  Did you buy a new calendar/planner for the new year?  How do you trick yours out?

I used to buy a pretty new planner and usually a journal, too, every year. planner

Every year, I was over them by February.

This isn’t to say I’m not much of a planner – I LIVE FOR PLANNING. It just took me a really long time to realize writing it all down in my pretty new planner didn’t work for me. Why? Because I’m a black and white thinker, a little bit of a perfectionist. So the first time I had to scratch something out on my pretty new planner, it was….ruined. It was no longer perfect and I had failed. Again.

That’s a lot of pressure to put on myself over something that is only meant to be a tool. Do I care what our hammer looks like? Nope, only that it works. So why then, do I care if my planner is less than pristine?

I don’t know…but I do.

Last year, I switched to keeping everything in my Google calendar. Everything. Because, I am after all, a planner.

I like it quite a bit. I still can’t get it perfect because I can never settle on what color an entry should be. I have some that are set: Jam is yellow, RPM is blue (fellow LM’ers…duh, right?) St. Rita Basketball is green. I typically try to make doctor appointments red, but that doesn’t always happen and social events? Forget it. It’s completely willy-nilly which drives me insane. Maybe I’ll sit down and color code everything today. #lifegoals

Bare with me as I explain a little more about an application that’s been around for 20 years, but I know that at the very least, Ginzo has no idea what I’m talking about. She’s still an avid AOL user. Then again…so is Kate. Who would ever have thought I’d be the most tech-savvy in the fam? For anyone who knows me, this is a face-palm moment for the Ouellettes.

But since Ginzo is also probably the only one reading this (and Joey – Joey always reads and usually “likes” my posts. Ok, maybe he only “likes” them. Reading all this is asking a lot.) I will continue to explain the nuances of Google Calendar 🙂

Another feature I like is that I can share it with Mark. I put both of our schedules and events on there and send “invites” so we both know I’ve added something. By inviting or sharing it, he gets the email reminders as well.

Mark did not initially share my enthusiasm for the shared, online calendar. Mostly because I am just as imperfect with this calendar as I am with a paper one and I inevitably enter something on the wrong date, send the invite, then realize the mistake, correct it and BAM – he gets another email invite.

He’s come around, though. Since the calendar is shared, anytime he opens his own Google calendar, anything I’ve added (and shared) shows up on his, too. So when he voiced his understandable frustrations at my multiple invite attempts, I just stopped sending him the invites. He could still go to the calendar and see everything so I figured I would stop annoying him with emails….

Only, he’d have to remember to go check the calendar and he had gotten used to getting the email updates so he started missing stuff – not knowing when I was teaching or when we had plans with friends. And in one of the proudest moments of our marriage, he asked me to go back to updating him.  In return, I have tried EXTRA hard to enter things correctly the FIRST time.

Let me be extremely clear about something. Google Calendar is nowhere near as satisfying as an actual, in-hand planner. The beauty of it is missed: the colors, the lines, the perfect pens.

But then again, those gorgeous arts and crafts projects disguised as a useful investments never sent me email reminders to check my tire pressure once a month, did they?


#reverb16//4//Deck the Halls

Weekend Instagram Challenge! @change_the_tape

Deck the Halls: Show us your holiday decor! If you don’t celebrate during this season, show us your favorite year-round home decor item.

I love Christmas and I love decorating for the holidays. White lights are my go-to along with the manger my dad made me and the nativity my mom made me. Love this scene!


#reverb16//3//The Best Gift Ever

This year, on the weekends, the prompt is an Instagram challenge as well as a writing prompt if you want to do both. I think I’ll still post here for continuity, but I will take advantage of this “easy route” and keep them short and sweet. Follow me @change_the_tape

The Best Gift: We all remember That One Gift that gave us The Most Joy. Show us what that gift was for you and describe why it gives you all the feels.


This is Sam Adams. He will be three years old on December 4th. Mark surprised me in January of 2014 with an eight week old Shih-tzu/Bichon mix…poof ball. We spent a terrified evening having no idea what we were doing and also falling in love with this guy.

Three years later, I really can’t imagine him not being home to greet me with legit French kisses and utter excitement. I can’t imagine not being able to cuddle up with him on the couch or in bed. I can’t imagine life without his unconditional love.

Best. Gift. Ever.

Happy Birthday, Baby Doggy.





Cozy: Some of us live on the Tundra, while others live where the tumbleweeds roll. Either way, we still have to nest when December rolls around. What keeps you cozy through the wintertime?

I suppose I grew up in a place some might consider tundra-esque. I would call those people wusses as Connecticut is not exactly the same as, say, Oymyakon, Russia, the coldest city in the world, according to a quick google search. That search also provided the following information about the people of Oymyakon from Breathtaking Photos of the Coldest City in the World, by Nicole Bonaccorso, on weather.com: They have to use the bathroom outside because the ground is permanently frozen and therefore underground plumbing is impossible.

They have to use the bathroom…outside. In the coldest city on Earth.

Before you even entertain, for the briefest of moments, that not being a big deal? Let’s take a look at a few pictures from our tropical neighbors to the east from the same article…

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I know a few of you, (H&D, I’m looking at you), are still considering it – it’s an adventure, right? Think of all the money you could drop at REI getting ready for this! And by “this,” I mean this:

A toilet on the tundra at a petrol stop on the road to Oymyakon.

And here’s the thing. There are actual pictures of people who live here….smiling.

Good on them, right? My smile disappears over a lot of things far less annoying than having to relieve myself outside in sub-zero weather. Like…the breakfast bar at work being out of plantains. Or corned beef hash. Or…GASP…both. I will remember the fine folks of Oymakon, Russia on those days, not to mention every time I avail myself of indoor plumbing, and quickly renew my smile.

So I’m from Connecticut, where my husband wears layers in the summer and marvels (tongue planted firmly in cheek) over the rock walls lining I84. It’s not Oymakon-cold, but it’s colder than my home in Alexandria, VA. Most of the time, the difference is small, but it definitely exists. I learned how to get cozy early in life.

Since this post was supposed to be about how I get cozy, maybe now’s a good time to revisit that. Come with me as I take you on a journey of warmth, comfort, and tranquility.

Stop #1: Nana Blankets

My mom, affectionately referred to by most as “Ginzo,” but by her grandchildren and granddog as, “Nana,” made said grandchildren blankets (though, granddog is still waiting. Patiently.) They are fleece – warm, comfortable, and cozy. Understandably, the rest of us got jealous and immediately demanded she make us all our own “Nana blankets.” And because Ginzo is Ginzo, (fair gift giving is religion), we all got our very own Nana Blankets. They are the BEST way to curl up on the couch or to watch an outdoor event under.

Stop #2: Cuddle

I LOVE to cuddle. I still sit on my dad’s lap. I still hug my mom and when she starts to pull away after a reasonable amount of time (4-6 seconds, duh), I hold tight and say, “I’m not done.” I crave human touch and I am rarely more at ease than when I’m snuggled up next to Mark. This can sometimes be challenging because Mark does not derive comfort from hugs and cuddles and so occasionally I give in and let him sit on the couch…by himself…shudder…

When that happens though, I still have Sam Adams and he might crave touch more than I do – we’re a perfect pair!

free time
It doesn’t happen often, but man it’s glorious!

Stop # 3: Les Mills Sweatpants

I have a favorite pair of sweatpants. Actually two. They are from Reebok – and I’m not a huge Reebok proponent, but these sweatpants…damn. They are my absolute favorite pants and there is no other pair of pants that make me as happy as these pants do. Buy them. Wear them. You’re welcome.


And there it is: how I get cozy. How about you?