Simplifying

“It is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength.”

New Year’s 2016 my only goal was to simplify my life. I had found myself with a lot of anxiety and constantly stressed. I was learning to juggle life as a first time mom, running a photography business, keeping up with our home, trying to fulfill my responsibilities at church (teaching early morning seminary, for those of you that are lds), and searching for time to be a good wife. I was so overwhelmed and worn out that my sweet husband too often was left with my cranky attitude lashing out at him over nothing.

I have never been one that could handle a lot on her plate very well. Maybe some people think I have it all together, but, surprise! I don’t (or maybe it’s not a surprise, lol). As a photographer, I was very active on social media. My feeds were full of other photographers, female business owners & “mompreneurs”. They were inspiring and supporting one another in the spirit of community over competition – which the world totally needs more women empowering each other instead of cutting each other down. BUT. I constantly saw the word “hustle”. Good things come to those who hustle. She has that girl boss hustle. Last name hustle. First name always. Every day I’m hustlin’. Hustle. Hustle. Hustle!

Ok. I get it. You absolutely have to work hard to make your dreams come true. No doubt that is truth and a positive message to get across. Always striving for your best or better is a good thing.

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Though suddenly I hated the hustle. I was tired of being tired. I hated the pressure and mentality to do and be everything and be awesome at it all (as a mom and female in general). That if we are going 50 mph all the time with little sleep and functioning off of caffeine – that is a successful woman who gets a lot accomplished! A lot of women feel that and strive for it. And I’m not saying it doesn’t feel great to get 20 things done in one day – But I wanted some calm in my life. I was tired of getting caught up in comparison of others’ seemlingly “well-rounded” lives. Having my own photography business was always my dream, but then I had a baby and the hustle to stay on top of everything and keep clients happy and pampered and still be a present mom and wife on top of many other things was so overwhelming. I felt like I was half-assing so much in life. “The hustle” left me exhausted and cranky and was it worth it? Does life have to be so fast paced all of the time? I guess if you want it to be, sure.

My mom’s favorite quote is “less is more” and suddenly that rang so true to me. I wanted less. I wanted to simplify my life. I wanted to be present for my son and not be trying to work while he’s tugging at me for my attention. I wanted to have quality time with my husband and not be so busy and tired that he got my cranky leftovers. I wanted to not constantly have a looming cloud in my head of all the things I was behind on. And I wanted to slow down and take time for my well-being and for the well-being of my marriage, family, and home life – both physically and spiritually. 

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I took my 2016 goal to simplify seriously. After recognizing what mattered most to me, I shelved my photography business and quit booking. The extra income, though nice, was no longer a factor that mattered. We made things work and today I am home with my two babies having just them and this home life to worry about. I use the word “just” lightly there – Life is still hectic sometimes, that is expected – but I feel like I have more room to breathe. I can focus on my children. I can be present. Our marriage has grown SO much from time better spent together. And maybe it’s lame to some people, but I was actually able to have an amazingly successful vegetable garden last summer because there was time for it. We even still have homemade spaghetti sauce in our freezer because of the crazy amount of tomatoes we grew! (go back and see my garden post HERE)

You know, I don’t want this coming across as “you should quit your job to be happy”.  That is just one step I took since I was drowning in the hustle of my every day life. It was not healthy. A huge part of my seeking simplicity wasn’t just cutting out my business, but finally learning to say “no” – to others and myself. I don’t need a Pinterest perfect life. I don’t need (or want) something scheduled on my calendar every weekend. I didn’t have to say “yes” to everything. There were so many details of things that I stressed about being close to perfect that really didn’t matter at all! And other things like getting rid of Facebook (over a year strong!) and decluttering the house – like getting rid of SO MUCH STUFF! – actually really did a lot to help me. I even got rid of Instagram for a few months to really be able to focus and enjoy life without being so plugged in to what everyone else was up to. Less is more, folks. It really is.

Everybody handles stress loads differently. Some may even thrive in the frantic chaos. But today, although my to-do list is still long and aspirations many – and we have two kiddos instead of one – I am grateful for the room I have given myself over the last year to breathe. To be present with my babes and wonderful husband. And to live life more simply than I used to.

A constant reminder to myself: Who said you have to do it all? There is a time and season for everything.

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^^nothing like my sweet babes to make me happy^^

xoxo

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i love sleep!

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Of all places, in my interior design class we got on the topic of sleep. It’s not a new idea that “early to bed and early to rise makes you healthy, wealthy, and wise” (I’m not so sure about the wealthy part). BUT…this discussion on studies done and the facts behind our body’s schedule and the IDEAL sleep pattern made me come home with a goal for James and myself. Especially since it was pointed out that our sleep patterns were contributing to bad eating habits, moodiness, and poor performance of both body and mind. lethargy = bad times!

I proposed the idea of us going to be at 11pm and waking up at 7am every day! (ok, to those of you with kids who get you up at 5-6am everyday, I am sorry…this is the “ideal” sleep schedule we are attempting).

James is a night owl. Me…not so much. James likes going to bed past 1 or 2 am. He is also not the most fun person to get out of bed in the morning. I have my days as well.

ANYWAY…we put our schedule to test last week. We both love love loved it! 11-7! I felt energized, productive, well rested, and all around better.  (D&C 88 anyone?!)

Too bad the weekend came and totally threw us off. It is hard to socialize at our age in a college town and make it to bed by 11pm on the weekend. We’re making an attempt to get back on schedule though.

Case in point….11-7…give it a go!

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a614f0806b4b40dc1bd0849f62b466e9_edited-10c36aa82719affb0c2b36a8eb61a36ca…fact chart overload…

love, whit

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the WORST foods you can eat

i had a three hour layover in Denver the other day. what did i do?

i spent it reading health food magazines. ha!

which is a good thing, because it rekindled my “i’m going to be a healthy eater” drive.

ok, i’m not really a terribly unhealthy eater. in fact, i blow more money on fresh produce and healthier options than i can afford. but, there ARE some things now that i’m going to avoid even more so…and need to cut out! say “NO!” to processed crap!

what are they?

the WORST foods you can eat (some very OBVI):

1. margarine –  stick with butter…the REAL thing

2. soda – (even ASPARTAME – which is basically in all artificial sweeteners, is very bad for you – aka – DIET/ZERO sodas)

3. potato chips – said to be one of the main foods that people tend to overeat. and horrible for you. (well duh! but ugh! no more flaming hot cheetos or pringles?! james can attest to my latest pringle addiction)

4. doughnuts – yes, whitney, that includes maple bars.

5. low-fat foods –  cookies, snacks, salad dressings, yogurt, and other processed foods with the “low-fat” label use substitutes that are worse than choosing to buy the real/natural/unprocessed food option.

6. processed meats /hotdogs – packed with sodium and unhealthy who-knows-what. (J-DAWGS!!! – nooooo!!!)

7. frozen meals – just stay away from them! even low-fat ones are heavily processed and loaded with sodium and preservatives.

8. processed cheeses/dips – like cheez whiz – gross. don’t eat it.

9. french fries! – go for the homemade/baked ones

10. microwave popcorn = NOT your healthy snack alternative. trans fat and sodium! unless it’s plain/you add your own flavors or you carefully read the label first.

other things to note…

– avoid processed bacon. and be wary of how much bacon you eat when you do. (oh, i LOVE my bacon!)

blended coffee drinks – SO bad for you! i don’t have a problem with these. but someone who reads this might and should reconsider : )

high fructose corn syrup….

AGAVE NECTAR! who knew?! it’s supposedly the “healthy” all-natural sweetener. but it has the highest amount of fructose!

– artificial coloring, sodium nitrate/nitrite, MSG, and refined oils.….check your food labels for them = BAD FOR YOU!

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i could eat like this and be WAY happy….

anyway… this is my resolve to eat better.

of course, we all deserve a treat now and again. but really…if you stick to healthy REAL foods…those are what become the “treats” and you don’t crave the other stuff. true story.

i talk like i’m profesh at this, and i’m not. but i know it happens. and i’ve learned to prefer the real stuff more. i just need to get better at it.

….starting..now!…

love, whit

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that time i tried to go on a diet

 

 HAVE YOU EVER GONE ON A DIET??? i haven’t. ever. i like eating way too much. i’m rather food obsessed actually, and i love cooking. especially since the invention of pinterest and my discovering foodgawker.com. what GREAT time wasters! though healthy eating is big for me, so it’s not like i’m overweight or anything. i have just never really been able to restrict myself from eating something i want. ha! i just make sure i exercise so i can…which is how it should be, right?

WELL…i decided to do this diet i found. it claims to make you lose 10 lbs in a week! dream come true! it seems healthy…fruits, veggies, that kind of thing: READ ABOUT IT HERE.

thus it happened: the non-dieting whitney went extra-fruit-and-veggie shopping, stocked the fridge, and decided to give it a go.

UGH is all i can say. disaster.

i am just NOT the diet type of person. the first day: all fruit, nothing else. i had a whole carton of strawberries..papaya…red grapefruit…grapes…and yet i felt so empty all day. just making endless trips to the bathroom. it was like i had nothing inside of me. ick. you know how in movies or commercials the food will start talking to people and calling their name – just INTICING you to eat them? OH EM GEE that happens! i can now say i’ve experienced it first hand. my dove chocolates and fruit snack stash at work were staring at me with their big Pixar puppy eyes. horrible feeling. so i ended up going home and eating myself a big bowl of cooked cabbage. yes, a healthy choice still. but it filled me up which is what i wanted. and… i ruined the “all fruit” day. whatever. not that bad of a cheat, right?

day two: a baked potato for breakfast (i was allowed one “pat” of butter…and i may or may not have exaggerated how big a “pat” is) and then only all veggies all day. let me tell you that baked potato tasted like a gift from the gods! i was feeling good. i steamed a mother load of fresh broccoli and cauliflower for lunch. and even had some zuchinni, cabbage ( i really like cabbage), mushrooms, and onions (all lightly cooked together, i’m so classy with my veggies)….but then i started to be just sick of it. and again…i was peeing like no other. everything i ate went straight through me. i was feeling empty and with no energy. who would’ve thunk such a “healthy diet” would do that? i attempted (yes, attempted. i always feel like a fool) yoga and then 3o mins at the gym….but felt like a weakling. NO energy. and empty. go figure, i went home and ate some carrots….with hummus! HA. yes, i dunked those carrots in that hummus…big scoops with no shame. i’m pretty sure protein is no-no for this stage in the diet….but i felt so sick without it. and…i was craving something with flavor. hummus is divine!

day three: TODAY. i’m realizing how bad i suck at following a diet. only fruits and veggies. not bad, thing is i woke up feeling nauseous. to the point where i could hardly stay standing. i was shaky and miserable and had to keep sitting down or laying on my bed in the process of trying to get ready for work. i ate some fruit in the car on my way to work, but i still felt like i had no energy and sick to my stomach. maybe people who diet all the time are used to this kind of thing?? i read about a model who would only eat an english muffin and water every day – half in the morning and half later in the day….but to me, it’s just not worth it (though i really didn’t think just fruits and veggies would do this to me – my mom seems to be fine and she’s doing it as well). anyway…i said forget this and drank one of my Odwalla vanilla protein shakes. good for energy. and i feel like a million bucks now! yes, it’s against my diet. oh. well. then after eating my container of fruit and a petite vinegar dressed salad for lunch (that’s all you’re ‘allowed’ on salads) – my goldfish that i keep at my desk were calling for me. cheddar blasted and pretzel mixed. who could resist! …so of course i had a handful …or so. then 3 or 4 (maybe 5) of my dark chocolate covered almonds made their way into my mouth too. let’s admite it, i’m SUCH a good dieter!

tonight was a girl’s friday night at the mall of georgia with Paige. shopping and a movie (This Means War – such a fantastic rom-com, i recommend it!)…and i may or may not have had some chick-fil-a chicken strips with a coke zero. the “zero” in coke zero means zero cals…just in case you didn’t know.

whatevs. i’m still continuing with the diet schedule and we’ll see what happens. i maintain i will still lose weight even with my cheating. diets are so stupid. besides…i’ll be at the gym tomorrow. and “only” eating bananas, milk, and some no-cal soup. gross, right? i know. but don’t worry, i have things under control…i still have some leftover wild blueberry white chocolate cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory in my fridge if i really need it.

OTHER ITEMS OF BUSINESS:

1. i just might need this fantastic bathing suit (anthropologie)

2. i’m moving. to Utah. Provo specifically. in mid April. at my ripe old age, i’m embarking on the “get my degree” journey. i’ve mapped out my graduation plan and should be done in exactly two years. dear heavens i hope so. i’m in it to win it!

3. i’m very much looking forward to this change in scenery and daily activity. and even more stoked about living with my lovely Chelsea Vose! not to mention…being just minutes from so many other people that are on my favorites list that i rarely see because i’ve been so far away east coast bumming it for the last two years. (was that a run-on sentence? probs. whatevs.)

4. Waffle House gives me THE biggest stomach ache every time i go. but i never hesitate to go when an opportunity suggests it!

5. before being utah bound, i’m florida bound. for the beach, to be exact! YESSSS. talk about a much needed week vacay in early april. it’s Paige’s spring break, and there is just no better way to spend it.

6. maybe i’ll actually get a tan??? it’s been so long since my skin has been any shade darker than pale. ha. i used to work as a county lifeguard and swim instructor for a few years – in the sun EVERY DAY and i was still made fun of for being so white. i’ve learned to embrace my complexion. though, basking in the rays in still worth a shot. can’t wait.

7. this means my “beach bod” needs some work as well. since i’ve been home from Italy, my gym attendance is PATHETIC. where i used to go and stay at least an hour – often Zumba and then some miles on the treadmill….now i’m doing good to make once or twice a week and feeling done after 30 minutes – HA! so it’s time to get myself back in the swing of things. obvi. not to mention i’m going to get so skinny being on this diet 🙂

8. for the last FIVE years of my life, i’ve found myself in distance relationships. six and a half years total – because i attempted one in my early college years as well. why would i do that to myself??? i don’t know! it just always happens! it’s like i can’t find someone i’m interested in that actually lives in the same state. i got pretty used to the distance thing. but i am so over it now. i want nothing more than to find a decent boy – that makes me happy – that i can actually spend my weekends with. i’m hoping utah will do that for me. dream big, right? my previous wishing holds true.

love, whit

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out with the old IN with the new! best of 2011. goals 2012.

it’s that time…the LAST WEEK of 2011! icanhardlybelieveit.

let’s review 2011. last january started off with snow and ice:

but spring came…so did family…and the Atlanta, GA lds temple re-opened!

the temple made it possible for our friends to become a forever family!:

i turned 24:

the summer’s garden was a success:

(some of the first fruits!)…cinnamon and kids came to visit…we enjoyed july 4th together

(and i succumbed and chopped off all my hair)

my two best friends had their FIRST babies in the same week! i took prego pics of both:

and my SISTER had her fourth…happy new little nephew to ME…this is miles august ayres:

me and miles…i made it back to utah after like 4 years…for B’s wedding! and a reunion of friends:

mine and elissa’s reunion was WAY overdue.

same with ry guy.

and i even MET my blog bestie in PERSON!! miss chelsea vose.

and the year got even better, joe beau came to visit

and as you just saw..Christmas came, and so did my favorite Virginia family.

i try to reflect on the last year and it’s happenings. funny how it always feels like so long ago and yet also that the year sped by. i had to reference back to my old 2011 NEW YEAR blog post to see my list, how far i’ve come and what progress was made.

so, referring back to that list of goals, i DID in  R E V I E W:

– take more pictures: purchased a DSLR which was a major catalyst

– be more social? …eh, yes and no! haha.

– get back to school: i DID take some online classes in 2011. got a 4.0 in them! win!

– get in shape?: i joined a gym and fell in love with zumba. i would say a definite improvement/obsession for a healthier lifestyle was made. win!

– i HAVE done some painting in 2011. wish i’d done more.

– did i make it back to Puerto Rico? pick-up my old guitar skillz? or was there a boda? no, no, and…no. life goes on.

all in all, 2011 was a rough year for me. no lies. and although there weren’t many HUGE events for me…there was a lot of personal reflection and growth. i feel i have come a long way (but still with a long way to go). i feel i am so much more honest with myself and much more trusting in God and His timing. i also was employed full-time all of 2011…and blessed with a great job this year, too! i will count my blessings.

as for my Whitney Tutt 2011 BEST OF list…looking back, i have very little to offer as far as movies and music and all of that this year. so…please excuse my pathetic list.

MY top 2011 album releases:

haha…love how i had to throw in the Biebs there.

Feist, Wilco, Coldplay, and Adele all had noteworthy album releases in 2011 as well. I just haven’t spent too much time listening to them to be able to properly rate them. OH…and Pitbull…Planet Pit has some good ones! ha!

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M O V I E S. i was the worst at seeing movies in 2011. but i did make it to THE END:

also, of course i saw the new Twilight. i should be ashamed of the few times i made it to the theater this year. i didn’t see the new X-Men. or Green Lantern. or Thor. or Cowboys and Aliens. or Bridesmaids. or The Adjustment Bureau. or…well. what DID i see?

that i can remember…Limitless. Fast Five. Super 8. Something Borrowed. Pirates 3. HP7. Breaking Dawn. Jane Eyre.

oh…i did thoroughly love this movie, if you have even heard of it, came out in Feb:

and, i’m such a fan of the 80’s classic, i loved the new one:

so, that’s that.

B O O K S!

my 2011 favvy:

and that concludes my 2011 review.

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NOW

time for my 2012 goals. considering the last couple months of 2011 have been rather positive. it gives me hope for the NEW YEAR!

i mean, i WILL be spending my first two weeks of the new year in Italy. what better way to ring in 2012?! i feel like the year will be as eventful as it’s start.

2012 GOALS:

1. Thanksgiving Day half-marathon (with my sisters, that’s the plan)

2. maintain health and fitness (which will be needed to accomplish #1 – i also have new yoga dvds i need to try more regularly)

3. allow my hair to grow out at least long enough for a ponytail. ha! dye it less. 🙂

4. be more assertive

5. work on my sewing skills

6. practice piano often

7. maintain an eternal perspective

8. develop my art more – paint/draw more (aka: spend less time on Pinterest and more time actually DOING the great ideas)

9. complete one book a month

10. notice/do more for others. serve.

11. try a new recipe each month (i have so many “pending” to be attempted)

12. figure out my “continuing education” plan

13. travel somewhere new

14. work on my “technical” photography knowledge

15. true love

…i think i can handle those. realistic. attainable. worth it. i’m ready.

2012…bring it!

love, whit

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