Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Room Re-Do on a Budget Update

I could have titled this post 'My Trip To Ikea Hell'. Actually it was not that bad, however the Ikea desk/vanity is not yet complete.
In my last post I showed you the Pinterest inspiration for the re-do, you can check out that post here:
mymiddletonchronicles.blogspot.com/bedroom-re-do-on-budget.html

There's a reason they call it Pinterest Perfect. The real life version of that includes a trip to Home Depot, figuring out where to get succulents (Home Depot!) a trip to Ikea, a Youtube video and calls and emails to Ikea.

Yep, Ikea. That's where the project hits a snag. It was easy and fun to cruise the aisles and have some lunch at the mamoth Ikea store that is about an hour from home for us. My daughter just turned 15 and it seems it is all the rage to re-do your bedroom when you hit that milestone. Or maybe it was the back to school thing and seeing all the college kids setting up thier dorms. Re-decorating fever is real.

But back to the strugggles. Let's start with the directions in the HUGE box that contained the Alex drawer system that was to hold up one end of my daughters desk/vanity. Or should I say lack of directions? I'm pretty sure Ikea hired a cave man to draw the most basic of directions and I am pretty sure said cave man is laughing his ass off as he thinks about the unknowing consumers (like me) who are scratching thier heads wondeirng how the heck to assemble this beast.

2 weeks after our attempt at the desk/vanity it is still not done. Not for a lack of effort. Thank you YouTube for having a huge trove of how to videos on assembling Ikea stuff. It still took a lot of brain power and screw turns but we figured it out.
The reason it is still not done is we were missing 13 out of 16 little, tiny wooden dowels. Ugh.

Phone calls, emails and a trip to the hardware store and we still don't have what we need to complete the desk/vanity. But we will in 7-14 business days the snotty customer service rep told me. I killed her with kindness because I did not want our precious wooden dowels to get "lost" in the mail. If I did not have that in the back of my mind I could have reached through the phone and strangled her.
I swear explaining what you need to a customer service rep after waiting on hold for 15 minutes subsequent to trying to solve your issue via email and being told to go to the stores "As Is" section to see if they have what you need because the part # you provided is not found. Ugh again.

Here are some photos of our progress so far. We are close to done! I'd post a pic of the painted bed but it is not made at the moment so you'll have to wait with baited breathe for the next Room Re-Do on a Budget post :)






The succulents look great! We put them in a used up candle jar and a small mason jar.

Bag O Ikea Parts 
Will be complete in 7-14 business days!

Monday, October 2, 2017

News - Monday Quote

Typically on a Monday I post an inspiring quote for the week. Not today. The news from Las Vegas is sinking in. I heard it on the radio with 3 kids in the car, 1 was my own daughter and the other 2 are carpool buddies.

We shut the radio off and I assured them of the safety of thier school.
Sending my thoughts and prayers to Las Vegas victims, families, first responders and to our country. This should not be happening here.

Photo by Natalie Collins on Unsplash

Friday, September 22, 2017

Monday Quote from a Favorite Book and Movie


Fall is here. Are you sad to see summer go? I love living in New England where we get to experience all the seasons.

A new season is a great time to remember that no matter what our circumstances you can always choose happiness. If you have not read the book or watched the movie The Pursuit of Happiness I highly reccomend it. A true story and a true triumph for Chris Gardner.

Happy Fall!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Monday Quote - Procrastination

It's Monday! Start off your week by thinking about and prioritizing getting important sh*% done.

Anyone else do this? Courtesy of Jennifer Lancaster, author of My Fair Lazy, comes this quote:




Saturday, September 9, 2017

Spiralizer Adventure

This week I found some time to use a much-loved Christmas gift. My husband has been bringing home beautiful vegetables from his co-worker’s garden. These gorgeous summer squash and cucumbers were a motivator to bring out the spiral veggie slicer and cookbook that have been sitting on a shelf for way too long, since last Christmas to be exact.
Cooking is one of those things that I am bad about making time for. Eating out and take out have been a go to for me in the past and it wreaked havoc on my weight and my wallet.   I love to bake, cooking not so much. Now that I am trying to maintain the weight I have lost and maybe lose a couple more pounds eating at home has a new appeal. I tried several of the meal home delivery services. It was fun for a while but with all the packing materials and pots and pans to wash the fun went out of it. For all their proclamations about being less expensive than eating out I am not fully convinced… It seemed expensive to me. So, I tried it, will maybe try again but not until after I’ve exhausted my cooking motivation.


Spiralized Summer Squash & Cukes
A fun gadget like my spiralizer is just the item to get me excited about doing some cooking. The fall also tends to bring out the interest in it for me. Crock pot meals are likely next on the agenda. A friend of mine introduced me to one of my all-time faves for the crock pot – salsa chicken. It could not be easier. Put chicken breasts in your crock pot, dump a big jar of salsa on top and cook all day while you are at work. The meal possibilities with this are plentiful: salad topped with salsa chicken, tacos, fajitas, nachos … all are so delish.

Last fall another friend created a Facebook group for sharing healthy but easy recipes for the work week. There were so many good ideas. A couple of the top ones that I seemed to make over and over last year were Italian Wedding Soup with turkey meatballs, Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls and Stay in Bed Beef Stew. I’ll post the recipes in the comments. If you give them a try let me know what you think. If you are a spiralizer and you have tips or great recipes, I’d love to hear those too.


The internet opens so many opportunities that you otherwise would not have when it comes to so many things, cooking lessons among them. There are endless videos with step by step recipes, pie crusts (hoping to try some over the holidays) and food blogs for days. One thing I liked about the Facebook group is that I knew it was real people and not professional chefs making these meals so I figured they would be within my cooking capabilities and would likely be edible.  Some of the stuff you find online is just not realistic for a regular person in a fun of the mill kitchen. Ingredients I’ve never heard of, cooking utensils I don’t own and hours of needed prep time I don’t have. Simple but healthy and delicious is what I’m going for.

I’ve started some regular posting on the blog: a Monday post with a quote to get your week started on a positive note and Wordless Wednesdays has been going on for a while. I am a visual person and I am loving posting a beautiful photo mid-week either of my own or from a photo sharing site like Unsplash. There are so many talented photographers sharing what they have captured with their lense.
Subscribe to my blog and follow along with My Middleton Chronicles.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Every Day I'm Hustling

The song that never gets old

To get ahead, to stay ahead, to be engaged, to stay engaged takes hustle. I can think of a few other things that go in to the equation when it comes to loving your work. What those things are depend on what you enjoy and they type of person you are. For me I need the thrill of the hustle, the enthusiasm of working on something I love, autonomy to approach things my way and some accountability thrown in so I don't succumb to procrastination that can sometimes be in my nature.

One thing I learned over this past year is that no matter how much you love what you do there can be external influences that take the wind out of your proverbial sails. This is a condition that can sometimes be overcome and sometimes they are out of your control.

Sales (my chosen profession) is very rarely smooth sailing. The choppy waters that need to be navigated is part of the fun. 

There is a huge need to keep a positive mindset and a focus on problem solving to get to the closing. That is one of the big reasons I have spent time collecting my favorite quotes, which I publish here each Monday to start the week off right.

The last part of the hustle equation is energy. Positive thinking helps tremendously when it comes to the energy needed to hustle. It's hard to hustle when you are feeling down. It is hard to hustle when you see the glass as half empty instead of half full. 

The quote you see below is from a guy I admire who has a podcast I started listening to: Side Hustle School. He's also got a book coming out and I can't wait to get my hands on it! Real estate, the type of sales I work in, is often a side hustle. Many agents do real estate full time but it is the second source of income in their household. I'd like to see it become more than that for those who aspire to that.

Do you have a side hustle? It would be great to hear about it. And so would Chris at sidehustleschool.com
Listening to the successes on his podcast or in his book might just give you the courage to take the leap and turn your side hustle in to your main source of income.









Monday, September 4, 2017

Bedroom Re-Do on a Budget

Knobs for platform bed drawers
Fall is always a time of new beginnings. With a son going off to college and a daughter starting high school there is lots going on in my house.

I find that throwing myself in to a creative project is really helpful when it comes to managing stress.  Sitting on the couch watching The Real Housewives and drinking wine is fun but gets a little old after a while.

 My high schooler has been pinning on Pinterest her ideas for a bedroom re-do and we'll be tacklin it on a budget because of the brother going off to college thing. (read bills, bills, bills)

She loves the IKEA Malm collection and I've been searching online yard sale sites, ebay, craigslist, etc to try to find the pieces she is interested in. We also need to paint her bed. It's a green color that was popular about 10 years ago. It's a really solid platform bed with nice, deep drawers. Once we paint it a glossy white and add new knobs it will look great.

IKEA Dressing Table
So once the painting is done hopefully I'll have found the dressing table, a 6 drawer dresser and a couple of mirrors and lamps that will round out the look. I could go to the IKEA store and pick up the needed items but with Allston Christmas going on as new college students move in and out I figured I could score a bargain and avoid the dreaded IKEA assembly process. No luck yet but I'm not giving up.


I'm also thinking about how to plant some succulents in tiny, pretty containers. I've got a used up candle that I think will work nicely.
Where do you get succulents? I'll need to find out. I've never had much of a green thumb but this summer I had some success with my plants and with tomatoes so I'm feeling like a doing more of it.






Speaking of my daughter ... I just got a saved pin from her Pinterest page as I was writing this ...



Have ideas for decorating on a budget? I'd love to hear them!
Wendy

Happy Labor Day


Do You Agree?




Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Small Changes Make a Big Difference

At least I hope they do! I'm back at it with Miracle Morning and the vision board is part of that. The board itself is a work in progress but is at least started.
SAVERS
S - Silence (trying the Smiling Mind app)
A - Affirmations (creating one affirmation each day during MM)
V - Visioning (in the works)
R - Reading (Miracle Morning to start, it really is a good book)
S - Scribe (short post here)

Lastly, posting a photo I love each day. No meaning behind it, I'll just choose something beautiful or artistic.

Photo of the day:
Photo by Chloe Ridgway on Unsplash

Friday, July 7, 2017

What's The Verdict on Vision Boards? Do They Work?

Quite a few years ago, when the book The Secret was so popular, I created a vision board.

Where it is today I am not sure. It kicked around my basement for many years and I think it did finally go out with the trash. There are 2 posts that were on the board that I remember well: a check I made out to myself for a million dollars and a photo of a Disney cruise ship.

There is lots of commentary and opinion when it comes to vision boards and for me while I believe that what you focus on expands I am not sure if a vision board works. The check for a mil has not arrived and I never did go on that Disney cruise.

I've done some more reading beyond The Secret on vision boards and in that process I came across an article that resonated with me. The author talked about a vision board that does not focus on material things but on feelings. In essence put on your board photos and items that bring about the feelings you wish to have. Check out the article here: www.huffingtonpost.com/visionboard

That line of thinking is the one I am going to employ as I create a new vision board. That same line of thinking is the reason I selected the photo I've used in this post. It's summer, sunflowers are beautiful and my sunflower photo emits that summer vibe.



This is the sign that hangs above my desk in my home office is one that I believe in and love as a concept when it comes to work. Does having it hang above my desk influence my thinking and have an effect on my work output? I'd have to say yes.

So ... do vision boards work? I am going to try one again and see if I can find out. Follow along here at My Middleton Chronicles.






Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Reply I Got From GM at Albany Best Western

Ms. English,

 Once again I would like to apologize for the experience that you had at the hotel,  while you were at the hotel we did everything within our power to try to assist you we offered to give you another room we offered to let you have a room to take a shower due to the issues that you were experiencing,  you refused all of our attempts to try to assist you.  You did contact customer care the day that you departed the hotel and excepted my offer of a 50% discount off of your room at that time.  During our phone call today I tried to explain that you would already received a 50% discount,  I tried very hard talking with you today to resolve this issue however due to the fact that you have threatened to continue to try to destroy the hotels reputation on all forms of social media I explained to you that I was unable to continue our conversation and I said to you have a nice day that I was going to let you go now  and ended the conversation.  I do sincerely apologize for the experience that you had at the hotel, it is not a typical experience for our guest. I regret not being able to assist you further. 

Sincerely,
Laura Rummel





Hi Laura & to whom it may concern at Best Western,

In your email reply you have not addressed the fact that you charged me 3X and I had to call the hotel about this and was told you were not available and could not call me back. I did not post anything online until then and was waiting for a call from the "corporate office" that I was told I would get when I checked out because I was not satisfied with the offer of a 1/2 price room based on the poor condition of the hotel, the fact that our confirmed reservation did not seem to exist and the poor customer service I received.

To then find out yesterday that a call was never coming from the "corporate office" as you and your staff stated it would and to have them send me back to you I was just following what I was told to do to resolve what I consider to be an unresolved issue.

Upon reaching you and in the process of going over my grievances I was told I could talk as much as I wanted and that you were not going to do anything and I was hung up on. 

As far as posting on review sites I have not posted anything about my experience that is not true and would have certainly posted a positive review with details about how my complaints and issues were resolved had I been treated in a positive way with my complaints and issues addressed instead of having you act like what took place was somehow my problem. And to reiterate I did not take to review sites until you charged me 3X for a 1 night stay.

My reviews are on Trip Advisor, Yelp, Google, Facebook and I have tweeted @bestwestern

-Wendy

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Terrible stay at Best Western & even worse treatment after

Hey Best Western Albany Airport - we in a fight.
No reservation at 11:00 at night despite having email confirmation of said reservation
Knowingly put me in a room with plumbing problems where we could not shower
Over charged me
Laura Rummel, General Manager, disappeared, would not take my calls and falsely told me that the corporate office would be contacting me and could help me further
Laura Rummel hung up on me today
I will be adding to my reviews on Trip Advisor and Yelp about the poor customer service I have gotten while trying to resolve my complaint.
I should not have to pay a penny for my stay at the Best Western Albany Airport and would like to be reimbursed what I was charged plus damages for the time I have had to spend.  When you stay in a hotel you expect to be able to check in, rest and shower in a room that does not spray water from the ceiling. All that should go without saying.
To then get the run around and be hung up on by the general manager in unacceptable.
To not receive a requested call back from customer care is unacceptable.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

2017 40 Bags in 40 Days



Oh do I need this. My basement is out of control. My closet is out of control. 40 Bags in 40 Days is an awesome challenge where you can spring clean and de-clutter but not all at once. All at once can be daunting. A bag a day is totally manageable.

Want to join me? There are some great resources here -
whitehouseblackshutters.com/40-bags-in-40-days

I am starting a little early (challenge starts March 1 and goes to April 15) and taking some things to the consignment store and to the donation box.

This time of year in New England always feels a little stagnant. Winter has been here for a bit and is starting to wear on everyone. Cleaning out and starting fresh chases out the winter blues for me.

Want some good news? The Daylight Savings spring forward day is March 12th. The first day of spring is March 20th. We are in the winter home stretch.

So who is with me? #40bagsin40days





Monday, January 2, 2017

A Pro Football Player, Supermodel and Me

The holidays and 2016 are now behind us and I spent some time over the break doing lots of movie, tv and book consumption. It was lush.
To start the year it's time to become a bit more serious and I am turning my attention to the study of a couple of books.

The first is a book one of my mentors (WWRD) mentioned to me a while back. Tom Brady, a pro football player who will likely go down in history as the best QB of all time, has a book he lives his life by. That caught my attention but it has taken me until now to check out the book and delve in to it.

It was widely reported that the football superstar and his supermodel wife got through a difficult time by following the edicts of Don Miguel Ruiz's book The Four Agreements.

In a 4 post series I'll give my take on each of the agreements.

BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the direction of your word in truth and love.

The author is a gentleman who writes and speaks about the teachings of the Toltec. They are the men and women of knowledge from ancient Mexico who passed their wisdom down decade by decade.

One of the overarching messages relating to being impeccable with your word is that people are inherently harder on themselves than anyone else ever could be.
Toltec Wisdom should be taught in school, I thought as I was reading.

It is said that this is the hardest agreement to follow. Hang with me while I try ...and stay tuned for more from My Middleton Chronicles.
Wendy

PS - I am getting back to my tv watching, pajama wearing last day of break now.