Re-evaluation Of Life For The Mid-Year 2016




Create Your Tomorrow






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Re-evaluation. That is a loaded word and one that we need to apply on a regular basis to life ~ 

As I lay in my bed on this past New Years’ Eve 2015 recovering from ending the year of 2015 on an epic note (a trip to Indonesia – my husband’s homeland – which I plan to blog about …. at some point.), many thoughts and ideas go flashing through my mind preparing to enter a new year- a new chapter as it were. Re-evaluate.

We are now halfway into 2016 and it is definitely flying!  – Can someone please slow the clock down?! The older we are, the more this is true as we crowd so much more in our schedules instead of just savoring one thing for a little longer. 

Jeweled Pocket Watch

I’m thinking maybe a slower-paced year is in my cards the next oh, say, 207 days.  HA! I was saying that back when we were in the earlier part of the year and there wasn’t too much going on…. at the time.                

Come back and catch me in mid to late May – Oh, wait. It IS already June! ….when I’m up to my neck in some new (or old- I tend to have this bad habit of taking on multiple projects and taking FOR-EVERRRRR ….. and a day to *finally* FINISH) project[s].   *Ask my husband, Michael- HAHA!  

Update: I’m a walking self-fulfilling prophecy, y’all! As of this published post, I’ve gone and done it. I’m on a very determined mission to complete my son, AJ’s room which only took me 3 1/2 years to close the door on this renovation project to move on to the next.    

boy's room painting


I’m a procrastinator by nature or one that works better with a deadline looming (as much as I HATE to admit to that since I *vehemently* loathe pressure being put on me).        


 It makes me mad but a mean, productive machine that will knock out all the steps and be done faster than you chanting the pledge of allegiance.                                                **FYI: I’m a bear/bitch when I’m under pressure; stay 10 feet away unless you are helping my load to be lighter. Just keeping it real, y’all!  ;-)           Time Management Words Stock Image                           

I’m also needing some serious help with my “time management” skills. Any way I hash it or improvise, I still end up on the edge of the ‘short’ hand of the clock, so to speak: Meaning – The hours (the short hand) just tick by rapidly.                                                                         Without my permission.                  

With that said, I’ve given it some thought and decided to do two things to channel my focus a little palpably and procure the ability to transform the way I generally operate so that I can be more productive. 


1. Unleash what’s termed a “BRAIN      DUMP”     

-Where everything that’s running through my head be it sorting through a stash of whatever, purging or designating a place with other like items, a project that needs attention, random places to go, things to do, appointments, anything kid-related, etc. et cetera…makes its way to the paper.                                                                    


                              I’ve made a point of staying consistent with it (even if some months I haven’t jotted as much down) and referencing it often.                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Brain Dump                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

 Planner Inspiration




 All that’s needed is a notebook or pad and a pen. I don’t care who you are or how little time you have, you CAN make time to just jot whatever down. It all comes down to what you will prioritize and if you are anything like me, you need all the help you can summon to keep yourself accountable for being and feeling productive.


It has helped enormously in streamlining my time and I’ve consciously made an effort to cut out the bloat that ends up stealing precious time from accomplishing tasks and goals.                                            

        Yes, less time on social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and {sadly} Pinterest.                                                                                      

         I don’t know about you, but my mind has a million ideas and a never-ending list of things that need to be tackled. I will forget most of those since there is no way to remember it all when it comes to making it happen. Plus, the sad reality that I’m NOT superwoman. Say WHAT?? Say it ain’t so.        






2. Finding a PLANNER that works for you.


Happy Planner watermark


 No. That does not mean hiring yourself a live P.A. (personal assistant) – although that would be ideal and really nice! Haha.


  This may require purchases that turn out to be lemons (true in my case) but eventually (hopefully) you will find a system that is perfect for you and your lifestyle. Or you may be of the “digital” persuasion where a few taps of your smart device have you on the ready for your next venture or event.                                                                                                    I have always been a “planner girl” as far back as I can remember since I would write down schedules, events or whatever I had going on. I loved referencing my planner to keep me mindful of things coming up and it was a good way to start prepping especially for important upcoming occasions.  

Pens and notebooks


Did you know there are a whole slew of communities to inspire you in your planning endeavors??! I’ve recently found yet another hobby to add to my ever-growing list of things I really enjoy! I just got into the MAMBI Happy Planners and don’t get me started on my Etsy sticker addiction!!! Can you tell how exciting this makes me?      


Watermark Planner Layout

“You will never influence the world by trying to be like it”


Planner Collage watermark Gold          


Here’s another little [not so secret] secret to pass on to you on how to be more productive AND not fall apart doing so:                                        Make more room in your time by NOT doing so much! It’s simple really. But we tend to crowd MORE. MORE. MORE into our already cramped lifestyle thinking – We have to. We must. We don’t have much choice.

Sit down and figure what you honestly could cut out – OR add –  to free up your ability to be more productive.   Trust me, if you don’t take care of yourself first and start saying “No”, you will find yourself forced into an intermission/time out either because of illness, injury, conflicts arising, mental breakdown, to name a few.                                                                                                                  

Ask yourself the hard questions –

Is it really necessary or mandatory….
  • To teach that class?
  • Go to that show/conference?
  • Travel so much?
  • Give that speech?
  • Have your kids [or you] involved in so many activities that you are running yourself  (and them) ragged and sick? And no time to take real time for yourself?
  • Wasting time on social media (you know, scrolling every few minutes or every half hour through the feed)?
  • Do this project and that one?  
  • Go to yet another shower/wedding/party?
  • To say “yes” to almost (if not every) invite?

Listen, you may have more energy than most and it may not be hurting anyone now. However, if you are human, you have limits. Sometimes it’s good to take a breather for a spell and re-evaluate where you are at this time, what you could add (if you aren’t prioritizing what is valuable to you and those around you) or extract from your life.                                   Even too much of a good thing can become toxic if it’s detracting from you being effective to those around you, to yourself and living a quality life. You need to GIVE yourself permission to say “NO” more often (for those who have a hard time turning down offers).                                           On the flip side, if you find yourself almost always saying “no”, allow yourself to get more involved and practice saying “YES” to things that will prove beneficial to not only you but others too!

   Day Designer 3 CROP watermark




*Disclaimer: Now I’m still a lifelong work in progress (Read: NOT perfect by any stretch) but I’m preaching and putting into practice as much to myself as anyone of what was just aforesaid. We must extend grace to ourselves and others when we seem to be making progress but find that we still come up short.


 Hope this post helped inspire you in some way and may you have an intentional and productive week!

                AW Signature

IKEA Chair Brings Frugal Comfort To The Bedroom


{{ Guest Post }} From Ilona :


Assemble Your Own Economical Bedroom Chair

An Armchair For The Bedroom

bedroom chair

Source: Ilona Erwin

My cozy little setup for reading: the Poang chair and footstool, a reading lamp, and small bookcase.

Great looking black and white print is an ideal partner for the white, red or black cushions.

Wouldn’t this be the perfect accent for the chair?

I was looking for a bedroom chair


My inspiration for drawing your attention to my bedroom chair? My husband, recently laid up with a bout of sciatica, remarked that it was the only chair he could comfortably sit in. Heretofore, it had been my own exclusive place to sit, and I am presently sitting in it right now as I write this review. I wanted others to enjoy what I have found to be the benefits of this widely available, inexpensive, and comfortable chair for many uses in your home or apartment.

Need Design Ideas?

Need a chair to tuck into your bedroom? That is how I have set up this versatile piece of furniture.

New apartment? You might want a pair of these for you and your guests, they will also move easily when you do.

What about your guest bedroom? Your guests will feel right at home and you can afford to add the extras that make a guest room extra nice.

A den? This might become your favorite TV watching chair, or you might like it for rocking the new baby.

Two things were on my mind

For me, two things were on my mind when shopping for a new chair to fill a space in the corner of my bedroom.


…The fact is that a reading chair in a bedroom is a requisite, in my opinion. Every bedroom needs a place where you can sit to put on your shoes, curl up with a good book, or pull out your organizer and create a list of what needs to get done that day. Or just sit and dream with a cuppa.


If I had been younger, during the days when I had young babies and night feedings, it would be the place that I could gently rock while sitting in the flexible Poang Armchair, but nowadays I like to put my feet up and work on my laptop or read quietly. Tucked away from the the other areas of the house, able to look out my bay window, it is perfect for me.

Back to those two factors that a new bedroom chair had to fulfill:

  1. It had to fit my fairly small budget. This was not as important to me as a family vacation, and not a necessity for anyone in the family except me.
  2. It had to be comfortable. Actually this requirement outweighs the first one of price. So I went around sitting in lots of chairs.

On a visit to IKEA, I sat in this chair and fell in love…with the price AND the comfort.


  • The modern, sleek look ( even though I usually go for bulky easy chairs-I just love this)
  • The matching footstool which gives good leg/foot support, and is lightweight (easy to move when vacuuming)
  • The seat cover pad which adds to the comfort and makes cleaning easy, too.
  • The flexible rocking motion
  • The comfort of the design

But now… my husband has discovered what a nice seat it is, so will I need to buy another?

Look! A New Nursery With the Best Seat In The House

Zoe gets a modern, clean bedroom! With a Poang rocker and a bookshelf seat- how cute!

Zoe gets a modern, clean bedroom! With a Poang rocker and a bookshelf seat- how cute!

This Is A Classic

Have you been to IKEA lately? So many great items that won’t break your budget, and like this piece, many will be classic in thier simple design. Fit it into any room- and it works!

What Color Cushions? Choices!


The cushions are sold separately from the chair. This is not a problem since the chair looks great on its own. I like having the extra padding, and it extends the color and design choices.

There are many colors and a number of styles available for a cushion set that will fit into any room scheme.

I’ve even seen custom seat covers sold on Etsy for this popular chair.

Easy To Assemble

IKEA Poang Chair

Ikea Poang Chair Armchair with Cushion, Cover and Frame
Ikea Poang Chair Armchair with Cushion, Cover and Frame

You can get this great seating from Amazon “delivered to your door” service!

Kid Friendly
I raised ten of them- so I appreciate it when furniture is kid friendly. The cushion covers can be washed or replaced easily.
Addictive Kale Chips

Addictive Kale Chips

 Baked Kale Chips











Kale Chips.


You either like ’em or you don’t.  Here at the Widjaja house, we LOVE them! Can’t get enough of them!   Beg for more! Don’t last long!….. but maybe that’s a good thing as it’s a way better alternative to junk such as:

  •    Potato chips
  •    Fried Foods
  •    Cake
  •    Candy
  •    Cookies

…. etc. etc. etc………………….   Not that we don’t eat that kind of stuff from time to time (ok, okay…… maybe more often than we care to admit ) but we try to incorporate creative (and tasty) ways to fix and eat healthier. As I always say, “it’s a lifestyle, not a diet til I reach a goal”.        

I personally, have always had a difficult time with vegetables or healthy foods even though I grew up eating very wholesome, natural foods. Blame it on my major “sweet tooth”, haha!  My mom was always more organic (BEFORE that became a “thing” y’all)  and so introduced us to nutritionally-rich foods.  [It] became somewhat of an anathema to me for a little while as I deviated from the ‘path’ once I became an adult and well into my 20’s but have returned to my roots since I value not only mine but my family’s health.

I have to add, for good measure, that Mr. AWE Design (Michael) has adopted even better nutritional habits than me – He has been dedicated and steadfast, not to mention disciplined with the Keto diet and it has provided great results for him overall. I’m super proud of him, especially given his diet was anything but healthy before. 

*Now keep in mind that although we are big fans of this “green stuff”, you and/or your kids may not be so quick to jump aboard this bandwagon. You just have to experiment and find healthy options that work for you.*

Seasoned Kale Leaves


Line your baking sheets either with aluminum foil (like I did) or parchment paper.  You want the baked leaves to come up easier.

Baking sheets lined with aluminum foil

Preheat your oven to 325° (You may have to adjust the temperature depending on how hot your oven heats).

Preheat Temperature


Work in batches….   Tear off leaves from the main stem.

Making kale chipsRinse……. and give a vigorous shake to get rid of excess water.Rinsing Kale Leaves

 Spread the leaves on paper towels and apply a top layer of paper towels to pat out the excess moisture.   (Side note: If you have one of those awesome salad spinners, then you can skip this step.  I actually just purchased one from Ikea and love it! )

Kale Leaves Being Dried

Kale leaves

Kale Leaves Drying

Next – transfer the kale leaves back to mixing bowl.  Drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Get your hands in there and really work the oil in. You want to be sure the leaves are completely covered.

Pouring The EVOO On Kale






                  This is the oil I used…….         Robust Extra Virgin Olive Oil




This seasoning I found at Fresh Market…

Red Dog Rub












Feel free to use whatever seasonings you have on hand but use them sparingly. I wouldn’t use salt just because when the kale is crispy baked, it tends to taste a bit salty by itself.  

Red Dog Rub Ingredients


















Kale leaves pre-oiled & seasoned and oiled & seasoned


Lay the leaves in a single {crowded} layer on baking sheet.  They will shrivel down when cooked.

Kale Leaves On Baking Sheets


Kale leaves laid in a single layer

Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes.

Kale Leaves Being Cooked

Kale Leaves Ready To Cook

Kale Baked

They should be a “blackened” green and feel crispy. They still taste good even if they didn’t cook to a full crisp but they will be a little chewy. It all comes down to preference.
Close-up Of Baked KaleWhen all done removing the “chips”, cleanup is so simple. Another reason I like to line my pans with foil or parchment paper.

Foil-lined cleanup


Now they are ready to devour! Kale Chips


Baked Kale Chips






Addictive Kale Chips
A vegetable that tastes great crispy
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
15 min
  1. 1-2 Bunches of Kale Leaves
  2. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I used Bertolli Robusto)
  3. Seasoning of Choice (I used Red Dog Rub which I found at my local Fresh Market) such as-
  4. Granulated Garlic, Cayenne Pepper, Smoked Paprika, etc.... whatever suits your taste
  1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Wash the leaves in a colander. I use a salad spinner to shake off the excess water but if you don't have one, just give it a good shake in the sink.
  3. You can eliminate this step (and yes, waste of paper towels) if you have a salad spinner. Lay the leaves out on paper towels and pat mostly dry with a layer of paper towels on top.
  4. In a stainless steel mixing bowl (easier clean-up from the oil), place the kale and douse the EVOO all over the leaves enough to coat. Toss with your hands to ensure even coating.
  5. Lightly sprinkle seasoning(s) of choice. Again, use your hands to ensure even distribution.
  6. Lay out in a single layer but crowded together(they will really shrivel down when cooked).
  7. Cook for 10-15 minutes. They should be crispy and a "blackened" green.