My Thirty-Fourth Year

Today is my thirty-fourth birthday.

I’m not a big birthday celebrator, especially considering how close my birthday is to the holiday season. Two weeks, to the day, from Christmas Eve. As a kid, it kind of felt like an extension of the holiday season. As an adult, it’s more like any other day. Which, I suppose is similar for most.

Today, I’m going back to work after over 21 days of vacation, quite frankly, 21 days of being at home is a few too many. I’m ready to get back to a routine and some normalcy. Don’t get me wrong, endless Netflix binges, hanging out in my yoga pants, and constant dog snuggles were amazing, but dude, homie needs something to do!

One of the benefits of having a birthday in early January is that when I set intentions and goals for the year, it’s like two birds, one stone. 2019 will be the year of | E M I L Y | – in case you didn’t already know. Maybe it’s a nice gift from the universe that for my birthday, I am going back to normal life with a new intention, goals, and foundations for the year ahead. Thank you, Universe.

my thirty fourth year

This year, my birthday wish is simple.

Health for my family + friends, the ability to continue growing + learning, and the luxury to continue planning for the future.


Here’s to another trip around the sun!

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2019 Goal Setting Series: Home.

Home is a lot of things. It’s more than a series of walls and rooms. Home is where you are safe, loved, and comfortable. As I went through my PowerSheets prep work for 2019, one of the common threads that I was able to identify, were things that reminded me of home.


The Big Picture: I am intentional with maintaining our home.

This matters, because: When this house becomes ours I want to be able to take pride in the home we’ve built. Home is about more than just relaxing, but also about being accountable to more than just ourselves. As we come closer purchasing the house that we live in, Justin and I keep building a list of things we want to do to improve the house and make it our own. I want to ensure, that we also focus on taking pride in this building as our home.

Some Action Steps: Working with Winnie on listening and responding to commands, creating a weekly cleaning routine + schedule, clean dishes every night before bed, maintain yard through each season, create a household budget, grocery shop + limit eating out, increase + monitor our credit, simplify by getting rid of what we don’t use, ultimately apply for a mortgage.

I am looking forward to the continued comfort that this house provides us and to growing as we build our home.

—> For more in my goal setting series, go to the original post here.

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8 Lessons I Learned in 2018

The last 364 days threw a lot of different things, people, emotions, situations, and issues at me. Some great, some initially perceived great, and some… just plain ugly. Looking back on year I realized just how even at the age of 33 there are lessons to be learned.

1. Not everything needs a social media picture or caption. Social media is so consuming that I have started forming habits where whatever I do, I think about how I could caption it if I posted it on Instagram. It isn’t pretty, but it’s reality. I am working toward adopting the philosophy that: “yes, if something happens and it wasn’t posted to social media that it was real.”

2. Money demands responsibility. Not respecting the value and necessity of money is immaturity at its finest. The thought that having spending money for whatever you want and remaining ignorant of the impact it has on your budget, credit, and ability to succeed is irresponsible. Which brings me to…

3. Things + food don’t satisfy emotional needs. Buying crap you don’t need or eating food your body doesn’t need do nothing positive for your emotional stability. Instead it creates an illusion that you can rely on these external things to be happy or content. Instead, imagine how much more satisfied you’d be with a body fueled by healthy foods and regular exercise and a bank account that allows you to pay your bills and go on vacation.

4. Some relationships aren’t meant to last forever. About halfway through the year a few of my relationships took an unexpected turn. At the time it bordered on devastating, I was hurt, obsessing about what I had done wrong, and lonely. It took me several months to realize that not all relationships, no matter how crucial they were at one time, are meant to last forever. I created my own version of closure.

5. Negativity is toxic and contagious. Constant negativity is not only toxic to yourself, but also those around you. It sucks the life out of a room and infects everyone around you. Why waste the effort on trying to not be positive? Don’t be a soul sucker.

6. My marriage is worth honoring with time, effort, and energy. Being married for eight years, going through the accelerated lifestyle that Justin and I have had to endure has certainly taken its toll. As our lives became less chaotic it became apparent that we also had to get out of our role of patient and caregiver. Our marriage is a partnership that deserves our time, effort, and energy. Our partnership deserves to be honored.

7. It’s okay to still not know “what I want to do when I grow up”. People are constantly growing, learning new things, and discovering new passions. The 40-year career with the same company is no longer the standard, and that’s okay. Instead of trying to force a single job title, I’m choosing to grow and utilize my gifts in my career.

8. I don’t have to be everything. I want to, oh do I want to be everything. But I can’t. It’s impossible and, quite frankly, exhausting. I don’t have to be everything; I just have to be me.

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Coffee Chats + Yoga Pants

Fridays are my favorite.

In that spirit, today I’ll be writing about all of things that I would tell you if we were hanging out, in our comfiest yoga pants, chatting about our week. Grab a warm cup of coffee and let’s chat!

Speaking of coffee. I have been obsessed with holiday coffee lately. I’m not sure what it is, because in reality, they’re not THAT different than any other coffee that I drink everyday. My favorites are Trader Joe’s Wintery Blend + Starbucks Holiday Blend.

This was the first year that I sent out Christmas cards. It seems like a dying art, but I am hoping to be more present in celebration in the coming year. One of the things I realized as I was putting together the cards was that I have NO ONES address, while I’m grateful for, it was incredibly tedious to look up everyone. My 2019 goal to purchase and complete an address book and birthday list was born out of this frustration. I ended up purchasing the Rifle Paper Co. Raven Address book. It’s on the pricier side, but I loved the design and it had exactly what I wanted. It now sits in my desk organizer and is also a place to keep my stamps!

I completed quite a few things on my Christmas Break Bucket List this week! I was able to wrap all of my presents, had a dinner and hot tub night with my mom and sister, I made greens for the first time, went to the eye doctor, and took Winnie to the vet. It was a productive week, for sure!

Speaking of making greens. Here’s my Instagram post where I shared my amazeballs dinner of Chicken Thighs and Bacon Greens. YUMMMM!

I’ve been missing my yoga practice lately, and while I’m waiting to purchase my membership to my favorite studio, I want to make a space at home that has the appropriate energy to use for yoga and maybe some meditation. I’m thinking part of my office will be transformed over break!

Justin and I have been on a Christmas movie watching binge lately. We’ve watched: Home Alone + Home Alone 2, Christmas Chronicles, The Santa Clause + The Santa Clause 2 (we’ve watched both of these TWICE), The Polar Express, and most of Christmas Vacation.

Thanks for hanging with me! Happy Friday!

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The Paff Zoo

There are days when this house feels like a three (or eight) ring circus. We have dogs that bark at everything, play by snorting at each other, and ring in circles around the house. There are also cats that demand food 24-7, knock things off of every surface imaginable, and like to make paper turn into confetti. Most days I want to lock myself in my bedroom and just give them run of the house. Also on most days: I want to snuggle the shit out of them.

“My goal in life is to be as good of a person as my dog thinks I am.” — Author Unknown

enhanceGus Gus, named after the mouse in Cinderella was our first pet. We adopted him after our honeymoon from a shelter that was showing at PetSmart. He was a tiny little guy,  named PhanTOM. Hated the name, LOVED the little fur ball. He is my little Tony Soprano, a giant (22lb) that runs this house silently from his safe little corner. He is scared of just about everything, but loves his people and tolerates the rest of the animals. He loves to hang out in high places where the dogs can’t bother him – the cat tree, kitchen counter, dining room chair, or any ledge he can find. His favorite thing is getting brushed by Justin and scratches on his head.

27709866_10104626449789634_2518932883472809262_oAllie was adopted in a rather interesting way. She was a test animal for the veterinarian technician school my sister was attending – she even has her ID number tattooed in her ears. At the end of the semester she was the last one left for adoption, if she didn’t find a home should would have been put down – we picked her up the next day. With of all of her experience with humans she was so friendly and sat comfortably in my arms on day one. Allie is the welcoming committee for the Paff house – always the first at the door to demand  greet visitors for some scratches and pets. She is the one that wakes me up every morning around 4AM to eat, and will knock over everything we own to do so. I consider her Gus Gus’s enforcer – she has no problem batting the dogs in the face when they want to play or standing next to them to look out the window.

IMG_2090Bruno is my first dog. Quite frankly, I had very little desire to have a dog until we adopted Bruno. Justin grew up always having a dog, so I knew it was important that one day we welcomed one as part of family. When my cousin had adopted a dog that they couldn’t keep, we jumped at the chance to bring him home. His past is a mystery, but as soon as I saw him I fell in love. Bruno is the sweetest soul I’ve ever met – as I type this he is laying next to me, with his head resting on my knee. He helped comfort Justin and I as we went through our most difficult phase of life and can melt both of us with a single head tilt, wag of his tail, or command executed. If Justin is my human soulmate then Bruno is, most definitely, my animal soulmate.

IMG_2601Winnie (the bish) was named after my favorite character on the show New Girl. She is quite a character herself. She was found on a cold November morning, chained to a fence in a park when a coworker’s husband was walking his dog. After waiting an hour or so he brought her home and took her to the vet to see if she was microchipped. After a day of trying to find her owners Justin and I decided that we would bring her home. She was tiny, malnourished, skittish, and attached to her new humans. I compare her to the Sour Patch commercials where the giant candy goes from sour to sweet and the human falls in love with them all over again – that’s everyday with Winnie Girl. She definitely challenges us more than any other animal we have, but she is making progress. She jumps when we ask her not to, she eats our privacy fence to see her friends next door, she has eaten numerous Christmas ornaments, and has left proof of her house-training process all over our living room carpet. But she snuggles like a champ, gives the best kisses, and picks up on commands quickly.

This house is full of craziness, animal fur, dog toys, and furniture that has been worn in faster than necessary. But this house is also full of love. A lot of love.

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