All posts by Lasonia

Hello! Welcome to my little space on the internet. My name is Lasonia, I am a wife, and mom of one. Lasonia B Graves is a lifestyle blog that focuses on family, food, frugal-ish living, and fun.

75 Things To Keep Track Of In Your Planner

If you are anything like me, you have a planner. I am a planner girl and always have been as far back as I can remember.

Planners are great for so many things other than just keeping up with your daily schedule. If you use your planner every single day, you’ll find that it is the perfect place to keep track of EVERYTHING!

I plan out my days, and I will also go back throughout the week to highlight and document happenings, using my planner as a scrapbook of my life so to speak.

If you’re looking for different ways that you can use a planner to keep you organized and on task, I have listed below 75 ways that you can use your planner. 


Tasks & To-Do Lists

Daily Tasks
Weekly To-Do List
Project Tracking (keep up with projects and deadlines)
Work Schedule
Honey Do List

Important Dates

Birthdays
Anniversaries
Meetings/Appointments
Holidays and Family Functions 

Finances

Bill Due Dates
Pay Dates
Account Usernames/Passwords (please don’t lose this)
Income Tracking (track your personal finances)
Expense Tracking
Debt Payoff
Savings Contributions

Household

Menu Planning (plan out a week or month’s worth of meals)
Grocery Lists
Fridge/Pantry Inventory
Favorite Recipes
Recipes You Want To Try
Household Maintenance (ie. change air filters)
Lawn & Garden Maintenance
Cleaning Checklists
Automobile Maintenance (ie. oil changes, tire rotations)
Packing List

Health & Wellness

Daily Water Intake
Doctor’s Appointments
What I Ate In A Day
Medication Tracker
Weight Tracker
Exercise Log
Body Measurements
Self Care Tracker
Mood Tracker
Symptom Tracker
Menstrual Cycle
Habit Tracker
Sleep Tracker
Morning Routine 

Contacts

Important Phone Numbers
Addresses
Emergency Contact Info

 

PIN It!

 

Spiritual & Personal Growth

Goals Tracker
Daily Affirmations
Favorite Bible Verses
Quotes
Sermon Notes
Prayers
Gratitude Journal

Leisure Activities

Television Shows To Watch (keep track of new shows you want to watch)
Books To Read
Movies To Watch (I keep up with all of the movies I want to watch on Netflix)
Upcoming Social Events
Parties (keep track of RSVPs)
Date Night Ideas
New Restaurants To Try
Shopping/Wish List
Orders/Deliveries (if you shop online often, keep track of your orders)
Crafts/Hobbies
Bucket List
Journal or Diary

 

Kids Activities

Kids Extracurricular Activities (ie. softball practice, dance rehearsal)
School Projects
School Events (ie. picture day)
Kids Chores
Birthday/Christmas Wish List

Memories

Memories  (jot down your favorites memories of something that a loved one did on a particular day)
Photos  (if you have a photo printer, print out fun things that you did during the week)
Family Activities

Business & Blogging

Blog Planner
Brainstorming Posts
Blog Stats
Social Media Posts
Business Expense Tracker
Business Meetings
Mileage Log

There you have it, my friends.  A plethora of fun, but useful ways to keep track of things in your planner!

What are some of the different ways you use your planner?

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Recipe

This slow cooker pulled pork is such an easy meal and so full of flavor. It’s the perfect meal for those summer months when you don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen standing over a hot stove. All you need is a few spices and some barbeque sauce and you are good to go.

You can serve the pulled pork on buns with coleslaw, or serve it alongside some baked beans, corn on the cob, coleslaw and garlic bread for a full meal.

 

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwich

SERVES
8 to 10
PREP TIME
10 minutes
COOKING TIME
8 hours to 10 hours

 

INGREDIENTS

1 large onion, finely chopped
1 cup Barbeque Sauce
1 tbsp. Chili Powder
¼ cup Liquid Smoke
¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp Onion Powder
2 tbsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Mustard Powder
1 tsp Thyme
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 tbsp Paprika
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 Pork Shoulder (3 or 4 lbs trimmed of excess fat) 

 

COOKING DIRECTIONS:

 

1. Mix together all of the dry spices and rub into all sides of the pork.

2. Combine vinegar, onion, and liquid smoke and place in the bottom of your slow cooker.

3. Wash meat and pat dry. 

4. Carefully add the pork shoulder.

5. Pour barbeque sauce on top of the meat.

6. Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours. Meat should be tender and easy to pull apart.

7. Remove pork from slow cooker and transfer to a bowl.

8. Shred with two forks or a meat shredder and toss with juices from the slow cooker. Feel free to add a bit more barbeque sauce if desired. 

 

STORAGE

Refrigerate any leftovers (moistened with some of the cooked liquid) in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

You can also freeze the pork for up to 2 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator.

 

Enjoy!

 

Pulled Pork Pinterest Pin

 

 

 

Summer Art And Craft Ideas For Kids

 

Summer break is in full effect! When school is out, one of my favorite things to do with my son is crafts. He absolutely loves making things with his hands.

Each summer I try to come up with fun crafts and other activities that I think he will enjoy.

I have rounded up ten crafts that are perfect for rainy days, when the kids get bored, or simply when they want to be inside out of the heat. I’m sure your kiddos will enjoy these activities as much as mine does.
 

Sponge Sailboat Craft

These sailboats are not only fun to make, but they are also extremely fun to play with.


Sponge Sailboat Kids Craft

 

Paper Plate Butterflies

This butterfly craft is simple and easy and perfect for any age!


Paper Plate Butterflies

 

Homemade Wind Chimes

The perfect craft for those who love to recycle.


Homemade Wind Chimes Craft

 

Squirt Gun Painting

A cool art experience for kids.


Painting With Squirt Gun Arts and Crafts

Paper Plate Frisbee

Simple, easy and loads of fun.


Outdoor Paper Plate Frisbee

Stained Glass Jars

The perfect place for those hand-picked flowers.


Summer Art And Craft Ideas For Kids Glass Jars

Sun Catcher

Kids will enjoy hanging this in their rooms.


Sun Catcher Craft Idea

 

Cool Kaleidoscope

Super cool science toy.
Summer Art And Craft Ideas For Kids

 

Washer Necklaces

Simple, yet fun jewelry that kids will enjoy wearing.


DIY Washer Necklaces

 

CD Wind Spinners

Turn your old CDs into art.


CD Wind Spinners Craft Activity

 

These are some seriously cool crafts, huh? Which ones did your kids enjoy the most?

Keeping Kids Safe During Summer

Summer is upon us, and the kid’s (adults too) are ready for some outdoor fun!  Whether we spend it swimming in the pool, riding our bikes, playing in the backyard, or hiking in the woods, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

We as parents should be mindful of the potential dangers during the summer months. Here are a few things to remember when it comes to summer safety.

 

 

Practice Water Safety

Adult supervision is one of the most important water safety rules. Parents should always be focused on their children 100% of the time. Please be mindful of the fact that children can drown in just one inch of water.
According to the CDC, drownings are the leading cause of injury death for young children ages 1 to 4, and three children die every day as a result of drowning.

  • Be sure your child wears a water safety vest at all times.
  • Backyard pools and spas should be surrounded on all four sides by a fence that is at least five feet high, with gates that close and latch automatically.
  • While swimming, make sure that an adult is within an arm’s length of the child being watched.
  • Learn infant and child CPR, and keep rescue equipment, a phone and any emergency numbers near the pool.

 

Little Black Boy Floating In Pool With Goggles

 

Beat the Heat

 

Prolonged exposure to hot temperatures can cause heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat stroke.  By taking the proper precautionary measures, most heat-related illnesses can be avoided.

  • Limit outdoor activities during mid-day sun hours (10 am – 4 pm).
  • Make sure that your child is well hydrated when playing outdoors. Keep water on hand at all times. Drink before, during and after being out in the heat.
  • Always wear sunscreen on both sunny and cloudy days. Choose products with UVA and UVB protection and an SPF of at least 15 (according to the American Academy of Pediatrics).
  • Apply sunscreen liberally 30 minutes before going out into the sun and reapply every two hours – sooner if swimming or sweating.
  • Wear protective clothing, including a hat and sunglasses.
  • Look for shade whenever possible, and take inside breaks so that you can cool down.

 

Helmet Safety

Bike helmets reduce head injuries by 85 percent and brain injury by 88 percent.  A helmet is the most important device available that can reduce head injury and death from a bicycle crash, according to Safe Kids Worldwide.

  • Make sure your child wears a helmet whenever they are riding on any type of wheels.  This includes bicycles, rollerblades, roller skates, skateboards, and scooters.
  • Be sure that the helmet is the proper fit. Helmets protect your child from serious injury and can be life-saving.

 

Prevent Playground Injuries

Emergency departments in the US treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related injuries every year.

Parents can take actions to help prevent injuries on playground equipment. Make sure that your backyard play equipment is safe and the play areas at your local parks or playgrounds.

  • Actively supervise your children to make sure they are safe at all times.
  • Make sure kids are properly dressed and wearing shoes at all times.
  • Make sure that the surfaces under playground equipment are soft and well-maintained.

 

Poison Ivy, Oak, and Poison Sumac

Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac can cause a severe skin rash when touched.

  • When hiking or camping outdoors, avoid bushy, overgrown areas where these plants tend to grow.
  • Wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks to protect from possible exposure to these plants.
  • You can learn to recognize the visual differences in these plants here.

 

Insect Bites

Protect you and your kids from insect bites by using an effective insect repellent. When we spend time in our backyard, I always have citronella candles burning to keep mosquitoes away. I also use bug repellent to keep those and other pesky critters away.

Keep in mind that most insect repellents are made with DEET, an effective insecticide that is toxic or even potentially deadly if swallowed. If you do use a product containing DEET, it is important not to apply the product to a child’s hands or face to avoid possible ingestion.

It is also important to shower or bathe before bed to remove all of the product so that you avoid overexposure to the chemical.  If you prefer an all natural version of insect repellent, Wellness Mama has a great recipe on her blog.

If you spend any time in the woods or areas that are prone to ticks, keep these safety measures in mind:

  • Always wear protective clothing (long sleeves and long pants that are tucked into socks).
  • Wear some form of tick repellent.
  • Perform a tick check on your children daily.

 

Final Thoughts
 

Every family should have a first aid kit at home that is well stocked and easily accessible.  It’s also helpful to keep a first aid kit in the car and to take one on road trips. I keep a small one in the glove box and a larger one in our trunk.

Be sure to keep a list of emergency numbers that include 911, your family’s doctor, the dentist’s number, poison control, and any other important phone numbers, such as close relatives.

We all want to enjoy the warm weather, let’s just be sure that we stay safe as well.

Have a great summer!

 

 

A Work At Home Mom Morning Routine That Will Help Transform Your Days

As a work at home mom, are your mornings typically chaotic? Does it seem as if you never get as much accomplished as you’d like to each day? Do you often forget to complete specific tasks? Maybe there are days when you feel completely overwhelmed. If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you could certainly benefit from a morning routine.

Getting the morning off to a positive start determines what type of workday you’ll have. It is definitely worth it to put forth the extra effort to ensure that your morning goes as smoothly as possible.

If you are one who feels that starting and sticking to a daily morning routine is a complicated process, honestly, that’s not the case. You actually get more accomplished, and without feeling overwhelmed or rushed. Best of all, your days will flow so much smoother.

Once you develop a plan and put it into practice each day, it will soon become a habit. The key is that you have to practice it daily. Another important point is that you want to create a routine that works for YOU. By creating a daily routine for yourself, and sticking to it, your level of productivity will definitely increase.

Here’s a sample of my morning routine that you can tailor to fit your specific needs.

WAKE UP EARLY

Start getting up about 30 or 45 minutes earlier than you normally do. I like to get up before my son so that I have some time to myself before having to go into mommy mode.

Upon waking, take a few moments to stretch your body. Stretching always helps me to fully wake up, and feel as if I am ready to face the day.

I like to open my blinds first thing in the morning so that the natural light flows in. I then make my bed and head to the kitchen for a glass of water and a cup of coffee.

TAKE TIME FOR PRAYER/DEVOTION

Starting your day with prayer enables you to focus your attention on God and His purpose and plan for the day ahead. If you have a devotional, you can read the devotion for that particular day. I like to have my cup of coffee (or tea) as I read my bible and devotional.

 

JOURNAL

After I finish my daily devotion, I spend about 10 minutes journaling. Some days I follow a journaling prompt, but there are times when I feel a need to just let whatever it is that’s on my mind flow onto the pages. I find that writing in my journal is very therapeutic.

 

GO OVER YOUR TO-DO LIST

Take a quick glance at your tasks and the important “to-do” items in your calendar so that you are familiar with the tasks that you need to get accomplished for that day. Make any necessary adjustments to your schedule if needed.

I also take a few minutes to scan my email to see if I have received any important messages from the previous evening.

EXERCISE

We all know that exercise is important to good health. We should aim for at least 20-30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each day. I know some people prefer to work out in the evenings which is perfectly fine.

If you don’t have a gym membership, go for a quick walk through your neighborhood. You can also watch an exercise DVD or even YouTube videos from the comfort of your home. I personally love this walking video by Leslie Sansone that’s on YouTube.

PREPARE BREAKFAST

Make breakfast for yourself and your family members. Be sure to clean up as you go. Afterward, load the dishwasher, wipe down stovetop, counters, and sink. If you take just a few moments each day to clean as you go, you can avoid the unnecessary clutter, and sink full of dirty dishes.

You can also prepare breakfast items the night before and have all of your non-perishable items laid out so that you are not rushed in the morning. It is also a good idea to prepare lunches the night before.

If your kids are old enough, you can have them help you with this task.

GET DRESSED

The last thing that I do is take a quick shower and dress. I then make sure that my son is dressed so that we can head to school.

START YOUR DAY

On school days, I drop my son off and if I have any errands, I try to get them all done after I drop him off at school. I then head home to start my workday.

If you have smaller kids at home, you can set them up with activities, or have them watch cartoons for an hour or two while you get some work done.

Make sure that you factor activities for your kids into your day so that they are busy while you are working.

PIN It!

 

CONCLUSION

It is actually a good idea to prepare as much as you can for the next day each evening. Place all of the items that you will need for the day in a central location (purse, keys, jacket, kids book bags, homework assignments, etc).

It’s also a great idea to lay out your wardrobe the night before. I personally do this right down to my underwear. I cannot tell you the number of times in years past that I have wasted precious time by standing in my closet trying to figure out what I was going to wear to work that morning.

Even though I am a WAHM now, I still lay out my wardrobe the night before. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s typically only leggings and a tee, but hey, it saves me precious time each morning by having my clothes already laid out.

When you establish a daily morning routine for you and your family, you create an environment of consistency. By establishing consistency, each person is fully aware of his/her role or responsibility.

A good morning routine will help to alleviate those feelings of overwhelm so that your days are calm and less stressful. It has definitely made a difference in my everyday life. But remember that the key to a successful routine is actually finding one that works for you and sticking to it.

Do you have a morning routine in place?

Skin Care Basics: Building A Healthy Skin Care Routine

Following a daily skin care regimen is something we should all practice. By properly caring for your skin, you can help reduce harmful effects from environmental elements, which will in turn help your skin age gracefully.

One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to a skin care regimen is that you need the most expensive cleansers, moisturizers, and latest tools in order to properly achieve healthy skin. That, my friend, is not true.

Your daily regimen does not have to include a ten or twelve-step process. A good skin care regimen requires proper cleansing, exfoliation, toning, and moisturizing. And all of the items you need can be purchased at your local discount store.

Here are the basic steps you should follow in order to achieve healthy skin and maintain a “youthful” glow.


CLEANSE

Cleansing is essential to remove oil, dirt and dead skin cells. Cleanse your face twice a day to remove dirt, makeup, and excess oil.

When cleansing, be very gentle with your skin. Also, pat your face when drying, as opposed to rubbing.

There are many different types of cleansers on the market. Here’s a simple breakdown of a few of the different types of cleansers that are available:

Bar soaps can be a bit more drying than other facial cleansers. They can strip your skin of natural oils, therefore they tend to be more suitable for those with oily skin.

Lotion/Gel cleansers are mild cleansers that are best suited for those with dry or sensitive skin.

Foaming cleansers can also be a bit drying. Therefore, those with oily skin tend to do better with a foaming cleanser.

Medicated cleansers contain acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Salicylic acid helps to clear blocked pores while reducing swelling and redness. Benzoyl peroxide exfoliates the skin and kills bacteria.

Be sure to choose a cleanser that is best suited for your particular skin type. You may have to actually experiment to see which one is best suited for you. You always want to choose the cleanser that is most gentle on your skin.

EXFOLIATE

No matter your skin type, you can benefit from exfoliating. Exfoliating removes dead skin cells from your pores while revealing new skin cells.

Choose a gentle exfoliant or facial scrub. Pay attention to your skin as well. Some people can get away with exfoliating on a daily basis, while others may only be able to do it once a week.

I typically exfoliate twice a week, but you should follow a schedule that is best for you and your skin.

TONE

A toner can help to remove any leftover traces of dirt and makeup. People with oily skin or those prone to acne can especially benefit from using a toner.

Our skin is naturally acidic, and during the cleansing process that balance is thrown off. Applying a toner after cleansing helps to restore the pH balance of your skin.

MOISTURIZE

Lastly, you want to make sure that you properly moisturize. You should incorporate a moisturizer into your skincare routine as early as your twenties.

Make sure that you use light-handed, upward strokes to apply moisturizer to your neck and face. Be extra careful with the sensitive skin around your eyes. Remember that less is more. If you apply a thick layer of moisturizer, it can lead to breakouts, because your skin cannot absorb it properly.

Aim to moisturize your skin twice a day. Your daytime moisturizer should include an SPF to help protect against the sun’s rays. Most nighttime formulas do not contain an SPF but instead contain anti-aging ingredients.

Be sure to choose a formula that is compatible with your skin type to avoid breakouts.

One of the most important and often overlooked aspects of healthy skin is simply H2O. Drink plenty of water on a daily basis. According to the Mayo Clinic, women should drink 2.7 liters per day and men should drink 3.7 liters per day.

By incorporating these best practices into my daily routine, I have been able to achieve, and maintain healthier looking skin.

What are your healthy skin essentials?

PIN It!

 

18 Children’s Books To Add To Your Child’s Reading List

With the school year over, what better time to squeeze in lot’s of reading than during the summer

I have always loved reading. I try to foster that same love in my son. He has an extensive collection of books, although he typically tends to read the same few over and over. But, that doesn’t stop me from adding new ones to his library.

Reading helps to spark a child’s imagination and broadens their minds. It also helps to develop their language skills.  This is why I make it a point to spend time reading to my son daily.

This post is not sponsored, but it does contain affiliate links, which means that I may make a small commission if you choose to shop using my link.

The more time that children spend reading, the more they will develop a love for reading. Make sure that they have a variety of books available to make their reading experience enjoyable.

With summer break on the horizon, here are a few books that your kids, from toddlers to teens, will enjoy reading.

Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.

Albert Einstein

*Links are clickable

1. LLama LLama And The Bully Goat

Llama Llama is learning lots of new things at school and making many friends. But when Gilroy Goat starts teasing him and some of their classmates, Llama Llama isn’t sure what to do.

And then he remembers what his teacher told him—walk away and tell someone. It works! But then Llama Llama feels badly. Can he and Gilroy try to be friends again?


18 CHILDREN’S BOOKS TO ADD TO YOUR CHILD’S READING LIST

 

2. Grow Up, David!

Laugh-aloud humor abounds when David can’t resist bugging his big brother. In this funny romp, David careens from one mischievous antic to the next… until he finally wins his brother’s approval.


18 CHILDREN’S BOOKS TO ADD TO YOUR CHILD’S READING LIST

 

3. Home Is A Window

Home can be many things–a window, a doorway, a rug . . . or a hug. At home, everything always feels the same: comfortable and safe.

But sometimes things change, and a home must be left behind.

Follow a family as they move out of their beloved, familiar house and learn that they can bring everything they love about their old home to the new one, because they still have each other.


18 CHILDREN’S BOOKS TO ADD TO YOUR CHILD’S READING LIST
 

 

4. Where’s My T-R-U-C-K?

Tommy’s not himself today. He’s lost his T-R-U-C-K! And no matter what Mom, Dad, sis, brother, and Grandma offer, it’s just not as fun as his best red truck.


18 CHILDREN’S BOOKS TO ADD TO YOUR CHILD’S READING LIST

 

 

5. Big and Little: A Story of Opposites

A simple book that introduces the important concept of opposites to the very youngest readers. Loveable Big and effervescent Little opposite in size–and the way they see and navigate the world–as they follow a butterfly.

Their journey is told entirely through pairs of opposite words and gentle artwork, and it’s full of surprises, including an unexpected run-in with a cranky bear.


18 CHILDREN’S BOOKS TO ADD TO YOUR CHILD’S READING LIST
 

 

6. Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

Kyle Keeley is the class clown, popular with most kids, (if not the teachers), and an ardent fan of all games: board games, word games, and particularly video games. His hero, Luigi Lemoncello, the most notorious and creative gamemaker in the world, just so happens to be the genius behind the building of the new town library.


Escape From Mr. Lemoncello;s Library
 

 

7. Polly Diamond and the Magic Book

When a magic book appears on Polly’s doorstep that can make everything she writes happen in real life, she is certain all of her dreams are about to come true. However, Polly soon learns that what you write and what you mean are not always the same thing.


Polly Diamond and the Magic Book
 

 

8. Juana and Lucas: Big Problemas

Juana’s life is just about perfect. She lives in the beautiful city of Bogotá with her two most favorite people in the world: her mami and her dog, Lucas.

Lately, though, things have become a little less perfect. Mami has a new hairdo and a new amigo named Luis with whom she has been spending a LOT of time. He is kind and teaches Juana about things like photography and jazz music, but sometimes Juana can’t help wishing things would go back to the way they were before.

When Mami announces that she and Luis are getting married and that they will all be moving to a new casa, Juana is quite distraught. Lucky for her, though, some things will never change — like how much Mami loves her.


18 CHILDREN’S BOOKS TO ADD TO YOUR CHILD’S READING LIST
 

 

9. As Brave As You

Genie’s summer is full of surprises. The first is that he and his big brother, Ernie, are leaving Brooklyn for the very first time to spend the summer with their grandparents all the way in Virginia—in the COUNTRY!

The second surprise comes when Genie figures out that their grandfather is blind. Thunderstruck, Genie peppers Grandpop with questions about how he hides it so well (besides wearing way cool Ray-Bans).

How does he match his clothes? Know where to walk? Cook with a gas stove? Pour a glass of sweet tea without spilling it? Genie thinks Grandpop must be the bravest guy he’s ever known, but he starts to notice that his grandfather never leaves the house—as in NEVER.

And when he finds the secret room that Grandpop is always disappearing into—a room so full of songbirds and plants that it’s almost as if it’s been pulled inside-out—he begins to wonder if his grandfather is really so brave after all.


As Brave As You
 

 

10. One-Third Nerd

Fifth grade is not for amateurs, according to Liam. Luckily, he knows that being more than one-third nerd is not cool. Liam lives in the Bay area near San Francisco with his mom and two younger sisters.

Dakota is fascinated by science and has a big personality but struggles to make friends; Izzy, a child with Down syndrome, makes friends easily and notices things that go past everyone else. Dad lives across town, but he’s over a lot. And then there’s Cupcake, their lovable German shepherd, who guards their basement apartment.

Recently, Cupcake has a problem–she’s peeing in the house. The kids need to make enough money to take her to the vet before their landlord upstairs finds out. And Mom and Dad have said if Cupcake doesn’t stop, they will find her a new home. But the kids will never let Cupcake go. Can they save her?


One Third Nerd
 

 

11. Peekity Boo: What You Can Do!

This sweet rhyming picture book flows smoothly through the motions of a bedtime routine, starting with an energetic bath and then moving on to choosing jammies, reading a book, cuddling with a favorite toy, and snuggling with loved ones before gently falling asleep. It’s a soothing prelude to bedtime that celebrates the special bond between parent and child.


Peekity Boo What You Can Do!
 

 

12. The Parker Inheritance

When Candice finds a letter in an old attic in Lambert, South Carolina, she isn’t sure she should read it.

It’s addressed to her grandmother, who left the town in shame. But the letter describes a young woman. An injustice that happened decades ago. A mystery enfolding its writer. And the fortune that awaits the person who solves the puzzle.

So with the help of Brandon, the quiet boy across the street, she begins to decipher the clues. The challenge will lead them deep into Lambert’s history, full of ugly deeds, forgotten heroes, and one great love; and deeper into their own families, with their own unspoken secrets.

Can they find the fortune and fulfill the letter’s promise before the answers slip into the past yet again?


18 CHILDREN’S BOOKS TO ADD TO YOUR CHILD’S READING LIST 

 

 

13. 1, 2, 3 to the Zoo : A Counting Book

This board book combines simple counting with Carle’s unusual illustrations of animals. Early learners will find the whimsical pictures appealing as they learn the beginning rudiments of numbers and counting.


18 CHILDREN’S BOOKS TO ADD TO YOUR CHILD’S READING LIST

 

 

14. Pay Attention, Carter Jones

Carter Jones is astonished early one morning when he finds a real English butler, bowler hat and all, on the doorstep—one who stays to help the Jones family, which is a little bit broken.

In addition to figuring out middle school, Carter has to adjust to the unwelcome presence of this new know-it-all adult in his life and navigate the butler’s notions of decorum. And ultimately, when his burden of grief and anger from the past can no longer be ignored, Carter learns that a burden becomes lighter when it is shared.


Pay Attention Carter Jones
 

 

15. A New Home 

Moving to a new city can be exciting. But what if your new home isn’t anything like your old home? Will you make friends? What will you eat? Where will you play?

In a cleverly combined voice — accompanied by wonderfully detailed illustrations depicting parallel urban scenes — a young boy conveys his fears about moving from New York City to Mexico City while, at the same time, a young girl expresses trepidation about leaving Mexico City to move to New York City.


A New Home
 

And let’s not forget a few of the classics:

 

16. The Hardy Boys Collection

Join the Hardy Boys for mystery-solving action in a boxed set of the first ten books in this classic series. This collectible set is a great gift for aspiring detectives, or longtime fans of the series.

This 10 volume boxed set of hardcover books includes: – The Tower Treasure – The House on the Cliff – The Secret of the Old Mill – The Missing Chums – Hunting for Hidden Gold – The Shore Road Mystery – The Secret of the Caves – The Mystery of Cabin Island – The Great Airport Mystery – What Happened at Midnight


18 CHILDREN’S BOOKS TO ADD TO YOUR CHILD’S READING LIST

 

 

17. Judy Blume (Essentials 8 Book Set)

The ideal antidote for angst at any age, this boxed set of seven classic Judy Blume books makes a great gift for yourself or someone else.

From Margaret and her crisis of faith in Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret to Karen and her coping with her parents’ divorce in It’s Not the End of the World, the characters of these cherished novels feel like more than characters—they feel like friends.

This boxed set includes paperback editions of the following Judy Blume classics:

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret
Blubber
Deenie
Iggie’s House
It’s Not the End of the World
Then Again, Maybe I Won’t
Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself


18 CHILDREN’S BOOKS TO ADD TO YOUR CHILD’S READING LIST
 

 

18. Dr. Seuss’s Beginner Collection

An ideal gift for new parents, birthday celebrations, and happy occasions of all kinds, this collection of five beloved Beginner Books by Dr. Seuss will be cherished by young and old alike.

Books in this boxed set include:
The Cat in the Hat
One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
Green Eggs and Ham
Hop on Pop
Fox in Socks

Originally created by Dr. Seuss himself, Beginner Books are fun, funny, and easy to read. These unjacketed hardcover early readers encourage children to read all on their own, using simple words and illustrations.


18 CHILDREN’S BOOKS TO ADD TO YOUR CHILD’S READING LIST
 

What are some of your child’s favorite books? 

 

Thirty Ways To Improve Your Mood When You Are Having A Bad Day

Everyone is entitled to a bad day. I mean, life happens to the best of us, right?

Even the happiest of people have bad days here and there, and that’s OK. But sometimes we have a tendency to want to wallow in self-pity when negative situations arise.

Often, one of our first instincts is to over-indulge in ALL of the comfort foods and shut ourselves up from the rest of the world (speaking from experience here).

I think it’s important that we give ourselves permission to not always be happy, while also realizing that there are several things that we can do that will help to improve our mood when we’re feeling down.

Instead of letting those negative feelings fester, or overdosing on chocolate, here are 30 simple things that you can do when you’re having a bad day.

 

Pinterest Pin

 

 

How To Improve Your Mood


Spend some time outdoors.  Breathing in the fresh air, and letting the sun shine on your face will do wonders for your mood.


Pray.
Spend some time in prayer talking to God about your problems. You’ll feel better instantly!


Enjoy some aromatherapy. Light up your favorite scented candle, or throw some essential oils into the diffuser. Certain scents like jasmine, sandalwood, and bergamot are known to boost your mood.


Unplug from technology for the day. Sometimes we can become overloaded with technology. Whether it’s sitting in front of a computer at work all day, or the endless scrolling we do on social media. Take a much needed break from your devices.


Enjoy some time with your kids. Children know how to have fun. Spend the day playing games and eating junk with the kids.


Take a long, hot bath. Turn your bathroom into a spa. Gather your favorite bath products and beverage of choice and enjoy a nice, long soak.

Listen to a comedy podcast. Laughter is the best medicine, so listen to a comedy podcast and get your laugh on!


Go for a walk with your dog. Grab your furry friend and enjoy the outdoors together.


Read a book. Grab one of your favorite books off of the shelf, or if you prefer an audiobook, you can listen on Audible.


Cry. Sometimes you just need a good cry. Tears can be healing. So, let your emotions flow. And if necessary, you can even yell while you’re crying.


Call up a loved one and vent. Whether it’s your mom, sister or best friend, call them up and vent your feelings. Sometimes you just need a listening ear, and for someone to let you know that your feelings are validated.


Write in your journal. If you don’t have a person that you can really talk to, write your feelings down on paper. Journaling is great for your mental health. Instead of keeping things pinned up inside, letting your emotions flow out onto the paper. You’ll feel so much better afterwards.


Buy yourself some flowers. Flowers can be an instant mood booster. They’re just so pretty to look at that you can’t help but feel better.


Enjoy a bowl of ice cream. Fix yourself the biggest bowl of ice cream with all of your favorite toppings, and dive in. It feels so good to indulge every now and then.


Listen to music. Even if you don’t consider yourself a good dancer, crank up your favorite music and dance.


Try retail therapy. Who doesn’t love shopping? Hey, I’m just saying. Head out to your favorite retailer and buy yourself something nice. Or you could do a little online shopping – just don’t overspend.

Exercise. Exercise is good for the body and mind.


Bake your favorite sweet treat. Head to the kitchen, and whip up a batch of your favorite cookies. Or break out grandma’s recipe for a delicious cake.


Netflix anyone? Watch a few sitcoms and have yourself a good laugh.


Color in an adult coloring book. Grab some coloring pencils or markers and relive one of your favorite childhood pastimes.


Recite a few motivational quotes to help lift your spirits.


Do something nice for someone else. Shift your focus to a person in need and see how you can help them. By doing something nice for someone else, it will in turn help you to feel better.


Take some deep breaths. Deep breathing is naturally therapeutic, and can ground you and help you reconnect.


Take a much-needed nap. Sometimes you just need to re-set. Getting a couple of hours of shut-eye can do wonders for your mood.


Rearrange the furniture. This may sound strange, but rearranging the furniture can not only give the room a fresh look, but can give you a fresh perspective, and help to bring you out of a funk.


Spend time with your bestie. Spend the day hanging out with your best friend.


Go for a leisurely drive. Ease your pensive mood by going for a drive. Take the scenic route!


Visit a nice restaurant and enjoy your favorite comfort meal.


Start a gratitude list. Instead of focusing on the negatives, write down a list of things that you are grateful for.


Have some chocolate. Eating chocolate actually releases dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter, into particular regions of the brain. So, go ahead and enjoy a few pieces.

The good news my friend is those bad days won’t last forever. Give yourself a little time and you are sure to feel better.

What are some of the things that you do to help improve your mood?

Nine Easy Margarita Recipes For Your Cinco de Mayo Celebration

Nine delicious margarita recipes
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Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner, which means it’s celebration time. And what better way to celebrate than with a delicious margarita. I’ve rounded up nine easy recipes that are sure to be a hit at your gathering.

 Margarita Recipes

1. MERMAID MARGARITA
The perfect drink for the little girl in us.


blue-mermaid-margarita

2. SKINNY BLACKBERRY MARGARITAS
Although this drink has fewer calories, it doesn’t skimp on flavor.


blackberry-margarita-skinny

3. FROZEN PEACH MARGARITA
Peach margaritas are my favorite! This recipe blends sweet, frozen peaches, orange juice, lime, and tequila together for a delicious frozen drink.


peach-margarita

4.STRAWBERRY LEMONADE MARGARITA
This drink is sure to be a crowd pleaser.


strawberry-lemonade-margarita

5. CRANBERRY MARGARITA
A low-calorie margarita recipe that has the perfect amount of natural sweetness.


cranberry-margarita-skinny

6. STRAWBERRY CHAMPAGNE MARGARITA
The right amount of sweet and salty with a strawberry twist.


strawberry-champagne-margarita

7. MARGARITA SLUSH
A twist on the original margarita.


margarita-slush

8. SPICY GRAPEFRUIT MARGARITA
A deliciously spicy cocktail.


spicy-grapefruit-margarita

9. WATERMELON HIBISCUS MARGARITA
A delightful blend of watermelon and hibiscus.


watermelon-hibiscus-margarita

Which drink will you be mixing up for your next celebration?

How A Virtual Assistant Can Help Grow Your Business

As a business owner, you are certain to wear many hats. Building your brand, reaching your target audience, fostering professional relationships, marketing yourself – it’s all a necessary part of being your own boss, yet it can oftentimes be too much for one person.

As a successful business owner, there may come a time when you have the need to bring in additional help. I know, in the back your mind you are calculating the costs and wondering how much it’s going to cost you to bring in more help and how it will cut into your business profits.

But what if I told you that you could hire the additional help that you need without breaking the bank. It’s simple – hire a virtual assistant!

A virtual assistant (VA) is an independent contractor who provides administrative and creative support services to businesses and individuals on an as-needed basis from a remote location. They use their own tools and equipment and work virtually, communicating via phone, email and the internet.

Virtual assistants are especially in demand by entrepreneurs and online businesses that need help but don’t want to bring in staff to their location. They hire these professionals for virtual support, especially for specific tasks such as social media management, blog management or graphic design.

If you are considering working with a virtual assistant in your business, here are a few reasons why a VA can help you grow your business.

A virtual assistant (VA) is an independent contractor who provides administrative and creative support services to businesses and individuals on an as-needed basis from a remote location. They use their own tools and equipment and work virtually, communicating via phone, email and the internet.

Click here for a free consultation

How A Virtual Assistant Can Help You

1. A virtual assistant can save you money

Your time is valuable, and I mean that literally. Your time should be spent on the most important aspects of your business that can’t be done by anyone else. You can delegate those mundane tasks to a VA while you focus on the more important tasks.

Also, keep in mind that a VA costs less compared to a regular or full-time employee because as a business owner, you don’t have to pay benefits. Not to mention the savings on office space and equipment!
Working with a virtual assistant gives you all the benefits of the help you need without the hassles you don’t.

2. Using a virtual assistant saves you time

A VA can free up precious time in your schedule so that you can network with other professionals or spend much needed time with your family or friends. Delegating the small stuff allows you to maximize your time.

3. No training required

With the exception of tasks that require a specific type of training, an online staff is generally experienced when it comes to common tasks. They know what tools to use and how to set up a system that is workable for both of you.

Training a new employee can mean time and money down the drain, whereas a VA has a home office that is completely set up. Their virtual workplace ensures that everything is properly shared and tracked from start to finish. Thus, it makes it easier to delegate work, collaborate, and track performance.

Not only that, they have the necessary skills to get right to work on that project that needs immediate attention.

4. You can use a virtual assistant as needed

You may be in need of additional help but not on a full-time basis. Many business owners don’t have enough tasks to justify bringing on full-time help. Others might simply need help during busy times of the year. Or you may simply need help for a particular project.

With a VA, you have the option to use them for a couple of hours per week, or several hours per day. And, you can adjust the amount as your business needs change.

By being able to customize the amount of time you use a VA, it ensures that you are only paying for the time that you need.

5. Benefit from specialized skills

Over the years, the virtual assistant industry has opened its doors to more specialized and technical skills to accommodate demand across the online marketing world.

They accommodate demand across a wide scope of services. Here are a few examples of the areas a virtual assistant may be specialized in:

  • Website design and development
  • Domain registration and Website hosting
  • Digital Marketing
  • SEO
  • Real Estate
  • Content Creation
  • Blogging
  • Bookkeeping
  • Audio/Video transcription
  • Research
  • Translation Services
  • Graphic Design
  • Project Management

The possibilities are endless when it comes to finding a virtual assistant to accommodate your specific business needs. When properly utilized, a VA can become one of the greatest assets in growing your business. They are sure to lower your business costs without compromising on quality and productivity.

If you find yourself in over your head, stressed out and lacking time to organize your business, then maybe it’s time for some help. I would love to help you with your business needs.  Contact me for a free consultation.

12 Dresses That You Will Want To Add To Your Wardrobe This Spring

Spring has finally sprung you guys! There is something about the season that makes me want to wear a pretty spring dress. Whether I am looking for something that is casual or a bit more formal, I can always find the perfect dress to fit my mood.


Now that the temperatures are finally warming up, it’s time to pull out your favorite dresses. You can pair them with sneakers for a casual, comfortable vibe, or you can wear a pair of stylish heels for a more chic and sophisticated look.


This post is not sponsored, but it does contain affiliate links, which means that I may make a small commission if you choose to shop using my link. 


Thankfully, there are a lot of affordable spring dress options that are available. Some of my favorite places to look online for affordable dresses are Macy’s, JC Penney, Lane Bryant, and of course Amazon.
 
Whatever your particular style, continue reading as I have showcased 12 of the cutest dresses that are each under $100.



*All links are shoppable.
 

Vintage 1950’s Floral Tea Dress

12 DRESSES THAT YOU WILL WANT TO ADD TO YOUR WARDROBE THIS SPRING

I absolutely love this simple, yet elegant 1950s rockabilly floral Audrey Hepburn dress.
 

 

Colorblock Maxi Dress

12 DRESSES THAT YOU WILL WANT TO ADD TO YOUR WARDROBE THIS SPRING

A colorblock maxi dress in a soft french terry knit. A great semi-casual, yet put together look.


 

Hanky-Hem Printed Dress

12 DRESSES THAT YOU WILL WANT TO ADD TO YOUR WARDROBE THIS SPRING

Soft and flowy design, with an eye-catching contrast print.

 

Pleated Floral-Print Dress

12 DRESSES THAT YOU WILL WANT TO ADD TO YOUR WARDROBE THIS SPRING

Maxi dress enhanced with a pleated neckline and defined waist. Great for a dinner date.


 

V-Neck Printed Maxi Dress

12 DRESSES THAT YOU WILL WANT TO ADD TO YOUR WARDROBE THIS SPRING

This belted geometric print dress is perfect for a party.

Floral Knot-Waist Midi Dress

12 DRESSES THAT YOU WILL WANT TO ADD TO YOUR WARDROBE THIS SPRING

A floral midi dress in soft jersey knit with a twisted knot detail at the waist.

 

Sleeveless Sundress

12 DRESSES THAT YOU WILL WANT TO ADD TO YOUR WARDROBE THIS SPRING

Cute floral above-knee sundress.


 

Ruffle Off-The-Shoulder Maxi Dress

12 DRESSES THAT YOU WILL WANT TO ADD TO YOUR WARDROBE THIS SPRING

Maxi dress with ruffles at the off-the-shoulder neckline and wrapped hem. I love this dress!

 

Sleeveless Swing Dress

Loose Casual Midi Dress With Pockets

12 DRESSES THAT YOU WILL WANT TO ADD TO YOUR WARDROBE THIS SPRING

The perfect casual dress. Great for weekend wear.
 

 

Floral Printed Maxi Dress

12 DRESSES THAT YOU WILL WANT TO ADD TO YOUR WARDROBE THIS SPRING

Sleeveless, floral-print maxi. Add your favorite statement necklace.

 

Off Shoulder Strapless Dress

12 DRESSES THAT YOU WILL WANT TO ADD TO YOUR WARDROBE THIS SPRING

Paired with wedges, this is the perfect dress for an outdoor party.

 
 

These are some of the cutest dresses! I want to add them all to my closet. How about you, what is your go-to outfit for spring?

How To Combat Dryness And Properly Moisturize Your Natural Hair

Dryness tends to be a common problem among those of us with natural hair. I have type 4C hair, and my hair can get very dry at times. Because of the texture of my hair, it can tend to look very dull as well.

When your hair is kinky, like mine, it is harder for the natural oils in your scalp to travel to your hair strands. This will cause your hair to look less shiny and dull.

If your hair is prone to dryness, with proper care and treatment, you can certainly revitalize your mane. Here are some possible causes of dry hair, and ways that you can keep your natural hair moisturized.


Moisturizing Incorrectly

Using the correct type of moisturizer is important to keep your hair moisturized. Water-based moisturizers are best when it comes to moisturizing your hair. Stay away from those products that have water listed near the bottom of the ingredient list.


I have found that plain water is the absolute best moisturizer for my hair. I like to mix ½ cup of water and 1 tbsp of vegetable glycerin in a spray bottle and I mist it onto my hair daily. If I am using a styling product(s) on my hair, I always apply water right before I add any product.

Too Much Clarifying

How To Combat Dryness And Properly Moisturize Your Natural Hair

Are you overdoing it with the clarifying shampoo? I have learned that shampoo, in general, can be drying, but clarifying shampoos are especially drying on natural hair.

I co-wash my hair weekly, and I use a clarifying shampoo once a month. If I have an excessive amount of build-up in my hair then, I will shampoo with a clarifying shampoo or do an apple cider vinegar rinse when needed.


If you use a clarifying shampoo often, or are doing frequent ACV rinses, and have noticed that your hair is very dry, you should cut back and/or space out the clarifying products.


When it comes to shampoos, you should also consider using a sulfate free shampoo. Sulfates can strip your hair strands of their much-needed natural oils. My favorite sulfate free shampoos are Giovanni and Creme of Nature.
 

 

Don’t Forget The Deep Conditioner

Deep conditioning is a step that a lot of naturals tend to overlook. Even if your hair is not damaged, you can benefit from a good deep conditioner.

To prevent dryness and damage I deep condition my hair on a regular basis which is typically once a month. If my hair is feeling a bit dryer than normal, I will add a deep conditioner to my weekly wash routine for a couple of weeks.

Some of my favorite deep conditioners are The Mane Choice Tropical Moringa Sweet Oil & Honey Endless Moisture Mask, SheaMoisture Yucca & Plantain Anti-Breakage Strengthening Masque, and Alikay Naturals Honey and Sage Deep Conditioner.

Hot Oil Treatment

Give your hair a little TLC by doing a hot oil treatment. The heat from the oil will open the cuticle of the hair and allow moisture to penetrate the hair shaft.

You can use any natural oil of your choosing. My favorite oils to use when doing a hot oil treatment are olive oil, coconut oil, and jojoba oil.


Here is how I apply my hot oil treatment:

Instructions

1.  Heat water on the stove. (Turn off just before water starts to boil). Add your oil to an applicator bottle or container of your choosing, and place in water until it is warm. (DO NOT heat oil in the microwave. It will lose its nutrients).
2.  Divide your hair into 4 sections for easy distribution.
3.  Apply the oil to each section of your hair.
4.  Massage oil into your hair from roots to tip. Don’t forget your scalp. Massage the oil into your scalp as well.
5.  Cover your hair with a plastic cap and let the oil treatment sit on your hair for at about 15 – 20 minutes.
6.  Shampoo and condition your hair as you normally would.
 

Eat a Balanced Diet

Be sure to nourish your hair from the inside out. Eat a balanced diet rich in vegetables and fruits. Make sure that you are staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Add A Sealant

How To Combat Dryness And Properly Moisturize Your Natural Hair

After moisturizing your hair, be sure you are applying a sealant to help seal in the moisture. Use a thick butter or oil to seal the water/moisture in your hair. Oil by itself will not moisturize your hair, but it will do a good job in helping to seal in moisture.


If your hair texture is kinky, you may benefit from a thicker moisturizer and sealant. I like to use pure shea butter to seal my hair. I also like using olive and grapeseed oils as sealants.
 

What are some of the things that you do to moisturize your natural hair?

Twelve Healthy Snacks For When You Are On The Go

Choosing healthy snacks is not always easy when you are constantly on the go. That typically means that when we’re hit with the mid-day munchies, we head to the nearest vending machine for a quick snack that’s overloaded with fat, sugar, and salt.

It doesn’t have to be that way. With careful planning and a little bit of meal prepping, you can help ensure that you and your family maintain a well-balanced diet.

I like to package my family’s snacks in the little snack-sized Ziploc bags so that they can be easily grabbed and tossed into a lunch or tote bag for the day.

By storing snacks in individual servings in the fridge or pantry, it also ensures that we eat single servings, as opposed to eating an entire container (guilty party here).

Here are some of my family’s favorite snacks that are healthy and also easy to grab when on the go. Best of all, many of these items can be stored in your desk drawer, in your purse, or in your car.

Healthy Options

1. Grapes

Full of phytonutrients and antioxidants, grapes are a good choice when it comes to healthy snacks.

2. Bananas

Bananas are full of potassium and B vitamins. This is my favorite when it comes to morning snacks.

3. Nuts

According to the Mayo Clinic, nuts contain unsaturated fats and omega 3 fatty acids which are good for your heart. They also contain fiber which can help lower cholesterol. They are high in calories, so be sure to watch your serving size.

4. Peanut Butter

My all-time favorite snack! Peanut butter snack packs are great on the go. They are excellent for dipping. You can even keep them in your desk drawer at work for a quick snack or in your car for emergency snacks for the kiddos.

5. Apples

An apple a day keeps the doctor away is an old proverb that I’m sure we’ve all heard. Well, according to research, apples are extremely rich in important antioxidants, flavonoids, and dietary fiber. The phytonutrients and antioxidants in apples may help reduce the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.

Spread a little peanut butter on your apple slices and sprinkle with chia seeds and you have an amazing mid-day snack.

6. Dark Chocolate

Packed with antioxidants and flavanols, DARK chocolate can be beneficial to you. If you love chocolate like I do, it’s probably easy to overindulge on this sweet treat. Keep it at two ounces MAX per day.

7. Greek Yogurt

I’m not going to lie, I’m not a huge fan of yogurt. But it is packed with nutrients like calcium, potassium, zinc and B vitamins. It’s also full of probiotics which is my main reason for eating it.

When you add fresh fruit, like raspberries or strawberries, it’s actually pretty delicious.

8. Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are rich in healthy fats, beneficial plant compounds, and several vitamins and minerals. They are especially rich in vitamin E and selenium.

9. Hard Boiled Egg

Eggs are good for snacks and even breakfast on the go. Eggs are packed with protein and potassium. I like mine sprinkled with just a tad bit of salt and pepper, please.

10. String Cheese

Who doesn’t love cheese? String cheese is great with crackers or it can be eaten by itself.

11. Veggies and Hummus

Hummus packs are great for dipping your vegetables. I like mine with carrots or celery sticks. Just pack your veggies in a Ziploc bag and toss your hummus pack in and you’ve got a delicious healthy snack.

12. Popcorn

Air popped corn is a great option if you crave potato chips. Popcorn is healthier than chips and full of fiber.

What are some of your favorite on the go snacks?

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Five Things To Do On Sunday To Prepare For A Productive Week

Let’s all be honest, Monday’s tend to suck (for a lot of us anyway). Even Sunday afternoons can start looking a little bleak as we anticipate the work week ahead.

But, what if I told you a few small changes could help to totally transform your week. In order for us to really be productive, we have to be intentional about how we’re spending our time. And that my friend starts on Sunday.

I have learned that being productive is all about preparation. By preparing for the upcoming week on Sundays, you’ll know what you need to do ahead of time, and it will actually help to alleviate some of your stress so that you’re ready to tackle whatever comes your way.

Who knows, you may actually start to enjoy waking up and heading off to work each morning.


Here are a few simple and easy hacks I do every Sunday to ensure that I have a less stressful, more productive week.


How To Have A Productive Week

“A Sunday well spent brings a week of content.” – Proverb

Plan your week in your planner

There’s nothing worse than waking up on a Monday morning and realizing you have three meetings in a row, all before noon! On Sunday, look over your calendar for the upcoming week. Do you need to add, cancel, or reschedule any appointments or meetings? Reviewing what’s already on your schedule for the coming week will help you feel more prepared to handle it.

Don’t forget to plan all the fun stuff. Date night with “bae”, or movie night with the girls, add it to your calendar. I personally, would be lost without my planner. But, if you are not a pen and paper person like myself, make sure that you keep important dates and meetings in your calendar on your phone.

Meal prep for the week

Who wants to come home after a long, hard day of work only to have to try and figure out what you’re going to prepare for dinner? I didn’t think so. By simply prepping a few meals on Sunday evening, you’ll be able to come in and get dinner on the table in no time.

And I know that everyone is different: some people prefer to cook several meals at once and then freeze them, others like myself prefer to make out a weekly menu plan and then shop for meals on a weekly basis. Do what works for you and your household.

Make a to-do list

I love lists! I make a weekly to-do list for things that I specifically need to get done that week. After writing them all down, I check them off as I complete them. Trust me it works! If you don’t write things down, the chances of you forgetting them are inevitable.

Declutter

Take a little bit of time to declutter. Wash the dishes and put them away. Make sure that toys are put back into bins and remote controls and things like that are put in their proper place. Go through the piles of junk mail on your counter and toss as much of it as you can. Put those piles of laundry away sis! You’ll thank me later.
As you declutter find a home for everything that you are keeping and make sure you always put things back in the right spot.

Take some time to relax

Sunday evenings are for self-care. That’s my motto anyways. Read a good book, catch up with your bestie, take a long, hot bath, give yourself a facial, check out a movie — do whatever feels good to your soul, and allows you to start the week refreshed and fully prepared.

Go to bed early

Going to bed early on Sunday night allows you to wake up fully rested on Monday morning. It sounds like such a small thing, but it is not, my friends. I can’t tell you how many Mondays have been completely unproductive because I failed to get enough sleep the night before.  By hitting the sack a few hours early on Sunday night, your body and mind will be ever so grateful.

When it comes to having a productive work week, the adage “A Sunday well spent brings a week of content”  is one of the absolute best tips.

How do you like to prepare for the upcoming week?

5 Ways To Stay On Track With Your New Years Resolutions

How many times have you made a New Year’s resolution and found that a couple of days, weeks or months into the year your good intentions seemed almost impossible to keep?

Trust me, my friend, you are not alone. No matter how good our intentions are, resolutions are simply hard to keep for the vast majority of us who set them.

Setting goals tend to be quite easy, but staying on top of them is a whole different ball game. This is something I know all too well. However, the new year can be a great opportunity to re-focus, set goals and get your life back on track.


“You are never too old to set another goal, or to dream a new dream.”

C. S. Lewis

Reflect over the previous year

One of our greatest opportunities for growth and change is in reflecting on the lessons of our past.

Take some time to reflect on the previous year. Certainly, there were some highs and some lows, but what were the major takeaways?

This type of reflection is important because it helps you to learn about yourself. It gives you the opportunity to analyze things that happened, how you reacted, and what, if anything, you might change in the future.

One of the best things that you can do is to look back on previous experiences – whether good or bad and to learn from them.

Create a master plan

After reflecting over the previous year, the next step in sticking to your resolutions is to decide what goals you want to achieve and determining what you actually need to do to achieve those goals.

When listing your goals, it is best to focus on one or two small goals as opposed to a long list. That way, you don’t spread yourself too thin.

Next you’ll want to list the necessary steps you should take in order to accomplish your goal. Writing down your goals, and having a clear plan of action is critical when it comes to knowing exactly what you want to achieve. It also helps you to know the exact steps you should take in order to get there.

As you achieve a goal, you’ll build your self-confidence, and

Remember that achieving your goals is the result of self discipline, not just hope.

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Be willing to change

When you start to write out your resolutions or goals, you have to be willing to change in order to actually reach those goals. Otherwise, you won’t stick to them, my friend.

If you are doubtful or hesitant in any area, it may not be the best time for you to start working towards that specific goal. Give yourself some time, then revisit that goal at a later date.

You should also keep in mind that change is gradual. Like anything you’re working towards, you have to remember that it takes time for new routines and habits to feel normal.

Start small and work your way up. You will not have mastered each of your goals by January 31st. Be realistic with yourself and your goals, so that you not only follow through but that you adopt the new habits as part of your daily lifestyle going forward.

Reward yourself

To stay focused on your New Year’s resolutions and be motivated for the long haul, celebrate your successes. For every milestone, you achieve, reward yourself by doing something you love. It may be a sweet treat, a delicious meal from your favorite restaurant, or my personal favorite – online shopping.

The key is to reward yourself with something that will entice you to work hard without actually getting in the way of the goal itself.

Learn from your mistakes and adapt

You don’t ever have to wait for a new year in order to start new habits. You can reaffirm your goals and get back to work on achieving them anytime during the year.

If you fall off of the wagon, simply dust yourself off and hop back on. Missed a few days of working out? Did you smoke a cigarette after lunch? It’s no big deal. Figure out what triggered your setback so that you will know what to do differently in the future.

After a few weeks (or maybe even days), your motivation may start to dwindle. Find a source of inspiration to keep you going during the rough times. And remember, each day that you wake up, you’re given a fresh start.

Happy goal setting!