Category Archives: Lifestyle

Five Ways To Cut Your Household Spending Habits

Are you looking for ways to cut back on your spending habits? Here are some tips that will help.

Saving money is a hot topic of conversation right now, and most of us are looking for ways to curb our spending habits.

Even though some of our regular monthly bills might seem to be pretty small on their own, their cumulative effect can become a massive drain on our monthly resources.

However, there are ways that you can reduce your outgoing expenses and actually cut your spending habits almost in half. Read on to find out how you can do just that.

Is your spending out of control?

First, you need to look at the spending that you do aside from your regular bills. Many people use platforms like Amazon, Target or other retailers to find bargains online, but if you are consistently overspending, you may want to figure out the reason why.

Some of us are emotional spenders. We tend to always feel that we NEED something, and are often easily swayed into buying items that we may not necessarily need.

There is nothing wrong with this. But if you want to cut down on what you are buying try taking a screenshot of the item, or saving it in your online shopping cart and revisiting it the next day.

If you still feel you need it then great, but if you don’t then you have saved yourself some money.

Often it is the impulse and emotional high you feel when shopping that is more addictive than the items you are actually buying.

Slash your grocery bills

After your mortgage or rental payment, the money you spend on groceries can be your next biggest expense – especially if you have a large family.

However, simple habit changes such as using a grocery list can make a huge difference. By writing down your necessary grocery items, and sticking to what’s on your list, you can cut down on a lot of impulse buying.

You should also check to see if your store has a rewards program. If so, be sure to sign up. You can usually download store coupons to an app on your phone and receive cash back on some purchases.

Another way to save is by purchasing store brands. Buying store brands can save you up to 30% according to Clark Howard.

“Try a store brand just once the next time you’re at the supermarket. If you like what you buy, you save money that time and every time going forward when you buy it again,” money expert Clark Howard says.

Don’t auto-renew your bills

Many companies save their best deals for new customers, so don’t allow things like your internet/cable bills and insurance premiums auto-renew.

Instead, make a note of when your contract or premium expires, and start the search for a better deal. This can save you money year after year.

You can often get a good deal with your current company by letting them know that you have found a better deal at XYZ Company, and will be switching. They will typically offer you a price match or an even better deal.

To save money on car insurance, check out companies that offer you lower rates if you have a safe driving record.

Cars with enhanced safety features installed can also earn you lower premium rates.

Focus on your debts

Credit Card Debt

We all have some form of debt. Whether credit cards, automobile loans, or even personal loans.

One way to drastically cut your expenses is to focus on paying off or consolidating debt. If you have credit cards for instance, your monthly payments could be eating up a big portion of your take-home pay, especially if you are simply paying the minimum due each month.

Any spare cash you get should go towards clearing the balance. The more you pay off, the more you save each month and those monthly payments get reduced significantly.

Are you paying for things you don’t need?

We can all sign up for multiple subscriptions and then forget about them. I’m speaking from personal experience here. It could be cell phone apps, cable TV packages, beauty boxes, or magazine subscriptions, for example.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common things we tend to pay for that we don’t absolutely need.

How about that morning coffee habit? You could start by cutting out your daily Starbucks coffee run, and instead opt for a reusable coffee mug so you can bring your coffee from home. Trust me, those savings add up.

What about those monthly entertainment expenses? You could downgrade from premium to basic cable to save money each month. Or how about eliminating your cable bill altogether (we did) with a much cheaper monthly streaming option like Hulu.

If you’re subscribed to a newspaper or monthly magazine that you know you don’t read, cancel your subscription at renewal.

And let’s not forget about those weekly take-out meals. You can save lots of money by eating at home. Planning out your meals can make this process a lot simpler. Simply write out what you want to eat for the next seven days and stick to it.


If you don’t have time to prepare your meals during the work week, prep your meals on the weekend. Then place them in portion controlled containers and all you have to do is grab your meal from the fridge and go.

You can even prepare meals ahead of time and freeze them for later.

Remember, these are funds that you are just throwing away. Spend some time going through your bank statements and identify the bills and outgoing expenses that you don’t need and get them canceled.

Final thoughts

Cutting back on spending doesn’t have to be hard. By reducing your outgoing expenses and directing that money to other financial goals, you’ll be more successful in cutting your spending and adding to your overall savings.

I hope these tips help you when it comes to looking at cutting your spending habits in half. Let me know some of the ways you cut expenses in your household.

Summer Skincare Tips For Black Women

The weather is getting hotter, and summer is fast approaching. That means we are baring more skin and spending lots of leisure time outdoors.

The blazing heat and sun can do a number on our skin, so you want to make sure that you’re protecting it at all costs. The immediate damage of too much sun is sunburn, but the most serious threat is skin cancer.

Steering clear of the sun is the best way to avoid sun damage, but ain’t nobody trying to do that! So while you are enjoying this summer weather, keep yourself protected by practicing these summer skincare tips for a safe time in the sun.


Black Woman At Beach Applying Sunscreen


Make Sunscreen A Priority

I know you’ve heard the phrase because I have heard it numerous times in my life – “Black people don’t need sunscreen!” Yes, we do sis. I know that melanin is magical, but it does not protect us from sun damage.

You should always apply sunscreen about twenty minutes before going outside or getting into the pool to allow time for the product to absorb into your skin. Reapply every three hours while outdoors. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours while you’re swimming.

In an article explaining the differences in sunscreens, states – “UVB is the chief culprit behind sunburn, while UVA rays, which penetrate the skin more deeply, are associated with wrinkling, leathering, sagging, and other light-induced effects of aging (photoaging). They also exacerbate the carcinogenic effects of UVB rays and increasingly are being seen as a cause of skin cancer on their own. Sunscreens vary in their ability to protect against UVA and UVB”.

Look for sunscreens that offer protection from both UVA and UVB rays.


Stay Hydrated

Be sure to drink water throughout the day during the summer months (actually, try making it a year-round habit) to prevent getting dehydrated. When you are on the go, remember to take a bottle or two of water along with you.

Try to eat fruits that have a high water content such as watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, peaches, and grapefruit. You could even add fruit to your water to give it a bit of flavor.

Staying hydrated will help add to your summer glow.


Protect That Melanin From Head To Toe

When using sunscreen, remember to protect your entire body. Consistent sun exposure without protection will gradually thin your skin and cause wrinkles.

Protect the delicate areas of your eyes with appropriate creams or balms. Look for lip care products with at least an SPF of 15. Consider a lip balm as opposed to a lip gloss when outside during the summer, as balms tend to hydrate more and stay on longer. Also, invest in a pair of good sunglasses to help shield your eye area.

After applying sunscreen to your face, you should apply it to your neck as well. Don’t neglect your chest area, as it is one of the areas of our bodies that is more susceptible to sunburn.

Finally, apply sunscreen to your hands and feet. Invest in a hand cream that offers SPF protection, and be sure to apply it at least twenty minutes before driving.


Don’t Over-Exfoliate

After spending time outdoors, who doesn’t love a good shower or bath? When bathing, be gentle on your skin. I love a good loofah just as much as the next person, but over-exfoliating can irritate our skin. A weekly exfoliating routine using a loofah or mild scrub is ideal in your quest for softer, smoother skin.

Watch your water temperature as well (note to self). I love a hot bath or shower and don’t feel that I’ve gotten clean if my water is not hot. But hot water is drying to our skin. Be sure to turn the temperature down a notch.


Wear The Proper Attire

Always dress to protect. Lightweight clothing and lighter colors are best during the summer months. The light colors help to reflect sunlight and lightweight materials allow for more airflow. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat will also help to shield you from harmful rays.

Lastly, make sure that you and your loved ones take frequent breaks from the sun. Avoid getting overheated by spending lots of time in the shade or going indoors for a quick respite from the heat.

Enjoy your summer!

15 Ways To Enjoy A Staycation In Your Hometown

Tamar Braxton

Are you looking to escape the boredom of everyday life? Do you want to take the family on a vacation, yet don’t have the finances to actually go out of town? Or maybe you want to go on vacation, but you’re still not quite ready to travel due to the COVID 19 pandemic.

Well, instead of planning an out of town vacation, why not opt for a staycation.  Friends, you don’t have to travel across the globe to enjoy a great time with your family.

There are plenty of things to do in your very own neighborhood or nearest big city. With a little bit of creativity, you and the family can become tourists in your hometown.

A staycation will allow you to save money, sleep in your own bed, and spend quality time with your family or friends all while having fun.


Set The Ground Rules

The purpose of a staycation is to make it feel like an actual family getaway, without leaving the comfort of your own home.Thus, to make sure the whole family is on the same page, it is good to start with some ground rules that each and every family member agrees upon.

First, you’ll want to start by setting an actual vacation start and end date. Then you should set a few guidelines for what your family may and may not do during your “vacation.” You could put rules in place such as:

No smartphones, no television, no video games, no checking emails, no housework (all the moms rejoice) – you get where I’m going. The only thing your family should be focused on at this time is plain old FUN!

Be sure to set aside funds for eating out, and the different activities that you plan to enjoy.

Here are several ideas to help get you started with planning a staycation for you and your family.

Find A Local Beach

You don’t have to be in the Caribbean to enjoy the beach. Visit a local beach in your area and become “beach bums” for a day.

15 Ways To Enjoy A Staycation In Your Hometown


Visit A Nearby National Park

National parks offer a variety of family-friendly activities to choose from. Most park fees are nominal, but you can also check out this page to find free entrance days.

Enjoy Your Local Theater

Check your local newspaper or theater website to see what plays, musicals, or family-friendly comedy shows will be playing during your planned staycation, then book your tickets accordingly. 

Take A Virtual Museum Tour

Several museums throughout the country and the world offer “virtual” tours. There are several that you can choose from, including the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, the Boston Children’s Museum, or even visit the Louvre in Paris. 

Enjoy A Day At The Amusement Park

Enjoy a fun-filled day of rides at a nearby amusement park. Check out this list to find an amusement park in your own state or town.

15 Ways To Enjoy A Staycation In Your Hometown


Check Out The Local Library

Most libraries have family-friendly events and activities happening every weekend. I even got my son his very first library card this past summer. Check your local library’s website for details. 

Pay A Visit To The Children’s Museum

A Children’s Museum is definitely in order if you have younger kids. This is one of my son’s favorite places to visit. Most have a variety of fun and interactive activities that will keep you busy the whole day.

Check out the Association of Children’s Museums website to find one in your area. 

Visit the Zoo or Aquarium

Are you an animal lover? Why not pack up a lunch and spend the day at the zoo or enjoy the aquarium with the fam.

Check out the Association of Zoos & Aquariums to find a zoo or aquarium in your area, then be sure to also check what special programs your zoo has available. 

Enjoy A Music Fest

Most cities have music festivals during the summer months. Look up music festivals in your area and enjoy a fabulous performance from some of your favorite headliners.


Outdoor Concert Gif

Play In The Water

Spend the day at a local pool or splash pad. This is actually one of my family’s favorites. If you let him, my kiddo would spend the entire day at the splash pad.

You can also turn on the sprinklers in the backyard and have a family water day at home. 


Go Bowling

Enjoy a game of bowling with your kids. If your kiddos are small, try bumper bowling.

Many bowling alleys around the country even participate in a free bowling program that allows kids to bowl free and parents to join them for just a few dollars more.

You could even invite your neighbor’s or a few close friends and make it a competition. Your family bowls against theirs. The winner receives a homemade trophy.

15 Ways To Enjoy A Staycation In Your Hometown


Camp In Your Own Backyard

Why not enjoy the great outdoors in your own backyard? Set up a tent and sleeping bags, light the fire pit (or use the grill) to cook hot dogs and s’mores, and take turns telling funny or scary stories. 

Go Paddleboarding Or Canoeing

If there is a river or lake near you, chances are pretty good there is also a paddleboard or canoe rental facility nearby as well. Both are a fun way for you and the family to enjoy the water. 

Play Outside

Fly a kite, take a leisurely walk, go for a bike ride, or how about a nice hike. Head to your local park (most state and national parks have a few walking, hiking, or biking trails to choose from). Be sure to pack plenty of water and snacks for everyone.

Break Out The Board Games

A staycation is a perfect time to play a few of those board games you remember from childhood! Whip up several snacks, and spend the afternoon playing all of your favorite games.

Black Family Enjoying Outdoors
Image Via Freepik

The goal of a staycation is to relax and decompress all while having fun. For a lot of people – especially those of us who are moms, the hardest part of trying to “relax” at home is letting go of our everyday obligations.

Give up the chores for a week, and instead kick back, relax, and enjoy some quality time with your family. Doing so will allow you to create memories that you and your loved ones will cherish for a lifetime.



Seven Simple Ways To Increase Your Water Intake

While everyone knows that it’s important to drink an adequate amount of water each day, doing so can actually be quite difficult.

But water is necessary for good health. According to the Mayo Clinic, our bodies are comprised of mostly water.  Water plays many important roles in your body function, including maintaining electrolyte balance, regulating blood pressure, helping your body maintain a normal temperature, lubricating joints, and flushing out waste.

Since my husband and I have made the decision to try and improve our health, that includes making sure that we consume an adequate amount of water each day. Well, that’s a lot easier said than done.

Most days it’s near bedtime when I realize I have only had two, maybe three glasses of water for the day.

So how have I increased my water intake? I incorporate these simple tips to make sure that I get a sufficient amount of water each day.

Black Woman Drinking Glass Of Water


How To Drink More Water

Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning.

I start my morning with water. I drink a full glass of water every morning before I have my coffee.

Try drinking a glass of water after waking each morning.  If you prefer tea over coffee, have a cup of tea with lemon as your morning beverage. 

Carry a water bottle.

I keep a couple of water bottles in the fridge and one on my desk. As I finish one, I simply go to the fridge and grab another. If I have to go out for the day, I make sure that I take a water bottle along with me.

Add flavor with fruit.

Sometimes plain water can be a bit boring. I like to infuse my water with fresh fruit to give it a splash of flavor.


Consume foods high in water content.

Drinking water isn’t the only way to increase water intake. Add foods that are high in water content to your daily diet. Some examples of fruits and veggies with a high water content are: watermelon, cucumbers, spinach, green peppers, celery, and tomatoes.


Track your water intake with a Hydration App.

A great way to remember to drink water is by utilizing an app like Water Minder or Aqua Alert. Simply set a reminder in the app and you’ll receive an alert when it’s time to drink more water.


Order water instead of soda when eating out.

When you eat out, opt for water as your beverage instead of tea or soda. It’s actually much better for you. 

Dilute your juices.

I have always practiced this with my son (I’m sure most mom’s have), and now I add a half cup of water to my fruit juice to help increase my water intake.


Feed Your Child’s Creativity With A Monthly Subscription Box

As a child, I loved getting surprises in the mail. I’m sure your child would too. Why not surprise them with something that’s both fun and educational. Gift them their very own subscription box from Kiwi Co.

Kiwi makes STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) learning for your child accessible, engaging, and fun.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may make a small commission if you order using my link.  Read my full disclosure here.

What Is Kiwi Co

Kiwi Co is a monthly subscription service that offers educational projects, crafts, and activities for kids using different themes.

KiwiCo is all about celebrating a child’s natural creativity and curiosity.

Each of their boxes includes all of the materials needed to make a fun hands-on project with your child.

Kiwi Co Doodle Crate


About Kiwi Co Boxes

Suggested Age Range: 0 to 16+

Cost: Starts at $19.95 per month, with free shipping. If necessary, you can cancel your subscription at any time.

Order: Click here to order NOW.

 Kiwi Crate – Inspiring Kids to Become Scientist, Artists, Creators, and Makers

A Kiwi Co subscription box allows kids to create all while having fun. Each box comes filled with the supplies and directions to help kids create on their own. You’ll love the learning resources and activities that are available in each crate!

There are different packages available for each age group:

Panda Crate – Explore and Discover (Ages 0 – 2)
Koala Crate – Play and Learn (Ages 2 – 4)
Kiwi Crate – Art, Science & More (Ages 5 – 8)
Atlas Crate – Geography & Culture (Ages 6 – 11)
Doodle Crate – Art & Design (Ages 9 – 16+)
Tinker Crate – Science & Engineering (Ages 9 – 16+)
Eureka Crate – Engineering & Design (Ages 14 – 104)

All of the boxes from Kiwi Co are designed by experts, and tested by kids. Subscriptions are available monthly, or in three months, six months and twelve months increments.

Have you tried Kiwi Co?  What is your child’s favorite crate?

An Affordable Alternative To Cable TV

In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of people cutting the cable TV cord. I mean why pay for all of those channels that you don’t actually watch? My husband and I have been cable free for a little over 7 years now, and we haven’t regretted cutting the cord one bit.

The average family spends about $96 each month for cable TV (source). That can really take a toll on an already tight budget.

* This post contains affiliate links which means that I may make a small commission if you choose to make a purchase using my link.  Read my full disclosure here

There are a number of options available that can help you save money by getting rid of cable TV, yet still allowing you to enjoy many of your favorite movies and shows. Our #1 choice by far is Hulu.

What is Hulu, you might ask. Hulu is a premium internet based streaming service that offers you some of the latest and greatest in TV shows, movies and more. If you have a newer smart TV, the Hulu app is usually pre-installed, so you should be able to connect to the service without any issue.

If you do not have a smart TV, you will need a streaming device such as a Roku player, FireTV Stick, or Chromecast to connect to Hulu. Make sure you read up on the product before purchasing, to ensure that you have the right equipment.



Why I Love Hulu

Though there are several options available as far as streaming services go, Hulu is definitely my family’s favorite.
Not only do they offer original content, but you can also view shows from local channels and some cable networks soon after they air. That means I get to keep up with my favorite shows even though I no longer have cable.

Hulu also gives you the option to choose commercial-free viewing for an additional charge. So if you are one who likes to enjoy TV without ads or commercials, you can pay a few bucks more to watch TV free of ads. Sweet!
Recently Hulu also added a live TV plan. That means you can catch the game in real time!

Lastly, the monthly cost is affordable (can’t really say the same for cable). You can choose from several options:

Hulu                                    $ 5.99 Month
Hulu (No-Ads)                    $ 11.99 Month
Hulu + Live TV                  $ 44.99 Month
Hulu + Live TV (No Ads) $ 50.99 Month

Hulu Premium Channels

In addition to add-on channel packages, Hulu + Live TV also offers premium subscription services. You can customize your Hulu service with additional add ons like HBO Max, Showtime, Cinemax, Starz, and Disney + for an additional fee.

You also have the option to add services like DVR and unlimited screens.

For example, you can choose an HBO Max subscription at $15 per month as a part of your monthly Hulu + Live TV bill. That content would be available to stream on your Hulu app alongside the content from your base subscription.

Here’s a sampling of the premium channels or services that are available through Hulu + Live TV:


If you are a fan of Disney, Pixar, and Marvel, you may want to consider getting more bang for your buck by choosing the Disney+ bundle.

We have saved so much money by cutting the cable cord and switching to Hulu. And if I can be honest, I don’t miss having cable at all. Why, you might ask. Because all of the shows I love are available on Hulu.

Favorite Shows

An Affordable Alternative To Cable TV

Right now, you can give Hulu a try FREE for seven days. Once your 7 day trial has ended, you will pay only $5.99 per month. Here are a few of the current shows and movies that they offer:
Little Fires Everywhere
Modern Family
This Is Us
The Masked Singer
Grey’s Anatomy
Law and Order
Killing Eve
The Good Doctor
The Handmaid’s Tale
Chicago PD

False Positive
The United States vs Billie Holiday
Bad Boys For Life
Jumanji : The Next Level
The Upside
Brooklyn Nine Nine
The Snow Fall
And so many more.

Head on over to Hulu now, and get registered for your own free 7 day trial offer!

50 Fun Fall Activities For You And Your Family To Enjoy

Fall is my favorite time of year. I say that because there are an endless amount of cozy fall activities that my family and I get to enjoy doing.

Whether you choose to snuggle up on the couch with your favorite hot drink, while binge-watching television shows or spending an evening outside cheering for your favorite team at a local football game, there are plenty of things that you all can enjoy together.

To give you some ideas, I’ve created this list of fall activities. How many of these fun-filled fall activities will you and your loved ones cross off before winter hits?

Blue Ridge Mountains


Fun Fall Activities

Go camping.
Visit an apple orchard, and pick apples.
Have an apple cider “tea” party.
Make peanut butter Rice Krispies treats.
Host a neighborhood chili cook-off.
Tell ghost stories.
Jump in a pile of leaves.
Make donuts.
Visit a national park.
Go to a football game.
Go on a color walk, and gather outside “treasures” in the colors of fall.
Visit a sunflower farm.
Make fall decorations.
Take family photos in the backyard.
Go on a hayride.
Carve pumpkins.
Take a knitting class.
Try geocaching.
Go canoeing or kayaking.
Make crockpot applesauce.

Apple Orchard

Plant your favorite bulbs for the spring.
Attend a fall festival.
Make your favorite soups.
Make your own Halloween costumes.
Bake your favorite fall treats.
Go roaming through a pumpkin patch.
Take a family bike ride.
Play hide-and-seek with glow sticks.
Navigate a corn maze.
Host a bonfire, and invite all the neighbors.
Collect pine cones and create a beautiful fall centerpiece.
Go on a scenic drive and enjoy the beautiful fall colors.

Autumn In The Mountains

Make Halloween cards.
Go horseback riding.
Make caramel apples.
Run in a 5K race.
Play your favorite family board games.
Visit a local farm.
Enjoy a picnic in the park.
Make pinecone bird feeders.
Rake up leaves in the yard.
Make hot chocolate with marshmallows.
Spend the day watching classic fall movies.
Make s’mores outside by the firepit.
Visit the zoo.
Collect and identify leaves.
Rearrange your closet with your fall wardrobe.
Create a family thankfulness tree.
Spend the day antiquing.
Bake pumpkin bread.
Lay a blanket in your backyard and gaze at the stars.

What are some of your family’s favorite fall activities?

Ten Books You Will Want To Add To Your End Of Summer Reading List

Summer isn’t over just yet! I have rounded up a few good books to read while you are lounging by the pool, kicked back on the patio, or maybe snuggled up in your favorite chair. 


The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter

Ten Books You’ll Want To Add To Your End Of Summer Reading List

In Karin Slaughter’s latest suspense novel, Detective Will Trent must discover who is behind the kidnapping of a scientist for the Center of Disease Control, and figure out if it’s the same person who’s responsible for a bombing in the neighborhood that houses the CDC, two hospitals, and a major university. When the woman he loves -medical examiner Sara Linton goes missing, the investigation takes a personal turn. 


Speaking of Summer by Kalisha Buckhanon

Ten Books You’ll Want To Add To Your End Of Summer Reading List

On a cold December evening, Autumn Spencer’s twin sister, Summer, walks to the roof of their shared Harlem brownstone and is never seen again. The door to the roof is locked, and the snow holds only one set of footprints. Faced with authorities indifferent to another missing Black woman, Autumn must pursue the search for her sister all on her own. 


The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Ten Books You’ll Want To Add To Your End Of Summer Reading List

This is an oldie, but goodie that is worth revisiting if you’ve read it in the past.

Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl, prays every day for beauty. Mocked by other children for the dark skin, curly hair, and brown eyes that set her apart, she yearns for normalcy, for the blond hair and blue eyes that she believes will allow her to finally fit in. Yet as her dream grows more fervent, her life slowly starts to disintegrate in the face of adversity and strife.

A powerful examination of our obsession with beauty and conformity, Toni Morrison’s virtuosic first novel asks powerful questions about race, class, and gender with the subtlety and grace that have always characterized her writing. 


The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai

The Right Swipe

Alisha Rai returns with the first book in her sizzling new Modern Love series, in which two rival dating app creators find themselves at odds in the boardroom but in sync in the bedroom. 


American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson

American Spy

American Spy knits together a gripping spy thriller, a heartbreaking family drama, and a passionate romance, all while tackling the issues of politics, race, and gender. 


The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

Ten Books You’ll Want To Add To Your End Of Summer Reading List

Based on the real story of a reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative of two boys whose lives were forever changed after being sentenced to a hellish reform school during the Jim Crow era.


The Marriage Clock by Zara Raheem

Ten Books You’ll Want To Add To Your End Of Summer Reading List

To Leila Abid’s traditional Indian parents, finding a husband is as easy as match, meet, marry.

But for Leila, a marriage of arrangement clashes with her lifelong dreams of a Bollywood romance, where real love happens before marriage, not the other way around. So she decides it’s time to stop dreaming and start dating.


Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner

Ten Books You’ll Want To Add To Your End Of Summer Reading List

We go back to the 1950s, following the lives of two sisters, both then and now. They attempt to navigate the ever-changing world around them, and like Weiner’s other novels, this one is simply a page-turner. 

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Lock Every Door

When Jules Larsen takes a new job as an apartment sitter, she has no clue that she’ll eventually try to solve the disappearance of her coworker.
This heart-pounding thriller from New York Times bestselling author Riley Sager follows a young woman whose new job apartment sitting in one of New York’s oldest and most glamorous buildings may cost her more than it pays.


Searching For Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok

Sylvie Lee

In Jean Kwok’s latest novel, a Chinese immigrant family comes to terms with its darkest secrets after the eldest daughter, Sylvie, goes missing. Her younger, more fearful sister Amy attempts to find her, traveling to the Netherlands, where Sylvie was last seen. But Amy quickly finds more questions surrounding Sylvie’s disappearance than she does answers. 

Share with us some good reads you’ve enjoyed this summer.


My Night Time Self-Care Routine

Do you have a night time self-care routine in place? I bet for a lot of you the answer is NO. For some people, winding down each night can be a challenge.

I think it’s safe to say that at the end of the day, we typically crawl into bed exhausted and then wake up the next morning with brain fog to start our daily routines all over again. That was the case for me anyway. After suffering many restless nights, I knew that some things in my life had to change.

What I realized was that I was trying to tackle too many things in the evenings and often well into the late-night hours. I would then fall into bed at night exhausted, but unable to get a full night’s rest.

I decided to take a good hard look at my schedule and afterward, realized I needed to rearrange my priorities, and also make sure that I penciled in some time for me.

Adding self-care habits to our nightly routine is one way to improve our health, both mentally and physically. When we take care of ourselves, we have more to give to those we love.

I have discovered that by consistently following a nightly routine, my evenings, flow so much smoother. Not only do my evenings flow smoothly, but I fall asleep faster and I am able to rest peacefully.

When incorporating a self-care routine you need to decide what type of activities will benefit YOU the most (such as reading, journaling, doing a brain dump, or spending some quiet time with your spouse or significant other).

Self Care Reminder

Here is an example of my typical nighttime routine:


Play Some Relaxing Tunes

I LOVE music. As I prepare to wind down each evening, I always start off by playing some type of relaxing music. I like listening to instrumental jazz or nature sounds – particularly the sound of rain.



Enjoy A Soothing Shower Or Bath

I love a hot, steamy shower. I light up some scented candles to add a little bit of aromatherapy.  When time permits, I like to enjoy a long soak in the tub.

Pamper My Skin

After showering, I pamper my skin from head to toe. I’m a huge fan of body butters. I typically use either cocoa butter or shea butter. 

I really love the scent of cocoa butter and it does an excellent job of hydrating my skin. Of course you can use the moisturizer of your choice.

Next, I take care of my face. I apply toner to my face and afterward, I apply my favorite moisturizer or facial oil (I fully cleanse my face prior to getting into the shower).

I also apply an under-eye cream as needed to help with the dark circles I sometimes get under my eyes. I discuss the basics of skincare in-depth in this post.


I like to do a few stretching exercises at night to help me sleep better. I have found that stretching helps to loosen me up, and makes me feel more relaxed.

According to, nighttime stretching improves your quality of sleep and helps to lower stress levels.

Shut Off The Electronics

This one has always been a struggle for me. I tend to want to catch up on social media in the evenings, but I have found that by putting my phone (and computer) away an hour or two before bedtime helps my brain to shut off so that I can prepare for a good night’s rest.

Plan My Day

I like to go over my planner in the evenings so that I have an idea of what all I need to get done the next day.  I also take this time to write down anything that’s floating through my head so that I’m not up all night thinking about my to-do list.

Read A Book 

 Reading is one of my favorite past times. Most nights I sip on a cup of tea and read a few chapters of a good book before I go to sleep.  

Because I enjoy reading so much, I can read for hours on end.  I now set the timer on my phone so that I am not up reading until the wee hours of the morning. 

Cup Of Tea And Book On Bed

Create Your Own Self-Care Routine

A nighttime routine sends a signal to your brain that it is time to wind down for the day. Of course your ideal night routine will be uniquely tailored to you, but here are a few ideas that you can incorporate into your evening:

Write in your journal
Enjoy the relaxing scent of essential oils
Drink a cup of your favorite herbal tea
Take a warm bath or shower
Spend a few minutes stretching
Read a good book
Listen to relaxing music
Cool down your bedroom
Do a brain dump
Cleanse your skin
Unplug your devices
Make an evening gratitude list


Final Thoughts

As a wife and mom, I know that there can be days when a self-care routine is not feasible.I mean life happens to all of us. Just know that taking care of YOU is an important part of your well-being and enables you to properly care for your family.

A nightly routine can help you relax, de-stress and prepare for a good night’s sleep. It has made a world of difference in my life, and I am pretty sure a little nightly self-care will make a world of difference for you as well.

How do you wind down each night? I’d love to hear about your nighttime routine in the comments.

Self Care Routine Pinterest Pin


Five Small Ways You Can Improve Your Marriage

The “honeymoon” phase in any marriage isn’t going to last a lifetime. Things between you and your spouse may suddenly seem “different” but let’s face it, relationships change. Relationships change because as individuals, we are constantly changing.

While marriage is a wonderful part of life, it’s not always an easy one. Factor in differences in personalities, those little annoying habits that you once thought were so cute, caring for your children, paying the mortgage, health issues, (the list could go on) and you start wondering “what did I get myself into?”

Just know that it’s normal for any relationship to evolve over time. As I stated earlier, our relationships change because we as individuals change. Your marriage doesn’t have to suffer as a result of that process though.

Let me tell you something, relationships can and do work. You just have to be willing to put forth the time and effort that it takes to make it work.

If you’ve noticed that things are a bit off with you and your sweetie lately, or if you seem to be having arguments over the smallest of things, reconnect and improve your marriage by incorporating these strategies into your daily lives.

Extend Forgiveness

If you have been harboring unforgiveness for something that happened last year, or last week for that matter, let it go! It becomes hard to move forward in your relationship when one (or both) people are stuck in the past.

Identify those things that you need to let go of. After that make sure that you don’t bring them up again. Oooooh, chile, trust me – It! Is! Hard! I know because I was the queen of bringing up past hurt and throwing it back in my husband’s face.

But if you truly want things to progress in your marriage, you’ve got to be willing to completely forgive so that you can move forward. I mean, we all make mistakes.

Communicate Effectively

Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Did I mention communicate?

When it comes to having a good marriage, effective communication is a must. Not only do you have to learn how to communicate your expectations and desires so that your spouse will have a chance at fulfilling them, but you have to learn how to communicate in a way that doesn’t lead to misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

Learn to be a good listener as well. Oftentimes we aren’t listening to understand what our partner is trying to communicate to us, we are simply listening so that we can give a response. Be an active listener so that you can actually hear their heart and understand what it is they are trying to get across to you.

This is something that may take a little time, especially if the two of you are not good at communicating with one another. But as you intentionally practice it, things will get better over time.

Be Affectionate

Get into the habit of showing your mate affection every day. And I am not just talking about affection inside of the bedroom. Do simple things like greeting one another with a kiss. Give each other a hug and kiss before leaving for work each day. Hold hands or cuddle while you are watching television.

But don’t let your affection become robot-like. Instead of hurried kisses, take the time to relish the moment and look into each other’s eyes when being affectionate. According to research recently published by Kory Floyd, author and associate professor of Arizona State University’s Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, affection can lower blood sugar levels, and lower the risk of depression and stress.

Enjoy Activities Together

Do something regularly that bonds the two of you. For instance, try waking up early so that you can enjoy your morning coffee together, spend 15 minutes chatting before going to sleep at night, or how about setting aside your Fridays nights for each other.

I like to make it a point to enjoy some of the things that my husband loves. For instance, I am not particularly fond of watching boring sci-fi movies – yes, I said boring. But sci-fi is something that he loves, and so I indulge him. I’ll fix us a huge bowl of popcorn along with some drinks and we’ll enjoy an evening of sci-fi.

By having a “couples ritual”, you are making an active decision to create space in your life just for your spouse. After all, your relationship with your spouse is one of the most important you’ll ever have.

Show Your Appreciation

Go out of your way to show your spouse how much you appreciate them. Instead of focusing on all of the things your spouse does wrong, be intentional about acknowledging the things he or she does right. A simple “honey, thank you for taking out the trash this morning” or midday phone call saying “I was just thinking of you” can go a long way in making a person feel loved.

We as human beings need to feel validated or appreciated. When that validation doesn’t occur, people tend to look for it elsewhere. Do your part in making sure to acknowledge and appreciate them every time you have the chance.

I am not a relationship expert, but my husband and I make it a point to practice these tips daily. Are there times when we mess up – yes! But we start all over again, and our marriage has been so much better because of it.

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

Holidays and Family Functions 


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


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 


Important Phone Numbers
Emergency Contact Info




Spiritual & Personal Growth

Goals Tracker
Daily Affirmations
Favorite Bible Verses
Sermon Notes
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)
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  (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?

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.

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

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

The perfect drink for the little girl in us.


Although this drink has fewer calories, it doesn’t skimp on flavor.


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


This drink is sure to be a crowd pleaser.


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


The right amount of sweet and salty with a strawberry twist.


A twist on the original margarita.


A deliciously spicy cocktail.


A delightful blend of watermelon and hibiscus.


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.

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?