Category Archives: Lifestyle

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.

PIN IT!

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!

Five Benefits of Positive Daily Affirmations

What is a positive affirmation? Simply put, positive affirmations are statements that declare specific goals. Affirmations are designed to reflect the things you want to be true in your life.


Daily affirmations motivate us and enable us to change the way that we think in a positive way. Affirmations have the ability to transform our external lives by first transforming us internally.


 
Five Benefits of Positive Daily Affirmations

 

Five Benefits of Daily Affirmations

1.  Positive daily affirmations will help to give you new confidence about yourself and your life.
2.  Daily affirmations help you become more aware of your thoughts and the words you speak, which in turn reduces the risk of allowing negativity to seep in.
3.  Positive affirmations enhance your feelings of gratitude, which can, in turn, boost your feeling of happiness.
4.  Studies show that optimistic people have better cardiovascular health, and reciting daily affirmations helps you to stay positive.
5.  Daily affirmations help you to remain in a constant state of gratitude.


 
Keep in mind that our words have power. We must always be careful with the words that we choose to allow out of our mouths. Our words, good or bad, actually frame the world in which we live. Just as we can speak positive, life-giving words, we can also speak words that are negative and will lead to death.


When you choose to utter statements such as “I’m broke” or “I’m sick”, you are actually causing those things to manifest in your life. Even though you may be experiencing something negative at the moment, practicing an attitude of gratitude, and speaking positively will help to change your situation.

In Conclusion

Think about this – If a negative thought process has landed you where you are now, can you even begin to imagine where you would be if those negative thoughts were replaced by positive thoughts?

We all know that you can’t live a positive life with a negative mind. If you change your mindset, you change your life.

Do you recite daily affirmations?

My Fall Favorites: Fall Tag Q & A With LBG

The very lovely Grace of Prayer and Passports has tagged me in an awesome challenge – a “Fall Tag Q&A”. This is such a fun way to interact with and get to know other bloggers, so I decided I’d play along.
Thank you so much, Grace, for including me in this Q & A. Here are my answers…

What is one candle you MUST light every fall?

Honestly anything pumpkin spice. Whenever I smell the scent of pumpkin spice, it lets me know that fall has officially arrived. I typically purchase Yankee candles, but if I am out and about and come across a different brand that smells good to me, I will purchase that one.

MY FALL FAVORITES: FALL TAG Q & A WITH LBG

When you think of fall, what does it remind you of?

Fall reminds me of so many things, especially my childhood. I think of the fun times spent outdoors running around and playing with my friends and lots of family gatherings.
 

What is your all-time favorite fall/Halloween movie?

Halloween and It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown

MY FALL FAVORITES: FALL TAG Q & A WITH LBG

What Halloween costume do you have in mind?

To be honest, I have never been that much into costumes and dressing up, especially as I’ve gotten older.

What is your favorite fall trend?

Updating my wardrobe. I don’t go overboard, but I do like to add a couple of the season’s trendy accessories.

When you think of fall, what drink comes to mind?

Pumpkin Spice Latte – isn’t it obvious. LOL.
MY FALL FAVORITES: FALL TAG Q & A WITH LBG

What is your go-to fall beauty product? A must-have staple!

Darker lipsticks.  During the fall (and winter) months, I typically wear deeper reds, purples, and maroons.

Do you prefer apple pie or pumpkin pie?

Apple pie. As much as I love the scent of pumpkin, and pumpkin spice latte’s, I DO NOT like pumpkin pie. Weird huh?

Do you have any fall traditions? If so tell us all about it!

We like to spend as much time as possible outdoors during the beginning of the fall season (before it gets too cold). Every year we try to take our son to at least one festival and we like to attend high school football games.

The moment of truth. Is fall your favorite season?

Yes!!! Fall is my absolute favorite season.

So, how much do you love fall?

I love the cooler temps, snuggling by a warm fire, watching football, drinking lattes and hot chocolate and binge-watching tv with my hubby.

Share some of your top fall moments with me in the comments.

 
MY FALL FAVORITES: FALL TAG Q & A WITH LBG

Four Productivity Apps That Will Help You Get Your Life Together

As the saying goes, time is one of our most precious commodities, and if you’re a girl (or guy) boss there just never seems to be enough of it. Oftentimes our mobile phones and electronic devices can tend to be a huge distraction. However, with the number of productivity apps available, our devices can now become powerful productivity tools for us.
Here are the four productivity apps that I use daily:
 
Four Amazing Productivity Apps That Will Help You Get Your Life Together

Canva

If you need help designing a blog post header or image, Ebook cover, or Facebook and Instagram images, then Canva is the app for you!  With the use of this app, I can design both blog and social media images in as little as 5 minutes. The absolute best thing about this app is that you don’t have to know graphic design to use it. Awesome sauce!
Canva is available in both free and paid versions.
 
Four Amazing Productivity Apps That Will Help You Get Your Life Together

Buffer

How would you like to be able to manage and schedule all of your social media posts in one place? With Buffer, you can do just that.  You can schedule your social media content for the week or for the month. How cool is that!
I have tried a couple of other scheduling apps, but this one is by far my favorite. There are several versions that are available (including a free one) depending on the number of social media accounts you need to manage. 
 
Four Amazing Productivity Apps That Will Help You Get Your Life Together

Google Keep

Google Keep allows you to quickly add your to-do items from your mobile device or a desktop computer. It has a Post-It note style memo format that allows you to add quick reminders and to-do items within seconds. You can also customize the colors of your memo to visually indicate the importance of your task.
I am actually a  paper and pen kind of gal, but I use Google Keep as a back-up to my daily planner,  or when I am on the go and don’t have a pen and paper handy.
Four Amazing Productivity Apps That Will Help You Get Your Life Together

Snapseed

Snapseed is a free photo editing app.  With this app, you are able to enhance photos and apply digital filters.
I use it to edit my photos before posting them to Instagram.  You can whiten whites, remove red eye, blur backgrounds, and more. This is by far the best photo editing app that I have tried!
 

What are some of your favorite productivity apps?

Eight Homemaking Tips To Make Your Life Easier

There is a lot that goes into successfully running a home and caring for your family. As a new wife or mother, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed at the thought of managing a home. One of the best things that you can do to help maintain your sanity is to come up with a system of doing things.

A good homemaking system or routine will help you to get your household in order, and ensure that your home is a haven for both you, and your loved ones.

Keep in mind that homemaking is not about perfection, but instead, it is about being able to properly care for your family all while maintaining some sense of structure.

Here are eight of my favorite homemaking tips that have made my life so much easier.

Start Your Day With Prayer

The daily trials of life can be hard. Therefore it is necessary to spend some time each morning reading the Word of God and engaging in prayer so that you can receive guidance and strength for the day ahead.  

Mornings are not the only time to engage in prayer.  You can and should also talk to the Lord throughout the day.  He cares about every single detail of our lives, and he is always there to help us in our time of need.

Follow A Daily Routine

I’m sure you are familiar with the phrase “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Well in order to be an effective homemaker, you should follow a daily plan.  Write down a daily list of things that need to be done and follow it to the best of your ability.

We all know that life happens, and sometimes your plans might be interrupted, but nevertheless, you should always have a plan in place.  

Make Your Bed

Get into the habit of making your bed every morning if this is something that you don’t already do.  Not only does your room look neat and tidy, but it will also give you a sense of accomplishment, and you’ll be ready to tackle the rest of your to-do list for that day.

Write Out A Weekly Meal Plan

It took me a while to get into the habit of actually writing out a weekly meal plan.  I wasted so much time trying to figure out what we would have for dinner each day. By writing out your menu each week, you know exactly what to prepare each day (and if you want to have leftovers) and exactly what ingredients you should shop for. This will save you both time and money!

Eight Homemaking Tips To Make Your Life Easier

Never Leave Dishes In The Sink

ALWAYS wash the dishes before going to bed at night (trust me on this).  There is no worse feeling than waking up in the morning to a sink full of dishes.  If you use the dishwasher, you can run the load through the wash that evening, and wait until morning to unload it and put the dishes away.  

Tidy Up Daily

I have a schedule that I follow as far as what rooms are deep cleaned each day.  But I also make sure that I tidy up throughout the house a couple of times each day.  Make sure that toys are put back into bins and remote controls and things like that are put in place. You don’t have to spend but a few minutes of your time doing this every day, and it will help to keep your house somewhat clutter free.

Spend Time With Your Family

Don’t get so busy with day to day chores that you miss out on the most important aspect of homemaking – family.  Spend some time with your loved ones each day. Run around and play with your kids. Take the time to enjoy some of their favorite activities.  

Make time with your spouse a priority. I know that once kids are introduced into the equation, it becomes harder to enjoy time alone as a couple.  But spending time alone together helps to build intimacy and strengthen the bond that you have with each other. When necessary, get a babysitter so that the two of you can enjoy a night out.

Set Aside Me Time

This is one area that is often neglected.  It is important that you spend a few moments each day to yourself.  I know it may seem difficult, especially if you have little ones at home. But understand that in order to properly take care of your family, you have to take care of self first.  I recently wrote an article on how you can carve out me-time when life gets busy. You can read it here.

What are some of the ways that you manage your household?  

Ten Simple Ways To Adopt and Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle

When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, the process doesn’t have to be difficult.  Oftentimes we think that in order to be healthy, we will have to sacrifice all of our favorite foods, and spend hours at the gym each week.

Well, at least that was what I thought in the beginning. The truth is, by making a few small changes to your daily lifestyle, you can begin seeing results in no time.

Healthy eating habits, along with other lifestyle changes will help you to achieve your desired weight, gain mental clarity, and increase your longevity.

Below, I have listed ten simple changes that you can make in order to get on track to becoming a healthier you.

Have a drink

By drink, I am referring to water.  The majority of us do not take in the recommended daily amount of water.  Did you know that your body is 57-60% water? Therefore, water makes up more than half of your body weight.

We lose water each day when going to the bathroom, sweating, and even during breathing. Our bodies lose water even faster when the weather is hot when we are physically active, or if we have a fever. If we don’t replace the water we lose, we can become dehydrated.

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Move a little

Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), exercise can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer.  

Exercise also helps to lower stress levels, and improve sleep quality as well as reduce your risk of depression, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Regular exercise will help to strengthen your bones and muscles and also improve your mental health as well as your mood.

You don’t have to join a gym in order to exercise.  Go for a walk in your neighborhood or exercise from the comfort of your own home.  

There are several workout videos that are available, and you can even find some great workouts on YouTube for free.

Ten Simple Ways To Adopt and Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle

Stick to a healthy diet

Add more fruits and vegetables to your daily meals. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables can help reduce your cancer risk. That is one reason the American Cancer Society recommends eating at least 2½ cups of these foods every day.

By choosing brightly colored produce, you get a better mix of vitamins and antioxidants.

Kick that habit to the curb

Tobacco smoke contains many chemicals that are harmful to both smokers and nonsmokers. Smoking has been found to harm nearly every bodily organ and organ system in the body and can diminish your overall health.

http://gph.is/Z0BNGH

Some of the benefits of quitting smoking include normalized heart and blood pressure rates, improved circulation, less coughing/wheezing, improved sense of smell and taste and a lowered risk of cancer and heart disease.

That should motivate anyone to quit – can someone please tell my husband this.

Reduce your sugar intake

Added sugars (like sucrose and high fructose corn syrup) contain a lot of calories without any essential nutrients, which is why they are referred to as empty calories.

 Excess sugar consumption can lead to insulin resistance, high triglycerides, increased levels of bad cholesterol and increased fat accumulation in the liver, and abdominal cavity, and it can have an adverse effect on your metabolism.

Ten Simple Ways To Adopt and Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle

Cut back on the processed foods

Processed foods are typically loaded with added sugars, and we know that sugar in excess can be harmful to us.

Processed foods also contain several artificial ingredients that include preservatives, artificial colors, and artificial flavorings. Not to mention, they are also very high in simple carbohydrates while containing very few nutrients.

Laugh a little

Laughter causes physiological responses that protect your body from disease and helps your vital organs repair themselves.

A study by the John Hopkins University Medical School showed that humor and laughter can ease stress, boost your immune system, and also improve memory and mental performance.

Enjoy a few jokes with your family or friends.  Or why not chill out on the couch and watch your favorite sitcom to get a few laughs in.

Ten Simple Ways To Adopt and Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle

Shut down those electronics

This is one I struggle with from time to time. Electronics have become a normal part of life in the 21st century, which means that we are exposed to the light that our devices emit.

The light exposure from our electronic devices promotes alertness. You should “unplug” your devices at least two hours before bed (this includes going to bed with the television on a timer).  This gives your brain a chance to unwind and get ready for sleep.

Pray/meditate daily

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Regular prayer and meditation have been shown in numerous scientific studies to be an important factor in living longer and staying healthy.

According to a Huffington Post article, “individuals who prayed daily were shown to be 40 percent less likely to have high blood pressure than those without a regular prayer practice.”  

Prayer has also been known to boost the immune system and lower stress levels.

Maintain meaningful relationships

Eat dinner together. Participate in activities as a family. Have a family night each week (encourage your kiddos to choose activities).  Attend weekly worship services together. Develop holiday traditions with your family.

One of our favorite traditions is to wear pajamas all day on Christmas Eve and watch our favorite Christmas movies.  

Ten Simple Ways To Adopt and Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle
If necessary, start off with one or two small changes. No matter what you do, do something. Any step you take towards a healthier lifestyle will only help add to your overall health and well-being.

And don’t forget to reward yourself.  Hard work with no payoff can be discouraging.  By treating yourself every now and then, it will help you to stay motivated as you work towards your goal.

What are some of the ways that you stay healthy?

40 Things That Make Me Happy

I love to journal, and I often use writing prompts when writing in my journal.  Recently, one of my journal prompts was to make a list of things that make you happy.  


Being that my life can get a bit hectic at times, it was refreshing to actually pause for a moment to focus on things that actually bring me joy.  After all, it’s the little things in life that bring us happiness, right?


Here are forty things that make me happy:


1. My son.  His little smiling face always warms my heart.
2. My husband, who is also my best friend.
3. Fresh flowers.
4. The smell of scented candles.
5. Ice cream.  I mean, what girl doesn’t like ice cream?
6. Shopping!
7. Planners – with all of the decorations.
8. Long, warm bubble baths. (I could certainly use one right now).
9. A good nap.
10. A nice cup of coffee with ALL the creamer. Mmmmm.
11. Tender kisses.
12. Spending time with my family. I love those guys and gals!
13. Sitting outside on my patio.
14. Going for a Sunday evening drive.
15. Writing in my journal.
16. Pizza – with extra pepperoni.
17. Reading a good book.
18. Leisurely walks with my husband and the kiddo.
19. Netflix.  I love to binge watch movies.
20. Lying on crisp, clean sheets.
21. A stroll through the park.
22. Playing with my son.
23. Fall season.
24. Warm doughnuts from Krispy Kreme.
25. Music.  Seriously, music is life!
26. Date night with my favorite guy.
27. A cup of chai tea.
28. Lip gloss.
29. Vacationing with my family.
30. Bath and body products. I love body butters and lotions that pamper my skin.
31. Peanut butter cookies fresh from the oven.
32. Bubblegum.
33. Singing my favorite songs really loud – but only when I’m alone.
34. Homemade pancakes.
35. Leggings.
36. Watching home decorating shows on television.
37. Organizing my pantry.
38. Christmas season.
39. Rearranging the furniture, even though it drives the hubby crazy.
40. Fuzzy socks.
 

What are some of the things that make you happy?  

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Happy Tuesday friends! I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I had been nominated for The Sunshine Blogger Award by Amey over at Stunning Complications. This is a big deal for me because it means someone not only took the time to read my blog but actually connected with it on some level to think of me for this award.
The Sunshine Blogger Award was created to showcase bloggers who are creative, uplifting, and inspiring. It also helps to bring recognition to so many talented and dedicated bloggers.
There are a few rules to the award and nominations so that we can get to know and discover fellow bloggers. These are:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you in your blog post and link back to her /his blog.
  2. Answer the questions the blogger asked you.
  3. Nominate 11 new bloggers to receive the award and give them 11 questions you have chosen.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger award logo in your post on your blog.

 

Amey’s Questions and My Answers

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Sunny Florida.

Which famous celebrity (alive or dead) would you like to spend the day with?

I would like to spend the day with former president Barack Obama (and Michelle Obama).  I think he is a pretty awesome guy and she’s such an inspiring woman.

If you could describe yourself as an animal, which one would you choose and why?

An elephant. Though they are large and can be aggressive, they are also very peaceful, kind, and loving animals – much like myself.

What is your motto?

My motto is to treat others as I would want to be treated.

Why did you start blogging?

I originally started blogging as a way to share my personal experiences with other stay at home moms.

If you could give a younger version of yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

Accept yourself for who God made you to be, and don’t be so hard on yourself. We all make mistakes, simply learn from them and keep going.

What does the perfect day look like?

The perfect day for me would be accomplishing EVERYTHING on my to do list for that day.  Most days I come pretty close, but there are often one or two things that are tacked on to the next day.

If money was no object, what would you do and why?

I would open up a family restaurant and entertainment center (similar to a Dave and Buster’s) for parents and children with special needs. There are very few places where families of individuals with special needs can go and be themselves.  This would be a place where families can go to let their hair down and enjoy a good time.

What would you like people to take away from your blog?

I hope that people are able to read and apply information that will be useful to situations in their own lives.

Who is the most influential person in your life and why?

My mother.  She is the epitome of strength, courage, and resilience.

Do you have a collection of anything? If yes, what is it?

Journals.  I very seldom go into a store and pass a journal or cute notebook that I don’t purchase.
 

My Nominees

Questions for My Nominee’s

  1. What is one word that best describes your personality?
  2. What is your favorite comfort food?
  3. Morning person or night owl?
  4. What is your favorite season?
  5. Coffee or tea?
  6. How do you unwind after a long day?
  7. If money was no object, what would be your dream vacation?
  8. What prompted your blogging journey?
  9. Who or what inspires you?
  10. What was your favorite childhood toy?
  11. What is the last book you read?

 
I would like to say thank you again to Amey at Stunning Complications for her nomination. Please be sure to check out her blog!
 
Sunshine Blogger Award

Six Ways To Carve Out Me Time When Life Gets Busy

As a busy mom, the thought of enjoying “me time” seems not only self-centered, but often downright impossible. Most of us can barely get five minutes a day to ourselves, let alone squeezing in an hour or two of me-time.

It’s important for your sanity that you spend some time doing things that you enjoy. It can be something as simple as enjoying a few moments of silence while sipping on a cup of tea.

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes… including you.”

Anne Lamott

My secret to carving out me-time, is by scheduling it. When I plan out my  week, I make sure that I pencil in some time for ME.

I know that it may be impossible to schedule uninterrupted time each day, so instead try setting aside an entire day once a month to spend doing whatever you like.  And it’s quite alright if you spend that day doing absolutely nothing!

Be sure to make arrangements with your spouse or significant other beforehand so that they are available to have the kids while you take some much needed time to for YOU.

Below are six ways that you can enjoy a few moments of  “me-time.”


 

Exercise

We know that health is important – both physical and mental. Go outside and take a brisk walk or if you’re in the mood, go for a run. If your schedule allows, take a group class weekly, or hit up the gym a few times throughout the week.

Find a physical activity that you love, and then the “me time” becomes a bonus.

Treat Yourself To Lunch

Treat yourself to a leisurely meal alone at a nice sit-down restaurant or your favorite eatery. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, this would be a perfect time to try out a new dish or even a different type of restaurant than the ones you normally frequent.

Journal

Let your feelings out on paper. Write down your emotions, stresses, ideas, dreams, worries, fears – whatever you choose. This is something that can be done one time or on a daily basis.

I personally like to journal either first thing in the morning or before I go to bed. Keep a small notebook or journal with you, and reach for it whenever the mood strikes.

Six Ways to Carve Out Me Time When Life Gets Busy

 

Go Shopping

This is one of my favorites! Every now and then my husband and son spend the day doing “guy” stuff so that I can spend the day shopping.

Sometimes I splurge on a few outfits, at other times I simply window shop for a few hours. Often times I will make a day of it and have lunch and even squeeze in a mani/pedi.

Use this time to hit up several of your favorite stores. Even if you don’t buy anything, go ahead and try on two or three different outfits.

If you’re not really into clothes, go to your favorite furniture or home decor store and browse. Or buy yourself a plant or two, or three.  I personally love plants, and sis, you can never have too many.

Catch A Movie

Let hubby tend to the kids, or drop them off with a sitter for a few hours and head to the movie theater. Grab you some popcorn (extra butter of course) and a drink and enjoy the show.

Spend Some Time Outdoors

When the weather permits, I like to spend daily quiet time outside on my patio. Steal away for a few hours and just enjoy some time with nature.

Breathe in the fresh air, listen to the birds sing, lie in the grass and watch the clouds or grab a glass of lemonade and enjoy a book underneath a tree.

Taking time each day to relax and unwind can help boost your immunity, make you more productive and even help stimulate creativity.

I know that it can be difficult at first, but learn to make yourself a priority. You will be better equipped to care for those that you love when you do.

 

How do you enjoy your me-time?

Seven Netflix Movies Perfect For Couples To Enjoy

Seven Netflix Movies Perfect For Couples To Enjoy
 
One of my favorite pastimes is binge-watching Netflix movies. My honey and I love to snuggle on the couch together and watch a good movie. If you and your significant other can’t find a sitter for the kids or just want to spend the evening at home, why not make it a movie night. Trust me, there is no shortage of good flicks on Netflix. So gather together a few of your favorite snacks, pour yourselves a beverage, grab your remote and chill while watching one of these movies.
 

1. Brain On Fire (Drama)

Susannah Cahalan (Chloe Grace Moretz), is an up-and-coming journalist at the New York Post. She suddenly becomes plagued by voices in her head, along with seizures. As the week’s progress, Susannah delves deeper into insanity. Her violent behavior progresses into catatonia. After a series of tantrums, misdiagnoses, and a lengthy hospital stay, a doctor’s last-minute intervention enables him to give her a proper diagnosis and a chance to rebuild her life.
This movie is actually based on true events and sheds light on a little known but harrowing medical condition.
 

2. Set It Up (Romantic Comedy)

Two young overworked and underpaid assistants in New York City realize they can make their lives easier by setting up their workaholics bosses (played by Taye Diggs and Lucy Liu) on a date. While trying to perpetuate this romantic ruse between their nightmare bosses, the assistants realize they might actually be right for each other.
 

3. Message From The King (Thriller)

After losing contact with his younger sister, Jacob King (Chadwick Boseman) arrives in Los Angeles looking for her. Within twenty-four hours he finds unsettling evidence of a life gone awry – sex, drugs, and secrets in the sleazy underbelly of the City of Angels.
Loaded with action, Message from the King is the story of what happens over the next seven days – a brother determined to bring those responsible for his younger sister’s disappearance to justice.
 

4. Irreplaceable You (Romantic Comedy/Drama)

A couple who have known each other since they were eight are destined to be together until death. Irreplaceable You is the heartwarming, romantic story of Abbie (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and Sam (Michiel Huisman), best friends since childhood who are engaged to be married, and whose tranquil New York lives come crashing down when Abbie receives an unexpected diagnosis. Faced with the prospect of an uncertain timeline, Abbie begins a touching and all too often humorous search for a new love to take care of Sam.
 

5. Naked (Comedy)

Substitute teacher Rob Anderson (Marlon Wayans) is offered a full-time teaching job but is reluctant to make that long-term commitment. He and his fiancée, physician Megan Swope (Regina Hall), fly to Charleston, South Carolina, for their wedding the next day. Rob goes out drinking with his best man, Benny, only to wake up on his wedding day, naked in an elevator in a hotel that’s far from the church. Nervous about finally getting married, Rob is forced to relive the same nerve-wracking hours over and over again until he gets things right before his wedding.
 

6. The Duchess (Drama/Romance)

This movie follows the tumultuous life of the 18th-century Duchess of Devonshire (played by Keira Knightley), a bright, popular aristocrat who is trapped in a failed marriage and has to face personal conflicts – including living with her husband’s mistress and falling passionately in love with a young politician (played by Dominic Cooper). Based on Amanda Foreman’s bestselling novel `Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire’.
 

7. The Week Of (Comedy)

The week before the marriage of their children, two fathers with opposing personalities, Kenny Lustig (Adam Sandler) and Kirby Cordice (Chris Rock) must put aside their different views on how the wedding should be planned and work together to overcome a series of obstacles. This movie will have you laughing out loud.

What are some of your favorite Netflix movies?

How To Increase Productivity While Working From Home

Do you struggle to prioritize your business with all of the other things going on in your life?

Juggling the demands of work, husband, kids, household chores, and all the other things that life tends to throw at you can be overwhelming.  Trust me, I know the struggle all too well.


Here are five habits that you can implement into your day so that you can increase your productivity – and maintain your sanity. 

 

WAKE UP EARLIER

I know there a lot of people who are on the fence about this one, but I have found that waking up at least 30 or 45 minutes before my family allows me to sip my coffee in peace, gather my thoughts and mentally prepare for the day ahead.


If I sleep in, I tend to feel rushed for the majority of the day.  Now don’t get me wrong, if I feel that I NEED the extra sleep, I have no problem snoozing an extra hour or two.

I have just made it a habit to wake up earlier in order to plan for the day ahead. And I feel so much better when I do.  

 

GET DRESSED

I know, I know. Many of us who work from home consider wearing pajamas all day an added perk. But staying in your pj’s can actually have a negative impact on your daily productivity.

By wearing pajamas all day, it sends signals to your brain to relax.

Dr. Karen Pine, Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire says, “When we put on an item of clothing it is common for the wearer to adopt the characteristics associated with that garment. A lot of clothing has symbolic meaning for us, whether it’s ‘professional work attire’ or ‘relaxing weekend wear’, so when we put it on we prime the brain to behave in ways consistent with that meaning.”

While there is no science that proves wearing a full business suit while sitting at your desk at home will make you more productive than wearing say, a pair of sweats, according to Dr. Pine, the symbolic meaning of the clothes you wear does matter.

I make it a habit to shower and dress daily, even if I have no plans to leave the house. Most days I wear leggings and a tee, but I add a bit of lip gloss and put on earrings. When I make myself look good, I feel better and actually get more accomplished during the day.

By having a designated workspace, you can actually focus on your work when you are in that space.  Without a designated workspace, I can get distracted by the dishes in the sink or the clothes that need to be put in the wash. Next thing I know, I’ve wasted a whole hour running back and forth throughout the house instead of focusing on a single task.

I am fortunate to have an extra bedroom that I use as my office. You don’t have to have an actual office, you can create a separate workspace in a small corner of your home.   When creating your workspace, you will want to accomplish three things:

1) Make sure it is a comfortable space.

2) Make sure your space is clutter free.

3) Make sure your space is free of distractions.  

Creating a designated workspace helps signal to your brain that it is time to work. 

 

Productivity

 

 

TIME BLOCK

I am definitely a pen and paper kind of girl. By writing things down in my planner, it helps me to remember it, and I also get a sense of accomplishment after going over my calendar and actually seeing how much I’ve accomplished that day. Time blocking has increased my level of productivity tremendously.

What is time blocking you ask? A simple definition of time blocking is “blocking off” a time of day in order to accomplish a certain task. You can do this by assigning a task to every hour of each day, or by blocking off 2-3 hours at a time in order to tackle different projects or tasks.

What I do is set aside blocks of time each day for all of my daily tasks such as checking emails, making/returning phone calls, housework, blogging, etc.

While the time blocking method may seem a bit rigid for some, for me, it enables me to plan my day more easily because I know exactly what I have to do and when I need to do it. I also focus my attention on a single task until it is completed. This helps me out so much because I am one who tends to get easily distracted.

Of course, my schedule has to be a bit flexible because I am a stay at home mom and my husband doesn’t work a traditional 9 to 5 job, but time blocking helps to ensure that I will have enough hours set aside to do what is needed for that particular day.  

 

LIMIT SOCIAL MEDIA

In this day and age, I think this is one that we all struggle with.  If I am not mindful of what I am doing, I will have spent a full two hours on social media without even realizing it!

Set aside specific time slots each day for social media. But limit that time! Apart from my specific work time (posting, scheduling and responding to comments), I spend time simply enjoying social media, and interacting with friends.  

Try setting your phone timer for 20 or 30 minutes and enjoy scrolling. And then when the timer goes off -STOP, and move on to the next task.  You can always spend a bit more leisure time on social media during the weekends.  

IN CONCLUSION

Simply put, get up a little earlier so that you can mentally prepare for your day. Plan out your days ahead of time, both business and personal. Create a designated environment free of distractions that will allow you to be more productive so that you can get more done. Rid yourself of time wasters and try not to get sucked down the rabbit hole that is social media.

 

How to Increase Productivity While Working From Home

 
What are some of the things you do to increase your productivity? I’d love to hear them.

25 Self Care Ideas To Incorporate Into Your Life

Self-care is oftentimes associated with selfish behavior. This type of mentality usually makes us feel guilty for even thinking about taking a break from our everyday lives to do something that, simply put, makes us feel better and improves our mental health.

We’re all familiar with the saying “You can’t pour from an empty cup”, but how often do we actually take heed to those words? I, myself have been guilty of this. But I had to learn to make myself a priority.  No matter how fancy the term “self-care” may sound, it is extremely crucial to our mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

When it comes to carving out the time to practice self-care, consider this: You probably don’t engage in it often enough, which in turn means that you are left feeling tired, run-down, and overwhelmed. Therefore, honey, it’s time to treat yo self!

spa-candles

 

“I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.”

Audre Lorde

 

25 Self Care Ideas

1. Turn off your phone for a few hours, and totally unplug.
2. Have a mini pamper session.
3. Go for a long walk, or run.
4. Start a gratitude journal. Write down 3 things you’re grateful for each day.
5. Indulge in some retail therapy.
6. Treat yourself to your favorite dessert.
7. Buy yourself some flowers.
8. Close your eyes and listen to some relaxing music.
9. Create a vision board for yourself.
10. Call someone you love and have a meaningful conversation.
11. Curl up on the couch or bed and read a good book.
12. Take a much-needed nap.
13. Plan a fun weekend for yourself and your partner.
14. Do something you love.
15. Sleep in on the weekend.
16. Spend some time in the sun.
17. Have a girls’ night in, and pop a few bottles.
18. Cuddle with your favorite person (or pet).
19. Engage in some aromatherapy. Burn your favorite candle or diffuse some essential oils.
20. Watch a stand-up comedy show, and laugh out loud.
21. Enjoy the outdoors. Sit on your porch or patio and just soak it all in.
22. Take a day off of work if needed.
23. Take several deep breaths. Inhale deeply and exhale slowly.
24. Journal. Get it all out on paper.
25. Lie in the grass and watch the clouds.
Lastly, don’t wait until you can “fit it into your schedule” to take some time for yourself. Start immediately, and make it a part of your regular routine. Trust me, my friend, you won’t regret it!

How do you practice self-care?

25 Self Care Ideas To Incorporate Into Your Life

5 Tips to Finding The Perfect Car For Your Family

Thank you Cars.com for sponsoring this post.

Are you in the market for a new car? Car shopping can be a seemingly daunting task. Besides being a large purchase, it is also something you and your family will be using daily for years to come. This is especially true if you have kids.

Being that my family and I are looking to purchase a new car soon, I thought I would share some of my tips on finding the perfect car for you and your family.

*This is a sponsored post on behalf of Cars.com. As always, my opinions are 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand. Please read my full disclosure here.

Determine Your Needs

When you’re in the market for a new vehicle, one of the first things you will need to do is determine exactly what it is you need in a new vehicle.

For my family, we need a lot of back seat and trunk space. Even though we are a small family, we need lots of room in the back seat. Groceries take up a lot of space in our trunk, not to mention all of the extra things that I like to keep stored in my trunk. Know ahead of time everything you need and/or want.

Set A Budget

You will want to make sure that you have a set budget before you step foot on a car lot. You know exactly how much you and your family can afford, not the car salesman. If the sales person really wants to sell you a vehicle, he/she will make it work for you.

Always keep in mind that there are plenty of car dealerships around, so don’t be pressured into a situation that you are uncomfortable with. If the sales person is unable to meet your needs, it is perfectly okay to walk away.

Do Your Research

Now that you’ve determined what your exact needs are in a vehicle, and set your budget, it’s time to do your research.

Cars.com makes it super easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. Start with the desired body style, and Cars.com will show you everything you need to know about many different vehicles – pricing, mileage, seat capacity, and safety ratings to name a few.

On top of that Cars.com offers expert and consumer reviews, as well as recall information.

Features

This may seem a bit trivial to some, but the features in a car are very important. If you spend a lot of time in your vehicle (running errands, kids after school activities, etc.) like I do, you want to make sure that the vehicle comes equipped with the things that you want.

Whether it’s blue-tooth capability, a sunroof, or a remote start, be sure that the necessary features are available in the vehicle that you are eyeing.

Go For A Test Drive

Lastly, you will want to take a test drive of the vehicle of your choice. You may have multiple vehicles that you are eyeing, but honey test drive them all! You need to get a feel for the car, and play around with all of its features.

Test driving is your opportunity to get a feel of what it would be like if you actually owned the car.

Final Thoughts

Car buying can be an exciting time and when you’ve been driving the same car for a long time (like me!), it’s hard not to make a rush decision.

Know that your new vehicle is an investment – one that you will likely be paying for over the next several years. With that being said, you don’t want to make a hasty decision and wind up driving a vehicle you really don’t like, or one that ends up not being what your family needs.

February Goals

Can you believe it is almost February?  The month of January seemed to fly by, in my opinion.  I did not accomplish all that I set out to accomplish at the beginning of the month.  To be totally honest, the reason is that I have not been very focused. 

I got off to a good start, but seemed to lose my motivation only a couple of weeks in.  I was juggling too many things and wound up getting sidetracked, which in turn caused me to lose all motivation completely.
New Month New Mindset Quote
Even though I didn’t accomplish all of my goals for January, I didn’t beat myself up about it. I am re-focused and intent on reaching each goal that I’ve set for the month of February.  Here are my goals for the month:
 

Personal Goals

Read one book.
Eat more vegetables.
Move (exercise) more.
Journal consistently.
Go to bed on time.
 

Blog Goals

Plan content for February and March.
Be more active on social media.
Interact with other bloggers.
 

What goals have you set for February?  Share them with me.

10 Motivational Quotes That Will Help Transform Your Day

I love a good quote.  Motivational quotes have the ability to change how we feel about ourselves.  An inspiring quote can sometimes be the very thing that helps you to make it through a tough day, or encourage you when you are feeling a bit down.

It’s amazing how a few simple, inspirational words can impact the way we feel.

I keep a list of motivational quotes in my travelers notebook, and I also keep several on my computer.  When I am in need of a little motivation or a pick me up, I open up my notebook or computer and read them.  

Here are ten of my favorite motivational quotes that I hope will encourage you as much as they encourage me.

1.  Your only limit is you.

10 Motivational Quotes That Will Help Transform Your Day

 

2. If you can change your mind, you can change your life.

10 Motivational Quotes That Will Help Transform Your Day

 

3. A goal without a plan is just a wish.

10 Motivational Quotes That Will Help Transform Your Day

 

4.  It always seems impossible until it’s done.

10 Motivational Quotes That Will Help Transform Your Day

 

5. When you feel like quitting, think about why you started.

10 Motivational Quotes That Will Help Transform Your Day

 

6. Life is like a camera. Focus on what is important, capture the good times, develop from the negatives and if things don’t work out, take another shot.

10 Motivational Quotes That Will Help Transform Your Day

 

7. There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.

10 Motivational Quotes That Will Help Transform Your Day

 

8. When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.

When One Door Closes Motivational Quote

 

9. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

10 Motivational Quotes That Will Help Transform Your Day

10. Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be.

10 Motivational Quotes That Will Help Transform Your Day
 
What are some of your favorite motivational quotes? Share them with me in the comments.