Monday, August 31, 2015

Monday Musings: Art

As you read, part of my self care is art.  I don't just color, I also draw and work on my script.  Today I am sharing some of my recent artwork.  I need to specify that I do use other people's artwork to inspire my own.  I have not gotten to a point where I am creative enough to design my own script.  One day!

I love the colors in this one, and that I was able to do the ampersand. They're difficult!

This one is magical.  I would like to try it again when I have more practice under my belt.

I did NOT like the way this one turned out, but oh well.  Progress, not perfection.

I am using this one as my new cover photo on my FB page.  Feel free to use it as well!

This is a great saying, but I might try it in color next time.

Love this little guy.


And OH MY GOSH, this one is my absolute favorite.  I had no idea it would come out so well!

That is it for me today.  Short and sweet, I have been jam packed busy at my day job.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Fashion Fridays: Making Your Wardrobe Last

I am almost finished with the master closet updates I have been working on.  I can't wait to show you everything I have done in there!

One of my favorite tricks to making my wardrobe last longer is repairs.  Even if you haven't invested in a high end item, if you love it and wear the heck out of it, it is worth it to get it repaired.

The first thing you will need to do is find a good shoe repair shop.  There is one in the city where I work, and they are THE best.  They always do what I ask, they are reasonably priced, and they have a great turnaround time.

I have two pairs of knee high black boots.  I have had them for...over TEN YEARS.  I love their heel height, their style, and their comfort.  I do not want to spend time looking for another pair that meets those requirements.  I do not want to spend money on something I may not love as much.  I have a pair of black wedges that are perfect for daily work wear in the summer, and they are very comfortable.  I almost got rid of them at one point because the buckle broke, but could not find a replacement pair, so I had them repaired instead.

Of these footwear, none are designer brands.  I'm certain both pairs of boots were less than $150 each, and the wedges were definitely less than $60.  Yet, they are essential staples in my closet.

Each year, I inspect these shoes and decide if I need to have any repairs done.  Some years require more repairs than others.  One year I had to resole both pairs of boots.  That cost about $120 total.  Sure, that's a good chunk of money, but I knew I wouldn't find two new pairs of boots that I loved just as much for less than $60 each.  Some years they only need heel repair ($40 total for both pairs), and some years they don't need any work.  Overall, by investing in the repairs of the boots, I have saved myself money by not purchasing new boots each year, or even every other year.  And, I can rest easy, knowing I have a reliable pair of boots in my closet for the winter months.

The next person you need to become best friends with is a tailor.  If you can't find one (on Google), ask your dry cleaner.  Many of them will do simple alterations, and can also refer you to someone if they are unable to do the work.

A tailor will be able to make your clothes custom fit for your body!  I had three pairs of jeans that were super comfortable.  They are just Gap or Old Navy, nothing fancy or expensive, but good quality, and they will last for years.  Over the years, I have gained and lost weight, had babies, and my body shape has changed.  Also, I have large hips, and I need a bigger waist size to get pants over my booty.  I often have a gap between the waist of the jean and my lower back.  My tailor altered the jeans so they now fit PERFECTLY.  They fit in all the right places, and it only cost me $25 for all three jeans to be fixed.  You can modify shirts, skirts, work pants, even dresses.

Since I am able to make my wardrobe last a long time, I like to invest in quality pieces for my main staple pieces.  Then I can pick up fun, trendy items for less

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Take Care Thursdays: Adult Coloring Therapy

This week has been insane!  School, work, groceries, dry cleaning, haircuts, karate three times already, chess club, youth group, and my son's first junior high dance (cue tears).  We still have karate two more times, including a belt test, guitar lessons, farmer's market, a new baby to visit, and a wedding!  I now understand the articles that suggest saying "no" to simplify your life.

Since our schedule has been super crazy, I know it is really important to make time to take care of myself.  I have been unplugging after work.  No screen time, just family time.  Lots of conversations, eye contact, and snuggles.

After the kids are in bed, I sit on my bed for a few minutes in silence.  I breathe, and focus on relaxing my body.  It's surprising how much of a difference just five minutes makes!

Another thing I have been doing is coloring.  I have noticed this as a trend on my Facebook, although this type of therapy has been in practice for hundreds of years.  And with good reason.  Coloring allows us to stimulate our creativity, and use our motor skills to transfer energy from our brain to paper.  It allows us to focus on something other than stress and worries, which allows us to feel more at ease.  Since coloring is an activity in which children partake, coloring can also bring out our inner child, which is usually a more carefree mentality.

If you are interested in color therapy, it's really simple, and inexpensive (much less expensive than seeing a therapist!).  You need something to color with - crayons, pencils, or markers.  And you need paper.  That's it!  Draw to your heart's content.  Don't know what to draw?  I doodle with pencil in a style called Zentangle.  Then I color them with colored pencils or markers.

There are "adult" coloring books available.  I have this one, this one, and I just got this one, which I loooooooooooove.

There are also a ton of free printables.  You would just need to print these.  Here is one resource.  Pinterest is another great resource.  You can also Google "free coloring therapy printables".

The benefits of this type of self care is that it can be for as much or as little time as you have available.  You can color for five minutes or for an hour.  The clean up is easy, just close your book and put away your pens.  You can do it in your home, and it is inexpensive.  You can even do it with your kids!  These are all things I think about when considering a self care hobby.

Bonus!  The fine motor skills used for coloring taps into the same part of your brain that organizes and problem solves.  So coloring could help you become better at organizing!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Whip Into Shape Wednesdays: Top Picks For Workout Gear

I have been eating much better this week.  And, guess what?  I FEEL better.  Hooray!  I am even going to do some yoga tonight.

Before I had children, I used to be such a morning person.  I was the girl who popped out of bed at 4 a.m., drove to the gym, bee-bopped my way through my workout, got ready for work, and arrived at work by 7 a.m. (when I didn't have to be there until 8).  Today, I want to bee-bop that girl in the face and tell her to stay in bed, because she needs to bank as much sleep as possible because her children are never, EVER going to sleep.

Now, even after sleeping for 8 hours at night, I wait until the last possible moment to get out of bed and start getting ready.  I am not what one would call a morning person.  I need my coffee in order to not be a bitch grouchy.

Everything I read says that getting up earlier is the best way to have a more successful day, and to incorporate exercise into your day.  It just so happens that Mr. Perfect's work shift is changing so that he will be waking up at 4:45 a.m.  My plan is to get up with him and do my workout.  Bonus:  I will be tired at 9 p.m. when he is ready for bed.

Since having children, I have not made time to go to the gym.  One of my favorite discoveries after having children was that I didn't need a gym, or any fancy equipment in order to do my workout.  Body weight workouts are super effective, and can be done right in the living room.  My kids even do it with me, which is adorable, and keeps them occupied.  If they do have a need, I can easily stop and address them, then go right back into my routine.  Next week I will go into how I organize my routine.

I wanted to share with you today my favorite basics I have for working out.

Yoga Mat.  Obviously I use this for yoga, but I also use it for my other workouts.  I purchased two.  One for me, and one for my younger two children.  I cut theirs in half and they each get their own.  They love to be just like Mommy.

I workout barefoot, so shoes aren't even needed.  That's a huge savings!

Leggings.  Go buy these leggings RIGHT. NOW.  These are the best leggings EVER.  They are really soft, have great stretch, a high waist (read:  no muffin top), and the pattern doesn't stretch crazy across your, ahem, wide parts.  You know those leggings.  The ones that say, "Hi, I have thunder thighs." These are not like that.  They are truly one size fits all, super comfortable, and an excellent price point.

Tee or Tank.  I am a sucker for a hilarious graphic tee.  And it's not always appropriate for me to wear them outside of the house if I don't want to embarrass my 12 year old son.  So I wear them when I exercise.

A good sports bra is important.  I haven't found one I'm in love with.  Do you have one that you rave about to all of your friends?  Share, please!

Pinterest.  This is where I get most of my yoga flows and workout ideas.  You can check out the stuff I have on my Fitness Board, or do a Pinterest (or Google) search for "body weight workout".

Exercise DVD.  I personally love Jillian Michaels' DVDs.  She kicks my ass!  I find her voice to be a little annoying, so I put my earplugs in and listen to high energy music.  For $7, this is an inexpensive way to invest in yourself.

Support Group.  Whether it's a local workout group, a Facebook group, or just one friend who jogs with you, having someone to hold you accountable is what will make your exercise not only a success, but enjoyable.

That's it! With these few things, you can use your weight to increase your own muscle power.  That is pretty incredible.  And no need to feel guilty for spending money on a gym membership you don't use!

I will update you next week on how my mornings are going.  When do you make time to workout?  What is your workout routine?  I'd love to hear from you!

I'm going to leave you with my recent Google searches.  Have a fabulous Wednesday, Goddesses!

"gluten free pumpkin banana bread" - I cannot wait to make this!

"social media rules for tweens" - I have a 12 year old boy.  Send help.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Monday Musings: 20 Questions

Do your kids play 20 Questions?  More like A Billion Questions, amirite?  They are always asking me, "Why?" and, "What's for dinner?" and, "Are you eating candy?" (expert answer tip:  no, it's broccoli).

Today I want to share the answers to questions that I decide to ask.  I would love to hear your answers to these questions as well!

1. How do you take your coffee?
At work and at home, I use coconut milk and Stevia.  I like my coffee pretty strong, and close to black.  Starbucks order is Venti coffee with room, then I add half and half and two Splenda packets.  During the holidays, I do splurge and get a Pumpkin Spice Latte or Gingerbread Latte.

2. Where are your favorite places to shop for yourself?
J. Crew (and Factory), Ann Taylor, Nordstrom, Target, and Amazon.  I have store cards for each, and religiously search for coupon codes, sales, rewards, etc.  I almost never pay full retail price for anything.

3. What are your favorite TV shows?
Football (technically not a show, but my absolute fav thing to have on TV), Chicago PD, Cutthroat Kitchen, Project Runway, and Real Housewives of New York (they're my favorite group of housewives).  My DVR sits at about 70% full.  I start deleting shows if it gets any higher than that.  Not totally related, but worth mentioning, I think.

4. Do you try something new at restaurants or stick to your favorites?
I usually stick to my favorites, but I will try something new on the rare occasion that I am feeling adventurous.

5. What's on your nightstand?
Lamp, baby monitor, and water bottle.  Sometimes a TV remote.  My husband had a pen on his nightstand, and one of the girls used it to draw on the nightstand.  Neither of them will ‘fess up to who did it.  I keep it really simple right now.  Vases would get broken, books would get ripped, and chap stick would get eaten.  Even a cup of water would get spilled.

6. If you could live anywhere in the world besides your current city where would you live?
I would love to live on land in the middle of nowhere.  Grow our own food (produce, dairy, and meat), be out of the city.  It sounds peaceful and fulfilling.

7. What's one thing motherhood has taught you?
That I have zero answers about life.  Having a tween teaches me that every day.  Having two girls who are very close in age but very different in personality teaches me that every day as well.  Flexibility and being open to learning are the keys to being successful in life.

8. What are your favorite websites (besides blogs)?
Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and above mentioned shopping sites.

9. What is your favorite exercise?
Yoga.  I love that it challenges my mind and my body.  And I do get out of breath when I do it.  Does that make it good cardio?  Or does that make me really out of shape?

10. What is one cosmetic item you can’t live without?
EOS chap stick.  I’m obsessed.

11. Are you a morning person or night owl?
I used to be a morning person, but ever since having my third child, I am a night owl.  Part of that is some insomnia caused by my husband working nights and some anxiety.  I enjoyed being a morning person much more than loathing the morning.  I hope one day I can get back to being a morning person.

12. What is your favorite breakfast meal?
Avocado mashed on toast, add salsa, and an over easy egg on top, with a side of plain Greek yogurt and a huge mug of fresh, hot coffee.

13. What is your favorite color?
My younger, feminist self would hayyyyyte me for saying this, but the answer is PINK!!!  There, I said it.  I.  Love. Pink.  My favorite color to wear is black.  But my favorite color in the whole wide world is pink.

14. What is your favorite planner accessory?
A mechanical pencil with a good eraser.  The Target dollar section pencils have THE best erasers.  And cute designs!

15. What is your astrological sign?
Aries.  And it fits.

16. What is your dream car?
A Bugatti Veyron.  Vroom.

17. What is your biggest weakness?
My lack of confidence in my decisions.

18. What was your favorite house growing up?
I do not remember much of my childhood, but I do remember this one house we lived in had a tree house.  It was painted gray-blue, and I think it is so cool that I had a tree house.  That house also had a persimmon tree, and I remember my mom used to make bread and muffins with them.  There was an orchard nearby, and I remember it as a magical forest.  My Very Best Friend In The Whole Wide World (I don't even remember her name now, ha!) lived across the street.  We didn't live there for very long, but I was devastated when I found out my My Very Best Friend In The Whole Wide World would not be across the street from me anymore.  I also rode my bike into a mailbox and had to get stitches in my hand at this house.

19.  Have you ever been electrocuted?
Yes, but only mildly, like from an electrical outlet.  And I didn’t hate it.

20. Have you ever been to a therapist?
HAHAHAHAHAHA.  If you know me at all, you certainly know that I NEED therapy.  Yes, I have been to a therapist.  I am certain I kept one employed from 2003-2005.  I wish I could afford the time to go now.  Maybe that’s what I will do in retirement.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Fashion Fridays: Outfit Tracking

Remember in high school, when you shopped in your friends' closets?  My girlfriends and I always borrowed each others stuff.  Some of my favorite memories involved laying on my bed, chewing gum, flipping through a magazine, gossiping away, and having my girlfriend try on tops, skirts, belts, hats from my closet.

As an adult, I don't have that.  It makes me sad.  I tried to put together a wardrobe swap with some girlfriends last year, but nobody was interested.  I may try again this year.  I was really discouraged by the lack of response.  Free clothes, wine, and snacks!  Who says no to that?  I did end up doing a one on one swap with one girlfriend.  But it was more like, grab her stack from the trunk of her car and drop my stack in.

Unfortunately, my best girlfriends do not live near me.  They are scattered across the world.  No exaggeration.  Two of my girlfriends did come stay with me last year.  I pulled out some clothes I hadn't worn in a long time and one of my girlfriends did take a nice stack home with her.

This same friend also introduced me to a genius idea of how she keeps track of outfit ideas.  She snaps selfie pics and saves them to a separate album.


Isn't this a smart way to easily track your wardrobe?  This clothing library can help you spot items that work really well for your body (a-line skirts, sheath dresses), and see color patterns.  If you see you have quite a few pink tops, you can make an effort to purchase another color next time you go shopping.  You could also create a list of wardrobe basics that you have and build on that with handbags and accessories.

This is a free and easy way to keep track of what you have in your closet and carry it with you everywhere you go!  Thanks for the great idea, Mal.  You're the coolest.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tidy Tuesday: Technology

Did you know that the iPhone allows 35 browser windows to be open?  That's the max.  It used to be eight.  I found this out by trying to press the "+" button to open another browser, and I couldn't.  Because I already had 35 windows in use.  Whoops.

Often times, I will open a window to something I want to read later (like an article about organization), but I don't know if I want to pin it.  Or something I want to remember to look up later (like song lyrics), but I don't have time to read them now.  I might be driving, so I ask Siri to Google something for me.  Then life goes on and I forget about my windows and then BAM.  I have 35 windows open at once.

I do this with bookmarks on my computer at work.  And free Amazon books.  And free apps.  I also save PDF documents in a file to read later.  Except for that I forget and then I have fifty documents to read, and I feel overwhelmed and don't make time to read them.  I don't hoard much in life, but information is certainly something I do hoard.

Today we are going to tidy up this technology clutter.  Here is the process I am using:

The first thing I do is quickly scan each article/document/link and close or delete anything that I know I no longer need or want.

Next, I pin everything I can.  Even if I'm not sure it is something I will use, I pin it.  I can always delete the pin later.  Plus, I have almost six thousand pins.  One more isn't going to hurt anything.

Then I sort.  Similar to pinning, but related to bookmarks.  Some links on my computer at work are things I reference often (like the county assessor's website).  I create folders (Work/Personal/School) and then drag and drop anything I need to reference back to into these folders.  I have a maximum of 10 links in each of these folders.

After this, you should have a manageable amount of items remaining.  Now go to each site.  Delete links that are dead ends.  If the content is long and you are unable to read it at the time, put into a folder marked "Read Later".  If you can't read it now, but will read it soon, put it into a folder marked "Read Now".  Otherwise, read it now and then get rid of it.  To make sure I do get through these items, I set aside one night during the week to read the "Read Now" folder.  Once I read something, I delete it.  Once the folder is empty, I choose three from the "Read Later" folder and then repeat.  Or I commit to reading one e-book per week (or month, depending on how much time I have).  I write these time commitments down, because if I don't, I will forget, or I will make excuses to avoid them.  And if I'm not going to read them, I might as well just delete them anyway, right?

For apps, I decide if the app brings something new to me that none of my other apps can do.  If the answer is no, I delete it.  If the answer is yes, then I keep it.  I give it a few months, and if I'm just not using the app, then I delete it.

By taking these steps, I am helping myself get through the information I want to read.  I get rid of the unnecessary, and then make small goals to get through the rest.  I hope this system helps you eliminate some virtual clutter in your life!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Monday Musings: On My Mind

What else would Monday Musings be other than what is "on my mind"?  I had writer's block for the title.  It happens.

My most recent Google searches are the best way to find out what is on my mind!

"how to publish a podcast" - my son is obsessed with listening to podcasts.  I try to encourage him to explore his passions.  He is currently coming up with a list of podcast sessions to broadcast, while I try to figure out how to publish them.  I'm really excited to see what he comes up with!

"hypermiling" - have you heard of this?  It is " attempt to maximize gas mileage by making fuel conserving adjustments to one's vehicle..." {New Oxford American Dictionary}  Basically, this means being a good driver.  Using cruise control and accelerating slowly from red lights can result in over 35% better gas mileage for some vehicles.  That's pretty incredible!

"purple dot yoga"  - this musing is super dear to my heart.  I have lost two friends to domestic violence.  Please read here for information about what an abusive relationship looks like.  If you or someone you know needs help, PLEASE call the National Domestic Hotline (800.799.7233).

"printable emotions inside out"  - have you seen Disney's Inside Out?  I absolutely love this movie.  It is a magnificent way for children to understand emotions and memories.  This sorting game expands on that.

"white chocolate pumpkin cups" - I am conflicted between wanting to stay away from sugar and wanting to make these and eat them all.

"divergent bird symbolism" - have you read the Divergent series, or watched any of the movies?  The black birds freak me out, and they are consistent throughout the series, so I wanted to know what they symbolized.

What's on your mind?  What are you researching?  Comment and let me know!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sunday Spread: Menu Planning

Menu planning is very personal, because each of our lifestyles can be vastly different.  You might be a single mom, you might be married but you stay at home and your husband works nights, you might both work M-F, 8-5.  You might have kids, or no kids.  Picky kids.  You might have volunteer work, meetings, soccer practice.  Because of this, it is difficult to come up with one way to meal plan that will work for everyone.  You might have to take what works for me and tweak it.  Heck, when our schedule changes, that's what I have to do!

You can read about meal planning in this post, but I wanted to do a basic overview of what is involved in meal planning.  You can insert this into your own schedule, which will help you come up with a system that will work for you.

If you haven't written down your most used recipes, do that first.  You can write them on a piece of scrap paper that you keep in the cupboard above your stove.  Type them in the Notes section of your phone.  Notebook paper and crayon.  It doesn't have to be fancy.  This should take you about 10-15 minutes, and is a one time occurrence.  Write down everything!  Even chicken strips!

Set aside a time to plan.  This will take about 15-20 minutes.  Consider doing this at the beginning of the week, after the kids go to bed.  During this time, you will go over the events for the week ahead and decide which nights need to be quick, and which nights will have more time.

Once you have assessed your week, look at your meals.  Put the easier dishes on your busy nights, and the more time consuming dishes on the less busy nights.

Now decide if you need any ingredients.  Make your grocery list.  Go grocery shopping.  This can take about an hour, not including driving time, or unpacking time.

That's really it!  Assess your week, write down your meals, go grocery shopping.  The other stuff I talked about in my other post (coupons, ads, etc.) is completely secondary to this, and not necessary.

Some additional tips and ideas:

At the beginning of the week, I try to do the first two or three nights with dishes that involve meat.  Then I can use the leftover meat to create other dishes later in the week and just make the sides on those nights.  Later in the week, you will often see "rice bowls" or "nachos" listed on my menu.  This is just another way of saying "leftovers".  I make rice, add meat on top, and then let the kids add their toppings:  salsa, cheese, sour cream, etc.

Utilize your crockpot.  You can use your crockpot to make something simple, like spaghetti sauce!  Just come home and cook the noodles!  I also use it to make a roast, which my kids will eat, and then I add potato chunks and carrots (they don't eat those).  I cook the meal in one container, pull out the meat for their plate (add grapes or another fruit that is easy to deal with), and serve myself the carrots and potatoes!

We make individual pizzas, using a frozen cheese pizza as our base.  Each person adds their own toppings, cook per the instructions on the box, and everyone is happy!  I convince myself mine is healthiest because I throw spinach on mine.

Make extra and freeze for later.  My husband makes chicken taquitos (shredded chicken and rice rolled into a corn tortilla), about 100 at a time.  We eat some for dinner and freeze the rest.  I will grab two or three from the freezer to take for lunch during the week.

Use fruits and veggies in their raw state.  This is the best no-prep tip.  Give your kids an apple with dinner.  Is it traditional?  No.  Is it fast and healthy?  Yes!  Wear pearls and heels while you do it to make you feel more like June Cleaver.

Don't get carried away with trying to be a culinary expert.  You don't need to tackle every Pinterest recipe each night.  This isn't Food Network.  It's your house, on a Thursday.  There are toys and homework and laundry everywhere.  My menu consists of simple items:  baked chicken, hamburgers, rice bowls.

Finally, don't put too much pressure on yourself.  If you miss a week of planning, it's not a big deal.  Try again the next week!

I would love to hear how you incorporate meal planning in your life!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Take Care Thursdays: Hobbies

I think the hardest part about being a mom is that many of us really invest our entire selves into our children's lives.  When they are babies, they require so much attention and help just to survive.  Even though my 12 year old makes his own lunch and does his own laundry, there is still so much I do for him.  We cook, we clean, we do laundry, we buy groceries, we take them to activities, we worry.  It's exhausting!  Our lives seem to revolve completely around making sure we are raising well rounded little humans.  In the process, it can be easy to forget about ourselves and our needs.

When I finally realized that I needed to implement some basic self care, specifically a hobby, I didn't really know what I enjoyed doing anymore.  Before having kids, I used to read all the time.  I went to the gym.  Were those things still interesting to me?  What were other options?  I knew that I needed to make a list of options so that when I did have time to myself, I didn't just plop down in front of the TV and mindlessly watch garbage BRAVO for hours.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, and, trust me, I definitely do that sometimes.  Sometimes, we need to veg out.  But I also refer to my hobbies list so that my thirst for creativity is quenched.

A few of my favorite hobbies include:  photography, writing, reading, drawing, sewing, home improvements, yoga, baking, listening to music, swimming, gardening, planning (seriously), and watching football.

Some of these were natural interests of mine.  I have watched football my entire life.  Some of these things you might not think of as a hobby, like listening to music.  Hobbies don't have to be something that requires you to leave the house or have extensive training or expensive equipment.  Sure, sky diving is a hobby, but not really practical for a lot of people.

Let's head to Google for options.  "list of hobbies" is what I searched.  Here is what came up:

Discover a Hobby
Not So Boring Life
Massive List of Hobbies
50 Low Cost Hobbies
Wikipedia List of Hobbies

Interesting ones I noted:

Candle Making
Amateur Radio
Flower Arranging
Wine Tasting
Kite Flying
Video Gaming
Coin Collecting
Pigeon Racing (this sounds hilarious)
Bird watching

Do any of these sound appealing to you?  What hobbies do you have?  How often do you do them?

You might decide to try something new and then decide you don't like it.  That's okay!  It just means that there is something else out there for you.  My favorite thing about hobbies is that I am always learning something new.  Hobbies are a good way to continue education and personal growth, and to keep our brains sharp.

Try to take time for one hobby this week.  Just one day, one hour.  Turn off all screens for one hour, and focus on yourself.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Whip Into Shape Wednesday: Link Love

If I'm being completely honest with you, I haven't been feeding my body great fuel lately.  I quit sugar for awhile, but I fell of that wagon.  I'm back on now, but just started.  I haven't been working out, or even doing yoga.  As I type this, my shoulders are hunched and I feel anxious.  I know my eating habits and exercise routine are to blame.

Because of that, I don't feel like I can share any "Whip Into Shape" tips right now without feeling like a hypocrite.  My goal for the next week is to get back to my plan of eating well and being more active, so that next week I can share what I do with you.

For now, I am going to share a few sources of inspiration for me.  But first, let me share some recent Google searches:

"cowboys star" - football season is here!  I changed my Facebook profile pic and cover page with the results of this search.

"how to address a board of directors" - back in the day, I would have said "Dear Sirs".  This is no longer acceptable, since women can surely sit on a Board.  The correct answer was, "Dear Board of Directors".  Simple!

"usb fob" - one of my son's teachers mentioned he had asked the school district for these for all of his classes.  They aren't very expensive, so we purchased them and donated them to him.

"loft lace hem cardigan" - all sold out, but it's beautiful.  I'm going to be looking for it on eBay.

What did you research today?

I follow all of the following blogs through Bloglovin, my favorite way to follow my blogs.

Pumps and Iron.  I love Nicole because she is SO real.  And funny.  She includes food posts in addition to her workouts.  I don't think you can do one without the other.  She also includes a few fashion posts!  Her workout posts really motivate me, and they are usually new things I have not tried yet, which keeps the workout interesting.

PaleOMG.  This blog is reversed from Pumps and Iron in that it discusses food first and then touches on some workouts.  And also fashion.  The recipes on this site are AH-mazing.  I want to eat this chicken salad through my computer monitor!  Not all of them are healthy, so you have to pick and choose.

I Quit Sugar. This blog is a good resource for info on sugar and recipes without sugar.  I will be spending a lot of time here while I get back to my no sugar lifestyle.  I will start with this article about sugar withdrawals.  Please remind me to not go back to sugar!  They also discuss how gluten free doesn't necessarily mean healthy.  Choose wisely!

Finally, My Yoga Blog.  Yoga is my go to activity for relaxation and anxiety relief.  This blog is full of great poses that don't intimidate me (a beginner).  But it also presents poses that challenge me.  It is important to challenge your body in yoga.

I hope you find something you like from this selection.  What have you been struggling with in your workouts and nutrition?  Let's get back to health together!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tidy Tuesday: Home Routine App

Yesterday, I mentioned a few of my favorite apps.  Today, I am going to tell you about an app that helps me keep my house tidy each day!  It is not free *sadface*, but worth the investment.  I want to be clear that this app is not sponsoring this post.  I paid for the app years ago, love it, and use it daily.

The app is called HomeRoutines. I don't even know where to start about why I love this so much.

First, you can login on your phone or on your computer.  I love this because I am much faster on the computer, so setting up my schedule was much easier to do on the computer than on my phone.

Second, this app is completely customized by you!  You can add and remove pre-existing tasks, as well as create your own.

Third, at the end of the day, you can look at a summary of everything you accomplished.  It feels so good at the end of a long day to acknowledge your own hard work!

Every morning at 7 a.m. I receive a notification for my Morning Routine.  I get one at night, too.  You can tell the app what time you want to receive your notifications, or turn them off.

When I open the app, I can see morning, evening, weekly, to dos, accomplishments, and today's focus.  I will start with Morning.

I press on the star to mark the item as completed.

Evening.  I have "Check Calendar" everywhere, because I do not want to miss a meeting or doctor's appointment.  Hobby could be my choice of another list of things I enjoy doing.  Make a separate list of your hobbies.  If you just see "hobbies", but don't really identify what those things are, then you will be more likely to skip that item.

Weekly (Towels are normally done later in the week, but we had a toilet overflow, so we did all of the towels right away.  Ew.)

Morning/Evening/Weekly Tasks remain the same, and the stars start over each day (or week).  I set these up and don't change them.

To Do.  I modify this once a month based on my Master Calendar.  I am updating the Master Calendar for 2016, and will definitely do a free printable giveaway later this year!

Today's Focus.  I use my Master Calendar to set up my Daily Zones.  Once these are in, they also remain fixed, unless there is a change in my schedule and I need to adjust it.

Finally, here are the Zones.  The best part about this is that you get to customize this for what works for you and your schedule!  Your Zones don't have to include the same tasks as mine.  You can make up your own cleaning schedule!

There is also a great timer feature.  I am a big fan of focusing on picking up for 15 minutes.  It is amazing what you can get done in that amount of time.

I would love to hear from you if you use this app.  How do you use it that is different from how I use it?  Or let me know if you use another app that is similar!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Monday Musings: My Favorite Apps

I love technology.  I love it so much that I have to train and retrain myself to put my phone away so that I can enjoy my family.  Eye contact and such.  We can talk about family time next week.  This week, I want to talk about apps!

I have an iPhone.  I'm an Apple fanatic.  Like, waiting in line for 8+ hours for an iPhone fanatic.  Following are my favorite apps (besides Facebook).  The best part is that they are all FREE!

Squareready.  Do you ever take an amazing photo on your phone, go to post it on Instagram, and realize you weren't in the "Square" frame on your phone?!?  #firstworldproblems  Fix it with Squareready.  This app will turn any size photo into a square.  It will have a white margin on the top/bottom or sides.  No more #instacrop .

Rain, Rain.  I need white noise when I sleep.  This app provides the sounds of different types of rain, nature, appliances, etc.  The one I use is called Summer Rain.

FMC.  This app helps you track your cycle.  This is fabulous, because I can warn my husband.  "Honey, I'm going to be cranky next week."  Haha!  No, seriously.

Pacifica.  Each day, I log my mood on Pacifica.  I also enter the activities for the day (sleep, eating, water, hobbies, etc.).  It is easy to see a pattern between not taking care of myself and my mood.  It also has a section for meditation, and a place to challenge yourself.  Example challenge for myself:  "Drive a different way home".  If you suffer from anxiety, you know that this simple task is definitely a challenge!  There is also a graph that tracks your days, so you can see a pattern of highs and lows.

Walmart.  If you don't know about their Savings Catcher, then you're missing out!  Read about it here, and start scanning your receipts!

Songza.  Whatever activity you are doing, Songza has the right music ready!  You can "favorite" the playlist titles you like.  You can give "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" to each song.  There are no ads interrupting your music flow, however, there are visual ads in the app.  They don't bother me.

I have one more favorite app.  Tune in tomorrow to find out which one it is!  Hint:  it helps me keep things "tidy"!!!