Monthly Archives: February 2014

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Simple Technique For Not Getting Overwhelmed

not to get overwhelmedWant to hear a little secret on how I thrive and not get overwhelmed?  It’s a simple, no smoke and mirrors trick that always works.

A little back story first because we all love a little story.  In college, in high school, in every job I’ve ever had I always get overwhelmed.  I over commit myself and run a million miles an hour to get things done at the last minute.  You might be thinking “why wait to the last minute?”  Well I didn’t do that on purpose.  It was a b product of having too much on my plate.

After the hundredth time I’ve made myself sick from exhaustion and from stress, I had enough.  It was time to make a big change in my life and what I put on my plate.  So, I learned the PAUSE. THINK. SAY NO. process.
for not getting overwhelmed
It’s beautiful.  Really, it is.  Plus it’s simple. When asked to take on a new project, meet up for dinner, agree to do one more thing all you do is pause, think it over and then more than likely say “no.”

Want a real life example?  Let’s say you are approached by a friend to speak at a local organization’s gathering next month.  You have a lot going on between your work, family, side projects, etc.  You do not really have the time to dedicate to preparing a presentation, plus you are not really passionate about the topic.  So, you enact the PAUSE. THINK. SAY NO. technique.

You tell your friend – let me think that over, check my calendar and get back with you.  Then after a few days or however long you need to mull it COMPLETELY over.  You call or email your friend and say, “I took a good look at everything I have going on the next few weeks and I unfortunately do not have the time to dedicate to a presentation.  I am thankful that you thought of me, but I just am unable to do this.”

See what you did?  You said no, but were polite about it.  No hurt feelings or friendships ruined and you do not have anything else to add to your plate.  It’s magical.

If you instantly say no to someone then they will think that you are blowing them off or just being rude.  So instead, take time to really think it over.  If you are passionate about the project, task, or whatever it may be then by thinking it over you can decide on a game plan to get it done. Everyone can be respectful of you asking for time to think their request over.  If the person is not reasonable and can’t give you time to mull it over, then you want to say no immediately!

Simple. Beautiful. Easy.

A Little Motivation for Your Wednesday


I have found a new role model, y’all.  Her name is Marie Forleo and I’m pretty much in awe of her awesomeness.  Her words hit home with me, she gives great advice, and gets to interview some of the most interesting people.

Sometimes you just need to hear it – point-blank to get it to click.

3 Easy Tips to Create a Savings Plan You Will Stick To

savings plan Am I right when I say that most of us wish we had more money saved up for those rainy days?  If you are like J and I then you are saving for a specific goal in mind, like a new car, vacation or in our case, a down payment on our first house.

With 2014 rocking and rolling it’s time to really get started on those resolutions that we set, right?  If you’re like me, some of my resolutions involved saving more money.  I dreamed big and I want to make sure that I reach my goals.  Here are some tips to get off on the right foot and to make sure you create a savings plan you will stick to:

1) Set the magic number. Don’t be overzealous and chose a monthly savings amount that is half your take home pay.  Make sure that you can survive, comfortably if you are setting back an amount each month.  Take a look at your monthly bills and expenses to see where your money is going.  Then decide, as a team what amount can be put into savings.  If you find yourself wishing to put more aside each month then take a good hard look at your discretionary spending like eating out and see what you can cut down.

2) Pick where the money is going to go.  This might sound strange, but it’s important to know where your savings is going to go, as in – which account will the money be housed in.  There are many different options out there, but the key point is that you do not want it easily accessible.  With that said, you want to be able to reach your money within a few business days in case of a real emergency, but you don’t want the ability to make a few simple clicks of the mouse and clean out your hard earned savings account.  What worked for us was having our account at a separate bank then our day-to-day checking account.  That way if we need money, we have to make the effort of going to the bank with our savings and make a withdraw.  That extra step keeps us reminded of what we are working towards.

3) Set the plan in motion.  The final step in setting up a savings plan is getting it started.  Once you come up with the amount and the place the money will be housed then the next step is to pick a start date.  If you are in between pay periods then it might be best to wait until the next payday.  That way you can start with clean slate and have a positive start.

Also, I have found that we have the best success when we pull out our money for savings as soon as we receive our paychecks.  That way the money is out of sight and we are left the amount of money that we have budgeted for.  It helps eliminate the temptation to over spend.

 

Happy Love Day

Valentine's Day

Sloppy Joe in a Bread Bowl

The thought of having a sloppy joe sandwich for dinner brings back some pretty happy memories.  I loved sloppy joes, sloppier the better in my book!  So when I saw this recipe on Pinterest before the super bowl and decided instantly that it had to be made.  I did make some revisions because I wanted it to be super-duper easy.

-1 lb. ground extra lean turkey meat
– 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
– 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
– 1 can sloppy joe mix
– 6 pretzel rolls
– 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
sloppy joe in a bread bowlAdd turkey, garlic salt, and onion powder to skillet.  Brown turkey meat until fully cooked.  Add can of sloppy joe mix and cook for about 7-10 minutes (or follow directions on can).  While sloppy joe mixture is simmering, cut rolls and hollow out center to make individual bowl.  Add turkey mixture to bread bowls and top with mozzarella cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 5-8 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Serve immediately.

These were ah-mazing!  I wish I would have taken a few more pictures, but I didn’t want to wait to eat these beauties.

A day in the life of me

a day in the life I always read these “day in the life of” posts and think it is so cool to peek into someone else’s life for a bit.  My day is not as glamourous as most other blogger’s because I have a full time job that I go to during the week, so that cuts into a lot of my time (It’s so annoying having to pay bills!).  Here is an average day for me.
a day in the life6:15 – J is up and ready to face the day.  He is such a morning person and I am not!  So I hang out in bed with the pups for a few minutes longer while he showers.  Once he is out of the shower I am up and headed downstairs to make him a smoothie for breakfast.

6:30 – J is out the door and I am headed back upstairs to start getting ready.  I wash my face, put on makeup and fix my hair all while jamming out to some hard rock taking dance breaks with Tiny.

7:00 – I am out of the bathroom and into the closet to get dressed.  I try to lay out my outfit the night before to save time, but there are those days that I hate everything in my closet so that takes up some time.

7:15 – Headed back downstairs to make myself a breakfast smoothie, pack my lunch, let the dogs outside and just relax for a bit.  I like to check my emails while watching reruns of Dog the Bounty Hunter in the morning.

7:50 – I am off to work.  The commute is never the same, no matter which way I take.  Sometimes it takes me 15 minutes and other times it takes me 30.  I just never know.

8:20 – Arrive at work and start the day.

5:15 – Leave work and head home.  Again, the commute is never the same but my average is about 15 minutes on the way home.

6:00 – Hit the gym or try to work out some at home.

7:15 – Start dinner with J.  I like to plan ahead and know what we are making so that everything is prepped and ready to go.

7:45 – Finish dinner and make our lunches for tomorrow.
a day in the life8:00 – Finally able to sit on the couch and relax for a bit.  I usually pull out my laptop and work on merelynne.com, some of my freelance projects, or brainstorm ideas.  I also like to watch TV with J for a bit.

9:00 – J heads to bed and I get the TV to myself.  I have a few shows that I love to watch at night or I set it to record so that I can catch up on them later.

11:00 – Head upstairs, shower, and finally hit the bed for sleep.

That’s it.  A typical day in the life of me.

Life Update

life update

Whoa holy makeup, batman. I had someone do my makeup for a big event a few months ago… Wow!

I thought it was time to fill you in on a little about my life.  You probably gathered from this post about quitting your job that I actually did quit my job that I had for over 5 years.  Fortunately, I found a new job in the field I want to be in.  My bosses are amazing and I am loving everything so far.

Maggie and Tiny are doing the same.  They are spoiled and would not know any other way to be.

J and I joined a local gym and have set the goal of going 3x a week.  Eventually we would like to bump that up, but for now 3x is good for us.

We also set the goal of cooking dinner at least 4x a week at home.  That will help us save some money, eat healthier, and just spend more time together.

My family has come up to visit a few times, which has been awesome.  I love my folks and getting to spend time with them is pretty much the best.

I started a new vlog series and am going to be sharing what I am thankful for each month.

I have a plan of making our breakfast each morning and so far I have been successful.  A homemade chocolate peanut butter smoothie for me and a vanilla banana smoothie for J.

We are closer to finishing one of our debts and then will be diving headfirst into paying the next one off.  We will achieve our goal of saving a down payment for our first house!

Now for some sad news… well actually it’s not that sad.  I’ve decided that I cannot keep up my blogging schedule, which explains why my blog has been pretty quiet lately.  I typically post on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.  It is just too much.  So for now I am going to post 2-3 times per week.  I am going to aim for Monday, Wednesday and Friday but give myself Monday off if needed.  I do not need to stress about not being able to post and I think that will help the quality of my posts too.  If you have serious complaints about my new schedule, please let me know. 🙂

20 Ways to Declutter and Clean Up Your Life

ways to declutter
Now with the new year fully rolling it’s time to get a handle on things, don’t you think?  I was sitting here just thinking how I function so much better when my house is clean.  I do not know about you, but every once in awhile the mood to deep clean sets in; and I feel like nothing in my life is going right until I get my house in order.

There are things you can do so that life does not pile up and you can keep everything smooth sailing.

1) When the mood strikes to clean stick the rule of 5.  In every room get rid of 5 items.  Throw away old magazines, remove items that do not belong in that room, or get rid of something that you haven’t used in ages.

2) File as you go.  Get a bill in the mail, then file it immediately.  Do not let bills and other important documents pile up on your table.  Go ahead and put them in their proper place when you get them.
Ways to De-Clutter 3) When cleaning your bedroom, always make the bed first.  It will look like a huge improvement and act as a shelf as you tidy up.

4) Go through your closet at least 4 times a year to get rid of clothes you no longer wear.  You can create a donation box in the basement or garage, but by cleaning it out multiple times a year you will keep the closet looking neater and be doing a good thing.

5) Fold your bed sheets together and then place them in a matching pillowcase.  Your sheet sets will be together and your linen closet will look so much nicer.  That way when your parents are visiting and need a towel you won’t be embarrassed.

6) Open your mail next to the trash can.  That way any unwanted pieces go straight to the trash and not onto your countertops.

7) Use plastic boxes, cubes, and other gathering places to organize.  Sure you may need all of those office supplies, but after awhile they start looking bad on top of your desk.  Use a coordinating canvas cube to gather all of your items then slide onto a bookshelf.

8) Do one small task a day so that it does not get overwhelming.  Sweep the kitchen floor one day a week, vacuum another, straighten up yet another day.  By dividing tasks to separate days you can conquer a lot easier.

9) Keep a jar on top of the dresser and where you place your keys to collect loose change.  If you are prone to carrying change in your pockets then having a collection spot where you come and where you get dressed helps from loose changing being all over the place.

10) upgrade to a universal remote.  You may have a remote for the TV, the DVD player, the surround sound, and even your cable box.  That’s a lot of remotes so get rid of the clutter by upgrading to one do-it-all remote.

11) Clean out the medicine cabinet. You may have duplicate boxes of the same, exact medicine or you may expired meds that need to be tossed.

12) Clean out the fridge once a week.  Trash old leftovers or the food that no one is planning on eating.  Check expiration dates and toss the ones that have gone bad.
Ways to DeClutter13) Be honest about those craft projects.  Have any unfinished projects laying around?  Well it’s time to be honest with yourself – are you ever going to get them done?  If the answer is no, toss and if the answer is yes, set a specific completion date.

14) When your donate box is full, take it to the car.  That way it is out of the house and easier for you to drop off.

15) Do the dishes each night.  Nothing feels better than coming into a clean kitchen each morning.

16) Set the timer for 10 minutes every other day to walk through the house to find items that are in the wrong place, no longer wanted, or old and needs to be trashed.

17) Take the trash out the moment the can is full and on your way grab the trash for bathrooms and bedrooms.

18) Wipe down the bathroom counter after brushing your teeth before bed.

19) Concentrate on one area at a time.  It’s easy to get side tracked by a different room, especially when you are putting things away.  Stay on the task at hand and finish one specific area.

20) Remember what is important.  Don’t toss items that hold a special place in your heart.  Just make sure that you find a special place for them.

Talking To Your Boss About Leaving Your Job :: My Experience

leaving your job If you read my last post about knowing when it was time to leave a job then you know what decision I made.  I have been with this company for over 5 years and have worked my way up from a part-time receptionist to full-time office manager and bookkeeper and then came full circle to a full-time paralegal.  I had signs that showed me this job wasn’t the one for me, but when I realized that then I also knew it was time to talk to my boss.

It’s hard to sit down with someone that you’ve gotten to know over the past few years to have a hard discussion with.  Luckily for me, I can have a pretty open conversation with my boss and walk away feeling that it was productive.  Here’s how I went about talking to my boss about wanting to leave:

1) start the dialogue and letting him know that you want to talk.
2) be honest with how you are currently feeling.  Some may say that the workplace is not the place for feelings, but when you know someone for over 5 years and he’s seen a lot from you then it’s okay.
3) do not back down from what you want.
4) tell him the issues you are having – some may be personal and some may be the office procedures.
5) be flexible about leaving.

For me, there were some cases that we needed to finish up.  Yes, I could have left him without any help, but that wouldn’t have been very nice.  Plus, he’s been there for me in the past and the least I could do was be there.  I sat down and had this conversation about a month before wanting to leave.  That way we both had a specific date in mind and the chance to wind up some cases.

It’s never easy to start a new chapter in your life, but sometimes it’s a necessity.  Do not let being miserable at your job make you an unhappy person.  Life is too short to be angry and sad.  Only you have the ability to make change happen.

If you dream of having a different life or a different career then realize that you might be standing in our own way.  I had so many supportive people around me telling me it was okay to make a switch, but I had to finally believe it to make it happen.