Monthly Archives: June 2015

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Why I’m Against Receiving Lines At Weddings

Why I didn't do a receiving line at our

Have you ever been to a date to a wedding where you didn’t know the bridal party?  Then have to stand through the awkward receiving line, contemplating what to say, should you hug them, shake their hand, or just do nothing?  I have.  It was uncomfortable.

I went to a wedding years ago with a receiving line immediately following the ceremony.  I instantly started searching for an escape route so I could fake needing to use the bathroom just to avoid the receiving line.  Unfortunately the only way to get out of the chapel was to go through the receiving line.  I was someone’s date.  I didn’t know the bride or groom and I had never met anyone in their wedding party. To say it was uncomfortable would be an understatement.  I was miserable.  Awkward.

Let’s be honest, the bride and groom have way too much on their mind to even try to remember some random girl’s name.  So my date was trying to be nice and he introduced me… they didn’t care, I didn’t care and it was one of those moments that seemed to last forever.  Then I had to meet all of the bridesmaids, groomsmen and family.  I survived, but barely.  I swore when the day came for me to get married that I would skip the receiving line.

There were only a few wedding traditions that J and I rebelled against.  Honestly I like traditions and wanted to follow as many as we could, even if it meant having to shuffle plans around.  J and I talked about everything we wanted our wedding to be about and that’s what we worked for.  It was a fun day with our families and friends.  We spent the evening laughing, dancing and singing along to our favorite songs.  We even had our share of the unexpected, like when a homeless man tried to steal and then sell my wedding planner’s phone or when a family friend stole my entrance after the gates were closed.  It was funny and made the day even more special, in my opinion.

We tried hard to follow as many traditions as we could, like….

We didn’t see each other before I walked down the isle.  I wore something new, something old, something borrowed and something blue.  We shared our first dance.  We did the garter and bouquet toss.

There were a few things that we didn’t follow tradition on….

We didn’t have a ring bearer or flower girl.  We didn’t walk down the aisle to the traditional wedding march.  And the one tradition that I was dead set on not doing was a receiving line.

Traditionally it was a time for the bride and groom to thank everyone that came to the wedding.  With changing times, there are so many other ways to do that.  At our wedding we had a short thank you note printed and placed at each table setting.  J and I also went around to every table right after dinner was served to say something to each person.  Doing it while everyone was eating was a perfect time.  Everyone was in their seats, music wasn’t too loud and because everyone was eating it was pretty quite in the room so we weren’t shouting.  We also divided and conquered.  We tried to hit every table, but we split it up and started on opposite ends of the room to make sure at least one of us went to all of the tables.

It was perfect.

Now when I go to a wedding and they have a receiving line, I secretly cringe.  I flashback to that awkward moment years ago, my palms start getting sweaty and my mouth goes dry.

Not every tradition is perfect for each couple.  You have to pick and choose what’s important to you as a couple.  What traditions were/are important to you?

 

It’s Okay To Change Your Mind

merelynne, meredith rines

We’re human after all.  We’re allowed to change our mind and our goals.  With no explanation.  Recently a blogger I follow decided to start selling a supplement line.  The criticism she received was ridiculous.  It actually made me sad.  As bloggers we put ourselves out there.  We understand we will be judged for some of our decisions.  We will have people support us or turn their backs.  We get that.  We accept it.

But what we should not accept is the cruelty people give off.  As humans we should be kind.  As women we should empower one another, not cut each other down.

I have one thing to say to those who want to criticize others or criticize me for that matter –

It’s okay to do whatever the hell you want with your life.  If you want to change your mind then you have every right to do so.

Who are we to judge one another?  Why do we feel the need to cut someone down or ruin their day?  What does that do for us?

I realize being a blogger makes you open to hear other’s opinions – good or bad.  I’m all for it.  I really don’t mind hearing what someone else has to say, but I want it to be constructive.  If you don’t like something I’m doing or a change a blogger is making then offer a suggestion.  If you have the balls to tear someone a new one then you better have the guts to offer a solution.

Let’s be honest, I’m not the same woman I was when I started this blog years ago.  The blog has changed directions, I’ve changed and I’m proud of those changes.  I don’t want to be standing in the same spot all of my life.  Standing still can be boring.  I want to grow, learn more and experience life.

I would hope other bloggers and readers feel the same way.

Let’s support one another, not try to hurt each other.

 

Another One Bites The Dust {Celebrating Paying Down Debt}

paying off debt

The moment you send off the final payment is a great feeling.  This past week J and I were able to cross off another debt on our snowball list.

How do you celebrate paying off bills?

It’s hard to celebrate without spending money, just like when you have reach a weight loss goal it’s hard to celebrate without food.  I have my handy “Soon-To-Be Debt Free” booklet I’m using from One Beautiful Home Blog.  I talked about it in this post.  I started highlighting the debts we pay off and writing the date off to the side.  The booklet has a section to put the goal to have your debt paid off and the game I like to play is to beat that goal.  It’s just like the same goal I play with the GPS – try to shave as much time off your estimated arrival time without driving like a crazy person!

This time we beat our goal by one month!  That got my wheels turning about paying off our next goal a month early and then the next debt a month early.  That makes me happy.

Here’s how we celebrate paying off a debt:

Talk about it.  It’s okay to be excited with one another.  It’s a big accomplishment digging yourself out of debt.  Don’t just act like it’s another day.  This is monumental!

Start on the next one.  Keep the momentum going.  I was able to go ahead and apply a little extra to the next bill on the list.  Thanks to the payoff amount not being as high as we were putting towards the debt each month.  I took the difference and paid it towards our next debt.

Cross it off on the list. I get no greater satisfaction then crossing something off my list.  I’ve been known to add a completed task to my list JUST so I can cross it off.  Sad, I know!  But it makes you feel accomplished.  We used to have a list hanging on our fridge with each debt (no totals).  Each time we would knock off one, we would cross it off.  It was something we could look at it.  We’ve since removed it from our fridge because we didn’t like having it open for friends to see, but we still keep a list to cross off.  It’s with our monthly budget.

How do you celebrate paying off another debt without spending money?  I’d love to know!

5 Habits to Become More Organized

Business owners, household leaders and those who are generally busy from day-to-day need to stay on top of their to-do lists.  Women offer wear many hats through out the week – boss, employee, wife, mother, sister, daughter, grocery buyer, dinner maker, house cleaner, driver, etc.   So how do these wonder women stay on their A-game?  They stay organized.

5 habits to become more organized

You have to build good and consistent habits to stay organized.  Organization doesn’t come naturally to most people.  Over the years, we develop systems to help.  Here are my top 5 habits to become more organized and stay organized!

1. Organize your mornings.

Before you go to bed, look at your day ahead.  Make sure you’re ready for what’s coming at you.  Lay out your clothes, plan a filling breakfast and make sure your everything your kids will need is ready for an easy morning.  Wake up early so you can have a little downtime before the day begins.  Make your bed.  It’s crazy how the simple task of making your bed can help your whole day get off on the right foot.

2. Organize your time.

Know where you’re spending your time throughout they day.  Time is valuable, so don’t waste it.  Organizing your time will you give more freedom to do the things you enjoy doing.  Map out your day from beginning to end.  It will help you not to feel stressed or forget to get something done.

3. Organize what is important to you.

Make what you enjoy doing a priority.  Ensure anything that’s important to you is mapped out on your calendar.  Whether it is going to the gym, attending every single soccer your game your little girl is playing in, or anything else.  You need to identify what’s important to you and then make it a priority.

4.  Organize your home.

You can waste a lot of time for searching for your car keys every morning.  So have a spot for everything and put everything in it’s place.  It will cut down on time and stress.

5.  Organize your work.

Keep a daily to-do list of at least three things you need to get done.  That way you won’t overwhelm yourself and you can stay focused on what’s needed for the day.  Before you leave for the day write down your top three for tomorrow.

Giving Your Money Purpose

Giving Your Money Purpose

No matter your personality type there is one thing you need to do with your money.  Give it purpose.

I am very much a Type A control freak.  I have my budget that I update at least once a week, a check register that I can access from anywhere, and a to-do list to go with every facet of my life.

I have friends that are complete opposite of me.  They are free spirits who go with the flow.  They don’t really think too much about next week or having a plan for the weekend, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to have financial freedom.

This one piece of advice fits every personality out there and can really help you become successful:

Give every dollar a job.  Giving your money a task is one of the most important money decisions you can make.

Of course, I’m bringing back the budget topic.  I know budget is everyone’s least favorite B-word, but it’s too important to push under the rug.  A budget assigns each dollar a purpose.

There is something you should know about having financial decisions – you have to tell your money what you want it to do.  Don’t let money control you.  

Creating a budget that works for you doesn’t have to take a lot of time, but you have to be realistic with yourself.  The reason people assume budgets fail and why they do actually fail is because people have unrealistic expectations.  It’s one thing to write down your income and expenses and guesstimate the amounts, but it’s a whole other beast when you have to live by it.

In your budget you need to be honest with yourself and what’s important to you.  If going to Starbucks is a priority then create a category called “Starbucks.”  If eating out is important to you then make sure to have that category.  It’s your money and you can spend it anyway you want.  However, you need to make sure all of your necessities are covered first.  Rent, utilities, food, car payment, insurance, etc.  I also recommend forcing yourself to save for a rainy day.  By having an emergency fund available when something unexpected comes up then you don’t have to sacrifice something you love.  It worked great for J and I when we woke up to our fridge not working.

Have you ever heard of a balance sheet?  A lot of businesses use a balance sheet to see how they are doing.  It compares their assets and liabilities.  I’m a big fan of personal balance sheets, it’s where income and expenses balance out.  You list your assets, income, debts, and payments.  That’s what you need to be doing with your budget – listing everything out.

Your income and your expenses need to balance at the end of each month.  When you’re creating your budget, make sure every single dollar is assigned to a category.  So if you have $1,000 coming in every two weeks then in your budget you need to assign ever single dollar bill to an area.  That means you need to have $1,000 going out – utilities, emergency fund, savings, rent, groceries, etc.

Spend your money on paper before actually spending it.

By sitting down and setting specific amounts you are going to be a step ahead in your finances.  You will be able to actively make decisions involving your money instead of letting things happen to you.  Money may be tight, you might be living paycheck to paycheck, but your finances should not send you into a panic attack.  Remember, giving your money purpose will help you make smart financial decisions.

For more budgeting tips and how-to advice, click here.

 

My Go-To Healthy Snacks

The idea of only eating three meals a day – breakfast, lunch and dinner – just doesn’t work for me.  It never has.  You see, I get hangry (hungry – angry) when I don’t eat a few times throughout the day.  So I’ve learned to adapt with small snacks in between meals.  I have a few favorites that really fit in with the IIFYM (flexible dieting) that I’ve been following lately.  It can be hard to find snacks that fit your macros while not throwing off your whole day.

Plus, I’m either on the go or in my office most days.  I need snacks that are easily portable.

5 Go-To Healthy Snacks

Here are my go-to healthy snacks:

Water – usually when you start feeling hungry (or at least when I do) it’s because you’re thirsty.  So always start with a big glass of water.

Cottage cheese – I buy the 2% with less sodium

Reduced fat Sargento cheese sticks

Pistachios

5 Go-To Healthy Snacks

Protein shakes – I’m loving Labrada lean body for her meal replacement shakes in chocolate ice cream

Avocado chicken salad – I make it as a dip with carrots or bell peppers

Nuts N More peanut butters – put those on some apples or even just stick a tablespoon in the jar to eat by itself

Skinny Pop is one of my favorite snacks because it doesn’t have to be refrigerated

apple cinnamon smoothie

Smoothies made with spinach, protein powder, Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, and usually some peanut butter for good measure

Broccoli – I can eat my broccoli without any dip, but if I really want some then I usually take some Greek yogurt and mix in some ranch flavoring

Edamame

Tyson’s ready and grilled chicken strips that just have to be heated up

protein pancakes

Protein pancakes – I make some in the morning and then take them with me.  They don’t have to be warm to eat and plus you can spread some peanut butter on top right before you eat (are you seeing a trend with peanut butter?)

Protein Mix – I kind of made that name up, but I take some Greek yogurt and mix in 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder.  I even had mini chocolate chips, peanut butter (surprise!), and even coconut to it sometimes.

Quest bars are perfect on the go

Healthy Breakfast Bar Recipe

Breakfast muffins – I usually whip up a batch of these on Sunday night and grab a few before leaving the house each morning

These are just a few healthy snacks that I love.  You can probably tell from my list that I don’t eat whole lot of fruit.  It’s sad, but true.  I have a weird texture issue with most fruits, so I usually have to put them in my smoothies.  I’ve also been known to mix in some frozen strawberries or bananas into my protein shakes for an added boost.