Category Archives: Inspirational

It’s Okay To Not Have It All Together

it's okay to not have it all together

Oh Instagram how you fool me… Every. Single. Day. With your picture-perfect images of well-behaved children, perfectly dressed moms and women who actually have time to make it to the gym. But that’s just an illusion. Because I can craft a well-lit, no mess picture with the best of them. However, I’m not afraid to show it how it truly is.

A kid up most of the night crying because his teeth hurt. Dogs that bark every time there is a noise in the house that then wakes everyone up. A kitchen that’s clean for about 5 minutes a week. A family room with toys everywhere. Two parents chasing a boy around so he doesn’t try to pick up the never ending tumbleweeds of dog hair or put his hands in their water bowl.

Because no matter how often I sweep, vacuum and steam clean there is still going to be dog hair everywhere. It’s just how our life is. I roll with it.

I wish more people were real online. It would be great to know I’m not only one out there with less than perfect moments. Like not that long ago when Baby Boy was sick. I kept him home for 4 days one week since he was so sick. He was having tummy issues because of the antibiotics he was on, so you can just imagine the lovely messes I was having to deal with.  One afternoon he gave me a doozy, when I finally got him changed into a new diaper and clean clothes, I gently placed him in his crib so I could turn my attention to the disgusting changing pad. I had barely stripped off the cover when Baby Boy started coughing. I turn just in time to see him projectile vomit over everything. Like everything. He got the crib, the wall, himself, the sheets, his toy.

Gross. Of course I was home alone so no calling out for help on this one. I took a towel patted him dry then had to quickly finish cleaning the changing area. Then it was time for a new sleeper (luckily there was one clean one left in the drawer because I was desperately needing to do laundry). Placed him in the floor, stripped the bed (thank God for waterproof mattress covers, am I right?!), and put new sheets on. Then had to completely wipe down his crib and the wall.  Ugh.

It was a workout. I was sweating by the time it was all done.

sleep training your baby, getting your baby to sleep through the night

But of course I didn’t post that… I mean, I probably would have if there wasn’t poop on my phone from the earlier incident. But I did get this cute shot of him earlier that day while he was fighting his naptime. I mean look at this face. Who knew that in just a few short hours he was going to destroy his bedroom so quickly!

I know I’m not the only Mom who faces these struggles. Days where you feel like you’re running in circles. Days where you just can’t seem to get ahead. I can’t be the only one. Please tell me I’m not!

mom life

mom life

I’m not afraid to show it how it is on Instagram.  I’ve been known to show a cute month photo, but then turn around and show how the room actually looked.  It’s usually not very pretty.  Or share my desk at the office and how baby wearing is the only way I can get anything done.

I wish there were more Moms keeping it real online. Blogging and Instagram shouldn’t just be the pretty moments, but all moments. That’s what makes us so relatable, right?

10 Habits To Better Your Life

10 habits for a better life

Better habits = better life?  Perhaps.  But I’m a firm believer that small steps towards your goals is better than waiting for something to happen to you.  You’re more likely to work hard and save your money then you are to hit the jackpot in the lottery, right?  So develop small habits that are going to get you the results you want.  You can just daydream of the perfect body, you have to work for it.  You have to eat right, work out regularly and be disciplined.  By regularly choosing a lean protein and veggies over pasta you’re creating a habit to better your health.  By developing a good habit now then you can continue to work on your goals without having to focus on the small stuff – it will come natural to you.

I’m working on developing 10 habits to better your life, you should join me:

habits to better your life

Choose family.

Considering your family – spouse, children in any decision is vital.  You need to strengthen those relationships on a daily basis.  Letting those around you know how much you care about them and need them is the most important.  Think about you as a team.  You and your team have certain goals, needs and wants.  By treating your family as one unit then you all move forward together and can stay on the same page during big life decisions – like moving, changing jobs, big financial purchases, parenthood, etc.

Before any big decision I like to think about my family.  “Is this the best choice for them?”  “Will this help us reach our long-term goals?”  Make your family a priority.  You should put your spouse and your children before your job and before other commitments.  It’s easy to say to put your family first, but it’s a lot harder.  When you get caught up in projects, presentations, and other events it can be easy to let a few things slip.  Remember why you’re working so hard, why you put in those long hours – it’s to better yourself and your family.  To help your kids do more than you were able to do, but don’t forget that your family needs to be a unit.

habits for a better life

Plan your days.

I make fun of J all the time for being the man with the plan, but he’s right.  Now, I don’t want to go overboard with the planning.  I like to have a little bit of adventure in my days or my trips, but I do like knowing where I need to be and what time I need to get there.  I like having my planner updated with appointments, a daily task list for work and home, and a to-do list of things I’d like to get done.  I usually rotate items off my to-do list and onto my daily task list when I’m ready.

When you plan your days, you’ll be able to do more and be more dependable.  You won’t have unexpected pop-ups happen that prevent your from keeping appointments.  Usually before I put anything on my planner, I check my planner.  It’s a simple concept.  Make sure you’re actually available the day and time you’re being asked to do something.  That way you’re able to keep your appointments, be on time and make a good impression.

how to spend your tax refund

Manage your money

Successful people know how to work their finances.  They know how to budget their money and are working towards their financial goals.  Most of our spending habits are automatic.  We have to mindfully manage our money and change our habits.  You need to find out what works best for you and your family.  J and I use a cash envelope system for our groceries and eating out.  Mainly because those are two areas we used to unintentionally overspend in.  By using cash, we can’t overspend.  Once the green stuff is gone, we can no longer spend.

Make it a habit to review your bank account along with your budget on a weekly basis.  By creating a habit to check-in to your finances then you’ll know where you stand.  Make sure you keep track of your spending, too.  I like to use Google Sheets to track our spending.  I can access it from anywhere and can know just how we’re doing.  I also compare our register to our online bank statement every few days.  It takes about 5 minutes each time, but it reassures me that all of our bills are being paid and we don’t have anything unexpected coming out of our account.

Setup a savings account.  J and I have two separate savings accounts.  One for our emergency fund and the second one is for our irregular payments, like property taxes, home insurance, etc.  That way we can budget for it on a monthly basis and have it ready when the bills come due.

5 habits to better your life

Stay hydrated.

Letting yourself get dehydrated can have a negative effect on yourself.  You get tired, feel hungry, can get headaches and even get yourself sick.  You can feel hungry even when you don’t need food.  Typically when you think you’re hungry you make poor, unhealthy decisions.  So make sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day to keep you on track.  I usually have a glass on my desk that I try to drink every few hours and then refill it.

There are so many benefits to drinking more water – more energy, better skin, etc. Did you know when you first wake up each morning your usually a little dehydrated?   It’s true.  You should make it a habit to drink a full glass of water first thing each morning.  It will rehydrate you and get your day off on the right foot.

Small habits throughout each day will help your mind stay clear and sharp.

Rest.

It’s true that sometimes all our minds and bodies need is a little bit R&R.  If we let ourselves get run down then we tend to get sick more often.  We are no good to anyone, including our family.  Make it a habit to let yourself unwind and put yourself first sometimes.

Rest doesn’t have to be literally sleeping.  It can come in many forms, like reconnecting with a friend, a bubble bath, being alone, or spending time doing something you enjoy.  Find something that makes you happy and be sure yo allow yourself the chance to do it.

Say “no” more often.

In a world of instant gratification and constant yes, it’s okay to say no.  You have to prioritize what’s important to you and what you want to spend your time on.  So if something comes up and it’s not something that will better one of your goals then say no.  The world won’t end if you pass on a get together, another project, or commitment.  By knowing where you want to spend your time then you’ll better be able to say yes only when you actually want to.

Make it a habit to say no more often.  Try not to overcommit yourself during the day so you can focus on what you really love.  If you can’t say no to a project at work, which is totally understandable, then perhaps you have a team that you can use.  Get others involved so you can share the workload and make it less stressful.

habits for a healthier life

Eat right.

It’s true that you can really feel better just by cutting junk out of your diet.  Now, I’m not one for extremes so I’m not suggesting completely cutting out foods you love.  I’m just all in favor of moderation.  If someone told me that I couldn’t eat ice cream anymore then I’d probably pass out of shock.  That just won’t do.

If you don’t enjoy the food and it doesn’t reap much benefit, then there isn’t a need to eat it.  Find recipes that you can cook together as a family and make if fun.  Make a habit out of spending time together, not just eating dinner, but also preparing it.  When I was little, my role was washing the veggies and potatoes so my older sister could finish preparing them.  My mom was very good at putting us to work.  I’m sure when we were younger we actually caused more work for her, but she was always good about making us feel like were apart of something.

Don’t be too strict with yourself or your family.  Allow some yummy tasting treats in moderation.  You’ll have long-term success when you don’t deprive yourself.  Your mind will feel clearer, you’ll have more energy and will get sick less with a healthy diet.

5 habits to better yourself

Get up early.

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a morning person.  I prefer to sleep in until my natural alarm clock wakes me up.  I don’t want to hear any buzzing, barking, or any noise.  I know I’m not alone here, right?  Who’s with me?  But we have to realize that we cannot be successful starting each day at 10am.  It just doesn’t work.

You need to wake up and give yourself time to adjust each morning.  As we get older, the less we’re able to set the alarm for 15 minutes before we need to walk out the door.  We need to time to wake up our body and our mind, we need coffee, water (make sure we’re hydrating ourselves!), food, time to get dressed, shower, etc.

Make sure you’re waking up about the same time each morning, including the weekends.  We have our dogs as our weekend alarm clocks.  Like clock work each morning, the pups are up at 6am.  Our body needs to get into a habit of waking up at the same time.  That way we have the right amount of time to allow ourselves to gently wake up and get ready.  It’s best to start your day off with no stress and a little consistency.

You also should go to bed at the same time each night too.  Creating habits for yourself to get up earlier can really help you be more successful.  If you’re tired then go to bed earlier, don’t push yourself too far.

habits to better your life

Be organized.

Keeping your house and your workspace clean can make you less stressed.  You’ll feel better just putting away your shoes, making your bed, and cleaning off your desk each day.  My mom had this saying when I was growing up and it got burned into my brain, “keep your work area neat and clean.”  One thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is that she was right.  But please, please don’t tell her that.

You don’t have to spend hours each night tidying up, but a few minutes through out the day will really make a difference.  Before going to bed do a quick sweep through the main rooms to make sure blankets are folded, shoes are put away and the dishes are taken care of.  Try to get the whole house involved – everyone gets a task.  You can take care of the dishes, husband takes care of the family room and the kids put away their toys before bed.  Making it a family effort can really help the pressure from building up because you won’t feel like it’s all your responsibility.  Here are 5 tips to become more organized that can make a huge difference.

Make time for yourself.

This one kind of goes with the rest section, but it’s very important.  You must have so many different things pulling at us every day – kids, work, home, other family commitments, committees, etc. You name it and you probably have to face it.  You probably have a tendency to put everything and everyone else ahead of your own needs.  It’s okay to make time for yourself.

You have to find something that you’re passionate about or something helps you recharge your batteries.  It doesn’t have to be daily or even weekly, but you need to allow yourself some downtime.  You’ll be able to focus on what’s really important and give gratitude to your blessings.  A great habit to develop that can change your attitude for the better is giving gratitude.

Having time to reflect and show appreciation for the great things in your life can really positively affect you.  Making a habit to remember why you’re blessed can be beneficial for your soul.  It can be as simple as making yourself your favorite meal, taking a long bubble bath, having time to read a new novel, or just being alone.  Find something that gives you a chance to be thankful and hold onto it.

These habits don’t have to be too complicated, but they’ll take thought at the beginning.  It takes 21 days to change or make a new habit.  So give yourself three weeks.  Also, don’t try to make too many changes at once.  It can be overwhelming and you can get discouraged.  Keep yourself positive and remember why you are trying to create new, healthy habits.

Turning a Dream into a Success

inspirational quotes, motivation, business success

 

While browsing my Instagram feed I came across a similar idea.  I loved it.  Like a lot.  Some of the wording wasn’t quite me, so I had to make some adjustments.  Then I had to make it pretty… because, well, that’s just me.

I love the thought behind it – how to turn a dream into a success.  You have to think, plan, and then take action.  Trying once isn’t going to do anything for you.  You have to keep trying and trying, then you will get it.  Turning a dream into a success takes time, but we’re willing to put in the hours.

So here’s to all of us out there who are busting our butts, working hard, putting in long hours for success.  Cheers!

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.

 

Progress is better than Perfection

progress is better  than perfection!

A good friend of mine was struggling the other day and I said one simple statement that put it all in perspective.

Progress is better than perfection.

It’s true.  When you’re working towards a goal – any goal, you have to keep moving forward.  Just because you haven’t lost your goal weight, haven’t been able to fully quit smoking, aren’t lifting as much as you wanted to by now, or haven’t been successful at keeping a cleaner house doesn’t mean you’re a failure.

You cannot wait for the stars to align and your actions to be perfect before taking action.  You have to keep pushing yourself.  One slip-up doesn’t mean you will never reach your goal.  It means you’re human.

Remember that progress is better than perfection on those rough days when you don’t feel like you’re ever going to get there.  You will.

You have to keep hustling.

My boss a few years ago really taught me about progress, not perfection.  That was his motto.  He wouldn’t wait until his idea was 100% perfect before introducing it the market.  He would create small, poorly edited videos to share with clients online.  He wanted to get his thoughts, his ideas and his services out first before anyone else in the area.  And you know what?  His business blossomed.  He really showed me that striving for progress will give you more success than waiting for perfection.

I learned a lot from him, but that has to be my favorite lesson.  I have carried it with me over the years.  I have applied it to my professional life, my home life and even when setting my personal goals.

When you start doubting yourself and far you’ve come, remember one thing:

Progress is better than perfection.

 

Challenge Yourself

challenge yourself

I just want to leave you with one simple thought today:

If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.

#truth.

Sometimes taking risks can be scary.  If you aren’t sure of the outcome then you don’t know when to take that leap of faith.  But I want to tell you that taking a jump into the unknown can be the most rewarding thing you ever do.

Do something everyday that scares you.  You will become a stronger, smarter, and better person for it.

To grow muscle, you must challenge your muscles to break and split.  When they break, they grow back in greater number and stronger than before.

Your brain, your body, your heart, and your soul needs to be challenged to become stronger.

Challenge yourself, daily.  

Those Feelings of Being Inadequate

insecurities

I try to fight it, but sometimes those feelings of not being good enough creep in.  I’m a pretty logical person, so I rationalize that those feelings are just in my head.  But I still don’t fully believe it.  My heart tells me that I’m just not good enough.  I am my own worst critic.

I have a husband that supports me and is proud of me.  He cheers me on my fitness journey each and every time I set a new benchmark.  He understands those moments when all I want is a bowl of ice cream and I would do anything to get that bowl.  He supports me in everything I try to do.  He’s a great man.

But…I always think I should be further, look more like an athlete, eat better, blah, blah, blah then I do.

I see pictures of myself and my first thoughts are always “why did you stand like that?  Look at your arms!”  or “does everyone else notice your double chin?  It’s so bad!”  I’ve always been like this.  In college I did the chicken wing stance in almost every single picture.  You know the one I’m talking about.  You stand with your hand on your hip with your elbow bent.  That way your arm isn’t pressed against your body so your upper arm looks smaller.  I was constantly hiding my arms.  Even when I was 40 pounds lighter than I am right now… I was still ashamed of my body.  I look back at those pictures and I’m sad that I let her beat herself up so much.  But here I am, still doing it to myself.

As an adult, I imagined all of these insecurities to be gone.  That I would finally accept my body and love the person I’ve become.  I’m a confident person when it comes to my work.  I know how to do my job and I’m willing to learn the parts I don’t know.  I’m okay with not being an expert yet. I’ve accepted that so why do I beat myself up on my body and my food choices?  I started crossfit months ago (for the 2nd time) and I’ve noticed changes in my body.  I love those changes… my waist shrinking, my arms getting stronger and my thighs getting bigger.  Most people wouldn’t love their thighs growing, but I do because it showcases my strength.  But then I let life get in the way and I miss a week.  I slip back into old habits and my progress stalls.

When my progress stops I start doubting my worth.  Why?  I don’t know.  How do I stop it?  I don’t know that either.  I know that with my support team around me, I’m learning to not be as critical as I once was.  It’s still hard though, you know?  I have those days where nothing fits and I look at my Instagram feed to see these beautiful athletic women doing so much with their lives.  Here I am, sitting on the couch after missing a workout.

I’m not those women and I follow them for motivation – not to make myself feel bad about my choices.  I don’t know what’s going on in their lives.  They are posting the pictures they want us to see – the good ones.  Who knows when that picture was taken, it could have been days ago.  I’m still in awe of their accomplishments and I have faith that I will reach my goals, too.  One day I will be proud of my body – where it has been and where it’s going.  Right now, I’m learning to not let my insecurities get the best of me.  I’m trying to take each day as it comes and know that I am better off then where I was a year ago.

It’s funny to me how supportive and strong I can be for the other women in my life – my friends, my sister and my mom; however, when it comes to me I’m the first to point out my flaws.  I need to take the advice I give to others and repeat it to myself.

Here’s one my favorite verses, “Do your best, prepare for the worst – then trust God to bring victory.” -Proverbs 21:31  Perhaps I can use this as a guide – workout, eat better, be kind to yourself and then trust in God.  

here's to strong women

How to Find Your Dream in 10 Minutes

how to find your dream

This post isn’t for the girls (and guys) that skate by in life. This is for the ones that put themselves out there every single day. The ones that want need more out of life. I want talk to the dreamers and the up-all-nighters. The small business owners that have a 8-5 career. The ones that spend more than 40 hours a week on their passions.

Let’s be real for a second, can we? With today’s world things better be quick. We no longer like to wait in line at the coffee shop (did we ever LIKE to wait?). Wait for someone to respond to our text message. Have an email sit out in limbo while someone is out to lunch. We want answers and we want them now. We no longer think it’s acceptable to spend a lifetime working towards a goal only to get there and realize it’s not what we want. We need to be quick, follow our dreams and be willing to shift gears when the time is right.

Over the New Year I shared my goals with you, but I also shared how I would allow myself to change those goals if my priorities change. I think it’s important to allow some wiggle room with yourself. I’m not saying shifting your career every few months to something unrelated. I would never recommend that. I’m realistic and a planner, not crazy.

I do think people need to dream big. You need to reach for the stars then develop a plan to get there. You need to allow yourself a chance to make mistakes, change your direction and set sail again. You need to have a safety net to ensure you and your family will be okay. I also want to throw in about how you’re setting aside for your retirement (… start thinking of the future now!).

If you’re in a job that’s sucking the life out of you then you need to make plans, save your money and dig deep before jumping into the deep end. If you’re ready to make that leap and find out what drives you then keep reading.

I have a little game I like to play with myself sometimes to make sure I’m still on the right path. It takes only 10 minutes and in the end it helps you on how to find your dream.

It’s easy – here’s what you need:

-pen
-paper
-highlighter
– 10 minutes
– your favorite music
– a private space
– 1 giant cookie

Step One – Take 2 minutes to shut your mind down from what you were doing last. Shut down your writing for a minute, close your idea book, turn off the TV and get off Pinterest. Turn your favorite music, band, song on full blast. Let the music start to sway your body. Get up and dance or jump around to the music. Just like the famous one-hit wonder Kriss Kross said “Jump, jump. The Mac Dad will make ya jump, jump. A Daddy Mac will make ya jump, jump. Kris Kross will make ya Jump Jump.” After 2 songs you should be feeling pretty good and relaxed. This is why you want to be in a private space. If your dancing is anything like mine then it’s best to do when you’re all alone and no chance for a video leak.

Step Two – Turn down the music to an acceptable level. Pull out the pen and paper. Let your brain free flow for a about 5 minutes. Write down anything comes to mind. What do you want to do a year from now, 2 years from now? What makes you the happiest? What makes you sad and depressed? Do you want to be by the ocean, big city, or a small town? Try to free flow. If you need more than 5 minutes that’s okay. If you need a break to jam out some more to get your body and mind relaxed, then turn up the volume to 11.

Step Three – take a look at your list. Do you see an overwhelming theme? Grab your highlighter and mark what stands out. Did you write the same sort of thing more than once? Highlight it! This is what you should be doing, this is what will make you happy.

For me, it’s helping others. I dream of working in an office with a team assisting people reach their goals. I like organization, having fun every day and getting free time to travel and be with my family. I want to save animals and help those that can’t help themselves.

That may not sound like it screams what type of job I should be doing from my passions, but it does yell what I need to be avoiding. I don’t want to work by myself at the house, I want to be around people. I don’t want to help a big company that doesn’t see the everyday guy. I want to help families, individuals and small businesses with a hands on approach. I need to be spending time volunteering to help others and strays. This is the guide I need to be following.

Step Four – Eat your cookie and blast that stereo for one more song. Write a comment letting me know what you came up with. What are you passionate about? What’s your dream?

Now the final step is to sit down and create a plan for what this exercise uncovered. Be realistic with yourself. If your goal is to go to every amusement park in America but are afraid of roller coasters then you might need to re-do the exercise. BUT if you’re goal is to write, share your knowledge with others and help like-minded people then by all means write a plan. See how you can bring your talents to others – local, online, blogging, consulting. The Internet is your friend, my dear. Use it to help you get a plan together.

To end today’s post, I’d like to share a historical gem with you.

Don’t forget to share your dream with me!

Look Up

The night I met J is all I kept thinking about while watching.  I couldn’t imagine not having that defining moment.

What are you missing?

10 Ways To Strengthen Your Marriage

There are ways to strengthen your marriage because it should come as no surprise that a marriage takes some work.

10 ways to strengthen your marriageIf it is a surprise then you must be living in a rom-com that has a happily ever after and the credits roll just as the have their grand finale kiss.  Marriage is hard.  It has its good days and its not-so-good days.  We struggle learning each other’s rhythm and thought process.  But in the end it is so worth it.  I have never worked at something like I have marriage and have it be the most rewarding gift I could ever imagine.

We’re not perfect, but to me that’s half the journey.  Lust is something that gives you a high, but love is what you work for, strive for and in the end – what you earn.

 There are proven ways to strengthen your marriage.
ways to strengthen your marriage
Here are my top 10 that we strive for every day.

1) Listen to One Another
2) Learn to Fight Fair
3) Don’t be afraid to pray together
4) Laugh
5) Date like you’re sixteen again
6) Like each other’s friends
7) Don’t pass judgment
8) Have your own life
9) Send sweet nothings
10) Be selfless

I love my husband with all my heart.  There are days that he gives a lot and days that I give a lot, but all that matters is that we give to one another selflessly and with our whole hearts.