Productivity

I’ve been really focusing on what’s making me productive and how I’m getting everything done.  I watch tons of other moms on YouTube doing their thing, I surround myself with positive people and have a few tips that I believe can help you if you feel overwhelmed.  I am doing the #last90dayschallenge and so a few of these are inspired by Rachel Hollis, but I started implementing them before 10/1 so I can speak from experience that they are helping in more ways than one!

1.) Cut distractions. 

This could be negative family or friends, social media in general, mindless snacking, or your phone.  I know babies, kids and dogs can be a bit demanding, but get into a schedule and figure out a good routine.  I know if I put the dog outside on her doggie run, I have a good amount of time to get some stuff done without worrying about her puppy-ness wanting to chew on toys that haven’t been cleaned up etc.  My kids are getting older so I can set some timers and let them watch a show, play a video game or independently play without having to watch them like a hawk.  If you have a baby or a toddler, then give yourself grace.  You’re number one focus is keeping that human alive!  Otherwise, turn off the phone, ignore messages (for now) and set a time later in the day to accomplish those things.  Having a list helps me.

2.) Finish things.

There’s not much worse than that feeling like you have a million things left not done.  Maybe you’ve started most of them, but if you’re like me, you can easily get distracted (kids, dogs, life!) and then I don’t finish something and it hangs there.  Just do it.  It probably only takes half the time we think anyway.  Set a timer and get-er-done!  The satisfaction of crossing it off the to do list and actually seeing an end result will catapult you onto the next activity that needs to happen.

3.) Drink your water & Cut or limit sugars, processed foods, and alcohol. 

Tired? Drink your water.  Hungry?  Drink your water.  Bored? Drink your water.  Feeling run down? Drink your water.  Want a soda or coffee?  Drink some water.  I’ve been making myself drink half of my body weight in water, and before I allow myself to eat or drink something else (even tea) I chug a bunch of water to see if it’s something I still want.  Water is SO important for all of our organs and to keep us running full steam! Here me out, I get it.  The latté, cookie, chips, pop, whatever seems so helpful but it I find that the quick fix does not fix the overwhelm.  I know I’m just coming off a cleanse, where I did omit these items, but seriously, I have no brain fog, lots of energy (at 6am) I’m sleeping great and if I had not gotten mindful about what was going into my body, I don’t think I would have realized how great I could feel.  Am I never going to have wine or a Green Tea Latté again?  Heck no, BUT I will have them in moderation.  I think we all tend to get a little lenient in the summer and before we know it, we feel like crap, and the spiral continues.  Plus half of the problem is that we don’t even realize how much we’re consuming until we step away from it for a bit…

4.) Wake up an hour early.  

It’s not easy.  I love sleep.  I love the cozy bed and the feel of the soft sheets.  BUT, when you start making a habit of getting up before the rest of the house, something changes inside.  I look forward to starting my day.  I get to do a few of my favorite things, writing, reading, sipping tea and just be alone with my thoughts.  You could workout, pray, meditate, whatever you feel like doing, but do it before you have to go take care of everyone else.  Creating before you start consuming will change your life people!  I’ll write more on my morning routine later, but just try it for a few weeks.  If you normally get up at 7, set that alarm for 6 and just set things up the night before.  I literally cannot stress the importance of this one!  YOU matter and putting yourself first to be with God, or a good book, or sweat sesh will give you that push the rest of the day.  An hour sound like too much?  Start with 15-20 minutes and work your way up.  I was up at 5:45 no alarm today, just because.

5.) Have fun!

The less we look at things at “chores” or things that we have to do, the better we feel.  If I have a dirty floor, clothes piled everywhere, messy rooms, food to prepare and overflowing dishes in the sink, the first thing I do is breathe.  Push play on a good audiobook or even a fun song, watch a TV show or YouTube video while you get to work.  {I recently just rented an old favorite movie, You’ve Got Mail, so that I could watch it while I folded and put away the endless loads of laundry}.  Once I realize I can habit stack, I know it won’t be so bad. Then I throw some laundry in, (to feel like I started taking action on SOMETHING!) get going on the dishes, prepare the food, clean up and before I realize it, everything is back in place and I can sigh in relief that my kitchen is no longer a disaster area!

Cleaning Routine

It’s only taken me my whole life to come up with and stick to a cleaning schedule–haha!

I used to try to clean the whole house and it’d take most of the day.  Then I had kids and if you have children, you know that you cannot do anything for 4 hours straight, let alone clean the whole house.  I would try to sneak in cleaning here or there, but I’d inevitably get backed up and struggle with keeping up.  I will admit that I do hire help once in awhile; I build it into our budget and it’s really great to have the whole house clean at once AND it forces me to keep up with it.

However, I don’t get help every week or even every other week, so I started this a few weeks ago.  I cannot take full credit for the breakdown, as I watch YouTube and How Jen Does it uses a similar routine.  I did choose my own chores on what days worked best for me.

I’ll be the first to admit that with two little kids and two dogs (especially a big one who drips water all over the floor after she drinks every single time) it’s not easy to keep the house in tip top shape.  I use the Roomba almost daily and am constantly wiping the counters and table down, as my little guy is still home with me most of the time.  I do feel like I found a way to keep a handle on the mundane chores that need to get done without feeling like all I do is clean.

My Top 5 Tips:

  1. Get everyone to help.  Even my little guy loves to help vacuum, dust or wash the mirrors.  Sure it’s not perfect and I usually have to re-do some things because he’s 4, but I’m teaching him how to help, he feels useful and he will have this valuable skill for life.   My daughter is great at putting folding her laundry and putting it away as well as being responsible for helping with keeping the kids bathroom clean.
  2. Do a WHOLE load of laundry every day. We are a family of four and I swear we have too many clothes haha.  It’s the never-ending chore and if I don’t keep up with it for even a day, it backs up pretty badly.  If I can wash, dry, fold AND put away one single load daily, I feel like it really does help.  I’m not perfect, but I do attempt to put a load in first thing every morning. If I know I’m home all day, I’ll do a couple of loads, but at the very least aim for one.  I hang dry a lot of my husband and my clothes, to keep them nice, so they usually take a day to dry before I can put them away.
  3. Clean sheets Monday This started a few months back and I am always so grateful to start the week off fresh clean sheets!  There’s nothing better than falling into bed with a nice new set of sheets, am I right?  I also take time to pull the kids sheets and wash their blankets, rotating every so often.  That way I’m not left wondering, wait when was the last time that happened??
  4. Be flexible. I’ll be honest, some Tuesdays I don’t get the vacuuming done because we had to XYZ, but the next day I’ll just make up for it.  It really doesn’t take that long for each chore, but if you let everything go, it does seem next to impossible to finish.  Sometimes I combine dusting & glass/mirrors too because our Friday is when Joe is off and it’s hard to do chores when we are off doing something enjoyable or working on real estate.
  5. Post your schedule. Routines take time to establish and get into, so the first few weeks here I had to make sure I wrote down in my planner, posted the routine on my fridge and reminded myself daily what needed to get done.  It’s also great so if the kids want to play on electronics, I can quickly look and see what they can do to help out before I let them play.

 

Bottom line, don’t get frustrated or overwhelmed with housework, but do something!  Setting a timer for 10 minutes can really help you de-clutter a messy countertop or start organizing a play area too.

Do you follow a cleaning routine?

 

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas…

Holidays can be so wonderful!! I also know that they can be stressful and bring up hard emotions for people as well.  I try to focus on all the good things and stay positive! It’s important to know we are all on this journey of life and none of us really know what tomorrow brings. This holiday season I had so many memories throughout the years pop into my mind.  All great! I think it’s because the kids are getting older and we are way out of the baby season and full throttle into the magic, mystery and wonder that is Christmas, Santa, Rudolph, Elves, Frosty…

I have always loved Christmas and all that comes along with it. It was an interesting month juggling all that I did, but we made it!  Bailey the pup always keeps it extra around these parts.

Now that I survived the hustle and bustle of the week prior, (moms of school aged kids, can I get an AMEN!?) I’ve had a few days to wind down, enjoy some quiet time with my little family, and even watch a Hallmark movie!!

We also decided to change things up and not travel all around on Christmas Day so I’m looking forward to some breakfast casseroles, a day in our pjs and really enjoying the day at home.

Some things that helped me get through the crazy lead up to Christmas…

It’s just a day.  Make it your main goal to make memories of happiness and the true meaning of Christmas.  Don’t try to get to everyone’s house on Christmas day; take time to enjoy different friends and family throughout the week.  People need to understand it’s impossible to e-n-j-o-y if you’re stressed.

Communication. Talk to your family and friends about how to make it less stressful.  Everyone is in a different stage of their lives.  Some of us have little kids, some have grown kids, some are traveling…just talk it through and be open-minded!

Build in down time. We had some unexpected kid free time last weekend and it really helped break up the chaos.  It was so nice to squeeze in extra date nights and alone time for Joe & I!

Let go of expectations. This seems to be a recurring theme in my world.  The more I let go and let God, the better off I am.  I used to try to control everything and have it all in my head exactly how something would play out, only to be mad, disappointed and upset that “it did not go the way I planned.” Newsflash–nothing goes the way you think it should, it goes the way God intends.

Include one or two old traditions, but make new ones too. I stopped putting pressure on myself to try and do a whole bucket list of things.  Reality is, the kids get so much from outside activities, school, and us I don’t have to do it all.  It’s refreshing! I have one thing scheduled for sure on our Christmas break and it’s lots of snuggling time!

Don’t try to be a Pinterest anything…just be present. Don’t get caught up in the illusion of perfect; I’ve talked about it so may times, but seriously. We all have our strengths and we all have our weaknesses.  Don’t compare yourself and try to be something you’re not.  Just do your best and have fun with whatever you chose to spend your time on.

When in doubt, always have an extra bottle of vino on hand! I don’t think this needs much explanation. But seriously, cheers to Christmas and all the fun that awaits!

 

Getting a Spray Tan

I figured I would start out the week with a really fluffy post!  I’ll attribute it to my husband and I watching the Jersey Shore Family Vacation last night…what a train wreck! It really opened my eyes as to what on earth was I thinking watching that all of the time?!  We barely turn on the tv and last night, as Joe built a fire (yes, we are still having Winter here in Upstate NY) we just decided we needed to turn our brains off.

Anyway, back to the spray tan–which I would recommend 1000x over and over! Whether you have an event you want to have an extra glow for or you enjoy looking sun-kissed, it’s totally worth the money!

I have only done two.  One was in October before we went to Toronto for Joe’s birthday and the other was right before the Ugly Disco.  Since then I have been applying Jergen’s fake tanner a few times to just keep the glow going a little longer.

I haven’t seen or felt the sun since September I bet.  Sure, it pokes its head out, but there is something about getting a little healthy color from that big old ball of fire.  Since that is not an option and tanning beds have a bad rap, the spray tan is the way to go!

I chose an Organic spray both times.  I am sure you could totally get a decent tan at any place offering them, but I do have a special spot for small businesses in my heart.  The most recent place I went to was Glow Tanning.  The girl was a riot and she chose my color for me: “The Champagne of Spray Tans.” Girl spoke my love language!  I knew enough to “prep” ahead of time and ran all my errands that day ready to be sprayed!

First Day with the tan–I don’t even wear makeup.  I feel like it looks super dark!!

Once you find a place you’d like to try, ask them for any specific prep they need you to do. Most likely they’ll tell you the following, but I’m not an expert.  You could always consult Google too!

The Prep

Any waxing should be done 24 hours prior.

Otherwise, this is what to expect of a spray tan!

  1. Shower in the am and wash your hair! I forgot to do my hair so my first shower after spray tan, the second time, I felt like was too long as it takes FOREVER to do my hair. I highly recommend being able to do a quick rinse/shower the day of your event.
  2. Exfoliate I prefer a sugar based scrub, but anything with a little grit will work! You really want to sloth off those dead skin cells to get to the newest layer of skin.
  3. Shave You want to make sure you’re primed and ready to get the solution on your skin.
  4. NO LOTION This was super hard for me!! I am a lotion girl and I hate the ‘dry feeling’ of no lotion. However, if you wear lotion prior to getting the spray tan, it may mix and cause blotches or it simple won’t allow the spray tan to stick.
  5. Wear black/loose clothing You most likely will get spray tan on you, even if you try to air dry/fan dry a bit before getting dressed.  Wear something baggy if possible and definitely black. I was even told to forgo the bra. Ok!
  6. Bring a makeup wipe I tried not to wear a ton of makeup the day of my spray tan, but I did have a little tinted moisturizer on so I made sure to bring wipes to get it off.
  7. You can wear bottoms or not.  They usually tell you to do whatever you’re most comfortable doing.
  8. Go the day before your event. I personally find the best color to be the very next day. The first day I looked pretty dark! I didn’t feel the need to wear makeup and I just looked like I hopped a plane from the islands. The tan will last about a week, if you drink a lot of water and slather that lotion on continuously after the tan!
  9. Be prepared to spend a little money. I paid $40 and tipped the girl, but again this was an organic solution, it lasted a week and I didn’t get messy trying to prep myself for days with bottled lotions/sprays at home.
  10. It all has a ‘scent.’  Again, I found the organic solution to be tolerable, but it still had that ‘fake tan smell’ if you’ve ever dabbled in fake tan before.

A few pics from our weekend in Toronto–I loved this glow!

I did add a little extra bronzer lotion to my legs too, which had glitter. Needed extra for the disco!!

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Have you spray tanned before?  Do you have a favorite place?  I’ll share some of my at home fake tan products in another post, since I don’t see Mr. Sun coming out any time soon!