Category Archives: Every day life

Feeling Trapped? Fighting “Quarantine Stress” in 4 Simple Steps

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

The last few months have not been the easiest for anybody, and have brought on many challenges we did not expect to face. As a result, I’m sure we’ve all felt down and anxious at least once while in quarantine. Some are coping with working from home, while others have to manage the many responsibilities that come with school and entertainment options temporarily closed. Many have had to face these self-isolating months completely alone – something that might have taken a toll on their mental and physical well-being. Call it the dreaded quarantine stress, if you will. Here are some ways I have found useful to cope — 

Mindful Exercise

Staying fit and healthy while confined within four walls can be a challenge for many. However, moving, staying active, and exercising can have incredible benefits on our mental well-being – benefits that you should not be ignored! Maybe HIIT training and running for miles aren’t your thing, but other practices – such as yoga and meditation – can help you understand yourself better and fight stress. 

All this, while also toning your muscles and tuning your mind! While doing your make up and putting on your corporate dress might not be part of your routine anymore, starting your day with a Power Yoga session can be just as beneficial to boost your self-confidence!

Take Up a New Challenge

Boredom – especially when combined with feelings of anxiety – can be extremely detrimental. Keeping your mind busy and giving yourself a goal to work toward can be an easy solution to implement. Several challenges can work, but the one you pick should fit your preferences. Whether this is minimalism, vegetarianism, or working toward a zero-waste lifestyle, a challenge can help you focus your mind and energy toward a positive goal. 

Turn Your Home into a Sanctuary

Of course, you might have started to feel a little trapped within your four walls. However, instead, start thinking of your home as a safe place where you can retreat in turbulent times. Start by turning your garden, patio, or terrace in to a space for enjoying the sunshine during the day and get all that Vitamin D you need during this time. 

Indoors, add plants and swap the heavy curtains for a lighter version. These two simple additions can help you let in enough natural light and fresh air to create a much happier environment. Some companies, such as Kaya Hemp Company, create ethically-produced products that can help you craft a comfortable and healthy sanctuary all for yourself.

Build Relationships (Virtually!)

If you have had to face the quarantine alone, you might have struggled to find enough support from others. However, technology is on our side. Don’t skip a call with your loved ones or a catch up over the phone with your friends. Even just a quick chat can lift your mood and help you see things differently. Moreover, many people now have more free time to fill so you can deepen the relationships you treasure and rebuild the ones that you haven’t had time to cultivate before the restrictions.

I hope you found this useful, and maybe even a little reassuring? Have you created ways of combating quarantine stress? Share your tips in the comments! xoxo

P.S. Follow Kaya Hemp Company on Instagram HERE.

Reading Books Picked by a Librarian! (4 mini book reviews)

While my local library is reopening it’s doors tomorrow, during it’s closure they kicked off a service that I was all too game to try. Grab bags! That’s right, you could roll up to the parking lot for drive-by pickup and be handed a librarian-curated assortment of books. While there were several selections I simply returned with out reading, these are the four I decided to tackle. (Truth be told, I’ve been buying books a LOT more regularly in quarantine so I was not hurting for things to read when I got my grab bag. Had I been practicing any sort of book buying restraint I probably would have read ALL my librarians picks!) Let’s see how that librarian did, shall we?!

The four books I chose to read were —
The Lido by Libby Page – a feel-good contemporary fiction set in London
Solo by Kwame Alexander – a young adult contemporary written in verse
Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin – an alternate history young adult fantasy
The Death of Mrs. Westaway – a mystery thriller with a creepy setting

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

Synopsis: On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money. Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.

Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mini review: 

I love books (especially mystery-thrillers) where the setting almost becomes a character itself and Ware definitely creates that here. To meet her new “family” and work out the details of the inheritance Hal finds herself lodging at Trepassen, an aging English manor that holds many secrets. Much of the plot unfolds within it’s gothic, creepy walls.

Read if you like the movie: Knives Out, or any movie with a closed circle mystery

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

Synopsis: The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s Ball in Tokyo. Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female racer, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move. But as Yael grows closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mini review:

If you think The Hunger Games meets The Man in the High Castle sounds like something that’d be up your street, this book is for you. It certainly was for ME. I’m excited to see what happens in book 2 of this duology.

Read if you liked the movie: The Hunger Games, or any fantasy/sci-fi film featuring a dark game

Solo by Kwame Alexander

Synopsis: Blade never asked for a life of the rich and famous. In fact, he’d give anything not to be the son of Rutherford Morrison, a washed-up rock star and drug addict with delusions of a comeback. Or to no longer be part of a family known most for lost potential, failure, and tragedy. The one true light is his girlfriend, Chapel, but her parents have forbidden their relationship, assuming—like many—that Blade will become just like his father. In reality, the only thing Blade has in common with Rutherford is the music that lives inside them. But not even the songs that flow through Blade’s soul are enough when he’s faced with two unimaginable realities: the threat of losing Chapel forever, and the revelation of a long-held family secret, one that leaves him questioning everything he thought was true. All that remains is a letter and a ticket to Ghana—both of which could bring Blade the freedom and love he’s been searching for, or leave him feeling even more adrift.

Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mini review:

This was a really fun and quick read! Because it is written in verse the pages fly by. Our main character Blade is the son of super famous rockstar Rutherford Morrison. Blade is 17 going on 18 and grappling with first love, family dynamics, confusion about what to do with his life — all under the watchful eye of the paparazzi. Then, he receives some news that has him embarking on a journey that will forever change his life.

Read if you liked the movie: Lion, or any movie with an important familial quest

The Lido by Libby Page

Synopsis: Kate is a twenty-six-year-old riddled with anxiety and panic attacks who works for a local paper in Brixton, London, covering forgettably small stories. When she’s assigned to write about the closing of the local lido (an outdoor pool and recreation center), she meets Rosemary, an eighty-six-year-old widow who has swum at the lido daily since it opened its doors when she was a child. It was here Rosemary fell in love with her husband, George; here that she’s found communion during her marriage and since George’s death. But when a local developer attempts to buy the lido for a posh new apartment complex, Rosemary’s fond memories and sense of community are under threat. As Kate dives deeper into the lido’s history—with the help of a charming photographer—she pieces together a portrait of the pool, and a portrait of a singular woman, Rosemary. What begins as a simple local interest story for Kate soon blossoms into a beautiful friendship that provides sustenance to both women as they galvanize the community to fight the lido’s closure.

Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Mini review:

A really cute, feel-good book. The moral of the story is basically like “finding community and being around people to socialize and exercise is awesome for mental health” and now is just a weird time to be faced with that. My rating probably has more to do with being bummed about pools being closed this summer and less to do with the quality of the read.

Read if you liked the movie: A Man Called Ove, or any feel-good found family film

***

Overall, I’d say my librarian knocked it out of the park with these selections! While The Lido and The Death of Mrs. Westaway were books on my radar, I don’t think I would have picked them up myself without a little nudging. Wolf by Wolf I’d never even heard of and it earned a 5-star rating! It’s seriously such a well done dark games YA and I will shove it into the hands of anyone who enjoys that genre. And Solo was another I was happy to learn about and won’t soon forget. Nothing new here but it bears repeating — I LOVE LIBRARIES!

My next bookish post hitting the blog soon will be my SUMMER TBR. See you then! 

P.S. More library love. 

Mindfulness: Not just for monks and yogis!

We’re all wondering if quarantine will ever end, but until it does, we have some prime time to get to know ourselves.

When someone says mindfulness, what do you think of? Do you think of monks in a temple wearing robes in silence, or people sitting in full lotus position meditating for hours on end? It would be understandable if you did. 

However, mindfulness isn’t just for ancient religious practice, it’s also a secular therapeutic method designed to settle our thoughts and reduce everyday stress and anxiety so that we can better focus. Regardless of what you’re into, jogging, debating, or being a lifestyle blogger; mindfulness can help support you and improve your potential. Think of it this way – driving a car is much easier once you’ve had a few lessons. Before that it’s almost impossible. 

But on the road of life, the vehicle you’re driving is not a car – it’s yourself, and mindfulness is the way you learn how to skillfully read the signs of the road and perform tricky maneuvers. So how does it work? Your mindfulness practice can begin as you read this blog post. You’re reading the words and you’re thinking about what they mean. So you’re doing two things. Bringing awareness to these two things is mindfulness. You are aware of what you’re doing. 

Another way to practice is to bring awareness to your breath. You are slowly breathing in and out. The very fact of that is amazing, but your awareness of it? That’s mindfulness. 

Here are a few more ways to practice mindfulness in your everyday life…

Walk in nature 

Take some time to visit  nature near where you live. Try out some mindful walking, that is, bring awareness to each step you take. Find a rhythm that suits you, then turn your awareness to other things. What sounds can you hear that you might have missed if you were lost in thought?  Impressions you encounter in a mindful state are more likely to resonate with you and others. 

Apply it to a craft 

If you already do a craft like knitting, model making, or paper folding then you probably use mindfulness all the time without realizing it. It’s that controlled awareness you bring to your subject. If you don’t do a craft then taking one up can be a great mindfulness practice. Not to mention, you can always feel satisfied with achieving an end product – something you have made yourself. But now you know that the process to achieving that final product is just as rewarding.

Use it in conversations 

Mindfulness is very effective in conversations with people, because mindfulness doesn’t only mean being mindful of yourself. Instead of thinking about what you’re going to say next, why not reflect on what has been said already – then respond. Bringing awareness to your conversations is a wonderful way to improve your interactions, and relationships, in a fun, creative way. 

When do YOU practice mindfulness? Do you find it difficult or rewarding?

P.S. Hobbies to try if you’re a creative soul.

10 Things To Do When You’re Stuck At Home: Summer Edition!

Last month, I presented you with 10 Things To Do When You’re Stuck At Home.

Today, I thought I’d share 10 more in case you, like me, plan on keeping it a bit more close to home this summer than you normally do. These are some activities for a SUMMER STAYCATION, if you will! Ready? Let’s go —

Make a playlist and have an outdoor dance party.

Half the fun of this activity is sitting down to curate a list of songs you KNOW will get you moving and grooving. The other half is actually heading outside, blasting your tunes as loud as you believe your neighbors will tolerate, and getting your groove on. Get the whole household involved! And if you’re a household of one, that’s ok too. (Note: This activity was totally inspired by this video. So feel free to just jam to this if you want to make your dance party more of a workout!)

Get creative with outdoor soakin’ and splashin’ options.

Public pools might be out of the picture for you this summer. If that’s the case, and you don’t live near any other bodies of water, you might have to get creative! Check out some inflatable pool options on Amazon, go the galvanized stock tank route, or just set up a sprinkler or two.

Pay up for a print subscription.

It’s so easy to stay glued to your devices when you’re home all the time. Why not spring for a print subscription of a newspaper or magazine to encourage yourself to read the news OFFLINE for a change? One of my favorite budget activities from summer’s past was when my friend Katie and I were living together, we would take a copy of the USA Today outside to our backyard to sit in the sun, leaf through the pages, and do the crossword puzzle.

Grab your camera (or smart phone) and have a photo shoot.

Scrolling through pictures of myself over the years, most of them were taken at some sort of an event. A wedding, meeting up with friends for a weekend, a party. With so many events cancelled over the last few months, it’s like there’s a weird gap in these tangible memory-keepers. So corral a housemate or friend and take turns acting as photographer as the other models.

Decorate your outdoor space.

Nothing will encourage you to spend as much time outside as possible as a beautiful outdoor space. Start by picking what space you want to spruce up and then create a mood board. (Here’s one I did for our balcony when we lived in Miami.) Then start sourcing materials and get to creating a wonderful space!

Continue supporting your favorite creators.

I don’t know about you but there have definitely been some choice creators (ie. authors, youtubers, instagrammers, etc) who have gotten me through the last few months. If they’ll continue seeing you through summer, consider finding some additional ways to support them! Share their content with others, buy their merch, post reviews for their books on Amazon…etc, etc. If you’ve been consuming a lot of their free content, do they have any paid options you would also enjoy?

Create a piece of artwork to hang on your walls.

You know that ICONIC post on @BritneySpears where Britney’s painting in her yard with her two kids and they all have little canvases on little easels? THAT COULD BE YOU! Or, you know, you could save arts & crafts as a rainy day activity to do indoors. You do you. I’m just saying…creating visual art of any kind is going to be a fun endeavor for your summer.

Watch Saturday morning cartoons with your favorite childhood breakfast.

This could even become a weekly occurrence! And it doesn’t have to happen on Saturday mornings either. If you want to watch cartoons every Thursday at 4:30 pm with a bowl of nostalgia and milk, be my guest. Maybe you even change into your pj’s. Maybe you squeeze some oranges into juice or bring all your blankets out to the couch and make a fort. Maybe you swap out cartoons for middle grade fiction or prefer childhood lunch foods to breakfast. It’s your life!

Do a book swap with a friend.

Are you a bookworm with a ton of books on your shelves? Do you have a friend in the same boat? Spend some time on the phone with them getting a sense of their favorite reads, how many books you want to swap with each other, and then head to your shelves for books you’d like to pass along to them that you think would be in their wheelhouse. Drop your selections off on their porch with a note on why you made your picks!

Pick an actor and binge your way through their filmography.

Some fun ones to try —
Lupita Nyong’o
Reese Witherspoon
Jim Carrey
Julianne Moore
Dev Patel
Anne Hathaway
Gael Garcia Bernal
Denzel Washington

Have you done any of these things yet? What other ideas would you add for folks who are planning on keeping it a bit closer to home than usual this summer? xoxo

5 Ways To Remember Someone You Love

When a loved one tragically passes away, it can feel like the end of the world for those left behind. Dealing with loss isn’t a discussion often had, and it’s not a topic that many people feel confident in talking about. But it is a hugely important for those going through it, and one which everyone will experience within their lifetime. The experience can be lonely, and it’s usually made even worse by the fact that a lot of people simply don’t know how to start a dialogue with someone who has been bereaved, and will even go to the lengths of avoiding them out of awkwardness. Of course, this only serves to make the person grieving feel more isolated, exactly when they need the most support. 

This difficult, but often undiscussed, situation can be doubly tough if you don’t have the tools to work through grief. Mourning for someone is definitely a process – and one that no-one can put a time limit on. People who have lost a loved one often talk about it in terms of learning to live with the pain, rather than it being something that goes away. And I agree.

There are of course steps you can take to help you process your negative emotions and work through what you feel, and it can be helpful as you do so to find ways of remembering the person you have loved and lost. 

Being able to create memories can be a hugely important part of the mourning process, so consider what you could do once you feel ready to express yourself. When the focus of arranging a funeral is over, and you feel ready, creating a lasting memorial can be helpful. It gives you a tangible connection to the person you have lost, and provides a way of feeling close to those we can no longer see or speak to.

Create A Memorial Seat

If there’s a special view, a place in nature or a walk you used to take together, dedicating a memorial bench is a lovely way to remember someone you loved. It draws on a base of shared memories and provides a location you can go to when you need to remember that person. Your bench can feature a plaque or carving with an inscription, naming or commemorating that person, sharing a memory or containing a special piece of verse, a passage from a book they loved or song lyrics that remind you of them. 

Cherish A Piece Of Clothing

In life, our clothes are a tool of self-expression. If your loved one had a favorite garment – perhaps a treasured dress or an old sweater – there are ways to use this piece of clothing to provide a lasting link to them after their passing. You can even have a memory bear made using fabric stitched together from a patchwork of their favorite items. This simple but effective idea is especially lovely to help children who have lost someone dear. They can cuddle with the bear and remember the person they loved so much in life. The same principle could also apply to anything soft and squidgy really – from a cushion to a quilt. Equally, a much-loved item of clothing can be preserved and framed.

Create A Memory Box

If you have lots of treasured artifacts from your time with that person, you could consider creating a memory box. In it, you can place all sorts of things – letters and cards you exchanged, old photographs, memorabilia like concert tickets and small souvenirs, pressed flowers and other little tokens. This approach is especially lovely because there is always something new to rediscover or a different memory to recall depending on what you pull out of the box. 

Get A Piece Of Jewelry Made

If you feel like carrying your loved one close to you, memorializing them with a piece of jewelry is a great way to hold them close with something portable that you can carry around wherever you go. Sites like Memorials.com can even help you to incorporate the ashes of a family member into an elegant piece of jewelry that you can wear and love forever, and pass down through generations. 

Plant Something Green 

A connection to the living world is a huge source of comfort for many, so it can be a really nice idea to plant a tree or a shrub in memory of a lost loved one. This gives a beautiful connection to the world as well as a place you can go to enjoy some quiet time and remember that person. 

Have you honored a lost loved one in a way you found to be especially helpful to your grieving process? If you’re comfortable, I’d love to hear about it below. Sending all my love to anyone hurting or mourning a loss. xoxo 

A Full Day of Self-Care

Self-care is all about doing the things that bring you joy and make you feel good. Especially in times of stress, incorporating little pockets in your day to treat yourself with love can prove even more important. These moments of pleasure don’t have to be particularly elaborate and they certainly don’t have to break the bank!

I recommend breaking down your typical day into a few parts and then brainstorming ways you could honor your own needs and heart in each of them. (You know what they say, you gotta put your own oxygen mask on first!) Here are a few ideas for a full day of self-care —

Good Morning

Start your day with care and calm…

Face Wash ($13)

Cleansing with a product that makes your skin feel baby-butt soft is such a delightful way to kick off the day.

Multivitamin ($34)

Your health is an important part of self-care!

Cup o’ Joe ($10)

A beautiful mug is the best way to imbibe that morning caffeine fix, in my humble opinion.

Mellow Music

Even if you don’t have time to quietly sit and meditate and journal, playing soothing music for 30 minutes of emails and administrative work is a zen way to start your work day.

Afternoon Care

Bypass the midday slump…

Balanced Breath ($10)

Starting to panic that all your to-dos won’t get done? Take a moment to breathe! Bonus: this stuff smells incredible.

Yoga Wheel ($30)

The perfect way to stretch out a back that’s hunched over a computer all day.

Energy Ball

Afternoon sleepies can usually be solved with a healthy and delicious snack.

Candle ($32)

 A ritual of shutting down and clearing away work materials and then “turning on” your at-home vibe with a candle is an easy way to switch your brain into relaxation mode. 

Bedtime Delight

Set yourself up for sweet dreams…

Yoga Mat ($25)

Kick off your bedtime routine with some light exercise and start winding down for the night.

Bath Soak ($18)

Soaking in the tub will help your muscles relax after a long day.

Oil Diffuser ($28)

Now it’s time to prepare your sleeping sanctuary! Many oils can produce the calming effect needed to lull you right to sleep.

Salt Lamp ($12)

For a soft glow in the evening that really produces mellow vibes, fire up a salt lamp or two.

Good Book

Finally, give yourself the gift of no screens for AT LEAST 30 minutes before you close those peepers. Curl up with a book instead. 

Thanks so much for reading! How do you incorporate self-care in your regular routines?

P.S. 6 Reasons You Should Be Sleeping More

10 Things To Do When You’re Stuck At Home

This past weekend was beautiful. Sunny and mild and what should have been Derby Day. Instead, we’re still social distancing. But when I scrolled through my social MEDIA, there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of distancing going on.

I get it. It sucks to distance on weekends that are beautiful. Weekends that are sunny and mild and traditionally Derby Day. But we can’t give up so easily. We can’t quit before the world is ready just because we got bored.

So, because people seem to be getting restless and running out of at-home fun that doesn’t involve inviting all their pals over, here are a few additional ideas —

Organize your photos and paper memorabilia.

Social isolation can bring on some serious bouts of nostalgia. While you’re wandering down memory lane, why not create a new photo album or organize your memory box by year?

Meal prep your favorite breakfast foods.

It’s so nice to have foods ready to go in the morning. Without a commute, you may have already found that the start of your day is less frazzled and rushed. This is an additional step to buy yourself even MORE time in the mornings. What you do with that extra time is totally up to you!

Do some landscaping.

We’ll take any excuse to get outside these days! Pop in some tunes or a podcast and get to work weeding, planting, cutting back overgrowth, or whatever it is you need to do to make your outdoor space a special oasis.

Wash your car.

Anyone else’s car perpetually covered with pollen this time of year? Washing it at home is really a win-win-win. Not only does it give you something to do but it will also save you money AND make for a great workout.

Make a pocket letter and send it to a friend.

In the age of social distancing we have to find creative ways to connect with our loved ones. And since, when you’re home all day, checking the mail can be a big highlight, sending a little something by way of the USPS is a great way to do so.

Spend some time in water.

Go ahead and take that extra long bath or shower you would have felt guilty about a few months ago. You have no where to be anyways!

Draft a series of top 10 lists.

I love making lists! Give yourself some creative prompts and record the results. You could make lists of favorites, like all-time favorite books or movies, or experiences. Top 10 meals, vacations, and childhood memories are a few that could really take a while to noodle on (and are super fun to chat about on those family Zoom calls!).

Have a sports documentary marathon.

In the absence of ACTUAL sports being played at the moment, sports documentaries are a great place to get your fix. Think: Cheer, Last Chance U, Ronaldo, The Least Expected Day, The Test, and any of ESPN’s 30 for 30 episodes (but especially The Price of Gold lol).

Create a restaurant in your backyard.

Nothing beats dining al fresco in the spring! Get creative with a beautiful table setting, create ambiance with a Spotify playlist and twinkle lights, heck – you could even design your own menus!

Film a video of yourself reading a picture book.

This would be a super cute thing to send to any kiddos in your life. Don’t forget to do all the voices!

Have you done any of these things yet? What other ideas would you add for folks who are getting a bit restless? xoxo

A DAY IN MY LIFE | Online Content + Marketing Strategist

Today I thought it might be fun to share a “S**T I GOT DONE TODAY” list from a recent workday.

[I’ve talked about these lists as self-care HERE.]

This was a day I accomplished a lot. But at the end of it, I still found myself feeling uneasy about all the BIG PICTURE items I had coming up in my calendar. To quell my unease, I took a step back to reflect on all the things I’d crossed off my list that brought me closer to completing the scarier deadlines I felt looming large.

If you’re curious, here’s how this day went down —

Copy edited a project – Editing requires careful reading. Careful reading requires full attention. I try to tackle editing work first thing in the morning for this reason. Plus, starting my morning with reading feels like a great warm-up for the more creative work to come.

Wrote and designed 3 monthly newsletters – I’m at my most productive in the morning, and my brain was feeling effectively warmed-up after the editing work, so I jumped into a project that required a lot of writing next. The design aspect of newsletters like these requires a lot of work up front, but I had already designed templates for all three before this day so I mainly had to perfect layouts and make things pop.

2 weeks of social media content – This was the second most creatively-focused task of the day so I rolled right into this after the newsletters. I usually try to batch 4 weeks of social media, but this client had a lot of upcoming events that would be filling their feed in the latter half of the month. I sent off the copy and images for approval and then took a well-deserved lunch break.

LUNCH BREAK 

Created a letterhead – Brain warm-up part 2! I try and slot in a few easy to accomplish tasks right when I get back to my desk. It’s kind of like how Target places the Dollar Spot right as you enter so you’re in the habit of throwing stuff in your cart by the time you roll into the rest of the store. I need to get in the habit of checking things off my to-do list so I can keep my momentum up for the rest of the day. Today it was a simple document design but these sorts of things can also include lengthier email responses, phone calls, scheduling social media, or making small website changes.

Research for a client’s book – This took up the bulk of my afternoon, but while it took brain power and thoughtfulness, it didn’t require a lot of creativity. Making it a great afternoon activity for me. (I get the 2 pm slump!) I love helping clients through the entire book writing process but there’s something about filling in research gaps with a bit of internet sleuthing that I find especially engaging.

Compiled data into a deliverable – A perfect item to end the work day on! The research was already done, so essentially this was just some data entry. But the final product needed to go to a client which meant it felt high stakes enough to keep myself on task and to go the extra mile to make it look pretty.

And there you have it! I hope you found that interesting. If you’re ever feeling anxiety about work (there’s just always MORE to do!), I highly recommend taking a moment at the end of your day to reflect on the S**T YOU GOT DONE! Let me know if you give it a try!! 

A Budget Friendly Meal Plan for Busy Seasons

There are usually two scenarios that find people diving head first into the world of meal planning — they need to save time or they need to save money. But at this point in the year, it often seems those two go hand and hand. We’re in the heart of the fall semester, activities are ramping up, and something about the waning evening sunlight makes it feel like a mad rush between the end of work hours and climbing into bed at night. There’s no time for planning and executing a healthy dinner on the fly!

Then you’ve got money saving. Ah yes, I feel you there. Maybe you spent a little too extravagantly on summer travel or plan to spend extravagantly on the upcoming holidays. Either way, there’s no room for extravagance in this in-between!

Enter the power of the stupidly simple meal plan…

Shopping List

Breakfast

  • Oatmeal
  • Yogurt
  • Bananas

Lunch

  • Bread
  • Lunch meat
  • Cheese
  • Salad
  • Salad Dressing

Extras (Snacks, desserts, and lunch add-ons)

  • Granola bars
  • Fruit (apples, oranges, berries on sale)
  • Crackers
  • Hummus
  • Peanut butter
  • Cookies

Dinner

  • Chicken
  • Rice
  • Stir-fry vegetables
  • Bulk frozen veggie
  • Pasta noodles
  • Ground turkey or meatballs
  • Pasta sauce
  • Tortillas 
  • Shredded cheese
  • Avocados
  • Refried beans or black beans
  • Green peppers
  • BBQ sauce
  • Hamburger buns
  • Chips

Meal Plan

Breakfast – Oatmeal or yogurt topped w/ bananas

Lunch – Sandwich or salad w/ 2 sides of choice (and/or any dinner leftovers)

Dinners – 

Monday/#1: Chicken stir fry w/ frozen veggie

Tuesday/#2: Spaghetti w/ fruit salad

Wednesday/#3: Quesadilla w/ beans and guac

Thursday/#4: Stuffed peppers w/ frozen veggie

Friday/#5: Panini and chips

Saturday/#6: BBQ chicken sandwiches w/ frozen veggie/fruit salad/chips (whatever is left)

Sunday/#6: Eat out

What meals are on YOUR stupidly simple meal plan? Here’s to a stress-free and money-saving AUTUMN!! 🍂 🍁 🍂

Hobbies to Try If You’re a Creative Soul

There is no denying that life is busy. And as we get older, the hobbies that we used to have can fall by the wayside. But isn’t it so wonderful when we can carve out a few hours here and there that can be used to explore hobbies and find fun creative outlets? 

Hobbies are therapeutic and great for happiness too. So here are a few creative hobbies that you can try. 

hobbies to try if you're a creative soul

Card Making

Handmade cards, with all their layers and personal touches, are really special. Using glue dots, you can build whole beautiful scenes. You can make a card whenever the mood takes you, or create a stash ready for Christmas or other significant events. If you really enjoy it, you might even be able to make a business out of it by selling your creations to friends for a few dollars or even setting up your own Etsy shop.

Writing

You might choose to start a blog, or you might just really want to keep a diary. Writing can be so therapeutic. You can write fiction and let your imagination run wild, or you might want to write about your daily life — talking about things you have enjoyed, what makes you happy, things you are grateful for and so much more. 

Calligraphy

There are tons of books out there centered around teaching yourself hand lettering. Not only does calligraphy look beautiful, but it is a skill that can grow over time. If you aren’t sold on the idea, you should take a look at some hand lettering videos. If you have decided to keep a journal, then you can use this skill to embellish it. Grab a pack of watercolor pens and see what happens!

Photography

Everyone has their own unique point of view. When you get to let loose with a camera, you might be surprised what you come up with. And it isn’t just DSLR. You can experiment with film, plates, instant and more. Picking up camera magazines will give you hints and tips about how to improve your style. You can work with the style that suits you best — some people love portraits, others black and white landscape. The joy of photography is being able to tell a story through images. There are many free courses online that can help you get to grips with some of the finer points of using your DLSR manually. But the main thing is to have fun. 

Soap

Soap making is a lovely and practical hobby. You can choose different scents and textures, and use molds too. There are so many tutorials on how to create natural soaps – which is excellent if you have sensitive skin or have family members who do. They make a great gift and can be infused with a lot of skin-loving ingredients. 

Baking

Baking for fun is fantastic. Not everyone can bake with ease, for some, it takes a lot of time to find out what they enjoy making. But if you enjoy eating scones and fresh bread, then learning to make it brings a new element of joy. Another bonus to learning to bake is having the smell of fresh bread wafting around your home. It is so cozy, and once you master a basic loaf, you can move on to more exciting bakes. 

Knitting

This is a real skill. Many people have tried and given up, but with a little persistence, you can knit tiny booties or scarves. You don’t need too much more than a set of knitting needles and some yarn to get started. If you’ve never knitted before, you are going to want to either pick up a knitting magazine with some basic patterns in or find some free online courses. Just think, by the time winter comes around, you will be able to gift everyone with something cozy and warm. 

Cross-stitch

You can buy mini kits that have everything in it. Or if you want to create something without a guide, you can pick up some cloth, cotton thread and get started. You can affix these to cards, or frame them and put them up as art. Because of the slow, repetitive motions, it is very therapeutic. 

Coloring

If you want to color in a Peppa Pig coloring book, then go for it, but if you want something more adult, check out this swear word coloring book (LOL) or coloring books featuring really intricate patterns. Coloring is something that millions of people are now including in their mindfulness and self-care routines. If you are a perfectionist, then you are going to take even longer – which is ideal if you want to while away the hours indulging in your hobbies. 

Quilting

Using clothing that you no longer wear, kids clothing that is too small, or even quilting squares, you can create a quilt for your bed, or give it as a gift when you are done. There is some mental work involved when you are piecing it together or deciding on what you want it to look like once it is done. There is something quite lovely about giving people a handmade quilt as the winter rolls around. 

Floral Crowns

Making floral crowns aren’t as tricky as they might look. You can buy plain headbands and hot-glue flowers all over it, or you might choose to use fake flowers with thin wires and twist them around to create a full crown. Have a chat with the local florist and see if you can collect flower heads that have fallen off and won’t be sold. You can offer to pay, but you might end up with a few bags at a time. 

 Letting your mind unwind and your hands work for a few hours a week is a great way to lower stress levels and have time for yourself. What do you think? Which one is your creative soul itching to try?!