How to Raise Happy Children

 Parenting advice - How to teach your child that happiness is not the only thing we need in life. 

Happiness. We all desire to be happy, and the thing we want most for our children is for them to be happy. But should happiness really be our number one priority when it comes to raising them? 

Today, I'll cover some important topics on raising happy children, and what it really means for them to be happy. 

Should raising a happy child to be our number one priority?

We all know by now that life for our children won't always be easy, happy and go lucky. This world is a dark place, full of evil and unspeakable things that happen every day. So how can we give our children a balance of reality, as well as protect them from the not so pleasant aspects of life?

It's not wrong to seek happiness or to desire happiness for our kids. What makes it wrong is when we expect it to come our way, and when it doesn't, our world falls apart.

Here are some ways you can help your child have a balance of reality in pursuing happiness for their lives. 

  • Don't make everything easy for them.
  • Don't do everything for them
  • Don't give them whatever they want
  • Show them the realities of poverty and hardship
  • Teach them to fend for themselves and make money
  • Don't put on a facade that everything in your life is perfect and happy
  • Don't pretend that bad thing's don't happen in life
  • Don't hide death or casualties from them when they reach an appropriate age
  • Teach them to expect the best from people
  • Let them know that feeling's of unhappiness is a part of life
  • Let them be disappointed sometimes

It becomes a harsh reality for our children to go out into the world if everything at home was blissful and perfect for them. We can't protect them from everything, so when we can teach them the realities of this world in a safe environment that we can control, we will be setting them up for success. 

What happens to our children if they think that they deserve to always be happy?

By not preparing them for disappointment in life, when they actually experience hard times, they won't know what to do with themselves. 

How can we prepare them for the difficult realities of life? 

The best thing you can do for your child is to teach them how to not always give in to how they feel. It's also important for them to know that when their circumstances get bad, it's how they react that will make or break them.

Teach them to make decisions for themselves. 

There will always be consequences to their bad choices. The earlier they learn this, the better. The consequence of touching a hot stove is they'll be burned. The consequence of lying about what they did, will start to taint their heart. To give them an understanding and letting them experience consequences is VERY important for them in life. 

Teach them to take responsibility for their actions

Children usually know when they have done something wrong, but they need direction in knowing what to do when they did something wrong. You want to make sure that them taking responsibility isn't done out of the desire to please you as a parent. It should come from the knowledge that taking responsibility in life for what they did wrong is the right thing to do. If you believe in God, it's most important for them to realize that God asks us to take responsibility for our actions, which takes the pressure off of them pleasing you, and makes it about pleasing God. 

Why happiness is overrated

I believe that happiness is a fleeting feeling. Feelings come and go. If we teach our children that the number one thing they should seek in their life is happiness, we will not only set them up for a huge disappointment, we will set them up for failure. 

So, what should be the most important thing we teach our children?

That life is unpredictable, and having a good attitude when things go wrong will be the surest way for them to experience JOY in their lives. 

The difference between joy and happiness. 

Happiness is a feeling you have when your circumstances are going well.  Joy is a state of being you can choose to be in, even when your circumstances aren't good. 

Happiness is a feeling you have when your circumstances are going well.  Joy is a state of being you can choose to be in, even when your circumstances aren’t good. 
— WFTB

Teach them to have joy, even when their circumstances are bad, and maybe then they will learn that when life gets tough, they can always choose to have a good attitude. Feelings are so fleeting. Give them something to grasp and hold onto that won't leave them depressed when things don't go their way. It's having control over what they choose as opposed to reacting out of a feeling.

 How happiness isn't the only thing your child needs. 

In a world where feelings of happiness are the most important, it's our job and duty as parents to set our kids up for success in the fact that this feeling of happiness won't always be your life, and that's okay. When they are raised to believe they need to be happy at all times, how will they know to get through the tough times in marriage? To overcome losing their job or getting fired? To handle someone breaking up with them? What it means to be strong and courageous in times of crisis?

All of these things hinge upon one disadvantage and why I believe so many people struggle with depression today. We are looking at life from a standpoint of "what can this world do for me?" instead of "what can I do in this world for others?" As well as "what does it mean to have a good attitude when things are hard?"

Thoughts About Blogging | Confessions of a New Blogger

 Blogging thoughts for a beginner blogger. Starting a blog. 

Questions I ask myself when it comes to starting a blog 

Hey there, you probably don't know who I am because I'm a newbie. I wanted to start a blogging diary as to give you new bloggers a little insight into where I'm at, what I've done, what my questions are, and the strategies I've used. I am 3 months into blogging now and I would say my success so far is a resounding...I don't know. In all honesty, I started blogging to make money. Don't get me wrong, I love to write. But I wasn't about to start yet another hobby that didn't produce any monetary fruit. So far I haven't made much, but I haven't given up hope, even though a few days out of the week I get discouraged and have a mental break down. My poor husband. I'm pregnant and starting a blog. Not a good combination. 

Am I doing this right? 

It's hard not to compare yourself to every other blogger out there. Once you find out you're doing something different than the norm, you scramble to follow suit so you can keep up on the latest algorithms, Pinterest strategies, social media tips, and a myriad of other systems that load your brain every day.

It's hard to keep up. Even harder to focus that much more on writing. It's no wonder that almost every single successful blogger out there has opened themselves up to writing about blogging. They have to. It's basically what we study day in and day out. If we don't keep up with it, our blogs will fail, no matter what we are writing about. 

Do I really have to spend no less than $100 dollars on a blogging course? 

I get it, we all need help. But I have read article upon article about blogging tips, I'm not sure if the information I am getting is everything I need, or if there are more "secrets" to getting better.

As of yet, I don't have an answer for you. I'm about to invest in one, even though I don't know which one, and I will let you know if it really helped me or not. 

Do I need a niche?

At first, I ignored all of those comments about how you need to nail down a specific niche and write mostly about that. I didn't want to. I like to write about everything! Honestly, I'm SO glad I covered every lifestyle area at first. I did DIY and decor, travel, recipes, relationship advice, health, and beauty/personal growth. Had I not invested in all areas, I wouldn't have figured out that what I most love to write about is personal growth and relationships. It's also where my audience started to trickle in on. 

Now that I have buckled down on a niche, I'm no longer floating in the dark about what I need to make my email opt-in or ebook about. I could have only figured this out because I was willing to cover all areas, see what stuck with my audience, and go from there. I guess it was just a learning curve and something I had to go through. 

This post contains affiliate links - See disclaimer for more info. 

Is where I'm at now good for 3 months? 

So, I'll give you the lowdown on where I'm at with EVERYTHING. I don't know if it's good or not, but it keeps growing, which can't be bad. 

This is a great book while starting out. It basically is heroine for inspiration. 

Traffic and Squarespace

The most important and sought-after topic in the blogging world. How to get more traffic! I was nervous to start using Squarespace, as EVERY single blogger out there seems to be using Wordpress. The nice thing about Squarespace is they have beautiful and sleek templates to work from. It's SO easy and straightforward. In my experience, every Wordpress site I go to has a commonality to it. With Squarespace, I feel like I got something new and different. Obviously, you can make any website your own, but with Squarespace, there is a certain modern, hip and clean quality to it. 

Pinterest and Tailwind 

As of now, because of Pinterest and Pinterest alone, on a good day, I am at 2k views. I have put SO much energy into pins and Pinterest, but without Tailwind, I couldn't have gotten there. It's a great tool to help you schedule your pins and not have to worry about it. I tried Boardbooster as well but was immediately confused. I don't like their setup, and it seemed to have a mind of its own. 

It doesn't stop at scheduled pinning. Manually pinning is probably your MOST important tactic for getting more traffic through pinterest. 

Here is a trick that immediately had results. 

How I went from under 200k to over 600k monthly viewers in 30 days. 

I know it doesn't sound like a lot, but for me it was huge. I started out at 150 monthly viewers before I changed my Pinterest to a business account, so you can see how excited I am that 3 months later I'm at over 600k monthly viewers. 

Join group boards! For some reason, I have had a TON of success with Create Your Best Life group board. It seems like it's a good in-between size. Not too big, not too small and great for those of us who are lifestyle bloggers. 

Other than that, I would suggest really nailing down your organizational skills of your own boards. They need to be straightforward and to the point. Delete any pins that don't get more than 2 pins in total after a few days. You can easily navigate this with tailwind and their "pin inspector." It's only available in the premium plan, which I felt was a necessary investment.

Keywords are also VERY important. I always type in the main topic of my blog post in the search bar on Pinterest, and from left to right you will see squares of keywords that pop up. I name my boards, and my blog posts off of those, as well as add it to the pin description.

How I make the little money I make

So far, I haven't nailed the affiliate marketing thing down. That's where I want to educate myself in with some sort of course. My niche, unfortunately, isn't quite affiliate marketing friendly, but that doesn't mean I can't do it with other topics.

I'm an Amazon affiliate, so I 'll promote books I've read about marriage, as well as beauty products I love, etc. The place I've brought in the most money was when I added Google Adsense to my pages.

When I get good traffic, I can make a little money. It usually ends up averaging at about $2 per 1k pageviews. I am now about to hit my 25k/m sessions mark, which means I can start working with Mediavine. You can make more ad money with them than with Google Adsense. I hope one day to not have to use ads so that I won't annoy my readers. It's just the only thing I have going for me right now until I can sell my ebook. 

Where do I go from here?

Trial and error. It's all a learning process. I want to encourage you. If you are researching, taking steps, and following through on things, you will get there! Great content is obviously your biggest asset. If you don't have a backbone to your brand, you won't have success.

There is LOADS of great information out there. I just wanted to share my story of where I'm at 3 months later in the blogging world. I'm pretty proud of the fact I have 2k views per day. At least for now. It's always fluctuating. 

My next steps are to continue to grow my email list. I started a new strategy yesterday that seems like it's finally stuck. FINALLY! I got 10 subscribers in 1 day! That's huge for me! I am also about to publish my ebook, so we will see! I'll keep you updated!

I'm tired, my brain has never been utilized so much, and I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night with a blog post title on my mind. I guess it just comes with the job. I'm not making much money yet, but I'm okay with that. I'm pressing on, and I'm not giving up!

Where are you at?

I would love to hear where you're at. It's always encouraging to hear other blogger stories! Feel free to comment below.

How to Build Trust in Your Relationship

 how to build trust and learn to trust once again

Here are some topics I will discuss in this post

  • How our society might be feeding our mistrust of one another

  • How broken trust doesn't only come from infidelity

  • How to take the first steps to trust again

  • Learning to trust with forgiveness

  • Setting boundaries when trust has been broken

Is our society to blame for all of the mistrust in relationships?

Trust is one of, if not the most important aspects of any relationship. Unfortunately, it's the hardest to establish, especially if that trust has been broken.

Tabloids, social media, movies and TV shows, all are indicators of the direction in which our society has gone when it comes to being faithful or having integrity.

Sure, it may be nothing new under the sun that relationships are often broken with infidelity, but since we can have instant knowledge of just about everything, our awareness of it is more apparent now than ever.

Any show or movie you watch today won't let you escape the mistrust, lies, and affairs of the characters, and I can't help but notice a certain numbness sets in. Our society has almost brought a playfulness to it. Condoning it, yet not blatantly. 

Take Desperate Housewives for example. Your modern day soap opera. You might think it's a harmless show. Heck, I got sucked into watching it, excusing it as my guilty pleasure. Living in Germany, I sometimes like to escape to what it's like living in America again, even though that show imparticular is a bit far-fetched as to portray what America is really like. Just a bit. 

Even though it's entertaining and cheesily endearing, in a way, Desperate Housewives is a perfect example how society makes light of infidelity; although they make sure it's veiled in a "shameful" shadow.

So no, they don't condone it, yet they show you how fun and enticing it can be. How if your partner is ignoring you, it's okay to seek attention elsewhere. Sure, it shows the consequences of infidelity, but not without first giving you an alluring impression. 

Do you think that from all of these sources we are being brainwashed to not trust anyone? On top of that, it's encouraging infidelity, laced in an "everyone does it" mentality. 

I'm not saying just because you watch a show with infidelity means that you will someday cheat on your spouse, or watching such shows will cause you to mistrust. I'm only asking, is what we fill our minds with brainwashing us to some extent? I think we need to be asking ourselves these questions. 

That being said, learning to trust even if the trust hasn't been broken is easier said than done, especially in this day and age. 

 

 how to build trust in your relationship

Broken trust doesn't mean infidelity is always the cause.

Trust being broken doesn't necessarily mean that one of you in the relationship has done something terrible, like being unfaithful.

When we start a relationship with someone, trust is formed and grown from day one. Let's call these "Trust Tanks." Starting out, our trust tanks are empty. We don't know that person yet, so there is no basis or foundation of trust.

As you get to know one another, these tanks start to fill up. A woman's trust is very emotionally driven. When a guy shows you he wants to take care of you, keep you from crying, protect you, understand you, and love you every single day no matter what, then he is filling your trust tank.

Men are more factually driven. His trust tank is filled when you respect him by showing him you are grateful, dependable, supportive, and encouraging of who he is as a man.

Men and women are very different in how their trust tank is filled, similar to how we each feel loved. 

It's no wonder those aspects, whether fulfilled or not, play a huge role in how much we trust or mistrust someone. 

 How to build lasting trust in your relationship

Let's say you or your partner haven't committed any sort of infidelity, yet you have no trust for one another. Yes, it's possible. By not meeting one another's needs in filling those trust tanks, we are in essence breaking our trust with one another. Soon, expecting the best will be a thing of the past. We will be operating off of mistrust, and when you let that creep into any relationship, you are in for a disaster. 

How can I start trusting again?

I'm not going to touch on how to build trust up again specifically after infidelity, but just include that in your mind if it's happened to you. Let's just come from a standpoint that you don't have trust in your relationship, and it doesn't quite matter how you got there. 

Let's say you don't have an ounce of trust left in your love tank. Your partner has let you down in more ways than you can count, and you've just had enough. Is there still hope for you? YES! Not only is there hope, there is something YOU can do.

It's really the best place to be if you think about it. You don't have to sit around and wait for your partner to change. Like many things I talk about here on Word From The Bird, I will always come at the issue or problem you have from a standpoint of, "what are YOU going to do about it?"

Unfortunately, so many relationships are broken because we aren't willing to own up to our part of the problem. We end that relationship without self-reflecting. What happens is, once we get into another relationship, the same problems occur. It could be a measly 2%, but still, it's your part.

By growing personally and working on what you need to address, all aspects of your life will begin to change for the better, including your relationships. Not only will it help the situation you're currently in, it will change your perspective on how you look at things. 

What does forgiveness have to do with it?

Before I get to the surest way of how to learn to trust again, I want to take you through a first step you will need to go through in order to trust again. It's called forgiveness

Forgiveness is a fickle thing. When we don't forgive, we ultimately sabotage our best efforts in trusting. Forgiveness is often misperceived in many ways, so I want to address that for a second. 

Forgiveness is not:

·       Going to release your offender of any consequences of what they did to you. 

·       Forgetting what happened to you. Unfortunately, the wounds in our lives will leave scars. 

·       Forgiving only when asked for forgiveness.

·       Forgiving only when we feel like it.

I know, some of those sound harsh. But I am living proof that if you CHOOSE to forgive, even when you don't feel like it, your feelings will eventually follow suit. If we wait for our feelings to make the decision to forgive, we won't get anywhere. And guess what? Your unforgiveness is hurting you more than anyone! 

The surest way to trust once again. 

Listen carefully, this is where it gets good. The surest way to begin to build trust in your relationship is to make sure you are filling your partner's trust tank, even if they aren't filling yours. Is that easy? Nope.

In fact, it may one of the hardest things you will ever do. But think about it. Are you, every single day, making your best effort to fill your spouse's trust tank? If not, how are you any better in being a trustworthy person?

Just because they may have done something "worse" doesn't mean you're off the hook. Do your part! I guarantee, your partner will see it. Not only will it begin to change your heart, it just might change theirs. Do you tend to be more loving towards someone who is loveable or someone who is awful to you? Exactly. The same goes for trust.

 

Setting boundaries when trust is broken.

To be clear on some things, I want to also address what trust is NOT.

Let's go back to the fact that forgiveness will not release the offender of consequences. There will always be consequences to broken trust, and unfortunately, you may be the one to suffer the most.

So where do boundaries come in to play? They come when we understand exactly what is expected and what trust isn't.  

Trust is NOT:

  • Letting that person who broke your trust walk all over you and continues in their ways. Even though we can't control what they do, we can control the boundaries we set in place. Obviously, this looks different for everyone, but figure out what it is you won't tolerate, set those boundaries, and stick to them. If they can't follow through and respect those boundaries, then figure out what your next step will be, and seek counsel on it. 
  • Letting your offender off the hook in proving they are trustworthy. In order for you to trust them again, they need to show they are trustworthy through their actions, NOT WORDS. They need to earn your trust! 
  • Assuming they are lying and not believing them at all, no matter what they say. It's a frustrating feeling when someone has lied to you so much you don't know if you can ever believe a word they say. But if you start operating out of assumption and not facts when it comes to trust, they will never feel like they can ever earn your trust again. It may hurt and they may break that trust again, but if you don't take a step of faith, the trust will never come. 

What are some way you and your spouse have built trust? Feel free to comment below!

 Are you struggling in your relationship right now? 

How To Better Communicate Sensitive Topics

This post contains affiliate links - By purchasing from any of the recommended products I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!

 3 questions you should ask yourself before talking about something difficult.

3 communication tips when talking about something sensitive and heartfelt.

Once again, you settle on the couch after a long days work to watch your favorite Netflix show. Your spouse is next to you, and then BAM! It hits you. This is it. This is your life. Not only are your work days are on repeat, you come home and are reminded that your home life is also...on repeat. So, you wrestle with your thoughts for a minute and that still small voice that's been nagging you for the past few years is steadily getting louder. 'There has to be more to this relationship.' or 'Is watching TV with my spouse every single night normal or beneficial? Why can't we do something more with our evenings together, or our lives for that matter?' It's getting so loud that if you don't immediately transform those thoughts into words, you just might burst.

Yes, we have all been there. It's mostly women who grow steadily unfulfilled when they sense something becoming redundant. I couldn't quite put my finger on why that is until I realized something. Women love to be pursued. Not just in a "hey babe, wanna go on a date?" kind of pursuing, but an everyday, active curiosity of who we are pursuing. If you're a free-spirited, emotional, sensitive, and opinionated soul like I am, you know this need. And when it's not met...we get restless. Redundancy gets under our skin, and if we feel as though our spouse has become complacent, which brings about the dreaded boredom of life, we sometimes resort to unhealthy communication.

So, what should we do when these thoughts and feelings come up to the forefront of our needs? Well, I can tell you one thing; it's easy in these situations to commit communication sabotage and before you know it, you wished with all your heart you had kept your mouth shut. But before you push it down and let it simmer even more or say something in a way that will send your home accesories flying, ask yourself these helpful questions.

Is this a good time to talk about it?

I can't tell you how many times I've said something, and immediately after, knew it was the wrong time to say it. My best efforts at using my words carefully or not sounding critical are put to waist faster than I can say, "@#$%" because no matter how well I communicate, it won't matter. It just wasn't a good time. 

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How do we know when there's a good time to talk about what's on our hearts as opposed to the wrong time? Here are few pointers. 

  • Don't talk about a heart issue that has been simmering for quite awhile immedietely after it happens again. 

There is a time and a place to address something right away, but that's not what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about that issue that started as a tiny little seed which was planted awhile ago, that has taken root and grown into the biggest effing ugly pumpkin you've ever seen. It's a thought like, 'there has to be more to this relationship' that deserves a bit of analizing before you voice it. 

  • Don't talk about a heart issue when your spouse is in a bad mood. 

If you're sensing a Mr. Hyde sitting next to you that night, it's probably best to wait to discuss heavy heart matters.

  • Don't talk about a heart issue when your emotions are high on anger. 

Some of the best advice I received from my mentor was this. Figure out something physical you can do to try and keep yourself from spewing out your emotions. For her, it's literally putting her hand over her mouth to keep herself from talking. For me, on the other hand, I don't do that because I'm pretty sure my husband would think I'm a whack job. No, I squeeze my hands together as hard as I can. It takes the energy from the monster trying to escape me, to my poor hands who aren't able to talk, thankfully.  Anyway, whatever you have to do to keep yourself from talking about something when you OR your partner are not at a good place, do it. Nothing good will come out of a conversation veiled in anger. 

Have I thought through how I am going to say what I need to say?

Remember in high-school, when you had to present a book report to the entire class, but you wrote it based on reading a few pages here and there throughout the book? Well, maybe you weren't as lazy as I was. High-school for me was a time to mess around with my best friend. We would often find ourselves doing voiceovers of our fellow classmates, given our classroom was arranged in a circle. We had the perfect view of everyone. I would do a voice for Jimmy, while she would do one for Mr. Holtcamp . It was hilarious, and now that I think of it, we were pretty much simulating a real life, "Bad Lip Reading Class of 2005." 

Sometimes, relationships are like that book report you wrote based on a book you didn't read. We say shit that we haven't studied for and end up getting a really bad grade, except not from the teacher, but from our spouse.  

It's very important to do your homework on what you are going to say if it's a hard topic to discuss. Now that I know I need to do this, I have an actual ritual I perform before discussing something sensitive. And yeah, I call it a ritual. I got the idea from a book I read and my shortened version of it goes like this. You can really do this exercise for anything difficult you're going through, as it's a great tool for really digging deep as to why you feel the way you feel. 

My "Don't eff this one up" ritual

First, in my journal, I write down the topic of my issue - Discussing...with my husband.

Then, I thank God that he has given me a husband, or thank him for something having to do with the specific trial. Yeah, always gratitude first, even when angry. 

Next comes telling God how pissed I am with my husband, and sometimes, how angry I am at Him as well. Basically, I believe that God doesn't want us to hold our feelings from Him. He can handle it. He wants us to be real with him!

Then, I confess and ask God to show me what it is I need to work on in the situation. Oftentimes, I find that most of my anger is coming from my suppression of feelings. After expressing them to God, I don't feel the need to discuss it with my husband anymore. But sometimes, a conversation is still needed, except the anger and garbage from my mind has been addressed and I can better process what it is I need to say to him. 

Is this a preference or an actual issue? 

There is a difference between an issue that is an actual issue and something that is a preference. By that I mean, ask yourself, "Is this something I am just preferring to be different, or is it causing real damage to our relationship?" If you find that your issue is something you preferred were different, you need to come at it differently than if it's a real damaging issue. 

An example of preferring something to be different could be this issue of watching Netflix every night. Sure, it's maybe not an ideal way of spending time with one another, but you are still spending time with one another. Know what I mean? If the other person, when dealing with a particular issue, isn't emotionally or physically causing you harm, then it's quite possible you should let it go as it's a preference. Voicing that you want to do something else sometimes is how you would address it, and leave it at that. How they react is on them. There's nothing wrong with voicing your needs. Just make sure there isn't a deeper issue at hand. Are those thoughts about your relationships being meaningless because of doing the same thing every night really true, or would you just prefer your circumstance to be different?

Many times, what we thought was this huge deal, and our lives are meaningless are just a fleeting moment. Hormones running high, stress, or not sleeping well. Sometimes they are more than that. That's why it's very important to first analyze your side of things before you go stirring the pot. 

You'll be grateful you did. 

 Amazing communication advice for talking about something difficult

Grow ANY Business Exponentially With These AMAZING APPS You've Never Heard Of

 Grow ANY Business Exponentially With These AMAZING APPS You've Never Heard Of

How Good and Bad Habits Can Affect Your Goals

Are you among the 100th percentile of people who have habits? Yeah, we ALL have them. From picking our noses or gambling to working out every day and saving money, habits range from little to big, and bad to good. When it comes to setting goals, habits play a HUGE role in either crippling us or propelling us forward. 

In my opinion, our ability to seek out and accomplish our goals have just gotten worse with the changing times. We are so driven to keep up with the world's ever-changing system that before one goal is finished, we get distracted by another and find it hard to tackle the tasks at hand. It's an epidemic that is sweeping the minds of our new generation.

Thankfully, new technology, like apps and software can assist us in setting our priorities straight and keeping our eyes on the prize. You just need to figure out which ones are the right ones for you. 

Organize and Prioritize

When I first thought of writing this post, I was in the process of organizing my life. Working from home has its disadvantages, especially because I tend to favor the creative side of myself, over the buckling down and getting shit done side. It's no news to me I need help when it comes to organization, setting goals, and overall completing my tasks at hand. Many of us do. 

In researching how I can best do this, I purchased and tried out a few apps and softwares to see if this crazy technological side of our existence might be of assistance in my unorganized way of doing things, especially setting goals. I then realized that in order to set healthy and achievable goals, I need to first organize my life. 

Apps are incredible. If you would have told me what a phone, tablet, or computer was capable of 10 years ago, I wouldn't have believed you. Now, from tracking exercise and healthy eating habits to tracking your time in finding out if you are productive enough with your day, apps have become just as much a part of our lives as our vehicles.

That being said, I want to share with you some apps and software that have helped me succeed and assisted me in organizing my life and setting goals. Maybe you are struggling to utilize your time, be organized, or set goals for yourself. Check these out and see if they might help you in getting your business and/or life on track. 

 


Amazing Apps for your new perspective on life

Getting organized and setting goals. 

 

Time Management

Rescue Time - an app for saving your precious time. 

How many times have you run out of time? I run out of time almost every day. I get so flustered with the millions of things I have to do, I can't seem to accomplish any of them. My day ends, and I realize I didn't utilize my time the best. Did you know there's an app for that?! Time? Yes, it's called Rescue Time. With many apps, you, of course, have your Lite (free version), or premium version. I first like to test out the free version to see if I like it, then make that decision if I want to get a more in-depth experience of the premium. Installation was pretty straight forward and simple.

What it does 

Rescue Time works on any device and will account for the apps and sites you desire. 

It gives you a report based on your setting of how you, or your business employees utilize time on a workspace computer or mobile device. 

 Rescue time offers a way for you to stop waisting time!

By charts and graphs you get a daily, weekly, and annually report of how you can better use your time and when in your day you are most productive. Sometimes, at the end of my day, I look back and can't quite put my finger on what went wrong in my time maneagement. With this software, you can get a breakdown of the areas you need to work on. Today, after being logged in for 2 and 1/2 hours, I had 27 minutes of distracted time. Dang it. 

This is a software you can set up, let run and not think about. By the end of the day or week, you can refer back to see the changes that need to be made. It gives you a daily progress report of how productive you were so you don't have to always wonder if you got anything done.

Instead of making a video that wouldn't be near as good as this guy, I thought I would let him take the reigns. This breaks things down to give you more of an idea of what it does. 

This is simply the best tool for those of you who want to be more productive with your time. In my opinion, great for entrepreneurs who work from home, and businesses that want to check the productivity of their team. Not only is it accountability in its finest form, it isn't evasive, it's easy to use, and will help any business or individual in setting their goals both big and small. 

Pricing and Plans 

Lite (free) and Premium ($9 per month or $72 per year). 

I know it's a lot to commit to when it comes to the price, but look at it this way. How much is your time worth? If there was a way to better utilize it, would it be worth the investment?

 

Setting Goals and Tracking Habits

Strides - Goal and habit tracker for EVERYTHING

Not only does this app have excellent reviews, it has excellent performance. If you're ready to organize your life and start accomplishing your goals, then this might be for you. 

Here's what it does 

  • Helps you set smart goals to stay on track.
  • Finish big projects on time.
  • Encouragement with every achievement.
  • Track literally ANYTHING 

Track literally ANYTHING

Exercise

7. Saving money

 Organize your life with these amazing apps!
  1. Sleep 

  2. Journaling

  3. Flossing

  4. Becoming debt free

and much more.

  1. Weight

  2. Drinking water

  3. Reading

  4. Budget

  5. Meditation

7. Saving money

  1. Sleep 

  2. Journaling

  3. Flossing

  4. Becoming debt free

and much more.

 Track your life and stay organized!

Features:


- Step-by-step goal setting with templates
- Dashboard for viewing everything in one place
- Green/red pace line system to stay on track
- Charts with history, streaks, success rate and more
- Powerful reminders: Daily, weekly, weekdays, etc.
- Unlimited reminders to set yourself up for success
- Add extra notes to your logs to give more context
- Get organized and create the perfect daily routine
 

There's nothing like being reminded and held accountable for keeping your goals. Strides will help you succeed in your daily, weekly, and monthly goals, as well as tracking your good and bad habits, and staying organized.  

“the most comprehensive, user-friendly, beautifully designed goal tracking app available.”
—   New York Times 

Pricing and Plans

Standard

$0/mo per person

Four flexible tracker types

  • Dashboard: Everything in one place
  • Log Notes: Add all the detail you want
  • 10 goals & habits tracked at a time
  • iOS app: No Web, Sync or Backup
  • Tags & Filters to stay organized
  • Archive trackers to save their history

Strides Plus

$5/mo per person

Four flexible tracker types

  • Dashboard: Everything in one place
  • Log Notes: Add all the detail you want
  • Unlimited goals & habits
  • Sync, Backup, Web & Mobile apps
  • Tags & Filters to stay organized
  • Archive trackers to save their history
  • Export data to backup and analyze

 

Growing your email list

Bomb Bomb

 Create amazing video email with Bomb Bomb and grow your email list!

Most businesses have an email list and we all know how important they are. We must handle them with the utmost care. This can mean stepping up your game to get noticed when it comes to full inboxes and busy lives, or not waisting your readers time. Most of us who have to think of an exciting and compelling headline, are running out of ideas, and wondering if we will have to sell our souls in order to get some action from our readers to even open the email we sent. Well, Bomb Bomb is here to help. Not only does their company have an outstanding rating in customer service, they have a concept that will blow your mind.

Video Emailing!

This company is growing and growing fast. With our world moving ever so quickly to want immediate knowledge of something, what better way to get your point across than to send an email, not with words, but with a video of yours truly. Think about it. If you knew from the subject line there was a simple video to watch about the latest and greatest instead of taking the time to read an entire text, would you be more likely to open and watch? I would! 

 Send personalized video emails with bomb bomb!

Pricing and Plans

Try it for free for 14 days

To see if it's your thing because making videos isn't for everyone, try it for free! It's super intimidating to make a video of yourself and send it out to the world. But the more you do it, the better it gets! Click on the link to try for free!

 

Grow your business through pins and images

Tailwind App

Use Tailwind with Pinterest

Tailwind Visual Marketing Suite

Whether you have an interior design firm, a blog, a restaurant, or any business for that matter, you might have a little insight as to how Pinterest can help you succeed. As a blogger, I can't believe the strides my blog has taken because of Pinterest. It's an incredible tool for building, promoting and growing your business. But you know as well as I do, who has time to pin?! With how much you need to pin per day to keep up your monthly viewers and grow your following, it's enough to make someone go crazy! Thankfully there is an app for that!

Tailwind is specifically designed to help the users save time and expand their reach with a consistent pinning schedule. To put my mind at ease I take an hour or so on Monday and schedule all of my pins for the next week. With Tailwinds browser extensions, you can pin directly from your website or any website for that matter with a simple click of a button. You can also schedule directly from Pinterest!

Use Tailwind with Instagram

Instagram is another social media platform to help grow your business in amazing ways. Since Tailwind has also partnered up with Instagram, you can set up all of your posts for the week, at a specific time you would like hashtags included, and be on your way! This works great for me since I am on living in a European timezone, but my reach is on the other side of the world. I can schedule my posts so they can be the most successful in the timezone that is best for me!

It's no secret that bloggers and businesses everywhere are utilizing the amazing benefits of having Tailwind in your list of must have apps!

Well, that's all for today! I hope these ideas have given you some hope to start organizing your life, including your goals, productivity, and businesses. 

8 Diets You Should Avoid and Why

8 Diets to avoid and why

Dieting is one of the surest ways the food industry continues to try and convince us of eating things we shouldn't. They claim "healthy, low-carb, ketogenic, gluten-free, fat-free, less sugar, vegan," and the list goes on. Ever since dieting came into play as a strategy in getting people to buy certain products, it has morphed with the times, evolving with our lingo and lifestyle. We have become a society that thinks WAY too much about what we eat, which only fuels the fire. So what should we do about it? I'll tell you. Be informed, but stop thinking so much about your diet! I swear before I gave birth to my son my mind was constantly consumed with the latest diet trends, in efforts to lose that last ten pounds I could never seem to shake. I mean, I was obsessed! What happened was, my mind got in the way of me succeeding. In efforts to stop thinking about not eating food, I would, in turn, eat it, and in excess, because in a way, I wanted to rebel against my diet. Then I started using diet pills, starving myself, etc. After I had my son, I didn't have the time anymore to think about such things, and lost all of the weight I couldn't lose the previous years and then some! This is no news to most of you. It's the whole idea behind "stop dieting and start living." But here's the thing. That's a strategy as well! The industry says, change your lifestyle, not your diet, which is true, but they also attach to it a "do it this way" solution. Here are some things to be aware of in the food industry, and how they suck you into the next diet fad without you realizing it. 

I know I won't be super popular on this subject because our society thrives on diets fads, but I guess I don't care about popularity here. I first want to talk about some things that the industry does to make you think a certain way before they present you with their drug of choice.

 

3 things the food industry will try and convince you of.

 

1. You're not good enough.

Again, probably not news to most of you, but yet we still give in. Obviously hitting people where it hurts has long been a tactic of theirs, but why do we let them keep winning in our minds? Why do we continue to let them tell us who we should or shouldn't be? I am living proof of the fact that when you stop consuming your mind with changing yourself for the wrong reasons, you may actually succeed in making lifestyle changes. I used to be one of those women who would go the whole day eating healthy, only to get home from work and stuff my face full of ice cream. When I wanted a salty finish, I switched to chips, then back to sweet. Then salty again. Not only did I put my digestive system into shock day after day, but I also ended up feeling once again like I had failed, and because of failing I would never be desirable, and if I wasn't desirable, I would never get married, and down the rabbit hole, I went. This article I wrote touches on some ways to stop believing lies and understanding how it physically changes your brain. Dr. Carolyn Leaf is a neurologist who wrote a book about it called Switch on your Brain. I'm not going to go in depth right now, but if you're interested in working on changing thought patterns that are detrimental, it may be a helpful article for you. It also goes hand in hand with the fact that our body will process food differently if we think about it differently. Our brain is a powerful tool in our efforts to change our body physically.

2. You're not healthy enough.

When I moved to Germany a few years back, my eyes were opened to a few things when it comes to food. Germans eat so much bread, but they aren't overweight. What!? So carbs don't make you overweight? Maybe. They do if you eat too much of them. In fact, if you overeat anything, it could quite possibly make you overweight. So why aren't many Germans overweight if they eat so much bread? Why aren't most of the French overweight if they consume so much butter? Or what about Italians? They eat fried foods and pasta every single day, and the majority of them aren't overweight. How? It's called, a healthy mindset, portion control, and eating things in moderation. I believe it goes much deeper as well. America is SO quick to find a solution to cover the symptom, instead of dealing with the actual problem. This goes for pharmaceuticals, mental health, politics, etc. We tend to OVERTHINK EVERYTHING because we are focusing so much on covering up some "problem" our society is telling us we have to fix. We hear daily, "be healthier with these new diet tips," or "the keto diet is for you," and slowly but surely we start to believe we aren't healthy. I eat very healthily, but when I see an add or Pinterest pin for some new eating fad, I get sucked in! Wake up! When are we going to start thinking for ourselves when it comes to food instead of believing what social media is telling us? Perhaps you aren't healthy, and you need to lose weight, but what are your reasons behind it? Is it because society says you need to look or be a certain way? Or is it because you as an individual who thinks for themselves wants to live a healthy lifestyle, and be your version of healthy?

3. There is something wrong with you.

I don't even know how many diets are out there, but the number is staggering. So what makes one better than the other? What makes a Vegan diet better than a Ketogenic diet? Who's to say that I need to eat only raw food? It's enough to make you go crazy. It's enough to make you feel like you're doing something wrong! Like you need to jump on the next diet train to be doing the right thing. They want you to think just that, that you are wrong, because if you're doing something other than what they think you should be doing to consume their product, then you are wrong. I'm not a doctor or nutritionist, so I'm not going to say whether a Vegan diet is better than a Ketogenic diet, I'm merely trying to open up your eyes to the dysfunction of it all. We no longer know who to believe, what is the truth, and what is best for us. 

What is the solution to being healthy?

I don't know, and that's precisely my point. I am just another person writing another article about what you should be doing with your life. This time, I'm encouraging you to start thinking for yourself. Find ways to get healthy from the inside out, starting with your thought patterns. This I do know, it all starts there, in your mind. The world feeds off of our insecurities, and these companies would lose a significant amount of money if we started thinking for ourselves. This comes to politics, medicine, mental health, etc. Here is my solution, if any, but please don't believe it because I say it. 

What if our diets came from our healthy minds? Do you think an unhealthy mind fuels an unhealthy diet? No.

I know this doesn't come easy for some of you. Those of you who's addiction is food. If it is your addiction, then what will a diet change about it? It may work for a little while, but there is nothing to back it up. No change of heart or mind. 

If the only reason you are doing a diet is to adhere to who society thinks you should be, then avoid it! They don't care about you, they care that you buy their products.

I guess I should clarify. Not all diets are bad. I'm talking about the ones that make you think if you do it their way, you will somehow change your life and be happier. I guess that can go for any diet. News flash, just because you lose weight, will not make you more confident or comfortable in your own skin. It can help, sure! But still, there is another layer that goes deeper. Your mind. That being said, I've researched a few diets that are particularly absurd. Again, this is my personal opinion. I'm not judging anyone. I've been on a lot of these diets myself. I just want to shed light on some things that maybe won't help you in the long run because they sure didn't help me.

 

 

8 diets you should avoid in 2018 and why

 

The Atkins Diet 

Why? Not a balanced or sustainable diet. Once you lose the weight, you will most likely put it back on because you will go back to eating normally. Anything that is strenuous makes you think too hard about what you should eat, is never a good option. You will get bored, frustrated and give up.

 

Paleo Diet

Why? Too much meat. Again, is not a sustainable diet that one can always follow on a daily basis. It does encourage natural ingredients, which is good, but not a lifestyle you can efficiently manage, which causes you to, once again, obsess about your diet. 

 

Weight Watchers Diet

Why? Too much counting. It will give you a headache and cause you to give up because no one can sustain such an annoying way to live. I think this is the one Oprah advertises for, right? Do you remember how many times her weight has fluctuated over the years? Just sayin.' "I LOVE BREAD. I love it!" - Oprah 

 

5:2 Diet

Why? Skipping meals for two days? Are you kidding me? I'm sure you get results for those two days of losing water weight, but what about putting your digestive system into shock and then eating an entire refrigerator on day three? At least that’s what I would do after murdering someone because I’m so hangry.

 

Slim Fast Diet

Okay, I’ve done this one. Not only did I get the worst sharts in the world, but I felt like I didn’t lose any weight as my stomach bloated to twice the size it was before. I kid you not, I was on a date when I sharted myself and needed to end it early. This actually turned out to be a good thing because he wouldn't shut up about himself. I told him I had the sharts and he was glad to let me go. And did you see the ingredient list? Yikes!!!

 

Lighter Life Diet

Why? Meal replacements are never a good idea. Expensive, and boring. You also get a counselor. I guess that’s good, but again, what happens when I run out of money?

 

Ketogenic Diet 

I know this one is SO popular, but what person can eat like this for long periods of time? Sustainable? Nope. High fat and meat content? Yes, and also not so good for your health because they don't discourage bad fats. Supposedly this is a diet for people who suffer from epilepsy. So, why have we decided it’s now good for us? Again, not sustainable and when you finish it, what happens then? Results? Sure! But for how long? Could this perhaps be a glorified Atkins diet that makes you pee on a stick? Anyone?

 

Slimming World Diet

They give you a list of foods you can choose from and connect you with a support group.  There’s nothing necessarily wrong with this diet, but what is right about it? I’m just confused. How is this different than trying to eat healthily and talking about it to your friends? It's not. 

 

In Summary

All that to say, nothing offers a different solution that causes you to be healthy and start changing the way you think and live FOR GOOD. I had never been exceedingly overweight, so I don’t know what that’s like, but I’m pretty sure it goes deeper than just a change in diet for a few months. It all starts in the mind. I believe the most important thing is to be confident in who you are as a woman. No matter what. Start there, and the results will come. Also, stop thinking so much about what you should and shouldn't eat. Just remember that moderation is essential. That if you eat an entire cheesecake instead of one piece, you will suffer consequences more than just not pooing for a week. Support groups are great. Counselors are great. A healthy mindset is a healthy lifestyle, and that goes for anything in life. It's a journey, but do your best to be confident in who you are. 

 8 fad diets to avoid and why you should!

This goes to say, what we eat, why we are overweight, why we don't work out, has so much more to do with our minds than anything else. Once we tackle this aspect and start to realize those wrong motivations WILL NOT MAKE YOU HAPPY or content, then we can begin to have healthy diets and change for good.

Incredible and Unique Gift Ideas for Children

Looking for a meaningful children's gift?

Every year, when it comes to buying a birthday gift for my son, I usually know exactly what I need to get. From the moment his last birthday ended, he has a complete list of ideas ready for his next birthday, and I get to hear about it EVERY SINGLE DAY for an entire year. If he isn't asking for a pet dinosaur, it's usually something like an expensive lego set that will most likely end us sitting on a shelf collecting dust a week after its built. While I love to get him what he wants, and I know I'll be in the doghouse if I don't, I also want to give him something memorable and lasting. Also, I just can't pull a pet dinosaur out of my butt, so I have to be a little more creative to distract him from what he's not getting. I first heard about Put Me in the Story while looking for a gift for my son's friend. This company puts customized names into popular children's books! For example, while reading Curious George to your son, it will come even more alive if they hear that they are in the story as well. Brilliant, right?

I've tried my hand at storytelling, but have never really been good at it. Loving my son as much as I do, I would have to resort to just simply putting him in a popular fairytale, and making him the hero. Since he had never heard the real story of Charlie and the Chocolate factory, he was BLOWN AWAY at the fact that I could come up with a story about him in such detail and imagination where he finds a golden ticket and inherits his very own chocolate factory. Little did he know, all I did was swap him out for Charlie. Goes to say, I wish I would have thought of this idea back when I had to tell my version of Elliott and the Chocolate Factory for the hundredth time. Put Me in the Story is quite the fantastic idea that will excite any kids imagination. What child doesn't want to hear that they are a hero or a princess and see it for themselves on the written pages. 

I'm showing a few options here, but check out the website for yourself and see what you can find. It makes the perfect gift that is something other than the plastic, loud gifts most moms hate. 

This post contains affiliate links - By clicking and/or purchasing from an image or link, I will receive a commission of the sale at no cost to you. Thanks for your support in helping me keep doing what I love!

Books for Boys

Books for Girls

Draw Really Cool Stuff - Book for kids on learning how to draw the right way

My son is a creative soul. He loves to create draw, and build. This book from Amazon is an AMAZING way to get your child to learn how to draw. Ever since Elliott starting suing this book, his technique has skyrocketed. It shows you with simple steps, how you get from a shape, to an amazing drawing. Check out this shark he did!

File Apr 27, 5 34 08 PM.jpeg

Here is an example of how it shows you step by step. As you can see, it starts with simple shapes, so it's easier for them to comprehend. It helps them gain an awareness to sizing and perspective. 

 

Make Your Outdoor Living a Dreamland With These Incredible Deals from Houzz

Houzz Logo - Opaque

Entertain in style this summer with these must-have sale items from Houzz.

One of my favorite places to shop all things decor indoor and outdoor is the all amazing platform, Houzz. It's is affordable, stylish, reliable, and every homeowner's dream to a better life. Check it out for yourself! I have compiled a few of my favorite outdoor entertainment elements that are sure to bring your patio to life. Click on the images for pricing and reviews.

Disclaimer - This article contains affiliate links. By clicking on the images and/or purchasing an item, I may receive a commision at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!

 

If you have a small or covered patio with limited space, this table top grill is great.. Not only can you avoid buying a huge, expensive grill that takes up all your space, you can grill right from the table!

Outdoor rugs can create a wonderful ambiance to any outdoor setting. Add a little pop and color to your patio to bring everything together.

This simple and sleek outdoor furniture set is a steal! Click on the image for prices and colors. 

There's nothing like the ambiance fire creates to get everyone in a better mood. Sitting around the fire has never looked so stylish or rustic!

Huge, adjustable, affordable. Click on the image for prices and different colors!

This is somewhere I could stay forever. Talk about creating a dreamland in your very own backyard!

Floating 3-Piece Bed Set, Double

A floating bed under the stars? Yes please!

Is the weather or environment a little tricky for you garden? With this greenhouse at an amazing price, you can grow whatever you want with ease and beauty.

Control freak? Yeah, me too. Simple tips on how to live in faith and not fear.

Everyone is a control freak to some extent

 Are you a control freak? Set yourself free with these amazing tips on finally letting go. 

I was talking with my mentor recently, which opened my eyes to the fact that what I want to control in my life is completely different from what someone else wants to control. She shared with me some struggles she has in letting certain things go, and I thought to myself, 'wow, I don't care about those things at all.' Goes to say, we are all affected by different things and sometimes we don't even realize that we are in fact being...controlling about it. It's important to identify what you're trying to control in your life and learn how to work through it; otherwise, those problems will begin to control you.

As a woman, I find that my need to control might perhaps be ingrained in my DNA. Women for some reason feel the need to control their spouses and everything around them. Men love nothing more than to do everything they can not be controlled, even if it means becoming controlling themselves. It's a tangled web we weave, and I have been caught in that freaking mess more times than I care to admit. In essence, I am living in fear and not faith. I am not only hindering my own potential, I am making myself more miserable the more I try and control. Thankfully, I have already completed the first step. Let me share with you some tips on actually changing your mindset on control and what it means to live in faith and not fear.

how very little can be done under the spirit of fear.
— Florence Nightingale

 

1. Acknowledge that you have a problem with trying to control. In other words, own up to it.

What is the first step in AA? Admitting and accepting that you're an alcoholic. Am I comparing control to alcoholism right now? Yep! First things first. As hard as it is, in order to change, we need to first admit we have a problem and accept that it needs to be dealt with. If you can do this, well, you're on a good path already and there is hope. Humility is a virtue that only comes when you are willing to change, so yes, it's going to take some willpower as well. 

2. Recognizing who can give you the strength to change.

I know, again with the AA stuff. But seriously, we have to also admit we can't do it on our own! Control, in a way, is an addiction. What's the definition of addiction according to Dictionary.com? The state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma. ... A physical or psychological need for a habit-forming substance. 

There you have it. Control, if not dealt with, can become an addiction. Like anything for that matter. If we place too much weight on anything, give it control over our lives in spite of the negative impact it's having, we have let that become an addiction. 

Control is all about doing things on your own time and your own terms. In overcoming the need fro control, you should steer clear of the ideal that you can shake this on your own. If you have a faith, then you know that you don't have control over the things or people in your life any more than a monkey does. Certain things, like whether or not we are going to apply for a job is something we can control. Whether we get that job isn't up to us. That doesn't mean you can just sit back and let God do all the work. No, it takes a step of faith on your part in following through what he is leading you to do. He wants us to recognize that worrying about our future, or what others might or might not do, is not going to do diddly squat. It's the difference between living out of fear or faith. 

3. Find accountability.

It's one thing to say you will change, it's another to show you have changed. If you have someone in your life that you trust, let them know what it is you're wanting to do about your need to control. That way, when it gets hard, because it will, you have someone who can remind you and walk through that journey with you.

4. Figure out the WHY. Write it down.

Husbands, kids, finances, etc. All of these things can come crashing down at a moments notice because you don't know your future. Set yourself free by making a list of all of the things you need to let go of. It's crazy how this has worked for me. I went specifically in depth into each and every category of the things I want to control, wrote how I felt about them, whether it made me angry, sad or frustrated, and by the end of it I figured out the why! Sometimes we don't know why we want to control until we admit what is frustrating us so much about how we can't control it. 

5. Let it go.

Many times when I come to a conclusion on what my WHY is, I realize a lot of it has to do with unforgiveness and mistrust. (Learn how to start the path to forgiveness in my healing from your past article.) Sometimes I have no idea what it comes from, and that's okay! I just know that with a few faith steps and trusting that God will get me through it, I can change. My need for control has in many ways brought my marriage to some very difficult points. Because I don't have control over my husband's actions, I live in fear of getting hurt, or him dying, you name it. You need to change your mindset from "I'm afraid that..." to "even if it happened, I would be okay because of..." For me, it's because I know that whatever I will go through, I have a God who loves me and will walk with me every step of the way. This isn't an easy concept to grasp, and I believe I will continue to learn the ins and outs of it until the day I die. So what can you do right now? Take the steps necessary for change, and follow through. If you fail, don't give up. Tomorrow is another day you have been given to try again. 

6. Start with the little things. 

Think about the little things that you try and control throughout your day. Is it that your husband is always late coming home from work? Your child keeps lying to you? You can't seem to pay off that debt that's been haunting you for years? Whatever it is, write down how it frustrates you and why, and then write how you want to react instead of your past "Why are you always home late?" comments that get you nowhere except a big blown out fight. Remember, you can't change your husband or your kids, but you can change how you react to an unfortunate situation. That doesn't mean you shouldn't voice what it is that's bothering you, but by processing it first, it will come out with a communication that isn't going to send your spouse or kids immediately into defense mode. Once you start having success on the easier problems in your life that you want to control, you can begin to work on the bigger things. You will start feeling a sense of freedom from those need for control actions that have held you captive over the years. You'll start to accept the fact that your husband is home late sometimes and it's okay. When it becomes a problem, you will then know how to communicate better, so that your husband will hear you and not want out from under your reign of control. Do you see how that works together? 

 Simple steps in how to stop controlling and start living.

7. Practice makes perfect.

It wasn't until I really followed through on writing down my control issues and working through them that I began to succeed in accepting that I can't control certain things. Like anything in life, it takes time. First, you have to want to change. I know for me, I was so sick of being ruled by living in fear that I knew I had to do something about it or I would go crazy. It was keeping me from enjoying life and stealing my joy. I just wasn't having it anymore. I still try and control things. Ask my poor husband. I'm not perfect and neither will you be. We all have our quirks and struggles, but even taking a step as to say, "I need to change in this," is a huge accomplishment.

Mothers Day Gift Ideas - Specific Gifts for Your Specific Type of Mother

Mothers day is just around the corner! Find that special lady who has always been there for you the gift she deserves. 

 This Mothers Day - Find her the perfect gift she deserves based on her personality type. 

I know how hard it can be to figure out a gift for the woman who has always been there for us. That's why I compiled a list of unique ideas that might give you some inspiration. We all have mothers, but we all don't have the same mother. What one woman likes, may be another's nightmare. Whether you're reading this because you're a husband looking to buy your wife a mothers day gift, someone looking for their own mother, or a mother sending this link to your husband as a hint, I hope this list will give you some good ideas or at least some direction.

I would say, my mom would fall into the category of the homemaker, but she always knew how to take care of herself on the beauty side of things. I still get asked to this day if she is my sister. Yeah, she looks good for her age. She was always such a good example of what it means to put your life before your kids, but also look classy doing so. I can learn a lot from her, and so when it comes to picking her out a gift, it has to be special, unique, and fitting to her style and personality. I would love to hear your ideas!

Last year I got her this necklace, which she absolutely loved. I'm pretty sure I got the idea from someone else's list of ideas, so I thought I would share the love. Maybe your mom will like it just as much as mine did. 

This post may contain affiliate links - By clicking on an image or link to view and/or purchase, I may receive a commision at no extra cost to you. This is just a way for me to continue doing what I love. Thanks for your support!


Now let's get to some ideas and be a little more specific to her personality and/or needs.

 

The Homemaker Mother

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The Beauty Conscious Mother

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I did a review on this product a few weeks ago. It's something I have used for the past 4 years and can testify that it works incredibly. Just the mascara alone with help your lashes grow thicker and longer in 6 weeks! Believe me, your wife or mom will absolutely LOVE this. 

Did you know that your pillow case can give you wrinkle? Maybe this wouldn't be the best choice for the husband to give the wife (wouldn't want any trouble) but maybe a mother to give to her mother ;-)

Vichy products are incredible! For some reason, the French know what they are doing when it comes to beauty products. This is one product imparticular that I love. After I use it, my blackheads come right out with barely any effort. Pamper your mom or wife with this luxurious yet affordable product!

I haven't gone a morning or night without cleansing my face with this amazing product. I wrote a blog post about xylitol, which is one of the ingredients in this product. Read more about it here!

 

The Book Worm Mother

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The "I need a pick me up" Mother

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All moms need a reminder of gratitude. It will only make their lives better!

Maybe your mom or wife needs to be reminded that she doesn't need to be perfect! 

This machine has literally changed my life after having kids. Every morning, I need my coffee in order to function. How great is pushing a button and getting a better than Starbucks coffee in no time. 

This book helped me through the lowest points of my life. If your mom or wife is struggling to live joyfully and purposefully, give her the gift of healing and personal growth.

Sometimes, all a mother wants is to be the best version of herself physically as well as mentally. Help her to get going with this new book from the Bestselling Author of SHRED.

Xylitol - Can it Really Clear Up Acne and Prevent Cavities?

Xylitol - The miracle sugar substitute. What are the benefits and what can we use it for?

 Xylitol - Can it really clear up acne and prevent cavities?

Xylitol - Can it really clear up acne and prevent cavities?

I’m not sure where I first heard about this wonderful sugar substitute, but I do remember seeing it at health food store one day and thought the name of it looked familiar. I ended up picking up a bag and did a little research on what it was exactly. Where had I seen this before? Gum! It’s one of the main ingredients. Now before I delve into what it is, why it’s good and how we can utilize it, I will first say this. I think it tastes BETTER than sugar! Yep. My son thinks so as well, which made the switch from his morning honey on oatmeal to xylitol on oatmeal a breeze. 

So, can xylitol really do all of the things research says it can? The answer is yes!

What is xylitol?

Xylitol is unlike many of it’s neighboring sweeteners, which can cause a variety of health issues and are higher in calories. It is derived from birchwood but is also the all natural sugar alcohol that is found in many fruits and veggies. Xylitol is highly researched and has been confirmed to be incredibly effective and safe. You might be surprised how many products contain this miracle ingredient, and it’s secret is being discovered more and more. But like anything else, moderation is still to be considered, as well as picking out the right kind. Our food industry loves to cut corners, which has lead to various problems when it comes to choosing which brand. Here are some good recommendations as to what kind to get that are considered non- GMO as well as made from Birchwood and not corn from China.

This post may contain affiliate links - That means, when you click on and/or purchase from an image or link, I may receive a small commission of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support in helping continue to do what I love to do!

The many uses of xylitol

Xylitol as a sweetener

One of the more common uses of xylitol is as a natural sweetener. As I said before, it contains fewer calories than sugar, a whopping 40 %, and in my opinion, tastes better. I must admit, I haven't cooked much with it, but apparently the ratio for substitution of sugar is 1:1. That means, you can treat it just like sugar and use the same amount in every recipe. I mainly use it in my tea, coffee, oatmeal, and sprinkle on my peanut butter toast. You don't need a lot to receive the natural benefits that come along with it. 

Xylitol as a facial cleanser 

I have been seeing xylitol pop up in many beauty products, one imparticular called Bioderma Cleansing Water. I don’t want to sound like I'm overexaggerating here, but ever since I started using this as a facial cleanser, my acne has disappeared. I promise you, I would NOT recommmend this product if i didn't think it was absolutely amazing. Not to mention it makes your skin feel fresh and clean, without the harsh effects of how regular cleanser can make your face feel dry and over cleaned. I used to get large cystic pimples under my skin that have caused scarring and discomfort. Since using this incredible product from France, I haven’t had one breakout. The bacterial infections I had under my skin disappeared and it has never looked better. I can testify that this product works wonders, and I can’t help but think that the xylitol has something to do with it. Xylitol is a warrior against fighting bad bacteria, so it's no wonder it can help clear up bacterial skin infections. 

Some of its benefits are 

  • Combines performance and very high tolerance
  • Cleanses and removes make-up from the face and eyes
  • Soothes and clears up irritated skin
  • Produces a feeling of instant freshness
  • Non-rinse
  • Fragrance-free formula
  • Alcohol-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Hypoallergenic
  • AFFORDABLE! Check the price by clicking on the link

Xylitol as a cavity preventer

Simply adding xylitol to your diet will decrease your chances of getting cavities. I mean, hello, it’s used in toothpaste! Did you ever wonder how toothpaste could be sweet yet not cause your teeth to fall out? That’s why! So, if you make changes to your diet by having less sugar and more xylitol, you are automatically decreasing your chances of cavities from this amazing product fighting, once again, that bad bacteria. Apparently, upon research, xylitol in gum and toothpaste aren’t a sufficient enough amount to make a huge change, so adding it to your diet is necessary if you want the full benefits. 

Xylitol as an ear infection prevention

This one I was shocked to discover. When I first decided to write this article, I did a lot of research on what I already knew to be a wonderful product, to find out it was even better than I expected. Using xylitol in your diet will also decrease your chances of getting an ear infection. Ever since my son has been using xylitol in his morning oatmeal instead of sugar, he hasn’t gotten one ear infection. I know that may not be proof to you but get this. He’s had the flu (the worst one yet) but not one sign of an ear infection during the entirety of it. He used to get them ALL THE TIME when he was sick. Apparently, since the ear nose and throat (mouth) are all synced together, when one is off balance with bacteria, it makes it all off balance. So, by simply preventing cavities and using xylitol in your diet, you are preventing ear infections as well as nasal infections, which again leads me to the next effective use of xylitol.

Xylitol in sinus care and allergies

Have you ever used one of those nasal cleansers? I used to use this one back when I would sing and perform on a regular basis called XLEAR Sinus Rinse. Not only did it prevent my throat from drying up, it opened up my sinuses, helped me with my vocal range, and cleared up my allergies. Guess what the main ingredient is? You guessed it. Xylitol! You can purchase this amazing product here, by clicking on the link. My brother is also a testament to its working wonders on his allergies and many sinus problems. 

 

Dangers of Xylitol 

One thing you should take note of is if you own a dog, you should keep xylitol far away. Apparently, it’s toxic to them and can cause death. As for humans, xylitol has no known dangers, except for the digestive discomfort when you get the cheap stuff. Amazingly enough, if you’re diabetic, talk to your doctor about whether or not you can use this in your diet as it doesn’t spike blood sugar levels like sugar does.

If I haven’t convinced you that you should start using xylitol in your diet, then try it for yourself! It couldn’t hurt. I am a firm believer that using sugar substitutes that are not natural is a bad idea. I used to use the nasty artificial stuff, and let me tell you, it caused so many more problems that made me realize it wasn’t worth the fewer calories. I would rather not have dementia when I’m older than using sugar in moderation. Thankfully with xylitol, you get benefits from all angles. Fewer calories, it doesn’t spike your blood sugar, and it has incredible health benefits.

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 Acne problems? Clear up bacterial acne with this one natural ingredient!
 Does this one ingredient really have so many benefits? Learn about the ingredient everyone is talking about!
 The Amazing benefits of Xylitol! Heal acne and prevent cavities!

Stunning Area Rugs on Sale From Houzz | Most Affordable, Popular, and Hip Rugs for 2018

Contemporary, vintage, rustic, modern, traditional, classic, french, bohemian. These rugs I specifically picked out as favorites are at your disposal, ranging in every style and color. 

Looking for something to liven up your living spaces? Area rugs can make or break a room. When it comes to choosing a rug, it's important to think about the colors that will tie everything else in. Not only are these rugs incredibly affordable, they are unique and sought after, so if you spot one you like, you had better jump on it! 

This article may contain affiliate links - By clicking and/or purchasing from the images below, I may receive a commision at no extra cost to you. Just a way to help me keep doing what I love, and bringing you the best possible articles I can. Thanks for your support!

This rug would go well for a traditional french style room, or something with light and warm furniture. If you want something vintage and unique looking, yet not overwhelming, this rug would be a good option. 

This is one of my favorites. Inspired by global travel and the bold, colorful motifs adorning fashionable ski chalets, Safavieh translates rustic lodge style into the supremely chic and easy-care Adirondack collection.

A wonderful and rich centerpiece for any room. It almost looks like you have a painting as a rug. This rug would go well in any cool toned contemorary setting; perhaps with a greyish brown or light grey sofa. Made of 100% Polypropylene. 

Would style best in a bright, shabby chic living space, with light furniture and warm woods. The Vintage Odell Area Rug Collection offers an affordable assortment of Traditional stylings. Vintage Odell features a blend of natural Ivory color. Machine Made of 100% Polypropylene the Vintage Odell Collection is an intriguing compliment to any decor.

Inspired by timeless vintage designs crafted with the softest polyester available. This rug is crafted using a powerloomed construction with a polyester pile. The Vintage Persian Rug Collection is artfully crafted and brimming with old world charm and character. This collection features today's hottest trends in home decor. Bohemian with a dash of contemporary assecories and furniture would make this rug stand out as the centerpiece for a room full of character.

One of my favorites. This rug is not overpowering or loud. It combines the perfect mixture of vintage and contemporary, encouraging shabby chic furniture and accesories surrounding its presence. Then again, I think this rug would fit well into any style of room; contemporary, french, rustic, modern, vintage, and many more. 

This ombre rug is not only versatile, put can highlight certain furniture pieces with it's slow change of color. Energize a room with a white or light grey sofa on the lighter side, or a dark colored sofa on the dark side. Pair with adjacent colored arm chairs, and you have a unique setting for entertaining your guests in style. Go visa versa and it would look just as stunning.

Vintage, french, and fabulous. Accent any classic, traditional or french styled room with this incredible colored and patterned vintage distressed rug. It is sure to brighten and energize any room. 

The tradition distressed Medallion Rug is not for the faint of heart. It's hip and will certainly make a statement wherever it's placed. But don't worry, becasue of it's neutral and complementary colors, it will not only accent your furniture pieces, but shed a whole new light on them.

 Brilliantly colored designs inspired by abstract art to classic Persian motifs supercharged with a contemporary palette, the fashion-right Valencia collection is machine loomed in an unusually fine cross weave to create a lustrous heirloom patina. The grey/gold combination gives you an option to go either warm or cool on your surrounding furniture pieces. 

Complementary to any room, this ivory, blue vintage rug is versatile and unique. The muted blue tones can make a surrounding color pop, without distracting or causing a scene. 

Made from the finest material, this rug has such an array of colors, it can surely compliment any piece of furniture in any color. 

These hip and happening Persian style rugs are not only popular, but they are a must have. Pair with a shabby chic, or bohemian surrounding and your friends will feel your home is a home away from home. 

Time for tea? This incredible vintage style Persian rug is not to be ignored. I can imagine this rug in a large window, white panelled room, with light furniture and dark woods. Afternoon tea automatically comes with it. 

Mustard Yellow and modern have never looked so good together. This retro chic contemporary rug offers a warm, yet clean accent to any room. It will not dissapoint. Pair it will any color of furniture, as it is versatile and eye catching.

I hope you enjoyed my rug envy list and can partake in some of these amazing steals! Don't miss them while they are on sale!

 Stunning area rugs on sale | Where to buy and why you should!

 

 

LARA Bar Meets Perfect Bar- Maple Almond Oatmeal and Date Fitness Bars | Better Than Perfect Bars (Copycat Recipe)

 LARA Bar Meats Perfect Bar- Almond Chia Date Bars | Better Than Perfect Bars (Copycat Recipe)&nbsp;

If you're on the quest to find a similar recipe for the ever so yummy Perfect Bar or LARA bar, then you're on the right track. I have been messing around with a few different versions, and this one I think you will love. I always found that the Perfect Bars were a little on the dry side; like if you weren't drinking a bucket of milk with them, they might get stuck in your throat. Opposingly, the LARA bars to me were always a bit too, how shall I put it, datey. Does that make sense? Anyway, I tried to combine the two and make it healthy, whole, and raw, while also keeping the integrity of the two different bars. Hope you like it!

This post contains affiliate links - If you click on a link or image and/or purchase what I recommend, I may receive a commission with no extra cost to you. I will never recommend something I don't stand by. Thanks for your support in helping me do what I love! 

 LARA Bar Meats Perfect Bar- Almond Chia Date Bars | Better Than Perfect Bars (Copycat Recipe)&nbsp;

I roast the raw almonds and make my own almond butter. I find it more affordable as almonds are a bit on the pricey side. You can also replace the almond butter with any nut or seed butter, but you will have to adjust the coconut flour amount to maintain the right texture. 

 LARA Bar meets Perfect Bar |&nbsp;Maple Almond Oatmeal Fitness Bar

I find that using a high powered small food processor is the best. I did a lot of research on which ones have the right motor to handle making nut butter. If you don't want to invest in an expensive Thermomix, even though I wish I had one, you can also find similar knockoffs that make making nut butter as easy as one, two, three. 

 LARA Bar Meats Perfect Bar- Almond Chia Date Bars | Better Than Perfect Bars (Copycat Recipe)&nbsp;
 LARA Bar Meats Perfect Bar- Almond Chia Date Bars | Better Than Perfect Bars (Copycat Recipe)&nbsp;

Maple Almond Oatmeal and Date Fitness Bars

For the healthy eater

Makes - 12 bars

Ingredients

2 1/2 Cups Almond Butter (Swap it for any nut or seed butter)

1 1/2 Cup Dates

1/2 Cup Oatmeal (if you want a less chunky texture, use oat bran)

2 TBSP Chia Seeds

1/2 Cup Coconut Flour

1/2 Cup Real Maple Syrup

 LARA Bar meets Perfect Bar (copycat)| Maple Almond Fitness Bars -&nbsp;Best Health Bars for Weight Loss!

2 TBSP Psyllium Seed Husks powder (Amazing health benefits for digestive health and weight loss)

1 TSP Salt 

Directions

Almond butter

Roast Almonds in  350-degree oven for 10-12 min. Let cool and use a food processor to make your butter. Be careful and make sure the motor is capable of making nut butters. You don't want to blow out your motor! 

Bars

Mix together Dates, coconut flour and maple syrup in food processor and pulse to blend until the dates are incorporated and blended. Add remaining ingredients and mold into a square baking pan, or whatever is easiest to get a good from for the bars. Slice into desired sizes. Refrigerate and enjoy! 

Simple Things You Can Do To Make Pregnancy Easier

 Simple Things you can do to make your pregnancy easier.

Pregnancy and simplicity don't usually go hand in hand. There is nothing simple about growing another human being. Apart from it being the most miraculous thing to ever happen, it's also a bit uncomfortable. If you've been there, you know what I mean. My last pregnancy was a learning curve for sure. This time I payed more attention to the things that might be simple, but make all the difference in how I get through my days.

I don't know what it is about a burger, but it does the trick as one of the many guilty pleasures I've had during this pregnancy. There’s nothing like sinking your teeth into a big fat meat patty when you tend towards low iron counts. Goes to say, McDonald's at 7 pm has been something we resort to when all else fails. Keeping dinner on the table has somehow become a mountain I have to climb, and reaching the top rarely looks pretty. I forget food in the oven so it ends up burned, completely forget ingredients all together in a recipe, or it's because I ate 4 pieces of banana bread at 5 pm and if I'm not hungry one hour after that then no one should be. Now, I was never a person who ate McDonald's, even on a yearly basis back when we were living in the States, but here in Germany, it’s basically the only fast food option. Either that or KFC. Not to mention, McDonald's in Europe has certain regulations that don’t exist in America, like the ingredient list being half the size, as well as being natural. 

That being said, I have picked up a few more guilty pleasures along the way in pregnancy that make this journey a little more simple. Pregnancy is a time where you are allowed to be selfish and give in to some things you normally wouldn't. It's a trying time for a lot of us, and whatever we can find to make those months of our bodies being overrun by a wonderful little life simpler, why not?

Here are some of my guilty pleasures I have invested in aside from a Big Mac.

This post contains affiliate links - If you click on a link or image and/or purchase what I recommend, I may receive a commission with no extra cost to you. I will never recommend something I don't stand by. Thanks for your support in helping me do what I love! 

1. Napping.

Even though I struggle to fall asleep completely, just laying down for 30 min or so gives me an extra boost for the rest of my day. 

2. Netflix or Hulu binge-watching.

Yeah, we all do it, but when you’re pregnant it comes as a big reward at the end of the day. 

3. Get a foot massage.

Whether that’s your husband or your 7-year-old. Anything works. 

4. Get a pregnancy massage. 

 I’ve only gotten one, but it sure was worth it, aside from having to try and hold in my flatulence the entire time. 

5. Buy clothes that fit. 

 For most of us who aren’t looking like a supermodel at 7 months pregnant, we realize we won’t fit into our jeans with the little rubber band trick anymore. It's important to buy comfy clothes that are flattering. I first realized this when I bent over and heard something rip when I was out shopping. Yeah, like Gloria on Modern Family, we just have to realize we can’t wear our regular clothes all throughout our pregnancy’s. At least most of us. I also invested in some clothes that I would still be able to wear when not pregnant, but for the most part, I just had to bite the bullet and let my mom buy me some maternity clothes. 

6. Eat whatever you want.

 Okay, so maybe not WHATEVER you want, but as long as it’s not rotting fish or expired meat, I tend to dabble in a bit of everything. I find that when I crave something, I just need to give in, but not overdo it. Everything in moderation.

7. Have time for yourself that isn’t cleaning the house or cooking meals. 

I am so busy working on my blog that hours can go by when I’m alone and my son is at school. Then, at the end of the day I realize I haven’t spent any quality time with myself. So, before I start my work schedule I try and do an exercise video, go for a walk, or take a bit of extra time to get ready for the day. 

8. Have grace for yourself

Most days, I find that nothing really goes according to plan. The pile of laundry that’s been staring at me for days deoesn’t get washed, or you let your child watch a little more TV than you normally would so you can get in a nap. It’s okay! You can’t be superwoman and pregnant at the same time. I mean, imagine that image.

 

Products that have helped me get through my pregnancy. 

 

Pregnancy Pillow

Seriously one of the best investments you could make. Sleep is probably the utmost priority when you're pregnant. 

 

 

Belly Band

 

Bio-oil for stretch marks

 

Your favorite water bottle 

 

 

 

 

Essential maternity clothes

 

Comfortable shoes

 

 

 

Bath salts for aches and pains

Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your pregnancy. This information is not based on any medical education. 

What are some products or guilty pleasures that help you get through your pregnancy?

7 Things You Should Never Say to Your Spouse!

How To Better Communicate What We Want to Say To Our Spouse

Do you ever regret what you said, either because it came out ten times worse than what you thought it would, or it just wasn't thought through? Yeah, been there. I was thinking the other day of the things I say that cause me to get in an argument with my husband, and if there was a way to shut myself up from saying something I'll regret before I said it. So, I came up with a list of common things that are said in relationships that could be transformed into a useful tool of communication. You see, it's good to express how you feel and say what you need to say, but it's how we say it that often leaves us in the gutter. Communication, as you know, is key to having a thriving and well-balanced relationship. 

It's quite possible that we use unhealthy tactics in order to try and convince the other person to see our point of view without even knowing it. 

Here are some unhealthy tactics we use in everyday arguments

 Learning to better communicate what you want to say in your relationship.

1. The Hopeless Tactic.

Don't say - "I don't believe you."

Trust is one of the most important things in a relationship, if not the most important. When the trust is broken, it can be quite the hurdle to overcome that will have to be taken on by both parties; the one who broke the trust and the one who got hurt. While it is important for the one who broke the trust to show transparency and prove that they are trustworthy, it is also important for the one who got hurt to communicate that it isn't always easy to trust again, while giving the other person the benefit of the doubt. If we use ultimatums that express hopelessness, it may prove difficult for the one who broke the trust to believe you will ever see them as trustworthy. Perhaps you can give them the benefit of the doubt, but when you can't, how should you express it in a way that is letting that person know you have hope to trust again but you're just struggling?

Say - "I really want to believe you, but I'm having a hard time."

If you're struggling to trust or forgive someone, read here for my article about healing from your past. There are some great steps to take in forgiveness. If you can't forgive, the trust will never begin to form. You will never forget when trust has been broken, but by forgiving you can finally put it behind you and begin to heal yourself and your relationship.  

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2. Putting fuel on the fire tactic. 

Don't Say - "You're overreacting" or "You're out of control." 

In any relationship where two people care about one another, things are bound to get heated. It's normal, and some might say, it's a good thing. Arguing can be a healthy way to clear the air, but only if done appropriately. In the heat of the moment, this is unequivocally easier said than done, and before you both know it you're in a full-blown fight. One of the worst things to say is " you're out of control," or anything that hints that the other person is beginning to head in a heated direction. The last thing they need to be told is that what they are feeling and saying is invalid. It may be true that they are getting a little too fiery, but what should be said in order to bring things down, instead of fuel it up?

Say - "I understand you're upset, but it seems like you're getting frustrated. Should we take a break and revisit this after we've cooled down?"

Not only will this make them realize they need to cool it, it won't completely neglect what they are trying to communicate. Taking a break when things are getting out of control is possibly the best thing you can do. It may not be the easiest, but trust me, it helps. 

 

3. The assuming tactic.

Don't say - "What's wrong?" 

One of the most common things said in any relationship is "what's wrong?" I find myself saying it before I realize it. The motive behind it is not necessarily amiss, it's perhaps the fact that it is automatically making an assumption, and the receiving party will most likely begin to put up their defenses. So, what should we say instead that doesn't assume something is wrong, but rather shows our real intention behind the question, which is, "I care about you."

Say - "Is everything okay?"

Yep, that's it. You are basically asking the same exact thing, but something completely different. It's not assuming, it's assuring them that you are there, ready to hear what is on their heart. 

 

4. The avoiding tactic. 

Don't say - "Nothing." when asked if everything is okay.

I do this ALL the time and will admit if I don't want to talk about something, it's the first thing I say. Avoiding it altogether is sometimes easier than saying, "yeah somethings up, but I don't want to talk about it." It can send a red flag to the other person who is a bit too eager to find out what they did to upset you, but then in essence that becomes their problem if they can't accept that. So, yes, you need to say...

"Yes, something's bothering me, but I don't want to talk about it just yet. Can we talk about it later?"

They then have the responsibility to respect your decision not to talk about it quite yet. They need to, by you saying, "not just yet," be reassured that what is going on will be revisited and nor ignored or shoved under the rug. It's not healthy to display your frustration about something without expressing to your partner what's up. But needing time to process it and consider what needs to be said is probably the best option at the time. Most miscommunications and arguments come from talking about something that isn't near ready to be discussed.

5. The giving up tactic.

Don't say - "I'm done" or "it's over!"

Sure, we've all been there. At the end of our ropes, not really knowing what to do about the dire situation our relationship is in. When we feel fear of something happening we react one of two ways. Fight or flight. When our emotions are in full swing, flight is usually the one that seems ideal, so we go into "protection of our heart" mode and the only way out is...well, out. After things have cooled down and you have said some more things you shouldn't, you realize you don't actually want out, you want a resolution to a problem and your emotions got the better of you. What should we have said that we can take note on for next time that expresses how we feel, but doesn't hurt the other person?

Say - "I'm not feeling so great about how things are between us. I would like if we can figure out a way to work through this because I'm having a hard time."

Again, it's important to express how you feel. After all, there is something that has happened between the two of you that caused you to react that way, and ignoring it won't solve anything. Relationships are HARD and take a lot of work. It's no news to you. So, if your partner is not willing to work through the tough stuff, you at least can do that for yourself. Hopefully, they are willing to get counseling or do whatever it takes but don't let the deeper issues in your relationship or your heart fester. 

6. The ALWAYS or NEVER Tactic

Don't say - "You're always or never..."

In the heat of it, you say it. I do it, we all do it. Again, our emotions take over and we resort to ultimatums that not only dismantle everything the other person has ever done that is good or right but also makes them feel hopeless. For myself, I know that if I have really tried to change in something, take steps to do so, fail once, then the other person plays the "you NEVER" card, it can feel detrimental and hopeless. Again, what we are trying to say isn't necessarily wrong, but it's all in how we say it.

Take for example, if a husband has the tendency to not think about taking his wife on regular dates, and the wife has to mostly pursue it, she may get frustrated. In response to this, she says, "You NEVER take me on dates or EVER care about what I need," She may feel that way and it's valid to her, but how she communicated it wasn't the best. The husband will most likely respond defensively and an argument will surface. So what should she have said?

Say - "I would love to start going on regular dates with you, but I feel like it's not something on your mind. Am I wrong?"

They will most likely respond with "Of course you're wrong! I would love to do that as well." So then you should say...

"Okay great! I would love it if you would start asking me sometimes. It makes me feel special."

Express what you need, but don't attack by going to ultimatums that will only cause strife. 

 

7. The blame shifting tactic.

Don't say - "You do that too!" in response to someone addressing something you did that hurt them. 

No one likes to be criticised or held accountable for something they did, but it takes good character and humility to own up to it, even if what they did wasn't intentional. You see, we can easily say that because we didn't "mean" to, we didn't. Unfortunately, the other person doesn't see it that way. You did something that hurt them, and they are expressing that to you. The worst thing you could say in response is, "You do that too!"

Sure, it may be true that they do unto you as you do unto them, but this is the wrong place and time to express that. So, what should we say?

Say - "I'm sorry I hurt you with what I did. What can I do differently next time?" 

Blame shifting will never accomplish anything. You will then go back and forth, round and round, hurt one another, and get nowhere. Sometimes we just need to own up to something, and just because we didn't intend to hurt the other person, doesn't mean we didn't hurt them or do something wrong.

Relationships take time and effort from both parties. I hope that opening up your eyes to some dysfunctional tactics you might be using will help you express what you need without complications to follow. 

I would love to hear if you have communication tips to share! 

Ladies, read more about how to better relate to your spouse by gaining awareness of what he needs. 

How to Get Your Mind Off of Something

How to get your mind off of something negative

 how to get your mind off of something

Have you ever had a thought that you just can't get out of your head? No matter how much you try, it keeps coming back and haunting you? The detrimental part about negative thoughts that won't subside, is when they begin to sink you and take hold of more than just your mind. Negative thoughts can do a lot more harm than you might think. I believe that everything starts in our minds, from our physical health to our well being and happiness. So, as you know, a thought you can't shake is just as frustrating as getting sick, if not worse. Our minds are just as important to keep healthy as our physical bodies, if not the most important. How can we even think of running a marathon if our mind isn't first made up that it's what we are going to do? Here is an article I wrote on how you can identify which thoughts are lies and which ones are the truth, as to begin to heal our brains and have a better chance at shaking the bad thoughts. After all, practice makes perfect. That being said here are a few simple and practical steps to take to begin to learn how to control our thoughts, and get your mind off of something that is bringing you down. 

*disclaimer - This article may contain affiliate links. If you click on an image and purchase from Amazon, I will receive a commission with no extra cost to you. I will never recommend a product that I don't stand by and believe to be useful. Thanks for the support!

1. Change your environment

I can't tell you how many times I have laid awake in my bed and that negative, nagging thought is rolling around in my head like a metal ball in a pinball machine. Back and forth the thought goes until I realize two hours have gone by and I'm still dwelling. Negative thoughts or even thoughts, in general, are the number one cause of my insomnia. I am no psychologist or doctor, so that's just my opinion based solely off of my experiences. It is especially true for the person who has the tendency to be a people pleaser, and or a creative person, like me. My best ideas come alive when my head hits the pillow, which makes it very difficult for me to turn off and fall asleep. 

The first step I will share with you has helped me to shake that thought whether I am tossing and turning in bed, or sitting at home doing nothing. Changing your environment wherever you are will not only force your mind to take a different turn, it will ignite your senses to acknowledge something else that is going on around you. I will get to our senses later and how we can use them to get something off of our mind, but right now let's focus on how changing your environment can help change your mindset.

Go into another room

Sometimes if I simply get up to use the bathroom, or go make a cup of tea, it forces my mind to focus on something else. 

Do something productive

Obviously, if you're trying to get to sleep and it's 1 am, this may not be an option. But keeping your hands busy, will help your mind to settle down. Cleaning the house, reading a book, making cookies, working out, are just a few things to get your mind off of something by changing your environment.

2. Make a schedule

I have heard that stay at home moms, entrepreneurs, and people who own their own businesses are the most susceptible to anxiety, panic attacks, suicide, and depression. What do they all have in common? A lack of a schedule. Why do you think that is? They have too much time on their hands to think about things they shouldn't. It is with idle time that our minds can go to the darkest of places. Not to say there isn't a time and place for doing absolutely nothing. But I know from personal experience when I have nothing to do, my mind will go to some pretty dark places.

3. Ignite your senses

Have you ever gone outside in nature and immediately felt peace? Not only is getting into nature the best way to get your mind off of something, it is the best place to practice what I am about to share. Going along with changing your environment, simply stepping outside will cause your senses to change and adjust to a new and refreshing perspective. It gets your mind off the problem, and onto something tangible and beautiful.

How to use 3 of your 5 senses to get something off of your mind

Get Outside

Like I said, even if it's simply stepping onto your back porch or outside of your workplace, getting outside is the best place to do this exercise.

5 4 3 2 1 - Hearing, Feeling, and seeing

Hear -  List 5 things that you can hear around from you. The birds chirping, the cars driving by, the sound of water rushing, etc. 

Feel - Now list 5 things you can feel around you. The wind, the cold cement you're sitting one, the pain between your eyes that your headache is causing. Anything you feel physically, name it off. 

See - List 5 things that you observe from your environment. The man across the street getting in his car, the green trees, the leaves changing, etc. 

Now, in that same order list 4 things you hear, feel, and see. Then 3, then 2, and 1. It's totally fine to repeat what you have observed before. 

Not only can this exercise help you get your mind off of something, it can help you to settle down if you're having a panic attack, feeling depressed, or having suicidal thoughts. 

4. Just Breath

Breathing techniques are not news to most of you, but it still rings true for an amazing way to get your mind off of something. I use this as a guide for getting my mind off of something, reducing stress, and falling asleep. Mindfulness meditation, number 4 to be exact. 

I hope these tips can be used for your benefit in getting your mind off of something you don't want to think about, or just using as a relaxation tool.

If you do have trouble sleeping like me, here are some great natural options that have helped me. 

 

Something else that might interest you in my Health and Beauty section. 

 

 

 

8 Inexpensive Kitchen Tools for the Healthy Eater

 kitchen tools for healthy eating!

Are you a healthy eater? I am, most of the time. I love to cook as well, which makes eating healthy come a little bit easier. But sometimes I find that making healthy meals requires a bit of time and extra help. Let's just be honest, it's not easy to eat healthy! It's actually really hard. But the more you do it, the more you get used to it. I have compiled a few items that might make your journey to eating healthy a bit less frustrating and lot more simple. 

Just so you know, if you click on the links below and purchase from Amazon, I may get a small commision with no extra cost to you. I will never recommend a product I don't stand by. Thanks fro your support!

1. Perfect Egg Timer

Eggs are an incredible source of protein and omega-3's, and no one likes an overcooked hard-boiled egg. Don't let it happen again! 

2. Magic Bullet

Smoothies are my number one go to when I just need a quick boost and to fill my tummy without feeling overstuffed. The magic bullet has been a lifesaver! There's nothing more annoying that having to clean a giant blender after making a smoothie for one. 

3. fruit infused water bottle

I love my lime water! As well as cucumber water. This is am amazing way to get your water infused with whatever you want and not have little floaty's or blueberries causing you to choke. 

4. herb saver

Have you ever bought some herbs, (and let's not beat around the bush,they are expensive) and then one day later they are done for? Yeah, I hate that. Here's a little help so that you can keep your heard fresh and ready to use for WAY longer!

5. veggie saver

I love this product. Talk about cutting down on plastic and food waste. I can't tell you how many plastic bags I've used to try and salvage a half of a onion or something that just ends up at the bottom of my veggie bowl, rotting away. Food huggers are an incredible way to store that half of whatever you didn't use. 

6. julienne peeler- veggie noodles!

Veggie noodles are a revelation! You don't need a fancy machine to make them, either!

7. Meal prep containers

The ultimate key to maintaining a healthy diet is by meal planning, and also portion control. This solves both aspects!

8. Food Scale

If you're on a stricter diet, a food scale is a good option to have. I also use it for measuring my baking ingredients!

Easter Table Setting Ideas - Easter Terranium for The Table

How to create your own unique Table Decorations for Easter

Easter always sneaks up on me. It must be the change of weather and spring cleaning I get distracted with, but sure enough, I find myself ordering a lamb shank at last minute and running into the forest to scrounge around for an interesting table decorations. This year, my trusty mother-in-law gave me a beautiful terrarium. Germans are somehow miracle workers when it comes to utilizing their beautiful forests for their table decor during the holidays. It is not only less expensive but brings in a fresh scent of spring into your home. Easter represents new life, so what better way to acknowledge that than to bring in the first signs of Spring with this beautiful terrarium. That being said, you can make this terrarium with elements from a forest if you live near one, or just stop at your local craft store for the materials. If you're lazy like me and need to order everything, I will create for you a list that you can purchase everything off of Amazon.

*disclaimer - This article may contain affiliate links. If you click on an image and purchase from Amazon, I will receive a commission with no extra cost to you. I will never recommend a product that I don't stand by and believe to be useful. Thanks for the support!

easter terranium.jpg

Materials:

Glass bowl - A fishbowl (first image) would work just fine and is your least expensive option but I also included some more options.

Wood Chips

Moss and Sticks - This include some natural wood which would fit nicely as well.

easter terranium 2.jpg

White Stones

White Bird Feathers - I bet you anything you have a feather pillow laying around. Pick a few from there and you're all set!

Robin Eggs - I have real ones, but those can run you more money. Here are some plastic guys that look pretty real. Don't go stealing any from nests nearby ;-)

Flowers - This one you will obviously have to go to your local gardening center. The more delicate, the better. you also want something that is growing in its own little pot. Bulbs are probably the most sturdy to work with. I am a little embarrassed because I don't know what these are called in English, but you can get an idea from the picture. 

Music Sheets

I understand that not everyone has this laying around, so you can easily rip out some pages of a book you got from someone that you will never read and burn the edges to make it look vintage.

 

directions

1. add wood chips

2. put in your flower pot

3. arrange moss, sticks, and stones in laters around the pot. 

4. end your layering with moss, and put on your eggs, feathers, and paper strips.

 

Viola! Now you have yourself a beautiful table decoration for Easter! 

easter terr.jpg
 Easter Egg hanging Decor

Easter Egg hanging Decor

 Easter table setting decor

How to Keep Your Blonde Hair From Looking Yellow - Blonde Hair Secrets From a Hairstylist

Want the secret to keeping that expensive blonde highlight you just got at the salon from looking yellow?

Here are a few tips without needing to make a toning appointment every two weeks. 

 Secrets to a beautiful blonde tone for your hair

If you aren't a natural blonde and need a little help getting that beautiful creamy blonde tone with some highlights, then this article is for you. Do you know that moment about a week after you get your highlight at the salon and you start to realize that gorgeous shade of blonde you left with is slowly turning yellow? Yikes! Don't panic. It's so normal. If you aren't a natural blonde, this happens pretty quickly, but there is hope to having it stay the tone you want without making another hair appointment. But here are some things to consider to make sure it isn't the hairstylist's fault. 

If your hair is yellow from the moment you leave the salon, it's the hairstylist's fault and you will not be able to apply these tips. 

Make sure your stylist knows what she is doing when it comes to highlighting hair that is not naturally blonde. I can't stress this enough. It's always your best bet to go to someone recommended by another person with good-looking blonde hair, otherwise, you could have an expensive disaster on your hands.

*disclaimer - This article may contain affiliate links. If you click on an image and purchase from Amazon, I will receive a commission with no extra cost to you. I will never recommend a product that I don't stand by and believe to be useful. Thanks for the support!

Here are a few tips that might be helpful in choosing a stylist.

  1. Try and find someone who is experienced with blondes. Not only with highlighting but working with clients who aren't naturally blonde. Word of mouth from someone you trust and who's blonde hair looks good is always the best.
  2. Ask them to take very small sections or weaves for each highlight. Too much hair in the foil will not turn out consistent and probably won't lift to the shade you want.
  3. Make sure you show her a picture of the specific blonde you want, down to the tone or shade. Pictures will always help your stylist know what you want.
  4. If her hair looks bad, so will yours.
  5. See if she uses Olaplex or a similar product that is a two-step process put in the color lifter to decrease damage done. If she doesn't, you can also buy your own and bring it for her to use. You might actually save money in the long run if you do this. 

My anti-yellow blonde hair formula

Kevin Murphy has always been a favorite product of mine as a stylist. They have so many natural ingredients, with essential oils that give nutrients and shine to your hair. You don't have to use very much to get the results, so a little goes a long way here.

kevin murphy

Buying in bulk is a better way to go. These suckers are expensive, but they will last you for about a year! In the end, you save money! Leave on the conditioner for a few minutes if things are looking really yellow and rinse with cold water!

Shea Moisture - oh the miracles of Apple cider vinegar

I usually rotate and use my expensive shampoo & conditioner every other time with a less expensive product. But just because it's less expensive, doesn't mean it's less productive. Shea Moisture is one of my favorite hair and beauty products. Not only do they use natural ingredients that work, they are affordable! I also include a mask once a week to keep the blonde moisturized

Keune Blonde Enhancing Mousse

Last but not least, this blonding mousse by Keune will be sure to tie up any loose ends on the yellow side of things. Just be careful! I usually had to put it in when my hair was pretty wet and then comb it through. If you don't you could get uneven tones and possibly a purple spot. Don't worry, it rinses out in the next shampoo, or put a little water on any spots that seem yellow.

I hope these are some helpful pointers in keeping your blonde hair looking radiant!

 Keep your blonde hair from turning yellow with these 5 things!

Identifying the Lies You Believe - Week Two of Gaining Confidence in a Critical Environment

 how to discern lies from truth

week two 

Identifying the Lies You Believe

Hello and welcome to week two of my six-week series, Gaining Confidence in a Critical Environment. Last week we touched on some important steps to experience healing from your past. If you haven't read or gone through it, I would encourage you to take a look and see if your past is something that has played a role in your insecurity and self-doubt. 

Part of this process will include identifying the areas in which are hindering us in experiencing true freedom and joy in who we are. Many of you already know that our feelings, emotions, and actions link directly to our thoughts. Sometimes our thoughts bring about feelings and sometimes our feeling bring about thoughts. In order to learn how to better understand ourselves and see who we truly are, we need to first eliminate the lies we believe that sometimes come from those thoughts or feelings. Lets first refer to some scripture. As I have said in last week's post, much of what I discuss here has a lot to do with my belief in God. Feel free to email me if you have any questions or comments on the matter. 

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." -Philippians 4:8

This is one of my favorite verses. I know that God has created me as an emotional, sensitive, and creative person. I know he has created me to think and to reason. To have emotion and feelings. To utilize my talents for his glory. I know that he knows me better than I know myself. Every thought and action I have ever have and will have won't go unnoticed by him. It is why I trust that he gave me this verse to take seriously. Even though I have all of these wonderful capabilities because of how he created me, I also know that my heart is at times deceptive. How do I know that? Because time after time I have given into my emotions and feelings, which has lead me to believe lies about myself and others. I know it is a very popular idea in this world, that we should always listen to our hearts, and do whatever your heart is leading us to do. That's great and all, but what if your heart is telling you to kill yourself or someone else? What if you are so overcome by anger that your heart feels like abusing your children? Just because we feel something, and our heart is expressing itself, doesn't mean we should act on it. This is why it is vital to filter our feelings and emotions and begin to identify the thoughts that aren't true. Now, as I have said in last weeks post, it is also important when we take something away, like our negative thoughts, we need to then put something else on. Like this verse, we need to think about things that are true, noble, lovely and so on. It will do us no good to tell ourselves, "stop thinking that way." We can't. It will take time and effort to begin to change our way of thinking. We need a plan and a strategy.

Let's begin our take action section with identifying exactly the things we believe that aren't true. 

*disclaimer - This article may contain affiliate links. If you click on an image and purchase from Amazon, I will receive a commission. I will never recommend a product that I don't stand by and believe to be useful. Thanks for the support!

Take action

Identifying what ISN'T true about you

Have you ever looked in the mirror one day and thought to yourself, 'I am so ugly.' But then on another day you looked in that same mirror and thought, 'I look so good!' As women, not only do our hormones play a role in how we feel about and see ourselves, (I wrote a little on that matter here) but also the lies that we have unintentionally ingrained in our minds. Feelings, which lead to thoughts, in and of themselves are not a bad thing. It's when they lead to lies, we need to step in and take action. Feelings are a signal to your body to acknowledge that something is happening that needs a reaction, whether good or bad. We then have a choice in what we will do with that feeling if we are in a healthy headspace. Sometimes there are situations in which one feels hopeless and helpless when it comes to being able to make good decisions when our feelings are out of whack. They are incapable of knowing how to filter reality from deception. I have been there, and I know how difficult it is. If you feel this way, please seek help. It's okay to admit we need someone else's help in knowing what exactly it is that is going on in our bodies. For me, it was hormonal, which was something I didn't have control over. What I am discussing here is for those of you who are able to filter healthily what thoughts are good and bad. If you can't do that, know that it's okay. But also know you don't have to be stuck there. Many times I have struggled and been entrapped in the feelings of depression. It took someone else's loving hand to guide me in the right direction, but you also have to be willing. 

The first step in identifying those lies for me begins with prayer. When I have a thought come up that makes me fearful or angry, it helps when I ask God to show me if that thought is truth. The next step is what I am about to show you, but I first want you to go through these questions and answer them the best you can. They might be helpful in identifying what the lies are. Last week we worked on our past and what areas might be causing us to feel insecure. Now I want you to keep those things in mind as you answer, and realize that how we have thought about our past has everything to do with feelings of insecurity in our present.

1. Write down how you see yourself physically, such as your weight, looks, hair, etc. 

2. Write down how you see yourself as a person, such as your personality, social skills, knowledge, education, job. 

3. Are you a person who likes to please others and will do whatever it takes to gain their approval? 

4. Are you afraid that you will fail in life?

5. Write down the specific thoughts you have in correlation to these questions and begin to form a list of the unhealthy thoughts you have about yourself or others. If it is a feeling that brings forth thoughts of inadequacy, fear, jealousy, etc., then it is most likely a lie. Again, pray and ask God to dig deep in your heart so that you can unveil these deeply seeded lies you've been believing. 

A New Perspective

Keep in mind all of those thoughts you have and lies you believe as we move on to the next section. The most important thing for me to understand if I want to see myself how I was meant to be seen, is to fully understand who God is, so that we can begin to replace those lies with truth. So often we come up with our own version of who God is instead of relying on a source that is trustworthy. I know that there is a lot going around about truth whatever you want it to be. In my opinion, this is dangerous and makes truth seem like something that is interchangeable. Since how w