So, you just finished dinner and you’re getting ready to do the dishes. You notice that you have leftover food that would be great to enjoy either for lunch or dinner the following day. You open the cupboard and start sifting through all of your plastic food storage containers. The next thing you know, you’re up to your elbows in tops and bottoms that don’t match. And then, voila. You found a matching pair. Now you have to try and put everything back into the cupboard in some type of organized way.
Does this sound familiar?
That was me a year ago. For years and years, I struggled with trying to keep our plastic food storage containers organized and easy to navigate. No matter what system I tried, I never seemed to figure out a solution that would work in the long term. Yes, the system would remain organized for a few days. But, the next thing you know, the following week the cupboard would look like a hot mess.
I take pride in having cupboards that are completely organized. Yes, I’m strange like that. So, you can imagine how frustrated I was with the plastic food storage container cupboard. I was pretty embarrassed whenever we had guests over for dinner and they saw the cabinet while helping with the dishes. Yikes.
I knew there had to be a solution.
And then that’s when I stumbled across my favorite solution …
The Best Food Storage Containers
*click to purchase these amazing containers*
Do the containers pictured above remind you of takeout? I swear, these plastic food storage container have been a game changer. We bought a package of the black containers while we were at Costco about a year ago. My life has been forever changed for the better.
I keep the bottoms in one neat stack and the tops in another neat stack. The containers all the same size so they are easily stackable. Plus, they are dishwasher-safe, microwave-safe, oven-safe, and BPA-free. We are a year in with our set and they are still going strong thanks to the sturdy plastic. We use these containers for leftovers, packed lunches, etc. You can even use them for your weekly meal prep session. The possibilities are endless.
So, there you have it. I’m completely in love with these plastic food storage containers. Open up my cupboard and you’ll see two nice and neat stacks of the gems. Since getting rid of my other plastic food storage containers, I never waste time looking for tops and bottoms that match. I just quickly grab a top and a bottom and am good to go.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliated links. Photo via Unsplash.
What did you have for breakfast today? What about yesterday? Was it a nutritious breakfast recipe? Or, did you just happen to grab a handful of cereal and a sip of cold coffee as you ran out the door to start your day? As a mom of two young kiddos and a husband who is already off to work by the time we get started on our day, mornings are up to me to get the kids and myself ready, fed, and out the door. Needless to say, breakfast can be a bit of a crunch time for the three of us.
From running around on errands to answering work emails to taking care of kids … we are all pulled in a million different directions day in and day out. From the moment the alarm or baby monitor makes a noise to the moment the head hits the pillow at night, days can be filled with so many activities, needs, wants, emotions, responsibilities, tasks, etc.
With the on-the-go, busy lifestyle, it can be easy to forget about ourselves. But, I also know that tuning into yourself has so many benefits. This year, I chose focus as my word of the year. I’ve never picked a “word of the year” but figured now is as good of a time as any to start.
This year, I’m going to focus on myself. Sounds selfish, right? Over the years (even before I became a mom), I developed bad habits. Well, the way I’m going to focus on myself is by saying goodbye to bad habits. The three bad habits that I have on my list are the following:
Not Working Out
Getting Very Little Sleep
Biting My Nails
As part of saying goodbye to my bad habit of not working out, I’ve put a big focus on my nutrition. If I’m going to be working out, then I should be focusing on what I’m eating. I need to keep my body fueled in order to perform, especially during my workouts.
I’ve always been a firm believer that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. As part of my breakfast routine, I’ve really put a strong focus on making my breakfast choices nutritious. I’ve been having fun enjoying a nutritious breakfast recipe in the mornings.
I always make it a point to have eggs in our refrigerator just in case I want to make a protein-packed breakfast recipe. Eggs are a great source of protein and beneficial vitamins and nutrients — but all eggs are not created equal. One of my favorite brands is Handsome Brook Farm Eggs.
Handsome Brook Farm has built a revolutionary network of small family farms with smaller flocks – so they can ensure farmers get the fair wage they deserve and their hens have the space, attention and love they need to produce the best quality eggs.
Handsome Brook Farm Eggs are pasture-raised organic eggs that come from organic-fed, pasture raised hens. The hens are given an all-natural diet and freedom to forage outdoors. This lifestyle gives Handsome Brook Farm eggs their trademark golden-orange yolk and rich, delicious flavor.
It can be confusing to understand the different types of egg labeling—certified pasture raised eggs means the hens are raised on grassy pastures with room to roam free, forage, and get plenty of sunshine and fresh air. Studies show that these eggs are more nutritious than any other type of eggs.
In fact, pasture raised eggs, like Handsome Brook Farm eggs, can contain 2 times more Omega 3s, 38% more vitamin A and 23% vitamin E than conventionally raised eggs—making them a super nutritious option at any meal.
Handsome Brook Farm eggs are pasture raised and organic, which is not the case with all pasture raised eggs. Not to mention, you can definitely taste the difference between Handsome Brook and all other eggs. So, the next time you’re at the grocery store, be sure to give Handsome Brook Farm Eggs a try.
Nutritious Breakfast Recipe: Quinoa Bowl With Egg and Avocado
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 cup hot cooked tricolor quinoa
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish (optional)
2 large eggs, preferably Handsome Brook Farm eggs
1/2 ripe avocado, sliced
Whisk together oil, vinegar, and dash of salt.
Combine quinoa, tomatoes, beans, cilantro, and 1/8 teaspoon salt; toss gently to combine. Divide mixture evenly between 2 bowls.
Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium. Crack eggs into pan. Cover; cook until whites are set and yolk is still runny, 2 to 3 minutes.
Drizzle dressing evenly over quinoa mixture; top with eggs and avocado.
Sprinkle with remaining dash of salt. Garnish with additional cilantro, if desired.
I grew up in a family that loved sporting events. Since we lived in the Detroit area, we would try and go to as many games as possible. From hockey games to baseball games, football games to basketball games, we loved cheering on our favorite teams.
When my husband and I were at Michigan State University, our fall weekends were always full of tailgating and cheering on our team. We still love everything about tailgate (my brother has a legit tailgating setup) and we try to attend at least one Michigan State game a year, even though we live in Maryland now.
When we can’t make it to games, we always have the game on our television. We love setting out appetizers, enjoying cocktails, and cheering on our favorite teams. As one can imagine, I’ve watched a lot of football games, attended football game parties, and even hosted a few football parties.
What I like to do is treat a football game party like a tailgate. Because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love a good tailgate party?
Tips and Tricks for a Football Game Party
Here are some of my favorite tips for hosting a football game party.
There’s nothing like quality finger foods to enjoy before the game and during the game. What football game party would be complete without tons of snacking? Here are some items to consider:
Place the food in an easy to get to location. You can either set out the appetizers on a coffee table (if your coffee table is big enough), spread out the food on a kitchen table, or setup a buffet-style spread on the counter (you could even keep those slow cookers plugged and make sure some of the appetizers stay warm) throughout the pre-game and game.
Make sure you set out small plates, napkins, and toothpicks (which serve as utensils) so that guests can serve up food on their plates and kick back on the couch to watch the game. Plus, the small plates allow your guests to pick and choose what they want to snack on throughout the game.
Be sure to replenish dishes as they start to dwindle on the serving platter.
Focus on finger foods and casual dining. It’s hard to sit down for a fancy meal when the big game is on the television. People want to be near a television to watch the game. So, keep it casual by offering up a lot of finger foods that are easy to eat and enjoy.
Place bowls of snacks on end tables. You can fill some bowls with peanuts, popcorn … whatever you think your guests will love.
A football game can be pretty lengthy so be sure to have beverages on hand. Here are some items to consider:
Create a drink station that is full of options that will keep your guests happy.
Fill a galvanized bucket with ice and place beer and/or white wine in the ice.
Make sure you have non-alcohol beverages for the kiddos. You can pick up a package of individual milk or juice boxes, place the drinks in a bucket filled with ice, and set it out so that the kiddos can grab a drink.
Create a drink for the game that is festive and goes along with the theme of your favorite team.
Make sure you have plenty of water bottles available for guests.
There are so many cute football-themed decorations that are perfect for a football game party. Here are some items to consider:
Set football-themed plates and napkins.
Buy decorations that match your favorite team’s colors.
Cover tables with table covers that match your favorite team’s colors. Or, cover tables with kraft paper. When you place the platters of food on the paper, you can write on the paper what the food is. You could even put the kraft paper on your drink station and label the drinks on the paper.
Let’s face it, the time leading up to the football game, as well as the game itself (hello, halftime) can be a bit on the long side, especially if you’re favorite team is losing. Be sure to set out fun games for guests of all ages. Here are some items to consider:
Set out fun games on the lawn if the weather is nice. You can set out cornhole (aka bags), a football so that your guests can throw a football around, and other outdoor-friendly items that will keep your guests having fun.
Play football squares. Here’s a helpful tutorial on how to do football game squares.
As the snow falls and the air becomes extremely dry in our home, I can’t help but think about my skin. I recently purchased humidifiers for various rooms in our home because everyone in my family started to show signs of dry skin. The winter cold can be downright brutal on skin as it leaves us feeling dry and itchy. As a result, I’ve recently put a major focus on my winter skincare routine in order to improve the feeling of my skin.
When it comes to a great winter skincare routine, it’s all about using quality products that react well with your skin. Also, you must have consistency in your routine. Skipping applications won’t help you maintain soft skin. By using quality products on a consistent basis, you’ll be well on your way to creating a great winter skincare routine.
I was recently sent a few Organic Doctor products to try during my winter skincare routine. Organic Doctor, an award-winning skincare and hair care line, has just launched in the US. Hailing from Britain, Organic Doctor scours the planet for the finest botanical and naturally inspired ingredients to ensure that bioactive properties of the organic ingredients are truly captured. Below, I’m sharing a few tips, as well as a few Organic Doctor products, that I’m using to keep my face feeling great during the chilly winter months.
5 Simple Tips for a Great Winter Skincare Routine
Here are simple tips to follow when it comes to a great winter skincare routine.
1.) Watch what you eat and drink.
It’s always important to watch what you eat and drink, especially during the winter. I’ve been trying to drink more water throughout the day. However, Joel Schlessinger, MD, dermatologist and RealSelf contributor said, “Sipping on water throughout the day is great for your body, but this hydration doesn’t actually reach your skin unless you’re extremely dehydrated. Instead, skin is hydrated through one of two different ways: natural oil production or topically applied creams, lotions, and serums.” [source]
Remember—your food intake is just as important for your skin. “Sonam Yadav, MD, medical director of Juverne, advises that a good skincare diet with plenty of fat and limited refined carbohydrates will mean less water evaporation from your skin surface.” [source]
2.) Wash your face.
Speaking of topically applied creams, lotions, and serums, I’ve found that washing my face every morning and every night with a great face wash product helps keep my skin feeling refreshed in the morning and clean at night. While I’m in the shower, I like to apply a face wash product. Before I go to bed, I apply the same face wash product after I use makeup remover cloth.
The face wash product that I’m loving right now is the Tea Tree Face Wash by Organic Doctor®. The Tea Tree range boasts wonderful cleansing properties, deep cleaning oily skin, clearing away impurities. Organic Doctor Tea Tree is sourced from organic farms in Australia where the tea tree is a native plant.
3.) Apply a face mask.
By applying a great face mask product during the week, you can rid your skin of impurities. The right face mask can hydrate your skin, remove excess oils, and improve the appearance of your pores.
A face mask that I’m loving right now is Organic Doctor’s Rose Otto Face Mask. Bioactive organic Rose Otto Oil is a rich hydrating and moisturizing essential oil with renowned skin toning and healthy aging properties. Organic Doctor combined the fragrant oil with a proprietary blend of bioactive and naturally inspired ingredients, including mineral-rich Kaolin (China Clay). The nutrient-rich clay based formulation draws oil from the pores, while ridding the skin’s surface of dead cells and impurities to leave the skin feeling younger, toned, revitalized, and purified.
4.) Find a great cream.
After I remove my makeup at night and do my face wash routine, I always follow up with the final step: applying a great cream that helps keep my skin hydrated. I always make sure to put the cream all over my face, including at the corners of my eyes and never forgetting to do upward motions on my neck.
A cream that I always have in my repertoire is Organic Doctor’s Snail Gel Cream. The face cream is formulated to quickly absorb into the epidermis, restoring the natural moisture levels of the skin to help soothe and revitalize, leaving a luxurious feeling of firmness, tone and hydration.
5.) Apply a moisture-rich lotion.
When my facial skin is feeling a bit on the dry side, I like to apply a moisture-rich lotion to help make it feel soft and supple. I prefer to use a lotion that is not greasy. Instead, a lotion that quickly absorbs into the skin is definitely a key preference of mine, especially since I sometimes apply the lotion at night (I would hate for the lotion to rub off on my pillow).
A lotion that I’ve been loving this winter is Organic Doctor Rose Otto Skin Lotion from their aromatic, floral, healthy-aging skin line. Organic Rose Otto Oil is obtained from roses cultivated in Bulgaria, Iran, and Morocco and used for its aromatic scent and skin revitalizing properties.
Ever since I introduced the Organic Doctor products into my winter skincare routine, I’ve seen and felt great results. My skin seems to be brighter and it feels more hydrated throughout the day. When I wake up in the morning, my skin still feels soft thanks to my nighttime winter skincare routine. The products have been saving my skin this winter.
SHOP THE POST
What are your winter skincare routine tips and tricks?
Sometimes houses can get stinky. During the winter months, it can be easy for the air in a home to get a bit stale since doors and windows are kept closed. What else stinks up a house? Pets. Although we love our furry family members, they can really stink up a place. There’s also lingering smells from cooked food. Recently, I made a slow cooker recipe that I could smell well into the next day. Even though the food was delicious, I didn’t want to smell it for days and days.
Like I said, houses get stinky from time to time. And, because I have a super sensitive nose, I’m all about trying to find simple ways to freshen up our home to make sure our home is smelling good.
10 Simple Ways to Make Your Home Smell Good
If you’re home is seeming a bit on the stinky side, don’t worry. There are simple ways to make the different areas of your home smell good.
1.) Place candles strategically.
From the kitchen counter top to the bathroom counter top, a bedside nightstand to a desk, there are plenty of spots throughout the home for candle placement. The nice thing about candles is that even when they are not lit they still give off a great scent. By placing the candles strategically throughout your home, you can have a nice scent whether or not the candles are actually lit.
2.) Use carpet powder.
We have two large dogs who love to spend their time outside. When they come inside, I like to wipe them down with deodorant wipes but that doesn’t always happen. They love to lounge on the carpeted areas of our home. In order to freshen up the carpet and get rid of the stink from the dogs, I sprinkle baking soda carpet powder before vacuuming. The baking soda carpet powder lifts the stink and debris while I vacuum. When I’m done vacuuming, the carpets smell nice and fresh.
3.) Have plants throughout the home.
Plants not only make spaces pretty but they also purify the air in our homes.
4.) Have flowers throughout the home.
Not only are they beautiful, but most flowers have a lovely scent. By placing flowers throughout the home, you can keep your home smelling fresh as a daisy (see what I did there?).
5.) Make a linen spray.
One of my favorite scents is lavender. The scent is known for calming senses and creating a mood of relaxation. Recently, I took my lavender essential oil and made a lavender linen spray that I love to spray throughout our home. From couches to sheets to the carpet, spraying this calming spray throughout our home not only freshens up the space but also creates a sense of calm. Click here to find out how to make your own DIY Essential Oil Lavender Linen Spray.
6.) Use dyer sheets on couches.
One of my favorite tricks is to take a few dryer sheets and rub them on our fabric couches. The dryer sheets leave a great, clean scent on our couches.
7.) Wipe down surfaces.
Make sure you purchase a great smelling all-purpose cleaner. Spray the cleaner on your surfaces to not only clean the surfaces but also to add a great smell throughout your home.
8.) Eliminate the stinky culprits.
Here are some culprits:
Dog Beds: Our dog begs have a way of getting stinky really quickly. I make sure I get new beds when necessary. Between buying new beds, I’ll vacuum the beds and spray them.
Food: Is your refrigerator full of old produce? If so, it’s time to clean out your refrigerator. Be sure to wipe down the surfaces with an all-purpose cleaner.
Garbage Disposal: Old food can get stuck in the garbage disposal. Throw a few ice cubes in the disposal to clean and sharpen the blades. Next, toss in a few slices of lemon and run the disposal to give the disposal a fresh, clean scent.
Trashcans: It’s important to keep a clean trashcan. Take your main trashcan outside and clean it with soap and water to get rid of any stinky residue.
Rugs: Make sure you wash your rugs, especially bathroom rugs since they absorb water on a daily basis.
Showers/Bathtubs: Showers and bathtubs have a tendency to get moldy and have mildew buildup. Place an everyday shower spray near your shower and spray it whenever you’re done taking a shower.
Mattresses and Pillows: Spray your mattresses and pillows with disinfectant (e.g., Lysol) and/or an stinky smell fighter (e.g., Febreeze).
9.) Make a stovetop potpourri.
By throwing a few items into a pot, you’ll have a stovetop potpourri that will fill the air of your home with a beautiful scent. Here are some great ideas for a stovetop potpourri.
10.) Open the windows.
When the weather is nice outside, I love to open my windows to let in the fresh air. Letting the new, fresh air into home will help get rid of stinky odors.
What’s your favorite way to make your home smell good?
What’s a simple way to keep your home organized? One word: baskets. I’ve always been slightly obsessed with the usage of baskets. And then I became a mom. Wow, do baskets every come in handy with food, toys, clothes, etc. Walk around every room in my home and your bound to come across plenty of baskets. They are definitely my favorite go to when it comes to keeping my home organized.
Whenever I’m at the store, I love to check out the basket aisle just in case I come across baskets that I want to add to our home. From wicker to galvanized metal, the variety of baskets available on store shelves today are ridiculously cute and incredibly functional.
What’s great about baskets is that you can store them on shelves or place taller baskets on the floor (think storage for throws and pillows).
One important tip when using baskets is the following:
Make sure you assign items to baskets. Every basket in my home has a purpose. You won’t find tons of different items in one basket. If you assign items to baskets, then every basket will have a purpose, items in your home will be easy to find and organize, and you won’t be frustrated when trying to find items that are stored in baskets.
Here’s how I use baskets to keep our home organized:
Pantry: I keep a variety of baskets on the shelves in our pantry to store squeezable kid pouches, pasta, sauces, breakfast items, etc.
Laundry Room: Since our laundry room is attached to the door that we use most often, I like to keep grab-and-go items in the shelves of our laundry room. You can find the following items in baskets in our laundry room: kids’ socks, hats, and mittens. I also store dryer sheets, detergent pods, dog cleaning items (brushes, deodorant wipes, nail clippers), and extra garbage bags.
Playroom: Our playroom is filled with baskets that contain puzzle pieces, stuffed animals, toy cars, toy trucks, etc. Baskets galore!
Bathroom: In our master bathroom, I recently bought plastic baskets that perfectly fit when placing three to a shelf. I also purchased chalkboard stickers and a chalkboard marker. I assigned items to each of the six baskets: kid meds, adult meds, first aid items, cleaners (two baskets), and toiletries (for the extra toiletries). The baskets are up high so that the meds are out of reach for the kiddos.
Guest Bedrooms: I have a few baskets in the guest bedrooms that contain extra throws. I always want to make the guests feel warm and cozy.
Kids’ Rooms: I have baskets in their rooms that hold stuffed animals, diaper items (in the baby’s room), and clothing items (in the closets).
As you can see, baskets definitely come in handy when trying to keep items in my home organized while also keeping the various rooms in my home clutter-free.
Cute Baskets to Help Keep Your Home Organized
Since I’m very basket-obsessed, here are some super cute (yet extremely functional) baskets to help keep your home organized.
What’s your favorite way to keep your home organized?
You guys. I’m not sure where you’re at right now but let me tell you … in Maryland, it’s cold outside and I’m always bundled up in winter clothing. We are starting to get a bit stir crazy and can’t help but look forward to temperature that is above freezing. As a Michigan girl at heart, yes, I don’t mind chilly temps. But, week after weeks of nothing but chilly temps can start to get to you, especially when no snow is falling.
During times like these, I can’t help but pull out my favorite winter clothing favorites like comfy sweaters, jeans, boots, mittens, and scarves to help me brave the chilly temps while taking my kiddo to and from school and running errands.
There are some sweaters I’ve had in my closet for years. They are tried and true when it comes to keeping me nice and toasty during the chilly winter months. But, there’s nothing like a new cozy sweater to not only spruce up your wardrobe a bit but also add a whole new understanding of soft warmth.
I recently purchased a sweater that I can’t seem to get enough of this winter. The sweater is on the thin side yet super warm which is perfect for hanging out inside and outside. The collar is super slouchy which makes is very comfortable. The length is on the longer side which keeps it perfect for skinny jeans and leggings. I’m so happy I came across it while shopping last month.
I also purchased a pair of mittens about a month ago that I can’t leave the home without. Whenever I’m out and about, they are on my hands at all times. They are super cute on the outside and super warm on the inside. They are the best.
There’s nothing like finding key winter clothing items that turn into your favorites because they keep you feeling warm and cozy during the winter months.
40 Winter Clothing Favorites
Here are some other winter clothing favorites that I have my eyes on this winter.
What are some of your favorite winter clothing items?
Focus. I’ve heard a lot about people having a “word of the year.” I’ve never set a word for myself but, after seeing that phrase so many times when we celebrated the new year, I couldn’t help but think about what my word would be.
After a few weeks of thinking about it, I looked at my husband and said, “I think my ‘word of the year’ is going to be focus.” He kind of gave me a strange look until I explained it.
As a mom, I focus on keeping my kids happy and healthy, my husband happy and healthy, and my home happy and healthy. What’s missing in that list? Me. I hardly ever put any focus on myself. My husband is always great about helping me focus on myself. But, oftentimes, I feel like I don’t have time to focus on myself. I’m always too busy taking care of the kids, doing laundry, cleaning the house, spending time with my husband, preparing food, and working a full-time job while also launching a photography business and running a blog. To take time out of my schedule to focus on myself seems selfish to me and somewhat impossible, especially given all that is on my plate. Moms, you can relate, right?
But, then I am reminded of this quote:
Remember to take care of yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup. – Anonymous
We’re always so busy. Busy, busy, busy. From running around on errands to answering work emails to taking care of kids … we are all pulled in a million different directions day in and day out. From the moment the alarm or baby monitor makes a noise to the moment the head hits the pillow at night, days can be filled with so many activities, needs, wants, emotions, responsibilities, tasks, etc.
With the on-the-go, busy lifestyle, it can be easy to forget about ourselves. But, I also know that tuning into yourself has so many benefits.
So, this year, I’m going to focus on myself. Sounds selfish, right? Over the years (even before I became a mom), I developed bad habits. Well, the way I’m going to focus on myself is by saying:
Goodbye, bad habits.
Bad Habit #1: Not Working Out
I’ve always been an athlete. Growing up, I lived at the ice rink as a figure skater, the baseball field as a softball player, the track field as a hurdler, and the basketball court as a basketball player. I always played sports because I loved being part of a team, working out, staying in shape, and being competitive. Yes, I tend to be super competitive.
While in college, I played on co-ed flag football teams, went for runs, and loved the long walks across campus. When I moved to D.C., I found a few co-ed softball leagues to join. I also tried to workout after I got home from the office and when I was home on the weekends. Simply put, I led an athletic lifestyle because it helped keep me balanced.
And then I became a mom. I started to slip into developing bat habits with my fitness. I would go weeks and months without even thinking about working out. Thankfully, I (luckily and thankfully) didn’t gain too much weight while I was pregnant with our son so shedding the weight after my first pregnancy wasn’t too hard of a task. I was able to lose weight but my body was not toned.
And then I became a mom for the second time. I (luckily and thankfully) again didn’t gain that much weight while I was pregnant with our daughter because I was super mindful of what I ate. A few months after our daughter was born, I had to get a tonsillectomy. Because my diet consisted of popsicles and pudding for weeks (talk about horrible pain), I lost quite a bit of weight during the month of recovery. I was pleased with my body but not 100% happy. I knew I had some work to do in order to tighten up some areas. I also knew that going on walks every now and then wasn’t going to cut it.
Since this is the year that I’m saying “goodbye” to bad habits, I decided to focus on my fitness. I prefer to do workouts at home so I did some research and found a program that should work for me. I saw people who had great results following the Bikini Body Guide by Kayla Itsines. I downloaded the app, purchased the workout, and decided that the second week of January would be my first week of focusing on my fitness.
I officially just completed my first week and am feeling great (sore, but great). I work out every morning before the kiddos wake up. Yes, it’s difficult to wake up early and workout but it feels great to get my workout done at the very beginning of my day.
One morning, my son actually woke up while I was just finishing up my workout. He sat on the couch and, while watching a movie, kept peeking at what I was doing. As I was doing sit-ups, he yelled out, “Peek-a-boo!” The rest of the sit-up circuit was a peek-a-boo game between the two of us. During a rest between circuits he looked at me and said, “What are you doing, mama? Keep going. You can do it!” Talk about the best motivation ever! Hilarious! During the cool down, he joined me and we stretched together. It was so cute watching him look at the stretches on my screen and then try to create them. I love that he knows that his mama is working out.
The program is 12 weeks long and, even though the workouts are tough, I can’t wait to start week #2 of my fitness journey. You can’t beat “me time” that also helps you get in shape. What’s not to love?
Bad Habit #2: Getting Very Little Sleep
I’m a workaholic. Before I had kids, I would easily work 80+ hours a week, especially since I worked from home so it was so easy to just hop on the computer and work. On average, I would get about four hours of sleep a night and I didn’t mind it (and because I’m not a napper, I would rely on that four hours of sleep to get me through my days). I would go to bed at 2:00 a.m. and get up super early to start the work day. I felt like I was always tied to the computer and work.
And then we had our first baby. Our son immediately put my workaholic bad habits into perspective. I immediately knew that it was super important for me to find a better work-life balance. But, I was still working until 2:00 a.m. and getting up at 6:00 a.m. to take care of him and work. I knew I needed a change but I just couldn’t commit to getting more sleep.
After our daughter was born, I realized that with taking care of two kids while working from home, I needed more sleep to help me be productive and alert throughout the day. I needed to find a way work-life-sleep schedule.
And, now that I’m waking up at 6:00 a.m. to workout before the kiddos wake up, I decided that this year is my year to focus on sleep. This past week, I’ve been able to create a life and work schedule that has me going to bed around 9:30/10:00 and waking up at 6:00 a.m. I’m almost doubling the amount of sleep hours that I used to get all because I’m living a life that is more disciplined. I’ve quickly realized just how much better I feel, how much more productive I am at work, and how much better of a mom I can be when I have more sleep a night.
Bad Habit #3: Biting My Nails
Gross, yuck, ewww … the list can go on and on about this disgusting bad habit. I’ve always been a nail biter. In fact, the two times that I can ever remember having nails is when I was pregnant with our kiddos. Because I knew just how disgusting of a bad habit nailing biting is, I knew that I didn’t want to bite my nails while I was pregnant. But, as soon as I gave birth, I immediately went back to biting my nails.
Believe me, I’ve tried everything over my 34 years. From putting TABASCO Sauce on my nails to wearing gloves, nothing seemed to work except pregnancy. And, since we’re stopping at two kids, I need to find another way to make sure I stick to getting rid of this bad habit of mine.
Ever since the clock struck midnight and the year turned 2018, I stopped biting my nails. Mind over matter, right? Well, just yesterday, I was able to file my nails a bit and paint them a nude color. I’m hoping that having nail polish on my nails will keep me from biting them. So far so good. I’m looking forward to getting a manicure to help get them in good shape to get strong and continue to grow. This is my year to focus on not biting my nails.
So, there you have it. I plan to focus on myself while dropping three bad habits in order to improve my overall health and well-being. By kicking these three bad habits to the curb, I’ll be able to fill my cup.
Let’s face it. Mornings can be a bit rough, especially if you’re not a morning person. As a night owl who also has to wake up early because I have two young kids, I’m all too familiar with waking up before I’m ready. I’ve never been one to sleep in but I’ve also never been one to wake up incredibly early.
Now that my kids are in the picture, I need to be prepared to wake up and be ready to hit the ground running. Over the years, I’ve realized that there are a few tips and items to help make mornings easier and start the day off right.
5 Morning Habits to Start Your Day Off Right
1.) Get More Sleep
Getting more sleep sounds simple enough, right? If you’re like me, it’s hard to go to bed earlier. Once the kids go to bed, I usually try to squeeze in more work before I shut everything down for the night. The next thing I know, the clock is showing a time that is incredibly late. If you want to wake up earlier and happier, trim down the hours that you stay up at night. It’s all about baby steps. The first step is to start assuming that you have one less hour before bed and don’t agree to items that infringe on that hour.
2.) Make Your Bed
By making your bed every morning, one of your first feelings of the day will be a sense of accomplishment and pride. From there, your body will be encouraged and driven to make more accomplishments throughout the day.
3.) Prepare the Night Before
For me, preparing the night before means cleaning the kitchen and putting all of the toys away. There’s nothing better than walking downstairs to a clean house. If I woke up to piles of dishes in the sink and toys strewn all throughout the house, my head might spin. For others, it might mean packing lunches, setting out clothes, getting backpacks ready, etc. Preparing the night before will result in easier, happier mornings.
4.) Set Your Mind
You can either choose to be unhappy or choose to be happy. Your mood in the morning will set the tone for the day. So, why not choose happy, positive thoughts as your first thoughts of the day? Don’t look at the glass as half empty. Look at the day ahead, smile (because I’ve always read that smiling can increase happiness), and be confident that you will conquer the day ahead. You can even create a checklist of to do items that need to be accomplished throughout the day. As you go through your day, be sure to check off the items to increase your sense of accomplishment.
5.) Energize Your Body
As they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. To me, breakfast doesn’t have to be elaborate. I prefer something that will keep me energized. Lately, I’ve been opting for half of a grapefruit, two apple-flavored rice cakes with a tiny bit of crunchy peanut butter, and coffee.
I recently came across Eight O’Clock Coffee Infusions which are the perfect way to jump start your day. Eight O’Clock Coffee has developed new varieties of coffee blended with added ingredients for an enhanced coffee experience.
Alert Hi-Caffeine: Their careful selection of 100% Arabica beans are medium roasted for a bold, robust flavor and gently blended with caffeine and guarana to help brighten your day.
Relax Decaffeinated: Their careful selection of decaffeinated 100% Arabica beans are gently roasted for a smooth, well balanced, flavorful finish and blended with cuts of chamomile and lavender to help soothe and relax you. A perfect combination to enjoy as you unwind.
Super Spice: Gently roasted and blended with turmeric and cinnamon for a smooth, mild spiced flavor to awaken your senses.
B6 Metabolism: Gently blended with a fruit and herbal blend rich in Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 helps support normal energy-yielding metabolism.
Acai Glow: Gently blended with acai berry for a rich, fruity, vibrant flavor. A lively combination to help invigorate your day.
The names of the coffee were very intriguing which made me excited to wake up and brew myself a cup (or two) of coffee. As it turns out, all of the flavors are unique and delicious. However, my personal favorite is the Super Spice flavor. The spices are just the right touch to help wake up my senses and start my day off right.
If you’re interested in trying one or more of these coffee flavors, then be sure to download this coupon and save a dollar when you buy online or in-store.
A gorgeously arranged plate is the equivalent of a well-put-together outfit for an important meeting or perhaps even a first date. It’s all about the first impression, so just as you wouldn’t go into an important meeting with a bunch of CEOs and expect to make a good one, you also wouldn’t expect to see delight on people’s faces when you present them with a messy and unappealing-looking plate.
Yes, the quality of the ingredients and the taste are essential, but in case of food, the form is as meaningful and crucial as substance. Most people aren’t professional chefs, but that shouldn’t stop them from creating an alluring and gorgeous looking meal. This is far from a difficult feat, and you’ll soon discover, to your delight, that just by following 5 easy steps you too can create an exquisite meal that will grab people’s attention and intrigue their palate.
5 Tips for Beautiful Food Presentation
Realize Size Matters
Like Goldilocks, your first task is to find the one that’s juuust right, but instead of the bed, we’re talking about the plate. Cramming a huge amount of food on a small plate looks messy and is a sign of poor execution. Even the simplest of dishes, such as a salad will look a whole lot more appetizing on a big plate, as the white space surrounding the meal simply oozes elegance.
While on the subject of plates, make sure to keep them simple. If you pay close attention, you will notice that most restaurants serve food on white plates – because that lets the food shine. Still, you don’t have to play it completely safe. You can always add a touch of subtle drama to your plate by choosing white china with blue details, or go even more upscale and opt for a plate with a gold rim.
Include a Pop of Color
Even the simplest of dishes won’t look dull if you add a touch of color. For instance, if you’re preparing the ever-so-simple chicken and potatoes, they can also look incredibly vibrant although they’re both of brownish color. Add greens, purple potatoes, pomegranate seeds or even carrots – any contrasting color will do, as long as the ingredients are complementary.
If you’re strapped for inspiration, learn from the best. For instance, Australian chefs have been placing a huge emphasis on the aesthetic aspect of food, and even catering – particularly catering in Sydney – has been brought to a whole new level. Companies such as Catering Project have certainly upped the ante in terms of appearance and taste, so, when you lack inspiration, always turn to food artisans and snag some.
Think in Clock Terms
One of the ingenious hacks often implemented by professional chefs is the clock method. For instance, if you’re preparing something with fish, that fish is the centerpiece of your dish. You want to place it at exactly six o’clock and leave room at 11 o’clock for your vegetables while a careful splash of sauce should find its place at 2 o’clock.
The asymmetry that is achieved by doing this will bring a kind of minimalistic elegance to the plate.
Use Your Cooking Arsenal
Aside from the mandatory pots and pans, you always want to make sure you have your additional helpers close by. Brushes and pipettes are your decorative allies as they will ensure you add the sauce with the utmost precision and creativity. When using these, you are given an abundance of choices – you can go circular, place dots and points, or even go zigzag. With the right tools, the world (or plate) is your oyster.
Implement the Less is More Mentality
If you place a large amount of food on a dish you run the risk of having an overstuffed and unappealing plate as a result. Of course, the goal isn’t to starve your guests, but smaller portions can be quite filling, regardless of what you may think.
Aside from that, when you’re working with smaller portions you’re given more wiggle room to play with decoration and styling. Another crucial thing to bear in mind is not to go overboard with elements. Four to six is optimal – any more than that and your plate will already be overcrowded.
Always be right on the dot, because no matter how much effort you’ve put in, no plate will look inviting if the dish is cold.
What’s your favorite tip for beautiful food presentation?
About the Author: Sophia Smith is a beauty and style blogger and eco-lifestyle lover. She is very passionate about natural skincare and makeup, fashion and mindful living. Over the years she wrote pieces for: LA Fashion, Eco Warrior Princess, Viva Glam Magazine, Art of Healthy Living and Oh My Heartsie Girl. You can find out more about her writing following her on: Facebook, Twitter, Google+.