Friday, August 26, 2016

Life: Friday Ramblings

It's been years since I've...
...watched The Jungle Book!  At 28, I still can't stop myself from dancing and singing along.
I'm glad that my little mush enjoyed the music just as much as I do.

I'm smiling ear to ear because... husband finally finished the closet in the spare room!  Such a simple thing made a BIG difference.
Hello organized space for the clothes that are out of season, board games, and other miscellaneous things!

I'm super thankful for...
...the support team I didn't realize I had!  People that I never knew cared have proven then really do.
Details to come later, but let's just say that it was a heart warming moment.

I feel awful for... baby girl being allergic to bug bites.  A simple mosquito bite turns into a welt on her.
Not only do they swell horribly, but the mosquito seem to LOVE her blood!

I'm cracking up at... baby girl as she looks at a stranger and yells "STOP CHECKING ME OUT"!
Where does she even learn these things from?!  My bet is on Spongebob.

I'm totally in love with...
...these super comfy drawstring shorts from Gap Body that my husband surprised me with.
I usually rock a t-shirt and boy short panties around the house.  He hated it enough to compromise!

I can't stop filling the house with...
...potted plants!  I see a good deal for a plant and I can't help myself from getting it.
This week it was a 4" cabbage rose plant.  I had to tell my husband  it's an "investment" for the backyard.

What are your Friday ramblings?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

List: Ten ways to get back into routine after a vacation.

**I posted this almost exactly a year ago, but it totally applies to now.  Please excuse the repeated post while I remind myself on how to catch myself up in life and work!**

The wedding ended and the honey moon came and gone.
The next week, I was summoned for jury duty and then I caught a viral infection from my Mushy.
Quickly after that, my aunt passed away so we traveled upstate, NY for the services.
If these things didn’t happen all at once, life would be boring.  Right?!

Needless to say, after a month of not being able to live a normal life, I’m all out of whack.
I’m so far behind in life that I’m not sure how to catch up and get back on schedule.
My bills aren’t meticulously budgeted and my chores are a month behind.
My cubicle at work has stacks and piles of time sensitive tasks left undone.
My blog’s log of posts is empty and my class for school is literally right around the corner.
I’m not even going to mention myself.  I need an emergency hair cut and mani-pedi NOW!

Ten ways to get your life back on track.

1.  Take a deep breath and calm down.
It’s easy to panic when you see mountains of unfinished work and chores laying around.
If you go into panic mode, you’ll make mistakes and take longer to finish.
Meditate for a minute or stop and get a glass of cold water.  Once you’re calm, do step #2.

2.  Evaluate the complete situation.
Before you can begin getting back on track, you need to determine where you’re at.
Brainstorm and make a list of everything that needs to get done in all aspects of your life.
This can be overwhelming.  Stop and calm down again if you need to.  I have anxiety so I get it!

3.  Prioritize the tasks on hand.
The floors may need a good scrubbing, but it’s high priority to deposit your check and pay bills.
Rewrite your list and put the tasks in priority order.  This is especially an important step at work!
This may feel like you’re wasting time, but trust me when I say being organized really helps.

4.  Take lots and lots of breaks.
Playing catch up can be very overwhelming.  Remember it took a month to build that pile of work.
You need to eat, sleep, and take mental breaks.  It’s impossible to do everything in a day, so don’t try.
This is where I always fail, especially at work.  I may have unanswered e-mails, but I still have to pee!

5.  Communicate with the people relying on you.
Maybe you need to cancel a beach day with the girls or reschedule a meeting with your boss.
As long as you communicate and explain the situation, people aren’t going to feel let down.
Remember that everyone had to play catch up at some point in their life.  They’ll totally understand!

6.  Don’t forget about the new tasks coming in.
Getting your life back on track isn’t an excuse to ignore the new tasks coming in.
If you do this, you’ll be right back at step one.  Try and balance your time between new and old tasks.
I have unapplied checks sitting here from a month ago, but I’m still submitting the new ones coming in.

7.  Ask for help and delegate what you can.
This doesn’t mean it’s ok to dump everything on someone else.  But, it is ok to ask for help.
Maybe your spouse can do some extra chores or a friend can entertain your baby for a few hours.
These little shouts for help will really make all the difference in how long this takes you!

8.  Eliminate unnecessary distractions.
Things like your cell phone or your TV set to BRAVO can prove to be an unnecessary distraction.
If you are too busy chatting on the phone or watching TV, you’re not being productive.
My husband hates when my brain gets distracted because it happens often.  Woops!

9.  Set a reasonable date as a target goal.
If I allow myself to think that I have an indefinite amount of time to do something, it doesn’t get done.
On the other hand, if I rush to get stuff done too quick then things aren’t done correctly or completely.
A goal is always a great thing to have for mental reasons.  It helps put everything in perspective!

10.  Live your life following your normal routine.
It’s important to get back into your normal routine as quickly as possible.
This will help you feel normal.  It also will help get things done because your routine probably worked.
It always feels great to settle back into your regular schedule after a long vacation.

How do you get back into your daily routine after a long vacation?

Monday, August 22, 2016

List: Ten important things to do before applying for a new job.

I recently went on a fabulous dinner date with my baby cousin.  It turns out that my baby cousin is no longer a baby.  We were celebrating my birthday and the start of her career at a huge accounting firm.  Our dinner date was soon consumed with sparkling sake and adult conversation.  One big topic of talk was how she landed this awesome role straight out of college.  No worries, ladies and gentlemen!  I’ll share her tips to success with you!

how to prepare to start a new career; how to get a career; how to get a dream job; how to prepare for a job application

Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links to products.  We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Please note that I would only recommend products that I would use myself and all opinions are my own.

What to do before applying for a new job.

1.  Get yourself organized.
Keep your important documents and information filed in a designated and safe place.  This file should be filled with copies of your resume, certificates, recommendation letters, copies of identification (license, social security card, & birth certificate), and diplomas.

Idea:  Invest in a fire proof box like this one to keep under lock and key.  This should house all of your important documents like the ones mentioned above.  Keeping a box like this keeps you organized and protected just in case there ever is an unthinkable disaster.

2.  Invest in a portfolio book.
Keep a portfolio book handy and filled with pens, paper, resumes, and other necessities.  Walking into an interview with this leaves you looking prepared, responsible, and professional.

Idea:  I really like a padfolio like this one because it's extra useful.  It has a pad for writing, a folder for storage, a place to keep your phone, a business card holder, a spot for your ear buds, and so much more.  This is the cheapest investment you'll ever make, especially since you'll use it even after you land your dream job.

3.  Clean up your social media.
Browse through your social media feeds and delete any unprofessional pictures or posts.  I never believed employers actually looked until the time an interview began with listing our mutual friends.  Now that I'm a hiring manager, I do the same quick search to see what pops up on social media.  Keep your pages private and your extra crazy nights off the web.

4.  Google your name for a virtual clean up.
You'll be surprised what will pop up when you Google your name.  Delete all undesirable discoveries.  I recently did this and had a hard time deleting an ancient Twitter account.  I had literally had to beg the Twitter Gods for it to go away.  Start this process early since it's not always that easy to accomplish.

5.  Invest in a blazer.
Whether it's a fun colored blazer or plain black one, it's a must for any interview.  I love my coral blazer because it helps me stand out, radiates my personality, all while it still shows that I mean business.

Idea:  Try scheduling a StitchFix order by clicking here to get a choice of interchangeable professional outfits PLUS that much needed blazer.  I love StitchFix because it's the only place that I find professional clothes that are my style as in not old lady clothes and come in petite sizes.

6.  Create a professional e-mail address.
Sign up for a free gmail account and make your e-mail something professional.  Your name separated by a period at will always do the trick.

7.  Prepare answers to typical interview questions.
There will be trade specific questions, but the favorites will always pop up.  Research some common questions and develop bullet points for an answer.  It's important to sound prepared, not rehearsed so don't waste time memorizing a line.  

Idea:  Don't be afraid to ask family or friends to help role play a practice interview.

8.  Start networking.
Connections and possible opportunities await you when you simply tell people you're ready for a career  I once scored an interview on the elevator ride to another interview!  Always have extra resume copies.

9.  Create a LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn has become a key tool for networking, recruiting, and researching applicants.  Utilize it!  You should definitely upload a profile picture but keep it tasteful, professional, and a solo shot.  Keep it updated with your most recent credentials.  Also, don't be afraid to solicit confirmation of those credentials from your current peers.

10.  Become confident in yourself.
In the words of my not so baby cousin, "be confident and prepare to sell yourself".  You need to prove to yourself that you're the perfect fit for a career before you can prove it to others.

What is your dream job?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

List: Ten health foods that aren't healthy.

A couple of months back, I re-started my healthy swap challenge to lose a stubborn 5 pounds.  I already told you all about my squats and my new found love for tea.  What I didn’t tell you is that I cut back on carbohydrates, unhealthy snacks, and lazy nights in bed.  It’s been two months and I can’t confirm that I lost weight, but I really do feel better.  I don’t weigh myself.  When you have anxiety, you avoid the things that could trigger a meltdown.

health foods that are scam; health foods that are bad for you; diet food that isn't good; health food; unhealthy foods; health foods to avoid; foods to avoid because they are unhealthy

Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links to products.  We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Please note that I would only recommend products that I would use myself and all opinions are my own.

Ten health foods that aren't healthy.

1.  Smoothies

I’m a huge fan of Tropical Smoothie and have been indulging to my heart’s content.  After checking out their nutrition facts, I learned that I’d be better off with a gallon of ice cream.  Not to mention, their smoothies only come in one size:  gigantic! 

Instead, swap them with a homemade smoothie made with natural ingredients and low sugars.  If you're unable to make at home, ask the place of business for a list of ingredients and nutrition facts before purchasing.

2.  Salad

The main ingredients in a salad are generally healthy.  This includes the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and even to some extend, the cheese.  When you start adding candied walnuts, rich dressings, and dried cranberries, it becomes a calorie bomb.

Instead, swap fresh avocado in place of salad dressing and sugar filled, dried fruits.  You'll find that it's just as delicious less the calories and preservatives.  If you don't like avocado, try to stick with simple oil and vinegar.

Idea:  Motivate yourself to skip the bottled dressing by investing in a gorgeous set like this one.  It's pretty enough to keep on the counter as a constant reminder to use it!

3.  Oatmeal

That daily breakfast of a packet of apple cinnamon flavored Quaker instant oatmeal may be convenient, but it's packed with sugar.  Actually, enough sugar to make you eep!

Instead, swap your oatmeal packets for plain, dried oat bran.  You may need a pot, water, and 15 minutes to make it, but the health effects are totally worth it!  If it's too blah to be enjoyable, try a dollop of real maple syrup and some dried wild blueberries.

4.  Wraps

One popular health food trend is wraps packed with all sorts of different things.  Compare the nutrition facts of your wrap to your bread.  You’ll see that the wraps are significantly worse.

Instead, swap those giant calorie filled wraps with whole grain bread.  Take the thick slice of bread and cut it in half.  You'll get the health benefits of the whole grains without over indulging on that second slice.

Idea:  Try a thin sandwich type of bread like this.  It will have the same health benefit as mentioned above less the mess of crumbs for you to clean up after.

5.  Peanut Butter

Many people eat peanut butter as a form of protein.  Some even buy the reduced fat peanut butter thinking that they made a healthy swap.  Instead they just swapped that extra fat for extra sugar.  A moment of silence for our favorite apple and peanut butter snack..

Instead, replace your popular jar of peanut butter with an all natural almond butter.  That means no added preservatives or sugar.  Just straight up almond butter.  You may find that it actually tastes better.

Idea:  If the almond butter isn't sweet enough, try a dollop of sweet agave nectar like this one or natural honey.  Just don't add too much or it defeats the purpose of your healthy swap!

6.  Diet Drinks

These drinks may have less sugar, but the companies make up for it with chemicals.  Some diet sodas in particular have been linked to Multiple Sclerosis type symptoms.

Instead, just stick with water and natural teasOk, and a cup of coffee..

7.  Cold Cuts

It’s not uncommon for people to roll up a few slices of turkey and stick them on top of their salad, put on a sandwich, or just eat plain.  Turns out that this deli meat is packed with preservatives, sodium, and fat.  When I was pregnant, the doctored banned me from eating any cold cuts.  Red flag much?

Instead, save leftovers at dinner and invest in a fillet knife like this one.  Slice some thin pieces of meat and treat it as a cold cut.  Another idea is to make a hot open sandwich to heat up in the lunchroom.  Be creative, and skip the possibly poisonous cold cuts!

8.  Protein Bars

Like many others, I tried to up my protein intake by buying Cliff Protein bars.  They're yummy but full of sugar.

Instead, swap the protein bar for hard boiled eggs.  It may not be as much protein as the bars, but it's also saving you >100 calories and crazy amounts of sugar.

9.  Sugar Substitutes

Sugar substitutes can be filled with chemicals that are known to cause medical issues.  If you absolutely must use sugar substitutes, make sure that you do your research to ensure that it won't cause any long or short term health effects.

Instead, swap the sugar substitute with sweet agave nectar like this one or natural honey.

10.  Yogurt

Plain yogurt is a very healthy snack, but the flavored ones are full of sugar and preservatives.  This is especially true for some of the children's yogurts.  Ever see the sugar count?  Some should be illegal for kids!

Instead, swap the sugar filled yogurts for an all natural Greek yogurt like Chobani.  After doing a school project on Chobani, I learned how they are one of the best yogurt choices out there.

Did any of these trick you?

Monday, August 15, 2016

List: Ten signs that you're officially overwhelmed.

I've been so busy that I've been losing track of myself lately.
I knew I've been overbooked because I wasn't accomplishing all that I typically do.
Did anyone notice the mysteriously missing Wednesday post last week??  I did and I sighed.

Work and taking care of my family have officially consumed me.
When I finally have done the bare minimum that needs to be done, I'm out of energy.
As one would expect, this lack of daily duties has also led to some household arguments.
Which also wastes perfectly good productive time and motivation!

Last night I finally got the message the universe has been telling me.
"Jax, you're overwhelmed and need to slow down before you burn out!"
I completely forgot about a planned event and had to stop mid-task to make it.  That ain't like me!

Ten signs that you're officially overwhelmed.

1.  You're paycheck mysteriously doubled.
Companies don't just donate to your cause.  You earned that cash, but burning yourself out in overtime.
I'm still crossing my fingers on that huge promotion so I can say buh bye to that crazy OT!

2.  You're healthy home cooked meals have vanished.
Cooking a healthy meal from scratch is now a foreign idea replaced with hot dogs and chicken nuggets!
This is a huge one especially for someone who really enjoys those home cooked meals.

3.  You haven't called your grandmother in a week.
I make a point of calling nanny at least twice a week, but the past few weeks just disappeared!
Now that I think about it, she didn't call me either.  You think she's mad?!

4.  Your husband has to remind you to say "hello".
With limited time and too many things to do, little things like a kiss hello gets eliminated.
I got insulted when he first called me out, but now I'm smiling thinking about how he cared!

5.  You ignore the ant infestation in the bathroom.
I saw several teeny tiny ants crawling around the bathroom, and I just shut the door.
The entire world knows how much I hate bugs, but I just didn't have time for that!

6.  You live with only 6 painted nails.
The second one gel polish pops off I run to the nail salon to have a whole new set painted on.
Even my manager told me to slow down when he saw that half my nails were naked!

7.  You use your phone calendar and still forget events.
If it ain't in my calendar and my phone doesn't alarm me, I won't remember it.
My brain is so frazzled that this isn't even true anymore!

8.  Your hosting a gathering and don't even write a list.
A week before any event I write up a menu and a list of everything that needs to be done.
The day before, my hubby said "I don't know what to do without your list".  That totally made me swoon!

9.  You eat over the crumb stuck under the glass.
My OCD always makes me cringe when things are stuck between the glass and table.
Well, writing about that made me stop and finally get that crumb impostor out.  Problem solved!

10.  You're daughter tells you not to work anymore.
This one killed me.  I stopped everything I was doing to have some play time with my mushy!
She's growing up quicker than I could have ever imagined and I don't want to miss it.

What signs does the universe give you to slow down?

Friday, August 12, 2016

Life: Friday Ramblings

Feeling really REALLY good about...
...getting that killer job I told you guys about last week.  We're talking regional management, people!!
I applied for this position with no intention of even being considered and now I'm 1 of the final 2!

I'm feeling super strong because...
...I've been running!  Yes, I actually rock a sports bra and hit the track for 30 minutes daily.
At first it was torture, but now I look forward to it.  And, YES, I know how to run.  Smh!

I'm feeling nostalgic because...
...nanny stumbled across a box filled with things she saved for Brother and I from my late grandmother.
It was filled with my grandmother's crystal pieces wrapped in newspaper dated 1997.

I'm totally and completely baffled by... baby girl's arm pit obsession!!  I can't even sit still without her begging to touch my arm pit.
I know that this sounds weird, but imagine how weird it is to have someone WANT to touch that.

I'm drinking lots of...
...Pinot Noir thanks to my hubby buying the best birthday gift!  He got me a case of my favorite wine.
I live for La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir and it's so difficult to find!

I'm cringing because...
...I pulled the muscle between my shoulder and neck.  It's been killing me for days!
Thank God for muscle relaxers otherwise I'm not sure I would have made it to work.

I'm praying hard for... Zia Lucy who passed away last week.  God bless her soul and God bless her family.
She was my grandfather's youngest sibling.  She left behind a loving husband, children, and grandchildren.

What are your Friday ramblings?

Monday, August 8, 2016

List: Ten things every future homeowner should know before making a purchase.

**Updated August 2020**

We just passed our 4 year anniversary as homeowners.  We celebrated with a glass of wine and conversation about how far we've come.  Thank goodness for the wine because it helped us laugh at our mistakes!

We prepared the best we could, but it's nearly impossible to prepare for the real thing.  We took note of all the advice from every wise homeowner we knew.  We saved and built a little nest egg to use in the case of an emergency.  We even paid for classes to prepare us professionally!  

Trust me when I say that no matter how well you prepare something unexpected will happen.  This post will hopefully help prepare you for the possibility of some of those unexpected treats most homeowners go through.

what to know before buying a house; homeowners beware

Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links to products.  We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Please note that I would only recommend products that I would use myself and all opinions are my own.

Ten pieces of advice for a future homeowner.

1.  Your nest egg and savings are two different things.
As things happen, you may take from your savings.  Your nest egg should always be full.  In other words, your nest egg is for an emergency, not to replace the gutters.  Don't spend on luxury items or improvements at the expense of your nest egg.

2.  Invest in a full area instead of one part of it.
Things are too expensive to not do it right the first time.  For example, avoid the temptation to buy the pretty couch until you can afford to redo the entire living room.

Idea:  Instead of making large purchases or doing large projects, invest in neutral decor that fits your taste like this fabulous pearl colored mosaic wall clock.  It's neutral enough to go with any decor yet tasteful enough to make a statement about your style.

3.  There is no reason to do everything right away.
It may take 10, 20, or 30 years to get the entire house to your liking and that's totally OK!  It took us over 6 months of living in our first house before we could afford to invest a penny into making it our style.

4.  Don't binge on trinkets to decorate your home.
Between gifts, picking up souvenirs on your travels, and window shopping, trinkets will come to you.  If you binge buy trinkets on moving day, you'll be sick of them and living like a hoarder by year 5.

Idea:   Like mentioned above, focus on neutral yet fabulous pieces that could go anywhere.  Ask yourself "Does think make a statement?  Is it functional?  Does it look like an impulse buy?  Will I regret this purchase later?".  For example, this is an investment and this is an obvious impulse buy.

5.  You shouldn't be working just to live in a house you own.
Make sure you can afford to own a home and still enjoy your life with vacations and the occasional night out.  Owning a home becomes old real fast when that's all you can afford to do.

6.  Wait 3 months until making any large purchases.
Take time to live in the home before deciding what's most important to you.  For example, I wish I knew about the bug issue or the electrical problem in our home before we invested in other things.  Now we either dig into our savings to fix them or live with only one appliance running at a time while squishing ants.

7.  There is a such thing as ground bees.
Look up ground bees before getting stung by a swarm of insects while innocently ripping out weeds.  I don't know who needs to hear this, but it's better than learning the hard way.

8.  There will always be something to fix.
Every time you think that you covered everything, another problem to solve will pop up.  If it isn't the house, something will go wrong with the car.  Be prepared to need to fix a minimum of one to two things at all times.

Idea:  To save money on repairs, invest in a starter tool set like this.  You're not handy so you think it's a waste of money?  Come back when you're strapped for cash, don't have time to wait for a repair man, or just want to hang up a shelf so you can tell me you changed your mind.  Besides, there's always our favorite teacher for home repair and maintenance - YouTube!

9.  Save everything until you know you won't use it.
Don't throw anything away before you move because you don't know what you'll need in the house.  I know it may tempting to toss stuff so that it's less to move, but avoid the temptation.

10.  Invite guests despite the condition of your home.
Your house will never be perfect in your eyes.  Don't avoid house guests because of silly imperfections.  YOU JUST BOUGHT A HOME!!  Be proud and show it off no matter what condition it's in.

What did you learn as a homeowner?


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