Friday Favorites: Spice Drawer Makeover

Happy Friday, friends! I feel like I was just here with you for last weeks post but boy, time flies when you are having fun. The kiddo and I escaped to the coast for a beautiful week in the sun and sand, and my soul feels revived. The ocean has always been my happy place but coming home to my own bed, shower, and sweet husband felt amazing, too. It was especially welcoming since he had the good idea to vacuum before we returned. He knows how much I appreciate order, and with all the chaos around us in the world, its even more important to create a place of rest and peace at home.
Last week in my Instagram stories I talked about revamping my messy spice drawer. Luckily for me, my husband is amazing cook, but our collection of spices had gotten out of control, and after weeks on end of cooking from home more than ever before, we needed a better solution. I will be the first to admit that originally I did not want to purchase all new matching jars and labels like a lot of people around the internet had been doing the last few years. At first it felt wasteful in both product and expense, but once our drawer was overflowing, I pulled the trigger. 

Of course it was my old friend Amazon to the rescue. There are numerous options available to you, but after weeding through reviews, I settled on this wonderful little set. It gave me enough to cover all the spices we currently have while still having a few leftover to grow. The set came with round black labels for the tops, as well as a white pen and blank labels to create your own. It also included small clear labels for the sides of the jars, but I opted to purchase this set of capital letter labels separately to really dress them up. The kit also included a small rubber funnel to help with transferring your spices to the new jars. To give you an idea of the size: the new jars are exactly the same size as any of my Trader Joe’s glass jars for seasonings and spices. 

With a little help from my favorite kitchen helper, it was quick. work to transfer the spices and it was absolutely worth the effort. The capital letter labels set even included labels for popular spices like Everything But the Bagel, Lowry’s Seasoning Salt, and Chili Lime. Everything was immediately better organized and more easily recognizable. It worked out just right for me that every bottle I owned fit into the original drawer I had been using. It was just meant to be! 

As you can see, it was just that final touch to really dressing up our kitchen, making it feel homey and custom, and also insanely practical at the end of the day. It has made the few recipes I’ve pulled together since last week just more enjoyable, plus I can really keep an eye on how much of any spice we have left and know what to add to the shopping list. If you’ve been looking to up your kitchen organization game, this is one small project I highly recommend! 

Stay safe. Stay well. 

Jill 

Friday Favorites: Saving Sanity in Quarantine

 

Well, what did you choose? Online shopping or building that ark? Because last we spoke, I made a joke about the rain and now it seems as if those of you with the ark had at the right idea. I am barely hanging on, but that overwhelmed feeling inspired me to share some of my favorite things that keep my sanity mostly in check. (Mostly.) If you’ve been following along on Instagram for a while, you may have noticed that I’ve seriously stepped up my workout game recently. That doesn’t mean I want to spend a thousand extra hours on my hygiene and beauty routine from sweating in the gym or from the miserable NC humidity. Here’s how I save time, the health, and the style of my hair.

shower cap

Let’s get right to the star of the show. Many of my friends know that I am Team Dirty Hair and try to limit how much I wash and style my locks. Frequent showers were really taking the life out of my style until I found this amazing shower cap. It is not the first one I have tried, but even with my melon sized head and thick hair, this is definitely the best one. The style is cute, the cap is comfortable, and there is room inside for even more hair than I currently have. My hair stays nearly perfectly dry even with my double face cleansing routine, general showering, and shaving. It dries quickly and has held up so well even after months of abuse. Ten out of ten recommend to all my Team Dirty Hair girls!

dry shampoo

The next tool in my arsenal of sanity saving techniques is this dry shampoo. Look, I know we all have different hair and that there are a million other brands out there, but this has been my go to for YEARS. I’ve tried the more expensive options and the cheaper options and I always come back to this. Ten years ago when I first learned about dry shampoo you had to visit Ulta or another beauty supply shop to get your hands on pricey bottles of dry shampoo. Now they are in every drug store around the country. If you don’t like this one I really recommend trying out a few different kinds to see what works best for your hair. Also know there is a learning curve to using new products and just because the first use or two isn’t great, doesn’t mean the product can’t work for you.

To my husband’s amusement I spray dry shampoo around my ponytail before I hit the gym without really brushing it in. Of course I am working out at home with only him to notice, but this technique really helps absorb the oil and sweat straightaway and helps save my hairstyle. I can then easily let my hair down and brush it out after my shower and I’m ready to roll. A lot of people also recommend spraying it in before bed so it can work on absorption throughout the night. I don’t really find that helpful, but if you have especially oily hair, give it a try! Don’t forget my biggest tip for saving your hair at night found here. Oh, and when you finally do wash your hair, don’t forget the REPEAT part of the shampoo instructions. Double cleansing really does make a difference!

hair ties

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share my love for the perfect hair ties to save your style. If my hair isn’t actually pulled back, you can always find me with one of these on my wrist. They are my go to when pulling back my hair for everything from daily chores to four mile runs (peppered with lots, and lots of walking). I love that they aren’t that noticeable on my wrist, and that I can take my hair down and it basically jumps right back to whatever style it was before with no creasing. My hair feels secure without being too tight, and it doesn’t tangle like traditional hair ties. I couple of times a year I pick up a new pack at Ulta, but they really do last. The best tip I can give you is that if they are looking stretched out, you can easily reshape them by hitting them with your blow dryer. I have held them down with tweezers so I don’t burn my fingers and they will shrink right back to their original shape and size.

I hope that some of these tips help you take better care of yourself mentally and physically. No one has extra time these days to waste on haircare if we can help it. Give yourself a little grace, a little break, and a little boost all at the same time. You deserve it!

Stay safe.  Stay well. Happy FriYAY!

Jill

 

 

 

What I’m Wearing Wednesday: Amazon Dress

Anyone else feel like time is flying? I am sure that is a controversial statement right now.  It is not easy being at home most of the time with fears still lingering about the coronavirus. My mental health is all over the place somedays, but I cannot believe that we just passed Memorial Day. It’s officially the unofficial start of summer! To celebrate, we got together with a few friends for a small cookout on Sunday and I just knew I’d have to share my outfit with you all. (Because if you aren’t building an ark this week, you probably are online shopping!)

navy dress

A few weeks ago I was sent down an Amazon shopping rabbit hole by a few different bloggers sharing their favorite finds. (Looking at you, Cotton Stem!) And while I’ve always had a difficult time pulling the trigger with new brands online, I am so glad I picked up this navy tee shirt dress for less than $20. The fabric is the perfect thickness to be comfortable while not showing off every little part of your body, and I love the v neck.  Amazon offers this style in a ton of different colors, but be warned, I wasn’t the only person doing some stay at a home shopping. A lot of the colors are sold out in my size large, but because I love it so much I still wanted to tell you about it. You are all set if you are a smaller size. 

earrings

To accessorize, the dress paired perfectly with the white slip on shoes I told you guys about in last week’s post, but we all know how easily it can be dressed up with other sandal options. For the cool but casual look I was going for, my Second House Jewelry earrings were the perfect choice to shine with my pulled back hair style. I can’t get enough of this company. The earrings are unique, fun, affordable, and most importantly, LIGHT. This is huge for me, guys! I can wear these earrings all day with no discomfort at all. Plus, I love knowing I am supporting a local small business mama friend! You can now order online or if you area local to Moore County, stop by Twigg & Co. to see what is in stock in the shop for immediate gratification. 

I am pretty sure this is going to be my go to summer uniform when I want to be a little bit more dressed up than my workout gear or linen shorts, but never fear. I am on the hunt for a few more easy breezy dresses and you can bet I will let you know what I love. Until then,  

Stay Safe. Stay well. Stay DRY! 

Jill 

 

 

 

 

What I’m Wearing Wednesday: Summer Sweatshirt

Sharing affordable finds with friends

As life slides s l o w l y back to some sense of normalcy, I thought I would add a teeny tiny fashion aspect to my blog with the intention of posting regularly. For a long time I have loved sharing my affordable finds through Instagram stories, but by actually writing up a blog post items will be easier to find with links and photos. Also, let’s be honest, my brain just needs another way to exercise itself! I am going a little crazy around here….

———-

Hi, friends! Who would’ve thought that I’d be in jeans and a sweatshirt Memorial Day week after I was in shorts and sandals in April? 2020 has just been all out of sorts but I am glad that some things are finally getting back to normal and today we are able to get together to celebrate my niece’s 16th birthday!

dip dye sweatshirt

This rainy day is the perfect time to put my new Old Navy Relaxed Vintage Crew-Neck Sweatshirt in Blue Dip Dye to the test. I have had my eye on this top for a few months but it was often sold out after a big sale. After I finally pulled the trigger to purchase this and a few other items, shipping was delayed but let me tell you, it was worth the wait. This top is so lightweight that it is the perfect wardrobe addition for spring and summer. I ordered my usual Old Navy size (large) but if you are in between sizes, size down for sure as it is quite roomy.

right jeans

When purchasing the sweatshirt I actually envisioned wearing it with jean shorts, but this gloomy week has me breaking out these Target Universal Thread skinny jeans which may actually be my favorite pair of jeans ever. I was desperate for a new pair of jeans after my previous favorite pair died from overuse, and I snagged these up unsure of how much I would really love them. BOY, am I glad I found them. They are soft, form fitting, and honestly, would even fit great if say you were indulging a little too often in the quarantine snacking. The fit is so great that you don’t feel the need to rip them off the second you walk in the door (if you ever have even had the chance to leave your house). The medium blue wash on these is light enough to still look great with a lot of warm weather tops and styles, but can carry you through the year. 

shoe

 

Last but certainly not least, I feel obligated to tell you about these cute white slip on shoes from none other than Walmart. I’d been eyeing a white pair from another retailer but they were still sold out. I couldn’t believe my luck when I stumbled upon these on recent and unusually rare trip inside Walmart. For an inexpensive pair of shoes, they fit so well and are actually very comfortable. I have worn them with jeans. shorts, and I imagine they will be cute with the right dress if I ever have a reason to wear one again. Also for those of you concerned about the whiteness of the shoe: they clean right up with a baby wipe or a little Magic Eraser magic. They are lightweight and super cool for my feet even on the warmer days we’ve had lately. As I retire my quilted slip ons for the duration of the summer I am thinking I may even need to order a second pair of these in the black, but let’s not get crazy. This is supposed to be affordable fashion, after all. 

Stay well and stay safe!
Jill 

 

Master Cleanser: My Why

Drastic changes call for drastic measures: Why I am doing the Master Cleanser.

I wish I could sit down and write a well thought out journal entry about my progress on the Master Cleanser at the halfway point of Day 5, but my mind is all over the place and I think I need to back up and share my “why.”

Even though I have been feeling extra emotional the last two days, I think this cleanse is without a doubt worth the short term sacrifices. In fact, in the book, The Complete Master Cleanse, we are warned that there may be some emotional toll to undergoing the cleanse. I am not actually hungry. The lemonade mixture is actually rather satisfying.  Rather, the war is raging on in my heart and mind.  Most of my stress at this point comes from the fact that food has been my number one source of comfort and enjoyment for most of my life and with this cleanse, that has been ripped away.

But let’s say that again. Food is my number one source of comfort and enjoyment? Not God? Not my family? Not my friends? Not facing whatever is causing me anxiety head on? That is so messed up.

I want to eat to live, not live to eat and I need to make that change sooner rather than later. I have struggled during the last six months to break the bondage that food has on me. I have tried therapy, I’ve tried medication, and I have prayed and prayed.  Yet I kept coming back to my unhealthy urges to eat. My entire day would revolve around food: What I could have? From where? And when? As a family we have “wasted” so much actual food, money, time, and energy on these absurd cravings and I just cannot let it continue on. I want to raise a son with a healthy view of food, and I want to support my husband in his goals to be physically fit and nourished by what is good for the body.

I am not ashamed of admitting any of this. Most of my friends already know how much I love to eat (and how I never lost the weight after having the baby – FOUR YEARS AGO! – it is quite obvious). I also know that this same struggle is super common. In fact, I actually notice it more when someone isn’t food motivated. So many of us are in this battle together. I am hoping that by opening up about my story and resources that maybe I can help others to finally start making the changes they want for more healthy lives. This isn’t a quest to reach a certain size or weight, but rather a journey to feeling more complete and at peace physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

To reach that peace, I believe we have to start with God and rather than talk first with you about the cleanse and what it entails, I want to share a book that was life changing for me. Reading Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Made to Crave, opened my eyes to see that my obsession with food was a temptation from the enemy and not unlike any other sinful habit. I am not addicted to drugs, alcohol, gambling, pornography, or any other habit that generally brings shame. I am, however, addicted to food, and believe it or not, something that benign has brought shame and disruption to my life. It has caused self doubt, fights with my husband, feelings of inadequacy and defeat, and overall made me feel unloved and unwelcome as I battled the side effects from overindulging. We aren’t just talking about weight gain and body image issues, but also disappointment and regret at never being able to stick to any “plan” or “diet.” I have no self discipline.

The spiral of shame isn’t the only issue, but I’ve also been dealing with how the unhealthy balance of food made me feel physically: mood swings, lack of energy, bloating and discomfort, trouble sleeping, skin issues, you name it. If I so concretely know the source of so many of my problems, then why can I not fight back? That is a question that has haunted me for years. It is a constant battle to stay the course, to make the right choices, and fight for my goals when giving in and giving up would be so much easier. Yet I know that God wants so much more for us. To help stay strong I have recently added to my arsenal the Made to Crave devotional. It is so refreshing to start my morning in God’s word and His promises to provide a way and strength for us. The Bible actually has so much to stay about food and nourishing the body. As new as wide-spread obesity may be, the struggle with food issues has long existed. One of the best things to recognize is that I am not alone in this struggle and neither are you.

So there you have it all laid out. It is mid-afternoon on Day 5 and I am already dying to quit. Not because my stomach is growling or I am dealing with headaches or have low energy (none of those things, actually), but rather just because I miss the comfort of food. I am halfway through the cleanse and like all the times before I want to throw in the towel and not see it through to the end. Thankfully this time I have the full power of God with me. I will not quit, I will not fail, and I am remembering James 1: 2-4:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” 

Monday’s Menu: Chicken Taco Bowls

I am super excited for tonight’s edition of Monday’s Menu! It has been a while since I’ve shared anything with you all! And because of the social distancing lockdown, it doesn’t even matter that I’m calling this post Monday’s Menu on a Wednesday! Did you even know it was Wednesday? Be honest!

If like me you are missing all of your usual food haunts, dinners with friends and family, and just overall OVER IT with the kitchen, I’ve got a sure fire way to please *most* of your family in one easy meal that can provide leftovers so NO ONE can come back to Mama to ask “what’s for lunch?” My favorite thing about this meal is that it is what I call a pantry ready meal. All of these ingredients can be collected and stored in the pantry and freezer and pulled out just when you are about to lose your mind. Let’s get down to business!

Chicken Taco Bowls 

Ingredients:

  • 2+ pounds of precious, rare, hard to find chicken breasts
  • Salsa of your choice
  • Mexican / Spanish Rice – whatever you like! (tonight were just using brown rice!)
  • The fixins’
  •    – Diced jalapeños
  •    – Corn
  •    – Black beans
  •    – Queso
  • Optional: tortillas or tortilla chips

Directions:

Depending on the type of rice you choose, that may be the item that takes the most time. Read the box/bag instructions and get that going before anything else. Afterward, toss your frozen chicken breasts into the Instant Pot with at least 1 cup of salsa. This method works best when the breasts aren’t frozen together. Set IP on manual for ten minutes and then let it naturally release for 5 minutes before doing a quick release. (If you still have your sanity and mange to pre-plan meals, the slower cooker is also an option. I like low and slow for 6-8 hours for chicken). Once the chicken is cooked, use your hand mixer to shred the chicken right in the IP or crockpot. (Kitchen Aid stand mixers are also brilliant at shredding chicken!)

While the rice and chicken is going you can gather your other canned ingredients. It doesn’t matter that I prep the beans and corn before the main items are ready because I will be honest, I always microwave my bowl about 35/40 seconds so my queso gets hot and melty.

Once the rice and chicken are ready, you can load up your bowls or tortillas (I actually like to put crunched up tortilla chips in my bowl!). The bowl will pile up quickly if you have more than a few ingredients so make sure your eyes aren’t bigger than your stomach! The order I usually follow is rice, chicken, beans, corn, queso, and finally I top with jalapeños. The best part is that this meal is just as yummy the next day (or two!).

This meal has been a go-to of comfort the last few months and I hope it helps you break out of whatever kitchen funk you might be in due to being stuck at home 24/7. Please let me know if you try it or add it to your rotation!

Be safe and be well!

Jill

 

 

List Ready: Advice from a Buyer’s Agent

*** Editor’s note: I wrote this a week ago and delayed pushing publish as it isn’t my usual MO, but it is a big part of my life and I hope it is helpful for someone out there.

Hellllllo, Fall! I’m sitting outside as I write this soaking up the beautiful, cool air. I am so happy the season finally decided to change in North Carolina. The real estate game isn’t all that fun to play on 95* days but today’s home inspection is going smoothly. Did you even know that I am a real estate agent? I kicked off 2019 pursuing my license and after quick success in class and testing, I’ve been working since March of 2019. We stay very  busy and it has been exciting and rewarding to help families find their perfect home.

My job is very specific. I only help buyers. I don’t list any homes. That works out okay for me right now because I have a natural knack at seeing how individuals want to live and finding the home that fits those needs. (Don’t get me wrong though! I will absolutely step in to help if you need to sell your home by referring you to someone on our amazing team if you’re local, or finding you the perfect agent wherever you are and we can still get the job done.  Basically, just remember me if you have any real estate needs at all – anywhere in the grand ol’ USA!)

An upside to working this way is constantly going into new properties and getting an actual in person feel for what’s on the market in the area. I’ve shown everything from small golf front condos to 4,000 square foot lakefront homes. Any real estate agent worth their salt will give you advice on how to get your home ready before listing, but PLEASE listen as someone who sees it everyday from the buyer’s perspective: staging matters. Staging doesn’t have to mean hiring out an expensive company or making drastic changes to your property, but a few smalls steps can engage the potential buyer’s senses and make the biggest difference in helping them feel at home and ready to make an offer.

Out with the Visual Clutter

You. guys. This is my absolutely pet peeve in life – but especially so with homes on the market.  Get rid of the clutter! No one wants to (or needs to!) walk into your kitchen to piles of mail on the counter or cold medicine left by the sink. It seems like common sense, but for the love of all things money related, clean up yo stuff! Your potential buyers will appreciate this more than you know and your home will instantly look more appealing. Put shoes away, tidy pillows, make all the beds, and be sure the floors are clean. I’d even recommend taking it one step further and putting away personal mementos like photographs and nicknacks. You want the buyers to be able to visualize themselves in the home, not to be distracted by your clutter on every surface.

Entice Buyers with Scents

Being nose blind is a real thing. I get it. But how your house will smell to potential buyers is huge. Often it is the first thing about a property a buyer will comment on. The best smell is no smell at all. My favorite houses are the ones that just smell fresh and truly clean, not strong smells via candles and air fresheners. Consider having your carpets cleaned and stay on top of all laundry (including bedding, pillow covers, drapes – anything you can wash that might hold an unpleasant scent).  Keep your bathrooms and kitchen areas freshly wiped down and try to keep the trash taken out on a more regular than normal basis. As a last resort, turn to inserting a light, neutral smell into the home to help it seem welcoming and cozy. Be aware that overwhelming scents can cause headaches and immediately turn buyers away. Remember the goal is to smell clean, not fake. We want them to feel at home, not ready to run out of the door.

Make us FEEL Welcome

As much as how the home looks and smells, the temperature inside also matters. This has a been a big issue the past several months with the summer heat lasting longer than normal. It is no fun to spend the day in and out of properties in the heat only to come into to a stifling, musty house. Room temperature and air flow matter. Again, the goal here is to get the potential buyer to linger and begin to imagine their lives in your space. Trust me when I say that is hard to do when you are sweating. Houses feel more closed off and smaller when they are too warm. An easy thing to do (that also may help with tip number two) is to run the overhead fans. A comfortable temperature is much more welcoming. A welcoming home means happy thoughts. And happy thoughts lead to offers!

Wheeewww. Now that is over I hope I haven’t left any of my friends feeling personally attacked. The same level of neatness isn’t possible in every single home, I get it. But I hope these tips are helpful for getting your home set to sell. Anything your agent tells you change you isn’t meant as a slight, only that they are working so hard to be sure you get every penny you deserve for your property. If you’ve been in the buying and selling game, chime off in the comments and let me know if there are any other widely heard comments or tips you have to help get these homes off the market and sold!

 

❤ Jill

 

 

 

 

 

Books I’ve Loved

Recently I’ve been on a mission to start loving to read again. As a child, I could spend hours wrapped up in novels, once in a while even choosing to sit alone at lunch just to read a few more pages. It wasn’t until I became a mother that I REALLY hit the brakes on reading. My mom brain just could not focus on even one more thing. I would often order books with good intentions (I am not a library kind of girl. I love the smell of bookshops and fresh pages!) only to let them sit on a shelf for months, some totally forgotten.

Thankfully our trip to Europe changed that. For the 17 day trek I packed 3 books and several magazine that all came back home completely finished. It felt SO GOOD spending hours with my nose in a book rather than eyes glued to a screen. Instead of taking weeks to finish up a book, I was finally back to polishing them off with speed. My husband and I decided to make it more of a priority in our family to spend less time watching television and more time reading – and to be seen reading by our son who thankfully already has a healthy love of books.

Now our coffee tables are littered with books and magazines that aren’t just for decor, and my soul feels alive again from reading about new ideas and getting fresh motivation. While I still pepper in novels here and there, I’ve spent most of my time the last few years reading for personal development, anything to better myself as a child of God, wife, mom, and friend. Unfortunately, they weren’t all hits. The one I am reading now is dragging on, and with a little under 70 pages to go, I can’t wait to finish. I’ll spare you the details on that one – but it did inspire me to share with you the great ones. Ones that I felt changed me or pushed me in the right direction. The ones I just know I could read again.

Below you’ll find my picks divided into categories with links through to Amazon for ordering. If you’re local, feel free to borrow any of them but just know they may be marked up and highlighted to no end! I love each and every one of the ones on this list and I hope you find one that is helpful and inspiring to you. Feel free to leave me a comment of a book that you think I need in my life. I am always looking for the next best thing! ❤

 

HEALTHY EATING/LIFESTYLE

https://www.amazon.com/Made-Crave-Satisfying-Deepest-Desire/dp/031029326X/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Made+to+crave&qid=1570560218&sr=8-1

 

HOMEMAKING

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0736963111/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

BECOMING YOUR BEST SELF/MOM

https://www.amazon.com/Uninvited-Living-Loved-When-Lonely/dp/1400205875/ref=asc_df_1400205875/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312132072158&hvpos=1o2&hvnetw=g&hvrand=6883181581093699483&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9010054&hvtargid=pla-433825286827&psc=1

 

 

3 Tips to Help Crush Your Goals

 

Happy October!

We’ve finally landed in the month of hayrides, bonfires, and pumpkin patches – the official kickoff of holiday season. This is my absolute favorite time of year. Everything just seems a little brighter and happier from now through New Year’s Day. It is also a hectic time of year for almost everyone I know. Weekends are packed with fun, sports are in full force, and there’s just less daylight to get everything done at work and home. It is easy to feel behind during this busy season which is why I wanted to talk to you about my personal plan to stay mindful of my goals and actually get things done.

Don’t get me wrong, September was a wash for me! Mrs. Procrastinator over here hasn’t changed that much since I was finishing my 8th grade math homework in the hallway right outside the door literally up until the bell rang to start class. That said, I am a tiny bit more driven now AND I’ve got a few awesome tools to make sure that I am set up for success.

First, let’s talk about setting S.M.A.R.T. goals

…because if you haven’t read any personal development books (that’s now what we cool kids call “self help” books!) or haven’t been to any staff development trainings lately, you may be a little rusty on the acronym. S.M.A.R.T. stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. An example would be no longer just wishing to “read more books” but rather setting the goal, “I will read 2 books a month.” It is specific (2 books) and measurable (within a month). It is also attainable as I already am the proud owner of 3 library cards. It is also relevant for me as a former bookworm. This goal is timely in that I know I basically have two weeks to read each book to be sure I am hitting the overall goal. I have what I need to be set up for success!  Even goals that may be specific and measurable will not necessarily be attainable, relevant, or timely. Skipping even one or two of the S.M.A.R.T. characteristics in goal setting can lead to failure and further frustrations for you.

Secondly, let’s go shopping!

I am a FIRM believer in having a paper planner and to do list. I love my Google Calendar app just like any other busy mom and bossy lady, but science has proven time and time again that humans retain information better when they write it down. Not only will you have a better memory, writing your goals down helps you truly visualize success and what it will take to get there.

Back in August I received the Living Well Planner for my birthday and I am so glad I did. It’s been years since I first read Living Well, Spending Less by Ruth Soukup but the planner has been just as life changing as the book. Each month it really helps you dive into what your goals are and guides you through breaking them down.  In fact, the first three pages of every month are dedicated to goal setting. The monthly view and weekly view pages also help keep you on track, including areas for daily must do items and meal planning. Each month ends with a very detailed monthly budget section to even help keep your finances on track. You don’t have to have this exact planner, but I highly suggest figuring out a written system that works for you. I like this approach of having it all-in-one because a planner should be often referred to (read: daily), and you can take time to look over your goals again and again keeping them fresh in your mind. Which brings me to my next point…

(Lastly,) Check in Often.

It isn’t just enough to say your goals out loud or even write them down in detail. You need to check in along the way to see what progress you are making and what is left to be done. If you have a goal you’d like to reach in a short time, such as a month, you may need to check in every day to see if your To Do List aligns with reaching that goal. What will get you one step closer to achieving your dream?

Though the procrastinator in me hates it, I like to start the day by “eating the frog,” which is to say, getting the one thing I want to do least done as my first task of the day. Return the call. Fold the laundry. Get your workout in. Do these big or hard things first and the rest of your day will flow more smoothly.

Sometimes these check ins even mean reevaluating your goals all together. The dreams  you had for yourself on NYE may not be the same by August. Half of your vision board may not have been realized ten months into the year. Don’t feel bad about re-prioritizing. You may need to change directions and start again, but not reaching a goal does not mean you failed! Life goes on and luckily, you get to help set the pace.

 

❤ Jill

 

Friday Favorites: Behind the Scenes Beauty

Hey, friends! Happy Friday! It has been a week. The sickies hit our house hard starting off as just allergies and ending up with me actually going to the doctor (something I never do!). A week I am majorly riding the struggle bus seems like the perfect time to share with you the beauty secrets that actually keep me going. These items are all big performers, but maybe not the headlining things you’d usually see on a must haves list. They’re all kind of background items that hold it all together so they’d be easy to add to whatever beauty routine you already have. Take a look!

 

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I will admit I was skeptical about this product at first. I had tried other items from the line only to be super disappointed, but now I swear by this Kristen Ess Beach Wave Spray from Target. I first picked it up last November on a road trip to Richmond, VA and now I never curl my hair without it! Once my curls are cooled I lightly spray all throughout my hair to give it shine and texture (Lightly! – a little goes a long way and the bottle lasts forever so it’s a deal even at a $14). I love how it breaks up the curls and makes brand new hair slightly messy. Plus, on day two or three, spraying a little more in gives your hair a healthy shine and revives those loosening waves. Pick it up and give it a shot on your next Mom-cation through everyone’s favorite big box store!

 

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This next product isn’t even something that I use all that regularly (though I don’t know why!) but the days I do, I can always tell a huge difference. A few years ago I decided to give MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Soft Ochre a go as my eye shadow primer as suggested by another beauty blogger and I am so glad I did. Not only is this product actually an eye shadow on its own, but it 100% works to keep even my cheapest drug store eye shadow on all day. I blend it in covering my entire eyelid and up to my brow, then go over it with whatever eye shadow colors I want for the day. It totally takes out any redness you may have around your eyes and holds on to the shadow for long wear without creasing. It is $22 but long lasting and with free shipping from Nordstrom, why not?

 

Now this last secret beauty product really isn’t all that secret, but it makes the biggest difference in my hair. Who would’ve thought that a silk pillowcase really lived up to all of the hype? My mom, that’s who. And Whitney. And Leigh. (Hi, friends!) Late last summer I decided to finally give it a try and buy one for myself nearly ten years after I gifted my mom a super expensive, luxury brand one for Christmas. After reading through Amazon reviews I settled on this one and I have been so happy! I love that it zips on and fits even my odd pillow well, and my hair has never looked better. I wake up with so much less frizz and get lots of extra wear out of my hairstyle. They say it is actually really good for your skin as well but I guess only time can tell with that. Why are all women not using these? Do yourself and your hair a favor and pull the trigger now!
I’d love to know if you plan to try any of these items or have them already in your routine. Feel free to send me any of your favorite must haves that you think would make my life a little easier! I’m all about those mom/life hacks to keep us feeling good on the go!
❤ Jill