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

 

 

 

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