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

5 for Fall: Walmart Edition

If you’ve been hanging around my Instagram for any time, you’ve seen my love for Walmart. Not only is this obsession out of necessity (There is no Target within 45 minutes), but Walmart has really stepped up their game in the last two years. The prices are very affordable, pieces well on trend, and the fits are usually pretty great/true to size. That said, I still am very much a “try it on first” kind of girl, so you can be sure anything listed here will be an item I’ve had in my own hands (and probably own! ie: I have everything but the plaid and it’s on my to do list).

Let’s get started!

This button front mustard top always gets compliments around town. For $15.88 and a variety of colors, I may have to go back and snag another. I wear a large and it is very roomy. You may want to size down one. Paired with skinny jeans, it creates a very flattering and forgiving silhouette.

 

Black and white prints seem to roll back around every fall and for some reason I STILL have none of it in my closet. This will finally be the year with this plaid top from Time and True for $15.44. Fits true to size and is light enough to wear even in the sweltering fall we have in the south.

 

I’m getting myself a little ahead of the game here with this pick, but I just could not pass up the perfect camel color of this turtleneck. It is lightweight and perfect for layering, but with a good pant and fun shoe, it is a stand out outfit all its own. It is less than $12 and available in several colors, but I do recommend thinking about sizing up one for a looser fit.

 

 

I have been having so much fun styling these jeans! (I hate myself for using the term “styling,” by the way.) While I am not quite ready to branch out into other cuts of denim that are hitting the shelves these days (looking at your flare leg, ankle length jeans!) I am totally into how different this wash is from what’s already in my closet. They feel so good on, and I’m really looking forward to wearing them with slouchy white sweaters when the weather is cooler. I’d say they fit true to size, but we all know jeans sizing is all over the place so slide on into your local store and try them on.

 

Last but not least we have these fun slip on faux leather “moccasins.” For $10 I am not sure how well they will hold up, but they’re super easy to slip on, look great with so many outfit choices, and they are super comfortable! They’re the perfect mom on the go shoe and if they don’t last more than one season, well I’ll still feel like I got my monies worth.

 

So what do you think? Did you ever think you’d be a Walmart girl? I’ve honestly never been above wearing any brand or store. If I like something, I just like it! It is crazy the pleasure I get out of scooping up a bargain and then getting to share where it is from. Of course, my best advice is try to get there in the morning to uh, you know, avoid the lines! 😉 Happy shopping!

 

❤ Jill

PS: click the photo or underlined word in each paragraph for a link to the item!

 

 

3 Tips for Toy Storage

Well hey friends! It sure has been a while since I’ve sat down to share a real post with you. I am so thankful for my new computer and I really hope that it motivates me to blog more often. I am also so thankful that this winter flew by (in retrospect – because let’s be real, January had 83,263 days while we were living it). Now that spring is officially in the air I am finally feeling like getting around to sharing my most requested post: Toy Storage.

I have to be honest, I am no pro. We do not live a minimalist lifestyle by any means, but I am always intent on making sure everything has a place. Having a home for every item not only makes it easier for the boy to find what he’s looking for, but it also makes a huge difference in how quickly we can tidy after play. There are a few solid rules we live by that would work for any family in any home.

1. Reduce, Reduce, Reduce!
(Don’t worry, it’s all downhill from here. Once you conquer this step it will make working out the other details so much easier.) I am sure most of us are aware that our kiddos have more than they could ever need. Studies show that children actually function better with fewer toys. Does your family, like ours, need to dial it down a notch?

Whenever we bring in a new toy, I try to put something to the side to donate or trash. Thin out the toys that don’t get attention, that are above or below your child’s level of play, and keep small clutter at bay by not collecting happy meal toys, party favors, and other odds and ends. You can also help this effort by speaking to family and friends about showing love to your child in other ways (college fund, anyone?). If your child has outgrown a nice item, consider selling it to put towards other needs. This is a win win!

If tossing some of the items seems overwhelming, try boxing up toys that are rarely played with and putting them away for a while. If they are missed, rotate them out with other items to keep play fresh. If not, donate or toss them. I would probably be the one to forget they were in the attic so we haven’t tried this method but it seems like a great idea.

2. Multifunctional Furniture
This idea played a huge part of how I planned our move into this house last year, but even if you’ve been in your home a while, I am sure there are ways to repurpose pieces you already have. For example, we purchased a vintage buffet table for our family room television table. The height worked perfectly under our wall mounted TV, and the drawers and cabinet doors are the perfect place for stashing away race car tracks and trucks. We also added baskets in both sides inside the doors to take the organization up a notch and make access easier for the boy. We also took the same approach in the living room by reusing an old dresser as a TV cabinet.

Both of these pieces of furniture, along with the built-in cabinets in the family room, allow toys to be put away behind closed doors. Instead of having adult furniture and kid furniture, we just have multifunctional pieces. While a lot of currently very popular console tables or bookshelves will have storage space for baskets there is often still a lot of visual clutter. Put the toys away behind closed doors and let your eyes rest!

3. Every Thing in Its Place
From a very young age, the boy has been responsible for helping clean up his own things. The best way to help him do this has been having storage space for everything and putting it back in that exact spot each time. For example, his wooden puzzles and other wood toys go inside one cabinet in the family room. He knows exactly where to find these things when he wants to play with them, and he also knows where to put them away. The never-ending “Mama, where is my…” is asked much less but also easy to answer.

The key to this is organizing everything once by grouping like items, then continually putting things back where they belong. If you are running out of storage space, go back to Step #1. We also try to keep things with small pieces out of the toy box that stays in the boy’s room. Small items are easily “lost” and are hard to find in deep storage boxes. We reserve that space for stuffed animals and dress up toys.

There are a few odds and ends, like baskets of balls, ride on fire trucks, and the food truck (and a basketball goal in his room) that are impossible to hide, but that’s okay. We are a family. A kid obviously lives here too! Not to mention that the dog has bones thrown across every room of the house. Our goal is simply to make it a peaceful environment for everyone, family members and visitors alike. (Peaceful environment = save mom’s sanity!)

I hope that some of these tips are helpful for you. If you have any other fun ways you keep your little ones organized I’d love to hear them in the comments.

Happy weekend!