I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we have to take the seasons one season at a time. Fall has just started, and already I am seeing Christmas decorations everywhere and honestly, I’ve seen bigger Christmas displays at stores than Halloween, and we still have a month left! However, I also know that we are all leading super busy lives, which means you may be wondering, is it too early to start Christmas shopping? You may be surprised, but I say definitely not! Hear me out on this.
There are several reasons that it is not too early to start Christmas shopping, and no, doing your shopping early is not skipping the other seasons, it’s going to actually give you time to enjoy them all a bit more. The holidays are a hectic time between work and family coming in, and decorating, and baking and going on vacations, and that doesn’t even include your Christmas shopping! So rather than try to cram everything into a month starting Black Friday, here are some reasons to get a headstart on your Christmas shopping.
- Budgeting. This to me, as a young professional who is unfortunately, still paying off student loan debt, is a big thing. I don’t know about you, but with all my regular bills too, Christmas can have me feeling a bit short on cash, which is why I prefer to start my shopping early. There are plenty of great sales throughout the year which will allow you to still save some money while getting those gifts for everyone. Plus, by spacing it out, you don’t have to worry about all your funds being gone and not being able to head out with friends to enjoy those holiday events like ice skating. Instead, start your shopping early, and space it out. Make a list of everyone you are shopping for, and write down some gift ideas for them. Then, as you purchase things for them, check them off your list.
- Time. You will save time by starting your shopping now, because then it will be one less thing to worry about when you hit crunch time for the holidays.
- Avoid the crowds. I don’t know about you, but after years of working in retail, especially during the holidays, one of the things I hate doing is fighting the Christmas crowds, and if you get your shopping done early, you won’t have to deal with it. So many people wait until the last minute, and then being among the crowds and not finding what they want because it’s sold out can be a major stressor. So just get started early, and then relax and enjoy the beautiful weather while everyone else is packed in a mall.
- Stress less. This one is key. The holidays are supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, time spent with family and friends, but we have all these expectations on us, especially as women, to have the perfect decor, the perfect wrapped gifts, have all the baked goods, etc. That’s a lot of stress on people, and anything that you can check off that giant to-do list ahead of time is one less thing to worry about. Since gifts generally don’t expire, you can go ahead and start stocking up now, find a good hiding place in your closet or put together an envelope of the gift certificates, if that’s more your style, and breathe a sigh of relief that you may be done Christmas shopping by November 1st.
If you start taking the Christmas shopping in small chunks, you will find that you enjoy the holidays a little bit more. Now, don’t ignore Halloween and Thanksgiving, those are still incredibly important times that are meant to be enjoyed and not skipped over, but getting a head start on the shopping at least can’t hurt.
If you’re one of the many workers who are confined to the office for the daily 9-5 grind, then you know how difficult it can be to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We all know that sitting all day long isn’t conducive to a healthy lifestyle, but it can be really difficult to break away from the computer in the middle of work. Luckily, since I have that daily struggle myself, I’ve put together some ways to improve your health in the office.
- Get a standing desk. I have one of these, and I must say, it is the best thing ever. I went from working retail, on my feet over 8 hours a day, to sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day, and it was a difficult transition for me. I’m a pretty active person, so sitting all day was uncomfortable, so I opted to go ahead and purchase a standing desk to put on top of my other desk. I have one that transitions, so I can sit for part of the time, and then raise it back up to standing, and it is amazing. I highly recommend it, even if you only stand for half the day, that’s still better than sitting all day long. After all, sitting is the new smoking.
- Get a desk plant. I’m in Florida, so my allergies have been going crazy lately, especially transitioning from the hot humid inside to the freezing cold AC of the office. I’ve been sneezing and coughing from being inside the AC, so I went ahead and bought one of those houseplants that are good for bringing in extra oxygen and cleaning up the air. Plus, mine has a cute pink flower, so just having that around is going to lift my spirits when I take a break from staring at the computer screen.
- Take mini walks. So you can’t get a standing desk or don’t want to get one, that’s fine, but try to take small walks every hour for about 5 minutes. Go get some water, or just stand and stretch, your body will thank you.
- Swap out your chair. I know, those big comfy desk chairs can be super comfortable, but it’s really not the best for your posture or your health. But you know what’s a great thing to swap it out with? One of those round exercise balls. They’re perfect, because you can still sit, but it’s going to force you to sit up straight and engage your core. A little bit of an ab workout while at your desk, what more could you ask for?
- Drink that H2O. I am terrible about this, but you have to stay hydrated, even sitting in the AC at a desk. I have a pink water bottle that holds 64 ounces, and I try to take that to work and finish it by the end of the day. Like I said, I’m horrible about drinking enough, so I don’t always succeed, but I do my best, and this bottle really helps. Plus, you can freeze a little ice pack that’s attached, so if you like your water ice cold, you’ve got it. I got mine at Target for $10, check it out.
- Take a break from the screen. Every so often, and trust me on this your eyes will thank you, you need to look outside or look around the office. Staring at your computer screen all day is not good for your eyes or eyesight, so make sure you take some time to break away. And I don’t mean to check your Instagram or text messages on your phone.
- Eat healthy snacks. When you’re sitting and working on the computer all day, it’s natural to want to snack throughout the day. So just make sure you’re eating healthy options like homemade protein balls or vegan protein bites (Tone It Up brownie bites are my favorite) or slice up some fruit or have some mixed nuts handy. Any of these are healthy options, that won’t make you feel sleepy after munching on them, and they are also lower-calorie, unlike that bag of chips.
- Get a breath of fresh air. Take a few minutes on your lunch break and step outside. Just for a few minutes, take a deep breath, and just relax and enjoy being out of the office. You’d be amazed what it can do for your mood.
I know sometimes it can feel like you’re juggling a million things at work, but just remember, don’t kill yourself over a job that will replace you. To be the best employee you can, you’ve got to take care of yourself, which means, take your vacations, drink your water, and take your lunch breaks. Taking care of yourself doesn’t make you a bad employee, it makes you a smart one. You can’t give 100% if you’re run down or not feeling healthy. So try to implement some of these ways to improve your health in the office, and see if it makes a difference.
I’m currently looking for a new place to live, and let me tell you, this has been going on for over a year now, and it feels like it is never going to end. There are so many pitfalls of house hunting, and I put together a list of some, so you know you are not alone, I am definitely suffering with you.
- The pictures lie. This is the biggest pet peeve of mine. I get it, you want your house to look good in the pictures, we all do, but come on people, there’s this thing called false advertising and you’re totally doing it! I looked at one house, it looked so nice in the pictures, and I kid you not, there was black mold on the ceilings, and I’m pretty sure it was about to cave in in some places. I’m not sure how that photographer made that house look so nice, but they are definitely very creative and very good at their job.
- Bad realtors. We had one realtor who, after she’s showing us this house that we are actually considering goes “I really like this house, and I’m looking to move, it fits everything I want.” Um, excuse me, no, just no. You do not get to take us looking for houses and then talk about stealing that house out from underneath us, not when I’m the one that found the house and asked you to show it to me. Not cool.
- Slow realtors. This one kind of goes back to number 2. I had actually found the perfect house, and our realtor at the time was so slow to not only get us in to see it, but then to write up the offer, that shocker, there were several other offers in at the time, and we lost out. Very frustrating.
- Dealbreakers. There have been so many houses that are just about perfect, except they’re missing one key thing that is a total dealbreaker. Like a house at the top of the budget without a pool. Yes, a pool is a requirement for me, I’ve never had one in my life, and as a Floridian, I want a pool. So a perfect house at the top of my budget without a pool is just depressing, because that’s one of the big things on my wish list, and sure I could wait years and years for it, but that’s a lot of waiting, and a lot of saving. Same thing with a pool home that had literally maybe four feet of counter space in the kitchen. I’m not a master chef, but that’s cramped, even for the cooking that I do.
House hunting can be frustrating and time consuming, but you just have to remember that everyone is going through this. We have to compromise on some things, but also remember that when it’s meant to be, we will find that perfect house, and the pitfalls of house hunting will finally end. Just keep searching, searching, searching.
We’ve all been there, struggling to fall asleep, and no matter how tired we are, it seems like our brains just won’t shut up. Recently, I’ve been having some issues falling asleep, which if anyone really knows me, they know that is usually not an issue that I have, I’ve just had a lot of stress and things on my mind lately. No matter the reason, it’s something that we all can relate to at one point or another, which is why I put together some tips that have helped me to fall asleep faster.
- Read before bed. This one is huge and has been helping me a ton. As a kid, I used to read all the time, but now with working full time and trying to balance everything that comes with being an adult, I don’t always have time to read. This week, I’ve started setting aside 45 minutes to an hour each night to go to bed early, and just lay in bed and read. It’s a great way to take your mind off of anything that could be bothering you, and also allows you to relax.
- Stay off your phone. It’s so tempting when we can’t sleep to have our phones in our faces, but that is the exact opposite of what you should be doing. Instead, keep your phone put away from you, the blue light from it can actually cause you to wake up more, not get sleepy like you’re hoping mindlessly scrolling through Instagram will do.
- Watch some tv in bed. Unless you are one of those people who needs total silence and darkness to sleep, this is a great way to take your mind off of everything happening in your life and just focus on some fictional world. Now, I wouldn’t suggest watching like an action movie that’s going to wake you up and get yourself all invested, but maybe a movie you’ve seen before, as you won’t feel bad if you fall asleep and miss the ending.
- Call up a friend and talk. This is a great way to help yourself through those nights when you just have too much on your mind. Talking to your friend and discussing whatever thoughts are running through your mind can really help to lighten the load, and you may find that you are able to sleep better after your talk.
- Color. I have several adult coloring books and I absolutely love them. They are perfect for those days when I absolutely need a break from everything going on in my life, and just need to reset for a few minutes. Psychologists suggest that coloring can help with anxiety and depression, which makes this a great option for when you’re trying to wind down at night, even if you don’t have either of those.
- Try some essential oils. I’ve been getting better about going to get a massage each month as part of my stress relief routine, and one thing that I notice is how I get so relaxed that I almost fall asleep. Now, maybe part of that is the soothing music, but I think a part of it has to do with the essential oils that are used. Lavender in particular is often used with stress relief, so try taking a few deep breaths of that before bed, and see if it helps calm your mind.
- Journal. Sometimes when everything is running through your mind, the best thing you can do is write it out, and get it out of your mind and on paper. This could make it easier for you to fall asleep, since it won’t be weighing on your mind anymore.
- Switch your workouts to the morning. Working out gives you energy and endorphins, which is great, except when you’re trying to sleep. The endorphins are good no matter what time of day, but the energy is the one that’s keeping you up each night.
Hopefully some of these tips will help you to fall asleep faster, without turning to any medications. I always try to solve any issues with all natural solutions, and these are some that have worked for me when I have trouble sleeping. Also, keep in mind, that stressing over something will not help it, so do your best to just let go and let God take care of it. If there’s nothing you can do about it while trying to fall asleep, let it go.
My favorite time of year is upon us! As soon as fall arrives, it puts me in a good mood, because fall and winter are my two favorite seasons. Sadly, in Florida, it doesn’t really feel like fall yet, but that has not deterred me from getting my house ready for autumn and decorating it. I operate on a tight budget, so I have become very good at either finding decorations for cheap or making my own, that way I don’t have to worry about spending a lot of my hard-earned money on things that will just sit around my house. So to help everyone else out who wants to decorate but has to watch their spending, here are some fall decorating on a budget tips.
- Shop sale. Believe me, it can be super tempting to buy stuff full price, but just wait a month or so and it’ll go sale. I’ve started buying stuff for the next year on sale, and then I’m able to slowly build up my decorations, without having to break the bank.
- Check out the dollar store. No, I’m not kidding. I put together a beautiful centerpiece, shown below, with everything from the dollar store, and I spent a grand total of $9 and about 5 minutes arranging it. To get a similar thing at a craft store, you’ll likely spend around $20. And now, you get to say you made it yourself, and add your personal touches to it.
- Use what you have. I found some orange candles that I had sitting around my house and put them in a cute fall candle centerpiece that I found on sale, and voila, I saved whatever the cost of 3 candles were.
- Make it yourself. This goes back to tip # 2. Save money by making centerpieces and signs yourself. I’ve painted cute fall signs myself, as well as made centerpieces, and it looks like something from the store, but by purchasing the supplies myself, and putting in the time, I was able to save some money.
- Use nature. If you are lucky enough to live in a state where the leaves are changing colors and falling and you have some raking to do, put aside some of those beautiful leaves! They can be preserved, follow this link to see how https://learning-center.homesciencetools.com/article/how-to-preserve-leaves/ and used in your decorations! Same thing with pinecones, collect some from your yard, add a touch of glitter, and add it to your centerpiece.
Decorating for fall on a budget doesn’t have to be limiting, it just means you have to think outside the box and put in some time. I promise you, for the most part, these are quick and easy things that you can do that will look great, and give your house that extra touch of fall.