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Create a Relaxation Area

For this week’s Wellness tip, we’re going to look into what relaxes us. So I don’t know about everyone else, but for me, the ocean has always been a place that I feel peaceful. I can sit in the sand, hear the ocean waves, feel the salty breeze, and can think through whatever is going on in my life, and I just feel better. I think it’s mainly the sound, there’s something soothing about the sound of waves crashing on the shore. That’s what works for me anyway. Other people have other things that relax them. For some, it’s hearing crickets each evening as they chirp away. For others, it’s hearing nothing at all, just focusing on silence and their breathing.

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Now, how many of you can honestly say that you get to go to your relaxation area each day? Not many, I know that even though I’m near the beach, I don’t get out to it every day, there’s just not enough time for me to do so. Luckily, there’s a way to bring our relaxation to us in our homes, and no, you won’t need a lot of money or even a lot of space necessarily. Creating a relaxation area is something you can do if you only have a small corner of a room to work with or the whole room.

Here are some tips to create a relaxation area in your home:

  • Determine your space. So if you have a spare bedroom that you’re not using for anything, you can use it to create your meditation room or your relaxation space. If you don’t, don’t worry, just find space in a corner of a room or in one specific area of your home.
  • Download some apps. If noises are something that really help to relax you, download some free apps on your phone that will play different sounds. You can easily find a crackling fire or the sound of waves on the shore. With that background, if you close your eyes, you’ll transport yourself to your happy place in no time.
  • Decorate as needed. What colors help to soothe you? Do you find blue relaxing or maybe a mint green to help calm you down after a rough day? Even if you can’t paint an entire room, find a painting or paint a strip of a wall. Add some flowers or something that reminds you of that area. Put a comfy chair for you to sit and relax in the room. Make it nice and clear of all distractions and clutter, so you can focus on your relaxation.
  • Add an essential oil diffuser or candle. Whether you live with essential oils or not, there are plenty of studies showing that certain smells do help with relaxation. If the beach is your thing, there are plenty of ocean breeze candles out there, my favorites are from Bath and Body Works. If you prefer more woods or are going for a meditation room, try sandalwood or lavender scents.
  • Get an eye mask if needed. If you struggle to keep your eyes closed, and are drawn to your phone, put it in another room and get an eye mask for your area. This will help you to keep your eyes closed, and allow yourself to relax for a bit, no matter what time of day.

Whether you have a budget of $500 for this project and can go all out renovating a room or you can only spend $20, there’s a way to make this work for everyone, and then you’ll have a little piece of your personal relaxation all at your fingertips. Now more than ever, with how hectic and go go go our lives are, it’s important to find time to relax and unwind each day. The easiest way to do that is to create a relaxation area in your home.

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Shopping Tips

Hey y’all, any shoppers out there? I’m one, I like to shop, and I especially like to shop when I feel a bit stressed out. I mean, they don’t call it retail therapy for no reason 🙂 But too much shopping can definitely be not good for the budgeting, and as someone who is trying to pay off her student loans early, not to mention start saving for retirement, budgeting is super important. So for this week’s tip, let’s go into some shopping tips.

Do I need or do I want? This is a big question I ask myself before purchasing anything in a store or online. Certain things have to be purchased, and I am also not saying not to buy anything that you want, and only to buy stuff you need, because that’s no fun. But ask yourself this question, along with when will I wear/use this? I found a beautiful dress this past weekend when I was out at a store, and I truly wanted it, but I for the life of me, could not think of an instance when I would wear it. I have nothing coming up that would require this dress, and while it was really pretty, I ultimately decided that I would rather have the money than have a dress hanging in my closet for who knows how long without an occasion for it. However, I also found something else for my room that I could easily picture where it was and what it would be used for, and while it wasn’t necessarily a need, it was something I could immediately find use for, so I purchased it. Again, not completely going wants versus needs, but also making sure that there’s a purpose for my shopping.

How often do we go through our houses and look through our things, some that we’ve never used, and wonder, why do we even have this, why did we spend the money on it? You can try to resell and get some of your money back, but let’s face it, you’re still taking a loss. That’s why it’s so important, especially if you don’t just have endless money to spend, to really think about purchases to ensure you don’t get buyer’s regret or end up months later just giving it away to charity after never using/wearing it. So take a couple of beats, and really consider if you want this. Another trick is to walk away without it and if you are still thinking about it the next day or in a couple of days, then it’s not likely just an impulse buy. But if you’ve completely forgotten about it, then you didn’t really want it that badly after all.

Ways to Swap Out Unhealthy Foods for Healthy Foods

Hey y’all, so I think it’s been drilled into us enough that healthy eating is super important. The more junk food you eat, the “junkier” you feel, whereas healthier foods will give you energy and nutrients, and help keep you from getting sick. However, we all know, junk food tastes really good sometimes. We are in football season, which means football parties and football food, not to mention we have Halloween and Christmas and Thanksgiving coming up in a few months. All of these things generally mean there are some unhealthy food options in there. Luckily, there are ways to swap out unhealthy foods for healthy foods, and it won’t even be that painful!

Moderation is always what I use when it comes to healthy eating. I’m not big on dieting or diet foods, and I think the instant you cut something out of your diet completely, the more you crave it, or at least, that’s how it has always worked for me. So, rather than do that, it’s better to find a nice healthy balance. With these tips, you can hopefully do just that while enjoying everything the upcoming seasons have to offer.

  • Try non-dairy milk options instead. If you’re noticing that you are having some stomach issues after drinking milk or you just want to try to get away from dairy in general, try almond, coconut, or oat milk. I’ve had all of the above, and since I can no longer have dairy in my diet really, I’ve found that all of the above make great substitutions and in my opinion, taste better than real milk anyway.
  • Lessen the sugar in recipes. I know it may seem like it’ll be a huge deal to start changing recipes, but this is something I did last year for Christmas cookies, and they tasted the exact same, and were healthier with less sugar. Talk about a win-win!
  • Try a lean white meat instead of as much red meat. Again, this is moderation, so don’t cut it completely from your diet, but definitely try swapping it out here and there. White meat is notoriously better for you than red meat, so see how you like it. An easy way to do this is to use ground turkey instead of ground beef in recipes. This is another thing that I think tastes better, so I try to swap it out as often as I can.
  • Get your veggies in your smoothie. I used to be someone who had a strawberry banana smoothie with chocolate in it. Tastes delicious, but I definitely lost the health factor. Now, each morning I have a tropical smoothie with protein powder and some greens like spinach and/or kale. It still tastes delicious as the protein powder gives it an extra sweetness, and I can feel good each time I make one knowing I’m fueling my body rather than putting extra junk in it.
  • Try different fruits for desserts. Let me explain. So instead of a banana split with ice cream, try a banana split with yogurt. Top it with fruit and nuts and even coconut flakes. It’s much healthier, and will still get that sweet tooth satisfied. If you’re craving a different dessert, try cut up bananas with honey and some cinnamon. Again, you’ll satisfy the sweet tooth without having too much added sugar.
  • If you aren’t a huge fan of vegetables, find ways to sneak them in. One way is to have pasta filled with vegetables or even spiralized veggies instead of pasta. For example, I tried a butternut squash stuffed shell recipe this year, and it was delicious. I’ve made it several times, and absolutely love it. If you’re more daring, cook up spiralized zucchini and squash and put some tomato sauce on it. You may not even notice that you’re eating veggies instead of pasta. I can attest, it tastes delicious.
  • Eat baked chips instead of regular. This way, you’ll still get your chips, but they’re a smidge healthier when they’re baked.

I hope these tips help, and that you find something here that helps you to have some healthier options in the future. Let me know if you have any tips you’d like to share!

Be Prepared for Big Storms

We are in the most hectic part of hurricane season, and actually had one come right up near where I live, which is why I wasn’t posting at all last week. It ruined my holiday weekend, and then some, and it also cost quite a bit of money in hurricane prep that I wasn’t necessarily prepared for. So, rather than wait until the last minute, be prepared for big storms before they arrive.

It’s important to have a few essentials on hand, like bottled water, some canned goods, peanut butter, jelly, sustenance to get you through a storm coming through that could wipe out power for a few days. It also helps to have shutters on your home if you live in a hurricane area. I unfortunately do not have shutters, so I have to put up plywood when it seems like a storm may do damage to the area. Trust me, shutters would be so much better. But keep in mind, you have to think ahead with those, and plan ahead, because they are not something that can be done instantly. Another thing that just makes life a bit easier is a generator. Worst case, you can run your refrigerator and a few other appliances, best case, you test it once or twice a year to make sure it works and it looks pretty in your garage.

Also, make sure you have a plan in place if you are in an evacuation zone. This is important not only for you but for any animals you may have as well. If you can’t stay with a friend inland, come up with another solution whether it be going on a family road trip in a camper or even boarding your pets if you can find a place that will take them during the storm. Just make sure you know where you are going, and you have enough supplies for yourself and for them to leave the house for a few days. Most importantly though, NEVER leave your animals behind. Unfortunately, that’s something we see every year, and nothing makes my blood boil like seeing some poor animal on the news that had to be rescued from a flooded home or hear that people released their animals into the wild rather than take them with them. Your animals are your family, if it’s considered unsafe for humans, it’s unsafe for animals. Not only that, but it’s illegal to leave your animals, and that is something that my area especially has been cracking down on.

So moral of this weekly tip, be prepared. Have some supplies on hand, know where you’re going to go if you need to leave, and have everything you’ll need for yourself and your animals. Finally, stay safe! Whether you leave or not, make sure your family is safe, and that you’ve done what you can to protect livelihood.

House Sale Prep Tips

Hey ya’ll, so it’s been a hectic past couple of weeks, and that’s because I have been preparing a house to sell. If you’ve never done this process before, you may not realize just how much goes into it, which is why I’m here to share this information. To warn you, so you know just how much time and effort is going to go into this, I have some tips on preparing a house to sell. Some of it you can do yourself, others you should definitely hire out, because it is just so much work on your own.

  1. Clean the outside of your house. That’s right, you either need to repaint your house or have it cleaned in some way. I figured that wasn’t a huge thing, but my realtor assured me that was incorrect, and it definitely needed a cleaning. Now, I decided that was something I could do myself, so I took out the pressure washer, and started pressure washing. It took hours, not to mention, I had to be very careful not to actually chip off the paint, because then I would have to repaint the house which I was trying to avoid. This is where a company like ZAP Cleaning comes into play. They offer a service called Soft Washing. For those who didn’t know, like me, soft washing is a different way to get the same sparkling results from pressure washing a house, but without the potential damage to the paint! This method of cleaning is a great way to get mold, mildew, grime, all of that nasty stuff off your house, without potential damage. If you happen to be in the Sarasota area, you are in luck, since ZAP Cleaning will be able to do this for you. There are several service areas they offer, including Sarasota, Venice, Southgate, Osprey, Bee Ridge, Fruitville, Naples, Siesta Key, and more. Check out the full list of service areas and see if they are near you!
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    ZAP Cleaning is well-known for providing wonderful customer service and they believe that customer satisfaction is number one. Not only do they offer soft washing cleaning options, they also do pressure washing, window cleaning, and roof cleaning. These services are offered for residential and commercial buildings, so you can easily get this cleaning done whether for your personal home or for your office building. Consider this an investment in your home or business, as you’ll bring in more people. I know it worked well for my house 😊
  2. Pressure wash your driveway. Again, this is something I’d highly recommend you hire someone to do, I wound up with a lovely sunburn on my shoulders, sweat at least 10 pounds out, and had to drink gallons of water to stay alive out in the Florida heat. I spent hours working on it, and while my driveway now glows and looks beautiful, it was a very tough job. That’s one thing that while it seems relatively easy, it definitely is harder than it seems, especially in 100 degree weather. So my suggestions: either do it yourself in the winter or hire someone else to do it during summer hours.
  3. Repaint doorframes. This is an indoor task that is easy enough, just takes a little bit of time, and is completely worth it. I did the door frames, as well as the baseboards, and it looks so much better than it did. Even if you don’t notice it, the paint does fade as time goes on, and they definitely need to be freshened up for a sale. This can also help cover up any potential scuffs or marks that occurred during your time living there.
  4. Grout cleaning. Again, this is one of those tasks that you probably don’t think about too much, but definitely needs to be done before selling your house. It’s not something we think about in the day to day cleaning and going about with our lives, and if you regularly mop your floors and keep up with things, you may think that you are good without doing this step, but it makes a huge difference. There are different types of cleaners you can get at different stores, the one I used is an acid base, and it brought up grime that the mop didn’t get.
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  5. Clean the windows and mirrors. You may clean the mirrors every time that you clean your bathroom, but you likely don’t clean your windows on a weekly basis. If you do, good for you, send me that motivation! I had to go through and clean the inside and outside of the windows, and again, not something I initially thought of, but all of it goes into creating a beautiful, desirable home that people will want to buy.

There is definitely much more to it than just clearing out the clutter, and doing the traditional cleaning. Make sure you’re aware of the amount of time this will take and plan accordingly. I’ve been rushing around quite a bit, and wish I had started some of these tasks ahead of time, so I could have gotten a head start on the whole process. However, I’m glad I know it now, and am happy to share this with you. Happy cleaning! 😊

Give Back to Others

In today’s world, it can often seem like we are constantly on the go and only thinking about ourselves. I think it’s more important now than ever to give back to others, in any way that you can.

So before y’all start about how you need to save every penny, let me clarify that it’s not always money that you can use to give back to others. There are many different ways to do this, and money is only one of them. Some others are volunteering to help someone you see struggling. Even the smallest gesture like helping someone with their yard work or offering to help them with something you’re already doing at your house can be a huge thing to that other person. You can also give back by offering assistance in an area that you are an expert in. If you are known for your cleaning skills, go offer to help others who may need it, perhaps a single mom who doesn’t have time or an elderly neighbor who can’t do what they need to. Volunteer your time to help the community with a beach clean-up or perhaps assisting your favorite charity with getting signatures for a petition. If you do happen to have extra money, why don’t you give back that way? Make a donation to a charity or go buy groceries for someone you see struggling on the street. With so many options, if you truly want to give back to others, you can find a way to do so. Bonus points if you can get a group together to make it a fun day with friends, as well as helping your community!

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Go Out of Your Comfort Zone

Hey y’all, so how many of you actively go out of your comfort zone each day? I’m guessing not a lot, because I’ll be honest, I don’t do it much either in my day-to-day life. Why would we? Our comfort zone is comfortable, that’s why we like it! We don’t feel awkward or uncomfortable, we don’t feel like we won’t fit in or that we’ll be placed in a different situation. But it’s putting yourself out there where you’ll find the greatest rewards.

I don’t know about all of you guys, but I tend to overthink things. It’s always been a bad habit of mine, and it’s something I’m working on breaking, but I’m just not there yet. So instead of just letting a situation be, I tend to overthink it in about 5 different ways. You know the best part of that? It usually never turns out at all like I thought it out, which means I wasted good brain power, and sometimes got myself all worked up and worried over nothing. Not the best thing I could do, but I also found sometimes it keeps me from going out of my comfort zone.

For many, your comfort zone is found within your daily habits. You have a routine in life, and it can be a little unnerving when that routine is broken up by something unexpected. However, some of those broken up routines are where the best things happen for you. If you don’t go out of your way and do something outside of your comfort zone you may never know what you’re missing out on. In many cases, you hear stories of people going out of their comfort zone, for no real reason, and then meeting someone incredibly important to them. If they hadn’t left that comfort zone, they wouldn’t have had that experience. It’s the same thing for trying new things, if you never leave your comfort zone and force yourself to try new things, you’ll never know what else is out there that you’ll love and want to have in your life.

It’s tough, I know, I’ve had to push myself out of it quite a bit, and it’s not always easy. But I can say it’s always worth it. Whether that is going out to a new area to meet new people or going on a trip I wasn’t sure of, I’ve always come out on the other side of it feeling like it was a good choice. Whether you’re debating broadening your horizons culturally or you’re trying to get out there and meet new people, getting out of your comfort zone is a great way to start. Instead of overthinking it, and remember, you’re reading from an overthinker, just try to let things be and just take the plunge. I have faith that God puts us exactly where we are supposed to be at all times, and that He will guide us when it comes to trying new things and breaking out of our comfort zones. Whether you believe that or not, it’s nice to think that things will always have a way of working out the way they’re supposed to.

Get Those Gains

Hey y’all, this post is for those of you readers who want to work on some gains. Well, some of these tips come straight from a coworker and friend of mine who is absolutely crushing it in the health and fitness department, and I figured I’d share some of the tips that she gave to me.

Now, I’m not really focused on becoming a bodybuilder, but I do want to build up some muscle and get my arms especially a lot more toned than they are. I was chatting with my friend about this one day, and since she’s built up her body so much in the past few years and is super dedicated and focused on healthy eating and personal training, I figured I’d ask her for some tips and tricks, anything to really help me in this fitness goal, since I don’t have a lot of information on it.

Well guys, here are her suggestions on how to get those gains, at least a few pounds of muscle, and to really tone up and build.

  1. Do cardio for 30 minutes a day. You really don’t need much more than that, she’s not the only one saying this, there are many studies showing that if you do more than that, you’re not really doing much more for your body. So aim for 30 minutes a day or 150 minutes of moderate cardio each week. This is also good for cardiac health, which is key to survival 😉
  2. Do various exercises every other day, taking a rest day in-between. So for example, if you do arms one day, do a whole bunch of different exercises to work all of the muscles, not just the main ones. Same thing for legs, but if you do this, you’ll want to do around 3 sets, and 10-15 reps of each, so you’ll definitely need to take that rest day in between your workouts.
  3. Build it up slowly. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your muscles be. So take it slowly, and build up the weights slowly. If you’re like me and are working with dumbbells, rather than building up the weights, you’ll want to build up the sets. Just take your time, don’t move too fast because an injury will put you further behind.
  4. Use protein powder to help. Make sure you’re getting enough protein in your diet, and an easy way to do this is with protein powder. Every morning I make a protein smoothie for after my workout, for several reasons. One, it helps keep me full throughout the day, and two, it helps my muscles repair themselves after each workout, which is very important.
  5. Listen to your body. This may be the most important one, if your body hurts or something doesn’t feel right, listen to your body. Take an extra day off, make sure that you’re not pushing yourself too much to where you’ll suffer an injury. I know from experience that pushing yourself too hard, only results in you falling further behind on your goals, so take it from me, if your body is saying no, listen to it.
  6. Eat well. This is also key to building up those muscles, eat healthy fruits, veggies, and lean meats, and don’t be afraid to have several meals in a day. As long as you’re eating healthy things, don’t feel guilty about snacking. Snacks are important when you’re trying to build up your gains, so make sure you have good snacks like an apple in peanut butter or hummus and pita chips. Even trail mix is a great option with the nuts and dried fruit.

I hope these tips help, and if you have any other suggestions, please leave them in the comments below!

Just Keep Swimming

Sometimes, it can feel like life is trying to pull you under. Wave after wave just keeps coming at you, and you may feel like you’re drowning or struggling to catch your breath. Trust me, I’ve been there, and I’ll be there again, that’s just how life is sometimes. Timing never works out the way we want, but there is one thing you can do. Just keep swimming. Keep working on yourself, keep finding the good in the bad, and keep taking one day, one step at a time. Keep the faith, and just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.

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Witch Hazel for Astringent

Hey y’all have you ever taken a good look at what’s in some of your skin care? I hadn’t until a few years ago, and I was absolutely blown away by the amount of chemicals, including just “fragrance” which was in everything, including my face toner! Did you fragrance, in that form, not a natural fragrance like we may think of, has actually been linked to cancers? Yeah, definitely not something you want on your skin, even if it does help keep your face clean and clear. Luckily, I found something all natural, that does the same thing. Witch Hazel!

 

That’s right, I was able to cut out that chemical filled astringent out of my beauty routine with a simple replacement, that’s actually cheaper too. Talk about a win-win. I get to save money and stop putting chemicals on my face that are then absorbed through my skin. I can’t say how these companies are getting away with this, but I do know that you have to be very careful about what products you use. I would have never thought that something I use to help with acne would be chock-full of chemicals, including a bunch that are on the list of known carcinogens. I feel bad, I’ve been using these products since I was a teenager, so knowing that I just didn’t even check what I was putting on my face isn’t the best feeling. But such is life, and now I’m sharing what I found with you all.

 

You can get Witch Hazel at any store, just a generic brand works fine, I really don’t think there is a difference. And it’s not just me that says to use this stuff, Zendaya has mentioned it in interviews for how she keeps her skin clear too!

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