Look for the Good

 

“Maybe the best thing to do is to stop trying to figure out where you’re going and just enjoy where you are!”

 

For those of you that know me, you will know that I absolutely HATE rain!  I think it must be the fact that I grew up with so many rainy days in England that I truly would be OK if I never saw rain again.

For my birthday this year we planned a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii (the only island I haven’t already been to – at least of the most popular ones), and we brought the kids.  We have had a wonderful few days here already, and today we planned a trip to the Volcano to go and see everything there.  We have heard stories of lava flows, views of the crater making the sky glow and walking on the lava to see the lava underneath glowing.  We had heard that there might be a storm coming in later in the day, so we set off early.

As we drove to the wet side of the island, all was great until we hit the town of Hilo (which by the way is the rainiest city in the United States with an average of 22 days a month of rain).  As we approached the National park, the rain became harder and stronger, and by the time we made it to the visitor center we pulled out our raincoats just to make it across the parking lot without drowning.  We found out some information about things that we MIGHT be able to see without all the rain and cloud coverage getting in the way.  We explored the inside of a lava tube, got really soggy and ran back to the car.  We then drove down below the clouds and actually found a place to walk out onto the lava without rain and had fun looking at petroglyphs.

All in all we had some fun times, with lots of driving in a wet dog smelling car because of the all the soggy clothes!  We then decided to go to the famous Black sand beach to hang out for a little…well, that didn’t happen.  As soon as we got out of the car, the skies opened up again and we got soaked.

Now, with all this rain coming down, things not looking how I might at one time have imagined they should look, this is the time I might have started to lose my cool.  Instead, I decided to take a different tactic.  I actually didn’t let the weather and my inability to control it, stop me from having a fun day with all my boys. A miraculous thing happened…I actually enjoyed myself.  I found myself not worrying about my hair looking crazy, I didn’t get worked up about being wet, I didn’t try to hurry the kids back into the car so we could hurry and get out of there.  I actually just let it be what it was!

 

Brandon and I talk all the time about “fighting with the weather” and how I get worked up or disappointed because I have expectations about how the weather should be!  I realize this is probably a crazy notion, but it is still something I fight all the time.  Have you ever been so excited about a vacation, an outing or an occasion, so much so that if the weather when you get there is not what you imagined it would be, you start to become frustrated or disappointed?

Brandon and I were in Hawaii last year for my birthday and every day was amazing EXCEPT for on my actual birthday.  I woke up happy until I saw the rain pouring and I actually felt a little depressed.  I found myself thinking “why did it have to rain today”?  For those of you that have never thought any of these things, I promise I’m not crazy, it’s just an example of something I like to try to control but I absolutely can’t.

The idea of managing expectations and letting go of control works for so many other things that I thought I would share with you my experience and how I am still only learning, but I am definitely working on it – which is the first step, right?

 

Are Electronics Ruining our Relationships?

“Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master!”

 

As you know, I have 4 boys and just when I thought I had this whole parenting thing “down” along came another, completely different boy, with his own challenges.  Not to mention, everything changes and the challenges become even more real.

We have noticed that our kids like to come home, excuse themselves to their rooms and hibernate by playing video games online with their friends.  It’s hard to not think that the art of conversation is gone because communicating comes mainly in the way of texting and Snapchat or other such apps.  Now, I could despair, but I prefer to take action…

Our number one priority each year as we plan what trips we want to take and the activities we want to involve our kids in, is a was we can keep the boys busy and make fabulous memories!  In fact, as I write this, we are headed on one of our planned vacations this year, to beaches, and a tropical paradise.  Not that while we are on the beach phones can’t be used, but the electronic distractions are definitely less than at home.

Taking action doesn’t just mean traveling or entertaining the kids 24-7.  And, as sad as it is, it doesn’t just mean that our kids are the only ones that are distracted because there are definitely times when I am sitting with Brandon and neither one of us is paying attention to the other.  I don’t want my relationships to suffer so I am always looking for ideas and ways to shake things up a little.

 

I came across a great idea – it’s called Rehab Gaming – and they specialize in creating simple card games that ask some fun questions that can really get some interesting conversations going.  They have games for families, for couples and for groups of friends, each has specialized questions that focus on the perfect topics to get you thinking and talking with those that are important in your life.

The best part – no long term contract, no high priced ticket and each deck of cards only costs $11.95. You can click here to get one for yourself, for your family or even as a gift!

Planning for your Vacation

“Fill your life with adventures, not things.  Have stories to tell, not stuff to show!”

This time of year definitely has me wishing I was on a beach, relaxing and soaking up the sun.  Thank goodness I have a trip planned and I leave in exactly 2 weeks for Hawaii.  This time, we are going to the big island because I haven’t been there before.  February is the month of my birthday and it’s become a tradition that we go somewhere for my birthday but also so that I can replenish my Vitamin D so I can make it through the rest of the winter (although this winter so far has been really, really mild!)

Sunshine, beach and warm weather just seem to make me feel like smiling more 🙂

Now when I talk about relaxation, bear in mind that while I will relax, this time we are taking our kids, so the relaxing may take on a different perspective than when it’s just Brandon and I.  We have some really fun excursions planned:  Whale watching, snorkeling at night with Manta Rays, hiking to the volcano, and I really want to do some sea kayaking and paddle boarding.  I have a rule that I like to have a beach day after an activity day, just so I can read my book and just generally sit down and decompress.  I may be the only one in my family that likes to do that so I have to make sure we are keeping everyone happy (quite a task with 6 very different personalities).

 

 

So when I’m planning my trips, I have always been a little more “fly by the seat of your pants” kind of girl, but Brandon likes to have an idea of what we’re doing.  So, here’s the compromise, we plan around 4 activities that we know we’ll all want to do, leave a few days open for whatever, and then set aside my beach days.  That way, we are not scrambling with the Concierge trying to book things and end up missing out on some good stuff, and also I don’t feel like I am rushed and scheduled to the hilt (which is pretty much like work to me).

The most important things I consider when I am planning my trips and what I am going to take are:

  1. Packing list – before I travel I always write down the “essentials” that I know I don’t want to forget.  Have you ever arrived at the airport or your destination and almost broken out in a cold sweat about something you need but forgot.  I remember once when we were packing for the kids and turned up with extra pairs of shorts for the boys but only 1 T-shirt each.  Not the end of the world, but if money is tight or even if you don’t want the hassle of shopping, a packing list could have prevented this.  Or, even worse, if you’re traveling abroad, have you ever arrived without the necessary visas or your passport?  Talk about ruining a trip!
  2. The weather – not that any of us can control this (trust me I have fought with the weather before because I would get frustrated and upset when it wasn’t what I wanted it to be – I realize that is the craziest thing ever).  It’s better to be prepared than frustrated…I always take some things such as raincoat, sweaters and other layers just in case.
  3. Suitcase size – over the past few years I have organized my travel in such a way that I am able to take just a carry on suitcase and so has everyone else in my family.  The reason why I love this – because there’s no waiting when you get off the plane, everyone is responsible for their own stuff (I would say we started this when Reiken was 8, so kids can handle it too!)
  4. Toiletries – I use different beauty regimens and they don’t all come in the 3oz containers that you need to bring if you are not checking a bag (according to TSA guidelines).  So, I always make sure for essentials like my masks, toners, etc, I buy some of the bottles that they sell at Target and other stores where I can put in my own toiletries just for travel purposes.  That way I don’t have to risk taking something that is too large and having it confiscated.
  5. Planned activities – if we are going hiking (which is something I love to do anywhere I go), I always make sure that I have sneakers and I’m not just taking flip flops or sandals.  I hate to limit myself and my activities by not being prepared.
  6. Plans to eat out? – I have always been someone that likes to dress up when I go out to eat…so if we are planning on eating dinners out, I like to have something to change into that’s a little more dressy than a swimsuit and coverall.
  7. The right shoes – and we are not just talking sneakers here.  I have certain outfits that look best with certain shoes, so I like to make sure I have a variety of shoes to choose from.  I hate having a dress to wear or a great jumpsuit without the RIGHT pair of shoes.  I’m not looking for perfection but I do feel better when I feel good about my outfit and my shoes are major piece in that puzzle.
  8. Workout time? – I always have to squeeze in some workout time when I’m on vacation.  Not that I am running any marathons, but just a short run, long walk, gym time or even yoga are something I like to fit into the trip so I don’t have to feel guilty about eating all the amazing foods there are available.
  9. Beach/Pool time – I don’t like to wear the same swimsuit every day (even if I have a condo with a washing machine).  Swimsuits don’t take up much room, so it’s really easy to fit in quite a few to add some variety.
  10. Use a Tote – I think all airlines allow you to have 2 carry on items, and one of those items is your purse or bag.  I used to just take a smaller handbag but couldn’t quite fit everything I needed in it. Now, I pack a tote with my Nook, snacks, iPad, headphones,  a lightweight jacket in case I get cold, a pillow, etc. and leave a little extra room for my bag/purse so that if I get called out on having too many things as carry on, I can just slip the bag/purse into my tote.

Whether you have a trip already coming up on your horizon, all of these tips will prove useful, no matter where you’re going or what you’re doing.  I realize that not everyone goes on planes, and very often there are amazing road trips that create the best memories.  Our family road trips have been amazing (although I will admit they were probably easier when the kids were younger), put on a movie, give the kids some treats and they’re happy. As they grow to be teens, there are many more opinions, arguments and disagreements, but that journey and life’s journey is truly what we make it.   I no longer have expectations that everything will go smoothly…that the boys will always get a long – so I have found that if I don’t hold onto those expectations, I don’t have to feel frustrated when it doesn’t workout like I think it should (because you know it won’t 😉

Happy travels in 2018 and I hope you find my tips and tricks useful!

 


Take Care of your Body

“Take care of your body.  It’s the only place you have to live!”

 

Does this sound like you…

Made a resolution or plan at the beginning of the year where you would work out more, eat healthier, stick to a beauty regimen, stress less…anything along the lines of taking care of yourself?

I know I did!  I started out the year choosing to exercise more, eat healthier, etc.  Not to lose weight or anything like that, but because let’s face it, I’m not getting any younger and I want to be around for a long time.  I am a very determined person, and I usually stick to plans that I make, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard.  For example, this week so far I have had something to do every night, so I haven’t had a chance to work out at all!  I only have so many days left in the week and I am traveling with Brandon this weekend to an event…so my time is VERY limited.  Here are my choices…I could beat myself up about it, quit this week and say I’ll start out strong next week, I could say “well as long as I’m not working out, I may as well not worry about eating healthy either”.  In the past I would have really beaten myself up and essentially made myself feel so guilty about it that I would almost kill myself to make sure I accomplished what I had said I would do at the beginning of the year.

So, I have decided that I can’t change the fact that I haven’t had time so far this week, I will do what I can with the rest of my time, and stick to eating healthy meals and not snacking on chocolate (because I still have some sitting on my desk left over from Christmas).  I have also found that a great way to get your body feeling balanced again is by drinking a healthy, natural juice or smoothie drink.  There are some brands that are sold in grocery stores like Naked and Odwalla, but there is nothing better than one that they make for you as you are waiting.  Vive Juicery in Salt Lake is my absolute favorite.  They of course have the juices, but they also have shots of things like ginger, immunity and turmeric. They also have cleanses, and I can say for sure that doing a cleanse is something that is good for everyone at least once a year – just to clean out the cobwebs 🙂  In fact, right now they have 10% off cleanses booked through January 31st online – just click here

Whatever your goals for 2018 are, try incorporating some natural juices with fruits and veggies.  It is just as important to take care of our insides as it is the outside!  Being healthy is something we CAN influence, so why not take control of something in your life 🙂

If you haven’t been to Vive Juicery, you should really check it out!  Even better, if you live in Utah along the Wasatch Front – they will actually deliver to your doorstep.

Stay Healthy my friends!!

And while your staying healthy- why not shop some similar pieces to my outfit by clicking the links below…

 

 


How to Harness your Inner Strength

 

“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do.  It comes from overcoming those things you once thought you couldn’t do!”

 

This weekend I wanted to talk a little about how overcoming challenges is really what makes us who we are. I am sure you have heard this many times before, but have you ever sat down and written down those things that you have gone through (you know, the ones where you weren’t sure if you were actually going to make it or not), with the sole purpose of looking at them in retrospect?  I have found that many, many things don’t make sense to me when I am going through them, but as I look backwards things become clearer, I realize that I am actually stronger and that I have actually made it!

At this point in January there are going to be a lot of resolutions that have already been pushed aside because we’re too busy or life has just happened.  It’s ok, if this is true of you, you’re definitely not alone, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up too much.  But, if you really are looking to make 2018 YOUR year…here’s something you can do to help make that happen…

As I talked about earlier, writing down the amazing things you have survived, worked through and learned from is fabulous, but what if you took it one step further…

What if, instead of just acknowledging those things, what if you really thought about how they made you better.  For example, has one of your experiences taught you patience, are you better equipped to handle “certain types of people”, or even are you more determined and stronger than you have ever been before.  All of these skills are things that can be harnessed to help you be more successful and happy this year.

Whatever your experiences, looking for a silver lining of some way you grew or learned is the best way to grow.

And remember, breathe, you may be having a hard day, but it doesn’t mean that it’s a hard life!

2018 is going to Sparkle

“She who leaves a trail of glitter is never forgotten!”

 

Cheesy caption, but I can tell you this…one thing that came to me while I was contemplating what happened to me in 2017 and how I was going to improve that for 2018, was how I really can affect what happens to me primarily by how I react to it.

Have you ever noticed that when things are going well, EVERYTHING seems to work so much better, there’s kind of a flow and we seem to attract more and more great things into our lives.  It seems almost logical that we would want to continue that kind of attraction…but because we are human, it is not always sustainable to be positive all the time.

 

Knowing that my behavior and attitude can very often determine my results, I made a choice for this year (at least most of it), that I will “sparkle” and be a positive force.  My family tells me all the time that when I am down, angry or just sad, it seems to affect the whole mood in our home.  That’s a lot of pressure, and not something I want put on me…but it’s also quite an amazing ability to know that I can help my family feel more happy, strong and positive!

In keeping with the theme of this post, the sparkly/glitter pants I am wearing are some I bought just before Christmas from H&M and they are really fun (and even better, they’re on sale).  Sparkles are not just for the holidays or special occasions, just like sequins, I think they work whenever you really want them to!  I added a white blouse with a gathered waist (similar one shown below), a long black cardigan and some sock booties. I have also recently fallen in love with some Stila liquid eyeshadow colors that I am wearing in this post.  If you haven’t tried liquid eyeshadow, you definitely should give it a try (I’m definitely sold!)

A great, simple, sparkly outfit – just in time to set you up to have a sparkly 2018 too!

 

 

 

Get up, Dress up and Never Give up!

 

“Believe you deserve it and the universe will serve you!”

 

Unfortunately it is the time of year here in Utah where the air quality is not great, we may or may not have a snow storm, but chances are, it’s going to be really cold.  With the poor air and inversion that we suffer with in the valley it very often brings colds, flu and other ailments that are never good but can really set you back if you don’t take care of yourself properly!

 

The reason I’m telling you this is because when I did this shoot, I had a cold and didn’t have any energy, but I knew I needed to do it because, well, just because I committed to it, but also because writing my blog is more important to me than taking a little time with some chicken noodle soup on the couch…

 

 

I have always been one of those girls where unless I literally can’t walk and I’m bleeding I don’t like to let anything stop me from what I need and want to do.  As a mum of four boys that works full time as well as having this blog, I am sure you can imagine that my life is pretty full, and that doesn’t even count anything I want to do for fun 🙂  I have found that I can sometimes be my worst enemy in that I don’t like to ask for help but that can sometimes cause me to feel resentful (even though logically I know that I brought the chaos onto myself by not asking for assistance!)

 

One of things I worked on this holiday season (which is probably one of the most hectic times of the year, not just for Christmas but also for my job because it is busiest at the end of each year), I allowed other people, specifically my husband and kids, but also co-workers and other people I know, to help me with things I would normally have just powered through myself.  Are any of you like me where you feel like you have to be a “soldier” and you are on the front lines just slogging through the day only to find at night that you just want to fall into bed and you really haven’t enjoyed yourself along the way?  Whew!  It’s not a good place to live I tell you…and the worst part, it’s so unnecessary!

 

So how do we change the way we have always been?  Is it who we are?  If you are like me and struggle with any of these things, here’s something to think about…by not asking others to help or by not including them in what you’re doing, you are taking the opportunity to serve away from them.  What do I mean?  When you do things for others does it make you feel good?  Are you that person that is always reliable, always giving, doing or just being there for others?  If you can answer yes to any of these questions then you know what an amazing feeling it is when you know that you’ve done something for someone else…right?!  Conversely if you don’t let anyone experience that feeling by doing something for YOU, aren’t you robbing them of that experience?  I know all of this stuff logically but I can tell you, it’s still hard for me…but I do know unless I teach my kids (and my husband) how to serve others, then I am doing them a disservice!

 

 

I definitely rolled into 2018 with a really positive attitude, great goals (one of which you read on Sunday), plans and aspirations…so now the key is to continue as I have started (yes, I know, it’s only been 1 day), but nevertheless, it’s still hard to keep to a path you have laid out for yourself, unless the goal means so much to you that quitting is not an option!

 

You are going to see a lot of people talking about goals, asking you what your goals are…and you may or may not want to share.  The key is to have goals to have things you want to do, even if it is to keep doing what you have always done, and just be better at it.  We all have our own paths to walk, but I can tell you, no matter who you are, whether you make goals for yourself or not, there are going to be things thrown into your path that are going to make you grow whether you like it or not, so nobody is going to have an easy ride.  Might as well set yourself something exciting to achieve so you are not letting life just happen to you!

 

Happy New Year…and by the way, the outfit I’m wearing in this post is an amazing velvet dress, with a leather jacket and leather booties.  You can shop a similar velvet dress, leather jacket, and booties by clicking the links below (who doesn’t love a luxurious velvet dress with a great leather jacket? :))

 


Sometimes you just have to do something Ballsy!

“Your greatest self has been waiting a long time, don’t make it wait any longer!”

 

A resolution is only as good as the amount of intention you have when you create it!

How do you plan on making 2018 the best year yet?

 

You may or may not know this, but my husband is a LIfe and Business coach, which is something that I have always been interested in.  A lot of the experiences I have had over the past few years could have really knocked me down, but I am still standing and now I’m even more determined to be even more successful, and most importantly I want to share what I have learned in the hopes that I can help others become successful too.  What good does an experience do if you can’t take that experience and grow from it, and to me growing myself is important, but lifting up others is so much more rewarding.

 

So, In 2018, my plan is to travel with my husband, and I am going to become more involved in his business and promote confidence and empowerment for Women!  Confidence and success can start with something as simple as feeling good about how you look and who you are…and if you don’t believe me, try putting on an outfit that is ugly unflattering, and see how you feel.  Then put on your best outfit, check yourself out in the mirror.  What’s the difference?  How you feel about how you look is what others see in you and that can determine whether they do or don’t want to do business with you or get to know you better.

 

As part of my quest to help others, I am also going to be launching my own audio and video series, so if you haven’t already signed up for my Newsletter, make sure you do that…

 

What bold moves do you have in store? I would love to hear you share yours with me – comment below!

 

Happy New Year!!

 


What is your 2018 Resolution?

“All you can change is yourself, but sometimes that changes everything!”

 

New Year’s resolutions are a hard thing…they are always entered into with the best intentions, but those intentions seem to become less and less determined after only a short time.  So, if you want to start off the New Year with new goals and habits, the only way you can ever make that happen is to change the way you think about what you’re trying to accomplish.

 

What I mean by that is if your goal is to get fit, you have to make a decision that being fit and healthy is more important than any obstacle or deterrent that might get in the way of you taking action.  Or, say your goal is to travel more, obviously your commitment to making more money and more time to travel is going to be necessary so your commitment to those things has to outweigh anything that could get in the way.

 

I have always avoided making New Year’s resolutions, not because I don’t believe in them, but because I think any “resolution” or change can come at any time of year and should most definitely not be postponed just because it isn’t New Year!  Nevertheless, I do have some pretty great goals that I have set for myself in 2018 and if you stay tuned for tomorrow you can read about my number one resolution and challenge to myself.

 

How do you change how you think to make sure that you can accomplish your goals?  We all have things that get in our way, so the key is getting to the root of what is causing those things to happen.  I have to admit I am very blessed to have a husband that holds me accountable, that pushes me and that encourages me to push myself.  He has helped me feel gratitude for those things that I have, to not focus on the things I can’t change, and to learn a little something from all my life experiences.  As I navigate my life journey I am realizing that I am a person that love to learn and experience new things, and that always wants to make myself a better person.  If you’re anything like me, you’ve had challenges and hard situations along the way, and it’s not those situations that will define who you are, but rather your reaction to those experiences!  I can honestly say that I am glad for every challenge I have faced because it has made me who I am today…

 

We all have comfort zones, those things we are comfortable with, the places and things that make us feel the most safe.  What if for 2018 all you did was expand that comfort zone just a little…what if you just pushed yourself to do one thing you have been too scared to do, or challenge yourself to accomplish something that has been controlling you to this point?  What could that mean in your life?  I don’t know about you, but I am really excited to find out.  Remember that your comfort zone today was once your challenge 🙂

 

Smile as you head into 2018 – I know I will!

 


Top 5 Ways to Avoid Over Indulgence during the Holidays

 

“What you do every day matters more than what you do every once in a while!”

 

The holidays are filled with cheer but they are also filled with rich foods, chocolate, candy, treats, and very often some cocktails or alcohol.  So how do you make sure that all the hard work you put into keeping your body trim and healthy this year isn’t lost in just a few weeks.

 

Long walks and runs outside are kind of hard in the winter here in Utah, the cold is bitter and the inversion makes it unhealthy to breath too much of that air.  Exercise requires a lot of commitment and with the “to do” lists that seem to get longer every day, it is so hard that sometimes it gets put off or just missed. 

 

Good chocolate is one of my weaknesses, and it seems like “just one” always leads to another!  Salads don’t seem as appealing and seem to be replaced with more warm dishes like soups, chilli, and baked potatoes, all of which are much more substantial and have a higher caloric value.

 

 

So how do you make sure that by the time the holidays are over, you are not going to roll into the New Year?  Here are some tactics that I use, and they have always worked for me…

  1. Don’t tell yourself you can’t have a treat, but rather ration how many you have.  If you tell yourself you can’t or that you can only have carrots, or some alternative that isn’t anywhere near as good, you will rebel against yourself and end up eating more than if you let yourself have one or two!
  2. Want a dessert?  Go for it, but again ration how much you have.  Portion control has always been something that I have exercised.  I like to try lots of different things, and always make sure that I balance my meals with the right amount of vegetables, protein, fats and carbs (I don’t ever avoid carbs because I need them for energy).
  3. Allow yourself one or two “cheat days” each week, that way you don’t have to feel guilty or bad about anything you are eating.
  4. Dedicate 20 minutes every other day even if it is just at home to do a few exercises like lunges, squats, crunches, and curls.  I even do a few each night while I am waiting for my bath or while I am watching my latest DVR TV show.
  5. Drink a fresh squeezed veggie drink at least once a week, to balance out the not so good stuff you may have eaten or drunk all week.

 

The holidays should be a fun time and beating yourself up or telling yourself NO is not going to make it enjoyable!  If you are not creating long term bad habits it’s really not going to hurt you just for a few weeks, but it is definitely still better to be in control.  Enjoy your holidays and remember, moderation is key!

 

Happy Holidays…