2018 – Year In Review

It’s crazy to think that another year is just hours away from coming to a close. We made it through another 365 days, some were good, some were challenging. Today is definitely the day to look back on how we showed up for each day, and make a plan for how we are going face the next 365.

A few days ago I finally took a little bit of time for just me. I went to my local Barnes & Noble, sat in a comfy chair, and just read. It was the first time, in a very long time I have taken this kind of time for me.

It helped me to be able to reflect and think about how I wanted to approach the next year. I mostly found myself reflecting on the last few months of this year, and how they left me exhausted, stressed, irritable, and very down.

I have loved participating in The Last 90 Days by Rachel Hollis, and really think this helped me to survive the last few months of this year. It helped me to get more active, choose healthier food habits, and really up my water intake! I wasn’t perfect all 90 days, and these last couple of weeks have been a struggle, but I was doing my best.

So why was I so overwhelmed? I was finally completely honest with myself and knew that I had taken on way too much! Each year my husband and I throw two big parties, Halloween and Christmas. Which means all the planning, buying, prepping, set up, hosting, and clean up; and all very close together.

I used to love doing these parties, but something felt off this year. It was because I was trying to be a mom to two girls (which comes with a laundry list of tasks all it’s own), a wife who’s husband has a busy schedule, trying to do daily life, work on myself, had a list of “hobbies” I was trying to work on or start, and planning/hosting various other events. It was all too much, and I felt like I couldn’t say no when people asked for help.

The last 10 days before Christmas break this year, I had over 7 events, some days with multiple events; many of which I was planning, hosting, or for which I was providing items. I’m not sure I slept, or left my kitchen. Most importantly, I wasn’t enjoying it.

I have always been the type of person who, when commits to something, follows through and does her part. I also found myself thinking, “If I don’t do it, no one else will.”

And therein lies my moment. Why must it always be me? Who says I HAVE to do any of this? What does it matter if these parties don’t happen, if we don’t host every event? Why is it always up me to get people together?

So, in 2019, I’m not doing it anymore. It’s time I actually focus on ME, I’m going to cut back on what I commit to doing, focus on my health, and really think about what I really want to do with each day.

I’m currently reading High Performance Habits by Brandon Burchard and am loving the guidance I am already receiving, especially in the areas I really need it.

One thing he suggests is choosing three words to focus on for your year. Mine are: Happy, Motivated, Organized. I want to be a happier, more motivated, and highly organized person. I no longer want to feel stressed, over anxious, and worn down.

My family deserves the best version of me, but also equally important, I deserve the best version of me!

I want you to think about what you want for 2019. What are your words? Write them down, read the often, focus on them!

Thank you for reading, and for being here. I look forward to coming up with some great content for you these next twelve months! I wish you and your family a very Happy New Year!

Quick Study: Speedy Ways to Learn New Skills

Person Making Clay Pot in Front of Girl during Daytime

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Pretty much everyone has one or two skills that they wish they could master. But one of the main factors that seems to get in the way is time. Learning any new skills takes a great deal of commitment, but people struggle to put in the hours that it takes. When you do find time to practice learning your skill, you want to make sure that you are using it wisely. So, if you want to look for some quick ways that you can pick up new skills then these tips are here to give you a helping hand.

 

Set Realistic Goals

 

The best way to learn anything is to set yourself goals and make sure you stick to them. But you also want to make sure that the targets you are setting for yourself are actually realistic and achievable. So, your long-term goal may be to learn the guitar, but you may break this down by learning a new chord every few days and eventually build this up to learning an entire song. Learning the guitar seems too vague, whereas learning the chords is one that is actually measurable and achievable.

 

Think of the Obstacles that May Stand in Your Way
Free stock photo of metal, grass, green, fence

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When you are trying to learn a new skill, there will be all manner of obstacles that stand in your way. In the first days and weeks, this is when it can be difficult and frustrating, so this is your first barrier. Identify what else is blocking your learning and try to find ways to overcome these problems. If you find that you are easily distracted, put yourself in an environment where you can limit these distractions. If you find that time is an issue, move something out of your day like that extra half hour of TV. You will be in a much stronger position to deal with obstacles if you identify them early.

 

Focus on the Essentials

 

Once again, this is where it comes back to focusing on the sub-skills that you can teach yourself. When you are learning new skills, there are some essentials that will lead you quicker to your desired outcomes. So, if you are trying to learn a new language, it is likely that you will want to focus on the essential conversational skills rather than the complex areas of grammar. If you are learning to cook, you will want to focus on the skills that can be transferred across various different meals so try these delicious recipes. Focusing on the key areas will get you to your goal quicker.

 

Master One Area Before Moving On

 

The best way to achieve a goal is to put all your attention into that particular area. So, make sure you are entirely comfortable that you have got each subskill to the level you want before moving onto the next one. Otherwise, your attention will become too divided and you will find yourself pulled off in too many different directions at once.  

Kick Your Cooking Up a Notch!

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One of the most essential life skills you can possible have is that of cooking. A lot of younger people seem to be less enthused about learning how to cook than the generations that came before them. We could probably blame a few things here; the ubiquity of snacks and ready meals probably don’t help things, certainly. But learning how to cook a healthy and filling meal (as well as a tasty one!) is one of the best things you can do as you begin to grow your independence. After all, if you’re planning on having a family at some point, then you want them to eat well, right?

 

When you know how to cook for yourself, you no longer have to rely on whatever nutritional values reign supreme in commercial food items. You have completely control over what goes into your body. If you’re not that confident about your cooking skills, then take these tips into account in order to boost your abilities!

 

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Take classes

 

This may seem like the most obvious suggestion on the planet, but they can really help you out when it comes to developing your cooking skills. Unfortunately, the kind of cooking classes kids often get at schools these days are actually a lot more theoretical than they should be; that is, they’re not very practical. Consider taking classes that are hands-on. If you don’t want to take things that far, or you simply don’t want to spend the money, then consider checking out some of the best cooking channels on YouTube. You can learn a surprising amount from them!

 

Get scientific

 

When you understand the science and methods behind cooking, it can really help you add that extra kick to your dishes, as well as help you better understand what ingredients to add and what ones to avoid! Understanding how heat opens up the flavors of certain ingredients is essential information. Knowing why certain spices complement certain foods helps you know when to avoid that dusting of paprika or pepper you’re always so keen on. Even understanding the science behind sour wine can help you appreciate its key role in many dishes! Understanding some of the theory is essential, as long as it doesn’t completely distract from the practical.

 

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The recipe

 

The reason that so many people don’t get the results that they want from their cooking is because they don’t follow the recipe. They’ll cut a corner here, or skip an ingredient there. If the above section didn’t make this clear enough, then I’ll reiterate: cooking is a science of sorts. It conforms to the laws of chemistry. Ingredients react to one another in very specific ways, and an understanding of this is what’s behind the creation of recipes. So if you don’t follow recipes to a T, then you’re probably going to end up with a bit of a culinary mess. There are, of course, successful ways to take slight detours, but you need to understand what alterations you’re making (see above section again!). If you get stuck, then look up the recipe on YouTube to see how it’s done.

It’s Time To Open Your Arms To Technology!


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There’s no denying that technology is one of the most important aspects of modern life. It’s practically taken over some incredibly significant parts of everyday life and, for good or ill, there’s no going back on that. Because of the sheer prevalence of technology, it’s incredibly easy to feel cynical, even distrustful of it. After all, surely there’s a price to pay for all of this innovation and convenience, right? Well, sure, but no more so than with anything else. After all, anything that’s embraced without consideration, or done without moderation can be harmful. Technology by itself isn’t harmful unless you use it that way. If you use it properly, it can make your life far better and easier than it would ever be otherwise. With that in mind, here are some modern pieces of tech that you should embrace right now!

 

Fitness tech

 

Staying in shape can be something of a challenge a lot of the time. Whether it’s because of the hard work involved, or simply the act of finding motivation to work out at all. Fortunately, for anyone who’s ever struggled to get themselves down to the gym a couple of times a week, technology is here to help. Your smartphone has plenty of apps that can do everything from helping you count calories to giving you reminders of when you should be working out. Not only that but the benefits of wearables like Fitbit for health are remarkable. Tech like this tracks your heart rate, how active you are, even how much sleep you’re getting. For anyone who’s ever found it difficult to see the results of their hard work, tech like the Fitbit is perfect.

 

Social media

 

If you open a newspaper, magazine, or even spend any time on the internet, you’re likely to see something about how social media is ruining everything! It’s making us antisocial, competitive and shallow! But is that really the case? After all, social media doesn’t actually do those things, people do. And the sad fact is that people have been finding ways to be antisocial, competitive and shallow since the dawn of time. What social media can do, however, is connect you with people in ways that you may never have been able to before. You can now keep in touch with friends all over the world, reconnect with people you’d lost contact with, and keep friendships and relationships strong, even over long distances. Sure, social media has its issues, but it also has so many positive qualities that it’s important not to ignore them just because you’re sick of seeing your high school friends vacation pictures!

 

Gaming

 

Gaming is one of those hobbies that has always had something of an image problem. In the eighties when it first appeared it was the image of the lonely nerd hunched over an arcade cabinet or a computer, nowadays it’s the image of the angry, bitter gamer yelling at people over the internet. Yet, in spite of this, gaming has never been more inclusive and creative. With smaller games showing a huge breadth of experiences and artistic statements that simply wouldn’t be possible anywhere else. If you’re stuck for a way to spend your evenings, consider picking up a controller your computer’s mouse, and entering into a whole new world of possibilities.

Let’s Talk – Bras

Yep, you read that right, bras. 

Earlier today I saw a post making the rounds through Facebook, and I groaned when I saw it.


It made it clear to me, yet again, that women are just not “in the know” about one of the most important pieces of undergarments we wear. 

Back in Oregon I worked at Donna Bella Lingerie, and learned everything I’ll need to know about bras, and it changed my life. I learned how to properly fit women into well made, wonderfully fitting bras; as well as how great I felt when I wore a properly fit bra. 

There’s one company that I won’t name (but seriously, you’ll be able to figure it out) that doesn’t measure right at all, and leaves the vast majority of women who go in wearing the wrong band and cup size. Which leaves them not feeling supported at all.  They put me in a 36DD. What size did I get when I got sized correctly? 30G. No wonder I never felt like I was supported! (Here’s a “secret”, D cups aren’t big.)

A bra should fit snugly around your body, with the band fitting across the middle of your back, not up near your shoulder blades. The snugness of the band is where you get your support from, and it should stay in place. As we would say, “When you lift your arms, your bra shouldn’t travel with you.”

Your breast tissue should fill the cups of the bra with out leaving the fabric loose, but also not “spilling out”. (Seriously, enough with the quad boob.) The straps shouldn’t dig into your shoulders, enough room to slide two fingers through. The underwire shouldn’t dig into your breast tissue, and the gore of the bra should also rest on your chest, between your breasts. 

Your new bra should fit on the first set of hooks, and if you feel like you have a little under arm “wing”, that’s normal. It’s your skin, and no one sees it. Even those skinny 30B girls have it.

When you’re wearing your bra, stand facing a mirror with your arms down at your sides; your breast tissue should be halfway between your shoulder and elbow.

Here are some examples:

 (Panache – Andorra)   

(Freya – Ada Tattoo)

 Okay, so basically now I am going to pick this “bra/boob” post apart. As Kevin Hart would say, “You gonna LEARN today!”

 
1) Somewhat true. There are certain athletic bras I look at and then laugh. Try an Anita Sports Bra, I love mine. I run with it and don’t ever feel like I’m “bouncing” all over the place. 

2) Okay, so this is correct. Bras go to H, HH, and beyond. Bands start off at 28, and go into the 40s+. Women come in all shapes and sizes! (And we’re all beautiful!)

3) BAH!!!!!!! *Insert Annoyed Scream* My “collection” is full of beautiful colors, prints and lace! (Fantasie, Freya, Elomi, Panache, and Wacoal – to name a few – all make gorgeous bras in a wide range of sizes!)

4) 😑 Underwire gives the bra structure and helps with support. It isn’t evil, and when a bra is actually fitting correctly, it doesn’t hurt or dig in. And if you are larger chested, seriously, try cup-sized swim wear with underwire. It’s awesome! 

5) Anyone can get boob sweat, but yeah, okay, I guess larger boobs deal with more.

6) I’ll give them this one too. 

7) Umm…okay? Find a shirt that fits? I wear button up shirts, and I can say that yes, I have tried on certain shirts that do that; just find one that fits properly. 

8) Unless your boobs are fake and perky, yeah, they might not work.

9) Really? I fit many brides, with larger band and cup sizes than me in strapless dresses for their wedding gowns. There are strapless bras out there for women larger than a 32B.

10) Okay, I’ll agree here too. HAHAHAHAHA! That’s cute. 

11) Who cares about squishing your friends face in your boobs? That’s what friends are for! 
If you are in Oregon, head to Donna Bella to be properly fit! (http://donnabellalingerie.com)

If not, search for a boutique near by where you can be properly fit. I also hear that Nordstroms does a pretty good job at getting women into the correct bras.

Happy Bra Shopping!!