Winter got you down? Try these tips!

It is that time of year, isn’t it? Winter has finally arrived, and I’m not loving it. Sure, I am not getting socked like those up in the North East, but still, I’m not pleased. Here in the mountains of Northern Georgia, we spent most of this winter with very mild temps. It was even in the 70’s on Christmas this past year! After a very mild January and February, I was pretty certain we were in the clear. Obviously, that is not what turned out to be correct. Knowing that I certainly don’t have it as bad as all you North East living folks, I thought it would be a good time to share some of the things that help get through those winter months of “blah-dom”.  I grew up in Northeast Ohio, so I know my share of snowed in life, don’t you worry!

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Winter weather got you down? Try some ideas for things to do when you are stuck indoors on those winter days!

There are plenty of things you can do when it’s winter and even some that might carry into spring and summer! Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Start some hobbies:

Have you ever thought of trying some new things that you’ve just never got around to? Why not dive in when you are stuck inside and freezing?

  • Start a blog – A blog can be a great hobby, just for fun, or sometimes even to make a little extra income on the side. Either way, it’s great to keep your mind busy and work on your writing skills. A great perk of blogging is meeting so many new friends. The blogging community is full of wonderful people who love to chat and share tips and tricks. Check out Michelle’s post on how to start a blog here, She actually makes over 100K a month blogging! So there is good info on turning your hobby into something more!
  • Learn to knit/crochet – Believe it or not, those things are not just for little old ladies anymore! There are tons of people out there making very cool things. And yep, you guessed it, you might even be able to make some extra money selling your handmade goods on Etsy, or something like that!
  • Start a journal – Even if you don’t feel like putting your words out on the big ol’ web, just start writing them down for yourself. It’s really quite fun to start, even if you don’t know what to write about at first. There are plenty of prompts to get you going, check out this post for some great prompts. Once you get on a roll, it’ll almost become habit instantly. There are some really nice journals out there, or you can simply grab a plain notebook from the dollar store!
  • WORK OUT – It seems like winter is the time when we all slack off a bit on our workouts. Is it because we aren’t outside as much? Or is it because we are eating too much comfort food and we just aren’t as motivated as in the warmer months? Whatever the reason, it isn’t the time to do so! There are plenty of exercises we can do right from the comfort of our homes. Even without equipment! Personally one of my favorites is yoga. It’s a wonderful stretch, as well as strength building activity that not only works your body but also your mind.
  • Color! – Believe it or not, there is a big push for adult coloring books lately. There are so many great ones out there with very intricate designs that will really keep you busy. Not only that, it can totally relax your mind! Amazon has a great selection of them here! You can also try your local hobby stores, although I’m not sure there will be more variety there. I have fallen in love with coloring lately, such a great stress reliever.

 


Read some books:

I love to read so much, and there are some great books out there. Some you might have heard of, yet some you may not be familiar with.  But why not check out some of these? Who knows? You might find some you really like!

  • Settle For More by Megyn Kelly – I am loving this one. I have been a fan of hers for quite some time, and although she is no longer on Fox News, I still think she’s an inspiration in so many ways. She talks about her rise up through struggles, even mentioning her time asking questions during the debate. Definitely a great, inspiring read!
  • You are a Badass by Jen Sincero – Who doesn’t want a little pep talk from time to time? I love the bluntness in this book and the way she words things. A great read for anyone who might be looking for some motivation to go bigger in life! Certainly great for the entrepreneurs out there too!
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo – Minimalism seems to be a hot topic these days. While I’m fully devoted to it, I did enjoy this little nugget of wisdom. It’s the Japanese art of decluttering and I think it has some very good tips and tricks to live by. Definitely worth a read, and it’s quite an easy one as well.
  • The Life-Change Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight – Yes, this is a “parody” of the prior book, and if you are in anyway offended by the “F” word, it is not for you. I do like the meaning behind it, though! Like the title says: “Stop spending time you don’t have with people you don’t like doing things you don’t want to.” That was the kicker for me! We are all guilty of it I’m sure, but we don’t have to be. Get out there and own your life again.
  • Aim True by Kathryn Budig – One of my favorite yogis, Kathryn Budig has written this great book. Not only does she share what it means to “aim true” but she shares recipes, self-help ideas, etc. I loved this one quite a bit, and she is certainly a great yogi to follow.

What other things do you like to do to beat the winter blahs??

I’d love to hear more suggestions on books or ideas that get you through these cold months! For now, I’ll grab my blanket, my laptop and my books and head to snuggle with my pups and my blanket to keep warm!

Need some indoor ideas for those snow days? Winter boredom getting you down? Check out some tips to beat the winter weather blahs!

 

Cut The Clutter – Closet Edition

A while back I wrote a post on a 30 – day minimalist challenge I was doing. A friend of mine posted it, and I was a bit skeptical at first. Looking around my house, however, I knew I needed to cut some clutter in a big way! How many of us have acquired way more than we will ever need? I’m certain I am not the only one, so that’s why I decided to share. I have decided to do a small series of ways to cut clutter out of your life, starting with your wardrobe. For me, that was the best place to start that challenge, even though I managed some from other rooms as well. How many of you can stand to clear some clutter from your wardrobe?

Looking to simplify your life? Cut the clutter, starting with your wardrobe! I'm sure I'm not the only one hanging on to way to many items. Check out my tips here!

 

 

The first step in the clearing the closet is figuring out what to do with all the stuff you let go! I get it, trust me. There are certainly going to be things still in good condition. Do you toss them? Donate them? Sell them? There are plenty of options, but there are also things to consider. I don’t condemn thrift stores. As a matter of fact, I visit them often. But I’m not going to buy tattered pieces of garbage, no matter how much of a deal. With that in mind, I hope this post gives you some ideas!

 

Step 1:

Throw away everything you own that isn’t LuLaroe.

Ok no, I’m kidding. I am slightly obsessed with LLR if you haven’t figured that out yet. But don’t do that. Seriously, just don’t. For as amazing as their stuff is, it simply can’t replace everything you own. And the point of cutting the clutter is not adding more in its place. If you don’t have any yet, yes, you are missing out, but hold off until you get to a place where you can add. Get rid of stuff and make an impact!

Now seriously…

Clutter in Intimates Drawers:

I hate to state the obvious but… No one wants your old undies, socks, etc. Don’t even consider it! I will make one exception, and one only. If you are anywhere near a Soma Intimates, check them out. Twice a year they accept GENTLY WORN bras only. They donate them to local battered women’s shelters. I think that is a wonderful thing. I can absolutely vouch for the validity of that since I was the manager of a store for almost 2 years. Anything else, just toss them in the trash. Maybe make old sock monkeys for your dogs to chew on, whatever. Just don’t try to donate OR sell skivvies, ok?!

Jeans and/or other bottoms:

Ok, listen up. Holding onto that pair of jeans that used to fit you 10 years ago might SEEM like motivation. Seriously, though, even if they did fit you again, would they even be in style? Acid washed jeans went out a long time ago, remember? And of course, if they are already frayed at the bottom, or have little holes started, that is only going to get worse. The nice thing about jeans, (some skirts and other pants too), is that you can almost always donate them. And hey, if they are hot ticket items, you can always try eBay or Facebook sales! I’ve picked up some extra cash doing that with lots of clothes.

 

T-Shirts/other tops:

Not including seasonal things such as sweaters, most t-shirts can just be tossed. Maybe make them into cleaning rags, or simply throw them away. I tend to go through them frequently, and they don’t last forever. Other tops like sweaters, work shirts, etc can be saved. Similar to jeans, why not donate, or try to sell? Since I spent far too many years in retail management, I aquired way more clothing and shoes than any one person probably needs. I have been lucky to have made a bit of extra cash selling the gently worn items!

Outerwear:

I tend to hold on to my outerwear longer than I probably need to. Since it doesn’t see the same amount of wear as other things, it can last a bit longer. And of course, having more than 1 type is necessary, but no one needs a million different jackets, coats, etc.

 

As for seasonal items, or specific things bought for special occasions, those can most likely be thinned out as well. Seriously, how many formal dressed do you need? I guess it would depend on your lifestyle, but keep in mind what you can sell or donate. Make some extra money or give them to people who need them more than you!

Olive Cheese Bread – Yum

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I love to cook! AND eat… so I am always either trying to find new recipes to tweak into my own, or looking for copycat recipes from restaurants I love. I took yesterday off from my good ol’ job. I had some things to take care of, but mostly I got to enjoy the time I had to myself, with my dogs! My hubs goes into the office 1 day a week (works from home the rest of the time) and today was his day in. So here I was…. all by myself! Woohoo! So after relaxing a bit, doing some reading, and doing some coloring in my Coloring Mandalas book, I decided it was time to adult a bit, and figure out what I might do for dinner. And since I hadn’t been grocery shopping in a bit, this was going to be a fun one, NOT. 


Then I happened to think about Mellow Mushroom… Ok, you all may not know what that is, and I get it. I didn’t know of it until I moved to Georgia, but WOW. I love it! And they have this appetizer called Muffuletta Cheese Bread , and it’s AMAZING! Oh it’s so tasty. It’s like olive delishisness smothered over french bread and as cheeeeeesy as can be! I looked in the fridge and was ecstatic to find all kinds of olives! Less exited when I realized I had no French Bread. But, aha! I had some hoagie rolls! Oooh yeah, I decided to make my own version of what I thought I could pull off. Minus some ingredients and throwing in whatever the heck I wanted, after all, it’s my version, right?


And I decided to take some pictures along the way… Now I am NOT a fancy photographer and I only had my Galaxy Note 5, no fancy camera, so it is what it is. But it was still very tasty! Even though my pictures don’t do it justice at all.  

So first of all I pulled out all the ingredients I thought I would want in it. I had Lindsay Spanish Manzanilla Olives, Pimiento Stuffed and Lindsay Sliced Black Olives on hand, as well as some Vigo Calamata Olives, and then I thought, hey, what about those Mt. Olive Hot Banana Pepper Rings sitting in there alongside those La Pedriza Alcaparra Capers ?! Heck yeah, let’s do this!!  

So it’s actually pretty darn simple, just chop up those ingredients, then mix ’em up with a teeny tiny bit of olive oil. Then I refrigerated it until I was ready to top that bread and toast!


 

Then it was time! I pulled it back out and got the next step of ingredients: the butter, mayo and cheeses that I had on hand.

Now one thing I will say, when I cook, I’m not much of a measuring person. That is reason numero uno why I do not bake. That is too much precision for me. So I’ll say I did a pretty generous squirt of my Hellmann’s Light Squeezy Mayonnaise, then a spoonful of that melted butter product, and a handful of each of my Great Value cheeses. (Hey, I like saving money!) I stirred that all together, then got out the leftover hoagie rolls we had hanging around, cut those in half and topped them with the mixture, and even more cheesy goodness! 
Then I heated up my toaster oven to 350 and put those babies in there, because frankly it’s still too hot here in Georgia to use that darn oven. Let them go for about 15-20 minutes and mmmmmm….. 
olive bread
 
It paired really nicely with my mom’s Stuffed Banana Peppers I had in the freezer, mmmm.
Now if I can get her to share that one with me, y’all will LOVE THEM!!!
Ok, so the recipe for the olive goodness, to the best of my non measuring ability…
Olive Cheesy Bread
 
1 handful of green olives
small call of sliced black olives
7-10 Calamata Olives
about 10 sliced banana pepper rings
2 teaspoons of capers
bread of your choice (sturdy enough to hold mixture)
1 cup each shredded cheeses of your choice (I used cheddar and mozzarella)
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 cup of mayo
 
  1. Begin by roughly chopping the first 5 ingredients.
  2. Combine in bowl with slightest bit of olive oil, mix well
  3. Add Mayo, melted butter and 1/2 of the cheese, stir well to combine.
  4. Preheat oven/toaster oven to 350.
  5. Slice preferred cheese in half lengthwise.
  6. Spoon mixture onto bread, coating well.
  7. Top with remaining cheese.
  8. Bake 18-22 minutes, until bread is toasty and cheese is melted.
  9. Cut and devour! 
 
 






A few of my favorite things – Part 2 – beauty

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As promised, I’m continuing my short series of some of my most favorite things. In case you missed the last one, check it out here. In part 1, I shared some of the yoga things I love and today I want to share some of my beauty favorites. I hope you’ll enjoy, maybe you know of some, maybe you don’t, but browse around and check out these amazing things!
  1. Every morning AND evening begins with my Beauty Counter Charcoal Cleansing bar. I was a bit skeptical when I first heard of this, with my crazy sensitive skin, but Amy Adams was kind enough to send me a sample, and I was hooked immediately. This company is fantastic too, all the products are cruelty free and not harmful to your skin or the environment. I haven’t tried many others of theirs yet, but I will say, I cannot wait to. This stuff is amazing!
  2. Then comes Anakiri‘s amazing Restore Propolis Balm. This stuff is seriously a hidden gem. It’s great for acne, eczema, rosacea, etc! I seriously love the stuff so much. I’ve been using it for about a year now, and can’t live without it. Even Refinery 29 loved it so much they called it a “Cult Classic”.
  3.  KarmaCrowFancy’s amazing Facial Butter is fantastic! It’s coconut oil, with some essential oils and it soaks right into my skin without that greasy feeling a lot of moisturizers can give. I have been using it for almost a year not too. I found it by accident at my local yoga studio, and feel instantly in love. She also has other products to check out, so keep an eye on her Etsy store! 

So that would start out my routine every day and night, and those are certainly 3 of the products I am so in love with! My skin hasn’t felt or looked this good in a long time, and I’m looking at the big 41 in 2 weeks!

As for cosmetics, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with them. I used to totally be a makeup SNOB, and would ONLY use MAC, or Urban Decay…  I have come a long way in my age, and am happy for that, (so is my bank account!) Since the awesome days of Pinterest I’ve found so many ways to look at new products, start reading lots of blogs and reviews and even try things I might not have tried before, like e.l.f. Cosmetics ! I can’t believe how inexpensive this stuff is, AND how great some of the products are! I am hooked on the e.l.f. Lip Exfoliator! It’s so inexpensive, and it makes my lips SO soft and smooth, follow up with a little Moisturizing Lipstick and you are good to go! 
I’m also really into the Studio High Definition Powder with Studio Powder! They even have it in pressed powder form if you prefer that. I love that “soft focus” look it brings to my skin, and doesn’t settle into my aging face. I just look softer and more put together when I wear this, and I can definitely tell when I don’t have it on! 
I’m going to end it here again and next will be my top favorite products from It Works! Yes, it’s a MLM as some would say, but I have tried several products and fallen so in love I decided to share them with the world. So stay tuned for more, and I hope some of these were new to you, or just ones you haven’t tried. Check them out and be amazed!