January 2019 Round Up

January 2019 Round Up

This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here.

Hi, friend!

Welcome to the end of January. Can you even believe it??

I’m working on this post the night before it goes live while watching the NCSU basketball game. If you know anything about NC State, you know being a Wolfpack fan is a constant rollercoaster of emotion. So if parts of this don’t make sense, you can blame it on my Cardiac Pack 😉

Kidding (sorta). Maybe blame it on the Barefoot Moscato…

Regardless, I’m here for you sharing a peek into my month. So much happens in those 30ish days and here’s a glimpse into some of my favorite parts.

3 things I’m excited about

  1. Orange Theory Fitness: In January I started a new fitness routine with OTF and I’m so excited! My body responds really well to cardio + strength and that’s exactly what this workout offers. Each day’s workout is different, but all very challenging (which I love)! Each workout is comprised of three different sections: rowers, treadmills, and floor work with weights or other equipment. You wear a heart rate monitor to track your stats during the workout. The goal is to be in the “orange” and/or “red” zone for a combined total of at least 12 minutes. This means you’ll continue to burn calories for up to 36 hours after your workout. Making this change has helped me find new motivation and excitement for my workouts!
  2. Chiropractor care plan: I’ve never been to a chiropractor until this week, but I felt like it was something important to add to my wellness plan. I’ve gotten into a good rhythm with my usual appointments (dentist, dermatologist, gyno, eye, etc), so I felt like I had the bandwidth to add something new. I got a great recommendation from a friend and the practice is actually very close to my home and work, which is an awesome bonus! I’m not seeing my chiropractor for any specific pains or problems, but for overall wellness and helping my body to function optimally. I had my first ever adjustment on Jan 29th, so check that off. I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going 🙂
  3. Amazon Influencer Program: I’m thrilled to be accepted to Amazon’s Influencer Program! I applied once before and wasn’t accepted, but second time is a charm. This allows me to create a “storefront” where I can organize all my favorite Amazon products and earn a small commission through purchases. This will make it simple for you to discover and shop things I’m loving. I will update my Amazon page continuously as I discover products worth sharing that I think will make your life easier. You can shop my favorites here. Thank you in advance for your support!

Quote I’ve been meditating on

So simple, but so powerful. Each day we get a choice in how we will approach it. Although some days are definitely easier than others, I want to make it a point to choose joy. This choice won’t change what happens in my day. It won’t keep bad, frustrating things from happening. But it will affect how I react to life and that makes a world of difference.

Who or what I’m adoring

I’ve been loving Smile Brilliant since November when I started their process for my at home whitening kit, but especially this month because my experience + giveaway post is LIVE. Did you miss that? You can check that out here and make sure you enter the giveaway if you’re reading this before February 6, 2019.

The process was super simple and effective. My teeth are whiter without any inconveniences or sensitivity. Whitening strips are okay, but personalized whitening trays are definitely the way to go. I wish I had this three years ago before our wedding, but better late than never!

Favorite memory from January

On a Friday night Eric and I met up with some friends to take on Rush Hour Karting. This is an indoor high speed karting facility — the high speed part of that is no joke. The karts go almost 40mph which doesn’t seem like much, but is quite fast when you’re speeding a little kart through a twisty track.

This isn’t something I would normally do and I was honestly nervous, but it was SO MUCH FUN!!! It was intimidating at first, but you quickly get the hang of it. If you’re near Garner, NC I highly recommend checking out this place for a date night or group outing. It’s always good to do something different and the adrenaline rush doesn’t hurt.

A good lesson I learned

If something isn’t working, change it.

Often I get into a funk because I’m not changing something that needs a change. Maybe that’s a routine, a habit, a mindset, or something else entirely. I forget I can make a change or I’m waiting for permission.

If you do the same, I’m giving you permission right now. You always have the permission to change something in your life that isn’t working. You have to be your own advocate because you are the only one that knows what you need. We won’t always get it right and it’s totally okay to change things up.

In February…

I’m saying no to: excess sugar.
I’m saying yes to: nourishing my body.

A lot of people joke about January being a “trial month.” I can see where they’re coming from. We’re expected to have everything figured out right after eating and drinking all the things during the holidays. It’s a tough transition, but hopefully by now you’re finding a routine that works for you. Remember, it doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s if that’s not what in alignment for your life in this season.

How has the first month of 2019 been for you?

Good things have come, but even better things are ahead!

October 2018 Round Up

October 2018 Round Up

This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here. I appreciate you shopping with me! 

Happy Halloween, friend!

I know that Halloween comes at the very end of October. I know that Halloween has been coming for a while thanks to the constant showings of Hocus Pocus (my fave!). But it’s still kinda hard for me to wrap my mind around October being over. It came and went so quickly!

That’s the same story every month — I’m always surprised how quickly the days and weeks pass. A lot happened this month and there’s wonderful things to come, so lets recap it, shall we??

3 things I’m excited about

  1. The holidays: This doesn’t need much explanation, right? This is my favorite time of the year. So much joy, celebration, and time with loved ones. This year we’ll be doing a Friendsgiving dinner with our small group — already looking forward to the food and fellowship. It’s another opportunity to make memories with family and friends. I’m here for it.
  2. Flawless Facial Hair Remover: This one is bit weird, but I’m all about products that make my life easier. Thank you, Ulta, for this incredible tool. I know we don’t like to talk about it, but ladies, we all have that bit of peach fuzz along our chin and lip that keep our makeup from looking flawless. If you don’t, continue reading. Ok, now the ones that are being honest — you need this! It’s so easy to use and works amazingly! Ulta currently has a 20% off coupon on their website through Nov 3rd, so go grab it!
  3. Election Day: I’m not one for politics, but as I get older, I understand more and more the power and privilege of using my voice. I know we won’t all agree on candidates and policies, which is totally fine. But no matter what you think is “right,” exercise your right to vote! I’m also just really ready for the political commercials and mailers to take a break 🙂

Quote I’ve been meditating on

“When you focus on the good, the good gets better.”

This quote is gold and definitely something I’ve been trying to improve on. It can be easy to focus on the negative — the things that didn’t go your way, the things that annoy you, the things you want to change. And then it seems like that list can keep getting longer. The same is true of the positive. If you keep looking for good things, you’ll keep finding them. It’s all about perspective and contentment. ❤

Who or what I’m adoring

PowerSheets

The 2019 PowerSheets collection finally launched October 24th! They are absolutely stunning!!! 2019 will be my third year utilizing PowerSheets to help me be intentional in setting and achieving goals and it just keeps getting better.

The Cultivate What Matters team make adjustments every year to improve the incredible tool and I love what they’ve done! I talked all about my PowerSheets and gave a little sneak peek in my previous post here. If you’re anything like me and can benefit from guidance and encouragement when it comes to goal setting, the PowerSheets are for you!

Favorite memory from October

Aside from the usual, the major focus at work in October was the Parade of Homes. This is an annual event done over 3 weekends where builders in the Triangle area can showcase their homes and design — it’s the largest open house of the year! The public is invited to visit the homes in the Parade to learn about the latest updates in design and home building. It’s so fun to show off our beautiful homes! This year my company had six homes in the Parade and the model in my community was one of them.

The homes get judged and there is a Gala to present the awards. The Parade of Homes Gala was my favorite memory in October because it was an awesome chance for Eric and I to dress up and celebrate the fruits of our team’s hard work. It was even more special because the event was held at my alma mater, NC State University. I even wore the perfect color: red.

I love embracing the opportunities to enjoy my industry and get to know others within it. I try to say yes to the different events and this one was well worth it!

A good lesson I learned

Your words are powerful.

This has been the topic of sermons at church for the last several weeks and it’s working in me. I love words and I definitely believe in their power, but until recently I didn’t fully understand how powerful they are. Anything good or bad that has happened is most likely due to the chosen string of words.

Because of this teaching and realization, I have tried to be more careful with my words. I’m striving to use them to build others up through encouragement and truth. I’m also working on the way I speak to myself. It doesn’t have to be verbalized to make an impact. I challenge you to take a look at the words you use and see if you can improve them to speak more life in yourself and those around you.

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
-Proberbs 18:21

In November…

I’m saying no to: comparison.

I’m saying yes to: gratitude.

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My #1 Goal Setting Tool

My #1 Goal Setting Tool

This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here. I personally use and adore the PowerSheets and many products from the Cultivate What Matters Shop. I greatly appreciate you shopping with my link! 

Have you ever found something that you never knew you needed, but once you had it you couldn’t imagine life without it?

For me, that is the PowerSheets.

That may sound a bit dramatic to feel that way about a beautifully bound intentional goal setting planner, but if you own a set you totally understand.

When the happy mail arrives

If you’ve been around here for a little while, you’ve surely seen my monthly posts about my progress and goals using the incredible PowerSheets.

I have always been a fan of planners and writing things down. For as long as I can remember, I’ve believed in the power of goals and the importance of setting them. Before the PowerSheets came into my life, I would write down my goals, sure, but they didn’t always have a true sense of purpose. I felt a little lost in setting them, so they weren’t as meaningful as I would hope.

My well-loved PowerSheets through the years: 2017, 2018, 2019

Last year, 2017, was my first experience with PowerSheets. I could hardly wait to start the prep work and get my goals ready! Although it was challenging and it certainly took a good amount of time to thoughtfully work through and prepare my goals, I was hooked. I finally had a vision for my goals and goal setting in general.

My PowerSheets feels like a cheerleader I can carry around with me. She encourages me to reach farther and picks me up when a goal isn’t accomplished or a dream changes direction.

Because of my work in my PowerSheets, I think about my goals, my time, and my daily actions differently. I’m better (and improving) at letting things go that don’t serve me in this season. I’m understanding it’s okay to say no because that means I can say yes to what’s more important. I’m learning and experiencing each day that little by little progress adds up!

I am a Cultivator.

I strive to cultivate beautiful things in my life.

Faith.
Relationships.
Health and wellness.
Financial peace.
Success at work.
Contentment.
Peace.
Rest.
Joy.

You know what the best part is? We don’t have to do this alone. You can be a Cultivator too and you can start right now. Do you need some guidance? Start with your very own set of PowerSheets. You can do things in these final few months of 2018 that will set up 2019 to be your best year YET!

#1: Order your PowerSheets Oct 24th at 10am EST!

#2: Dig into the work and get messy.

I promise you won’t regret it ❤

What I love most about the PowerSheets is the prep work. These are pages before you even get to setting your goals where you consider what’s working/not working, how different areas of your life are currently, and how you want to grow in the coming year.

The question that always makes me ponder hard and smile at the same time: Where do I want to be when I’m 80? My answer to that question helps me cultivate a life that adds up to 80 year old Rachel’s reality.

It’s hard to say where I would be today without my trusty PowerSheets, but I’m glad I don’t have to know. I believe this amazing tool has allowed me to reach higher and go farther than I would’ve done all on my own. It has helped me to realize goals and go after things that are scary, but ultimately so good!

Friend, if you’re feeling stuck in your goals, it doesn’t have to be that way. There is a community of Cultivators waiting to cheer you on! Grab your goal setting tool and lets dig in.

Will you be grabbing your set of PowerSheets!? Let me know below so we can crush our goals together! Do you have any questions about how to cultivate what matters?

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September 2018 Round Up

September 2018 Round Up

This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here.

We are officially moving into the final quarter of 2018 — can you believe it!? September felt a little wild, especially with a major hurricane thrown into the middle of it. I hope that your month was productive, restful, and fabulous! Lets do a little recap of September!

3 things I’m excited about

  1. Football is back! I know it’s been back for a bit, but we finally made it to a NCSU football game, so it feels real! I have so many fun memories involving games (partly thanks to the tailgating) and I love being able to make more. We weren’t able to make it to any last year, so hopefully we can do better this season. Go Wolfpack! Go Panthers!
  2. Parade of Homes: The Triangle Parade of Homes kicks off in October. Our model home is a part of the parade, so that’s going to mean lots of people visiting our community. Hoping our beautiful model in WoodCreek will bring home the gold!
  3. PowerSheets 2019 Launch: If you’ve been around here for more than 5 minutes, you have heard of PowerSheets. In case you’re new, it’s essentially a goal planner. It’s one of my favorite resources ever because it encourages me to really dig into what matters most to me. It has been a catalyst for great changes in my life and I cannot say enough good things. The 2019 PowerSheets will be launching October 24th! They sell out every year, so I highly recommend you grab yours ASAP!

Quote I’ve been meditating on

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.” -1 Corinthians 16:13-14

The Word is full of truth and wisdom that I want to carry with me. This verse in particular stuck out to me during my quiet time and I thought it would be the perfect words to meditate on for this month. Or really any month.

Be on your guard.
Stand firm in the faith.
Be courageous.
Be strong.
Do everything in love. 

I want my life to be an example of this, especially the last part. If you do everything in love you can’t go wrong. ❤

Who or what I’m adoring

Mesh laundry bags

This is a very adult thing to be excited about, but hey, that’s where I’m at. And I’m all about little hacks that make life easier. Have you ever put something into the dryer that you didn’t mean to because you missed it when moving clothes over? It used to happen to me all the time, specifically with black clothes cause they just blend together. I would have to carefully move over one piece at a time to pull anything out that needed to be air dried, but of course I would miss something. Mesh laundry bags to the rescue! Simply put the air-dry clothes into the bags, wash as normal and then pull the bags out when it’s time to move the load over and hang up the clothes. How did I live so long without these??

Favorite memory from September

Hurricane Florence came through the Carolinas in mid-September. They were originally calling for the eye of the storm to go right over Raleigh (where we live), but the storm shifted and we got minimal damage, thank God. Many parts of our state were not as lucky, but it has been so amazing to see the community come together. People everywhere have seeking out ways to donate and serve to support the hurricane victims. My favorite memory from September was volunteering for Operation Airdrop with our small group.

We were scheduled to meet for small group as usual, but decided last minute our time would be better spent as a group at RDU collecting and preparing donations. I’m so glad we did! Volunteer pilots donated their time and planes to fly tons of food, water, and supplies to the areas that needed it most. So many communities weren’t accessible by road because of flooding and damage, so this was crucial. We were able to truly live out our church’s mission of loving people where they are. Ironically I also reconnected with a sorority sister who was a couple years ahead of me — what are the chances!? It feels good to serve others and do it alongside awesome people. We are still praying for our state and the rebuilding of communities and lives that are now taking place.

A good lesson I learned

Serve others however you can. It all adds up and makes a difference.

We all have gifts and resources that we can use to positively impact others. I can’t help everyone and fix every need, but when we come together, our efforts add up. You don’t have to wait for a tragedy or natural disaster — there are people all around that need you. Think small like a smile, conversation, or hug. Think big like a financial donation or providing a car to a family in need. No man is an island… we need each other. Serve and love — it’ll never be too small to make a difference.

In October…

I’m saying no to: isolation and loneliness.

I’m saying yes to: loving my people well.

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How to spend less + make progress in your finances

How to spend less + make progress in your finances

Hi, my name is Rachel and I’m a recovering shopaholic.

After graduating college and one job change, I found myself in a job that paid us weekly. Is that the best thing ever or what!? Money was coming in weekly. I wasn’t rich in any sense, but I felt like I was and I certainly spent like I was. Amazon orders and other online shopping boxes showed up at the apartment at least weekly. I didn’t keep a budget. I just spent what I wanted until I literally couldn’t spend anymore.

I had my wake up call when I had to ask my parents for money because I didn’t think I could make the next bill. My parents are gracious and loving, so they didn’t think twice about helping me, but I was a grown, college educated, employed woman who needed help from her parents because she wasn’t handling her money well.

If you are in that place, no judgement at all. I’ve been there, but you don’t have to stay there. Please, learn from my mistakes.

It’s really hard to make progress in our finances when there’s no extra money left over at the end of the month. Maybe you have debt payoff or savings goals — those can’t be met without excess money to go towards it.

One solution: spend less.

Another solution: earn more.

Best case scenario is to do both simultaneously, but if you have to choose just one for now, choose to spend less. You may think that’s impossible. Keep reading because I’m giving you TWELVE tips that I have personally used to get out of debt and save more than I ever thought was possible for me. And I still use these tips. Are you ready to start making progress on your financial goals!? These are in no specific order except for #1…

#1: Budget + Track Spending

If you do nothing else, do this. Budgeting and tracking makes the biggest difference because you’re being mindful of where your money is going. And now that you’re paying attention, you’ll be more wise with it. You may even feel like you’ve gotten a raise! Once those numbers are written down, you can make the choices about where your next dollar will go. “Is it worth going out to eat when I have food at home instead of putting this $30 towards my goal?” That’s up to you.

#2: Utilize a wish list

My husband and I follow Dave Ramsey’s baby steps, so this is something I started doing once our debt was paid off and we had fun money to spend again. I made a note in my phone called “Wishes” and anytime I thought of something I wanted, I’d add it to that list. This gave me the space to really consider if I wanted/needed that item — many times the want for it would fade. I do the same with my Amazon Wish List. I don’t need to buy everything immediately when I want it. Impulse purchase cure.

#3: Don’t kill time in stores

This may seem obvious, but I would still do it. I would use Target or HomeGoods as a way to kill time during my lunch break or waiting for an appointment. We both know you never walk out of those stores empty handed. So, stop flirting with the temptation!

#4: Create + stick to a shopping list

Again, seems obvious, but I used to grocery shop without a list. That was dreadful because I would forget something and purchase way more than I needed. Now I go into stores with a purpose.

#5: Utilize reusable products

What kind of things do you buy often that you could switch out for something reusable? It’s probably the little things, but those add up. I love using straws for my drinks, but I hated having to buy them every month. I also hated the extra waste (#savetheturtles), so I spent $7 on Amazon for 4 stainless steel straws that will last me forever! I bought some magical microfiber cloths to clean my surfaces instead of having to use paper towels and cleaning supplies. It may cost a little more upfront, but it’ll help both your wallet and the planet in the long run.

#6: DIY

This can be applied to any area of your life. Instead of purchasing something, can you make it/do it yourself for free or cheaper? The first example that comes to mind is fruit/veggie cleaner. Instead of purchasing a $15 bottle, I make my own with products already in my kitchen. Another recent example: a tree fell in our backyard a few weeks ago during Hurricane Florence. We could have spent almost $5,000 to have a company remove it, but we decided to get a little help and do it ourselves. It costed us an afternoon — worth it.

#7: Declutter

If you want to change your life and your finances, decluttering is a must! You probably don’t realize the amount of stuff you already have. Why else would you buy 7 of essentially the same black t-shirt?? When you declutter, you will find things you forgot you had that are actually useful to you and you’ll see the things you do have (that you won’t need to purchase). Plus you won’t get suckered into buying all those fun organizational tools. You don’t need em if you don’t have so much crap.

#8: Meal plan + prep

Another one of those things that will take some time and energy upfront, but will save you so much! Meal plan, make your grocery list based on that plan/what you already have, grocery shop, then prep it. This simple rhythm will make your weeks smoother and more enjoyable. You won’t waste food because you’re buying what you need and using it, you won’t eat out as much, and you’ll eat healthier. All around winning!

#9: Get creative with dates

Spouse dates, friend dates — think outside the box. It doesn’t have to be dinner at a restaurant to be meaningful. Go for a walk. Cook dinner at home. Bring over a bottle of wine to your girlfriend’s house and catch up on their comfy couch. Have a movie night. There are many ways to spend time together that are free or super affordable.

#10: Be resourceful

Use the things you already have. I haven’t bought gift wrapping in years except for maybe a few times for wedding gifts. In a large bin I keep gift wrapping (bags, tissue paper, gift card holders, etc) that I’ve been given and use them for gifting others. I remove the labeling and clean out glass jars from candles, cooking supplies, sauces to use for storage. I check out books from my local library instead of buying every one I want to read. Little things add up.

#11: Simplify

Along the lines of decluttering, simplify your space, your schedule, your life. You don’t have to say yes to every event or get together. You don’t have to decorate for every single holiday and season. You don’t have to fill up your walls and counters with home decor. It’s okay to remove things from your plate.

#12: Contentment

Once I started being grateful for the things I already had, something in my heart shifted. As Rachel Cruze says, “live your life, not theirs.” You gotta do what’s best for you. Things will not make you happy. Doing more will not make you happy. Joy comes from within and I believe that starts with being content with your life.

Lets be free from the mindset that we must spend money to be meaningful, to have fun, to display our value. Money is a powerful tool, but when we use it mindlessly we hurt ourselves and others. You get to choose how you spend it. How you spent it demonstrates your priorities.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
-Matthew 6:19-21

In October, I want to challenge myself specifically in the area of contentment. I’ll be sharing all the details about this Contentment Challenge in an upcoming post, but if this sounds like something you want to grow in, stick around. I would love to do this with others!

Will you be using any of these tips? Share your favorite below ❤

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My evening routine

My evening routine

This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here.

Welcome to the third and final post of our routine series.

Post #1: Why and how routines + my favorite resources
Post #2: My morning routine

I love routines and it has been so helpful for me to break mine down. I’ve been able to take a closer look at what I include in my routine and why I’m doing each activity. I hope this series will encourage you to cultivate your own routines because I want you to live a life that is flourishing! Routines help make that happen.

daily routine quote

10 things that make up my ideal evening

I want to preface this with some honesty (honesty that you probably already know). I’m certainly not perfect and all of these things don’t get done every day. Sometimes I have a really busy evening planned and I’m only able to do a few. There are days I would rather get to sleep than put away the pile of dishes. This is just my ideal and I’m okay with letting it go when I need to.

Tidy up

I don’t like going to sleep with things out of order. I’ll do dishes that are in the sink, tidy up anything on the counters, and clean my space. This gives each day a totally fresh start.

Tie up loose ends

I do anything important that I didn’t get to earlier. Cross the t’s and dot the i’s so to say. This keeps things from lingering one day to the next.

Prepare food for the next day

This saves a huge amount of time in the morning. I eat from home most days, so it’s important I have food prepared. I’ll pack my lunch box and prepare my shake the night before so I have minimal things to do in the morning. No excuses for eating out. Unless I choose to 🙂

Lay out clothes for the next day

This is another major time saver! For some reason it’s about 170% faster to pick out an outfit the night before rather than the morning of. I check my planner and the weather to make a decision and make sure I have all needed outfits accounted for (work clothes, workout clothes, after work date clothes, etc).

Review planner & to dos

I just mentioned it, but this is crucial. Reviewing my planner helps me determine my clothes and food needs. It also give me a heads up on what time I need to be out the door and anything else I need to be prepared for. My Simplified Planner keeps me organized (if you’re new to Simplified, enjoy $10 off here — you’ll thank me later).

Unwind

Some days may require more unwinding than others. I try to listen to my self and give me what I need. That may be a bath, an episode on Netflix, or a face mask. I try to read every night to relax my mind and focus on something outside myself.

Put phone on airplane mode + charge

Put the phone to bed! Ideally outside the bedroom. This is also a great time to charge it so you’re ready to go tomorrow. I like airplane mode because then I’m not immediately sucked into any notifications I may have missed over night.

Beverages 

I always keep water on my bedside table to take my medicine at night and first thing in the morning. A new addition to my routine is Natural Calm. This is a magnesium supplement, called the anti-stress drink. It restores healthy magnesium levels and helps you sleep better at night. I put a tablespoon of the powder into a mug of warm water and enjoy, usually with my book of choice.

Skin care

Cleaning my face is like a little meditation for me. It washes off the day and triggers my mind for bedtime. I usually wash my face and remove my makeup right after I get home from my day, but I’ll do it before bed if I haven’t already. This part of my routine will never be skipped.

Dental care

Brush well, floss, mouthwash. I struggle with cavities no matter how well I brush, but I’m giving this a much bigger focus. One day I will be praised at my dentist appointment for my flossing.

Natural Calm and Water

Ideas for cultivating your evening routine

As I said for your morning routine, I would suggest you choose 3-5 items to be a part of your routine as you’re getting into the habit. You can always adjust this as needed. Your routine can be as long or short as you need to feel relaxed and ready for a good night’s sleep. These are some additional ideas to help you create your own.

  • Meditate
  • Warm tea
  • Stretch
  • Light a candle
  • Yoga
  • Gratitude
  • Journal + brain dump
  • Set an alarm
  • Skin mask
  • Body scrub
  • Diffuse essential oil
  • Darken your room
  • Turn down temperature
  • Reflect on the day
  • Visualize tomorrow

Tips for cultivating your evening routine

Choose things that make you feel relaxed — Doing certain things (like showering at night) may wind you up. Be mindful of how you feeling after activities and do the ones that prepare you for a good night of sleep.

Calm your mind — At the end of the day, your body is likely tired, but your mind may still be racing. I know the nights I’m restless is usually due to anxiety about the next day or ruminating on something that happened the day of. It’s hard to control your mind, but you’ll learn ways to help ease it and create space.

Take things off your morning plate — There are things you can do at night that will actually make your morning more peaceful and enjoyable. Do those things! Remember, a productive day starts the night before.

You don’t need to do everything — An evening routine could be 30 items long, but that may not be beneficial. Don’t feel like you have to do every good thing. If you try, that’ll likely stress you out and be the opposite of relaxing. Do the things that make a difference for you and leave the rest. Maybe you incorporate others on occasion or regularly once you’re in a rhythm.

Your evening routine is YOURS! Do what works best for you. Some evenings you may have a lot of energy left and want to tackle extra things. Some evenings you’re so drained you can barely get through any of your routine and just need an early bedtime. Either way is okay. When you listen to your body and give it what it needs, you’ll be better tomorrow ❤

Are there things you do each evening to have the best night ever? I’ve love to read them in the comments below!

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Being body positive

Being body positive

You may have never experienced challenges like I’m going to discuss. You may have always had a healthy relationship with your body and the scale and that is so awesome. Keep doing your thing!

But I know so many of us don’t fit into that. We have struggled. If that’s where you fit, this post is an encouragement just for you. And myself.

I have been thinking a lot about my body and my health this month. My husband and I have been doing Whole30 since August 1st, so it’s been at the forefront of my mind and I’ve noticed my mindset shifting.

To be clear, I’ve thought about my body and health for a while, since I actually noticed there were differences. I still vividly recall being in dance class in middle school, looking at the wall sized mirror and realizing that I was shaped differently than many of my thin classmates.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to change something about my body. I wanted to be skinnier, taller, more flexible. I wanted to have thinner thighs, flatter stomach, tanner skin. I’m sure in the 26 years I’ve had this body, that list is not exhaustive of my wishes.

It was after college graduation that I decided I really needed to take care of myself. I was sick and tired of not feeling my best, which stemmed from not looking my best. Slowly, I began to learn new healthy habits. All I had ever known up until that point was weight loss culture. For the first time I was introduced to wellness. Understandably, it would take some time to adjust to this new way of thinking and living. I’m still learning and growing. I’m still reprogramming old ways in my mind. It’s a process.

Where I stand now, I am fully thankful for and appreciative of this body.

I’ve spent many years wrestling with it. Wanting badly to change it. To make it smaller, toner, tanner. To change bits and pieces of it. To change sizes and shapes of its parts.

This is the body I’ve been blessed with and I love it.

It’s healthy and strong.

It has carried me through every day of my life, even when I haven’t treated it well. Even when I downright disrespected it in the name of a “summer bod” or a party. Thinking back to those college years specifically…

It has taken me to many beautiful places — Mexico, Belgium, Italy were some favorites. And there’s many more places I hope visit in the future.

It walked me down the aisle with my daddy and allowed me to dance with my husband on our wedding day. And many dances before and after that.

It has worked hard in Pure Barre classes and has become stronger with each pulse and tuck.

It has been gentle when caring for children and pets. I pray one day it will be able carry our future children.

I will love and respect this body. It’s the only one I’ll ever have.

I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection. -Emily Ley

This body of mine doesn’t have to be perfect. It can’t be. I’m human. And I don’t have to be perfect in the way I treat it. Again, I can’t. I’m human. I will slip up and make mistakes.

What I can do is my best to care for it. Some days that best is better than others. But each day I can give myself grace and move forward. One “bad” moment or day doesn’t mean all hope is lost and I might as well throw in the towel completely.

The goal is not perfection.

The goal is health.

The goal is joy.

I finally feel like my goal is not weight loss. Honestly, there is some weight my body could do without just because I know how I feel my best and I know that I’ve been living in the “treat yourself” mindset a bit too much. BUT I do not have a set weight loss goal that is going to determine my success or failure. I workout because I appreciate this body, not because I hate it. I eat right, drink lots of water, and exercise as a way to honor this incredible body.

Listen to this: my healthy weight is the weight my body is when I’m living a reasonable life. The weight that my unique body settles to when I’m not obsessing over food or exercise, but instead listening to its needs and providing. The weight my body will cling to if I were to diet and push it.

I do notice this number and am aware of it. But I am no longer tied to it. There were days that a wrong, higher number would mean a bad mood. Now that number is just another metric to see how my body is responding to what’s going on. This is a relationship — one in which I want to be a respectful, loving partner.

My actions define my success, not a number on a scale.

My success lies in my choices. It’s found in how I’m able to live my life day to day. How happy I feel. How much energy I have. How much peace and contentment are in my heart. How well I’m able to meet my needs — physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. Those are the true measures, not the number on the scale.

Say it with me if you resonate: I release any power the number had over me. 

We are not victims. We can choose to live happy, fulfilling lives without a number on the scale or size on our pants having anything to do with it. These fluctuate anyways. Do you really want your joy to be left up to a floating number?

I want a body that is fit and healthy. I want to be able to run around and play with our future children. I want to be adventurous and explore on our trips. I want to be clear-headed and fully present in my life. I want to be able to serve friends and neighbors and love my people well. I don’t need a perfect body to do these things.

This body is enough.

I am enough.

And you absolutely are too. ❤

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