Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My Best Tips for Staying Awake (without caffeine!)

Hi guys! So almost by way of a disclaimer let me first just say that this post is in partner with a 'tips for getting more sleep' post that is coming very soon, because getting sleep is Much more important than staying awake when you're tired! haha Both of these topics have been brought up in emails from you guys a lot lately though so I thought I'd share here for everyone, because wither you're a blogger or not I'm sure you need to stay awake once in a while to finish that big report, meet that deadline or finish those spreadsheets, etc:)
So since the evening after my kids are in bed and before my bedtime is my most productive time, I sometimes need to use a few tricks to keep my eyes open to finish last little bit of work after a long day with my kiddies, and here they are:
  1. go to sleep! Seriously though, a 20-25 minute power nap when I'm having trouble keeping awake can greatly increase energy and alertness and therefore speed up productivity and get you to bed faster!
  2. eat something slowly. No, not the twix bar in the cabinet or that bag of chips, I'm talking about some nuts or baby carrots, maybe some apple slices, especially from the fridge! The coldness will keep you from getting too comfortable, the chewing will keep you alert, and they're healthy and yummy too boot. It'll keep your mind stimulated. I also keep some gum on hand for this purpose when I don't feel like eating more.haha also eat them one at a time and not in handfuls. No sugar! you'll eat mindlessly at night which defeats the purpose of indulging in treats, and you'll have a bit of energy and then an increased brain crash, brain fog, drowsiness, all that. Not good.
  3. drink a lot of water. not only because it's great for you to keep hydrated, but funnily enough going to the bathroom often will keep you up and moving around! haha also when you're dehydrated your mind is slower and you feel more fatigued and sleepy.
  4. do something physical. when I'm pulling a late-nighter I always mix it in with a few household chores, and any time I feel my eyes getting kinda fuzzy or every hour or so I head off to load the dishwasher or start a laundry load before settling back in again. also try jumping jacks, push-ups, and lunges. serious!
  5. keep a timer going. Watching the seconds tick by physically will help you be quick and efficient! Also I like to set (and write down) a time that I think is reasonable for each task on my list, then I choose the task, set the timer, and watch as your fingers and brain try and beat the clock. I work so much faster! 
  6. turn on more lights. Need I say more? Alright I'll explain how working in low-light will make you sleepy and turning on bright lights will help you stay alert and awake. Okay there I just did.haha
  7. keep the temperature low. A warm work-space will bring about that same feeling of relaxation that you get in a spa or sauna and you're going to be much more drowsy. keep things at a cooler temp if you can, but if not then turn on a fan or step outside if it's a cool night. the breeze will keep your senses active and your brain alert and awake longer!
  8. turn on some upbeat music. no rhythmic music that's going to sooth you to sleep.haha 
  9. do some stretching. again with the physical activity I know but sitting for a while can make you tense and stiff as I'm sure you know! so make sure to twist your back, roll your shoulders and your head, keep your limbs limber and relaxed, and your blood-flow will stay steady and keep your body awake.
  10. use essential oils. I really love using peppermint oil in particular to really wake up my senses and make me feel refreshed and motivated. I like to dab a tiny bit on my temples and also on my wrists. you'll feel tingly and perky, and also you'll smell fresh and clean! haha
  11. splash cold water on your face. I know it may sound cliche, but it actually works! Fill your cupped palms up with some cool water from the tap and just put your face in your hands. It'll give you a little revitalizing shock to your system and feel very refreshing I promise! 
Well I hope at least a few of these tips have been useful, and again remember that our bodies need lots of sleep every night! These tips are just for those special times when we have to stay up a little later for some reason and are just plum tuckered out.haha 
Thanks for stoppin' by, and if you have any tips to add to this or any thoughts in general I'd love to hear! also don't forget to leave a link to your blog so we can come pay you a visit:) 
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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Well hey there, Summer:)

Last Saturday was the most fun and adventure we've had as a family in quite a while! There was a big family reunion (for Martin's side) at the lake with lots of food and boating activities scheduled, and though Martin and I took the kids planning on not much more than eating, chatting and wrangling the littles, we ended up having such a great time on the water! Here are a few pics bravely (?) snapped with iphones on the water:)
As you can see we all got hooked up with life jackets and had the chance to take the kayaks out several times with various kiddies, and they loved it so much! So did I since it's been years since I've been out in one. I've really missed it. Anyway's they were extra-wide and less prone to tip so I felt okay about taking the kids out in them, and I loved how the kids were so still and quite the whole time! They just silently looked around, and every time I'd ask a question or talk to them they barely responded.haha It was sweet.
Martin's brother and his wife seemed to be driving the popular boat with the kids (we called it the Day-care boat.haha), because there were always lots of little ones aboard, but because they were watching the older ones and Lydia was ashore with her nana Martin and I were able to go on the tubes together! I don't know what that's called exactly? But we've never done that together and it was tons of fun. I fell off a few times and got to hang out in the middle of the lake waiting for them to circle back around. It was really peaceful and lovely though! haha We've never been boating at all since we've been married, and the kids have never been out on the water at all let alone in kayaks, speedboats, and tubing with us. I love being a parent:)
Bottom line: I married into such a great family, and we're so lucky to live close to many of them! I'm grateful for these types of positive experiences with my family that bring us closer together and put this whole life thing in perspective, and lastly I do love Fall most of all and have talked on here about being excited for it to come soon, but that day at the lake brought the best and most 'Summery' moment's we've had, and I will truly miss this season of warmth and freedom once she's gone! 

Well thanks for reading today! I'd love to hear the most 'Summery' thing you've done so far this year or any recommendations for things to do before the weather changes for us? Let me know down below! Also I hope you've been having a great season so far, and I hope you come back again tomorrow! Take care,
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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Weekend Wrap-up

This Week: Guys it's nearly August! How did that happen?! Let me first just say that we've really been living it up this Summer and have been taking it by storm, but I'm secretly counting down the days till the nights start cooling off a bit more, and the air stops smelling like heat and more like spices:) 
Overall this week was one of the more productive weeks we've had in a while, mostly because Martin had a bit more off-time than usual and helped me get ahead on a few things. We also had a few extra fun outings, get-togethers, family activities, and even a reunion! The reunion was a big day at the lake for Martin's side of the family, and it turned out to be such a bigger deal than I expected, mainly because with all our lil' kids we didn't think we'd get to do much. Well I want to post about it later on but basically between all the grandmas, aunts, and cousins (and borrowed life-jackets) we had a super fun day:) Great end to a great week!
To-do's and Goals for the Week:
- start potty-training John?
- clean the office
- post another video
- find some discount candles 
- make ice-cream with the kiddies
- finish building the rabbit hutches 
- start a new show
- empty the pics off my phone
- catch up on emails
- make a quiche
- take a nap or two
- wash the windows

A Few Facts: 

  • I do have a candle addiction. After Christmas Martin buys me like 100 at 75% off.haha
  • I think snails are adorable and would like some as pets
  • One of the biggest things I miss about the east coast is the thunderstorms.

Have a great rest of your Sunday folks, and I'll see you back here Monday for the start of a fun week!
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Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Finds #97

This week I found...
1  || this cute diy for cardboard crowns out of cereal boxes. Think I'll make these with the girls,
2  || this diy jump rope is really fun and playful! I'd love to see if the girls can manage to jump rope,
3  || these hand-painted twig pancils are little pieces of art. I don't think I'd ever actually use them,
4  || this shade from m.a.c. is so soft and lovely. the perfect pinky nude. I like it:)
5  || these DIY knitted mittens. maybe I'll be good enough by Fall so I can make some?
6  || this white blazer definitely needs to be in my closet! I've been looking for one just like this, 
7  || I've been seeing this book all over the place lately, and I'm curious to see what's inside,
8  || this is a sweet quote that I found on pinterest, though the source was weheartit..  womp womp.
9  || this recipe for chocolate bread looks awesome. May have to try it this week!
10  || I love the side-view of these nude pumps, I wish they were a lil taller though:)
11  || I've been gettin hooked on strap-band watches lately. This one is a new favorite.

Thanks so much for reading today! I hope you've found some inspiration and things in my weeks favorite finds, and also that you have a great rest of your day! See you soon,
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What I Wore // swim day style and a sseko giveaway

Hey there! Today is another 100+ degree day outside, and I thought I'd share these photos from our last visit to the lake on Monday. I posted about it on Instagram, but we really love doing Saturday type activities on Mondays because there are no crowds to speak of, there aren't any lines for the diving board or the sno cone hut (and no wild kids in your outfit photos) , there's no traffic, and it's so much easier to have a really fun day. I think I may have Martin trade Monday's for Saturday's work for the rest of the Summer! sorry babe:)
I'm partnering with Sseko Designs to help raise awareness for their wonderful "30 days, 30 ways to Educate Woman in Africa" campaign. "In the Ugandan school system, a nine-month gap exists for students between the end of secondary school and the beginning of university. This break is designed as a time for college-bound students to raise money for their education, but in this male-dominated society many women fall through the cracks, failing to find fair work and finish their education. That’s where Sseko Designs comes in. The company that sells handmade sandals was founded to provide a safe, supportive place for women to earn money for their college degrees."
wear: hat: c/o Target // necklace: H&M// cover-up: Tj-maxx // bikini: c/o TRIANGL // bracelet - thrifted // bangle: c/o Sseko Designs, shorts: Target // sandals: t-strap c/o Sseko Designs
The sandals I'm wearing today are part of a that line of shoes that employ woman of Uganda to break the cycle of poverty, to empower them, and help them further their education. Each pair of sandals is handcrafted in Uganda by those amazing woman of strength, and each of those ladies has a story! I was sent a bangle with the name of one of those woman on it and a bit about her: Stella has an adventurous spirit and a great sense of style. She hopes to travel the world one day, and plans to become a civil engineer. 
Today Sseko and I are giving one of these beautiful and meaningful bangles away to one of you guys! See below:
I hope that you visit Sseko Designs and read more about their beginning and their mission, and also thank you for visiting today! Have a great rest of your day, good luck with the giveaway, and I'll see you tomorrow:)
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Gems for every occasion | a $1,000 giveaway to Gemvara!

Hi friends! I have the opportunity to share a really amazing online custom jewelry shop with you guys today:
When I first heard about Gemvara I thought it was something along the lines of picking your item with your favorite gemstone (which was neat enough), but they're so much more than that! Gemvara jewelry is completely customizable in every way. You choose your favorite piece (earrings, rings, necklaces, bracelets), you choose your favorite natural gemstone (up to 20 choices), the setting, the metal, the chain, etc (out of 9 different precious metals) then they custom make your design to your exact specifications in New York City! All that freedom makes choosing your item such a personal and special (not to mention fun!) process, and you know you're getting something truly unique to you. 

I was asked to customize my own piece (which I can't wait to receive and share with you!), and beyond the hard task of settling on just one of my favorites (I have many) I can't believe how fast and easy the process was! I loved clicking on the different options and watching my piece change right there on the screen, and and I can't wait to see it in person. It feels like my baby since I picked every element, and I'm so excited!

In these outfits today you can see some of the beautiful pieces I was sent from Gemvara to style, and when it came to pairing them up with outfits I was amazed at how truly versatile they were. They really have pieces for every occasion! Here are a few of the ways that I wore them, lets see how I did:)
(all jewelry - c/o Gemvara // dress -  c/o Oasap // heels - target (similarsimilar))
In this first look that I wore to a friends wedding, you can see that I chose to feature the intertwined knotted ring, the inside-out hoop earrings, and the saturn bangle bracelet because they went perfectly with the colors of the dress, and I felt like the diamonds called for a special occasion. Although since sparkle is always appropriate, there's really wrong way to wear them:)
For this second look that I wore out on a date with Martin, I chose neutrals to better highlight the radient blue topaz in the pure cushion earrings and the the pure cushion pendent. Martin took the photos and couldn't stop commenting on how the color caught the light. They're so beautiful!
(all jewelry - c/o Gemvara // shirt - ross // scarf - tjmaxx // watch - c/o sammydress // purse - c/o Lily Jade // pants - ross // glasses - jlo // sandals - target)
In this final outfit that I wore out to lunch with some friends I chose to wear the onyx five-stone bracelet and round triple earrings, and again the intertwined knotted ring (my favorite!) I love the onyx pieces because you know that I like to wear black a lot, and also they're so versatile since crystal and black go with everything.

So which is your favorite!? Like I said in the beginning, these pieces are so versatile that you could really pair them in so many different ways, and I love that Gemvara truly has jewelry that's appropriate for any and every occasion! I'm so excited about getting my piece, and glad for the chance to share them with you.

Now are you ready for the best part? Gemvara is generously offering one of you lucky ladies (or gents:)) $1,000 credit towards anything on their site! All you have to do to enter is:
1. head over to Gemvara and register a free account using your email address (zero obligations!)
2. and come back here and leave a comment with the URL address of your favorite piece!
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Also if you're too excited to wait, Gemvara is also offering an exclusive discount code for my readers that will give you 15% off for the next 72 hours. Just click through this link and the discount will automatically apply-no promo code needed! Are you guys lucky or what.haha

The Giveaway will be open for 10 days closing on Thursday, the 31st, and the winner of the $1,000 credit will be chosen, contacted, and announced right after the giveaway concludes. Good Luck to you all, and thank you again to Gemvara for sponsoring this giveaway and for this amazing opportunity!
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