10 Easy Ways to Save Money This Month

I recently moved from Mississippi to Florida. We quickly realized that it costs more in every sense of the word to live in our new state, so I have had to get creative with ways to save money every month while also decreasing our spending. Sometimes finding ways to save is just as important as finding ways to earn! Check out my 10 easy ways to save money this month and start saving today!

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1.) Don’t spend if you can’t pay: This seems like a no brainer, but a surprising amount of folks struggle with this one. In our house, we don’t make big purchases on our credit card unless we can pay them in full when the bill comes due. If we can’t, then we just do without. Sure I would love to buy new furniture for my house, but it’s currently not in the budget, so right now we have no bar stools. The month will come, but this month just isn’t it. So we just stand around in the kitchen when we eat. I kid, we have a table!

2.) Unplug/electricity: Did you know that even when your stuff isn’t on, but it’s still plugged in…it’s using electricity? I have tried to get in the habit of unplugging things like my phone charger and laptop when they aren’t being used. The two main lamps we use in the living room are on an extension cord we just unplug instead of turning on and off the lamps. It’s the little things that add up!

3.) Monthly subscriptions: How many of you get 27,000 magazine subscriptions every month? How many do you actually read? I have cut back and no longer get monthly magazines (I used to get about 4-5!) The magazines would stack up and mock me and I felt guilty for not opening them. A sad situation. Now I save money and don’t feel pressured.

4.) Stop being grocery brand loyal: Confession: I rarely used to check the prices of items against their competitors in the store, I just bought my favorite brands. I know right? Huge mistake. Not only because a lot of times a competitor may be on sale, but quite frankly for a lot (not all) grocery related items, you can’t really tell the difference in the store brand or name brand. I have saved a lot of money by price checking and using coupons before I throw something into my cart and buy.

5.) Buy consignment: People are constantly asking me where I get Emma Kate’s adorable clothes. Truth is, rarely do I buy her clothes new. If I do get something new, it’s from a pre sale Facebook group where I pay for things months in advance in order to get them super cheap. I can buy a second hand church dress for EK for a fraction of the cost at a consignment shop, and no one can tell it isn’t brand new. I started doing the same with furniture as well. I bought an old wooden dresser for $75 on Facebook, put a fresh coat of white paint on it and repurposed it as our new TV stand in our home. For under $100 we have a great piece of furniture that would have cost us hundreds at a store. I have totally gotten over the need to have everything “new”. You can find some great deals on second hand items if you take the time to research and are willing to put in a little elbow grease.

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Would you have ever guessed we bought this dress at a consignment shop? Nope!

6.) Eat out of your freezer and pantry: Before we moved, we ate out of our freezer and pantry for a couple of weeks to clean them both out, and I was amazed at the meals I could come up with. I also felt a little ashamed that we had so much food but yet I bought more and more every week. I have decided to make it a new thing where for one week every couple of months we eat out of what we already have at home. Don’t let that food expire and go to waste!

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7.) Stick to your list: This is a big pitfall for me, especially when it comes to a little store called Target and a little girl named Emma Kate. The dollar spot in particular is a weakness of mine because “it’s just $1.00” or “it’s just $3.00” but if I buy 5 items that is easily and quickly between $10 and $15! I create a list before I shop now and don’t stray from it. My kid really doesn’t need more toys and I don’t need more junky things to clutter up the house. Stop the impulse buying!

8.) Close the curtains: We moved into a bigger house which means a bigger electric bill. Did you know that windows are where most of the cold and heat comes into your house? I have started to close the blinds/curtains for rooms I’m not in during the day to help save on electricity. If I change rooms for an extended period of time, I just open up blinds/curtains in the new room, and close in the old room. No biggie.

9.) Cheaper phone plan: Bobby and I recently were able to save around $40 a month on our cell phone bill by switching our plan. We had an unlimited plan, but after looking at the past few months of data history, we realized we never even came close to reaching what the data limit would be on a plan that would have been way cheaper. If you have unlimited data, call your phone company and have them tell you how much data you are averaging a month. If it’s below one of the cheaper plan limits, switch!

10.) Sell items online: Not only do I buy furniture, clothing, and the like online…but I sell it, too. I am a member of several local Facebook yard sale groups, and have made a good amount of money selling everything from baby clothes and toys to furniture and electronics. It’s great for spring cleaning! Just make sure you take well lit photos and give good descriptions. Remember people like to haggle, so start your item at a price you are ok negotiating with. If you choose to do this, always meet in a public place in the daytime, and ask for cash only.

QOTD: What is your best tip for saving money?

December Goals 2016

It’s the last month of the year! (Insert happy and sad face all at the same time.)  Did you make any big goals for the year? How are you doing with them? What about your November goals? Am I asking enough questions? I’m going to be honest, with the move last month, I didn’t have much time for anything else, and my goals kind of got forgotten about.

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As a refresher, here were my November goals:

1.) Get the house ready for moving: A- Ready or not, it got moved! I didn’t get to comb through everything I wanted to and purge/donate/sell, but I did get most of it done and have only had to get rid of a few things while unpacking boxes. Pretty happy with this one, but also wondering how we have accumulated so much stuff over the past ten years?!

2.) Workout consistently without boot camp: B- Meh. My last week in Mississippi, I did HEAT class and went for a run, but it wasn’t my usual intense 5-6 days of workouts. While I was on the road, I did two hotel gym workouts, and I worked out yesterday in our new neighborhood gym…but I need to get on a schedule and get more consistent. I’m considering starting Orange Theory. Thoughts?

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3.) Get Bella groomed before we move: A+ Bella got a haircut and looks so pretty! One less thing to worry about for awhile. Check!

4.) Change our address on all the things: C- I got our mail forwarded and have changed some of the things, but there are still SO many more things to change address on. I think this will be one of those things I will be constantly doing for months, and doesn’t really get changed at one time (at least that’s what I keep telling myself to feel better mmkk?)

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Moving on, here are my December goals:

1.) Get unpacked: Y’all, we have a lot of boxes to still unpack and go through. A LOT. I think they may be growing at night while I sleep. I am trying to not get overwhelmed and take it one box at a time, but it’s hard to not want everything in it’s place right away.

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2.) Be intentional and present this Christmas season: We have a lot going on this month especially with being new and trying to get settled in, but I don’t want to “miss” Christmas. Emma Kate is starting to understand things about Santa, the tree, etc. and I don’t want to fly through this special time. I mean, we still have so many Christmas movies to watch.

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3.) Get into a workout routine: We haven’t decided what we are going to do yet as far as joining a gym (again, maybe Orange Theory?), so for now I will be running and working out in our neighborhood gym. However, I need to get into a routine and be consistent. I have worked too hard to go backwards.

Are you having a hard time keeping track of your goals or reaching them each month? I have found that printing them out and keeping them in front of me either on my refrigerator or mirror helps! Check out my free fitness and other goal tracking printables here so you can download and print for yourself!

QOTD: Did you meet your November goals? What are your December goals?

Refresh Summit

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen some pictures from this past weekend when I went to Refresh Summit South in Tennessee. Last year I had the privilege of being a speaker, and this year I was a last minute attendee!

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Refresh Summit is a Christ centered fitness retreat. A great time of learning, sharing, and sweating with other ladies! After the crazy summer I have had and with preparing to move, it was great to get away and be still as I get ready for a huge life change. We filled the weekend with worship,

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food,

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conversation,

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workouts,

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group fitness,

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country glow zumba,

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and a bonfire with s’mores

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It went by super fast, but was just what my soul needed in this season. I took a long hike by myself on Saturday afternoon, and it was great to just drown out the noise, no social media, no texts, etc. and just walk, pray, and listen. Sometimes I think we are so busy doing all the talking and praying that we forget to just BE STILL and listen. (At least I do!)

I am so glad I got to go back to Refresh and see old friends, and also make new ones!

QOTD: Have you ever been to a retreat or conference? What is your favorite part?

7 Things to Do When Life Gets Overwhelming

There are ebbs and flows in everyone’s life. The past few months have been categorized for me in one word: Overwhelming. Not always in a bad way, but overwhelming just the same. Sometimes I deal with things in a positive way, and sometimes I run around like my hair is on fire. Here are 7 of my best tips for when life gets overwhelming:

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1.) Learn how to say no: I discuss this at length in my book, but learning to say no to every opportunity, social engagement, and freelance job has helped me to feel less overwhelmed. It is simply impossible to be all things to all people, and being stretched thin does not make me a good wife, mother, or productive member of society. I would rather have a few things on my plate and do them WELL as opposed to too many that don’t get done right. One of the biggest decisions I had to make when Emma Kate was born was to step back from a management role at work that I enjoyed. It sucked but I knew there was no way I could do the extra work to the best of my ability while caring for a newborn.

2.) Prioritize: Sometimes we just need a little reminder of the things that are really important to us. If family is important to you like it is to me, then you may need to rethink some of your extra circulars so you can spend more time with them. If you really want to be able to workout more, then going to bed an hour earlier and cutting off the TV may work for you. Sacrifices may need to be made, but if it’s for something you really care about then it is totally worth it!

3.) Pray/devotion/quiet time: This is the most important one for me. When I am feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, it is probably because I am not starting my day with quiet time and prayer. It just starts my day off right and gets me in the right mindset as I face problems and anxieties. Does this mean every day goes perfectly? Absolutely not, but I am more likely to respond more correctly when I have started my day with quiet time.

4.) Ask for help: I need to look in the mirror and say this one. I can sometimes struggle with not asking people for help. I know everyone is busy and has their own problems to deal with, so I don’t like dumping on other people or asking them to help me. Sometimes though, its necessary to get back to a good place, and I know my friends really don’t mind, and the issue is with me!

5.) Cut out the time suck: Social media is a wonderful thing, but for me it can also be a big time suck. What starts out as getting online to write a sponsored post for work, turns into scrolling through feeds for ten minutes. That’s ten minutes I could be doing so many other things, and I sometimes do this multiple times a day! I don’t know what your personal time suck is (talking on the phone? TV? video games?) and I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it at all, but sometimes I know I can tend to go overboard and end up wasting precious and valuable time.

6.) Time blocking/Buy a planner: I am a very visual person, so if I have a million things to do just floating around in my head, I am bound to forget one of them and when one ball drops, several others seem to drop in quick succession! Writing things out in a planner and even going so far as to time block my day hour by house, or in thirty minute increments can help me to stay focused and on task when my mind starts to panic at all I have to do.

Related: 5 Steps to reaching your goals

7.) Release control: Oh so hard my friends. Sometimes, crappy things happen that I have no control over. I get my feelings hurt. Something happens at work that upsets me. I get sick. I have a bad night’s sleep. All of these things can be a recipe for disaster if we try to control them and spend our time worrying about things we can’t change. It has served me well in the past to take  step back and remind myself that I am not in control of everything, and that’s a good thing! I often need to stop worrying and just let it be. Let go of the tight grip I have on situations. It’s not going to change anything except to stress me out and overwhelm me.

So inhale. Exhale. Think about which of these things may help you the next time life gets overwhelming and see if it helps. I hope so!

QOTD: Have you tried any of these tactics? Did they work for you?

Body After Baby: Two Years

Note: This post is about body image, weight loss, and eating. If this may be a trigger for you, please feel free to skip this post and come back another day!

I know it may seem a little odd to do a body after baby post so long after giving birth, but for me personally it has taken this long to really feel good about myself. I wanted to be sure other women know that if it doesn’t happen in 3, 6, 12 or 18 months, IT’S OK. Slow progress sticks around better for me anyway as opposed to a quick fix, and I much prefer lifestyle changes instead of “diets”.

For a quick refresher before we dive into the now, let’s take a look at what I looked like one month postpartum below:

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and then again six months postpartum below:

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and now (2 years postpartum) below:

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Also here’s a shot from the day I had Emma Kate (9/24/14), and then from August of this year:

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When I was 12 months postpartum, I was one pound over my pre pregnancy weight, so I weighed 151. At the time I was happy with that, but what I didn’t realize then was that I wasn’t in the best shape when I got pregnant…so getting back to my pre pregnancy weight still wasn’t my “happy weight”. I wanted to be stronger and have more muscle. I wanted to feel better, to be the best mom I could be.

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I am now sitting at 143 pounds, so I have lost eight pounds since probably about mid June (yes I sat at 151 from last September until this June, fluctuating a pound or so here and there). So what changed? Well, a couple of things.

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(The above photo was taken on day FOUR of eating out at restaurants for every meal. If only I had been able to take photos at the beginning of the trip!)

1.) I amped up my workouts. I was doing bootcamp 3-4 times a week and running 1-2 times a week while resting 1-2 days. It just wasn’t giving me results as fast as I would like, so I moved up to bootcamp 5 days a week and running once a week, sometimes twice. I also started running stadiums on Wednesday mornings before class. Some weeks I do take off two days, but I aim for only one day of full rest. My current schedule looks something like this:

Sunday: OFF

Monday: Boot camp

Tuesday: Boot camp

Wednesday: Stadiums and sprints at the track, HEAT class (like Orange theory)

Thursday: Boot Camp

Friday: Boot Camp

Saturday: Long run

As much as I enjoy racing and will continue to do so, it just isn’t working for me right now to run tons and tons of miles to get faster for longer distances. I would much rather be strong than fast, so it is what it is.

2.) I cleaned up my eating. I seriously loathe counting calories, but knew I at least needed an “idea” of how many calories I was eating in a day, so I counted calories for a week or so (as well as macros) just to get a good starting point. What I realized is I don’t get enough protein, and I was eating too many carbs and fats, as well as overall calories. Lots of snacking folks! After counting on My Fitness Pal, I felt like I had a firm grasp on my hunger cues, and about how much I needed to eat a day to still be able to workout hard and not feel weak.

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So what happened? I started eating foods that filled me up more to fuel my tough workouts instead of empty calories. I stopped eating late at night, and I was just more mindful in general. Do I still eat candy and drink alcohol? Heck yes! But for example…if I know I’m going out with friends that night, I am more careful during the day and the day before. It’s seriously all about planning ahead and meal prep these days, and it really does pay off (I talk about meal prep more in my book!)

After a couple of weeks, I started noticing that I could SEE my muscle more in my arms, abs, and legs. It was under there the whole time, it was just hidden. Smile

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I have been able to go up in weight when doing a lot of exercises, and I don’t tire out near as easily. It’s such a good feeling to be able to add that 25 pound plate at the squat rack, or use heavier dumbbells for bicep curls or kickbacks.

The beginning of November marks one year of boot camp, and if you look back and read my 12 month body after baby post, you will see I was just about to start boot camp and had a “we’ll see what happens” attitude towards it. Never did I think I would end up falling in love with it and making great friends at my gym.

I started really PUSHING myself at boot camp this summer, in spite of having been going since the end of 2015. I began not just doing the bare minimum, but really pushing myself to my limits and taking it seriously. I work out way too hard to ruin it with a bad diet or injury, so I am more careful with everything I do now. I have lost fat, gained muscle, and still managed to lose weight in the process. I honestly am not as concerned about the number on the scale though. I just want to feel good in my clothes, and have energy and confidence.

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I want to be a good role model for my now two year old daughter, and teach her to work hard for the things in life she really wants. I want her to learn discipline, self love, and respect for her body. I want to run races with her, teach her how to lift, and help her find her passions.

To all the new mamas out there or mamas about to have babies, I know, I KNOW, it’s so much easier said than done, but you can get to where you want to be. Don’t get bogged down in a timeframe. Enjoy your baby, and get back to working out when YOU feel ready. It may take you two years, it may not. Don’t let the amount of time it took me scare you. But just know if it does take two years, that’s ok. Do the best that you can, making small changes one at a time. Make your health a priority, and please don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can’t do it all on your own. We are all in this together, and other moms understand the best just how stressful it can be, so lean on each other. If you don’t have someone who supports you wanting to get healthy, FIND SOMEONE. In real life, online, at the gym, at church, etc. Find your people. You can do this. Be BRAVE! You can have a great body after baby!

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So what’s next for me? Sadly, this round of my beloved boot camp ends November 4th, and then I move to Tampa. I’m sure things will be up in the air for awhile until I find a new gym home. I hope I can find a new boot camp class as awesome as the one I have here, but it’s highly doubtful any group can compare. Smile I look forward to having more racing opportunities in Florida, and making new workout friends. Who knows what’s next? It will be a fun ride to find out.

QOTD: How long did it take you to get your body where you wanted it after having a baby? What worked for you? What hasn’t worked for you?

5 Tips for Unplugging from Social Media

Ah, social media. I have quite the love/hate relationship with it. As a blogger, social media is a part of my job. It’s not realistic for me to never get on it all together, but I do realize that I spend way more time than necessary randomly scrolling, liking, and planning my next photo. I don’t ever want to look back and say I didn’t heed any tips for unplugging, and I missed out on life because I was too busy looking at a screen, so I have decided to put some parameters on my social media usage to help me not get sucked in all the time.

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Check out these tips for unplugging:

1. Turn off notifications: Yall, I have so many notifications on my phone that I have to put it on do not disturb at night. I have slowly been turning off notifications so that I am not constantly checking things every time I hear a notification alert. Also, I have turned off the pop up notifications from Facebook on my laptop. I realized these were really a time suck for me while I was trying to do work on my computer.

2. Move apps away from your home screen: If it’s too tempting to click on your social media apps every time you look at your phone, maybe you need to move them off of your main screen, or put them in a folder so you can’t see the little red notification icons on each one.

3. Set limits: I don’t think it’s necessary to completely rid myself of social media all the time (and I wouldn’t be able to do my job!). I plan to try giving myself breaks during the day where I am allowed to check on things. Maybe while I eat lunch, and a 10 minute break in the afternoon before I get my daughter from daycare, as well as a few minutes in the evening after she goes to bed.

4. Stay busy: I feel that I often find myself defaulting to social media sites when I am bored. It’s not that I don’t have anything to do, it’s when I am procrastinating that I find I am the most likely to get distracted. If I have a list of things I need to do and stay busy, I am less likely to check social media.

5. Keep it out of the bedroom: My biggest downfall with social media is using it endlessly in the evenings, especially when I am laying in bed before going to sleep (c’mon I know some of you do it too!) I always complain I don’t have time to read more books or magazines, etc. but the reality is I just waste a lot of time on social media. I am going to try keeping my phone out of the bedroom in evening when I have time to read or do other things.

I have already started with some of these steps, and plan to implement the rest today. I hope they will help me have a more balanced life. You can still enjoy social media and your online friends while not neglecting your family, home, or job.

RELATED: Download the FREE Social Media Manager Checklist

QOTD: What is another tip you would add?

My Big Secret

If you subscribe to my e-mail list, then you already heard the revealing of my big secret. I have been hanging onto this for several months now, and it has been driving me crazy not being able to share it with you. I have felt like I was a liar, and being deceitful, even though the reality was I just wanted to get the ball really rolling before I spilled the beans…

I have almost finished writing an eBook.

Yes! I have felt the call to write something more than just my blog for many years now, but I would always stop trying because all of the technical “stuff” got me frustrated. I would get bogged down in logistics and how sales would work, how I would publish my eBook, and then of course…would anyone read it?

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Thanks to a well timed and awesome e-course by Abby from Just a Girl and Her Blog*, I was able to really dig in, get to writing, and get help with the technical side of things. I kept it a secret for a long time because I felt like if I said it out loud, it meant that I really had to follow through. I know all of you would hold me accountable, which is awesome but equally scary.  So I waited until I was in the (current) editing/formatting stage to break the news, because it’s coming out SOON. Yes, I plan to launch in July. That’s next month in case you aren’t keeping track.

I admitted to my email subscribers how terrified I am to actually do this, because I have put my whole heart into this project and would be pretty upset if it did not go over well. However, I am proud of myself for doing something that seemed so, so hard for me. In the end that will be enough. I proved to myself I can do hard things!

Here are some of the details about my eBook. The title is: “The Average Girl’s Guide to Living an Above Average Life.” Tips and tricks for becoming the best version of yourself.

Back when I sent out my first newsletter to my email subscribers, I asked you all to respond with something that is a current struggle. I received a lot of great responses, and the overwhelming theme of them had to do with stress, a lack of time, and a lack of confidence or motivation. I read responses like:

“I am so tired all the time, there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done.”

“My house is a MESS, and I lack motivation to clean it.”

“I have a goal of doing XYZ but I am too busy to even think about my dreams/goals let alone have the time to accomplish them.”

“I want to lose weight/eat better/workout more but I lack the confidence and don’t even know where to start.”

Can you relate to any of these? I know I could! It was heart breaking to read, because I could feel the stress, sadness, and longing seeping  through the emails. It reminded me of a time in the not so distant past when I was feeling the exact same way. I had just given birth to Emma Kate, and was really struggling with my identity, my stress level, exhaustion, and a mountain of a to do list. I felt like I would never get through it, so why bother? I’m just a regular average girl who would never amount to a whole lot.

Eventually I was able to come out of the fog, and I immediately started to make some changes that have been beneficial to my family as whole. Do I have it all together? Absolutely not. I still get stressed out, sometimes have a messy house, and definitely don’t feel like working out all the time. However, I have a system in place and have learned a few key tips and tricks. Most importantly, I learned to BELIEVE IN MYSELF. In my eBook I aim to teach you the things I learned, along with personal stories sprinkled in, most of which I have never shared on the blog before (and some laughing at my expense!)

At first I thought no one would really care what I had to say, but then I realized when you find something that you believe works, it just feels wrong to keep it to yourself. I wanted to help other women who have been there and done that in terms of feeling overwhelmed, forgotten, and average. Even if my eBook only helps one person, then it will be worth it to me.

I am thrilled to share with you all how I was able to get my life (sort of ) in order, and reach my full potential. I am still growing and learning every day, but I feel like I am in a really good place. I don’t have an official launch day yet, but please stay tuned! I will be doing a pre-sale with a lower price for the eBook, so you won’t want to miss out on that. If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. My VIP’s on that list will be the first to know my launch date, pre-pricing info, and more.

I hope you are as excited as I am, I can’t wait to share my heart with you and prove to you that you are more than average.

QOTD: Have you ever thought about writing an eBook? Do you read eBooks?

*This is an affiliate link. This means if you click through and purchase, a small portion of sales go to me. Of course I would never post a link to something I didn’t believe in or use myself. Thanks for supporting THLG!

February 2016 Goals

Hi friends! Happy Monday! I trust everyone had a good weekend. The weather was beautiful here, sunny with highs up to the low 70’s. I haven’t seen the sun in what seems like forever, so I am getting some serious spring fever now.

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I am so glad I decided to go back to monthly goals this year. I think it’s helping keep me on track, so let’s see how I did last month before diving into February.

1.) Read a book: A+! I read not one, not two, but THREE books this month, and it was wonderful! I forgot how much I love getting lost in a good plot line. Must do this more and turn OFF the TV.

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2.) List baby items for sale: B+: I listed SOME baby items for sale but not all. I was able to sell a whole bunch at once to a sweet neighbor having a baby girl soon, and I have listed some more expensive pieces on Facebook. I still have a few things in the garage but not near as many.

3.) Go to boot camp 3-4 x’s a week: A+ I have been to boot camp four days a week every week, except for the week we were on the cruise, obviously. I’m really proud of myself, because Fridays in particular are hard to make myself want to go, but I have been sticking with it and seeing results in the form of gaining muscle. I have gained a POUND of muscle in a month, yall. I’m super proud.

4.) Run twice a week: B- I did this every week except for one week I only ran one time, so I am giving myself a B. This of course doesn’t count the running we do at boot camp. I typically do one short 3 mile run then a longer run of 5+ miles. Taking advantage of this nice weather is a must.

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From a NOT warm run in January

5.) Foam roll after long runs: F: No two ways about this one, I just failed. Really, I just forgot. I’m so out of the habit that I just never remembered. I foam roll after boot camp but REALLY need to make an effort to do so after long runs. My right hip has been tight so I definitely need it.

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So, what are my goals for February? As a person who doesn’t like to leave things undone, I am going to take my big fat F from January and put it at the top of my February list.

1.) FOAM ROLL AFTER LONG RUNS: Do ya hear that, self? Just do it. Must do it.

2.) Daily devotions: I have been doing well with this on daycare days, but the days I am home all day with Emma Kate are just harder in the morning, which is a terrible excuse. I need to start doing them at night on those days.

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3.) Walk the dog more: Yall, it’s been cold. I haven’t been walking the pup like I did in the fall. She weighs nine pounds so she gets exercise running around the house, but she loves being outside. I just need to do it.

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4.) Limit night time snacking: We eat dinner early because of the little one, so this leaves me wanting a snack around 7:30 or 8:00, which is fine, but I eat too much and all the wrong things. I want to limit myself to one fun sized piece of chocolate, and if I want anything else it needs to be more healthy.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Here’s to a great February!

QOTD: What is one thing you want to do in February?

Master It with MetaRun

When I think about Mastering things in life, one of the things that immediately jumps into my head are athletic related goals. I have been an athlete since the third grade (well, if you call 3rd grade basketball a sport,) and I thrive on competition and physical fitness.

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If I was being honest though, there are other  areas of my life that I would love to master as well, one being the way I see myself. Being a competitive person, I have always been VERY hard on myself when it comes to well…everything. If I made a 98 on a test in school, it was “gosh darn it why didn’t I make a 100?” If I had 10 kills in a volleyball game, I wanted 11. If I ran a race, I wanted to PR every time (well, I still do that.) While this is a great, goal driven attitude to have, it can also be destructive.

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Ever since having Emma Kate in September of 2014, I have been really, really hard on myself concerning my physical appearance. This once bikini wearing girl bought a tankini and a wrap to wear for the summer at the pool. I ran non stop but still wasn’t thrilled with my body. Still about two pounds from my pre-baby weight, I have beat myself up over why it is taking me so long, when other seem to bounce back in lightning speed.

What seemed to me was that I really needed to master my attitude and evaluate the process. This for me started in the summer, and while I am getting a lot better, I still have some work to do. I realized a few things 1.) I can’t eat like I did while I was pregnant, 2.) JUST running isn’t going to get me in the shape I want to be in, and 3.) My body did an amazing thing, and even if I never look the way I “used to” ever again, I have done something even greater, and that is having a child

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I love my body for what it has done for me and continues to do for me, and taking bootcamp classes + running has done wonders for making me feel good about myself. However, it’s so easy to sit back in my yoga pants and sweatshirts and say I am proud of how far I have come, hiding the flaws and trouble spots.

So, today I have decided to force myself out of my comfort zone (which seems to have been the 2015 theme around here,) and take some pictures in my awesome new MetaRun ASICS shoes, baring the body part that I give the most grief to.

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Thankfully, the shoes are so adorable and awesome (and just so happen to be New Orleans Saints colors), I know you are all just staring at them, RIGHT? I know I have things to work on both physically and mentally, but I also know that with the right attitude and some hard work, I can master anything. Having cute shoes helps, too. (Also, WOW do I need some sun!)

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So can I tell you a little about the shoes that prompted me to write this oh so honest blog post? I promise they are super cool.

Over the last 3 years, ASICS’ Institute of Sport Science (the ISS) has been researching, prototyping and designing a shoe that they think will master long distance running, with no restrictions. They were told to create the best thing they could and they did.

These shoes adapt and contour to your individual running style. MetaRun was built using the latest ASICS exclusive technologies providing you with the best and first ever running shoe with a responsive ride. The first thing I noticed was that they are really lightweight, but at the same time very cushioned, which are two things that tend to not go together in the running shoe world. I basically forgot that they were on my feet!

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The following is from their website:

Constructed using groundbreaking midsole foam developed in the ASICS ISS. FlyteFoam isn’t a little bit lighter, it’s remarkably 55%* lighter than the industry standard. FlyteFoam isn’t just super lightweight, it’s organic fibres bounce the MetaRun back into its original shape in the space of each stride to provide perfect cushioning from the start of your run to the finish.

A carbon fibre reinforced, two-piece AdaptTruss gives MetaRun both incredible stability and amazing flexibility. This helps to reduce the impact of medial forces on the foot, so the MetaRun will flex safely but become rigid if the foot rolls in too much, meaning reliable stability no matter the distance.

A new one-layer engineered mesh minimises rubbing between the foot and the upper to create a super snug, glove-like fitting experience. A unique combination of closed and open weave patterns optimises flexibility and breathability.”

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Pretty sweet huh? I can say for myself after testing these guys out yesterday that they are pretty amazing. The Gel Quantum 360 is my favorite ASICS shoe, but these bad boys are giving them a run for their money. They are currently available for limited release through December 31. Christmas gift anyone?

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Shoes can truly take you anywhere, and I can’t wait to see where my MetaRun’s take me next year. Hopefully to not only master some great runs + races in 2016, but also to a place of being more at peace with myself and my body, and all of the amazing things it does for me every day.

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QOTD: What is something you want to Master in 2016? It can be running related or not!

Dealing with Negative People Online (and taking my own advice)

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of speaking at Refresh Summit South on dealing with negativity on social media/blogging, whether it be someone being negative towards you, or falling into the comparison trap and having negative feelings about yourself. I have been meaning to blog about the two main points I discussed with the ladies in attendance, but I just wasn’t sure exactly how to go about turning a talk into words, and due to an unpleasant exchange with a neighbor on Friday, I decided to use it as an example for a blog post on one of my two main points.

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Being real here. One thing that I struggle with is holding my tongue. It’s a constant battle, and it’s one of the reasons why I enjoy blogging (I can go back and edit before hitting send.) Even with that filter of sorts in place, I still get myself in trouble from time to time for things that I say, that I really should just keep to myself. I can get angry in a hurry, and instead of giving myself time to think and cool down, I often spout off and it ends up leading to more damage. The Bible is clear on this, and says we should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry (James 1:19), but boy is this one tough for me!

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You can make fun of me for a lot of things and I will let it roll off my back, but to state something about my husband or my child as a fact that is NOT true, is something I have a hard time biting my tongue about. Without going into too much unnecessary detail, here is my own learning moment:

Our neighborhood has it’s own private Facebook group, which in theory is awesome, but sometimes not so awesome because as of late it has turned into a huge gripe fest. People complaining about folks speeding, running stop signs, dogs pooping in their yard etc. All of these things are valid complaints, but really, blasting your neighbors online for speeding it’s well, very neighborly, and we have had some issues with some not so friendly folk posting negative things. Anyway, somehow, on Friday there was an assumption made about my husband that was NOT true, and it turned into a nasty argument between me and a lady in my neighborhood I don’t really know. Come to find out from other neighbors letting me know, this is not the first time this particular neighbor has been less than neighborly. Part of me felt good about it, knowing that other people were “on my side” in letting me know how difficult this person is in general, but then I realized that honestly, I probably just should have kept my mouth shut to begin with and not even engaged with her, and it could have avoided a long morning of frustration.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this is exactly the kind of situation I spoke about at Refresh Summit (how to get through/avoid/act kindly in) and here I was doing THE EXACT OPPOSITE. It all happened so fast I didn’t put two and two together and then realized I had messed up. If I had followed my own advice, maybe it would have had a different outcome, and hopefully I have learned from this and will be quick to listen and slow to speak next time. Instead of what I did, the following are things I should have done (things I shared at Refresh Summit for dealing with bullies/negative people online).

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1.) Realize you aren’t going to change them: I an usually spot someone pretty set in their ways from the beginning of a conversation, but my desire to defend myself can get in the way of realizing that no matter what I say or try to “prove”, people like this are just not going to change. It doesn’t matter if the facts are right in front of you, they will argue with you until the cows come home, so it’s wise to just save your breathe and realize nothing you say is going to change them.

2.) Don’t feed the animals: With a desire to be right and people please, this one can be tough. Not engaging or “feeding the animals” is a good tactic for keeping the peace. Sometimes it’s just best not to get involved. There have been so many times in my “blog life” where I have wanted to set the record straight or stand up for myself, but I knew that in doing so it would just add fuel to the fire, and I am glad I chose to ignore in the end. When I engage, I usually end up saying something I will regret later.

3.) Get some perspective: Perspective is a funny thing. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in being the victim we forget that a lot of people lash out because they themselves are or were at one time, victims. Hurt people hurt people. If you can take a step back and remember that simple statement, that those hurting themselves in turn hurt others, and instead of getting angry, feel sorry for the person, it will start to soften your heart towards them and help diffuse frustration.

4.) Forgive: There have been times in my blogging and social media life where people have really hurt my feelings. I still remember a very specific time where I was on a run replaying something someone had said to me online over and over in my head, trying to figure out why people are so mean to those they don’t really know, when I suddenly felt like I was supposed to forgive them. Through gritted teeth (because yall, I really didn’t WANT to forgive them) I said out loud “I forgive you, and Lord HELPE to really mean it”. I had such an overwhelming freeing feeling come after that prayer. it was SO hard to say and it took awhile to work up to, but once I let go of it, the anger and frustration had no power over me anymore. After all, the Bible calls us to forgive others, just as God forgave us (Mark 11:25).

5.) Move on: This one usually takes me a little bit of time, but moving on helps diffuse the anger that comes with seeing and hearing negative things about us. Remember that not everyone is going to think just like you, or be your BFF, and that’s ok. We are all so different, and some people just are going to flat out not get along with you. Move on, and as queen Elsa would say, LET IT GO! I know I know, so much easier said than done, but your heart will thank you if you can move past it and not dwell on it or let your thoughts constantly go back to a wrong done to you.

I hope someone finds these tips helpful, and please know that if you ever need to talk to anyone about any of these issues, I would be more than happy to oblige. Email me any time at heatherslookingglass@gmail.com Have a great Monday!

QOTD: Which of these 5 things do you struggle with most? Have you ever been the victim of online negativity?