HOW TO PREPARE FOR CHRISTMAS GATHERINGS

It’s the day before Christmas Eve (can you believe it?!) and whether you’re staying home, hosting, or driving to see family here are a few things to consider in preparation for your celebration on Christmas day.

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If you’re staying home …
Make Christmas Eve the most exciting night of the holiday season.

  • Bundle up and take a little walk around the neighborhood. Christmas lights are always a wonderful sight.
  • Make a delicious meal. It’s Christmas Eve after all!
  • Get cozy and read the Christmas story together or watch a movie in front of the fireplace with hot chocolate or coffee.
  • Open one gift before bed. Just one.
  • Leave a note or cookies and milk for Santa or Baby Jesus.
  • Once the kids are asleep, make sure Santa finds his way into the house, enjoys his snack, and sets out all the presents beneath the tree and in the stockings.
  • Set your alarm so you’re up before the kids with the camera rolling to capture Christmas morning reactions! This will give you a head start on making breakfast as well.

Looking for kids Christmas party ideas for a school party or something fun to do at home? These 25 ideas will get you started throwing a Christmas bash!

If you’re hosting guests on Christmas Day…
a little pre-work can go a long way and help you enjoy the day as much as your guests.

  • Put together appetizer platters and finger food trays ahead of time and save them in the fridge.
  • For all recipes that must be prepared the day of, complete your grocery shopping and any time-consuming chopping or measuring ahead of time.
  • Set the table and table decor the night before.
  • Set out bedding and towels for any guests that will be staying over the next night.

Do you host Christmas Day Dinner?

If you’re driving to see family…
there’s a lot that can be done the day/night before to ensure a smooth ride.

  • Pack luggage and load it into the car the day before if you can.
  • Depending on how long of a trip you are making, think about packing snacks or fun games to keep antsy kids (and adults) entertained.
  • Create a playlist or two.
  • Gather all of the gifts you are planning on bringing along with you and be sure not to leave them behind when you leave.

Winter driving essentials you need to bring on your next winter road trip

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CARRY-ON PACKING CHECKLIST

Here’s a little cheat sheet to print while you pack your carry-on.

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TIPS FOR SIMPLE LIVING

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It’s holiday season and that can either be a real joy for some of us or the most stressful time of the year. There was a time in my life when I tried to squeeze in as much as I could in my day because I thought that was the only way to be productive. Fast forward a few years and a couple of anxiety attacks and I can proudly say I no longer think that way. I’m now living at a slower pace and making thoughtful decisions – which makes my life more enjoyable. Here are a few tips I’ve found have worked as I’ve tried to simplify the noise around me:

Select the top 4 – 5 things that are most important to you and commit your time to them.

Simplify your wardrobe. It’s possible and so liberating. You know exactly what’s available to wear, everything can be mixed and matched, oh! and laundry is a breeze.

oracle, fox, sunday, sanctuary, black, white, grey, house, plants, monochrome, minimal, interior

Say no. Period.

Turn off notifications. We check our phones out of habit – almost like its a nervous tick. I’ve found turning off notifications has forced me to check my phone at a time that works for me rather than as they come in. Real talk, Do Not Disturb is my favorite. I realize that may not work for people who have more responsibilities than mean (aka children).

Own less. This is a similar concept to limiting your wardrobe to what you need and makes you feel good. Too many things can sometimes feel like a burden or responsibility. Why not just invest in some quality pieces and a few nice to have that make you happy and keeps your space neat and clutter free? I find purging every 6 months helps keep me in check.

How to Achieve a Minimal Scandinavian Bedroom | Homey Oh My | Bloglovin’

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TIPS FOR A BETTER MONDAY

Mondays are tough. I get it. Here are a few ways to help Monday be better than the last one.

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8 THINGS TO WIGGLE YOURSELF OUT OF A RUT

Most of us have been at a point in life where things aren’t flowing quite right. Some of us can move past it quickly while others can feel pretty stuck for a lot longer than they hoped. It’s not that you don’t want to get out of your rut… it just seems hard to know where to start. I recently hit a wall. And, well, it’s taken a lot of supportive, patient people and a lot of trial and error to dig my way out. Below are a few things I’ve found have helped me.

Admit it.
The first step is, to be honest with yourself. It’s ok that you’re not in a good place. You’ll get out of it. However, that takes admitting that this is where you are right now. photo-1527236438218-d82077ae1f85

Stop complaining.
Got it. Life sucks and you’re not happy with how things are playing out. Complaining hardly ever changes the situation or the facts. Before you use precious oxygen to explain how sucky the situation is for the 12x, pause and ask yourself if this will help anything. If you’re feeling extra bold, acknowledge something you’re thankful for or something that is going right in life. It’s all about perspective. Tim Lahan for KENZO

Journal.
I love journaling. I by no means consider myself a writer but I do find the act of pen-to-paper makes me feel better and more connected to my emotions. If you’re not into writing, try an art journal. Sometimes capturing a painting, sketch, or doodle of what is on your mind helps a bunch.photo-1526280760714-f9e8b26f318f.jpeg

Dial up the self-care & self-love.
Be kind to yourself physically AND emotionally. Yes, do the face mask and draw yourself a hot bath. But also tell yourself you’re smart and beautiful and strong. The mind is a powerful thing. Controlling your thoughts, especially when you’re feeling stuck can be a real game changer.

Put something on the calendar.
One of the hardest things to do when you’re in a rut is to be motivated to do anything – no matter how big or small. I have found that looking forward to something can help get you motivated and moving. Schedule coffee with a dear friend, book a weekend trip, or a day at the spa. Whatever it may be,  putting it on the calendar gives you a bright spot in the week. Also, it gives you plenty of time to mentally prepare yourself. (;cup and saucer on table

Practice gratitude.
That’s right. In a moment when you feel you have nothing to be thankful for I’m encouraging you to do just that BE THANKFUL. There is something so humbling about this process. I think it’s because everything inside you wants to do the complete opposite. You want permission to be angry and frustrated. But, if you want freedom and want to wiggle yourself out of this cloudy season, a thankful heart will help move you in the right direction. Find the beauty around you and be thankful that it exists.gold pen on top of Today I Am Grateful book

Go outside and let nature feed your soul.
Since I was young, the moments I have felt the most relaxed are when I am in nature. I don’t know what it is but there is something about being in it that makes me feel safe, small (in a good way), and at peace. So, when times are rough, take in the green. Breathe deeply. Listen to the birds. Touch trees. You get the gist.selective focus photography of lake

Make a list.
For those who make lists about everything, this will come naturally to you. For those who don’t, give it a try. On a crappy day, make a list of the things you liked about your day. If you’re feeling blue, make a list of dream vacation spots. Really just make a list of everything and anything.person writing on a book

Pray.
There is power in prayer. There is power in getting spiritually oriented. I don’t think this should be treated as a last resort. In fact, I’d probably say this is one of the most important elements to get you out of a rut. Spiritual health is connected to energy. So what we’re putting in is definitely what we’re putting out.
9But his answer was: “My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak.” I am most happy, then, to be proud of my weaknesses, in order to feel the protection of Christ’s power over me.  – 2 Corinthians 12:9Holy Bible

I’ll end on this note: for those who are fighting – keep fighting. Your moment will come. Your joy will return. Your life really is beautiful even if it’s not going as planned. You do have purpose and life matters. Every little moment matters. So, take heart.

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HOW TO BE A BETTER YOU (EVERY DAY)

HOW TO BE A BETTER YOU (EVERY DAY)
  • Be observant

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  • Collect ideas

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  • Read

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  • Listen
  • Analyze your day
  • Write

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  • Pray

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HOW TO WORK BETTER

HOW TO WORK BETTER

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THINGS YOU SHOULD DO EVERY TIME YOU TRAVEL

THINGS YOU SHOULD DO EVERY TIME YOU TRAVEL

I enjoy discovering new things. I like experiencing new places and the people in those places. That doesn’t mean I want to talk to everyone there. It does, however, mean I want to see it, smell it, taste it, and touch it. You can learn so much by just being. Traveling is one of my favorite things to do because it stretches you. Here are a few things I encourage you to try when you travel. I’m not saying I’ve done this each time but I like to try!

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MORNING ROUTINE TIPS

MORNING ROUTINE TIPS

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Mornings are hard. So hard. I once prided myself on not hitting snooze. Unfortunately, the past couple of years I’ve become a pro at hitting snooze. Here are a few tips to start your day right.

MORNING ROUTINE TIPS

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5 TRAVEL MUST HAVES

5 TRAVEL MUST HAVES

Packing for vacation is in full swing. Here are a 5 travel must-haves for any trip.must haves.png

  1. A Great Read. Pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read. Allow yourself to get lost in it for a few hours.
  2. A Travel Journal. Grab something light that is easy to take with you wherever you go. Here are a few other options, if you want something less pricey: Moleskine Voyager, Leather Bound Refillable
  3. An Eye Bra. Whether a short flight or long one, you never know what the situation will be from a light perspective. In order to get a few Zzzs with as little distraction as possible, a sleep mask comes in handy. And, you might as well have sweet dreams with a stylish one.
  4. Headphones. Whether it be music, a podcast, TedTalk, movie, or phone call … headphones are a must. It’s a great way to keep focused on you and cancel out any distractions around you. Also, it’s pretty rude to have your volume on full blast for everyone around you to hear.
  5. A Portable Charger. In my opinion, if you’re going to get a portable charger, you might as well get a high capacity one that is reliable multiple ports.

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