The Last 90 Days…

 

SURPRISE!!!  This is not about the actual past 90 days but about how I plan to do things differently in the next 90 days so I can end the year on a different note…

If you haven’t heard of Rachel Hollis yet, you must be living under a rock!  LOL!  I am reading her book “Girl Wash Your Face” again and loving it!  I was introduced (not personally) to this amazing women by my pink bubble sisters and I have to say, I wasn’t sure I could jump on the bandwagon…. WHY?

Damn MS has taken a lot of my processing abilities away along with my memory!
Occasionally, I get glimpses into the mind I once had, when things seem to be clicking again. These moments are reminders of a time (since passed) when my cognitive abilities got me  through grant writing, managing a non-profit, being a single mom and creating programs to help make a difference in the lives of others.  I was blessed to have those abilities and be able to share them with others.  Now, after years (yup memory loss has been going on for about 5 years) of battling with cognitive dysfunction (a fancy term for memory loss) because of Multiple Sclerosis, I have fewer moments when my brain feels like it’s clear and working like it did.  Of all of the symptoms I’ve experienced because of MS, the loss of memory is the the one which bothers me the most.

So what does all of this have to do with the last 90 days?  Instead of focusing on what should of, would of or could have happened, I’m taking baby steps into being the best me I can be right now!

I have told myself countless lies which I actually started to believe them about being less then and not deserving of good things.  WHY?  Because those nasty inner gremlins of my past addictive personality were raging their ugly head.  I couldn’t see the good happening around me because the trees of negativity were growing fast and furious.

Instead of beating myself up on the days I can’t get things done, I am embracing the things I can get done.  Some days, it is just getting up, taking a shower and plopping in the chair watching mindless TV.  Then there are days when I am awake at 4:30AM, ready to ride the stationary bike for a half hour before getting into my office to get to work.  Really, it does happen!

So, when the #last90day challenge was issued by my pink bubble sister, Hope Shortt, during a leadership call – I JUMPED in.  Not literally because I was filled with fear and doubt.  As others expressed their fears, I knew we could overcome them if we banded together – set goals and cast the vision out into the universe.

As you can tell, today is a good day!  The brain is running at full speed and I am rambling on about things which hopefully will help someone else.  I need to remember to not worry about tomorrow, and to stay in the moment.  I need to not kick myself with regrets for things not done yesterday, I need to stay in the moment.

My cognitive problems can either be my demise or I can consider them a blessing.  Honestly, there are days I beat myself up, apologize profusely and wallow on the pity pot because of my cognitive problems.  As I reflect on why I stopped working in a job I loved, the truth is the struggles were taking a toll on my health.  Could I admit it then, nope!  Who would have thought the memory problems I was having were related to the lesions on my brain?  Let alone end in a diagnosis of MS.

I am learning to embrace the  “fog” in my head when it happens.  Working my own business allows for those days.  I have moments when I’m not thinking clearly or logically (some would wonder if I ever did).  I do puzzles and games on those days to help stimulate my brain to think differently.  There are days when things flow smoothly – yup, it happens, but it’s unpredictable.

For the #last90days, I’m going to try each day to be a better version of ME.  I’m not going to get frustrated when getting interrupted means completely losing my thought process or what I’m doing. I will embrace my GPS even when I think I should know where I am going (yup, I forget directions).  I will stop thinking of the person who excelled at multitasking and embrace the person who sometimes can’t even have another sound in the background when trying to work or write.

Yup, I squirreled (maybe even a lot) but the whole idea is about making a change in the last 90 days of 2018!  Why is it so important?  Because when I set my goals at the start of 2019, I want to know I am already on my way to reaching them.  It is time to kick it up a notch to finish the year strong, meeting the goals I set in January 2018 so 2019 does not look like a repeat of 2018.

So, who wants to join me on the #last90days?  Don’t worry about the big goals, work on just these 5 things:

  1. Get up an hour earlier than you normally do and use this time for YOU!
  2. Workout at least 30 minutes
  3. Drink half your body weight in water
  4. Give up ONE food category you shouldn’t be eating
  5. Write down 10 things you are grateful for each day

When you do these things, you will be amazed at the difference in makes in your life.  Have faith and JUMP into this journey with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Are You an Emotional Spender?

Are you an emotional spender?  Honestly, until about 6 months ago, I spent when I was happy, sad, bored…. it really didn’t matter what I was feeling.  I shopped  I have been working hard to stay on a budget but it is hard!

Did you know “The number-one problem in today’s generation and economy is the lack of financial literacy”?

Why??? The truth is, the problem is a struggle with self-control. You went to the mall to buy a birthday gift for your niece, and walked out with a new pair of shoes for yourself. You’ve tried a budget, but somehow you always seem to find something to spend money on that wasn’t in it. Can you relate? If so, consider these practical strategies to get your emotional spending under control:

1. Sleep on it.

If you think you just have to have it, whatever it is, make it your rule to sleep on your decision. Very few things are so urgent you can’t wait 24 hours to make your purchase.

2. Phone a friend.

Be accountable to someone!  You are more likely to reach your goal if you tell someone you’ve set one. So, tell a friend about your goal to stop digging yourself into more credit card debt. Then when you find yourself about to make another purchase you can’t afford, call them up and let them talk you down.

3. Never go shopping alone.

If you can’t trust yourself to phone a friend, then don’t go shopping alone. Of course, my biggest problem (and maybe yours) is online shopping).  The simple click to get what we want, NOW!  Headed to the mall, have someone with you who will hold you accountable.  Shopping online, STEP AWAY from the computer.  Leave it in your cart for 24-hours!  Refuse to use “retail therapy” to deal with loneliness, boredom, or disappointments. Find a new hobby which keeps you active, helps you to connect with others and builds new relationships. Focus less on accumulating stuff and more on enjoying experiences with people and things which matter most to you.

4. Plan for it.

STOP right now!  Take out a notepad and jot down the most important thing you need, and then the most important thing you want. Do you know how much each will cost? Jot it down. Not sure, find out.  How long would it take you to save for each? Practice delayed gratification (so hard for a recovering addict to do!). It forces you to appreciate the true value of your money, which will help you spend your money more consciously.

5. Keep a picture of your goal in front of you.

I have a vision board I carry in my planner so I am always reminded of what I am working towards.  Post pictures where you will see them on a regular basis so you are reminded of your goal. Whether it is on your refrigerator, in your purse, or on your bathroom mirror, make the vision plain and visible.

6. Take the credit cards out of your wallet.

I LOVE this saying…” if you want to get out of the hole you’re in, stop digging!”  If you’re in debt, it’s time to stop adding to your debt. And if you’re an emotional spender, keep your impulse purchases to a minimum by leaving your credit cards at home. No need to make it easy to charge it.  Better yet, cut up ALL of your cards (maybe keep one for emergencies).

7. Use cash.

I will admit, I am not a cash person.  I use my debit card for most things.  I actually feel like I spend less than when I use cash.  Crazy, right?  There are always those places which don’t take cards too so I can’t spend. Research shows though, forking over cash makes you spend less. As simplistic as it sounds, one of the best ways to curb spending is to determine your budget for various expenses (i.e., lunch, groceries, clothing, etc.), then take out your budgeted amount in cash.  Dave Ramsey’s system from Financial Peace University is AMAZING!   While it can be easy to lose track of how much you spend when you swipe a credit or even a debit card, cash forces you to count and keep track of what you spend in a concrete way.

If saving or spending is a problem, I challenge you to stop spending emotionally and start managing your money wisely.  Which of these tips were most helpful to you?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How to Dress Up Your Jeans

I am a total jeans girl.  I’m not sure when it started…. It could be because of the “jiggle thighs” so dresses and weight weight fabrics and I don’t agree.  Maybe it is because I no longer enjoy shopping and trying on clothes (GASP!)
After a summer of dressing in capris and yoga pants with LONG tops, I am ready for the arrival of fall and the crisp air. Okay, so the colder weather I am not a fan of BUT I do love my jeans and boots.   With the comfort of jeans comes the age old question: How can you dress up your jeans and feel fashionable when you head out for work, a day with your girlfriends or a night on the town?  Yup, I struggle with this all of the time.  The answer is in the accessories which is what changes your basic denim to a fashion statement!
I love some of these ideas from the staff and designers at Thirty One.

Get your jeans party-ready with smart evening accessories

When choosing jeans for evening, it’s important to start with the right silhouette. Luckily, two denim cuts leading the way for fall are flattering on all body types – especially in a dark, saturated wash.

Your tried-and-true skinny jeans are as hot as ever and look great balanced with flowy, feminine tops. Layer on a long necklace, drop earrings and stacked bracelets for some nighttime sparkle.

In addition to skinny jeans, you’ll also see more trouser-like silhouettes this season. This cut gives you some creative leeway with opportunities to rock key details like contrast stitching, polished hardware and chic pleats. As a general rule, trouser-style jeans look best paired with a more fitted top tucked in.

Finish off your party look by dressing up your jeans with the perfect pair of shoes: Pumps add evening elegance and take both skinny and trouser jeans up a notch.

Dress your jeans for a professional setting

If you are wearing jeans to the office,, you want a pulled together professional look.  Work-appropriate jeans are usually the  darker wash the better – or try one of the dressy, deep-hued colored washes big this fall.  No, frayed or distressed jeans, or jeans with embellishments like studs.  A closed-toe pump is a solid choice for work, as is a pointy-toe flat if you’re on your feet a lot. Then add a tucked-in button-up shirt in a crisp white or a soft pastel or stripe. Roll up the sleeves a bit to show off a bracelet or add a blazer for a quick easy way to complete the look.

Be strategic with pops of color and NEVER more than one eye-grabbing pattern per outfit. A foolproof accessory is a lightweight, rectangular Avenue Scarf or one of the many accessories offered in Thirty One’s  Bright & Bold collection.

Since we often carry a laptop between the office and home, the new Colorblock Tote is a great option. Its structure and smaller scale make it office-worthy while still providing the roominess you need.

 

Ladies who lunch (or brunch!)

For a day of brunching and shopping with your gal pals, start with a pair of high-waisted skinnies and patterned flats. Add a dressy tunic or feminine peasant top in one of the deliciously rich hues that the Pantone Fashion Color Trend Report for Fall/Winter 2018 says will be big this year, like Red Pear, Martini Olive, Ultra Violet or Quetzal Green.

For holding all your finds while browsing those markets and boutiques, we love a statement bag like our slouchy but structured Around Town Tote. These bags come in an equally scrumptious palette of solids and patterns to pull your whole look together, and you can add your personal stamp with a monogram or Icon-It.

Dress up for date night

Date night with your special someone? Try a sophisticated pair of trouser jeans in a dark wash. Fall fashion shows in the spring were also showing tuxedo stripes on jeans, which is another fun way to dress up your denim look for evening.

Dressing up your jeans with a peep-toe bootie/sandal hybrid with a chunky heel is perfect for transitioning between seasons, and you can switch to a full bootie later. You’ll want a fitted top so you can layer on a leather-look moto jacket, and then bling out the whole ensemble with a statement necklace, earrings and a bracelet or two. Think small for your bag; choose something like a wristlet or clutch for your phone and lipstick and such. Remember: For evening, it’s all about the fun details.

Need some ideas? Try our best-selling All About the Benjamins wallet with a matching Wristlet Strap, then dress up your whole outfit with an on-trend Fringed and Fabulous Necklace and a pair of shiny Luxe Loop Dangles earrings.

Whether you’re heading to work, a day out with friends or a night on the town, have fun dressing up your jeans for a casual yet ultra-chic look. And be sure to check out all the amazing handbags and accessoriesThirty-One Gifts has designed to help you bring out your own personal style!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tips for a Successful Sports Season

Back to School means back to sports for many of parents.  The two often go hand-in-hand, and many times, the sports season begins even before the school year does! While the coach usually provides a list of necessary gear, like helmets, rackets, cleats, etc., they don’t always mention the other important items you’ll want to have on hand for a successful season.  I actually looked forward to the fall – the start of Belinda’s sports seasons (gymnastics, then field hockey then all-star cheerleading).  It was a crazy busy time but so much fun.

Here are a few products you and your sports star will be glad you have:

Water bottles. Being hydrated isn’t something moms just nag about. Kids who play sports expend tons of energy. Each drop of sweat is fluid lost from their body. It’s important they have a good water bottle to help keep them cool in warmer weather. Even in the coldest winter months they’re still running and sweating and need to keep the fluids coming.

Healthy snacks.  Whether or not they play sports, it’s important for growing bodies to receive proper nutrition. Sports kids need even more to fuel their bodies. Some easy snacks are things like fruits, veggies, and protein-packed yogurt and cheese. To keep the snacks fresh, use Thirty One’s Around-The-Clock Thermal.  When practices and games fall within meal times, this thermal will allow you to pack enough to keep everyone fueled up. It holds up to 15 lbs. and is generously sized to fit water bottles, sandwiches, and snacks.Back-to-Sports Gear: Tips for a Successful Season

Quality backpacks are also an important thing for sports kids to have. I love the Sling Back Pack. If you’ve got a kid who flings their bag of gear over their shoulder, a sling back pack is a good solution. It’s easy to carry, stylish, and holds everything they need. It’s the perfect pack for in school use, sports games, and for weekend trips as well.

Duffle bags. Our Thirty-One All-Packed duffle bag holds everything from tablets to laptops to knee pads, football helmets and snacks. One of my favorite features of this bag is the separate compartment for shoes, so the rest of the gear doesn’t get dirty. The bag also does double duty if we travel, holding enough clothes for a few days away from home. This is an especially attractive and versatile bag that will really work for anyone.

Thirty-One also offers personalization options, allowing you to customize items with your name, your team’s name, etc. I can’t even begin to tell you how helpful it is to have your child’s name on their bag when there are 30 of them laying on the ground after a game! You can also personalize using icons like soccer balls and cheerleading megaphones. Sports mom lesson #1: Label everything!

Another thing I’ve learned over the years is wipes are necessary long after the child is out of diapers. Whether they’re 5 or 15, they still spill things and/or get them on their clothes. And your car’s seats too! Wipes make short work of little messes. Sports gear gets a little messier, as you can imagine, and for that we use antibacterial wipes. Cleaning the equipment after use helps keep kids healthy. Wiping things down immediately also makes for easier deep cleaning later. Mud comes off a football helmet with less effort before it gets dried on!

How about keeping a plastic bag or laundry bag inside the kids’ bags. It makes it much easier to collect dirty uniforms after events. Most kids can’t seem to find the laundry basket if their life depends on it, so by providing the laundry bag inside their bags, You have a much better chance of washing those socks before they can stand on their own. Grab the bag and throw the stuff in the wash.

It should also be said sports gear isn’t something you should skimp on when it comes to quality. If you purchase a lower quality item at your local discount store, you’ll likely end up doing that two or three times throughout the year. Usually this happens at 9pm when your child says something like “Hey mom, I forgot to tell you there’s a big hole in this thing needed for 6am practice tomorrow.” It just makes more sense financially and from a convenience standpoint to buy the higher quality items the first time.

Sports seasons can get crazy, but it is likely the most fun that you’ll have while your kids are in school. There’s nothing quite as exciting as sitting on the sidelines cheering them on as they play hard and work as a team toward a goal. Being a sports mom is one of the most rewarding experiences ever, and with a little pre-planning and the right gear, you’re in for an awesome season.

Are you a sports mom? Do you have tips to share?

Have a ThirtyOne-deful day!

Is Impatience Your Problem? –

Patience can be developed with practice. 

As a recovering addict, patience has not been one of my strong points.  Sure I had patience (most of the time) with my daughter as a single mom BUT not when it came to other things it was non-existant.

What about you?  Is there a goal or desire are you rushing toward? What is the one thing in your life you just can’t wait to see happen?  I’m usually an “instant gratification” person but I’m working on changing which takes time (and patience).  Are you getting the vicious circle?  LOL.  It is usually the thing we want the most which take the longest like the struggle to reach your goal weight.

And while we’re waiting for things to happen, we are usually tempted to make things happen — we want the magic wand for things to happen NOW!  In most cases, the solution we find to the problem or desire is not a perfect fit and as a result we muck things up.  We get a SMACK to remind us it is time to practice patience!

The truth is a lack of patience is often a sign of fear and those inner gremlins called fear are waiting to squash your  goals and desires.  We want what we want now!  I know I am not alone, right?   We get anxious and worried then begin pushing for things to happen before their time (remember it is His time, not ours).  We need to learn to slow down.  We need to trust.  We need to breathe. Patience is an act of faith, even when we don’t know when or how things will work out.

Here are four key areas of your life where you may need to practice more patience…

Relationships

Are you short-tempered with people? Does waiting in line at the store irritate you?  Do you get impatient with someone who is trying to do something especially when they don’t live up to your expectations?  Are you scared your dream relationship will never happen?  If you are single, have you pushed a relationship to be “serious” when it may not have been meant to be.  Why?  Because you fear someone special won’t come along, or maybe you think you’re getting too old to get married, or your choices are limited so you are tempted to marry the wrong person.   Love happens when you least expect.  I was one of those who always rushed a relationship.  It was when I made the decision to let things happen it did.  In fact, I told hubby I didn’t want a relationship.  Here we are almost 16 years later and still together.  Don’t rush into things.  Be patient. Trust. I am a definite believer of when you relax about things, the door to love (and other things) will open. Are you willing to wait?

Work

Patience was a lot tougher when I worked in an office. I found my lack of patience sabotaged my relationships with coworkers and clients who came into the office.  Now with my own business, on days I have no patience, my relationships with my customers are in jeopardy.  I was a job-hopper for many years because I thought it was the way to advance in my career.  Then in recovery, I learned some patience and VIOLA things changed.  I worked for 9 years at the Aids Alliance before moving into a consultant position. Then I was with Bethel for about 7 years – both of these long term positions allowed me to put my skills to use.  Is your job hopping depriving you of the chance to let you sparkle?

Finances

The lack of patience and the need for instant gratification leads to consumer debt.  For those, with no patience, we also tend to have a sense of entitlement because we think we deserve things even if we can’t afford them.  The result is we rack up credit card debt instead of saving for things we really want.    Yup, I have been guilty of this which is another part of my addictive personality. We often play the comparison game too.  We want to be like everyone else but never realize we are probably comparing their end to our beginning or middle.  When you have a little patience in fulfilling material desires, you might be able rein in your spending.

Health

If there is one thing which takes patience and perseverance, it’s eating healthy and exercising. It took me 7 years to reach my goal weight and it takes LOTS of perseverance to maintain it.  I lost and gained the same weight many times because I wanted the quick fix.  It wasn’t until I joined Weight Watchers where I learned patience.  The results were slow and steady and before long the changes were noticeable!   Are you looking for shortcuts to good health? There aren’t any. Make a commitment to start making one change on at a time and you’ll build up good habits which lead to good health and better looks.

This week I challenge you to practice patience in an area of your life where you are struggling.  What are you afraid will happen if you are patient instead of racing to the goal line?  Practice patience. Good things do come to those who wait.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!