Thankful Thursday: Expectations

Expectations is defined in the dictionary as “a belief someone will or should achieve something“.  I actually like the NA definition better “Expectations are premeditated resentments”.

Do you have expectations of yourself or others?  I will admit, I have lots of them.  I am working on getting rid of them because they really are the stepping stone for resentment and anger.  So, why then would I be grateful for expectations, right?  Because having them allows me to learn and grow…

imagesLet’s start with the expectations we have for ourselves.  If you are like me, they are pretty high and as a result, I seldom reach the level of perfection I expect of myself.  I know, no one is perfect BUT don’t we set those milestones for ourselves.  Thinking we can handle everything, juggling all the balls in the air – motherhood, work, life, and whatever else comes our way.  The word “NO” seldom escapes from our lips because we “expect” we will be able to everything.  Self expectations allow my inner gremlins to have a field day in my head. Expectations  of others  leaves  me  feeling  frustrated,  angry  and disappointed.  Whether it is business or in love, setting expectations whether they be realistic or not is a setup for disaster.  If  the  words  would  of,  could  of  or  should  of  are  part  of  sentence,  I know I am  in  trouble.

Whether you grew up in a house with demanding parents or would strive every day to meet someone else’s expectations,  somewhere along the way, you lost what it was like to be kind to yourself.  You became a slave to expectations and now it is time to change and be kind to YOU!

#1: Change How You Treat Yourself

I know it is easier said then done.  I’ve been there and on some days am still there.  Can’t imagine being nice to yourself – why not begin by expressing kindness to someone or something you love such as a pet (or a someone special).  Easy right?  Don’t you deserve the same treatment? Try this mantra:

May I be filled with loving-kindness. May I be held in loving-kindness. May I realize loving-kindness as my essence.

OR write one of your own.  Then practice saying it.  Start by repeating it for thirty seconds. Embrace the feelings the words invoke.  The longer you can embrace these feelings, the quicker you’ll reap the benefits.  Start and end your day with these to see what a difference in makes in your life.

#2: What You Say Limits You

Maybe on the surface, you are being nicer to yourself, but deep down the inner gremlin is judging you.   It’s true – we judge, and we label, sometimes without even realizing it. What we do to other people is the same thing we do to ourselves.

So every time you have a negative label for someone, come up with at least six different reasons that would stop the label.  It isn’t easy.  The truth is if you can be less judgmental toward other people, you can do the same for yourself.

#3: What You Say Can Belittle You

When was the last time you said “How can I be so stupid? ” or, “OMG what a screw-up! Could I not make a bigger mess of things? ” or, “Why do I do this to myself? I’m such an idiot!”  This is all about not meeting your own personal expectations and how you react.

Despite my best efforts, my inner gremlins love beating me up for every mistake, failure, or setback, real or imagined. Then a little angel voice screams, “Not being very kind to yourself, are you?”

SMACK!  The reality hits nothing is a total failure. There is always something to be positive about.  Find it in whatever the situation is.  Replace those harsh words with positive thoughts.  By doing so,  you will change those demanding expectations.

These small changes are so powerful.  They help you stop being a victim of your own expectations and allow you to  treat yourself kinder.  You realize judging other people is so closely aligned with the labels and limitations we put on ourselves.  Seeing the positives in what may appear as a failure will allow you to cut yourself some slack.

Change is hard!  Changing behaviors are challenging.  The truth is,  if I can do this, you certainly can!

It all begins with a practice taking less than a minute, six times a day showering yourself with loving-kindness.

It’s easy to start. It’s easy to do. Just repeat after me:

“May I be filled with loving-kindness. May I be held in loving-kindness. May I realize loving-kindness as my essence.”

Have a blessed day!

How To Take Your Style From Summer to Fall

Anyone who knows me knows I’m ALWAYS cold.  I love the heat of the summer BUT I do love the change in seasons.  Fall with the beautiful colors and the crisp air.  Is it crazy I am a hot weather girl but LOVE to wear sweaters.  Don’t try to figure it out.  LOL.  I gave up a long time ago…

Too hot for sweaters, too cold for spaghetti straps. What’s a fashionista to do?  I’ am by no means a fashionista so I am glad I was able to grab some tips from Thirty One‘s top fashionistas….

When the calendar says fall but the weather report hasn’t quite caught up, dressing for the season can be a challenge. There are some simple swaps and creative styling, which can make your summer staples work well into autumn!

Try these seven tips and tricks to transition your wardrobe as we head into fall:

1. Start with simple swaps. Begin your summer-to-fall transition by packing away your flip-flops (OH NO!!!) and bringing out the suede booties (staple in my closet) , or trading an airy cardigan for a structured blazer at work. Add a breathable scarf to any outfit for another signal fall is on its way.

2. Do a style switch-up. Trade your summery Studio Thirty-One flaps and straps for a neutral color palette to take you from August to September and beyond. Ikat Bazaar, Twill Stripe and Dotted Geo Pebble are some of our picks.

3. Maximize your maxi. You live in them all summer – so why not stretch maxi dress season? Top your dress with a jean jacket (they go with EVERYTHING!) or flowy cardigan, or try a long-sleeved tee under your dress for more coverage.  Have you tried a tee under your dress?  What’s the best one?  I can’t seem to get that look to work for me…

4. Throw out the color rules. Bright shades like our Fields of Gold Pebble or pastels like Rose Blush Pebble have their place in fall, too! Pair Fields of Gold with navy or turquoise tones and wear Rose Blush with olive tones for a look that transcends season.

5. Play with coverage. When there’s a slight chill in the air, re-purpose your summer staples. Wear a longer knit tee under your favorite crop top, rock a wrap dress over jeans, and break out the tights (or leggings) to keep your summer skirts in the rotation.

6. Carry your bag into fall. Was our Statement Canvas Shopper your go-to bag this season? No need to leave it at the beach! Neutral materials like canvas, rope and twills can transition your tote seamlessly from your summer getaway bag to your everyday fall tote.

7. Add some edge. Stay warm, look cool! Cut the sweetness of summer sundresses and rompers with a military-style cargo jacket in taupe or olive, or a cropped moto jacket. This look can be easily dressed up or down with your accessories – think chunky jewelry or sneakers vs. heels.

8. Style your home. It’s not quite time to break out the pumpkins and leaves, but you can subtly show the change of seasons with something as simple as our Statement Canvas Pillows. We especially love our succulent-themed print designs!

What is your best tip or trick for transitioning from summer to fall?  I hold onto my flip flops as long as possible BUT my tootsies do get cold quick.  Share your tips with us…

 

How to Stay Hydrated

 Last weekend was a heat wave at the Jersey Shore.  Temps combined with humidity were over 100 degrees.  I actually drove with my windows open until hubby yelled at me…. It seems my MS makes it hard for me to distinguish between hot and cold.  So, as I’m driving around with my windows open feeling okay, I was opening myself up for some major problems.  You would think I had learned when I couldn’t feel the heat from the stove until I actually touched it and burnt my fingers.  Yes, I squirreled.  LOL.  So back to how to hydrate without JUST drinking water for all those who profess to NOT be water drinkers.

The basics are this: daily fluid intake is defined as the amount of water consumed from foods, plain drinking water, and other beverages.  How much you need depends on age, gender, weight, climate you are in, activity levels, and overall health. In addition, your environment plays an important part in your hydration needs.  Basically, the goal should be: for men about 125 ounces of fluid per day and women should shoot for about 90 ounces. Don’t panic!!!!  I know it sounds like a lot.   Roughly 80% of our water intake comes from fluids, while the other 20 percent comes from the foods we eat.

Not a water drinker,,,, here are some ways you can stay hydrated:

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1. Start your day with oatmeal. Not only is it hearty and filling, oatmeal is also very hydrating. When oats are cooking, they expand and absorb the water or milk they’re being paired with. I LOVE overnight oats. Served cold, overnight oats pack all the benefits of hot oatmeal with no heat. You can flavor them up and it will taste like you are having dessert for breakfast.  As an added boost, sprinkle chia seeds in your overnight oats when preparing, which soak up 10 times their weight in extra liquid and keep you full all morning.

2. Include more moo. According to a study by McMaster University, milk is more hydrating than water or sports drinks due to its source of protein, carbohydrates, calcium, and electrolytes. Bring it on! No a good solution for those who are dairy free.

3. Try carb alternatives. Ditch dry, carb heavy staples like pasta. Opt for zucchini noodles, or zoodles for short, which can contain about 95 percent water. When paired with a tomato sauce, which usually has about 90 percent water, this meal can pack a hydrating and healthy punch.  Family  not ready for a complete zoodles meal?  Mix it up with some pasta, this way they get their favorite and a healthy does of veggies.

4. Sip smoothies.  Being on the Wahl’s Diet, I start every morning with a smoothie.  I’m sure it is hard to believe for those who know me BUT they actually have been keeping me full for most of the morning.  I don’t use yogurt but all the fresh fruit, and veggies it is a tasty, way to stay hydrated. I mix and match LOTS – kale or spinach even carrots with almond milk and then lots of fruit.  I use a 1:1 ratio right now but I’m working towards having more veggies then fruit.  What is you favorite smoothie combo?

5. Pack your plate with vegetables.  Much like smoothies, salads are a great way to give you a hydrating boost. Most lettuce greens contain at least 94 percent water, and that’s before you add any other vegetables. Next time you whip up a salad, include celery, tomatoes, bell peppers, and carrots.  Hubby says with as much salad as I eat, my nose is going to start to twitch like a bunny.

6. Slurp soup. When the craving strikes for a filling and hydrating meal, look no further than broth-based soups or gazpacho. Served cold, gazpacho won’t make you break a sweat come summer. Blend cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, and garlic cloves for this satisfying soup.

7. Freeze your fruit. Feeling nostalgic about the popsicles you used to enjoy as a child? Bring back this classic treat as a delicious way to rehydrate. Blend a hydrating ingredient like watermelon and fill Popsicle molds and freeze for 1 hour.

What’s your best tip for staying hydrated???

Have a blessed day!

 

Do You Live to Work?

Do you work to live or live to work? Maybe you are wondering what’s the difference.  Believe me, there is a huge difference.  No, this isn’t a plug for joining my direct sales company unless of course you are looking for some extra money or a career change…… Sorry I squirreled.  LOL.
This about this:   Happier people are more productive, thereby getting more work done in less time than others.
We all dream of working less, right?  A chance to maybe retire, focus more on your family and the other things which matter most.  I’m sure there are some who love their job – that’s awesome.  I mean work is wonderful when you are passionate about what you do.  But there is more to life than work.  Sadly, it took a diagnosis of MS and a relapse for me to realize it.  So what would it be like if you didn’t have as much?  What would you do with the extra time?  Who would you spend it with?  This could mean reducing your hours at your current job, stop taking work home nights, weekends and vacation or maybe eventually stop working all together to focus on your family.  Now, I know this is a luxury for many but here are 4 strategies from Valorie Burton which might help:

1. Restructure your day and break bad work habits.

Are you working too many empty hours? Could/should a 50-hour workweek really be a 40-hour week? Many workers work hard, but not smart. I definitely fell into this category when I was working.  If I only knew working less was a matter of breaking some bad work habits. Actually, for me, it was substituting one addiction for another.  If you are the first one in and the last one out every day (yup that was me most days), something might be wrong.  Try to create a personal deadline to force yourself out of the office.   Maybe schedule a 5:30 dinner date or class at the gym so you have to leave the office on time. This one was always tough for me, I was usually late for the appointment after work.  Maybe you need to find ways to eliminate distractions to use your time in the office more efficiently.  My biggest distraction was my need to fix, manage and control situations.

 

2. If you want to work fewer than 40 hours, know your company.

Does your company allow for it?  How will it effect your future goals in the company or in life?  There are still places where working less means no or slow promotions. Are okay with that?  Then there are those businesses who love to spend less money on employees who can give them more bang for their buck. In those companies, scaling back is not necessarily a career killer—as long as you make an impact. If you work fewer hours but give your all and make a contribution to the bottom line, you will always be seen as a valuable player. So part of the strategy for working less is being strategic and performing at your best, whether you’re working 40 hours a week or 20.

 

3. Can you afford to work fewer than 40 hours? If so, make a plan.

Are you prepared for this financially?   Usually the main reasons to work is to earn a living and pay bills.  The doors open wide when you live below your means. If you quit your job or scale back your hours, would you be able to make it? If not, make a plan to get to the point where you don’t have to work so much. Trim your expenses and save, save, save!  I was a paycheck to paycheck person.  I was definitely not ready to work less than 40 hours per week or leave a salaried job.  No plan, just dove in leaving a great job due to health issues “assuming” someone would want to hire me closer to home at less hours.  A story for another time.  LOL.

 

4. If you want to work fewer than 40 hours, ask yourself if it is time to switch careers.

This option would be a long-term solution—a higher-paying job down the road for fewer hours than you work now. Ask yourself, “What opportunity would allow me to earn more for my time?”  Lots of people transition into new lines of work – direct sales.  One good thing of a forced transition is the opportunity to reevaluate your options. A different career path could dramatically increase your income while demanding less of your time. You may need time to prepare or train, but it can be a smart, long-term solution.   This may be awesome for someone thinking of starting a family who doesn’t want to work long hours as a parent.  Think ahead and plan for a transition to working less.

 

I challenge you to dream big. It’s possible to work less in your future and maintain a happy life.  Ask yourself these basic questions:

  • What would it look like for you to work less?
  • Does this idea appeal to you? Why or why not?
  • If you’d like to make it happen, what is your vision for it?

Have a blessed day!

How Do You Unplug?

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Today I am sitting at Jersey Shore Medical Center waiting patiently (ok maybe not) for hubby to have his procedure and head to a room.  I was in this same spot 7+ years ago.  The only difference is, this time is a battery replacement which they say is a simple procedure.  I know, what does this have to do with being unplugged right?  Well, I might be more plugged in today to pass the time but as soon as he is out of surgery, I am unplugging.

When was the last time you totally UNPLUGGED from technology?  A scary thought, right?  I used to think it was impossible.  I have my own business and I rely on social media and technology for a large portion of it.  What happens if……?

A million reasons run through your mind as to why you should NOT unplug, right?  What did we do BEFORE technology took over our lives.  I used to call people until I got someone on the phone or if they had a machine, I left a voice mail.  The truth is business survived and thrived, right?

The last time I totally unplugged was on our cruise in 2011.  By totally, I mean no cell phone or internet.  No communication with anyone who wasn’t on the trip.  After the first 24 hours (always the roughest), I actually didn’t think about technology.  I enjoyed the trip and the people around me..

I haven’t totally unplugged for a long time, I have changed the way I look at technology and its effect on my life.  My obsession with my phone is a habit I developed during my relapse – a way to escape and turn off the people around me.  Did I know it then?  NOPE!  I justified it in a million different ways.  Now, I struggle with putting down the iPad.  LOL.  I started during puzzles and word games to help with my cognitive issues with my MS but it isn’t long before I am moving into scrolling Facebook or checking email.

What effect does technology have on your life?  I bet A LOT of the requests for your time, your money, and your energy come to you digitally, right?  Probably mostly via email as well as messages on LinkedIn, Facebook and other social networking sites.  And it is stressing you out. It’s distracting. And worst of all you suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).  I know I am not alone in this.  I have always said “there is no PURSE (substitute your product/company/business) emergency”.  So it was time I finally practiced what I preached.

Yes, I used to check email in the middle of networking meetings; while stopped at red lights; in the middle of dinner with my family; and as soon as my eyes popped open in the morning.  I used to hate to have any notifications showing on my phone. Yup, all part of the obsessive/compulsive life.

I was afraid. Afraid of missing out:on booking a party or the next big potential customer or potential team member; or maybe someone on my team had a question. I was afraid of just not being “in the know” or worse yet, them going elsewhere. Crazy, right?  The truth was (and still is some days) is I didn’t like myself enough to spend time with me so why would anyone else want to.  A harsh reality which has come from recovery.  As a result, I buried myself in social media where I could be who I wanted others to see – sometimes not letting them see the real me.

If you are in direct sales, thing about it…. who would want to join your team if we are  always accessible?  If your obsession is just with everyone else’s life, maybe unplug to spend some time exploring yourself and the beauty around you. Here are some tips for unplugging and re-claiming your life.

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#1 – I removed all notifications from my phone – the apps are still there but the only notifications I get are text messages.  My family does a lot of texting so it is a good way to connect with them long distance.

#2 – My phone is usually on “do not disturb except for my favorites”.  This keeps me focused on enjoying time with those I am with instead of grabbing the phone every time it rings.

#2 – I start my morning with devotions and a smoothie – social media comes later.

#3 – I don’t have multiple tabs open on my computer.  I try (sometimes I don’t succeed) in only checking email and social media periodically.  I actually am more productive.

What do you do to #UNPLUG?

Have a blessed day!