to do list

Organize Your Holiday (Free Guide)

Organize Your Holiday (Free Guide)

It is time to prep for the holidays! There's so much to do in the coming months between holiday get togethers, Christmas shopping, decorating, baking, card sending, etc.. It really can be a daunting time of year. To help you (and me) out, I put together a little planning guide to take us from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

How to Use a Mind Map for Your To Dos

How to Use a Mind Map for Your To Dos

Are you a visual thinker? Do you like using pictures to help you organize your thoughts? I love making to do lists, but list creation doesn't always work for some people.  Often times visual people have a harder time creating successful to do lists.  A great tool to use when creating a to do list around a particular project is mind maps.    

Things to do Before 32

Yesterday was my 31st birthday.  We spent it quietly at home since the day before was Hailey's baby shower.  I was inspired by this post over on my friend ShannEva's Blog to create a list of things to accomplish in the coming year.  I decided to name my list: Things to do Before 32, because it rhymes and its catchy.  The plan is to regularly update you guys on my progress through the list as the year goes by and hopefully you guys can help keep me accountable!

1.Make 5 recipes from Pinterest - How many times have you pinned a recipe that looks super healthy or delicious only to never look at it again? I want to make at least 5 of those recipes this year.

2. Go to the zoo at least 3 times - T loves the zoo and we have our annual membership so we want to make the most of it.  Plus, we will have to introduce Hailey to the zoo as well.

3. Go on a real vacation - Our family hasn't been on a vacation where you fly somewhere and stay for a week and then come back since our honeymoon.  It has all been road trips and often times for another purpose, like pageantry.  This year I want to take a vacation where we just relax and enjoy being away with each other.

4. Read 2 inspiring books - With work, grad school, and now 2 kids, reading time is at a premium.  I hope to make time to read 2 inspiring books this year.

5. Rent or sell my house - We have really outgrown our current home.  It is a small 2 bedroom and with Hailey coming, along with my husbands abundant collections of toys and movies, we have just run out of space.  It is time we move on.

6. Move to new home - Well, the clear consequence of selling our home means we have to move to a new one.  I hate moving but if it means more space for my family, then I am all for it.  This is a top priority for the coming year.

7. Get back in shape after baby - If you have been following along, then you know that I am a dancer.  It is important to me to get back to dancing and performing once Hailey is born.  That means getting back my dancer's body.  This is also something that I plan to document on the blog as I make progress towards my goal.

8. Perform in 2 dance productions - So in order to have motivation to get back to working out, I want to perform in at least 2 productions before I turn 32.  That means I have to be in dancer shape with enough time to perform twice.  I have every confidence that this can happen.

9. Finish writing my book - I have been making super slow progress in writing a book on the best apps for busy moms.  These apps cover all aspects of mom life from health, food, money, shopping, travel, and more.  I want to finally get this done, so it can actually start helping people and I can move on to a new project.

10. Start creating vertical images for blog - I know how important this is for Pinterest and I know the websites to use to make this happen.  What I haven't done is actually sat down to do it. It is high time this got done.

11. Do 3 DIY projects from Pinterest - Along the same lines as the Pinterest recipes, I want to actually make more of the awesome DIY projects that I pin.

12. Declutter - I think this is self explanatory.  We just really need to go through our stuff and get rid of what we don't want and don't need.  Our plan is to go room by room and just purge.

13. Plan a T and mommy date at least once a month after Hailey is born - Now that I am going to be a mommy of 2, I want to make a point of having alone time with T. Whether it's a simple pizza date or a trip to the park, I want to make sure that we still have some one on one time.

14. Complete 27 credits of grad school - I am well on my way to this goal.  By the end of this semester, I will have completed 15 credits.  I am signed up for 2 summer courses and 2 in the fall which would bring me to the 27 credits.  Then just a few more classes and requirements and I will be a Math Master!!

15. Have consistent date nights with the hubs - This is super hard for us because I work days and he works nights. On top of that he has plays to perform in and I have dance performances, or I will after Hailey is born.  But in order to keep our relationship on course this is super important, so we are making this a priority.

16. Complete cookbook for my nonprofit - As you may know, I founded a non-profit to support youth dance called, I Hope You Dance, Inc..  Last year we created a calendar as our major fundraiser which is still currently on sale.  This year with the new baby, I will not be able to run photo shoots over the summer. Thus, we are looking to do a dancer's cookbook as this year's fundraiser.  The plan is to compile the recipes from various dancers and then print and create the book.

17. Have a couples game night - This has been a goal of mine for forever, but it just never seems to come to fruition.  It WILL happen this year!

18. Plan and have a girls brunch - I have been feeling the need to reconnect with my girl friends for a while.   We see each other at events, but we haven't just hung out as a group in forever.   This needs to change! ASAP.

19. Participate in 2-3 charity walks - My brother is a diabetic and in recent years he has had serious complications as a result.  Currently, he is legally blind, has had several fingers amputated, and is in kidney failure along with numerous other ailments.  He will be turning 33 this year.  So I will definitely be participating in the diabetes walk again this year.  I also plan to do the March for Babies and possibly the Autism Speaks walk.

20. Run a donation drive - In the past I have organized a Coups for Troops drive where we collected coupons for military families and a pajama party where we collected pajamas and books for children.  I hope to run another drive along these lines this year.

So that's my list. Some of these are major, and some not so much.  Many are things that should be done all the time, but we never seem to make time for because we always think it so simple, we can do it any time.  Then any time never comes.  Other than performing a few times, these goals are mainly oriented around family and friends.  I have decided to make that my priority this year.

Do you set goals for the year at your birthday?  Have you been able to follow through?  Let me know in the comments.  Feel free to write some of your goals in the comments and we can keep each other accountable!

Cheers,

Emily

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5 Steps to Start Your Day Right

We've all had days where we wish we never got out of bed. You get dressed and then spill coffee on your shirt right as you are heading out the door. Or you leave home without the diaper bag. Or anything else that sets you up on the wrong foot. Here are 5 steps to help you start your day right and be able to overcome obstacles.

Get a good night's sleep. It may seem like I do a lot, and I do. Between work, grad school, teaching dance, blogging, my non-profit and family life, I have a lot on my plate. But I always try to get between 7-7.5 hours of sleep each night. That means going to bed by 10:30 to be up at 6.

There's no way around it. Getting a good night's sleep provides you with energy for the day, helps keep your mind clear, and even helps prevent the munchies. When you are well rested, you don't need snacks to keep you up! This is key for a productive day. A good night's sleep is never a waste of time!

Make your to do list. If you read last Friday's post, you know that I am a big proponent of to do lists and I showed you just how I make mine. Whether you do it in the morning or the night before, having a to do list ensures that you know what you need to get done that day.

It helps keep you focused and feel less stressed. You can even split the process. Do the brain dump the night before and then choose your 3 to dos in the morning when you are clear headed.

Exercise in the morning. Does that sound like torture? It shouldn't. Find an exercise you love and do it. I like a mix of weights and cardio. It makes me feel strong and helps me work up a sweat.

Exercise should make you feel energized when you are done, not exhausted. This sets you up for burning extra calories throughout your day, helps clear your mind, helps you fall asleep better at night, reduces your hunger and is great for your figure. You really can't beat that.

Even at 32 weeks pregnant, I'm working out daily. I've modified my workouts of course, but I work out and feel empowered for my day.

Eat a healthy breakfast. I’m not telling you what time your first meal of the day is, but whenever it is, it should be healthy. Some healthy proteins and fats can set you on the right track. Maybe even some oatmeal, or a green smoothie, or how about egg and avocado on whole wheat toast! There are plenty of options that taste good and are good for you.

Spend some time each morning playing with your kids. I get up at 6 am have my workout, shower and get dressed. Then it's time for breakfast with Tyler. He gets up around 7 am so we have a good 1.5 hours before I have to leave at 8:30 am.

Now part of that time is making and eating breakfast and doing my hair possibly. However, I make it a point to have some time where we just play together. Then when I head off to work, knowing that we already had some quality time together no matter what the rest of the day has in store does wonders for me.

Things may change when #2 comes and later when Tyler starts school, but for the past 3 years we have played together every morning and it's a great way to start my day.

What to you do to get yourself on the right track in the morning? Share your tips in the comments!!

Cheers,

Emily

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