Sometimes you just need to STEP BACK…
take a BREAK…
consider what is IMPORTANT…
and FINGER PAINT!
Thanks to my 5 year old for reminding me of this important lesson today.
Thanks to my 5 year old for reminding me of this important lesson today.
When I saw One Direction perform their new song Story of My Life on X Factor I GOT THE CHILLS. Literally got goosebumps and I think my eyes were even teary. Not the “OMG it’s One Direction!” kind of chills that my young daughters, nieces and Paul Rudd 1D’s Biggest fan get, but the “WOW that was awesome” kind of chills.
I have always thought that even though One Direction is an over-marketed “boy band” (and what is up with Harry’s hair?), those boys can SING – and this song was a lovely, moving testament to that and so much more. The simplicity in how they staged the performance, each of them rotating in a circle with candlelight in the background was stunningly beautiful and showcased each of their talents.
At first I thought it was hormones of course. I am a chick and we are always in some part of our “cycle” – pre, post, almost blah blah blah. Then I thought it was the holidays. I had been online almost non stop since 2 weeks before Thanksgiving. I was exhausted, feeling guilty about not spending enough time with my family – let alone on personal hygiene and even had my laptop open while I was watching.
Then I realized it was actually 2 things – an AHA and a personal disappointment all rolled into one.
To me, the performance was a reflection of ourselves… there are 5 (or more) sides to us and we need all of them to be whole. Quietly moving in a circle round and round, gliding from one talent or situation or style to the next. Just as One Direction or that song would not be the same without Harry or Louis… or Liam or Zane or Nile (insert your favorite HERE), neither would you be the same if you did not flex and shift into different roles.
Sometimes we lead, sometimes we follow.
Sometimes we stand out in front, sometimes we support from the background.
Sometimes we are the guardians and sometimes we are guarded.
Sometimes we dance, sometimes we sway quietly off to the side.
Sometimes we play the game, sometimes we cheer from the sidelines
Sometimes we REACH and sometimes we pull.
The elegant dance we do sashaying from role to role, feeling to feeling is the harmony of life that creates the beautiful music that is YOU.
Then I thought more and more about the lyrics and went through the phase of – THAT’s a cop out! We all have disappointments and say – eh, story of my life… and that is what the lyrics appear to say… until I saw the official video and then knew WHY I was teary eyed. This time I balled! (click HERE to see it – I could not embed it but it is a MUST WATCH!)
Though the song at first listen seems like a cliche weepy love song, resolved that you never get the girl, it is so much more. You see they are taking a look at the stories of their lives that made them who they are today and it is so very touching.
A few years ago when New Years rolled around we talked about figuring out how did I get here, what makes you happy and taking the leap..stripping back the layers to figure out who you are when no one is looking - the REAL YOU.
Well as usual life got in the way and I did not make ME a high enough priority so I slipped back into old habits. So here we are again…personally disappointed in myself for not being present, not being in the pictures that are my life, not being ME.
Take away all the woe is me love story crap and the lyrics tell a different story…
Written in these walls are the stories that I can’t explain… You can explain the stories – these stories, pictures, memories, make you who you are today and that is wonderful.
Written on these walls are the colours that I can’t change… They say a tiger cannot change its spots, but I say you CAN change your colours… add a little RED and be BOLD, add a little cream and COMFORTING, add a little NEON GREEN and be FUN!
And I been waiting for this time to come around… What the hell have we been waiting for? SEIZE the DAY… THIS IS YOUR MOMENT… REACH FOR YOUR DREAMS!
when I die these words will be written on my stone… This is where I stumble… this is where I get choked up… this is where I draw a blank and am sad, insecure and lost.
Everyone is choosing WORD of the year instead of resolutions. I not only have no idea what would be written on my stone, what is my WORD?
Back in the day there was only one road or railway to our destinations. Now we can fly, drive a million different routes – turn left, right, go round and round rotaries and back again. Drive slow, go fast, meander around on a Sunday afternoon.
The point is WE CHOOSE the direction we take.
We can change our minds and go another way… as the GPS says “RE-CALCULATING”
Now is the time to RE-CALCULATE, change your path, shake things up if need be.
We are all looking for ways to save on heat this winter but even beyond saving money, it is hard for the heat to even keep up in these subzero temperatures.
So another way to add some heat to at least your kitchen is of course to COOK! All those reasons we try to use a crockpot and grill in the summer so we do NOT heat up the house are NULL and VOID in these cold temps. This would be a great day for a HUGE turkey to be roasting all day. What is your favorite LONG COOKING recipe?
Some of us however are not prepared with ingredients, recipes or the time to be cooking all day so what are WE to do?
Lord know’s mine needed it – we have been here over 2 years and I am ashamed to say I have NOT cleaned the oven.
So I used that MAGIC BUTTON and could choose to have my oven on SUPER HIGH to cook off all the CRAP on LOW for 3 hours or the standard cleaning for 4 hours. It is so much cleaner now and the kitchen was WARM.
So I see that as a WIN-WIN… finally my oven is clean and we have some warmth.
This week will be full of New Years Resolutions… I have many opinions as to why New Years Resolutions FAIL. However I will also be SETTING GOALS this week and will share more later this week.
One HUGE goal of mine is to be a GO-GIVER as well as a GO-GETTER this year. This goal was not only inspired by my participation in the Best Buddies Challenge this past summer, but also by friends of mine getting married tonight.
Jay McHugh and Stacey Alcorn will marry on New Years Eve and have requested all gifts be in the form of donations to the BeLikeBrit foundation. Both Jay and Stacey have many successful business ventures and I have told you about Stacey before with her awesome bookREACH: Dream, Stretch, Achieve, Influence which has already inspired me.
When they met Len and Cherylann Gengel and read the story of Britney Gengel the young MA volunteer killed in the Haiti earthquake – they just had to get involved and help. Britney texted her parent’s this message 3 hours before the earthquake hit…
“They love us so much and everyone is so happy. They love what they have and they work so hard to get nowhere, yet they are all so appreciative. I want to move here and start an orphanage myself.“
After they lost her, the Gengel’s made it their mission to make their daughters dream a reality. They opened the Be Like Brit Orphanage in January this past year and it is home to 35 children – some day to be 66. It is truly a fantastic story about making a difference, doing the right thing and making the world a better place.
I am honored to be attending the wedding this evening celebrating the love of these wonderful people who MAKE A DIFFERENCE everyday and helping the Be Like Brit Orphanage make a difference in so many children’s lives.
This year MY GOAL is to MAKE A DIFFERENCE – in some way… in some peoples lives… to make this world a better place.
Every small act makes a difference. It is not just about giving buckets of money. Just because you may think you cannot do anything grand, does not mean you are not making a difference. Help someone, listen to someone, make someone’s day easier – that could be just the key to them making a difference as well. AND if everyone is making a difference, imagine the snowball effect.
Without a doubt you have seen the above Video in posts and articles with titles like – Family’s Video in Xmas Jammies Will Upstage Your Christmas Card and This Family’s Viral Christmas Card Makes Your Family Look Lame.
I will be honest that when I first saw it I was overcome with the dreaded green-eyed monster and feeling like a LOSER since I could not even get my “far from Norman Rockwell” family to smile all together in one stupid picture for a holiday card. I seriously spent late Saturday night trying to “photoshop” my kids together in a picture before finally deciding on a collage for the holiday card.
Then I felt like a loser because I am clearly not as cool as they are – though I think I could rock those #XMASJammies.
Then I took a step back…
Putting ourselves down and feeling less-than after seeing someone else’s success or creativity is WRONG on so many levels.
First of all he is a TV anchor and she was a TV journalist and is an actress and they have a production company. THIS IS WHAT THEY ARE GOOD AT and WHAT THEY DO – it should be great. It is also a fabulous marketing campaign for their business.
But even if they were not – we cannot all be GOOD AT EVERYTHING. We cannot all BE CREATIVE the same ways. We cannot all BE A ROCKSTAR. We cannot all be the first one to come up with an idea. If everyone was the same then moments like those would not bring enjoyment or entertainment because they would be expected from everyone. How boring would that be?
Instead of spending time wishing we were like someone else or our families or lives were like someone else’s, TAKE STOCK IN THE GOOD THINGS YOU DO HAVE. The video did show me that I have not taken stock in my families happiness and accomplishments this year as well as being thankful for being healthy with a roof over our heads – not everyone has that. It would be a great exercise to sit with the family and talk about all the great things from the last year.
You also see that Penn Holderness is leaving what would be a DREAM job for many to follow his passions. Are your REACHing for your dreams… do you even know what they are?
Comparison when done NOT to improve yourself, but to diminish your accomplishments or even worse make you want to be something you are not – is counter productive.
FIGURE out what you need to do or learn to achieve your GOALS
So I will never have a super cool Christmas video. Those will be so 2013 by next year. I AM and HAVE so much more and so do you!
Simplify Christmas and enjoy your families.
REPOSTED as requested by MANY OF YOU!
Year after year, I debate how many gifts to get each child, while at the same time trying to stay equitable in the money spent on each. It never fails that just when I think I am finished, I find one child something great which then requires – in my mind – that I get the others another one too. Then comes the fun of figuring out what is from us and what is from Santa – blah, blah, blah. Let’s just say all of this makes for a not so fun Christmas Eve wrapping session.
This past week I had a super big AHA moment while reading a simplemom post about 10 Clutter Free Gift Ideas for Kids. She happened to mention the “want, need, wear, read” method. The process is explained by dandee who also made those beautiful gift tags shown in the photo. In order to simplify Christmas for her children who were getting older and “becoming capable to ask for more, and heaven forbid, expect more. She felt the desire to teach them that more is not better. More is just… more.”
Their and OUR tradition is now to have each child receive 4 gifts…
They also get one gift from Santa and homemade gifts from the kids. That rang a HUGE bell for me, as we recently cleaned out our playroom and actually found Christmas gifts that had never been opened or used.
I am definitely adopting this process. IT IS THE GREATEST IDEA!! Not sure I can limit Santa to 1 gift, but we will see. Dandee also said she does not even use tags, but has a different color wrapping for each child. WOW, that is easy, though now I do have to keep track and make sure Santa wraps in different paper.
That is after the yearly argument with hubby on whether Santa wraps or not. I was raised with Santa wrapping gifts, he was raised with Santa not wrapping and a Christmas morning free for all. I enjoy the not knowing and unwrapping and I think if Santa did not wrap, it would take something away – what do you think?
Anyway, what traditions do you have? How many gifts does Santa bring? Do you wrap or no wrap?
We, as Americans, have been living a life of excess. Christmas just fosters that by having us think that whoever has the most under the tree wins. I believe it is quality and not quantity. These ecominic times demand that we do things differently. The want, need, wear, read tradition is one that teaches frugality, buy also teaches that we do not NEED all the excesses that Christmas traditionally brings. Christmas after all is about giving, not receiving. It is about spending time with family, not with STUFF. Simplify your holidays and join me in this new tradition.
Thing have already started to get crazy with all the HOT holiday deals. Because the Amazon Black Friday deals are kicking off tomorrow with LIGHTNING DEALS popping every 10 minutes, you want to be sure you can see all the deals.
Unfortunately FACEBOOK does not always show you all the deals I post. Here are a few things you can do to help – see pictures above.
Since some of the holiday deals are time sensitive I may also post links directly in the Maven of Savin Deals Facebook GROUP page which is open for everyone to join.
ABOVE ALL DO NOT STRESS…and ALWAYS GET ON THE WAITLIST
I cannot stress enough to get on the WAITLIST. I was over 500+ on the LeapPad 2 lightning deal and was still able to purchase one.
Make sure you check out How to Shop the Amazon Countdown to Black Friday Deals post to bookmark the categories you are interested in. Also visit the blog often throughout the day. I will be posting almost round the clock this week and will publish lightning deal schedules as I see them so you can be ready.
Today on #FitnessFriday let’s talk about NOT GIVING UP OVER THE HOLIDAYS. Just because we are celebrating and have many social obligations, does not mean we should give up on our goals and taking care of ourselves.
Christmas is just 2 months away!
We have Halloween, Thanksgiving and holiday parties to get through not to mention New Year’s Eve events a week after Christmas. Did you know that the average American will gain 7-10 pounds during the holidays? Everyone gets so busy and caught up in the moment and we forget to take care of ourselves.
Here 10 tips to help you avoid the holiday bulge:
Women are most guilty of not having a proper breakfast each morning. We are busy with kids, getting ready for work/school. But this is the most important time to get healthy nutrition in. It doesn’t have to be a huge or elaborate meal, but one that is a combination of protein, carbs and healthy fats. I love to have a protein shake each morning as it’s quick and easy to digest. One of my favorites is a vanilla shake with ½ banana and ½ pineapple slice.
When we stick to a plan we follow thru and achieve our goals. Make exercise and physical activity a priority in your life. Just like you brush your teeth each day, make the time to exercise. If you can’t get in a full 45m to 60m workout then get in 15 min intervals 3 times a day (like going for a walk) or increase the intensity and try some HIIT workouts (see last week’s video)
Yes we hear this a lot, but it helps. Our body is made up of 90% water and it is necessary for our cells to work properly. Sometimes our hunger pains are just the fact that we need some water. Try to make it a habit to drink ½ your bodyweight in ounces each day.
Your meals don’t need to be huge, but they need to be nutritionally sound. Doughnuts and bagels just don’t have the nutrients our bodies need. Many small meals a day are much better for you than 3 large ones. Make each meal complete and small. 200-300 cal meals packed with good ingredients is key.
When you go to events already hungry you will overeat. Especially when you see all those appetizers and sweets you do not normally get to have. So have a mini-meal before you go. Have foods that have protein and healthy fats to keep you satisfied longer.
ZZZZZZZs yes, we know that sleep is important for many things, but during stressful times we must let our body rest and recover. So turn off that TV and get some shut eye. Just going to bed 30 minutes earlier each night can make huge difference.
Take one day each week to make your meal plan for the week. Once you start to plan out your meals you will shop smarter and stick to a healthier eating plan better. With Maven of Savin it’s so easy too. Use the weekly store lists and coupons and plan what you will have according to what is on sale. I do this each Sunday and my kids love to see that I post a menu on the fridge and I also let them have fun in the planning too.
Pack healthy snacks whenever you go out. Keeping healthy snacks on hand will help you avoid the convenience store/fast food binge. Keep snacks like nuts, fruit, whole grain products, peanut or nut butters in your bag, in the car… where ever you need them to avoid the drive thru.
Take 10 min each date to relax and meditate. When we are stressed we tend to over eat. We are a very uptight society and we need to give ourselves a chance to relax and breathe and let our bodies rejuvenate each day. Close the office door (or go hide from your kids in the bathroom) and sit in your chair, close your eyes and just breathe. Deep long inhales and long exhales. After 10 min you will feel instantly calmer.
Frankly you should always do this, but since you will be shopping more it is a bigger opportunity. Yes, this seems simple, but each and every extra step can help! Let’s try and get more movement in each day. Remember our steps challenge? You could even do your squats while waiting in the LONG LONG checkout lines – I dare ya! JUST KEEP MOVING!
And no, we did not forget… how is the Push-up challenge going for you this month?
Jennifer Smith is an ACE certified group fitness instructor, AFAA Certified in Kick Boxing, Mat Pilates, Personal Training, Group Exercise and Step, with over 20 years experience in group fitness. She is also a continuing education provider for ACE & AFAA. Jen is a Pink Pilates certified instructor for breast cancer rehabilitation and has trained with Balanced Body Pilates. Jennifer is also a former nationally ranked competitive water-skier, tri-athlete and obstacle course fitness competitor and has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from WPI.
Have you ever laid awake at night totally shocked that another ten, twenty, or thirty or more years has gone by and you still haven’t moved any closer to your dreams? You are willing to work hard and earn your way to your big dreams and ambitions, but it just seems like LIFE keeps getting in the way.
ONE – You can give up on your dreams and just content yourself on living the life you have currently made for yourself. It’s a great life….just no quite where you imagined you would be right now.
TWO – you can throw caution to the wind, take a stance that there’s no possible way you are giving up now, and do what it takes to ACHIEVE YOUR BIG, HAIRY, AUDACIOUS GOALS!!!
I hope that option TWO is the only one that gets your heart pumping and the energy flowing through you. FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION.
I can’t give it away to you THAT EASY. You have got to keep reading to find out more.
I am very excited to share with you that my friend and colleague, Stacey Alcorn, along with her two business partners, Christi Guthrie, and Ann Marie DuRoss have written an amazing book. It’s simply awesome – I read it in 2 nights and have been motivated like I have not been in years! These three girls have spent their lives building mega-million dollar businesses from scratch. They started with nothing and have built empires. Here’s what I am talking about.
Stacey is only forty years old and owns the largest real estate empire in Massachusetts. Fourteen offices, three hundred agents. She’s killing it in the real estate world. NOT ONLY THAT, she became an attorney six years ago and has built a thriving law practice in The Commonwealth. Impressive right? I am not done. She also owns the consulting firm, P3 Coaching, a fashion boutique, and a fashion empire known as My Little Black Box
Christi, a funky thirty-something chick from the burbs is a celebrity stylist well known in Boston. She’s highly sought after by leading photographers and fashion houses. She owns her own fashion line, Clutch! and is an acclaimed blogger, featured regularly on The Huffington Post. She likes to say that she’s “a little bit country and a little bit rock’n roll,” because when she’s not jet-setting the country with her fashion business, she’s at home on her farm, Lily Mack Farm in Massachusetts with her family.
Ann Marie has built a real estate sales empire that has even been featured in Newsweek! Her team has been known to close more than 100 sales per year. She is an entrepreneur extraordinaire, accomplished stylist, and mother.
In 2013 these three women launched an amazing business known as My Little Black Box. I have some exciting surprises coming up this holiday season as I have partnered with My Little Black Box to offer my readers some amazing opportunities. In the meantime though…this little online start-up went viral. Now they are featured regularly on the Red Carpet at The Emmys, The Country Music Awards, The BET Awards, and more.
How did these three do it? Well, they have documented their blueprint for success in their newly released book, REACH!.
REACH! – Dream, Stretch, Achieve, Influence is coming out this November. This book was written for anyone who has a dream and a deep, down, burning desire to achieve it. REACH! offers concrete strategies for reaching out and grabbing your greatest dreams AND building a network….an army if you will… of supporters and advocates who are AS committed to you accomplishing your dreams as YOU are.
Remember what I said earlier?……
You can be, do, and have anything in the world you want! All you have to do is……
Well, all you have to do is REACH! for this amazing book, REACH! – Dream, Stretch, Achieve, Influence
Since I know these girls personally, I was able to put together an awesome opportunity for you guys. After all, having built Maven of Savin from scratch….I know a little something about REACH! myself. After reading the book I am so energized I can barely contain myself and would love for you all to have that feeling too. The goals I have…you have no idea.
Buy for you AND buy for your family members. What an awesome holiday gift! Perfect for anyone – high school/college seniors, graduates, 30 somethings, 40 somethings, retirees – anyone with a pulse and a dream. AND do not think you need to be in sales or want to run a business for this book to motivate you. IT IS FOR ACHIEVING ANY DREAM, no matter how big or small.
The REACH! book sells for $18.99.
The real value of this book is not that I’ve negotiated an amazing bargain for the first 200 people that act on this offer, but really it’s about how to build a bridge to your dreams. That’s the REAL value here.
CLICK HERE to order your book along with all the freebies! Please don’t wait. Once the 200 books are sold, I can’t go back and ask for more…this is a one time shot. Remember this….you can be, do, and have anything in the world you want. All you have to do is REACH!
This is an updated version of last years post that I hope was helpful to you in planning your Christmas shopping.
You have all started to see the TOP 2013 Holiday TOY lists for the year BUT first things first… start the holiday season with some strategies to simplify Christmas and avoid paying WAY TOO MUCH during your holiday shopping this year.
The first thing I cannot stress enough is Don’t Buy Stuff you Cannot Afford. I know it seems obvious, but seriously – the holidays are about family, not about material goods. I will be posting lots of deals, but that does not mean you need to buy them all. A deal is not a deal if you cannot afford it. You may save $100 on an item, but if you are charging them to credit cards with high interest rates, you may end up paying more in the end. Do not use credit cards to finance your holidays – it is not worth it in the end.
Watch out for crazy shipping fees. I love FREE shipping and highly recommend Amazon Prime. You can get a FREE 30 day trial you can use for holiday shopping. Then it costs $79/year which you can SHARE with other family members (yes at different addresses) – totally worth it in my opinion.
Also, beware of Layaway as well – make sure you understand the terms and fees associated with it to determine if it is the right thing for you. Sometimes the fees end up being more than the interest on a credit card.
We have cut way back at our house in an effort to save money, but also teach out children the meaning of Christmas and the value of a gift. Christmas’s of the past had so many gifts, some remained untouched for months after Christmas morning. It was unnecessary and wasteful so we have moved to the “WANT, NEED, WEAR, READ“ method and the kids really enjoy it.
I highly suggest you budget and keep a list handy of the gifts you need. Even if it is not specific, at least have the names handy so you can cross them off as you grab their gifts.
There are many tools out there, or create your own, just make sure you create some sort of PLAN.
In the coming weeks I will strive to bring you all the great deals on the must have holiday items – keep an eye out for this tree to mark if I think it is a good holiday gift idea, but please keep the following in mind:
You will see the above button on my sidebar and in my header so you can click on it anytime to see all the latest Christmas deals as well as see the Top 2013 Holiday Toys. I will also begin to spy out the Black Friday Deals as we do every year.
If you were around last year you know how awesome the Amazon Lightning deals can be. I will post more later but they go fast and furious so be sure to read all about How to get on the Amazon Lightning Deal waitlist. You will be amazed the number of times you can get the deal you want if you do not give up.