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April 20, 2015

I'm Debt Free! Oh and What Would YOU Do With $500?



I just wanted to announce that I FINALLY paid off all my debt. I will have a post coming up in 2 weeks about it.  But I just had to brag for now!

But in order to celebrate - I have a fabulous giveaway for you!


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GIVEAWAY DETAILS
Prize: $500 Cash (via Paypal)
Giveaway organized by: Oh My Gosh Beck!
Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily. Giveaway ends 5/18 and is open worldwide. Winner will be notified via email.
Are you a blogger who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your blog? Click here to find out how you can join a totally awesome group of bloggers!


a Rafflecopter giveaway




The Many Benefits of the KonMari Method + Some Tips


 Over the past few weeks I've been blogging about my life-changing experience with The KonMari Method of Tidying.   Marie Kondo's book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is an amazing read. The KonMari Method suggests that we only keep those things that bring us joy.   It requires you to evaluate every aspect and item of your life one at a time.   I wrote about how I did this with my wardrobe and my other possessions.

There are many benefits of The KonMari Method so I wanted to break them down and show you how my life is different.

1 | I have more energy.
She even said this in her book, and I totally believe it now.   My mind and spirit don't feel cluttered and overwhelmed EVER.  No matter what's going on around me I can come into my room, sit down and meditate and decompress from a long day.  I feel like my life is in order.    

2| I have less stress.
I have not once had to rush to get something or find something since I KonMari'd all of my possessions.   In fact, the whole idea of not having to declutter and re-organize on a regular basis keeps my mind very clear. Whenever a task comes up, I can do it right away. When I open my mail I can tend to each item immediately. I don't feel the need to toss it away and deal with it later.

3 | I have more time.
Just as she said in the book, you will have more time to do things you love.  I suddenly have more free nights after work so it's easy for me to see my friends and family more often.   I was afraid I would be bored but nope, I am not bored at all.  In fact I've taken up more fun crafting type hobbies.  I have several mini personal projects that I have been able to enjoy these past few weeks.  My routine is so easy now! I come home, change clothes, put my bag away, make my lunch for the next day, and then maybe have 1 or 2 small items on my to do list and that's it.   I don't know why but I had so much more crap to worry about doing before all of this.

4 | I save money.
Since I don't go out and try to buy organizing products and solutions, and I instead use stuff I already have, I've noticed that I am not spending money as much.  

5 | I am a smart shopper.
So the other day I went out to 4 different stores.  Along the way at each store I would pick up several items I wanted or thought I needed like special pens, desk accessories, etc. I thought these were things I really wanted. Then I noticed that I put EVERYTHING back and would leave the store. I ended up coming home empty handed. One specific example was several letter trays I wanted for my cubicle at work. I was just going to settle on a set I found at Staples and then I asked myself automatically if it brought me joy. It honestly didn't so I had no problem putting them back.  And I ended up finding some I really liked online and I had a gift card for the site.   It's amazing how I can resist impulse buys or purchases that I'm really not thrilled about.

6 | I have a closer bond with my possessions.
Laugh all you want but it's true. I love everything I own because I ONLY own things that I love.   And I truly believe in the power of positive energy.  In her book, Marie explains how she had this phone that she just loved and it worked for years and years even though it was outdated. When she finally got a new one, she thanked her old phone, and the second she set it down it died!  It's like once she released it, it's job was done!   Have you ever noticed how a house that is neglected without a family inside to love and enjoy it just starts disintegrating?  I have a great example of all of this with my Honda Civic. I LOVE my car. I honestly have a special bond with her and I would be devastated if something happened to her.   I love her o much not because she's paid off but because she is so reliable and aside from routine maintenance never gives me a problem. I know people with the exact same car as mine from the same year and their car is acting up left and right for no good reason.   Then I realized... it's because all these years I've loved her and when I drive her I enjoy her, and sometimes I even talk to her.   There is positive energy from me in my car, and that's why she is reliable, accident free, and enjoyable for me.   The more 


Now I will say, reading blogs about KonMari will not allow you to do it properly yourself. I INSIST that you quickly read her book ( it took me 2 days) and then start KMing your life in the ways that suit you best.  

I now understand why her book is titled the LIFE-CHANGING magic of tidying up. Once you do this, you will understand too.  Anyone can do it, even the laziest of people. I PROMISE YOU! YOU WILL NOT REGRET THIS! My life is forever changed. I am SO HAPPY!

I do have some tips for anyone that decides to embrace the KonMari Method:


1 | Tackle items by category, NOT location.  
So many people like to go by room when they do this with your house but when I did each category I followed the book and I rounded all the like items from every other room.  The lotion that I kept next to my vanity, the lotions in the bathroom, the lotions in my purse, etc.   Doing this made it easier to really eliminate the duplicates of so many possessions of mine.

2 | Use what you already have. I used to be a big fan of buying organizing products but I took Marie Kondo's advice and began to use things I already own like Apple product boxes, jewelry boxes, etc.  Surprisingly, I had everything I needed so I didn't have to go spend money on fancy shmancy organizing goods.

3 | Touch each item.
By touching each item you actually can feel if there is a joyous energy or not.   Looking at so many items in my closet everyday made me *think* I should keep them, but the second I picked up and held each one I was able to say "Nah, I never wear this because it always looks funny, so this DOESN'T bring me joy."
 
4 | Take your time.
It's not a race. It took me a few weeks but it can take other people a few months.  Everyone is different. Enjoy the journey.
 
5 | Emotions are okay.
I felt so distraught on some days because I was just drained from either parting with things, trying to touch everything, or just the entire fact that this was an ongoing project.   It's okay to get emotional. There are plenty of KonMari Facebook groups out there for support

Have you tried this method or do you plan to? 


 

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April 16, 2015

Tips for Pleasant Dog Walking in Spring

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The weather is so beautiful lately and I'm always trying to go on walks with my dogs but I noticed a lot of other owners struggling with having a stress-free walk where their dog isn't pulling, barking, or getting distracted along the way.  Here are a few tips I use with my dogs.


1// Try to keep a routine.
I like to walk my dogs in the afternoon so by the time they eat dinner, they know that it's time to wind down for the evening.   Dogs are creatures of habit just like people are so when you get a routine going that works for the both of you, make sure you stay with it.


2// Pay attention.
You need to see distractions coming before your dog does so keep your eyes ahead and if you see anything that could potentially cause issues, you can cross the street or start getting your dogs attention early so they focus on you and not what's coming.



3// Be responsible.
Never leave home without doggie bags to clean up any mess! Also, if you are going to a dog park, make sure you have the proper licenses and identification for your dog. 


4// Reward good behavior.
I use small bite size training rewards, like Zuke's Mini Naturals from Chewy during walks to reinforce good behavior and also to keep my dogs focused on me, not other animals.  By holding a small treat in my hand, Grace knows to stay focused on me instead of the squirrel running in front of us.   Also, when another dog greets us, if she stays calm I reward her every minute or so with a treat and some praise. 

What tips do you have for enjoying the nice weather with your pet?



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April 15, 2015

A Special Mother's Day Giveaway

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So Mother's Day will be here before we know it and it's a good idea to start shopping for gifts right now.  I'm going to make this easy for you though because I'm going to giveaway something would make a GREAT gift for any Mom!

The  Build Your Own Sterling Silver 2 Photo Heart Locket process is so easy and self explanatory. I love that you get to customize your locket with a photo on the right and left, and even a customized message!


I mean who wants to buy a custom piece of jewelry online if you don't get to know what it looks like?   I would hate that! That's why I like to see the example on the PicturesOnGold.com website first!  Plus you get a great selection from 1000's of front designs with everything from hearts and hobbies to decorative symbols.  I also like the font selections for the engravings. 
 

So here's the giveaway where one lucky winner will get to create their own customized locket, with options for a Mother’s Day  clip art on the front , 2 permanently engraved photos – in either color or black & white, on the left & right sides, and a message on the reverse side. The item is worth  $170.90 + Free Shipping. 

 
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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April 14, 2015

Win a Couple's Season Pass to Decked Out Live at The Vineyard & Brewery at Hershey


Central PA friends!    I've teamed up with my good friend Merlot Mike from The Vineyard and Brewery at Hershey​ to give away 1 Couple's Season Pass to the Decked Out Live summer concert series.  

All you have to do to enter is: 
1 | Head over to Twitter and Follow Merlot Mike here: http://www.twitter.com/merlot_mike
2 | Tweet @Merlot_Mike telling him either the best pickup line you ever used, or the worst line that's been used on you. Don't be afraid. Be creative and have fun with this. Mike has a GREAT sense of humor, trust me! 

(Since this is a couples ticket it has a date night theme, get it? Ha.)

Mike will choose his favorite tweet next Wednesday, April 22nd. 


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5 Ways My Mom Has Made An Impact On My Life + How I'll Give Her the #BestMomsDayEver

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser.  All opinions are mine alone. #BestMomsDayEver #CollectiveBias



Mother's Day will be here before we know it so I wouldn't to make a quick list of 5 ways my mom has made an impact on my life and at the end I'll show you how I'm giving back to her for Mother's Day. 

1. She had my back. 
Even when I was a little kid, she'd always cover for me if something went down and she knew I'd get in trouble with my dad.   If we were banished to our bedrooms without dinner, she would sneak some up. I could always and still can always count on my mom. 

2. She's always there to help. 
If I'm sick she always goes out of her way to take off work and bring me things to make me feel better.  When I had my wisdom teeth out she was with me the whole time.   And whenever I go out of town, she takes care of all 4 of my dogs! 

3. She listens. 
When I have a bad day, despite how bad hers may have been, she listens and offers advice.  Even if she knows I'm being dramatic, she still listens and nods her head in agreement.  She has a lot of pain lately and some ongoing health issues so it means a lot that she still takes  time out of her day to hear me out with all of my issues. 

4. She buys me great gifts. 
She always gets me the coolest home goods at Christmas and she goes out of her way to find things she knows I will love, like chihuahua-themed jewelry or clothing and Filofax accessories! 

5. She gave me a place to live. 
Obviously growing up she did that but when I went through a very difficult time 2 years ago and had nowhere else to go, she allowed me to move back in with her at a moment's notice with all 4 of my dogs.  Now that's love! 


How I'll Do the Same For Her: 
I wanted to get her a Mother's Day Gift Bag with some of her favorite goodies and things that will be most useful.  For my gift bag I went to Walmart in the One Stop Shop Mother's Day aisle. I actually got my boyfriend's mother a separate gift bag as well so you'll see those below. 


 First of all I had to pick out some beautiful gift bags and cards that were super meaningful.  These are American Greetings Cards and I love the decor and embellishments on them.  Both of these cards are adorned with sequins! How fun is that? 
 So pretty! I know both my mom and Marisa will love these! 
 Here's what is going to be in my mom's gift bag:
Ring/Jewelry Dish - My mom loves her jewelry so I figured this will be a fun way for her to stay organized and have a nice safe place to put her jewelry and rings at the end of the day.  I know she's going to love it.  She deserves all the nice jewelry she owns and obviously needs a nice way to store and display it. 

Owl Notebook- My mom loves crafting and writing so I wanted to get her this notebook (green is her favorite color) because she loves owls.   She can use this at her job or even at home to make grocery lists.  She always uses recycled paper for herself so I wanted to get her something really nice and new to spoil her. She totally deserves it!

Decorative Round Box - I figure she will love having a cute little box to store whatever she wants to in it.   She gets excited about cute little boxes like this so I know she will squeal with happiness and tell me all about what things she could possibly store in this box. 
  Here's what is going to be in my boyfriend's mom, Marisa's  gift bag:
Ring/Jewelry Dish - This one is in the shape of a dachshund which is the kind of dog Marisa has! She will totally love this. 

Decorative Family Display - Marisa loves the idea of family so I know she will enjoy displaying this in her home for all her guests to see! 

Decorative Round Box - She is just like my mom so she will love having a little box to store her most prized possessions. 
 To top it all off I needed some BEAUTIFUL gift bags.  I am in love with both of these from American Greetings.  The one on the right even comes with tissue paper inside it!  The designs are so elegant and beautiful.  Fancy gift bags are necessary for fancy women of course! 







Like I said before, you can find everything you need for your Mother's Day gift giving in the One Stop Shop aisle at Walmart.  What items will you get for your mom? 

If you've read this entire post you are in luck because you've made it to the bottom where I have a special giveaway!!  Good luck!


#BestMomsDayEver Giveaway- $4,000 Prize Value
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