Ask Away...: March 2017

Monday, March 27, 2017

6 Tips to Power Down Your Body & Mind for the Evening

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


I'm such an adult these days.  Seriously, I do all kinds of things that I never thought I'd do.  I enjoy staying home on weekends instead of going out, I drink tea and ENJOY it, and I go to bed by 10 pm as often as possible.  Sleep is so crucial in our lives and the main reason we don't get enough of it is because we either can't fall asleep at night, or we just don't make it a priority and we claim we are so busy and just can't settle down.   It's so important to take time to relax and prepare for bedtime and it's sad that most of us don't make it a priority.   So today I'm going to give you a few tips on how I power my body and mind down for the evening so you can relax, rest, and get a good night's sleep.

||Stay Active During the Day||
Have you ever sat on the couch all day and then you literally feel like you're going stir crazy and can't even fathom the thought of going to bed.  Where did all the pent up energy come from? Well for me, that's what it's like when I don't stay active enough during the day.  I need to get my energy out before the evening.  During the work day I take 2 walk breaks with some coworkers where we go out and walk around the building.   I make sure that if I don't get to do those things during the day, I take a walk after dinner with Rocky or do some yard work.  It's important to stay active because it helps your body and mind deal with your energy.  Sometimes I'm so active getting things done around the house after work that it's easy for me to get tired by bedtime.

||No Food After 8PM||
Since I go to bed around 10, I like to go 2 hours before bed with no food.   Late night snacking has always been a bad habit of mine because I would get bored while watching TV and ended up eating every night.  Eating and watching TV started to go hand in hand and I couldn't do one without the other.   One of the things I did to break that habit is that at 8PM on the dot, I make tea and sip on that until bedtime. 
no eating after 8 pm.  I'll explain more about my tea habit later on in this post.

||No Phone or Computer||
People always say that the bright light from electronic devices can stimulate you and make it harder for you to settle down and fall asleep.  I found that to be so true for myself so I made a simple rule for myself.  My laptop gets plugged in to charge in the office, and my phone gets charged next to my bed.  That way when I'm in the living room I'm not getting distracted by things online and I'm not staring at a bright light right in front of my face.

||No Bedroom Until Sleepytime||
Some people lay in their bed all evening before falling asleep.  I can't do that.  The only time I go into the bedroom and lay in bed is when I'm ready to fall asleep.  That way I associate my bed with sleep.   When I lived at home with my parents I was always in my bedroom and my bed was basically where I ate, where I blogged, and where I relaxed.  It was so hard to all of a sudden change into sleep mode at an appropriate time.  So I stay in the living room and relax on the couch and when I start to feel sleepy (always around the same time), I go right in, lay down, and I'm asleep within a few minutes of my head hitting the pillow.

||Bedtime Routine||
So some people wait until right before they go to bed to brush their teeth and put their PJs on.   For me, doing those things tells me I'm entering the 1 hour time period before bed where I need to start settling down and prepare to fall asleep.   So at 9PM every night I get my pajamas on (if I'm not already wearing them), take off my makeup, wash my face, and brush my teeth.  There's something about this whole routine that puts my brain into sleep mode.  I stop worrying about things I have to do the next day, I start focusing on letting my body feel tired, and I just simply enjoy the quiet time I have before bed. 

||Sipping Bigelow Benefits Tea||
Like I said before, I actually love drinking tea everyday now.  I've actually made drinking tea part of my routine in the evening.   Sipping tea has replaced my habit of late night snacking when I'm bored which is much better for me since I'm trying to NOT eat after 8pm.  So what I do is sip Bigelow Benefits Sleep Chamomile and Lavender Herbal Tea.  It's got such a great floral flavor and really helps me feel relaxed so I can settle down for the night and get ready for bed.

Bigelow Benefits is a new line of tea designed to support everyday wellness.   It's so important to put good things in our bodies and when Bigelow created the Benefits line they wanted to help us define the life we want to live by incorporating this tea in our everyday routine.  Not only does it taste amazing but it helps support your well-being. 

I'm trying to live a clean and healthy lifestyle and the Bigelow Benefits line is designed to support that, with seven new teas that contain all-natural herbs.  Bigelow has been around for over 70 years and the fact that they are gluten free, contain no GMOs, and are blended and produced in the USA makes it a favorite of mine.  They have 6 herbal teas and 1 green tea and incorporating these teas in your daily routine like I did, can really help promote a healthy and balanced lifestyle.   If you're one of those people (like myself) that tries to do little things to maintain and healthy and active lifestyle, this is a perfect addition to your routine.  I now eat more veggies and whole, fresh foods and make my sleep a priority so Bigelow Benefits teas fit right into my lifestyle. 

You can find Bigelow Benefits teas in the tea aisle at Giant. 

Which one of these tips do you think will help you the most when it comes to establishing a sleep-friendly evening routine?














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My Movie Night + Snack Buffet




Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #YourTaxCash #CollectiveBias



My taxes are done and I'm living it up with the rewards from my refund!   Using my tax refund I purchased the Samsung Galaxy On5 (just $69 on rollback!) and the Walmart Family Mobile PLUS Plan.  The Walmart Family Mobile Plus Plan = Unlimited* Talk, Text, & Data which includes up to 10 GB of 4G LTE then 2G plus a free VUDU movie credit every month (which is a $7 value- same cost as a new release rental) per line for just $49.88.    (*Includes up to 10GB of 4G LTE† data then 2G)



Since Family Mobile bills you later, you only have to pay $19.88 for the SIM Kit when you sign up.  There's no activiation fee with the SIM Kit.  You can find this phone and this plan at Walmart in the electronics and cell phone aisle.  

Disclaimer: All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to http://cbi.as/7e-jr or your local Walmart for current pricing.



That's such a great deal that I had plenty of money left over from my tax refund! I was actually able to put some money aside in my "fun" account which I can use for snacks and treats for movie nights!





The 10GB of 4G LTE data is so helpful to me as someone who is always on their phone and using social media.  I am able to surf the web whenever I want without stressing out about how much data I'm using.   I love being able to get on social media and talk about what I'm up to especially when it comes to movie nights.  My friends always enjoy weighing in on the movies I choose to watch.  Plus, as a blogger it makes it easier for me to stay in touch with my readers at all times!  I can take photos, post them, share blog posts, check out what my other friends and bloggers are up to, and the thought of using too much data will never cross my mind! 

Of course one of the best benefits of all is how easy it is to enjoy movies with the free monthly movie credit!  The Walmart Family Mobile PLUS plan and the free VUDU movie credit each month really make sense for someone like me.  I always say that you schedule some relaxing down time every month (or more often) so the free movie credit gives me a great reason to have a movie night in with James and the dogs! All I need is some candy, my SmartTV, my phone ( so I can share my thoughts on the movie as I watch), and a comfy place to watch.


I personally love being able to sprawl out so spreading comforters, blankets, and pillows on the floor allows me to do that. 

Of course a huge added bonus to movie nights in my home is the candy and snack buffet I put together.  With all the money I've saved, it's not hard for me to splurge on treats for my movie nights!

I love a variety of snacks to choose from so I can go through just like any other buffet and pick out a little bit of everything.  I personally like to combine everything in a bowl to munch from as I watch movies.   Since the buffet is in the same room as me, I can refill my bowl as many times as I want while I watch!


Taking time for myself to have little movie nights like this makes me feel refreshed and rejuvenated.  It's a great way to clear my head and escape into another world for a couple of hours!








How can you reap the benefits from switching to the Walmart Family Mobile PLUS Plan? Will you enjoy a movie night like I did?  Will you enjoy not having to closely monitor and stress out about your data usage?

 
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Turn Your Blog Into a Business With These Simple Steps

We’ve all heard stories about famous bloggers that started from nothing and are now able to make hundreds, if not thousands every month just for writing a couple of posts every day about their thoughts, feelings and products they’ve used. Of course, it’s not as simple as just writing and getting money—there are things going on behind the scenes that you might not be aware of.

If you’re looking to take your blog to the next level and turn it into a fully-fledged business in the future, then here are a few simple steps you need to take in order to make that happen.


Find out how to make money

Depending on the type of content you specialise in, you have to make sure your blog is ready to generate revenue. For instance, if your blog is specifically about beauty products, then you could make money with affiliate programs. You sign up for a website such as Amazon, and they give you a link to use. When your users click it, it will direct them to the product you have reviewed or spoken about and if they buy it, you get a small commission for helping them make a sale.

The majority of blogs on the internet use this system to make money. There are some blogs that don’t review products and as a result, they can’t make effective use of affiliate programs. Some bloggers create eBooks or even act as advisors in order to make money, and most blogs also use advertising as a means to get some revenue as well. In short, if you want to turn your blog into a business that makes money, you need to learn what your audience is like and what forms of revenue can apply to your model.

Get serious

If you want to turn your blog into a business, then you need to get serious. Make sure you have people to help you manage things such as finances, upgrade your web hosting plan so that it supports monetization, and get a virtual mail service so you have an address for people to send you letters, products, or even just to act as a way to show professionalism.

You also want to start making changes to your home. For instance, if you’re currently working in your bedroom, then you might not feel like you’re currently working a job and that it’s simply a hobby. Get yourself a dedicated desk or renovate a room into a home office or study. Get used to using this as a workplace within your own home so that you’re motivated to work, less distracted, and more comfortable when using your laptop or computer.

Keep writing

Being consistent with your content is the key to creating a fantastic blog. If you have massive gaps in your content publishing, then you’re going to lose readers very quickly. Make sure that you continue to make posts and plan content ahead of time so that you never fall into a creative block, and don’t neglect to interact with your readers to make them feel valued.










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Friday, March 24, 2017

Could Sharing A Bed Harm Your Relationship?


Sharing a bed in a relationship is such a staple that few of us think about it. After all, sleep is when you’re at your most vulnerable - you’re unaware and unable to protect yourself. Trusting someone enough to share that space with them is a key component of a relationship, right?

Right - or so the societal norm would have you believe, anyway. In fact, if a couple is reported to be sleeping in separate bedrooms or separate beds, it’s immediately assumed that there’s a problem in their marriage. It’s reinforced over and over again, so when it comes to your own arrangements, you dutifully share a bed with your partner and don’t think anything more about it.

Of course, there are benefits to sharing a bed - and it does have a sense of intimacy that few other behaviors can compare to. However…

Is It Necessary?

No. It’s perfectly possible to have a functioning marriage, a healthy relationship, and not choose to share a bed. Thousands of couples attest to this.

On the flip side, maybe it’s time to be asking if sharing a bed could actually be harmful to your relationship. And the simple answer to that one is “yes”. Here’s why.

1. It’s Trickier To Get To Sleep When Sharing Space

Most of us tend to need our space when we’re trying to sleep. For one thing, it helps us to regulate our body temperature - few of us are able to drift off if we’re too hot, for example. In fact, keeping a room cool is frequently cited as a must for a decent sleep regime - but then we go and lie next to a 98.6F body, completely canceling out any benefits of the window you just open.

There’s also a spatial problem. Most of us, given free space, will stretch out when we sleep. It’s hard to find the best position for great sleep when we have to take into account that our partner is trying to do the exact same thing. This can mean you’re irritable with one another, and if one of you sleeps badly, you can be fairly sure the other is going to cop some of the flak for it.

2. You’re Always Together

The saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder” might not have been conceived due to this issue, but it’s worth keeping in mind. Sleep is a time of rest, rejuvenation… and being unconscious. So why do we insist on sharing it with another person? All we’re doing is annoying one another or making life difficult.

If you kiss goodnight and then head to separate bedrooms - or even into separate beds in the same room - then it’s still intimate and sweet, but you then get a bit of privacy. As a result, you’ll sleep better, and be genuinely happy to see one another every morning.

3. It Can Make Arguments Worse

If you have an argument with your significant other during the day, going to the same bed at night can be frosty and uncomfortable. Or, worse yet, one of you opts to sleep in another bedroom - thus making the separation feel all the worse, as it’s different from your routine. It can elongate sulks or mean you just start bickering over the issue while you’re in bed, too.

If you always have separate routines, it doesn’t force the idea you have to make up before you’re good and ready. That means any reconciliation is totally natural, and any apologies proffered are genuinely meant.



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Outfit of the Day: Lots of Dots






I just adore black and white polka dots because they go with every and any color. So today I decided on pairing them with purple.




They are a nice way to wear something different without completey sticking out. This is a LuLaRoe Irma and OS leggings.








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Thursday, March 23, 2017

What To Do When Disaster Strikes

There are a lot of problems in life that could befall us when we’re least expecting it. From job losses to unexpected bereavements to injuries to car accidents, no matter how prepared we think we are, we’re never prepared enough. Luckily there are a few things you can do in any difficult situation to make it just a little easier on yourself and your loved ones.


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Keep Communicating
Everyone reacts to stress in different ways. Some people clam up and find it very difficult to talk to others, while some people get angry and frustrated and start to lash out. The one thing that almost everyone has in common is that not many people tend to react to difficult circumstances in ways that are always one hundred percent healthy and productive. If something rough is going on in your life, make sure that you take plenty of deep breaths before losing your temper. People simply can’t understand what you’re going through unless they’ve lived through similar situations and it’s important for you to remember that. If people offer to help you, you should absolutely take them up on it - ask them to do your laundry, to make you dinner, to babysit your kids. Real friends and your best and closest family members will leap at the chance to do something to help.


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Talk To The Professionals
No matter what’s happened, you probably aren’t an expert on it so it’s important to talk to people who are. If you have a loved one who’s in the hospital make sure that you keep talking to their doctors about what exactly is going on so you’re up to date with what’s happening. If you’ve been in a car accident, make sure that you talk to a car accident lawyer to see if there’s any compensation that you might be entitled to, particularly if you’re unable to work for some time because of your injuries. Finally, remember that there’s no shame in seeking mental health help if you’re going through a difficult time. Anyone who can help you deal with your emotions well will be a huge help in your life - a counsellor might just be exactly what you and your loved ones need.


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Keep Track Of Your Finances
Finally, it’s important to keep track of your bank account - money goes down even when the rest of your life is full of chaos and difficulty and if you can’t work for a period of time then you might need to cut back in some areas. Keep talking to your accountant or bank manager about what exactly is going on so that they can help you manage it. If you’re having problems managing then why not set up a JustGiving account? Crowd funding could help you until you’re back on your feet. Finally, make sure that you start to cut back on non essentials like takeaway coffee and so on - focus on what’s really important like making sure that your rent and bills get paid.














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Getting Your Finances Back On Track After An Injury

If you have ever been in the situation where you have been so badly injured at work that you have to take some time off, you will know how very stressful that can really be. No matter what kind of work you do, or who you are, this is the kind of thing that you never want to happen. Not only is it a hassle in terms of having to take time off and probably losing finances, it is also distressing not being able to do anything about it at all. The most important thing in these situations is your health, of course - but that doesn’t mean that your bank account is not also important, because it is. In this article, we are going to discuss ways that you can get your finances back on track after an injury which has kept you out of work.


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Budgeting


If you don’t already budget in your everyday life, now is probably a good time to start. The fact of the matter is that you are not quite sure what your finances are going to be like in the near future, and as such you should endeavour to keep your spending to a minimum. You also need to know exactly how much you actually have to spend, and what your overall financial picture looks like. Otherwise you might find yourself in deep trouble. This is where budgeting comes into it. With a proper budget, you are much more likely to keep on top of your finances in such a way that you can see yourself through to the next stage of your life. But it all starts with drawing up a proper, tight budget which you can actually follow.



Compensation


If you were injured by someone else, or it wasn’t your fault, then you might want to see if you are entitled to anything in the way of compensation. You might be struggling with money in the weeks or months to come, and anything you can do to help that is going to be a good idea. If you do think you might be entitled to some compensation, then you should consult some good injury lawyers to find out what they think. They will be able to assist you and help you make the most of the situation so that you can come out the other end as well as possible, in as good a position as possible.



Earn From Home


If you are homebound and you really think you might be struggling with money, then you might want to think about trying to earn some money from home. These days, this is easier than ever, and you might even find that you quite enjoy some of it. There are plenty of ways of earning from home, and above all you should look around and compare the options before you dive into anything. Just tread carefully and protect yourself against scams and gambling schemes and so on. Only go for something if it seems like a genuine money making attempt which looks like it might work well.













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Keeping Your Wedding Guests Happy

When you are planning for your wedding, you are likely to be simultaneously very stressed out and very excited, and this yo yo of emotions can often mean that the best decisions are not always made. It helps in this case to focus on the priorities, and to do that you of course need to know what the priorities are. Most people would agree that the guests themselves are among the most important part of the wedding, and keeping them happy is likely to be one of your major concerns along the way. As long as you are focusing on them, you should find that you tend to make the right decisions overall. Let’s take a look at a few of the things you should focus on most keenly if you want to keep your guests happy.


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Invites


Most of the magic happens actually long before the day itself, and the invitations are a great example of somewhere where it really pays to pay a lot of attention. As long as you are working hard on the invites, you can be sure that the overall effect will be marvellous enough to really wow your guests. You should make a special effort to design the invitations so that they are personal to each guest, and give a taster of what is to come on the big day.



Thank You Cards


Just as important as before the event is after it: if you forget to send out thank you cards, it is likely that there are many people who would not forgive you in a hurry. The quality of these thank you cards is also hugely important, as if you really go out of your way on these it will show how grateful you are, and your guests are bound to really appreciate that. The best way here is to use personalised wedding thank you cards, so that each and every one of your guests feels significantly more cared for than they would otherwise.


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Favors


Just as vital as these, of course, are the favors, and you will probably want to make sure that you spend a decent amount of time working on those too. Ideally, you want favors which are as original and unique as possible, and as with the previous two items, you should try your best to personalise these as well. If you do that, people will be much more likely to leave your big day feeling delighted to have been a part of it, and that is exactly what you are going for. Try to go for favors which are likely to be appreciated by all. This will ensure that you don’t upset or annoy anyone by giving them a gift they don’t appreciate.



Food & Drink


It goes without saying that the food is a hugely important part of the day, so make sure that you are doing everything you can to keep it as professional as possible. Give everyone an option, even if it is merely between two or three dishes, and most of all make sure you remember any special dietary requirements your guests might have.












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Prepare Your Home For an Emergency With These Easy Tips

We live in pretty perilous times. Every time we turn on the news there is something new and sad or news about parts of the world where disaster has struck. We never know when that place we hear about might be a little closer to home. So it is more important than ever to be prepared for an emergency. Even smaller emergencies like the power going out can cause a bit of a problem for us if we don’t know where certain things in our home are. If you think that you need to be more prepared, then you’re not alone! We can all do this together and make our homes a safer place to be, should disaster strike. Preparedness isn’t just for our neighbors or people that we see on the news. It is for everyone. Here are some of the best ways to prepare your home for an emergency.


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Pack a Grab Bag


If you have something in your home like a fire or a flood, then it might mean that you have to leave your home for a couple of days, or perhaps even longer. So having a bag that you can just grab at a moment’s notice is a must. It is a good idea to keep the bag in a pretty safe place in the home. Having it at height could be a good idea in case of a flood. It could even be worth keeping it in a shed or garage, that is slightly separate from the main building. But from there you can just grab it and go. What are the best things to have in a bag like that, though? A couple of days worth of food and water for your family is a must. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, as who knows where you’ll be for that time. But things to give energy and fill you with protein and fiber are a good idea. So granola or energy bars are a safe choice, as well as brown rice, dried fruit snacks and nuts.


Other things to include are flashlights, batteries, a small first aid kit, a small tool kit could be a good idea, as well as money and copies of important documents. If any of your family members take medication then having some in there, or at least their prescription, is a good idea too. Sanitation like some baby wipes and extra baby items if needed, like diapers and formula. It is a pretty easy kit to get together. It needs a small amount of time dedicated to it to get it done. So don’t delay!


Emergency Numbers


In an emergency, it can be hard to think of who you need to call. So having a list written out is a good idea. You could have the contacts in your cell phone too. But as your emergency could be lack of electricity, it could mean that you don’t have a way to charge your phone to get the numbers. So written copies is a good idea too. It should have family members numbers, as well as schools, work and hospitals. It is a good idea to have down the number of people like your local plumber, flood services, fire brigade and police. Then you can deal with any problem that you have quite quickly. Writing each immediate family members number down is a good idea. We should know their numbers off by heart, right? But as we just use cell phones these days we might not know what it is. But being able to get in touch with each other is going to be helpful should you get separated.




Make an Action Plan


Whether you live by yourself, with a partner or with a family, an action plan is going to be most helpful. In a stressful emergency situation, it can be hard to think straight. So already have a plan of action is a good idea. It could be to plan an escape route if there is a fire downstairs. You could decide which windows will open the largest and where the safest route down would be. Talking in through with your children is a great idea too. You could almost act it out, so they understand what you mean. Take the house fire example again. It could be that you get down to the floor and practice crawling from room to room, so that they learn about smoke and that the smoke will rise. So keeping low to the ground is the best thing to do. Then should the worst happen, everyone will have a memory of what is expected of them and where they should go.


Know Your Home


If I was to ask you to locate the water pipe stop switch, would you know where it is? Do you know where your boiler is or where the electrical fuse box is? If you don’t know these things, then you need to find out. It is a good idea for all of the family to know where they are too. If you’ve got a gas leak, you want to know how to switch off the gas or heating, so that things don’t get worse, for instance. So get to know your home and where these ‘emergency’ buttons are.
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Store Food


Having some food storage in the home is an amazing idea. We might not have a disaster that directly affects our home or neighborhood. But more locally, there could be a flood or explosion on local farms or shortages of food because of a number of reasons. There could be a flood close by to us, meaning that we have to stay in our homes and can’t get out to the stores. So in order to survive at home, you do need to have as much food storage in the home as possible. Think of tinned and dried goods like beans, rice, sauces, tinned fruit and tinned vegetables. It might not be the most glamorous foods, but it will sustain you should you need it.













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