22 August 2016

Monday Feels: A Bit of a Confession

You guys...what a weekend.  I think the older I get, the more I prefer to chill.  Even the thought of being around so many people at a Friday night event had me reconsidering living in a shell.  Nope!  I'll take a day at the pool with the kids, and a quiet rest of the weekend instead.

Don't get me wrong...I do leave my house!  It's just that I am an introvert by nature, and home is where I find comfort and where I recharge.  Now that I've matured and moved past the "party-all-night" stage, I don't want energy to be sucked from me when it's unnecessary. I mean, kids do that by nature already. :-) 

Another thing...

I don't hate Mondays.  How's that for you?!

I used to think "Great, it's Monday, it's automatically going to suck."  Where is the logic in that? Unless every Monday, I was forced to attend a big event of some sort with tons of people, it really isn't going to suck.

My rationale for disliking Mondays has dropped over the past 5 years.  I really just dislike that it's the end of the weekend and The Man has to go back to work. 

We enjoy our weekends together, our time spent doing nothing spectacular.  As a family we also have a lot of fun NOT being busy socialites drifting from gathering to gathering.  That, and we live pretty far from the life I would be experiencing as a military wife.  I know I complain about our commute to pretty much anywhere, but there are several reasons to be happy about this.  One is that I am a homebody.  I do enjoy getting out of my comfy sweats and t-shirts to socialize and be around other adults every once in a while.  But I’m also expending a LOT of energy on the socializing bit.  It literally drains me, and I feel hungover for two days.   And two - most days I prefer to do my own thing in the somewhat quiet of my home.  Oddly, I am at peace here with all the noise and mess. 

So when we have lots of time to soak up with just our family, it’s actually quite nice.  There are things we take care of like grocery shopping, meal prep, and loads of laundry.   But there’s not much more adulting than that.  I feel prepared for the week.  Rested and ready to tackle some new goals. 

While Big D is away, there are plenty of ways to keep my spirits up.  For one, I’m a mom.  And a busy one at that.  There are mouths to feed, hands to wash, Legos to slide out of the way so I don’t catch a slip and fall.  I get creative, too.  I'll dance while I cook.  Dance while I put the plates on the table.  Dance while I dance.  Well, I suppose that's not too creative.  Plenty of calories to be burned though!

Stay-at-home life is hard.   Even more so when your husband is in the military.   The weekends seem even shorter than what I remembered when I worked outside of the home.  But you know what?  Life is what you make of it.  Be negative and you will see all the unpretty negatives.  Stay positive and you'll see all the things you should be grateful for.  

To help, find something you're passionate about.  

I am an entrepreneur.  I blog, obviously, and I run my own on-line health and fitness business.  Imagine throwing my hands up and saying “That’s it, I’m done.  It's getting tough, I’m outta here.”  I can't.  That would be a shame, don't you think?  Because things do get hard as an entrepreneur, and someone who is just trying to make a living.  It's worth fighting through the difficult stuff. 

Seriously though, things cannot go crumbling into ruins when life gets difficult.  This is the life I chose.  The good news: I know this won’t last forever.  I'm focusing on what I can do for right now:  Take care of our babies, and our home.  Make things as pleasant as possible.  Soak up each day.  I refuse to move in and out of each day focusing on the future, and forgetting to live in the present.  When you have kids, each moment should be lived, because those are the stories that are going to be retold when they are adults sitting at the table for birthdays and holidays. 

See yourself through the difficult, trying times by focusing on the small things -  smiles, laughter, hugs, messes.   Think of each Monday as a clean slate.  And have an amazing start to the week! 


Gain more out of life.  Make more memories.  Be happy.

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05 August 2016

How I Keep Track of My Life

Disclaimer: *This is a sponsored advertisement post.  I received a product in exchange for an honest review.  Additionally, I am not in any way affiliated with the product I am about to review.  All opinions are my own based on my personal experience with said product.

Busy summer over here.  I've been meaning to update you all on how things are going so far but time seems to escape me.  My 13-year-old daughter is visiting for the summer, and we have been having non-stop fun (or at least I have).  Have you heard of the app "music.ly?"  So. Much. Entertainment.  Who needs reality TV between that and Periscope?  

Then the rest of the summer, I can't believe this but we have been seeing a blur of contractors on the roof, lots of banging and hammering.  The hum of power tools fill my dreams.  Now, I'm just wondering when our house will be put back together.  Every direction they turned, there was been another minor problem.  It never ends!  I'm officially going to rent a home for the rest of my life.  Or camp out.  Forever.

It's been a challenge to keep up with things.  My to-do lists have suffered, meal-planning has stopped, and all of my ideas are getting stuck in the funnel of life where only the important and immediate ideas and thoughts get through.  I'm literally stuck in this adulthood suck.  My creative juices are beginning to suffer.  All I want to do is make videos, lift heavy things, be silly and entertaining, write about my adventures, and carry on.  

Such is life, right?



You become an adult and are given a funnel.  If you don't get a funnel it probably means that you're a mess, and don't have the ability to prioritize and take care of the important things.  Like eating and showering. 

Even then, I STILL forget things!  Sometimes I'm walking around with a to-do list buzzing in my mind and I'm not really seeing what is in front of me.  I'll be looking for my keys or my phone, my shoes, water bottle... (not in order of importance).  It is ridiculous how something in plain sight can practically be invisible, once your eyes cloud over with that impending to-do list rolling through your mind.

I do keep a journal.  Every day I write down (or I try to) a to-do list that I want to accomplish.  Not that everything will necessarily get done, but at least I can get it out of my mind.  And there are notes and actual journal entries that I try to add in there for each day.  I actually kind of dig it.  I'll tell you more about bullet journaling in another post.

Now I think I'm all fancy.  I have all these cool apps to help me remember things, take notes, etc.  I can't always jot things down in my journal, especially when I'm on the go. To stay on track with my to-do lists, I love love love Evernote.  In fact, I type up all of my notes and sometimes my blog post drafts in Evernote. (Psst! I'm doing it now!)  It's great because I put notes into separate notebooks.  I can easily set reminders for notes too, so a little push notification will be sent to my phone at the specified time.

Another app I love is One Note.  This is more for my Mac. I use it for business, to keep track of people and conversations, etc.  But it's slightly easier to use in that you can pretty much type/write in there without a strict format.  It's just like pen and paper.  I think that's the best way to describe it.

And recently, I got this app that allows me to find things.  Like actual items I misplace or forget.  Say WHAAAAT?!  Yes my friends.  I've attached it to my water bottle because my son is known for running off with it.  Then recently, I put it on my clutch, because that goes in and out of my back pack and I easily lose track.  I'll be on my way out the door with my back pack and realize that I didn't put it back.  "Where's my wallet?!"  That goes over real well, when I've already left the house.  I haven't had one person help answer that question.  Yet.

What you need is a "Pager Tag" to "tag" your item, which you can purchase on Amazon.  Super simple to use. It's customizable on the app, like what you want to hear when you page it.  You can have it play your music when you page it, though I haven't figured out how to turn it off.  The range is about 30 ft.  Basically, it's perfect for when you're hanging around your house, or when you're getting ready to leave and want to just check to make sure THAT item made it into your bag.    I'm a homebody, and you'd think that I could keep better track of my things.  It's nearly impossible with curious little ones behind me in my shadows, and when I move from fancy "I don't have children" bag to a back pack filled with children stuff. 
This is what the app settings look like


This has proved to be worth it on several occasions.  Even just to check that my clutch is where it's supposed to be.  My husband recently said "Oh we're at this point in our lives?!"  Totally joking, but I thought about it.  Yeah, I think we are.  If anything, for this busy momma, this Pager tag is my sanity check.  Saves time, so I don't have to go digging through bags, asking nobody in particular where my things are...you moms know the drill.  Peace of mind, granted.

29 June 2016

Acceptance

Be good to yourself mind body and soul.  This doesn't mean you need to completely change everything about yourself to be the best at whatever you're trying to do.  It means that part of being good to yourself is ACCEPTANCE.  We aren't all born with the abilities to excel at everything that we do.  Some work harder than others to achieve incredible feats; some lack the abilities, the smarts, the body build or whatever.  It doesn't mean that you can't be AMAZING in other areas!  
Renegade Rose @ Simply D Constructed Blog

Guess what!  NOT EVERYONE IS _____.  We are all different, from our physical build to our level of intelligence.  I am sensitive.  I can't sing well.  I will never be curvy.  I am an introvert and will probably never become the life of the party.  This is NOT negativity, this is understanding myself and my limitations.  

I think there's a problem with the saying "Whatever you put your mind to, you can do."  Or I may have screwed that up, but you get what I am trying to say.  It's just not 100% TRUE.  There needs to be a caveat in there, something like "...given you have the physical strength, aptitude, ability to study your ass off, ability to overcome those ingrained fears of social events..." Et cetera, et cetera.  All the external influences we can name (our parents, friends and family, work, society as a whole) - they all send us messages about what we need to or should become.  What if we aren't molded for those specific things?  But we try anyway, because we are told so.  That's like trying to teach a fish how to live on land.  No matter how many times it tries, it is not built for breathing in air, and will continue to feel stupid and like a failure all its life.  

Give it your best effort.  EVERY TIME.  Because we don't learn without breaking out of our comfort zones.  But don't beat yourself up if you keep hitting obstacle after obstacle with little progress forward, and you start feeling like a failure.  Some things weren't meant to be.  It is OKAY, and no you're NOT a failure.  Accept that you can't sing, or you get so lost in Math class that you'll never make it out of the 200 level.  Stop stressing about it!  Stop feeling bad!  Take the feeling out of it, and you're more likely to be in a state of acceptance.  If you gave it your best effort, and with the help of tutors on Youtube (true story) then you did what you could.   

You know yourself better than anyone.  Forget all those external messages that you're being flooded with daily.  Forget FEELING a certain way.  Feeling bad, guilty, like a failure....sad, yeah, you may feel some of that.  Be an advocate for YOURSELF and realize when the brick wall is not being knocked down - it's time to move on. 

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10 June 2016

From Here On Out

Hey my fabulous followers and friends!  I won't say what I want to say, because it HAS been a while.  We will just get over the fact that I miss blogging and connecting with my blogging friends.  So I am back.  I can't say how long it will take for me to finally come up with an editorial calendar to be more routine and official, but it's always been a work in progress.

I've been busy.  But I'm ready to start back up again with doing things that fulfill me, and breathe passion into what I do.  This is how I like it.  Busy.  Fun.  Entertaining.  Things are about to get real different around here.  Real.  And different.

Simply D Constructed http://simplydconstructed.blogspot.com/2016/06/from-here-on-out.html

First of all, I'm going to become transparent. I haven't always been as transparent on here, because there are some ugly sides that I didn't want you all to see.  I touched lightly on my failures and my feels, but now I want to be as transparent as possible.  I'm traveling on this journey called "my life," and what better way to capture my adventures than by putting them in writing...right here?

Ahhhh, you feel me!  Yay!  

I hope you're kinda sorta excited about this as much as I am.  It's going to be quite a shift.  I've been blogging on and off for 5 years now and I've changed so much since then.  I've grown, and overcome fears, found my bravery button and I try to mash on it every day.

It takes a lot to put yourself out there when you've "grown up" teaching yourself to hide it all.  "Hide all the good stuff!"  Not anymore.  We are going to go on this adventure together.  We are going here there and everywhere.  There's going to be some funny stories, lots of photos, lots of fitness (we have always been at that level) and less DIY stuff.  Unfortunately, I have to downsize on things I just don't have the time for.  And I mean physically, as well.  I've started my closet transformation just the other day and already took one heart-breaking load of craft stuff to a local second-hand shop that raises money for the SPCA.

With all that said, I'm going to leave you with a Youtube video that will be my first of many vlogging videos for my journey.  I hope you all enjoy!  And if you do, be sure to leave me a comment or like it and follow me on all the social medias to stay on the up and up about me and my whereabouts.  I look forward to connecting and re-connecting with you all!  :-)

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19 April 2016

Nightlight Conundrums


*I received this product at a discounted price in exchange for my honest review.  No additional compensation was received.  I choose to review products I think my readers might benefit from.  All thoughts and opinions are my own, based on my experience.

Our son, who is 3 years old, is absolutely in LOVE with his sisters’ “Frozen” nightlight plug-in.  He surprised me a few weeks ago with telling me that he needed Anna [for me to plug in the nightlight].  It was something I hadn’t heard him say before!  According to the doctor, he was behind on his speech so we really didn’t know when he would start talking and saying full sentences.  Granted, this isn’t his first sentence, it certainly was nice to hear him demand the “beautiful princess light” be plugged in before bedtime.

The girls wanted it back, naturally.  But it kept the peace at bedtime, so we allowed our son to keep it in his room.  And, they are much older and able to survive the night with a closet light left on for them.  

That problem is solved, but the bathroom is another issue.  They will both go in there in the complete dark and use the bathroom, but I feel like they should have some sort of guiding light in there.  We used to keep the light turned on but then the entire hallway was lit up.  All night.  I even had a neighbor mention it.  Thanks, we know.
When I saw this battery operated nightlight, I thought “This could work for them.”  It’s a motion sensor light, so it wouldn’t be on all night.  I went ahead and asked the girls how they’d feel about getting a new nightlight for the bathroom.  Of course they said yes, imagining it being a fancy Frozen nightlight.  Creative mom over here thought "It would just be a few Frozen stickers away from “pretty."

It shipped from China.  I got an email saying it wouldn’t be delivered until a few weeks later, BUT it actually arrived a week earlier.  We have had it for a week now, and I kind of have mixed reviews on it.

Let’s start with the cons:
The directions…they were fairly easy to read, but it would have been extremely helpful to know more about sliding the back door off of the body casing.  I thought it would be an easy sliding action.  It wasn’t so I really tried to make it move.  Then, I went Strong Woman on it, trying to force it off by sliding then twisting and --crack!   (It reads "Delicate Life" and that's probably what I should have been - delicate.) There are two little prongs or hooks on the underside of the door.  I snapped the bottom hook off in my attempt to open it.  It was more complicated than it needed to be.

Then, after I flipped it right side up, the little light cover on top fell into the casing. (You can see it inside, from the birds eye view above.  It's just a thin piece of frosted plastic.) And, now I can’t get it out.  Well, maybe with a little "Operation" technique, but I'm really not even worried about it.  At first glance, it just looks broken, but it still works!

These are really my only cons for this product, though the instructions are a big one.

So let’s talk about what I liked.  The light was activated with a little motion, so that is always a good sign.   I needed to be sure they were comfortable with it.  Also, the 3M stickers that it came with it stick REALLY well.  I mistakenly stuck the light onto the tank lid, not the toilet lid, and then tried removing it and had an extremely hard time.  Removing it was pointless anyway, because after I stuck it to the lid like the instructions said, it fell from force, the door popped off and the batteries flew out.  Maybe if I hadn’t twisted and broken the back door hook, it would have stayed in tact.  Oh well!  My mistake!  At least now you know.


Overall, I think we will run with this nightlight for as long as we can.  I’m still frustrated with the instructions, because I now have a broken nightlight, but it still does it's job illuminating the bathroom just enough to not be blinding or annoying.  I think that more specific instructions would have prevented my additional mishaps in using the product.  I’d probably buy it again, but at the discounted price.  

Maybe we should get those Frozen stickers out now.


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08 April 2016

List-It Friday: Why Selfies Are Important + Review


*This is a sponsored advertisement post.  I received a product discount in exchange for an honest review.  Additionally, I am not in any way affiliated with the product I am about to review.  All opinions are my own based on my personal experience.

If you have a smart phone, you probably have been in that awkward position of taking a selfie.

Don't be ashamed to admit it.

I've even done this with a regular camera.

The point is  we have all been there at one point or another. Or we will get there eventually.  Some people rag on others about how silly it is to take selfies.  Why so many?  Oh why??!

I am going to give you 10 good reasons, so listen up.


Why Selfies Are Important
1.  Courage - Bloggers, you know this one all too well.  For those of us who are selfie-shy, we tend to get a little embarrassed when we try to take a selfie out in public.  Even if it's for our blogs and social media.  I'm totally raising my hand here.  We have to get up the nerve to snap that selfie when the opportunity strikes!
2.  Practice - How do you know what your duck face looks like unless it's captured on camera?  And what if you can't get someone to take it for you?  Selfie!  You don't know how well you can contort your face into those coveted facial expressions unless you snap and study.  And hopefully erase all but one or two.
3.  But First, Selfie!  This song would not have been inspired had it not been for selfies.  This girl totally has it all figured out.  SBAE:  Selfie Before Anything Else.
4.  Independence - You  don't need a friend. You just need your phone, and a long arm, or an an awesome gadget like the one I have here.  It's you against the world.
5.  Money-Saver - You can save so much money when you take your own photograph.  It's quick, easy, and can be done in the comfort of your car or bathroom.  
6.  Picture Perfect - Only you have control over the quality of your picture (before it hits the internet).  Have a stray hair?  Retake.  Have a photo-bomber?  Retake.  You took too many steps to the left and fell into the water?  Retake, but dry it off first.  Winning!
7.  Using Your Phone To It's Full Potential - Smart phones have self-timers and amazing resolution.  There are also different types of equipment that can be used, like the extender arm gadget, or the fish-eye attachment, if you want that effect on your selfie.  I recommend getting an attachment that allows you to have BOTH hands in the selfie.  If you’re the only one in it, is it still a selfie?  YES!  There are also a ton of apps for free or for purchase that help you get the best selfie.  You get your $500-worth out of your phone!  No professional equipment necessary.
8.  Anywhere, Any Time - You're a lion in the prairie.  On the hunt for the perfect opportunity.  A photo op can occur at any moment, any time of day.  Unless you have the funds to hire a camera crew to follow you around all day, it's just you.  Rely on numero uno and get that selfie at the beach or while you’re enjoying a triple burger for your cheat meal.  
9.  Boredom - This hasn't been a problem for me, because at any given time I have 4 reasons to avoid it.  But if you are finding that you have way too much time on your hands, selfie!  
10.  Photo Challenges - It provides a challenge for those looking for adventure on the daily.  How many selfies at different locations can you take?  How many selfies can you take where you're photobombed by animals?  Famous people?  Can you take a perfect selfie without your appendage showing?  (No not that one)

See it clipped to the mirror on the left?

Although this is a funny post about being brave with your selfies, there comes a point where you really need to have a quality shot + a good angle. (No up the nose shots!)  And if you’ve been one to use a butter dish or a dumbbell to get the shot, then you know the struggle is real.

As you all may know by now, I'm into fitness.  So I take a lot of selfies, make a lot of videos, and it’s part of being transparent to my followers.  I want them to follow along on my journey.  Even though it may seem redundant to take so many pictures of myself, I am documenting my journey this way.  I also make videos,  and I know some people are wondering how I do it.  You can obviously tell when I’m using a GoPro, because of the fisheye view.  But the rest of the time I take my phone and get creative.

Along with selfies, videos are a great way to communicate and document my journey through fitness, healthy eating, and life in general, so it’s important to get a good shot. 

When I saw a picture of this cell phone holder clipped to a desk, I had to have it.  
Clamps onto some thing up to 2 1/2"; this is the phone clamp here.

One day I might be able to afford a slick studio set-up, who knows. Ha-ha!  (big dreamer here)  But I’m okay with snagging a problem-solving product to add to my repertoire, in exchange for a serious discount and an honest review.  Hey hey!  I'm pretty happy to add it to my collection of gear that makes my life easy.  (You can snag one for yourself on Amazon, here)
Then, I saw that it came with a table stand.  It's so cool!
It's a sweet set-up for my phone when I’m looking desperately on Pinterest for our dinner reading a recipe off my meal plan

Both pieces were a great investment.   
I put my GoPro on it to show you the size.
And hello easy selfies!  I have yet to take this outside, but it works well for where I take selfies and videos inside, where most of the magic happens.


In short, the product did not disappoint.  I was happy to find that the actual cell phone holder was bigger in real life.  And the desktop/table stand is really cool!  I use it in my kitchen. It looks like a business card holder (It actually makes my Samsung Note 5 louder when I have it sitting up.)  This is great for sitting it on a table, or desk - maybe you just want to listen to music or read something on the internet.  The back is adjustable, and it's a nice addition to the coiled clamp phone holder. (It’s described as a bracket, but I don’t see it.)

One thing this holder won’t be able to do is attach to any surface without an edge.  A countertop, desk top, edge of a mirror (I did that) will work.  It will attach to anything that is just shy of 2 1/2" in width, which is really all that I need it to do.  There are limitations with this holder too, such as using it like a selfie stick.  Unless you’re goal is to make me motion-sick while I watch your videos, don’t do it!

Thank you all for tuning in to a long overdue List-It Friday series, and reading a review on this product!  Hope you were entertained, at the very least.


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20 February 2016

Meal-Prep Madness

Meal-planning, why you gotta be so hard?!  I know I'm not the only one riding shotgun on the struggle bus here.  Come on, be honest!

I don't know why I make this so difficult.  It's not hard to put pen to paper (or fancy Excel spread sheets, if you're like me) but it is.  The only way I have been successful is when other people are counting on me.  And by other people, I don't mean my family.  They could care less if I have 7 days worth of food prepped - they know they are going to eat regardless. Ha-ha!  

Meal planning is a great way to stay on track.  I got it.  BUT - I never said I liked it.  In fact, I get all huffy and puffy with the whole idea of doing it. I lack the motivation.  I'm a "fly by the seat of my pants" type.  By Wednesday of the week, I'm way off in left field chasing down new recipes on Pinterest.  

After doing a detox, I'm thinking to myself "I am GOING to eat better!"  And I want to be less likely to fail.  Right?  Okay.  So I got this wild hair up my gym shorts and I'm all motivated and gung-ho about getting good at this meal-planning chore.  I want it to be more than just a tedious task.  I am trying to shift my mindset and think about how I'll feel during the week when I KNOW my shit is together.  Let's face it - sometimes, it's all over the place.


Screw that. After doing this detox, I realized that I appreciate clean-eating so much. I just survived 3 days on 900 calories for peanut butters sake! (Yes I  did eat.  Yes I did chew my food.  Yes I did get speanut butter.)

Now that my system is feeling good and cleaned out, (and the detox is o-v-e-r) I'm crazy motivated to flex my meal-prep muscles in the kitchen. I want to continue on this streak of eating healthy crunchy foods, minimizing my treats, and keeping it clean.

Here is the game plan:
*Collect recipes throughout the week (or reuse favorites)
*Shop on Friday or Saturday
*Meal-plan/prep on Sunday
*Get some rad friends to join me and hold me accountable (That would be you!)

I'm hoping to start a routine and keep it up.   And I've learned that it's easiest when doing it with other people, no matter what it is.  So you're  totally invited!   

We will communicate on Facebook (or instagram if you prefer), checking in daily.  I'll have to think of some fun incentives, because I love prizes and getting things in the mail!  Our biggest communication days will most likely be Saturday or Sunday, since we will want to prep before each week begins.  And during the week, I imagine we would all do some collab work by sharing recipes, where the best places to shop are, etc.

There's no catch - it's totally free!  You just have to hear me talk and read my posts and interact with me to let me know you're there.  Ha-ha! 
To sign up, click on the link! ----->  http://bit.ly/mealprepmadness

I think this is going to be so much fun!  Who’s in?!



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