A Season of Challenges

Summer is coming to a close. It's pretty much over. Pack up your beach towels, sunscreen and bikinis; and trade them in for cardigans, pumpkin spice practically everything, and feeling the pressure of the holidays. 

However, now that this new season is upon us, there is time for change and improvement! Here is a list of challenges to try this fall to better yourself, health, wardrobe, relationships, budget, etc.

Prepared Meals For A Month

Okay, so I know I'm not alone in this, but I find myself on campus getting a Diet Dr. Pepper and a bag of Cheddar Chex Mix nearly every day. Now, in Philly, that costs $6.00. $6.00 a day x 5 days = $42 that a broke college student like myself can't actually afford to spend. Plus, let's be honest, a diet consisting solely of 30th Street Station snacks is not exactly good one. 
Goal: Create healthier eating habits, budget money
Rules: For the entire month, all meals and snacks will be prepped at home, no food will be purchased outside of the two designated shopping days in the month. The two shopping trips will not exceed $100 each--creating a $200 food budget. These prepared meals can be anything from frozen prepped meals, to salads, to simple snacks. Here's a Pinterest board I created: Prepped Food Challenge with recipes, prep tips, and more.
(menshealth)

The Get and Give

You probably have a lot of clothes that you don't wear, like, or still have the tags on but lost the receipt for. That's fine, but there are clothes that you will want to buy this fall, and you'll definitely get more around the holidays. So here's a solution to do some good with those old clothes, while rewarding yourself with something more than just good will.
Goal: Clear out and organize clothes, give back to the community 
Rules: Go to your closet, the stack of boxes in the basement full of clothes you haven't seen since the eighth grade, the garage, wherever you have clothes and go through it. For every ten articles of clothing you can donate, equals one article of clothing you can purchase on a shopping spree. You can donate clothes to clothing drives, Goodwill, Salvation Army, consignment shops, yard sale, and even shop your clothes to your friends and family members.
(citylifemadrid)

Fall Photo Challenge

Photos are fun and creative. Taking photos can be fun and creative as well. Doing creative projects is actually helpful in continuing to be productive. Some of the worst procrastination you can find yourself doing is unproductive, but if you procrastinate something important, with something productive, you are more likely to continue being productive and get things done.
Goal: be creative, share photos and ideas with people
Rules: Find a photo challenge list, write a photo challenge list, etc. Start as soon as you can. Take photos on your phone, with your camera, even draw if you want to. Share the photo that day, and pass the challenge onto someone else. At the end of the designated time (Depending on personal preference or challenge selected) you will have a whole bunch of amazing photos and experiences.
(pinterest)

31 Days of Halloween

This is another fun creative idea. This challenge allows you to get your spook on as well as help someone else spread his or her creative wings. 
Goal: Complete 31 writing pieces, get someone else to complete 31 writing pieces, improve as a storyteller/writer
Rules: From October 1st and ending on November 1st, you and a partner will write scary stories based off of prompts you give one another. You will give the prompt on one day, both you and your partner will write that prompt. Then the next day, your partner will come up with the prompt. After the day is over, you swap the stories that night and give each other feedback. You set up parameters, word/page counts, story mediums, etc. 

Days of DIY

Do you have things in your house or apartment that could use some fixing up, sprucing up or simply you just want something new in your place? Probably. Well, Pinterest projects are really pretty and everyone wants to be as great as those projects, but sometimes they are more expensive than just buying the thing you want to DIY, and they can end up a disaster. Attack projects you need to do and know that you can do, as well as give yourself a challenge!
Goal: complete at least 10 DIY projects, stay under budget, try something new
Rules: This is a weekly challenge. Find at least 10 DIY projects that you can do--either online or basic projects around your house you know you need done. Create a budget for your projects--try not to go over $100 for your 10 week budget. Don't forget to ask for help! Keep a calendar so you know when you need to get stuff done by.
(pinterest)

Rainy Day Fund

Have a major issue saving money? Same. This challenge is super simple and a challenge that you can do for however long you want. You can even set a goal in mind, or an end date. You can create a fund for something specific as well.
Goal: save money, raise money, budget money
Rules: At the beginning of the month, write down how much money you have in your account. Budget the money for the month (groceries, bills, gas, fun). Then take is a step further and budget that money for daily use. Use cash. Any change you get from these interactions (coins), put away in a rainy day fund.
(WRKF)

Try Something New

Goal: trying new things
Rules: Try something new every day. It can be something small or big, but try something new. If you think the new thing was positive, write down it was positive. If it wasn't all that and a bag of chips, mark it with an X. At the end of the month, look at your calendar and see if trying new things was a positive experience for you.

Fall Fit Fun

Exercising is hard and it's not fun for a lot of people. The biggest challenge for people when it comes to exercising is keeping at it. So, here's a challenge that makes it simple and you'll hopefully feel like you're accomplishing a goal.
Goals: feel healthier, exercise, find a routine
Rules: Get a calendar for the month you want to do the challenge. Label every day with an exercise. Do that exercise. Mark off the days as you go along. See if you can challenge yourself further as the month goes on, but as long as you complete your daily goal, you have accomplished something. Now, here's where the "for everyone and anyone" part comes into play. These fitness goals can be in tandem with exercises. For example, take the stairs everywhere. Exercises can be crunches, push ups, running up and down the stairs, walking around with bags of flour on your shoulders, etc. Get fit when you can, however you can.

Replace and Refresh

New is never a good thing for me unless it's a new episode of Elementary on CBS. However, I have found copycat recipes, and even replacements for some of my favorite foods and activities have helped me be healthier and more productive.
Goal: create healthier habits, find alternatives for habits.
Rules: Make a list of 50-100 things that you eat all of the time, or habits that you do a lot that you can cut down on by sharing that with something else. For example, instead of rice and pasta, try quinoa and cauliflower. Or instead of writing on the computer, write in a notebook. Instead of watching TV, spend an hour reading or walking. Wheat bread for your grilled cheese instead of wheat bread. Sleep with just a sheet instead of blasting the AC. Work at the kitchen table instead of in bed.

SMILE

Your dentist will lose it after this month's challenge. This challenge is for dental health. Now, this might sound odd to some people--but not everyone flosses. This is a fact. This will help improve your smile.
Goal: improve dental health, boost confidence when smiling
Rules: Brush your teeth twice a day. Floss twice a day. Whiten your teeth using an at home kit. Take a photo every day of your smile and see if these habits improve your smile at the end of the 30 days.
(pinterest)

Check out these other challenges for more inspirations and ideas!
52 Fun Things: Try a New One Each Week of the Year
100 30 Day Challenges Ideas
30 Day Challenge Ideas to Turn Your Life Around
30 Challenges for 30 Days

 

10 Ways to Make Your House Feel Like Home

Whether you just moved in to a new dorm room, have been stuck inside a cramped apartment for the last six months, or have been nesting in your lovely home for the last ten years, you can always make your home feel more like, well home. Check out these 10 ideas!

1. Be selective and generous with your photographs.

What...what does this even mean? Well, in this day and age, people not only take photos of EVERYTHING, but they take about 10-13 photos of everything. When you are setting up or making home feel more homier, be mindful of what photos you display, but make sure to display plenty of photos. Photographs are a great way to feel surrounded by familiarity and memories. For all of the photos you don't have specific places for, or you want to keep to yourself of a personal inside joke, compile a photo box to stash in plain sight! A photo box can be anything from a dolled up shoebox, to a compartment inside of an already existing piece of furniture. You have access to it whenever you want a personal trip down memory lane, or if you need to embarrass someone in good fun at a moment's notice.
(pinterest)

2. Do It Yourself

Seriously, what isn't more satisfying than admiring your own hard work? Well, there's probably a few things, but none the less, the feeling is pretty darn great. Not only will it improve your skills, allow yourself a creative outlet, and more often than not act as an inexpensive alternative to some other decor, it will also give your home a literal personal touch. What says home more than things that you created?
(mommymentionables)

3. Find What You Love, Not What Anyone Else Does

Just because Susan recently installed the 13ft "vintage" birdcage in her foyer, absolutely does not mean you have to rush to Home Goods to get one too. Home should not only feel cozy, but practical. Home is a space that you should be spending an awful lot of time in. What's the point of a lovely home if you don't love being home?
(countrylivingmagazine)
(adorablehome)

4. Keep A Routine of Clean

These are projects that you can do on a daily, weekly, monthly or annual basis to make the place feel yours. Simple things such as making your bed, cleaning the bathroom, monthly pantry clean outs, vacuuming, etc. This will keep your home fresh and delightful.
(dailylifebuff)

5. Build Set Ups.

Consider the rooms that you spend the most time in for daily routines: bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, office, etc. Find set ups that work for you. Find a fun shower curtain for the bathroom, keep the bathroom and kitchen stocked, organize laundry supplies, etc. There is a lot of fun in function!
(pinterest)
(pinterest)
(sophiasdecor)

6. Cozy. Cozy. Cozy.

Depending where you are, and who you are, "cozy" might mean something different--but that ultimately doesn't matter because the idea is to pick a specific spot in your place and make it cozy AF. As repeated several times, a home should be comfy, but practical. As splendid as cozy may be, you don't really need a cozy laundry room, cozy kitchen, cozy bathroom, cozy attic, etc. Find your cozy safe space and GO ALL OUT.
(ae)

7. Find Your Home's "Quirks"

Every place has its quirks: squeaky floorboards, odd temperatures at odd times of day, the bloodied scream-y ghost in the basement, a poorly placed window, deadzones in random rooms, a weird smell, etc. Once you figure out the place, figure out how to work with the quirks. Carpet squares? Fans and blankets? Crucifix? Fancy curtains? Turn it into a reading room? Get a candle? No matter what, you can always make something better.
(buzzfeed)

8. Splurge On Something.

Whether you splurge on a Soda Stream, or just some damn fine sheets, make sure to splurge on at least one fun item. However, when it comes to things you will be using often, or for a long time, more often than not you'll be doing yourself a favor spending a few extra bucks on items like sheets, towels, washer, dryer, cookware, etc.
(99architecture)
(countryliving)

9. Make Home for Two.

This is specific for individuals living with a significant other, spouse, or roommate, but make home a place for the both of you. Pick out decor, colors, appliances, etc together so you feel like the place is one that you share.
(pinterest)

10. Enjoy Being Home.

WORK IT! 10 Tips To Get A Work Station That Works For You

Oh boy, being organized is so important, but it's so taxing sometimes. However, if you make your work space work for you, then it all kind of works out! Here are 10 tips to get your work station working:

(cnn)

1. Stay organized by staying minimal.

Limit yourself to what you have on your desk. Make sure you don't clutter the space with items you think you need. You can always store items (extra supplies, larger organizational tools, etc) nearby.

(foreverfreebyanymeans)

2. Keep the clutter clear (everywhere).

Mind the clutter not only on your desk, but in your drawers and computer as well. Wherever you find yourself working, make sure the system isn't PACKED and CRAZY. Keep both desktops (literally and electronically) sparse and specific. This way you won't be as flustered or distracted.

3. Prioritize items and tasks.

Work is important. Homework is important. There are a lot of important things that you tackle on a day to day basis. Make sure you understand how/when you need to tackle these tasks at hand, so that things don't become overwhelming. Organizing your workspace to help in prioritizing will facilitate in working your day to day. If you have an organizer that can provide you with a literal look at the items you need to tackle, in the order in which they need to be tackled, awesome!

(pinterest)

4. Designate clean out days.

At the end of the week, make sure your space is clean and refreshed for the next week. At the end of the month, clean out your inbox, shredder, recycle bin, etc. Get rid of the excess to start the next month anew. Keep yourself to a schedule to keep tidy and organized.

5. Establish zones for particular tasks or work.

Depending on what you do for a living, there are certain tasks that need your attention or skill in a specific way. Make sure that you designate zones in your home/office/apartment where you can tackle different tasks so that you can get away from your desk from time and time again. This way, your desk doesn't get too cluttered, and you have the opportunity to move around a bit.

6. Don't get crazy with the organization.

I know that sounds kind of silly, especially with the previous points, but seriously, there can be a point of no return when it comes to organization. You can get so into the organization of your desk, that you don't do the work at the desk any more in an attempt to keep it organized. Keep life manageable.

(care)

7. Files and filing are your friends.

Seriously, come up with a filing system, label some files, and organize that giant stack of papers and receipts. This will make it less stressful to find things that you need.

(foreverfreebyanymeans)

8. Make your work area "you."

Figure out how to personalize your space, but keep it professional--even if it's in your dorm/apartment/home. The key to a great workspace is the idea that you can work comfortably and attentively in that space. Whether you personalize the area with photos, quotes, or quirky office supplies, find a way to make the space "you" but not a distraction.

(gurl)

9. 

August 08, 2017 by Lexx Fusco

Snack Like a Southerner: Cottage Cheese Egg Salad

Cottage Cheese Egg Salad by Healthy Aperture
(healthyaperture)

Ingredients:
-2 hard boiled eggs, coarsely chopped
-3/4 cup cottage cheese
-1tsp golden mustard
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp dried dill
-1/2 tsp lemon juice

Step One:
Hard boil your eggs, and cool for about 30 minutes.

Step Two:
Chop hard boiled eggs. Add to bowl with all ingredients.

Step Three:
Refrigerate for about 30 minutes, and then serve and enjoy!

 

Snack Like a Southerner: Red, White and Blue Chex Mix

Red, White and Blue Chex Mix
(tablespoon)

Ingredients
3tbsp butter
1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3/4tsp salt
1/4tsp garlic powder
1/4tsp onion powder
4 1/2 cups Chex
2 cups pretzels
2 cups mini marshmallows
1 cup red and blue chocolate candy
1 pound white almond bark

Step One:
"In large microwavable bowl, microwave butter uncovered on High about 30 seconds or until melted."

Step Two:
"Stir in seasonings. Gradually stir in cereal and pretzels until coated."

Step Three:
"Microwave uncovered on High 4 to 5 minutes, thoroughly stirring every 2 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool, about 15 minutes."

Step Four:
"Stir in mini marshmallows and chocolate candies, and toss to combine."

Step Five:
"Divide the prepared Chex Mix™ into three even portions, and spread each portion in an even layer on a foil-lined plate or baking tray."

Step Six:
"Heat the almond bark in the microwave or in a double boiler until melted. Divide the almond bark into three equal servings. Color one serving with red gel food coloring. Color the second serving with blue gel food coloring. Then leave the third serving plain (white)."

Step Seven:
"Drizzle each portion of Chex Mix™ with one color of chocolate. Then let cool for at least 15 minutes, or until the chocolate returns to room temperature."

Step Eight:
"When it's ready, toss together the three colors of Chex Mix™ until combined, and serve."

Snack Like a Southerner: 3 Ingredient Strawberry Banana Popsicles

3 Ingredient Strawberry Banana Popsicles
(sallysbakingaddiction)

Ingredients:
1 large, ripe banana (cut in chunks and frozen)
12 large strawberries, sliced in half
1/2 cup pineapple juice

Step One:
"Blend all of the ingredients together on high speed until smooth - about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the blender as needed as you go."

Step Two:
"Pour the mixture into popsicle molds. If your popsicle mold has slots for sticks, you can insert them before freezing - if not, freeze for 2 hours, then put a wooden popsicle stick in the middle (that is what I did). Continue to freeze for an additional 6 hours or overnight - overnight is recommended for easy removal."

Step Three:
"Run popsicle molds under warm water to easily remove. Eat on a hot day. Enjoy!"

Moving Hacks

Moving isn't fun. It's a lot of work, time consuming, expensive, borderline dangerous, and very stressful. However, the internet is a powerful place full of great (and terrible) ideas, and suggestions to make this process smoother, easier, and a lot less of a headache.

(olympicmovers)

Top 10 Moving Hacks

10. Prep.

There's no such thing as being too prepared. Consider what you can do to make your transition easier. If you can, clean your new bathroom(s) and kitchen before moving in. That way they are ready to use by the time all of your stuff arrives to make it dirty again--but at least it's you that's making it dirty. Prep meals and food. When you're moving, you're not going to throw things away that you can still use. If you have canned items, or food that you want to bring with you that can withstand the move, pack it! For your first couple of weeks living in your new place, you might be taking some time to settle in. Make ahead some meals you can stash in the refrigerator or freezer. Moving in, but haven't got a fridge yet? Make sure you are stocked with snacks and food items that you can eat without all of the bells and whistles. Sometimes PB & J is the best kind of breakfast, lunch and dinner. Don't feel obligated to take every single thing you have ever owned in your life with you. Sometimes you don't need four hair dryers, or seven pairs of jeans you haven't worn since 2012. When you're packing up your stuff, make a pile/box designated for donation or sale. This way, you thin out what needs to be moved, and you might be able to make some money in the process. Last, but certainly not least, CHANGE YOUR ADDRESS. Do your change of address on all of the important stuff (post office, bank, etc.) at least one week before you move, that way you're not scrambling for it once you have already moved in. Also, if you're moving out of state, having as much mail as possible with your address on it will make your life easier when it comes to getting a new ID and driver's license. 

9. Reuse. Recycle. Repurpose.

When it comes to packing, consider what you are packing your stuff up in and with. Do you really want to go to Home Depot and spend $40 on boxes and packing peanuts? Probably not. Check around your place for boxes first, and then you can check out grocery stores, and other retailers for gently used boxes that they were just going to throw away anyway. When it comes to packing filler, old magazines, papers, and junk mail work wonders. Even if you don't have any, your friends and family do! Have super important valuables? Wrap them up with clothes you are packing to keep them safe and concealed. Utilize suitcases for moving your heavy items--they have wheels! You really can use anything as a box if you put your mind to it.

8. Label everything.

Come up with a system that works for you and utilize it. If you are going to write the name of the room on your boxes, make sure to do it on the side of the box, not on the top so that when you stack the boxes you can still see the labels. You can also come up with a color coding system, sectioning them off a certain way when you pack the boxes into the moving vehicle, etc. Figure out what works the best for you, and do it!

(IG: majorlmove)

7. Keep your plugs with your electronics.

Don't have a box just for wires. You'll never be able to find the HDMI cable for your television ever again. When you are packing up your electronics, make sure you pack them up with the wires--or again, find a labeling system.

(storageandglee)

6. Pack a "Must Have Box", and keep it with you.

I recently moved back to Los Angeles to start my big girl, adult life. I was without my belongings for the first five days of being in town--and it was awfully annoying. I moved out on Friday, started my new job on Monday, and I didn't have any of my stuff--clothes, hair brushes, make up, perfume, etc--until THURSDAY when FedEx finally decided to get my two day shipping to town (shipped the previous Monday btw). I had to buy a lot of stuff at Target over the weekend that I knew was going to be arriving at the house soon, but had no choice because I was in such a rush and I didn't think ahead. Don't put yourself in this situation. It's such a waste of money, energy and stress. Make sure you pack a box or a bag of stuff that you can use the first week that you move just in case. What is it that you need on a daily basis? Make sure you have it with you and keep it with you. If your stuff gets delayed in the move, or the boxes get moved in, but you just don't have time to unpack immediately, at least you still have all of your essentials for your first week. Even after my stuff arrived, I didn't get to touch any of it until Saturday because of work. BE READY.

5. Research.

I know this could probably fall into the "prep" section, but there's so much that goes into research that I wanted to give it its own number on the list. Research is important. There's a ton of research that you can do in order to prepare yourself for your move, or right after your move to help you settle in--so do it. It's maybe a half hour of your life on your computer that you're spending on Buzzfeed anyway, so make it useful. Research other moving hacks and tips. Find out what kind of apps you can utilize to help with the move. Research your new neighborhood. Find a new route to work from your new place that works the best for you. Research new furniture, DIY projects, etc. Make your house/apartment/hovel a home. Check out these links for other moving hacks:
Top 50 Moving Hacks and Tips: Ideas to Make Your Move Easier
Top 50 Moving Hacks of All Time
24 Ingenious Moving Hacks That Make Packing Painless
20 Smart Tips to Make Moving a Breeze

4. Schedule your actual "move in day."

Schedule out the moving in. Start the day at 8am with packing up the transport vehicles (or do this the night before), arrive at the moving site at 9am, 9:15am designate boxes to specific rooms, 10:00am break for breakfast, 11:00am unpack kitchen and bathroom, 1:00pm break for lunch, etc. Make sure you stock up on water bottles and little, easy snacks to keep yourself fueled for a day of lifting, moving, organizing and yelling.

(clutterinterrupted)

3. Rent the damn moving van/truck.

Yes, it goes against everything a "hacks" list stands for by telling you to spend money on something, but at the end of the day this will save you so much time, money, and aggravation. If you're not moving a lot of stuff and you happen to own a large enough vehicle, awesome. However, if you're moving a house load's worth of stuff, just rent the truck and make one trip. This is so much easier than making multiple trips, risking things being broken, and making the drive a lot more dangerous by making your car one big blindspot full of laundry and your favorite lamp.

(MatthewJJackson, flickr)

2. Use any hack you can to make sure you don't get locked out.

Whether it's the old rubber band around the doorknob hack, keeping your keys on a lanyard around your neck, or making sure there is always someone inside of the house during the move, just make sure you don't get locked out. 

(awesomeinventions)

1. Assemble a task force of capable pals. 

Don't move alone if you can help it. Start contacting people a couple of weeks in advance for help. No one wants to help anyone move--no one wants to move themselves, but at the end of the day you have family and friends that will be willing to help in any capacity. Assemble your team. Prepare. Come up with a plan. And move!

(newgenerationmovers)

Spring Cleaning Do's and Don'ts

It's spring time! Spring is the season of transition. It's time to get tidy, healthy, and ready for summer. The weather is improving, the birds are chirping, and it's time to get CLEANING.

When it comes to Spring Cleaning, it's not just about your living space (home, apartment, bedroom, etc.), but it's an opportunity to make some changes in your living as well to "clean yourself up a bit." Let's break Spring Cleaning down to three major areas:

The Home

The home is literally your home. Whether you live in a house, apartment, dorm or whatever you find yourself sleeping and eating in these days, this is your opportunity to spruce the place up.

The Tech

Believe it or not, your tech gets just as dirty and unmanageable as your closet or toilet bowl can. Clean out your computer, phone, and other tech spaces in order to keep your devices safe, secure, and working properly.

The You

Time to reflect on yourself. I'm not one for believing in any kind of self help or new age-y crap, but at the end of the day it can be good to do some self sprucing. Whether it's setting fitness goals, changing up your diet, learning a new skill, etc, give yourself the chance to cleanse yourself for a season of opportunities.

The Home

DO: Come up with a game plan.
It's important to know what you want to get done and what you need to get done. Cleaning can get crazy pretty fast. Come up with a plan for what you need to do. For example, you can break up the cleaning by room, or by specific tasks that you want to get done.

DON'T: Go overboard.
I know there shouldn't be such a thing as "too clean," but there is a line that should be drawn in the muck. Sometimes people can overwhelm themselves with cleaning tasks, or perhaps even clean things that didn't need cleaning (which can get costly if you end up breaking the thing by accident. Don't try to get it all done at once. Pace yourself.

DO: Change out air filters.
During the winter, air filters can get pretty gunked up. This is a good time to give them a good cleaning/replacing. You don't need to do this on a monthly basis contrary to popular belief. It should be a seasonal task, bi-monthly at the most.

DON'T: Clean when you feel like it.
Nobody wants to clean. No one wakes up in the morning, "Ahhh, you know what I'm going to do? Vacuum, clean the gutters, scrub the baseboards and then for a treat clean out and scrub the fridge!" However, if you hold yourself accountable to a set time and date, there's a higher chance you will get the cleaning done. If you pace yourself for a month of spring cleaning, set every Saturday as a cleaning day with a specific section of the house. You'll get it done.

DO: Yard Sale, Let-Go, auction, etc.
Most of the stuff cluttering up your home can't just be Windexed or wiped or swept away--it's actually stuff. However, some of that stuff has value, so make some money back with your cleaning! Host a yard sale, post on selling apps such as Let-Go, or bring your stuff to auction. If you don't feel like selling stuff, or if you have stuff you can't seem to get rid of, drop the items off at your local Goodwill. Not only will you be cleaning house, but you're not being wasteful--and you might make some money too, which is always rad.

DON'T: Use too much cleaning product.
You'd think this one would be a no brainer, but more often than not people use way too much cleaning product when trying to get the job done. Utilize and make the most out of your cleaning products.

DO: Read the cleaning products label, and use the correct product for the job.
Please don't use Pledge to clean your windows. Figure out the products that are best for you, and are best for the job at hand.

DON'T: Mop/Swiffer the floor before you vacuum it.
Again, you'd think this would be a given, but many people--including myself, I'm sad to admit--in an attempt to just get it done, try and skip the initial step. Vacuuming and sweeping/dusting the floor is crucial to the success of a clean floor. If you try to mop/swiffer initially, then you're going to run into the annoying problem of having wet, gross dust and muck all over the floor.

DO: Clean where your food is!
Pantry, bread drawer, cereal cabinet, spice cabinet, refrigerator give them all a cleaning. Throw food out that's expired. Wipe shelves down.

DON'T: Forget the overlooked spots of your house.
It's a given that you're going to scrub down your toilet, and vacuum the rugs, but what parts of the house do you normally look over when it comes to cleaning? Baseboards, walls, door frames, etc.

The Tech

DO: Buy back ups.
Before you start cleaning out your tech, make sure that you have a hardrive or a couple of USB thumbdrives to store information on. When you're cleaning out your computer, you probably don't need your tax files from 2009 on your computer, but having them on a special drive you can store in a safe, allows you to always have the information, without it taking up any room on your computer. Back everything up!

DON'T: Download apps you don't need.

DO: Uninstall programs that you don't use.

DON'T: Forget other tech tune ups.
Don't forget there's a lot more tech in your life than there has been before. Make sure all of the tech in your life is up to date and speed from your phone to your washing machine to your cable box.

DO: Update your tech.
Update your laptop, phone, etc. If it has an operating system that needs an update, update it!

The You

DO: Set goals.
Set goals for yourself. It'll keep you motivated, and in a constant state of improvement.

DON'T: Try to change yourself.
There's a difference between trying to be more positive, and completely altering your personality in order to fit what a specific set of people would consider you being more positive would be. Think of ways to improve yourself, not change.

DO: Journal.
Write down what you want to improve, or what's happening in your life. It's interesting to see how you are prioritizing or spending your time. It also allows you to work through stuff much easier, and with more of a plan because you have to work through it on paper.

DON'T: Give up.
You can do this.

Happy Spring!

(pinterest)

 

 

 

DIY Do's and Don'ts

Let's face it, you probably have a Pinterest board full of fun DIY projects that you want to tackle in 2017. Here are some important Do It Yourself Do's and Don'ts that you should know about before you take on any type of project: home improvement, gifts, wedding, etc.

DO: Research your project.

It always looks easier than it really is. Make sure you do the research your project requires. Know the in's and out's of the project from the project itself, to the space in which you are doing the project. Make sure you know everything you need to know before you get started, and that you have the resources you need just in case if you need more information in the middle of the project.

DON'T: Spend more money on a DIY hack than the original thing.

It is absolutely amazing how expensive Do It Yourself projects can be. Once you buy all of the supplies, and put all of the time into it, you could have just saved yourself a nice chunk of change and a headache if you had just bought the thing. For example, if you want to make a mason jar chandelier--it's going to cost you around $100 and you have to figure out the electrical work. Or you could drop $49.99 at Target.com for one that is already put together.

DO: Make mistakes in order to learn from them.

I can see how this is kind of counterintuitive, but it's important. Sometimes you need to screw up and do a "don't" in order to learn how to never do it again. When you make mistakes, learn from them. It's really the only way to get better at something.

DON'T: Take on a project that you're not qualified for.

There's a difference between making a mistake and using the wrong kind of glue, and electrocuting yourself because you decided to do the electrical in your DIY kitchen remodel instead of getting a professional to do it. There are parts of certain do it yourself projects that unfortunately, you cannot do yourself--so don't attempt to.

DO: Get all of the right measurements...twice.

If you're doing a fabric project, make sure you know EXACTLY what you need. Never cut fabric unless you have laid it over whatever it is you might be doing upholstery for, or if you know exactly what the measurements have to be. When you are cutting--it's always better to leave a little more on, than take too much off.

DON'T: Close the glue bottle until you know you are done with the glue.

Fun fact, when you screw the cap closed on a glue bottle, all of the glue gets sucked into the cap. This is what causes bottles to clog up. Keep the bottle open until you are sure you are done the project to prevent clogs!

DO: Cover an area to designate to paint.

Whether you are hand painting or spray painting, it's a good idea to have a designated spot for it. If you're covering the area in newspaper, be mindful to tape the paper down for it might blow away during a spray paint session, or use blue painter's tape.

DON'T: Keep a stencil on for too long.

When you are painting, don't forget to remove the stencil as soon as you are done--or else the stencil will get stuck to your project!

DO: Work with people on projects.

Find people that are also interested in DIY projects, or perhaps do a DIY project with a friend, family member or a significant other. Sometimes it can be not only fun to work with someone, but helpful.

DON'T: Panic.

People do DIY projects for plenty of reasons: being creative, financial restrictions, aesthetic, for fun, etc. However, no matter what your reason for doing it yourself, you shouldn't panic. Every project has its problems, but you will figure out how to make it a success. You have plenty of tools and resources available to you no matter what.

Snack Like A Southerner: Hasselback Tomato Caprese

Hasselback Tomato Caprese from tablespoon.com
(tablespoon)

Ingredients:
4 Roma tomatoes
1 pre-sliced log of mozzarella cheese
10 large basil leaves, cut up
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1tbsp olive oil
1 pinch coarse salt
1 pinch pepper

Step One:
Slice tomatoes, but not all of the way through.

Step Two:
Slice the mozzarella discs in half in order to fit them into the tomato slits. Stick the mozzarella into the slits of the tomatoes.

Step Three:
Layer a piece of basil with each mozzarella slice.

Step Four:
On the stove, bring the vinegar to a boil until it becomes thick (about four minutes). Drizzle the vinegar and olive oil over the tomatoes. Top with salt and pepper.