How to Beat Thanksgiving Stress

      The holidays can be a difficult time for some people, especially for anyone suffering from anxiety or any sort of emotional disorder.  I for one usually enjoyed the holidays, but never really felt that they were my own.  My parents separated when I was young and I never spent my holidays in one place- I bounced from location to location.  It became my norm.  So a lot of my holiday anxiety was centered around traveling or the worry that I was going to disappoint someone by not spending enough time at location A or location B or not being at one location at all. 
    This year I have decided to forgo all of that.  My fiancée and I just moved into our own place and are going to begin to make our own holiday traditions and start our own family.  I am going to allow myself to release the guilt and the burdens of family holiday stress and drama.
    One of the reasons I was most excited to have a place of my own was to be able to stay in one central location for Thanksgiving and for Christmas, but even the last few years as I lived on my own I still bounced from parent to parent and from relative to relative.  This year now that someone else is involved in my life, I made it a point to say this is OUR holiday, if anyone would like to join us they are more than welcome to do so.  
    Now, that comes with its own stress of hosting, but it’s a stress that as a former holiday nomad, I welcome with open arms.  I am looking forward to making my own holiday traditions with my fiancée, my family and my soon to be family. 
   However, just because I think my holidays are coming together as I have always envisioned them doesn’t mean there won’t be some bumps along the way and some stress and anxiety that I will have to handle.  So here are a few tips and tricks that I plan on utilizing in an effort to help keep myself as calm as possible.
Photo from istock
  •      Remember the reason for the holiday- to be thankful for what you have 
  •      Don’t worry about perfection, it doesn’t exist any way!
  •      If you’re preparing food, prepare as much ahead of time as possible 
  •      It’s ok to enlist help- don’t try to do it all alone
  •      It’s ok to ask people to bring stuff- if you’re cooking the main dish it’s ok to ask someone to      bring a side dish or a dessert
  •      Have a glass of wine, not the whole bottle!
  •      Try to get in some activity, the endorphins will definitely help!
  •      Have something fun and stress free planned for the next day, maybe shopping on Black              Friday isn’t your best bet! 
  •      Make sure you make some time to enjoy the day and the company!
  •      Remember, it’s just one a day and there’s always next year!

Quick Tip Tuesday: Make Gift Shopping Easier

   I love notebooks.  I love buying cute notebooks and have really had to limit myself from going overboard and purchasing too many.  One of the few notebooks I have allowed myself to purchase is a bullet journal.  I don’t use it as a typical bullet journal, but more as a book of handy lists and things for me to keep track of.
   One thing I love to keep track of is gift ideas.  Any time someone mentions an interest in a product or a gift I jot it down in this notebook.  If I don’t have the notebook with me, I make a reminder in my phone so I remember to write it down in my list when I get home.  That way when I go to shop for gifts, I have a list of ideas at the ready!

Last years list!
Do you have any tips or tricks to make gift shopping easier? Comment them below! 

Side Hustle: Network Marketing- Is It For Me?

   I am all about the side hustle.  I think it is so important to have multiple sources of income or having different ways of earning money outside of your full time job.  I have been participating in the side hustle for years and considering I have a wedding in less than a year I am continuing to look for additional side hustles.
   My first and main “side hustle” is my network marketing business.  I have been selling Younique Cosmetics and Skincare for over 3 years and I really, really love it.  It is something that not only makes me a few extra bucks, but something that I really enjoy as well.
    Do I make tons of money from it? No.  I use Younique as my fun money.  If I want to get a Stitch Fix box one month or get a couple mani/pedis I use my Younique card to pay for it!  Currently, I am saving my Younique earnings to pay for my bridal hair and makeup and already used it to get my hair and makeup done for my engagement pictures!

 

What is network marketing?

Network marketing provides a great opportunity for those looking to own and run their own business with little or no up-front investment.  After you decide on a company or product, you are most likely going to have to purchase a “starter kit” which provides you with basic materials to help you begin and market your business.  From there you have the opportunity to sell the product and/or service to friends, family and others.  Most network marketing companies also suggest you to recruit others to join your “ranks” in order for you to really see the best financial benefit from network marketing.  
What kind of companies/products are there in network marketing?

Literally, anything!!  From makeup, to food, to wine, to books, to home goods, etc.  If you have a passion, there is most likely a network marketing company out there to meet it!  
   I personally feel it’s important to join a company that fits a passion or hobby of yours.  If you aren’t into makeup, it won’t come off natural when you are trying to recommend products to your friends.  You want to be genuinely excited and interested in what you are selling and that doesn’t mean that you have to love every product your company makes!  
Who can become a network marketer?

Really, anyone.  Most companies require their presenters to be 18 or older.  You also need a social security number for tax purposes. Some companies may have additional requirements to it’s important to do your research and ask questions to either a fellow representative or an employee of the company itself.  You will also need whatever the initial sign up costs are so remember to keep that in mind.
The Advantages of Network Marketing

*You can invest as much or as little time as you want.
*You can invest as much or as little money as you want.
*Most businesses you can work from anywhere.
*You are in business for yourself.
*However, most companies provide some sort of new seller training and a lot of companies provide additional support with the people who you joined under called your “upline”.
*You can learn while you earn (which is what I did).
*If you purchase anything for your business, it can possibly be tax deducted (talk to your accountant first!)
*Provides opportunities to make friends globally
*Provides empowerment, especially to women
*…and many, many more
The Disadvantages of Network Marketing

*Not all companies are legitimate, please do your research!
*Some can be quite expensive up-front
*Some may require you to carry stock, which means you will need space
*It may be difficult to get friend and family support
*You may feel pressured to buy new products
*You may feel pressured to market products you don’t personally like or use
*It might take a while to see true financial gains
*It’s not a quick fix or get rich quick scheme
*Some people can be skeptical of direct sales companies
So, is network marketing for me?

Unfortunately, that is not for me to answer.  I think it can be  a great side hustle if you are someone who can self-motivate and likes to either interact with people on a face to face basis or via social media (depending on the company).  I also think it’s a great way to empower yourself and learn a lot about business, marketing, branding, social media and graphic design which are all things that I have learned about on my journey as a network marketer.  It’s also great if you have realistic expectations of what you want to accomplish with the money you earn. Also, realistic expectations of the time it may take to grow your business and that what you put into it, is really what you get out of it.
  If you possess these qualities- you are well on your way to becoming a fab network marketer, it’s just about finding the right company!  A great place to start is by visiting the Direct Sellers Association website.
…..or if you’re a makeup/skincare junkie consider joining me in my Younique adventure! #shamelessselfpromo 

Quick Tip Tuesday: Shaving Hack

    This was a hack I think I read about many years ago, but only recently tried and have fallen in love with!  I used to have a favorite shaving cream- yes a favorite shaving cream.  It was from Trader Joe’s and I loved it so.  One day I went to TJ’s and they didn’t have my favorite shaving cream!  I was completely out of it at home and I refused to purchase a different type!  I went home ready to give up on shaving altogether when I remembered I had another shaving product in my shower…..

CONDITIONER!!!
I have now been shaving my legs with conditioner exclusively for over 3 months and I refuse to go back!  I always have conditioner in my shower, and considering I don’t use very expensive hair care products I have no problem slathering up my hair and my legs with a creamy conditioner.  I have never had a closer and smoother shave in my life!  
Even if you don’t run out of shaving cream, I urge you to give this a try! 

Playing House Series: Your Place? His Place? Our Place?

        Welcome back for the second installment in my “Playing House Series”.  This series is all about moving in with a significant other.  My first post was all about making the big decision to move in with a significant other in the first place!  You can find that here.

    I am currently in the process of moving in with my fiancee Nick, so this series is really all about my take and my personal experience with these matters.  Actually, the day this post is published is the day of the BIG MOVE!

  Ok, enough with the introduction!  Let’s get on to to the topic of this post!  Ok, you guys made the massive, super adult decision to move in together and now it’s time to decide where!!

   This can be a very tricky decision to make if you don’t live super close or if one of you is particularly attached to your apartment/house.  It’s a discussion that has to be made calmly and with an open mind.  You can go into the conversation with a desired outcome, but if you are not willing to listen or to compromise, this can be quite difficult.  It’s very important to go into this discussion with an open mind.

   Now I cannot sit here and give you the pros and cons of your place versus his place because obviously I don’t know your situation!  This is a list for you to come up and be realistic about it! Sit down and look at your place from both your perspective and your significant other’s perspective and try to do the same for his place as well!  It’s always important to try to look at it from their perspective, which can be difficult!

    When Nick and I had the initial discussion about where we were going to live I made a list about all of the financial reasons why my apartment made the most sense, not even considering there is a lot more to this situation than finances.  Sometimes the living arrangement that makes the most financial sense, isn’t the correct answer.  His place was not an option, because he lives in New York City and parking is NOT fun over there and I need a car to get to work.  We ended up with option C: a spanking new place for the both of us!

Here are some things to consider when deciding where you should live together as a couple:

*Finances- Is one apartment, or a new apartment more fiscally responsible? That’s something to consider
*Distance- A central location for both of your jobs is definitely preferable.
*Size- Be realistic.  Minimalism may be trendy right now, but if you aren’t a minimalist don’t try to squeeze all of your stuff AND their stuff into a studio.
*Comfort- This is a BIG one! Are you truly comfortable at his place? Is he truly comfortable at your place?  We aren’t talking about spending a weekend here- we are talking about spending YEARS!  If one of you isn’t truly comfortable or feel as if you can’t truly be yourself, it’s time to look for an alternative solution.
*Future Goals- will getting a new apartment hinder a common future goal of yours?  Definitely something to keep in mind
*Time frame- how long do you plan on staying?  If the realistic plan is a short period of time it may not make sense to relocate both of you

Again, this is just my take on this and my personal experience. 
 Different strokes for different folks!! 

My Favorite Money App $$$

    I have always been pretty good with money.  I have an emergency savings account, I have a savings account set up for big purchases and I have very minimal credit card debt (the debt I do have at the moment is mainly wedding related).  I do have student loan debt and my mortgage debt, but I feel that is pretty normal.
    One area of money management I have never really excelled in is holiday spending.  I never really go into debt over buying gifts, but I never purchase the gifts I really want to and end up cutting the corners on a lot of other areas at that time like holiday outings.  Then I found my new favorite money app.
   Digit is an app that has helped alleviate the stress of finances when it comes to holiday or gift shopping in general for me. I literally haven’t bought or given a gift with money from my checking account in over a year!
       Digit is an app that attaches to your checking account and tracks your spending.  If you are spending less it withdraws money and adds it to the app which is like a savings account.  The highest amount I’ve ever had taken out at one time is around $17.  The app takes out amounts in such small increments that you don’t even realize that money is missing.  It’s surprising how quickly this money adds up!

   When you are ready to withdraw any amount, you go into the app and type in “withdraw” and the amount and within 1-2 business days the money is back in your checking account.  You can even type in what you are withdrawing the money for if you are interested in keeping track!
    I also love that with the app I get a text every morning with my checking account balance and what has caused my balance to change from the day before.  It helps to keep me on track and notice if there’s anything fishy going on.
   Now when I joined Digit it was free, however that has since changed.  It is free for your first 100 days and $2.99 a month after that.  I find that it is totally worth it because it has helped make saving money SO much easier for me!
    If you are interested in signing up, please consider using my link as I can get $5 added to my account! Then you can turn around and share this gold with your friends and use your own personal link!

    If you plan on using Digit or a similar app, what are you saving for?? I would love to know and help cheer you on!
**I am not affiliated with Digit at all- they have no idea who I am! I just love this app and can’t wait to begin my holiday shopping this year using it! 🙂

How I Cut The Cord With Cable (and why I’m mending that cord now)

    A few months back I decided it was finally time to cut the cord with cable.  I was getting so tired of my cable bill continuing to go up when the service stayed exactly the same.  I was paying around $130 a month for internet service, home phone (which I never used) and about 50 channels total.  This just seemed outlandish to me.
   
     A few friends of mine and some relatives cut the cord and just used Netflix or a similar service.  However, due to the fact that I am a massive sports feign, this did not suit me.  I also hate being out of the loop when it comes to my trashy reality tv!

     Playstation Vue became the ideal solution for me.  I currently have the “Core” plan which is $45 a month.  This includes a large majority of the channels I watch on a regular basis: basic cable channels, USA, Bravo, OWN and my sports networks!

     Unfortunately, my local cable provider is still tremendously expensive when it comes to internet service.  I end up only saving between $15-$20 a month by using my cable provider’s internet and Playstation Vue.  However, I am still saving around $200 a year which is a big bonus!  I also find myself not flipping as mindlessly as I used to with cable.  If there’s nothing legitimately on I will put on a show on demand or watch a Youtube video instead.  I truly love Playstation Vue and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for anyway to lower their expenses.

   With that being said, when my fiancee and I move in together we are reconnecting that cord.  Why??  Most cable providers, including mine, offer such fantastic deals for the first two years of a contract that a monthly bill comes out to be less than an internet + Vue deal!  We will take advantage of the promotional pricing and when it returns to “normal” pricing we will switch back to our Playstation Vue!

Speaking of Playstation Vue, 
would anyone be interested in a tutorial post on how to use the system??

Quick Tip Tuesday: Don’t Forget Your Vitamins!

      My friend Tanya is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to vitamins and supplements.  I got her advice a few months back on which vitamins to add to my non-existent regimen and purchased a cute pill organizer to organize them all for daily consumption.  And then I pretty much forgot about them.
    I found myself taking them maybe once or twice a week, because I needed to take them with food and I would always forget they were in my work bag!  If I was at home, I would completely forget about them until it was too late (am I the only one who can’t take vitamins close to bedtime as I get CRAZY dreams??).  I spent all this money on vitamins and I they were just hanging out in my cabinet!

   Finally, I found the perfect solution for me.  I packed my vitamins in my lunch bag!  Now, every time I take out my lunch at work my vitamins are right there and I take them ASAP.  Finally, my vitamin routine is on point!

Do you have a vitamin regimen? 

Playing House Series: Making The Decision

        Yay! My first official blog series!  The Playing House Series will be all about making the decision to move in with your significant other.  This series will cover all of the steps leading up to moving in together and the actual process of moving in together.
         This is just my personal take on this situation!  I am not a life coach or therapist or anything like that so this is just my personal advice and my personal experiences with this.  Just wanted to post that disclaimer!
       The first post in this series is all about the most important step and that’s making the decision to move in together!

Image from equityapartments.com
  • Why are you making the decision to move in together?                                                                   Is it because you are in a serious committed relationship and you’ve talked about the direction the relationship is going in?  You’re both on the same page? Excellent! If you are in a committed relationship and haven’t discussed future plans, I feel that’s an important step prior to moving in.  You want to make sure you have common goals for your relationship.
  • Is it just a financial decision?                                                                                                            Moving in together can be a great way to save some cash and lighten a financial burden.  However, if it’s the main reason why you are moving in with a significant other it can lead to some other, non-financial problems later on.  Don’t try to force a puzzle piece that doesn’t fit simply to save some cash.
  • Is moving in together going to help or hurt your relationship?                                                   I will be the first to admit that I am needy mofo.  I spent so much time alone as a child that I crave time with loved ones now (don’t get me wrong, I still need my me-time!).  However, there are plenty of people who love being in a relationship, but still need to retain some of their independence.  If moving in together will make you uncomfortable it will undoubtedly lead to some problems in the relationship department.  Make sure that any decision you make, whether living apart or together will benefit and not harm your relationship.
  • Don’t worry what others think                                                                                                           There is no timeline for a perfect relationship.  I don’t think rushing into anything is wise, but everyone’s definition of “rushing” is something different.  As long as you and your partner have thought and spoke things out, and you are making a decision based on love and common goals for the future, I say go for it!  

    Quick Tip Tuesday: Wake Up Motivated

       A lot of the posts I am going to be writing will be focusing on making our lives more positive and a part of that is definitely making our mindsets more positive.  I used to think the positive mindset, manifestation, Secret stuff was a lot of hooey!  However, lately I have begun to look more into it and have really felt positive changes in my life due to a more positive mindset.  I find myself being in a bit more control of my anxiety due to my new mindset.

       One way I start a positive mindset as soon as I wake up, is by labeling my alarm.  I use the alarm on my iphone and it allows me to label the alarms- mainly to be used if you are using the alarms for different purposes.  However, I label my morning alarm with an inspirational quote or message.  This month I am labeling my alarm with 3 words that I want to focus on for my life and for my mindset.
         I labeled my alarm “relaxed, happy, balanced”.  These are all traits that I want to work on and exude in my life and my person.

    I am still not a morning person by ANY means, but this little trick helps me to remember my positive mindset from the second I turn off the alarm.
    What would you put as your alarm message??