Jun 19, 2019

3 Reasons Why Keeping A Gratitude Journal Will Change Your Life

For the last few months on my Instagram Stories I've been sharing my schedule with many of you ( hello 32,000 followers ) and received a lot of questions as to why I wake up, have a cup of coffee and enjoy writing in a gratitude journal. I wanted to share why I've been keeping a gratitude journal as well as how it's helped really change how I view the world.

One of the best ways to really show your gratitude or thankfulness on a daily basis is by keeping one of these journals close by. I've been journaling since I was young and I love being able to share my own thoughts, feelings and emotions in a small, sacred notebook. However, I took it a step further to help me remember the wonderful things around me by writing one 5 things I'm thankful for every single day. By making this list, it helps me to realize that even the smallest things of things ( a cup of coffee ) to the biggest of moments ( signing a huge contract ) is worth remembering and being grateful for.

Below are three big reasons why I think keeping one of these particular journals will truly change your life.

1. Improves your Self- Esteem- Being an avid journal writer for years has helped me to keep present within my own achievements and moments in life. By sharing my personal gratitude has really helped reduce my social comparisons and looking at how I'm viewing others and things around me. It truly doesn't matter that someone else just signed a huge contract with their dream brand because that was a goal of theirs. It doesn't matter that someone else just built a huge mansion and I built my own. My dreams and passion are just that, my own. Remembering this is huge to help me every day.

2. It Reduces Stress - Notice how I didn't say that it stops my stress because it's inevitable but it certainly has helped me reduce it. I'm taking better care of not only myself physically but mentally too. Feeling on these particular emotions of contentment and satisfaction is the key to keeping my brain in check. I feel a lot more grounded too.

3. It Helps You Sleep Better- As you can also view on my stories, I don't spend a lot of time writing in my journal however just spending 15 minutes either before you to go sleep or when you wake up is able to put your mind at rest or start your day on the right foot. I can't tell you how many times I've woken up on the wrong side of the bed and with just a few minutes of rewiring my brain to think of positive things instead of negative has been a game changer. I'm also less likely to stress over my worries and clear my mind for the day ( or a good night's rest if you're writing at night ).

Have you tried to use a gratitude journal?
How has it helped you?

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Jun 17, 2019

Quick Tips To Entertain

This post was sponsored by Blue Diamond® as part of an Influencer Activation and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Summer is officially in full swing in our neighborhood. Our kids are outside playing from the second the sun comes up until it dips down and the stars come out. It truly is one of my favorite times of the year to be able to enjoy the outdoors with our family and better yet, getting to know some of our new neighbors in the area. We moved into our neighborhood a few months ago but it was difficult to meet everyone due to the cold weather. Now that it's gotten warmer, everyone seems to be coming out of their hibernation to visit and welcome everyone.

Because we built our home in a new development, our family loves to showcase the ins and outs of what it took to build our dream home and we always invite everyone to come over. Of course, I have a few tricks up my sleeve if I get a phone call from a friend who wants to stop by and I only have a few minutes to prepare.

One way that I am able to quickly entertain everyone is because of easy snacks that are always in my pantry including Blue Diamond Almonds & Fruit that I grabbed while shopping the other day. This handy little pack is filled with delicious fruit and nuts that are easy to take out of the bag and display in minutes with a few fun little pairings as well. They add a little touch of elegance to our every day normal routine and each pairing is sure to satisfy even the most sophisticated of palates, which some of our friends have.

The Almonds & Fruit is also a snack you can feel good about because each serving is packed with an abundance of nutrients and robust flavor. For instance, I' m a huge fan of Sea Salt and Whole Blueberries, while many of our friends and my husband loved the Fiery Ghost Pepper Almonds and the Tart Cherry for a bit of a kick.

You can conveniently grab them at your local Walmart and save even more when you use the lbotta offer! I like to pair these snacks with other tasty treats such as cheeses, other fruits and sometimes a bit of dark chocolate!

My other tips include

- Having napkins ready to to go for a quick grab
- Fresh flowers ( or fake ones to save some money ) to help make the display a bit more festive
- Bottles of water for refreshing drinks for your guests to grab
- A cute serving tray to hold everything together or take outside if the weather is nice
- Utensils ( and serving spoons/ forks ) for guests to serve themselves

How will you be entertaining friends/neighbors this summer? 
What are some entertaining tips you have?

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Jun 13, 2019

How To Host A Neighborhood Get Together

This post was sponsored by Upgrade Your Summer as part of an Influencer Activation and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

A few months ago we moved into a new neighborhood and were so excited to meet our neighbors; we wanted to make lifelong friends, and enjoy our new home. We built our house specifically in a cul-de-sac to make it easy for our kids to run around without all the busy traffic nearby. I love having everyone in close proximity with one another and enjoy coming together with our children.

Since it's a new construction area, many new families are moving in and because we moved last fall, it was difficult to make friends because of the snow and colder weather. Now that it's officially warming up here in the Midwest, we decided to put together a little neighborhood party to get to know everyone!

So what do you need for this little party?

1. Snacks- We're a big group and snacks are always important. I make sure to pick all the essentials when it comes to snacks, such as fruit, various hearty side dishes, and vegetables for everyone to dip and dunk. The kids loved coming back and forth to grab whatever it is they wanted - sweet, salty or just plain delicious!

2. Drinks- You can't have a party without a few drinks, especially when you have snacks out too.  I purchased various juice boxes for the kids and Bud Light Lemon Tea for the adults. It's a great combo to add to the snacks. The crisp flavor of the beer is so refreshing during a long, hot summer day. This new flavor, the Lemon Tea, is delicious. I love the sweet tea flavor! It's brewed over tea leaves with real lemon peels so you'll get that tart refreshing taste in every sip - which I adore!  I picked mine up at my local super-center.

3. Games- It's not a party without a few outdoor games so we have chalk for hopscotch and drawing pictures, paintbrushes and water to paint the sidewalks and hula hoops and scooters for the kids to use! The adults sometimes participate in the activities too which always makes for a great time!

Did you know that when you purchase Bud Light Lemon Tea you can also enter for a chance to Upgrade Your Summer by entering to win a backyard makeover that includes the Ultimate Outdoor Movie Theater for your family to enjoy? It runs from May 1 2019 - July 22 2019, take a look here for more information!

Please drink responsibly!  

For sweepstake prizes, the grand prize winner will receive the following – one prize package, and an opportunity to select 1 of one hundred reveals of the following prizes: (a) one envelope to contain $25,000 payable by check in the name of the winner, or (b) ninety nine envelopes that contain $100 Walmart Gift Card.

What are some essentials that you'll need when it comes to hosting your neighbors this summer? Our party was the perfect way to get to know everyone that was moving in, we got to know their families and started life long friendships over delicious food and drink.

What is your favorite thing to snack on during the summer months?

Have you tried the Bud Light Lemon Tea?

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Jun 10, 2019

Unique Father's Day Gifts

To be honest, my husband is actually an amazing gift giver so at times I feel a little nervous trying to find something that is not only unique but I know that he'll enjoy. I look through pages of items only to get disappointed and then just ask his top 5 things that he is hoping to get ha.

While he appreciates the arts and crafts our 5 year old makes him, or the slobbery kisses our 2 year old gives him, like many parents, he just wants to enjoy the day doing what makes him happy ( aka golf, going out to lunch with friends and then grilling and enjoying a relaxing night with his family. ). Super simple.

In fact, when I asked a lot of you what you were going to be giving your spouse/own Father for the big day ( NEXT SUNDAY ) on my Insta Stories, many of you had some great ideas that I'll also include in this gift guide.

Zach loves getting a pair of Johnston Murphy shoes for work since he wears them 5 out of 7 days of the week. I try to find some cute pairs that aren't just black or brown to wear in various seasons and this year I actually spotted a pair of comfortable loafers for him to enjoy. I think because I kept raving to him about my own casual sneakers that I found for under $14 he wanted something easy to put on and was comfortable to wear running errands or attending a picnic with friends. I shared this sneaker too and he loved the color!

What about for the Dad that loves tailgating or golfing with his buddies? Instead of trying to figure out which golf club he needs, why not get him a Yeti Cooler to hold all of his drinks and keeps it cold in the dead of heat. He actually ordered this for my Mom for Mother's Day ( we're big fans of going to the beach and bringing this ! ) and said he wanted to get one too. This one can hold about 20 12oz cans so you know you're ready to go!

Does your spouse need to update his beard equipment? I shared about keeping your beard tame a few years ago with a great brand that Zach fell in love with. I found this one for under $50 which is a steal for all the things you get! Plus Zach loves that it comes with a little travel kit so he can take his favorite razor with him on trips for work.

I saw this portable grill and thought it was amazing! it has a reversible grill top with a flat side and a grilled side, granite stone for slow cooking such as vegetables, eggs or fish and then 6 cheese pans for personal serving! I also love that it's perfect for countertops or small dining spaces so you truly can use it anywhere you go ( or serve in our home ).

Some other items that many of you said you were going to be getting the main man in your life were tumblers with your kids names on it ( hand written ) or socks with your kids faces on it! Those are such great ideas! I can't wait to hear what you're thinking of gifting!
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Jun 3, 2019

Coconut Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Last week I was craving something sweet but also nutritious for myself and kids to enjoy in the morning. We're always on the go so I found these yummy muffin recipe that a friend shared and couldn't wait to start baking them. 
My kids ate at least three of them in one sitting ha so it's safe to say they loved them and it looks like I'll be making this a few times this summer. They are gooey, moist and packed full of flavor of bananas, chocolate chips and oats! I may need to already make a few more batches before we run out just from this past weekend. It's always enjoyable after a simple dish ( you all love our gnocchi, sausage and spinach dish plus of course the famous egg roll in a bowl ) so grab your sweet tooth and enjoy!

These dairy-free Coconut Oil Banana Muffins are packed with flavor and perfect for breakfast or a quick snack.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 22 minutes
  • Total Time: 27 minutes
  • Yield: 12 large muffins 
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, solid
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (or other nut/seed butter)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (or other milk of choice)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1.5 cups rolled oats
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (dairy-free if needed)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Combine coconut oil and peanut butter in a large bowl.
  3. Microwave, stirring often, until coconut oil is melted.
  4. Add maple syrup, almond milk, eggs, vanilla and banana and mix well.
  5. Add remaining ingredients and stir until just combined.
  6. Pour into 12 lined muffin tins (they’ll be very full).
  7. Bake at 375 degrees F for 22 minutes.

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