Wednesday, June 29, 2016

How to keep kids from whining this summer!

The resourceful Lyndsay Johnson is back today to offer us a creative way to keep kids from telling us how bored they are!

Summer is here! But the whining was just too much. Something had to be done. I bought some tickets, and made a plan!

After a little creative brainstorming, I decided we needed a rewards system. We've done marbles in a jar, monetary rewards for chores, and other promises of greatness. But this summer I need something motivating and simple. I had been thinking about the fair coming up in August, and it dawned on me: RED TICKETS. I ran to Walmart and came home with a gigantic roll of red tickets. The kids were speechless for the first time in a week. "How do we earn them?" they implored. "I will share with you all of my secrets," I promised, and set about making this system work for us.

First, I gave them each an envelope for ticket storage, and found a big jar for "payments." Then we came up with a mutually agreed-upon system. You want to watch TV? Pay the jar 1 ticket per show. You want to go to a friend's house? 5 tickets. Family movie night or snow cones on mom? 10 tickets. Go to a movie? 50 tickets. Trip to the museum? 100 tickets...and so on.

And they have to work for these rewards! 1 ticket for every 10 minutes of reading. Picking up toys, 5 tickets, etc. Some rewards and payments are set in stone (they HAVE to read at least 20 minutes a day, but my 9 year old is now averaging about 70 minutes in order to earn an many tickets as are humanly possible).

But I also can use these tickets to keep them in line while, oh, say, having to shop for summer clothes with all three kids in tow. "You keep playing hide and seek in the racks, and that's going to cost you 10 tickets!" Boom. Angels. And if they are extra helpful and go above and beyond, they earn bonus tickets! Helping with little Lena (2) has earned Finn (9) and Maya (7) quite a few tickets to pad their envelopes. We even have a Friday Toy Chest where they can choose a 5 Ticket Toy from a treasure bin (thank you Dollar Store). It's the perfect motivation to keep everyone on track this summer!

What's working for YOU?

Lyndsay Johnson is a stay/work/play-at-home-mom to three littles. She is a graphic designer, author, and beauty maven who helps women gain confidence and grow their business through social media. She loves secret naps, watching movies in the dark, and admiring the mountains out her window. She lives in Heber City, UT with her children and filmmaker husband.
Lyndsay’s Blog:

Monday, June 27, 2016

How-to Take a Perfect Selfie

Today we are welcoming Tammy's childhood friend, Lyndsay Johnson! She's going to be talking to us about selfies, a summer idea for kids, and makeup this week! Take it away Lyndsay!
Need some help getting a great profile photo or head shot? With the right angle and light, you can take a beautiful photo every time! Here are my top ten selfie tips:
1. Find a big bright window and stand facing it.The light will make your pores and fine lines look smaller, and erase dark circles and puffiness. Make sure you do not stand with the window behind you, or else you will be back-lit, and in silhouette!
2. Hold your phone just above your eye line. Not TOO high, or you get a triangle face. Not too low, or hello double chin. You might want to tilt your head depending on your nose. For example, my nose looks wide when I smile, so I tend to angle my face in my selfies so they aren't straight on. If you have more of a roman nose, or your nose is naturally more slender, a selfie from straight looks beautiful.
3. Find your "smile." I can't full mouth smile in a selfie. Otherwise my nose grows and grows (see above). It also brings out lots of smile lines around my eyes. I have a selfie half smile that makes my cheeks look rosy and my nose not overwhelm the frame.
4. Ramp up the color just a *bit* if you want to showcase makeup. Bright lighting will wash you out. So you might need an extra pop of blush on your cheeks.
5. In a selfie rut? Take a drive. Wonder why you always look amazing in a car selfie? It's the light coming in from all sides! Unbuckle your seatbelt, try to hide the carseat in the background, and SMILE (with your special selfie smile). 
6. Experiment with different poses. Different poses show off different features! Remember that smart phone optics are different than a regular camera. So just keep trying if you aren't loving your angle or post.
7. COMPLETELY AVOID bathroom light! It will age you, and accentuate lines, wrinkles, and bags that aren't there...not to mention the lighting will make you look orange, yellow, or even greenish!
8. Avoid using the camera on your computer to take a selfie. They will give your face an ominous glow and make you look scary because of the low angle and glow from the screen!
9. Take a trip around your house (inside and out) to find the best natural, indirect light. Avoid harsh sunlight or full shadows!
10. Remember that you are beautiful, and that confidence will shine through any photo!
WANNA SEE THE VIDEO?? *CLICK HERE* to fast track to a video tutorial of these 10 tips!
*come back Wednesday where Lyndsay gives a creative game idea to keep kids/Mom sane this summer!*
Lyndsay Johnson is a stay/work/play-at-home-mom to three littles. She is a graphic designer, author, and beauty maven who helps women gain confidence and grow their business through social media. She loves secret naps, watching movies in the dark, and admiring the mountains out her window. She lives in Heber City, UT with her children and filmmaker husband.
Lyndsay’s Blog:

Friday, June 24, 2016

the Love For Eyeshadow

I love eyeshadow! We, as women, hope that everyone looks us straight in the eye before they move on to our...assets. Hope being the word. And when they DO look us in the eye, eyeshadow can enhance our beautiful shape/color.

I have only a few, and they give me every look I need. Here are the tools:

1) basic, rarely used, but good for little corners
2) more brush, great for every use just about (sponge end used for inner eye corners sometimes)
3) narrow, but soft brush, one of my favs
4) no bristle, hard sponge, for under eye "smoking", not used too often
5) angle brush, great for under eyes and eyelid crease
6) wide fan brush good for blending
7) narrow fan brush good for blending smaller areas


1) eyeliner, pink shimmer cream applied with q-tip on all of eyelid and inner point of eyelid plus slightly along bottom left by point
2) black applied with brush sweeping in and stop halfway plus black liner on bottom inner eyelid
3) black shadow swept along under eye with angle brush


1) eyeliner, teal on lid, purple starting from top of wing to halfway on eyelid, brush upwards and over like a rainbow
2) add bottom inner eyelid eyeliner (which makes eyes smaller if left as is)
3) add purple under eye shadow with angle brush


SOFT EYES with white eyeliner
1) white eyeliner on top eyelid and bottom inner eyelid, blush on eyelid (yes, I said blush! Blush is a fantastic color, so use it! Plus, it'll match your...blush!)
2) white eyeliner on top eyelid and bottom inner eyelid, white eyeshadow inner eyelid, dark grey sweeping in from outside to halfway of eyelid (I just sneezed before taking this pic and you can totally tell!)
3) SAME look as 2 but later in the day, so I reapplied all the whites and left the grey alone, so the grey wasn't the focus anymore :)

1) eyeliner, shimmer grey on inner eyelid, dark grey sweeping in to halfway
2) added eyeliner to both top/bottom inner eyelid, black shadow to under eye, shimmer grey to eye point and a touch on under eye, darkened the dark grey with a bit of black
3) blended upwards just a touch with blending brush


1) eyeliner (bam!)
2) added shimmer brown to inner eyelid, brown to outer eyelid and up, dark brown to crease from halfway point on out, shimmer brown on under eye, liner to top/bottom inner eyelid
3) blend the side up

1-top left, 2-bottom left, 3-top right, 4-bottom right
1) eyeliner, medium brown on lid, light on outer lid, dark along crease, light along under eye
2) eyeliner, eyeliner on bottom inner eyelid, grey shimmer inner eyelid, blue on outer
3) eyeliner, light purple on inner, darker on outer, shimmer dabbed in middle
4) eyeliner, pink on inner, grey on outer, black on inner crease sweeping out

1-top left, 2-bottom left, 3-top right, 4-bottom right
1) eyeliner, pink shadow, white liner on bottom inner eyelid (simple!)
2) eyeliner, brown shimmer on inner eyelid, light brown on outer eyelid
3) eyeliner, grey shimmer on inner and up, grey on outer, grey shimmer under eye, white liner on inner eyelid
4) eyeliner, top/bottom inner eyelid eyeliner, white shimmer on inner eyelid, black lightly brushed from 3/4 in on out in rainbow arch, black shadow under eye

NOW, a couple tips: have fun, have lots of fun, explore, try things out, dabble!!

I hope this was helpful. There are tons of thousands of ways to do eyeshadow. It's all practice and applying. I remember doing makeovers for my friends during High School before we went out at night. I've been practicing blending and seeing the curve in the eye and when to stop and start another color for years, but I can ALWAYS use new tips. I love seeing tutorials, too, just to watch how amazing people are!

Remember how I said to have some fun??? Do you want to see what fun looks like for me?? Ok, so I like costume makeup, too. Imagine that! So here's some looks I did. I want you first to see me with no makeup. Completely bare. This was before I went to the beach. Ready??

1) fresh face, no makeup
2) femme fatal (normal look, not scowling; it's all in the lines I created w powders/bronzers)
3) robotic woman burning back to robotic roots (done with eyeliner and eyeshadow only)

Thanks everyone for stopping by and making your eyes the beauty of the show with me this week! You can find me on *my Instagram account* adding makeup pics once in a while! Well...See ya next time!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Eyeliner Tutorial!

As you all may know, I've received a lot of requests for help with doing eyeliners. I love exploring eyeliner and finding neat tricks, quick tricks, and just having fun with it. I'm no expert, but I have been doing it since I was 16, and now I'm 17 (give or take over 15 years), and can show you how I apply my eyeliner through pics!

There are tons of ways of doing it, but I find this way to be a great beginners start. Many like to start from the far outside, and bring in, but that takes practice. So how about an easier way?? Also, each step can be it's own look. I'll say that many times in each list. (please excuse my lighting.) Ready?

1. smooth eyelid by pulling to side
2. make a small line from outer edge to halfway point of eyelid
3. take outer line and move outward just a touch (look on it's own)
4. take the top point, and connect it back down to the halfway of your eyelid, fill in space, if any, with liner (color it in), making it slightly thicker

See? Simple line. Nothing too fancy! Now, how about we go bolder!!

1. go from halfway point from prior, and bring your line down to inner eyelid
2. clean up line as needed
3. waa-laa!!
Now, even BOLDER!!!

1. draw your wing out to the side a touch more (look on it's own) 
2. add a little up curve on the tip (look on it's own)
3. take the curve and connect it to the halfway point of your eyelid and color in if needed 

Now, let's do a lower eye liner look!
1. same as before, pull the eyelid to smooth skin, and create your line, BUT this time, draw from the bottom of the outer eyelid and straight out (look on own)
2. draw straight out a touch more, and curve upward for a nice touch

How about another way to get that BOLDER look!

1. start with your basic line, then add an upper line, making two wings. (you can leave as is for a new look on it's own!)
2. finish the line all the way from the halfway eyelid point to the inner eye, but go all the way down a touch more (look on it's own)
3. connect the two wings by bringing the bottom up and out a touch in an up curve, and the top out to meet it, then go straight across to the halfway point of the eyelid to align, color in any gaps
Here is the final look IF I were to do all the way from inner eye to outer eye.
You don't have to! That's the fun of it. You can stop at any "point".
On the left eye is the upper wing. Right eye is the lower wing.
You may think they're the same height, but run your finger across the screen.
They're not!
And remember how I said no two wings are EXACTLY the same all the time? Here's proof! They look so much alike, but they're not quite identical, but it's hard to tell!
Come back Friday, I'm going to show you some eye shadow fun.
Plus some day to night looks with a quick color transition!

 "See" you then...with this look!

Monday, June 20, 2016

The ABC's of Eyeliner!

How silly of me would it be to just get right into applying eyeliner without telling you the simple facts, or really THIS girl's opinions, on eyeliner! So, I'm going to show you first my CRAZY COLLECTION of eyeliners. (Funny thing, I showed my friend this pic and she was freaked out considering she has only one. ONE? For shame!)

Here are "just a few" ways eyeliner presents itself:

~~~From top to bottom, this is their name, and my honest opinion of them~~~
1) CREAM: messy at first till you get it down, take your time, bad thing is it will leave a crease mark on your inner eyelid by midday if your line is thick
2) LIQUID BRUSH: this was my dear friend for many reasons; it's bold, but it took practice because liquid is unforgiving; great for thick bold lines
3) LIQUID POINT: this turned into my newer dear friend; it's bold and easier than the brush due to it's point; although if you want a thicker look, you have to do several lines
4) RETRACTABLE LINER: want a soft look, this is the one; a little bolder than a pencil, however leaves a faint line on inner eyelid by midday; no sharpening needed!
5) REGULAR PENCIL LINER: the old go-to; quick, easy, forgivable, soft; this is also fab to use when learning to use liquid; start with a pencil line then go over with liquid
6) GRAPHIC MARKER LINER: oh my gosh my new friend; bold, easy, has thick angle or turn to tip and you have your lines thinned; fades a touch by midday though
7) LIQUID LINER PEN/MARKER: where's my emoji mad face? has to be angled on it's side, meaning one eye good, the other is harder to get plus the tip is too faint to see

And now, would you like to see how they look when applied? Notice the consistency. Some have a more crayon look, while others a bold one. Some take a while to get, and some super quick!

Keep in mind, there are a few eyeliners I haven't listed or tried.
I think I have ENOUGH arsenal for now, don't you??
Here are a couple tips on eyeliners as well:
buy stock in Q-tips, practice makes you better, no two lines will be the exact same on each eye unless you're genius status but they'll look pretty darn close, take your time or you'll flub it all up, don't be afraid to be crazy and up your angles/length for fun, trial and error to see what liners you like, venture out and find some fun colors other than black (I have white, brown, green, blue...). Best tip: HAVE FUN!

Come back Wednesday! I'm going to give you the "recipe", with step-by-step pics, of creating WINGS!!! Here's a sneak peek of one of the wings we'll learn to do!

"See" you then!

Friday, June 17, 2016

#roadtrip - #TopTen sights to behold

On the road again.

One positive thing about technology on a road trip:
It entertains and makes the trip not seem so long. 
One negative thing about technology on a road trip:
Kids don't really see the real world anymore.


As the driver, I see it all. So here are 10 things I've seen while driving through the countryside:

  1. countless cornfields and livestock
  2. cemeteries
  3. real red barns (counted 25 on one trip!)
  4. actual scarecrows
  5. eclectic antique shacks
  6. a down home chicken broil
  7. beautiful windy roads of rural 'merica
  8. wildlife - some still alive, but lots of dead deer =(
  9. state parks and area museums
  10. unique eating establishments

And despite the slow-downs of inevitable road construction here are some positive things to help make it less stressful:
  • Plan on it - add extra travel time, it's okay to be early if you don't have traffic!
  • If you're at a stand still, you can catch up on email, social sites, but don't ever device and drive!
  • Roads will be improved, eventually
  • People are working - job creation... it's an endless cycle!
  • It's a good time to give a life lesson on patience to your kids =)
What have you seen in your travels? Got any advice or road trip stories to share?
Wherever you go - wishing you happy and safe travels this summer!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Road trips - Don't forget the food

If you're going to eat, you're going to want a drink, right little mouse? And that means you'll have to stop, probably before you want to... so factor that time into your itinerary. Here's my advice for food on a road trip:
  • Sometimes snacks are good diversions on a road trip in themselves.
  • A small, soft-sided cooler comes in handy for drinks, the healthy refridgerated snacks, and those unexpected delays
  • Snacks will tide kids (or you) over until you're ready to stop in twenty more miles at the better exit
  • When picking/packing snacks - individual servings are best and I use ziplock bags to make individual servings
  • Raid the pantry & fridge - the stuff is going to go bad while you're gone anyway, so bring it! This is also a great time for CREATIVE TRAIL MIX
    • Take the last bowls of cereal from the boxes the kids think are empty and won't finish
    • Use the remnants of crackers, popcorn, pretzels, chips, cookies, even granola bars - just break them up, use what you have!
    • That's the beauty of Trail Mix - it doesn't really have to go together because none of the pieces lose their flavor so picky eaters can pick out what they like!
    • And if you want to make above healthier, throw in some granola, raisins, or nuts
  • Bringing healthy snacks is super smart - they have limited options in the car (and hotel) - if they're hungry, they'll eventually eat the healthy stuff!
  • Pack drinks w/lids - nuff said
  • Don't give kids easy access to snacks and drinks or you'll be stopping every thirty minutes. Take heart - they're bladders do get bigger as they grow and so do their appetites, but so does the ability to suppress it - trips have become quite easy with teens. (one thing in their favor!)
Well, I hope this helps on your next road trip!
What do you recommend for road trip snacks?

Monday, June 13, 2016

Road Trip Tips!

Summer = Travel.

In the Fall, I'm a football mom like Liz. But in the summer, I'm a baseball mom. Two of my boys travel for tournaments on the weekends. Needless to say, we are on the road a lot! Those drives and hotel stays are fun at first, but they can become tiresome. So this week I'm going to talk about how to make road trips easier. Start by planning ahead!
  • For the driver
    • audiobooks!
    • update your music - because finding a good station is almost impossible on the road, even if you have satellite - it repeats!
    • I like to listen to a movie with the kids, like Wreck it Ralph or Despicable Me, it makes the time and the miles fly
  • For the kids
    • get movies onto the devices - they can take a while to load, don't wait till the last minute!
    • don't forget the chargers!
    • don't forget the headphones/earbuds!
    • bring a book - mine have summer homework, and even if they didn't I encourage them to read something
    • something different - mine will sometimes bring an old gaming system for a change of pace, like a PSP or Nintendo DS
    • for younger kids - there's a ton of creative, fun stuff available that wasn't when my kids were little - Crayola mess-free comes to mind
    • what NOT to bring - no stickers, no little pieces, nothing you can't replace! (see Liz's article about how to keep these things safe)
    • do bring something different to pull out at the pit stops or buy a trinket on the road - more waiting and sitting still at restaurants can be tough!
  • Know where you're going
    • GPS isn't perfect, I print out a map to be safe
    • figure out how long it will take
    • see if you can avoid construction
    • pick good spots to stop for meals or rest breaks
    • if I have friends in the area, I like to give them a heads up, possibly meet them for lunch between games
  • Be comfortable - sitting for a long car ride, you need to be comfy or you'll be cranky
    • bring long sleeves--even tho it's hot outside, the a/c keeps a car brrr cold even when the fan is on the lowest setting
    • pillows if space permits
    • sunglasses and a spare
    • don't pack stuff in your suitcase you want easy access to in the car
  • Food! I'll be talking about snacks and drinks on Wednesday
Got more to add? I'd love to hear it! Any travel plans coming up? Happy Trails!

Friday, June 10, 2016

#clothes that make you feel good!

I was told that Friday was a sort of free-for-all, so I’m gonna talk about CLOTHES.

The first thing I want to say, so you know the bias from which this info is coming from, is that I’m a huge believer in quality over quantity. I’d rather own 2 pairs of jeans (that I LOVE) rather than 7 pairs that I don’t love so much. If people are like, “Wow, you wear those a lot.” Then you can be like, “Yep. I’m trying to simplify. I’m not brave enough for a capsule wardrobe, but I also don’t believe in waste.”

BOOM. Done.
So, now that my short clothing philosophy is out of the way...

I’m gonna start with workout clothes because that’ll be short.
  1. Wear something that makes you feel like a bad-a**. If that’s your husband’s ratty old t-shirt, own it, wear it, workout like a bad-a**. If it’s a matching set of Lululemon because you can only afford ONE matching set (because Lululemon), then rock the hell out of it.
  2. This is ME, but I will say that when I’m wearing workout clothes I like, I’m much more likely to workout longer, or take a short rest and workout twice, than if I decided to do yoga in my stained pajamas.
  3. Don’t skimp on workout shoes (if you can afford it). They’ll help prevent injuries and keep you working out longer. I’ve found some killer deals on craigslist and e-bay on running and hiking shoes. OR really great inserts can turn a cheap pair of shoes into something that’ll protect your joints.
And now for a few random bits of advice on everyday clothing stuffs:
  1. Find a jacket you LOVE. Something lightweight that you can use to dress down a skirt or dress up a pair of jeans. I cannot tell you how many mornings I slipped that jacket on over the t-shirt I slept in, grabbed a pair of worn jeans, tucked my feet into flats, and gotten compliments. This takes no longer than shoving a hoodie over your head and shoving your feet into your ratty tennis shoes.
  2. I can’t tell you how many friends of mine have a closet load of shoes that are cute, but not comfortable, and that they like, but don’t love. I have about ⅓ the amount of shoes as most people I know, but I don’t think I spent any more money--I’m just a sucker for shoes that don’t hurt my feet and that I can wear every day.
  3. DON’T BUY CHEAP LEGGINGS - We can see your legs through those. Also, never size down, always size up. The only way leggings can be too big is if they’re falling off. The bigger they are, the better coverage they’ll give, and the nicer you’ll look. Stop caring about the size on the label.
  4. Smooth lines on your body will beat losing 5 lbs every single time. Don’t buy things that pinch you anywhere. A size 14 will look better than a size 6, if the 14 has smooth lines, and the 6 has squished herself into a 4.
  5. Don’t buy clothes you’re not insanely in love with. My cousin lived in tiny apartments and when she bought something new, she had to get rid of something in her closet. There was no room otherwise. I’m not the best at this, but this is my new goal--Don’t buy anything unless I know what it’ll replace.
  6. With #5, if you don’t love something in your closet, get rid of it. Don’t store or wear things that don’t make you feel good.
  7. GO GET FITTED FOR A BRA. Seriously. I worked at Macy’s as a bra-fitter for over a year, and maybe 15% of people are in the right size. Also, your body changes, so that bra fitting? Not a one-time gig. Wear a fitted t-shirt and they can fit you right over your shirt. No prob.
  8. When/if you lose weight, DO NOT KEEP YOUR LARGER CLOTHES. You’ll end up back in them, because you’ll have a bloated day one day and then you’ll wear your bigger pants, and the bigger pants will make you feel thin because they’re loose and then that pan of brownies will look tasty….. ;-)
  9. When/if you gain weight, DO NOT KEEP YOUR SKINNY CLOTHES. I know people will argue with me over this, but styles change, and looking at what used to be some of my favorite things in my closet, that I knew I couldn’t wear, wasn’t motivating. It might be for you, in which case, keep doin’ your thing. But honestly, I don’t mind having very few clothes in my wardrobe, and as I lost weight, it was really fun to very slowly add to the few things I had and loved.
  10. One of my best tools for falling in love with the clothes I have is to pick something I really adore wearing, and then do a search for similar items on Pinterest. Laugh all you want, but seeing 18 cute ways to style my denim shirt, makes me excited to wear it again.
  11. PLAN your wardrobe, what you have, what you want. I have one Pinterest Board titled TWEAK MY CLOSET, which are outfits really similar to what I already have. When I have to leave the house and don’t know what to wear, I go there. I have another board called WANNA BE, and that’s filled with clothes I’m dying to put on my body, but don’t yet have. Helps me have a plan when I go shopping.
OK. I wasn’t gonna do this, because I don’t love having my pic taken, and I gave up on my kids, so this is me, and my cheap Walmart dresser in the background, and my little mirror that’s tacked onto the wall in my bedroom, taking selfies w/ imperfect light… (For reference - I’m 5’8”, 165 (prefer to be 155-160, but I like cookies), size 10, and a 34DD bra. A t-shirt w/ a high neck is super disastrous to my figure.
  1. I’m wearing one of my fav shirts to sleep in. SO SOFT. And not my most flattering jeans, but my most comfy - just wanna show you that even your smooshy, cozy jeans can be dressed up - THIS IS THE BASE OUTFIT, not a recommendation ;-)
  2. I pulled my slept in hair back in a headband and tucked the back up with pins. The cardigan is a navy cable-knit that I got on super sale from American Eagle. And leather flip-flops (because yes, flip-flops can be nice).
  3. (sorry about the lighting) This jacket is an earthy grey, motorcycle style, but super-duper soft. From Athleta. There’s some shape, but not a ton. Pretty casual. Boots for winter, stripey flip-flops or Chucks for summer (I don’t have 3 feet, so I couldn’t show you all 3)
  4. I tucked my tee in. This is a navy blue, stiff cotton jacket with more structure than the last one. I sometimes would add a scarf--either a big one over the top of the jacket, or a smaller one tucked under. Fun, flat shoes or easy to walk in, stacked heels.
  5. This time I added a necklace, tucked up the back of my hair, and added a suit jacket from Banana Republic. Driving mocs from Norstrom Rack on one foot, and my fav patent heels on the other.
So, there ya go - the same t-shirt and jeans, styled a few ways. I’m on a binge of rolling up pantlegs, so I should have shown you a few without rolled pantlegs, but yanno, I’m so done taking pics of myself.

If you’re curious on the capsule wardrobe thing, check this post. Here’s another cool post about simplifying your closet, and this one as well. While I can’t quite force myself to do the capsule wardrobe thing, that’s also because I don’t live in a city where being directly on top of fashion is important, and I’ve invested a LOT of money on tech wear for living in Alaska. Also, I grow connections to things I wear and love, and I sew clothes, so clearly, I can’t just keep those for one season ;-)

And if you’re curious about simplifying your whole house, read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up--there’s a reason it’s so popular.

I have LOVED being here this week!! THANK YOU!
Now everyone should go buy one of my books so I can send my kids to college ;-)

Jolene Perry writes books for teens and lives in Alaska with her family, dog, cat, and tortoise.

I Tweet   I Facebook   I have an author Site   I Tumblr like a gymnast

We had a blast letting you take over and give us a new perspective this week, Jolene! Thanks, girl!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Healthy summer snacking

I’m gonna list again today. My best friend since middle school is a multi-degreed nutritionist, and I use her brain alllll the time. So. Here are my little tips and tricks to eating healthy when kids are home for the summer and want snacks and cookies every few minutes:
  1. I’m a sucker for a good trail mix, so I bought these cute TINY bowls from Target, measure out about ⅓ cup trail mix, and I’m not allowed to eat more than that during the day. (Target’s MONSTER Trail Mix is not trail mix. It is candy. Treat as such)
  2. When (IF) I make breakfast, I cut up zucchini, carrot, and apple slices, put them in containers, and leave them on the outer edge of the shelf for easy access. And no, if I want them dipped in ranch, I do not feel guilty about this (I only say this because I have friends who have sworn off ranch, even jalapeno ranch, and this makes no sense to me).
  3. When I make sandwiches, I’ll slice them all into fourths, put them on a plate for kiddos to come get their share, and I only take two. Eventually, the kids will eat the rest. I also do this with quesadillas, making sure that one of them is low on the cheese and high on the beans for me.
  4. Drink water before you eat ANYTHING. Most of the time when we think we’re hungry, we’re thirsty. Try that first. If we’re actually hungry, all that water in our stomach helps us feel fuller for longer. (This is part of Bob Harper’s Skinny Rules, which is what finally helped me shed the pounds from kiddo #2)
  5. SKINNY POP. This stuff is awesome. Two cups of Skinny Pop Popcorn, and a glass of water, and I’m totally set.
  6. Sometimes water is boring. Here are some suggestions: Bai (watch out for caffeine!), Sparkling water (with or without flavoring), Nuun energy tablets that are designed to be dropped in water - I’ve gotten to where a half tablet is enough (some have caffeine, some don’t). If you need a huge jolt, but don’t want to jump in and drink soda, I highly recommend hi*ball - natural caffeine. The grapefruit is the best of the calorie free, and the apple cranberry is the best with calories.
  7. DON’T EAT THINGS THAT ARE NOT FOOD. Look at your labels and start googling some of that crap. Scary what’s allowed in our crackers and chips. Smaller ingredient lists are almost always better for you.
  8. When I do outings with my kids, I make them take their own food and water in their own pack. That way I’m not sorting through their yummy stuff to get to my carrots.
  9. No matter how hard you work out, you can eat more calories than you realized. I pick one day a week and type up every single thing I eat (because it’s SUMMER and I don’t want to be typing in allll my food every day). It gives me a good measure of where I’m at, and it’s not overwhelming and super time-consuming. It’s like my check-in to see if I’m about right for caloric intake, or if I’ve fallen off the wagon.
  10. I’m a huge lover of tortilla/taco soup - Get some chicken or veggie broth and then toss in some corn, black beans, white beans, pinto beans, whatever chilis or onions you like, maybe some peas, and salsa for flavor. I’ll freeze that up and have these super easy meals. For those of you who live in places too hot for summertime soup - I do the same thing with salads. I’ll cut up a bunch of salad stuff, so I’m not eating the same one every day. I love Thug Kitchen’s take on salads - PLANT NACHOS!! I can totally get behind that.
  11. And FINALLY… I know people who go totally without chocolate (or whatever their favorite treat is). STOP THAT. Buy the quality stuff, and when you’re dying for a sweet fix? Break off a piece. Even the most extreme diets can handle a bite or two of your favorite thing. Don’t get yourself in a position where you’re so deprived you binge. Not good for your mental or physical health.

Hopefully this is helpful… I’m far from perfect, but all these little things help me keep eating healthy so I can keep up with my ever-growing kiddos! Happy Summer Adventures Everyone!! And PLEASE PLEASE share your tips in the comments!!

Jolene Perry writes books for teens and lives in Alaska with her family, dog, cat, and tortoise.

Monday, June 6, 2016

#MondayMotivation - Find Your Happy!

We have a special treat this week - our guest is Jolene Perry, long time blog friend and multi-talented mom. She has some great advice to share with us this week... Take it away, Jolene!

First off, I’m soooo super stoked to take over this week *happy dance*
I’m gonna keep it simple today, and roll with a list. Becuase I like lists. They make me happy :-)


#1 You are the boss of you. Don’t let someone tell you that you’re doing something wrong, if you’re happy, you’re doin’ it right. I add, tweak, and change bits of exercies, recipes, rules...

This one comes with a story - I gained a LOT of weight with my son. I threw up for all nine months, and the only way to not throw up and stay off of liquid IVs, was to be STILL. When I was still, I didn’t throw up as often.  ANYWAY. Nothing fit after he was born, of course, and so I told myself that I’d be allowed to get new clothes after I lost the weight. That was such a huge mistake. There is exactly zero motivation to lose weight when all you have are clothes you don’t like and don’t feel pretty in. Once I finally bought a few things that made me feel pretty, I found the motivation to get up and move again. #2 DO NOT WAIT UNTIL XXX BEFORE YOU DO SOMETHING NICE FOR YOURSELF.

Along with #2, #3 Don’t save your bigger clothes, just in case. Guess what? You’ll end up filling them again. And while we sometimes do gain weight back, don’t be prepared for it.

Because I live in Alaska, and we end up in the dark for so many months out of the year, I’m always looking for little tricks to make me feel happy when the world feels as if it’s trying to suffocate me. For me, that happy place is sometimes clothes, so just bear with me for a sec. Trade out your favorite hoodie with a killer cardigan. Trade out your worn running shoes for something with a teeny bit of style. #4 Just break outside of your norm dressing once in a while. Which goes with...

#5 Dress up to run errands once in a while. You know that skirt that makes you feel all sassy? Or those boots that make you feel like you could fight zombies? Or that blouse that makes you feel like Taylor Swift? (or something else that’s all yours). Just WEAR IT once in a while. You don’t need a purpose or a reason to dress up if you want to.

We need people. #6 FIND YOUR PEOPLE. Does this mean you have to put yourself out there? Yup. Is that terrifying? Definitely can be. Is it worth it? SO VERY WORTH IT. If you’re a knitter, there are a ton of knitters out there. Yoga your thing? SO many yoga groups. Sewing? Writing? Journaling? Genealogy? THERE ARE PEOPLE OUT THERE FOR YOU. Local people. That you can meet with face to face. Find your people.

#7 Timers work wonders! I’m a weirdo about timers, but there’s a reason. A good friend of mine came to visit, and she was in the middle of setting timers for everything. I rolled my eyes, but we decided that we’d give ourselves 10 minutes to clean up my house. We seriously cleaned the main part of my tiny house in 10 minutes. Because we knew our time was limited, and because we knew we could just walk away when we finished, we hustled. I use timers for writing, and often, I still use timers for cleaning. Even when I’m miserably tired, I can usually manage 5 minutes. You’ll be amazed at how much you get done.

So many people don’t like this bit of advice, but I turn 40 this September, so I’m gonna give it to you anyway. #8 MOVE YOUR BODY. Yup. Exercise. BUT, do it your way. I used to do these really killer hard workouts. I was all about P90X, or Jillian Michaels or CrossFit. Some days I’d work out 3 times a day. At a certain point, I realized I wasn’t loving working out. Now I walk and I do yoga. And guess what? My body is stronger, and I’m happier than I’ve ever been. TRY a few things. If you’re happy, don’t be afraid of the rut. If you’re bored, try something new (and don’t be afraid to change it up for you).

Always remember that change can be a good thing.

#9 DON’T BE AFRAID TO BE WEIRD! I have people tell me ALL the time - I could never pull off those shoes, or I could never wear that haircut the way she does, or that outfit is too cool for me. STOP IT! If you love a haircut? DO IT! OWN IT! LOVE IT! And then someone else will look at you and say, I wish I could pull that off.

#10 TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF doing something you love. No mother or wife, or any person should feel guilty about taking time for herself, to do what she loves. I need my children to follow their passions, and I’d love for them to have less guilt about doing that than I sometimes do. It is important for your family to see you as a human, and not only MOM. Hey, don’t take that the wrong way - moms rock, we’re amazing, but we have things outside of being a mom that need to be part of our lives, for us, and for our family.

AND, that’s what I have today. Am I perfect? Nope. Do I take my own advice? Most of the time!! Can’t wait to see you all again Wednesday!!

Jolene Perry writes books for teens and lives in Alaska with her family, dog, cat, and tortoise.

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Friday, June 3, 2016

Summer Travel Tips

What's more fun than summer travel?

Traveling without losing items that are dear!

Add a phone number (not your own) to your cell phone lock screen. If you drop your phone and a Good Samaritan finds it, they will need a way to contact you. If your cell phone is pass code protected, they won't be able to access your phone's info to return it. 

If you're using a digital camera, snap a picture of your phone number. If it's lost, a Good Samaritan may scroll through your pictures and be able to contact you. My husband and I once found a camera at a state park, and were able to return the camera because the people had napped a pic of their name and address...I'm thinking leaving stuff behind was something they did frequently. The address and phone number worked, but I'd rather someone just give me a call.  

Taking pets on vacation? Be sure to attach tags with cell phone number to their collars- not a home phone number. No cell phone on your trip? Make a "tag" with hotel or realty company phone number and your name. While traveling, pre-cell phone days...I'd buy a cheap collar at a dollar store and write my name and the number of the place I was staying in black marker. Jut in case my dog got a way...I'd want a way to find her!

Any other tips? Share them...and of course, they will be "borrowed".

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

So Summer Easy

The very easiest way to make corn on the cob. 

I love corn on the cob. In the summer, I could make meals out of the sweet, golden deliciousness. So, of course, being the corner-cutter that I am, I have an easy way to cook it. 

You need a lidded pot, water, and ears of corn.

Add about an inch and a half of water in the bottom of the pot and bring to a boil. 
Add husked corn. 
Cover with the lid and cook for 15 minutes. 

Corn is done and ready to eat!

Easy Campfire Baked Potatoes

With the popularity of backyard fire pits, we don't have to wait for a camping trip for this campfire treat!

You will need potatoes, fire, and aluminum foil 

Build a fire. Once there is a good bed of coals, wrap a washed potato in foil and tuck into the coals. 

Allow to cook 30-60 minutes. I suggest checking them at the 30 minute mark. As soon as they feel pliable, they're done. 

Unwrap, add some favorite toppings, and enjoy!

Need a New Twist on the Summer S'more? 

Replace the usual Hershey bar with a Reese's Cup. Delicious...or so my kids say. I am one of the few who is not a fan of S'mores. I will take a Reese's Cup...chilled please. Nothing more delicious on a hot summer day than some cold chocolate. 

Anything else easy that I need to be doing this summer? Leave me tips in the comments- I'll happily steal borrow them. 

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