4/25/17

10 Free + Easy Ways To Create The Perfect Mother's Day

Struggling with finding the perfect gift for mom? Not sure what to give Queen Bee?  Looking for free and easy ways to create the perfect Mother's Day? Good News! Below are 10 sure to please Mother's Day ideas.



1. Let mom sleep in! Get up, be quiet and wait for her to come to you. I know, totally a crazy concept but trust me, she will be the nicest person you ever met if you leave that poor tired woman the f*ck alone.

2. Breakfast in Bed is phenomenal, yes, but what mom really loves is when you clean up after making the breakfast. Seriously, if it takes her longer to clean the kitchen than enjoy her breakfast, then you failed. Miserably. Hint: Bring breakfast, give kisses and hugs, then GO CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF! Mom's mind will be BLOWN. Promise.

3. The only thing better than a clean kitchen is a clean house. Give mom a break from Sunday chores and do them for her. Dads, walk around the house, pick up your socks, jocks and trousers you drop at the door when you get home. Kids, do the same. Clean up after yourselves ALL day.  Vacuum, garbage, windows, floors, counters, bathrooms.  Hint: Split the chores up between the family, less daunting and great lesson in teamwork.

4. If nothing else, clean your room without bitching. Just that alone will make mom's day.

5. Speaking of not bitching, everyone needs to try their best to get along. All day. I know, another crazy concept, but for one day, no bothering mom with your first-world struggles. Write the rules down and post them if need be. Here, I'll get you started: NO fighting, bickering, bitch slapping, toy hogging, sand/rock throwing, TV show fighting, eye gouging, fish hooking or duchebaggery.  Act like you actually love each other.




6. Dad, while I'm sure you're perfectly agreeable and can find anything in the house you need, spend the day in a selfless state, and, maybe try actually looking for something first before asking. Consider moving the milk aside before giving up on finding something. It's in there, you know it, LOOK!

7. Mothers; Yes, it's your day, but it's also your own Mother's day and your Mother-in-law's day, too. Which means, you're gong to have to share your day with them, but NOT THE WHOLE DAMN DAY! Set boundaries. Have your time. Do something for you! HINT: should you have issues, do your best to smile through it, no bickering, bitch slapping or sand/rock throwing. This will make for a superbly wonderful day for all mothers involved.

8. SURPRISE! Mom loves a good nap. If mom wants to take a nap, let her. This means, DO NOT ask every five minutes if she is awake, or when is she going wake up. The answer is: WHEN SHE IS READY!

9. If mom cleaned the house on Saturday, and there is no housework needed, don't screw it up! If the house is clean, leave it that way! No sticky fingers or Popsicles left to melt on the table.  Do not get food on the couch, floor, bed or dog. In fact, don't even eat one goldfish cracker on Mother's Day. Lift the seat, wash hands, and put things back where you found them. It's only for one day, surely you can make some sort of fun game out of not screwing the place up!

10. Of course, mom wants to spend the day with you, but maybe not attached at the hip. If mom wants to run out for a Mani/Pedi, shopping trip or peace and quiet, let her go, ALONE! Then, encourage her to enjoy herself and not worry. This also means, no calling her every five minutes about a fight, food and when she's going to be home.

I promise, incorporate one or all of the above 10  Free + Easy Ways To Create The Perfect Mother's Day and mom will be the hap, hap, happiest momma on Mother's Day.



4/21/17

5 Tips To Get Your Home Business Up + Running Like a BOSS




Did you know, Ford Motor Company, Hershey’s, and Apple all started as super-small home-based businesses? In fact, many great ideas, books, and companies get their start in a small home-based office, kitchen table, or in my case, on the couch with a MacBook Pro in my lap. 

Being able to work from home since having my son has been such a blessing. I set my own schedule, have freedom to work in my PJs all day if I want, or say screw it and take the day off. Of course, it's not all sunny skies and rainbows. Being self-employed working from home has its challenges. It takes a huge amount of self-discipline, organization, dedicated work space, and one hell of a work ethic. After all, you're the boss and have to answer to yourself and clients when you fall short.

I really can't say it enough, if you have a dream and are in search of ways that you can turn your fantastic ideas/book into a business, MAKE IT HAPPEN! We only get this one life, why waste it spending eight hours a day working on someone else's dream? 

Why wait another day? Spend this weekend making a plan. Take the plunge. Below are 5 Tips to get your home business up and running. 

Create a Space

Running a business from your home requires dedicated work space. You will need a space in your home that can be set aside for your office. This place should be quiet and, if possible, closed off from the rest of your home. Trust me, you don’t want to be on the phone with an important client only to have your 2 year old screaming at your feet.   
Your business model should dictate the amount of space and location in your home. Will you need to meet with any employees and or clients? Will you be easy for people to find? Is there enough parking? You also might want to look into the local permit and zoning laws. Bottom Line: Make room for your dreams in boh your life and home.
Saving
Plan to start saving money where you can. Create a budget and see if any corners can be cut to allow you to save money for a rainy day; being self-employed those days or weeks can hit hard if not prepared for. You can do this by saving on your utilities if you live in a deregulated state. For example, you can check out Direct Energy business rates and see if you will get better rates for your energy than what you are currently getting. Look for aanyways to cut back.

Cut the Cord

One of the best tips you can get to run a business from home is to not spend all of your time procrastinating on social media, as tempting as it can be. You need to be able to tune out the world and focus on your business nd daily tasks. and spend your time focusing on your goals. Yes, you might be connected all the time, but that doesn’t mean that you also have to be available all the time. Set time aside for you to be nothing but productive. Doesn’t respond to anything but that which is related to work. 

Set a Schedule and Stick to It

You might have dreams about all the flexibility that comes with working from home, but if you want your business to become successful, you will need to work to make it that way. I know sucks. 

To set a schedule you should think about things like:
  • How long each day will you need to get your business off the ground? What is your current schedule? Can you reorganize it? What will you need to make plans around?
  • When do you do your best work? Are you a night owl, or do you rise with the sun? When are you the most focused and efficient? Plan to get your work done during the hours in which you are the most productive.
  • When are your business partners and customers available? You might do your best work in the middle of the night, but you might need to be in touch with business partners and or customers during daylight hours. This can be difficult. 

Accounting is Massively Important

And last, you get many tax benefits for running a business from home. That said, you can still incur penalties for being uncompliant with tax laws and not reporting your income at the right levels. Use tax software and make sure that you enter everything every single day. Either that or work with a tax accountant. SURPRISE, there are Apps for that.

I really can't say enough about following your dreams and being self-employed. I wouldn't want it any other way.


4/17/17

Mind Blowing Pool Noodle Hacks You Have To See To Believe

**Today, I am partnering with The Original Designer Pool Noodle company to show the many, many amazing ways you can use your pool noodles in and out of the pool! All Opinions are my own. 

With summer around the corner, many of us are pulling out last summer's pool noodles to find a few needing to be retired. Before you throw them away, check out the pool noodle life hacks below. I've already done the boot-hack to store my winter boots!


I present a few Mind Blowing Pool Noodle Hacks You Have To See To Believe:


Even, PBS, knows pool noodles have exponential uses, check out their mega Pool Noodle Obstacle course.




How's this for genius, a life-size Lincoln Logs House made from pool noodles!



The Seasonal Home shows how to make festive holiday decorations with pool noodles, including Large Faux Chrismas Candy decorations!


This DIY Faux Roman Column from Epbot is OFF -THE-CHARTS!




LOVING This DIY Pool Noodle Rope Lamp from Refab Diaries! BRAVO!




This Pool Noodle Pirate Ship is fantastic!



Three cheers for The Joys Of Boys Pool Noodle Goal Post! So smart!



Totally making these DIY Pool Noodle Witch Legs and shoving them in the bushes.




Or, go big with this DIY Pool Noodle Spider.

Of course, no pool noodle list would be complete without showing the garage door bumpers. then paint to match! Or not.





One word, Sweaters!  Great for pants, but YES! for sweaters. I hate the bend from folding over sweaters on a hanger.





My personal favorite is this pool noodle boot shaper trick. I did it before putting my winter boots away last week. Totally works.




BONUS: Need some Lumbar support in your car? Or desk chair?



Again I want to thank The Original Designer Pool Noodle team for motivating me to start a conversation about the many many uses of pool noodles. To check out their wide range of  pool noodle designs, and rafts or to find a store near you, click here!


The Pool Noodles pictured above top left-- the Jelly Bean, Flip Flop and Party Balloon designs I have and love!!! Talk about never wondering if it's your pool noodle or not, when at the pool. They are super soft too!!  

Family First: Everything You Need To Know About Pool Fencing





Swimming pools are the prime destination for outdoor family fun, but they can also pose unseen dangers for young children. Did you know, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children under age 5. According to the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of these incidents happen in home swimming pools, and parents report the child was missing only a few minutes before they were found in the pool. 
These sobering statistics shed light on the need for parents take extra precautions to make sure their pool area is secured. They also show that adult supervision must be combined with additional layers of protection to be truly effective. Pool fencing is the best way to ensure that curious little ones can’t wander into the area unattended. In many states and countries, gates are required by law. As they should be. 

By installing a pool fence, parents gain peace of mind knowing the kids are free to play safely in the backyard. But which gate should you choose? There are many pool fencing options available, including traditional fencing materials like wood, iron, or mesh. 
Glass pool fencing is a recent innovation that’s gaining popularity for its elegant appearance and great safety benefits. The glass pool fence trend combines the best of both worlds: security and style.


The major advantage of glass is it allows clear views of your pool and landscape. Though solid barred and mesh pool fences can be cost effective, they are not aesthetically pleasing and block your view of activities in and around the pool area. Glass pool fencing opens up your space and has a nearly invisible appearance so you can keep an eye on your little ones at all time. As a bonus, it has a modern, elegant look that makes your home look as if it belongs in a lifestyle magazine.

A self-closing, self-latching gate is the most important part of any pool fence. Some companies also offer a keyed latch option to lock up the pool when it’s not in use. Durability is another key factor to consider when choosing a pool fence. 
Glass pool fences are built to stand strong over the years, with thick tempered safety glass and corrosion-resistant stainless steel hardware. The smooth panels come in heights of 4 to 5 feet, making it impossible for even the most adventurous child to climb over the fence.

NOTE: Pool fencing works best when combined with other layers of protection such as swimming lessons, careful adult supervision, and CPR lessons for parents. Thankfully, drowning is preventable with a 360-degree safety plan. Installing a pool fence is the first step to ensure your children are protected. Pool ownership should be stress-free experience. With a pool safety fence, parents can spend less time worrying and more time enjoying their backyard oasis with their little ones.

4/14/17

30 Days + 30 Life Hacks = NEW YOU!


With spring in full bloom, it's time get out, get active, and accept the fact that, bathing suit season is around the corner. Below is a super-fun 30/30 challenge with a different challenge every day to keep you moving and motivated.



Over the next thirty days, each day, pick a new life hack from the list below, or just go in order from 1-30. The purpose is to help you stay mindful of a different aspect of your health, lifestyle and nutrition over the next four weeks. You can even start today!



By the end of the month, you will have touched on every aspect of your diet and lifestyle, and hopefully, shed a few pounds! See what sticks, what shocked you and what certainly needs improvement. Below you will find a list of thirty diet and fitness tips. Pick one a day, and go with it! 





  1. Say no to sweets. For one day, just say no to extra sugar and sweet treats. You can do it. It's only one day!
  2. Find a fitness friend. Walk off the day with a friend. Set the rendezvous, and aim for at least a 20-minute walk. The mall counts! Plus, Retail Therapy is a real thing. 
  3. Blast your butt. Wake up five minutes early to blast your butt into shape. Do each of the below exercises, then start your day.
  4. Crack down on carbs. Whole grain=good. Cupcake=BAD!
  5. Motivate with music-Create a fun, upbeat workout playlist and rock out to it all day. On the way to work. At lunch. On the way home. Whenever. Wherever. You'll boost energy, endorphins and add a whole lotta pep to your step! 
  6. Weigh in. While I'm not a fan of scales, if you have one, climb on. Don't beat yourself up. Be accountable. Accept that you are where you are because of choices. Promise to make better choices. Stick to it. 
  7. Police your portions. What takes up the most space on your plate? How big is your plate? Are there even veggies on your plate? Put the portions in check.  
  8. Clock the Block- How long does it take to walk around the block at home and work? Just think, you could be getting in two easy ten minute walks a day. Tip: listening to a good book or podcast will keep you walking around the block more than once. 
  9. Say hello to H20- Drink water from the minute you wake up, until the minute you go to sleep. At all times, keep water close by. Just by drinking water all day, you'll be doing this for your body:
  10. Dance it off- Crank up the music and dance around your house for 20 minutes. This is great on cleaning day. Before you know it, you've gained a clean house and lost a pound. WIN/WIN! 
  11. Meditate. Meditation might be the ultimate life hack. Aim to meditate two times for ten minutes each. The morning and before bed are my favorite times. I set my intention for the day, then relax my brain before bed. Tip: download a (free!) meditation app to help you get started. 
  12. Skinny snack day. Prepare two mini skinny snacks; One for mid-morning and one for mid-day. The second you feel hungry, whip one out. Chances are, not only will you have more energy through the day, you won't even think about that late day trip to the snack machine!  (For a ton of awesome skinny snack ideas, check out my, Skinny Snacks, Pinterest board.)
  13. Say Hi to, Herb! Resist the urge to dump salt on your meals today. Instead, reach for the herbs. Basil, parsley, cilantro, rosemary, thyme and sage, can, and will, change your life! Herb it up today to get heart healthy. 
  14. Eat breakfast- Just do it. It will change your entire day. The energy alone will have you blasting through emails and your to-do list like a maniac on a mission. Oatmeal with fresh fruit and a drizzle of local honey is my go-to.
  15. Blast those Abs- Before sitting down to watch TV, do a few sit-ups and crunches! Just five-minutes of ab blasting will boost your metabolism and wake your muscles up. Just think, you'll be burning calories infant of the TV! (Imagine if you religiously did a few crunches before you sat down to watch TV? What would your abs look like?

  16. Maybe Later, Day-Before giving into your cravings and guilty pleasures, say, "maybe later" and walk away. Your mind has a much easier time processing, maybe later, instead of 'never again'. Kill the craving with a little mind warfare. After all, it really is for only one day!
  17. There's an app for that. Find a fitness app that motivates you. (Many are free!) Talk to friends, read reviews, then download it. For one day, give it your all!
  18. Purge the pantry- Clean out the carbs and cobwebs. Ask yourself this, do I want this to land on my butt or the city dump. You decide. 
  19. Have a Healthy Happy Hour. Order a glass of red wine and water. Alternate. 
  20. Don't super size. This is really a NEVER good thing, but skip the extras today; large sides, packets of mayo, bladder buster fountain drinks...
  21. Brave a new class- Ever wanted to try Yoga, Pilates, Barre or Boot Camp? Grab a friend or go alone, but just GO!  TIP: Check Groupon or Living Social for local deals. Sometimes you can buy a Yoga class package for the price of one class!                 
  22. No Nighttime Noshing. After dinner, the kitchen is CLOSED! Pour a large glass of water, turn off the light and stay out! 
  23. Find a food substitute. Substitute yogurt for ice cream, fresh fruit for candy and nuts and granola for salty chips. Or just throw all three in a bowl together for a yummy dessert. See if you can find a healthy, delicious alternative to your favorite snacks. I eat rice crackers and hummus when I want nachos. No, it's not the same, but it's delicious and fills me up!
  24. Protein swap- Are you a beef and pork family? Switch it up. Make Turkey burgers, chicken stir-fry or fish tacos.  Find fun ways to incorporate lean protein into your family's diet.
  25. Step it up. Walk everywhere! Take the stairs, park in the back parking lot, do laps in your house. Try to take 5,000-10,000 steps today! (Yes, there's an app for that too!)
  26. Stand up. Once every twenty minutes. Even though that sounds like a lot, it's really just 3 minutes out of every hour.  Set an alarm to remind you. TIP: Don't turn the alarm off until your are actually standing. 
  27. Entertainment free eating- Eat meals at the table, only. Not in front of the TV. Not driving to work. Not at your desk. Not in the kitchen while prepping meals. Eat while sitting at a table only. 
  28. Labels: Love it or leave it? Before taking a bite, read the food packaging label. Are there more than five ingredients? Can you not pronounce most of them? Are dyes and dangerous preservatives listed? Decide, should I love this or leave this? 
  29. Walk with words. Find a podcast or an audio book for something you've wanted to read, and walk to it. Do not sit, walk. I love to walk to mystery audio books, especially, Sue Grafton's Alphabet mysteries. I only let myself listen when walking. Sometimes, I'm so fully absorbed by the story, I walk for two hours! Sometimes, I will go for a walk just to hear the book.I have a girlfriend that walks to a podcast every morning. Try it, I bet you will like it!                                               
  30. BONUS. Of the 30 you just did, pick 5 favorites to work on. Make them your focus next week. The following week, pick five more. The goal is to work up to 20-60 minutes a day focusing on your health and well-being.


Which one do you think will be your favorite? 

4/12/17

This Glow-In-The-Dark Stairway Hack Might Save Your Life #LifeHack

I promise when I set my sites on, The Basement Job, I had no idea it would take such a turn. Before I even started.

But, it did.

One minute, I'm preparing to paint wood panel walls white, the next I'm ripping up metal stair treads and old cracked yellow linoleum. So much for making a plan and sticking to it!



In my experience, that's the thing with any home renovation or room make-over, things come up and plans change. Sometimes, just cleaning an area on my wall will end in my doing touch-up painting around the house!

This was never more the case than when I walked down the basement stairs to begin my next big renovation and hurt my foot on the corner of the metal treads. That was it, The Basement Job was going to have to wait. The nasty ass basement stairs had to be sorted out first.

Short Story: After ripping up the metal treads and gross linoleum, I found layers of glue, dirt, strange fuzz and who knows what else. It took about 5 minutes of sanding and stripping before I threw in the towel.  Filling my basement with dust, possibly laced with asbestos, was not worth it for six basement stairs. And while I am one to bust ass to make it right, these stairs didn't need to be "right" they needed to be clean, functional and free from evil treads. So, I opted to paint them.

The first coat was white. While it was an improvement, I thought the white made the stairs stick out like a sore thumb.

**Read the full story with photos of the stripping, sanding and priming, click here.


Looking at the fresh blank canvas of stairs, it hit me, I needed to paint a faux runner, just like one I saw on Pinterest.


I'm not quite sure where I got the idea for the Glow-in-the-dark (GITD) paint, but the next thing I know, I'm buying Khaki paint and clear GITD acrylic craft paint.

I ran home, taped off the stairs, using the 'Stair Stringer' or stair frame as a guide. I knew that was where I wanted the GITD paint.

At first.




 After painting the Khaki, I pulled up the tape and started layering the Glow-in-the-dark paint.


NOTE: This photo was taken before I started to test a strip to make sure my evil plan would work. TIP:  If possible, ALWAYS test out your grand plans on a small scale first. 

After two coats of the Acrylic glow-in-the-dark paint, I nearly died. My plan worked. It really worked! In fact, it worked so well, I decided to paint the sides of the stairs too. Since the paint dries nearly clear, after a few coats, it made the look of my Faux runner come to life, and made the stairs REALLY glow!!!



I am SOOOOOOOOOO Proud of myself. I never thought this would work so well, but it did. I love my basement stairs. Love them. One month ago, I had to wear shoes to go down them unscathed. 



I'm going to add a few more coats, just to even it all out. But the bottom line is that the Acrylic Glow-in-the-dark paint works and wipes clean easily. And the saftey of glow-in-the-dark stars and railings is off the friggin charts.

If you have any questions about the process, please ask below in comments. This was a really fun, rewarding learning experience. I'm more than happy to help!



4/10/17

20 Insanely Cool Urban Gardening Hacks


I like to think of myself as an Urban Gardner. I have strange small spaces, odd shade times, and the city at my doorstep; with all, it's hustle, bustle, and congestion. Still, gardening is my therapy, so I work with what I've got. Sometimes, that means getting very creative. Below are twenty of my favorite gardening hacks, especially for those urban gardeners out there like me, trying to grow everything you can in a concrete jungle... 

























And last... I'm trying this over the weekend!!




To see how-toe and more garden hacks, check out my Gardening Board on Pinterest.

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