Posted in Family

31 Ways To Embrace Self Care This Fall

The weather is changing for many of us. Cooler mornings and evenings and a new mood fills the air. This is a magical time where for many of us the leaves are going to burst into color and the temperature goes from hot and humid to jacket and sweater season. Fall is my favorite time of year. Many people are posting bucket list ideas that include their favorite activities which got me thinking. Bucket Lists are often filled with self-care ideas. So as we move through October, I encourage you to try a new idea every day. Maybe spread it out through the whole season.

DAY 1: REFRESH YOUR WARDROBE FOR FALL by picking out some cozy sweaters, a new top in the season’s color, or even a few pieces of jewelry. Sometimes the easiest way to lift your mood is to don something new. This fall, I’ve been shopping my own AVON store because everything mixes and matches together so well and the quality and affordability just cannot be beat. Fall Fashion from Avon

DAY 2: UPDATE YOUR SKIN CARE ROUTINE as the season change. During the summer it is usually warmer out so you may be choosing a light moisture with SPF. As the weather cools, your skin might feel a bit drier. Maybe switch your moisturizer to something a bit thicker. Or you can add a really great serum that has hyuralonic acid or other premium ingredients that add moisture. I’m really loving more natural products these days. And my go to line is Farm Rx. The natural vegan based ingredients have really made a difference. For Fall, I’ve added the new serum and at night I’m using the Bakuchiol Cream to add moisture and a naturally derived retinol to keep those signs of aging on delay as long as I can.

DAY 3: DECORATE YOUR HOME with all of the pumpkins and gourds and new seasonal colors. Who says we can’t decorate for every season or holiday? I honestly love popping into some of my favorite places like Dollar Tree, Big Lots, and Target to look for inexpensive items. One of my favorite home fashion items are candles. And I just grabbed these holiday scesnts because they will take me from fall through the holidays.

DAY 4: VISIT THE FARMER’S MARKET and spread some small business love by shopping your local vendors. This is something my father and I loved to do here in Phoenix as the temps dropped. Bring home some fresh apples and seasonal favorites. Grab a warm beverage and maybe even stop somewhere for lunch on your way home. Make a day of it.

DAY 5: GET LOST IN A GOOD BOOK under your favorite throw on your sofa or outside in a park or on your porch or patio. Even better if it is something that makes you think of the magic of Halloween like a mystery or thriller full of edge of your seat suspense.

DAY 6: LIST OF GRATITUDE is a favorite for me. As we head into the holidays, what a great time to sit with a great cup of coffee and a journal to reflect on your year and all of the things that you are thankful for. I love going back through my journal during tough days to help reset my spirtis.

DAY 7: GRAB SOME MARKERS AND A COLORING BOOK! Even Dollar Tree has adult coloring books these days. And it doesn’t have to be markers. You can use pencils, crayons, or pens. Coloring can be such a calming activity. Toss it into your work tote and when you need a break in the day just pause and pull it out and let your mind escape for a bit.

DAY 8: PUT A RECORD ON and dance like nobody’s watching. Okay, not everyone has vinyl records these days. They are gaining popularity again and I’m here for that. However you choose to listen to music whether it is streaming, CDs, vinyls, or even cassettes, remember how freeing it can be to dance. I recently started playing music while doing my chores. I forgot how fun it can be to clean while you are dancing and singing. This isn’t about cleaning though. Remember self-care isn’t about getting the chores done. This is that moment where you just let go and dance to as many songs as you want.

DAY 9: TAKE A WALK outside and breathe in the cooler air. Whether around your neighborhood, in a park or through the woods, spending time in nature can help you reduce stress and depression.

DAY 10: APPLES. ENJOY THE APPLES. This is the time for all of the apples. I love slicing apples, sprinkling them with apple pie spices, and popping them in the microwave or oven until they are soft and warm. It is like a crustless applie pie. How about hot apple cider? Baked apples and apple cider are flavors that are comforting and relaxing. Imagine how great your house will smell too.

DAY 11: GO TO A FALL FESTIVAL. Here in Arizona, Prescott has an amazingly fun fall festival with artisans, crafts, treats, and amazing weather. There is something so amazzing about slowing down a bit to enjoy things. Whenever I’m there, I feel like I’m in one of those small town Hallmark movies. And I often find some great gifts for the holidays. I love when I find things that are unique and I’m supporting a small business.

DAY 12: ROADTRIP TO ANYWHERE and take in the scenic views of the drive. You don’t have to have a destination in mind. Driving can be a great way to process thoughts and feelings. Head somewhere that isn’t heavy traffic and offers great views of nature such as the changing leaves and other colors of the season.

DAY 13: PSL IS LIFE! Many people have already started filling up my social media feeds with their first or even fifteenth Pumpking Spice Latte. If PSL isn’t your thing, grab a different warm seasonal beverage and sit and sip it slowly. Enjoy it. Be in the moment.

DAY 14: OH MY GOURDS! Pumpkin patches are a must! Right? This is usually on most family fall bucket lists. This is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, spend time with friends and family and pick the perfect pumpkin. And don’t shy away from the other gourds. Decorate your home with all of the beauty you find at the patch.

DAY 15: CORN MAZES ARE AMAZING! Take yourself to a maze. What a great way to take your mind off of work or anything else that might be stressing you! Go all in body and mind! And take everyone with you so that you have good laughs as you find your way through the maze together.

DAY 16: DIG OUT YOUR RECIPES. As someone who lives in Phoenix, I can’t wait for fall and cooler temps. I’ve missed baking for months. Who wants to turn on the oven when the outdoor temperature is so crazy high? Not this girl. But fall means I can make soups and cakes and breads. So why not pull out some of your family favorites and make that pumpkin bread or butternut squash soup and invite some friends over to share.

DAY 17: CRAFT DAY can be a great stress reliever. Some great crafting ideas include knitting, carving pumpkins, making cards, making ornaments or gifts to give for the holidsy.

DAY 18: MAKE A HOLIDAY BUCKET LIST of everything you want to accomplish before the end of the year. Setting goals and planning the actions can help keep the busy holiday season stress free. Don’t forget to add some fun things to the list because self-care shouldn’t end in October.

DAY 19: CREATE YOUR VISION BOARD for fall of for any upcoming occaission. Cut out some inspiration photos and make a physical board or opt for a virtual version Pinterest is a great place to find inspiration and create a board virtually.

DAY 20: DON THE FUZZY SOCKS AND SLIPPERS since the nights are getting cooler. Nothing sets your mind to relaxation mode faster than fuzzy softness on your feet. After a long day at work, slip those fuzzy things on and put your feet up.

DAY 21: UNWIND WITH A FACE MASK. The perfect self-care activity that will always help you relax. When else are you required to sit with your head back for 10-20 minutes? Have you seen the fun and whimsical masks from The Creme Shop? Add a neck lift patch too while you are at it.

DAY 22: CLEAR AND ORGANIZE YOUR DESK OR VANITY. The two places I spend a large chunk of time are my desk and my bathroom. And those two places tend to get cluttered. One way to ease your mind is to tackle one of those spaces and clear the clutter and add a bit of organization. Imagine the peace of mind just waiting for you on the other side of this activity. You will smile the next time you are in the space and have so much more energy for that day’s agenda.

DAY 23: FIND A NEW FRAGRANCE FOR FALL. I’ve got a dresser vanity tray full of fragrances. I love to coordinate my outfit of the day with a fragrance of the day too. Add something new to your fragrance wardrobe. I’m loving LRYD Oud Rose for fall It is warm and indulgent. You can’t miss the saffron at the top. I love the combination of rose, coffee and amber as it dries down. Fragrance can give you a total mind shift in an instant.

DAY 24: STICKER BOMB! I love playing with stickers. Grab a pack of your favorite stickers and a journal or a water bottle and just get creative..

DAY 2S: END SOMEONE A CARD. Or several someones. Why wait for a special day like a birthday or holiday? Take a few minutes to let someone know you are thinking about them.

DAY 26: BUY A BOUQUET OF FLOWERS. Did you know that local florists often have a discount day where you can stop in a pick some flowers? Choose something bright and cheery or in autumnal tones and place them where you will see them every day.

DAY 27: RIDE A BIKE. Some of us have had some brutal summer days. Take time to enjoy the cooler weather but taking a bike ride through the neighborhood or go further out and bike a trail. Just like a long drive, this is a great way to clear your mind of all of the clutter.

DAY 28: FIREPLACES AND BONFIRES: Pick a cool evening and start that fire. Make s’mores or enjoy a glass of wine and let your senses enjoy.

DAY 29: MAKE YOUR HOLIDAY GIFT LIST: I start thinking about who I have already gotten gifts for and who I haven’t shopped for yet. This is a great time to sit and list out not only who and what you’ve gotten, but where you put it. Seriously. I was packing for a trip at the end of August and found a box of items that were supposed to be stocking stuffers last year. So why not take a bit of time to take inventory! Then you can figure out what is left to do. Then you can start your shopping early when you see the perfect gift at the right price for those special people in your life.

DAY 30: GOAL SETTING. It is this time of year that I’m thinking about what I’ve accomplished and what I want to do next. This is also the time I’m looking for calendars, planners and journals for the upcoming year. Why not start planning now? If you are wanting to work on health and wealth. Don’t wait for the New Year and the “resolutions” declarations. Start planning now.

DAY 31: MOVIE MARATHON DAY. Usually this is the time of year where some of my favorite movie are streaming somewhere. So I like to pick a day to watch some of them. October means Hocus Pocus, Beetlejuice and Harry Potter and maybe even something scary.

Fall is a magical season. With so many fun ways to take time for yourself to care for your physical and mental health. I hope these ideas help you find moments for you that matter. I hope you make new memories that bring you happiness this season.

Posted in Family

Weekend Warrior

As I sit and sip my coffee this morning, I am continuing my morning routine of reflection. In my journal I am writing moments of gratitude. And my weekend was filled with a bustle of activity and accomplishments that fill up the pages.

My daughter asked for sweets after amidst a busy weekend of homework. So what is a mother to do? Well, this mother made cookies. I did not devise my own recipe but added extra vanilla and cinnamon (the good stuff of any Snickerdoodle recipe) to this recipe. All Sunday morning my house smelled sweet and delicious from the cinnamon wafting through the air.

She asked for the treat on Saturday and I wanted to comply. However I crashed early watching television while waiting for the butter to soften. Why on earth would I crash early on a Saturday? Well, that is another moment of gratitude.

I supported the Making Strides Phoenix 5K walk. Not only did I raise almost $150 from lovely people that I know, I also spent a couple of hours working the National Sponsor Avon’s tent helping people register to win a trip to New York.

We also collected kisses from all who stopped at the tents.

Here is my kiss for my grandmothers and friends.

I am so grateful again and again to be on a journey where I am moving my body and making better choices for my health. And whenever I can combine that with a way to give back it feels so empowering and joyous. I was live on Facebook a few times saying thank you to all who contributed and sharing stories of the survivors and warriors I met en route. With all the extra work around the actual walk I actually clocked in 6 miles on my Fitbit. So my body was tired and my mind was in a less anxious space. So Hallmark may have had a premier holiday movie but I slept right through it.

Sunday I still made those cookies and that is not all! I managed to clear all of the trash and donations out of my garage too!

The bike has it’s own space to park. And we can see our Christmas stuff in time to decorate in a month. My CRV was filled with items that we had been collecting over the past several months. So this weekend warrior delivered all of it to our local thrift store hoping that these things that were well loved find new loving homes and help our community in some other glorious way.

This weekend warrior may be a bit weary starting her Monday but the Last 90 Days Challenge that I have taken on since October 1st has motivated me not only to make better choices for myself but the world around me too. If we spend more time spreading love and hope all around then there is less room for the hate. I believe that with all of my heart. Even the rowers along Tempe Town Lake Saturday morning were supporting Breast Cancer Awareness wearing pink. So come on let’s all show more love.

I found out after the walk that donations can still be collected through the end of the year. If your heart leads you please click here to donate.

I am going to my coffee and journal time.

What kind of weekend warrior were you?

Posted in Family, Planning

Managing Mondays – It is Okay to Not be Okay

Yesterday I failed to plan. This morning I am sipping coffee as salty tears stream down my cheeks. My tears are not because I failed to plan. I failed to plan because my heart was hurting and comforting my heart was more important than my to-do list and the calendar that still is void of color. All I could muster is the cream in my coffee and seeking wisdom and comfort in my meditation. The past seven days were stormy for sure!

I am ready for my roots to dig in deeper. My tall and beautiful friend, Shelley, left us too soon. Unexpected. Fast. Just like the storm that has raged around all of us caught in the bubble.

I realize even more now why I was led to focus 2018 around the words Strength and Dignity. As I chose my way into the year I was recognizing the generational legacy of my mother and grandmother. I wanted to honor them in living onward and upward.

Today, I lost my friend who treated me like a sister for more than 25 years. She was tall and steady like the strongest of well-rooted trees. She raised three amazing children with a dignity I strived to emulate while I have raised mine.

She taught me to love and be courageous in the way she lived. She was there to pick me up in every misstep I made. Her adult children have been a part of my extended family and that family has grown as they have had children of their own. Have I lost you? Don’t be! It takes a village. My village grows with each new generation. She loved our village fiercely. In my meditation and coffee sipping I renew my personal commitment in my focus to stay strong and carry on loving her children and the village we formed with her still in the roots of it all.

So I didn’t plan the week. This is not a failure. It is simply recognizing the need to mourn and be kind in self care. My heart aches and I am instead allowing myself space to grieve. I don’t need my planner for that. I am forgiving myself and taking each day as they come. One at a time. The planner pages, the washi, the colored pens, and the stickers will be waiting for me when I am ready.

This week I may spend time in my journal accounting memories. I will meditate. I will promise to continue. I will lean on the strength she always gave me. I will celebrate her. I will continue to love everyone with her passion. I will wear red, our favorite color. I will, simply put, miss her.

Posted in Family, Goals, lists, Planning, Planning, Reflection, self-care, Vision, Writing

Managing Mondays – Finding Inspiration and Motivation

It is another week and I am eagerly sipping coffee after a short, brisk walk before the sun was brightly shining and heating up the pavement. Although it is September and many folks are starting to see signs of fall, those of us in Phoenix are still facing high temperatures around 100°. That means getting up early to beat the heat if you want to walk outside.

I put my weekly plan together last night while watching Sunday Night Football. It took longer than usual because I couldn’t take my eyes off of the fourth quarter madness as Green Bay made their way back to claim the win. Did you know I love football? No? Well, surprise! I had so much to think about this week because I have some lofty goals. I am working my side hustle hard this week and making some time to sharpen my saw. Me time includes reading because, well, to be honest I just haven’t been doing that much lately. And I have been looking at this book for weeks. I never put it on my bookshelf. No. I keep moving it from surface to surface through the house. That tells me how much I want to read it. So, I am planning for it. One chapter a day. I deserve that much me time. I know if I don’t write it in my plan I will keep putting it off and moving the book to, yet again, another surface. What book? This one…

The book is broken into 5 parts. My goal is to read a part each day and plan to add a little Badassery into my future planning. So excited!

My plans this week are pretty loose and functional with some key goals and important activities. The most important activities are the weekend. My son turns 23 on Sunday and I aim to make any free time we have as a family about him and his special day.

It seems lately that I am on the go and running on all cylinders from the moment I wake up until I crawl back into bed. I am making a point to have quality reading time to take my mind and my eyes away from screens. When I crawl into bed I want to sleep easy knowing my plans are clear and my mind is sharpened to be the absolute best person God made me to be.

I challenge each of you to plan the following into your week:

  • Sharpen your mental saw (read a book, learn something new, meditate)
  • Celebrate something or someone
  • Love everyone

Have a great week. Back to sipping coffee.

Posted in Family

Resetting plans – June Reset, Ready for July

I know. I know. I haven’t written in a while. I have used the month of June as a mental reset month. It may have seemed like I spent the entire month on vacation. Far from it. June has been a roller coaster. Since coming home from South Carolina, our family has been experiencing highs and lows and everything in between.

One of our three pups hasn’t been feeling well. And as she is “my” dog, I have been feeling a bit fenced in with worry and care to get her back in good health.

Mystery, my girl, is not happy with the cone of shame nor does she like being isolated to one room all day. She is definitely enjoying quality time with me because I have spent nearly all of my time at home in that room being HER faithful companion. I believe she has enjoyed binge watching The Crown and helping me get through my playlists on Hulu and Netflix.

Luckily we have reached the mid-point of her convalescence. Starting tomorrow she can resume a near normal routine but the cone…well, that stays on another 7 days.

The one benefit is that it afforded me time to spend reading and contemplating on my vision board.

I have decided to make a few changes for the balance of the year in how I plan and prioritize. I am still struggling with balance. And need to find a big NO to put on my board. I agree to do too much too often.

How about you?

Posted in Family

Mother’s Day – A Blessing of Tradition

It is Mother’s Day. And as a mother I began wondering, “How did this holiday ever come to be?” Why does it seem different now compared to when I was a child? Carnations were given to mothers at church and the focus on family and togetherness seemed so different.

Here I am, the youngest, in my favorite photo. Three generations of Moms (Well I wasn’t a mother yet but it certainly was my destiny.)

And here I am with my sweet and blessed destiny. (We really need an updated one.)

As I sip coffee and reflect, I remember as a child how eager I was for that time at Mass when all the mothers were honored as each of them approached the altar to receive a carnation. It was a symbol to the church family of all of the strength and love surrounding us. One year they let the church children present the flowers and I remember proudly handing one to my grandmother and mother along with so many other mothers.

Why did we do this every year? Why do most churches no longer practice this? Why has this tradition changed? And even more, when did it start?

Well, we can thank Anna Jarvis for this holiday. After her mother died, Anna wanted a day to honor the sacrifice mothers make for their children. And through her efforts she organized the first ever celebration in two locations: A Wanamaker Department store in Philadelphia and a Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia. Mothers were given a white carnatoon to wear as a badge of recognition and the day was set aside to spend time together as a family honoring moms. Anna continued to champion her cause to gain national support. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure making it an official holiday.

Isn’t it ironic though that within a few years the holiday evolved from a carnation badge, visiting church services and and spending family time together to cards, gifts, and commercialism? In 1920, Anna reacted to this turn of events by denouncing the holiday and actively lobbying until her death in 1948 to have the holiday removed from the American calendar.

Today, over 100 years from the signed measure, we still celebrate moms. I wonder if Anna sees that many families are truer to her intention than she imagined. I so believe we can certainly simplify the day.

Some of my favorite Mother’s Day gifts have been crafts, handmade cards, and just being with my family.

I would really like to see all the carnation badges proudly worn as we celebrate the day. How cool would it be to be sitting at a church service and a restaurant and look around at all of the honor badges on the moms who have spent the majority of life showing up say in and day out for their children? An outward sign of love that is just so simple. Can we bring that back?

Happy Mother’s Day!

Resource for history lesson: History Channel

Posted in Family, Reflection

Tully – Hidden Gem of a movie

As I sip coffee some mornings, it is not unheard of that I might be binging on a really great television series or watching movies, new and old. However, nothing beats watching a movie on the big screen in a theater with popcorn, a soda (or glass of wine), and my two best friends.

This past weekend we met up to see Tully. I regularly go to the theater but I don’t recall seeing trailers for this movie which feels like a gem hidden in the early swell of the summer blockbuster season. It could be that Marvel is overshadowing this a bit. (I saw Avengers too!) Nonetheless, mothers, this movie is for you.

As a fan of Charlize Theron I was eager to see it but I had low expectations. Anything about being a mother, my most important role in my life, gets my attention. And Charlize portrayed a woman, a real woman, a woman I could relate to.

I am not one to publish spoilers, nor am I one to write a review that tells of the plot. (See the link above for the official movie website.)

I want to share how it made me think and feel.

At many points in the movie I relived my own struggles as a mother with all of its challenges. I remembered the days that I put aside self care because taking care of little humans was all that mattered or that I had time for.

Having a child who is “quirky” is probably something every mother can talk about. The quirkiness can be so profoundly challenging that it consumes your every day. My best friends and I all have children with quirks. Our stories are as unique as the quirks as well as our survival tactics when we tackle the challenges. Our common thread and how we connected with the main character, is that we, all three, put our quirky children before ourselves with special diets, routines, doctors, selecting schools, and showering lots of love.

Motherhood bond. Sisterhood bond.

What makes us different than the character is how we move beyond the care of others and remember that we have to make time for self-care in a rational and healthy way.

I walked away from the film remembering the struggles my best friends and I have been through and how we have always tried to be there to lift each other up, encourage, and help with the heavy lifting of motherhood. It takes a village. So find yours and make sure your children know who all their special “Aunts” are so that the support system and relationships are strong and powerful enough to transcend the generations. Be a Tully…in the healthiest and most rational of ways.

And always love one another.

I hope you see this movie. It is surprisingly great. Take a tissue because between the laughter there may be tears just like in real life.

Back to sipping coffee and meditating on how grateful I am for being a mother and for being blessed to have friends who are my Tully during the highs and lows of motherhood.

Posted in Family, food, health, Planning, Recipe

Meal Planning -Delivery Kits Review

Coffee time equals quiet time around here and I was reviewing blog ideas realizing I owe you an update on some of the other meal kit delivery programs we tried: Sun Basket and Martha & Marley Spoon.

If you recall, I posted a few weeks ago about out family pleasing experiences with Home Chef. This Friday another delivery will be at my doorstep and I am excited. Next week’s meal planning is practically a fait accompli thanks to Home Chef.

The past couple of weeks we tried a couple of other offerings.

Sun Basket

I immediately unboxed and loved all of the paper packaging knowing how easy recycling would be.

I was not excited about the recipe book. A magazine style that included EVERY single recipes shipped to any customer. That meant I had to find the recipes by flipping through the pages. (Each time I made a meal.)

I was slightly annoyed that the ingredient list didn’t include measurements. Now, I get that it is all pre-measured but I am a girl that wants the ability to re-create a winner. What if I really like it and don’t want to wait to see it again in rotation?

We received a few meals and the first one we tried was the steak meal.

I really enjoyed this meal. It was easy and light. My dauggter, however did not. She thought the steak was bland. We both were not impressed in the quality of the steaks. We had much better cuts from Home Chef.

My daughter wanted nothing to do with the vegetable dish but I loved it!

The other two meals were really pretty tasty as well. As far as quality goes, if I were cooking foe just myself I might try it again, but no one in my family was adventurous enough to try. I, myself had plenty of options for lunch and dinner all week.

If you recall, Home Chef has very little waste for us. Sun Basket had far too many vegetables. Yes…even for me.

I have skipped the next few weeks because I want to browse the rotation of menu options to see if there may be another week to try again. But our initial review is only moderately pleased. Also, the cost per person was $1-2 more per meal on average. We all have to love it to make the cost worth it.

Martha & Marley Spoon

Did you know Martha Stewart had skin in the game too? I shouldn’t have been surprised.

So we ordered a box.

The unboxing made me smile. I loved the recipe card! The note making it seem more personalized was a nice touch. And the small magazine that introduces the team and concept was a nice addition. They didn’t send a binder like Home Chef did. And I guess that little organization perk tickled me. Not having one from Martha was disappointing but not a show stopper.

Did you notice the quantities and measurements? I was so happy to see them. Re-creation is a possibility. That made me happy.

When making this dish, the recipe was hard to follow. It is based on 2 servings with notes for 4 servings. I really struggled because the formatting, amounts, and discerning the difference between 2 and 4 servings just didn’t jive. Not sure it hurt the outcome but this wannabe mom chef did not find this experience enjoyable.

The dish was delicious! And I would make it again. My daughter is not a fan of rice so I may have over served myself and ate leftovers the next day as well. We went with the lower prices cut of meat and it was a good cut: much better than Sun Baskets option but still not on par with Home Chef. We could have spent a bit more for higher end cuts of meat. I didn’t and wouldn’t feel it made a difference.

Now Martha is new skin in the game and the menu options from week to week are very limited. Especially if you are trying to align to dietary needs.

I am not compelled to order in the next couple of weeks as the menu choices just do not interest me nor my family. I am going to skip a few weeks and jump in again. I feel Martha deserves another go to see if the one meal we tried was an anomaly in my struggle to discern the recipe and instructions.

Overall we were pleasantly surprised and are sad the menu isn’t more robust yet. Martha does give me hope to try again.

So many more to try: One Potato, Blue Apron, and Platrf to name a few.

Next month maybe we will give them a spin. But for now, I am sticking with Home Chef because they have delivered consistent winners.

Have you tried any meal kit deliveries yet? Which ones? I love having these as options on busy weeks.