Tricks to Improve Promptness

DawnBlogtopus time dawnoctopus

If you were to list my pet peeves, people being late would be in the top 5, definitely. Here are some of my best strategies for being prompt.

It’s said that being chronically tardy is a sign of an optimistic person. You think that there will be no traffic, no getting lost, and no little bumps of life along the way to make you late. However, as the person who is stuck standing around waiting I wish that others were a little less optimistic. Of course, there are minor emergencies that you simply can’t foresee, but for the most part, a little foresight can ensure that you are prompt most of the time. Here are some ideas that have helped me.

  • If you’re not a morning person, be sure to pick out your clothing the night before, just like when you were a kid. It may seem a little juvenile, but if it gets you out the door a little faster, so be it! For those of us with kids, be sure to pick out their clothing the night before as well. Depending on the age of your child they can probably get themselves changed; if your child is 4+ they should be able to get changed into their clothes with minimal help. This will save you a TON of time in the morning.
  • Use Apps. There are many many apps that deal with time management and alarms. I have 2 alarms set to wake up in the morning, an alarm to remind me to pick up my daughter at school, and another alarm to remind me when my oldest comes home on the bus. If you have multiple kids or multiple activities that you need to attend, then a time management app is a must.
  • Trick yourself. This is the oldest trick in the book, but set all of your clocks 10 minutes ahead. Do your best to forget that you have set them 10 minutes ahead, and try not to mentally “add 10 minutes” when you look to see what the time is on the clock. It may or may not work, but at least you made an effort!
  • Let your clock outrun you. Of course, you could always get this silly alarm clock that rolls away from you in the morning. No more snooze buttons for you!


I hope that this blog on time management was helpful for you. Good luck!

Love, DawnBlogtopus

3 Must Have Winter Beauty Items

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Winter is tough on skin. Here are 3 must-have products for winter to keep you looking your best in the cold weather.

In the summer we can just stick your hair in a ponytail, put on some sunscreen, and head out the door. In the winter, our hair and skin need some extra-special care to stay looking their best. Here are my 6 favorite products to keep you looking beautiful through the long cold winter.Image result for lip balm with a bee on the side

1 – Lip balm. My current favorite lip balm is called Lypsyl. It’s extremely soothing and has a light minty smell. The most unique part of this lip balm is the way you dispense it – it has a cute little bee on the side that you push up to expose the product. It’s less than $5 at CVS, Target, Wal*Mart, or any similar store.

Here are the ingredients in Lypsyl:

Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum), Petrolatum, Beeswax (Apis Mellifera), Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Ceresin, Beeswax (Apis Mellifera), Flavor, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Retinyl Acetate (Vitamin A), Bixa Orellana (Annatto) Seed Extract

Remember, lip balm is very important in the winter. Lip balm is just like lotion…for your lips! Remember, just like the rest of your skin, your lips and the skin around your lips can also get tiny micro-tears that are painful and slow to heal.Click the picture to see this on Amazon

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2 – Moisturizer. Moisturizer for your face is an absolute must for the winter weather. I am currently using is Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar SPF 30. It’s a lovely thicker moisturizer that is effective and makes my skin feel great. It’s around $45 at Ulta, Sephora, or a similar store.

In addition to moisturizer for your face, I would also suggest a thicker lotion than you use in the summer for your body. If you don’t use moisturizer on your face and a thick lotion on your body in the winter your skin will get dry, itchy, and flaky. You can even get tiny micro-tears in your skin that are painful and slow to heal. Do your skin a favor and use moisturizer on your face and thick lotion on your body. Remember, even though it’s winter, be sure to buy moisturizer with SPF in it to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun.

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3 – Hair dryer. Your hair dryer is very important in the winter. In the summer it’s fine to let your hair air dry – it’s healthier for your hair, saves time, and also saves electricity. However, in the winter it’s important to dry your hair before you go outside so you don’t get sick. I know, I know, germs make you sick, not cold air – but if you go outside with wet hair your defenses are down and you’re more likely to fall prey to a winter bug.

I recently got a new hair dryer after my old Conair died after many years of faithful service. I decided to splurge and picked up a T3 Featherweight 2i Luxe. It dries my hair a lot faster, and supposedly it causes less damage than a traditional hair dryer since it dries the hair so much faster. Not really sure about that, but if so, that’s great! It’s a little pricey at $250 at Sephora.

I hope that you found this article on my 3 must haves for winter helpful. If you have a suggestion for a winter must have please feel free to comment down below, I’m always in the market for new products!

Time to Relax

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If you’re feeling stressed out from the holidays, work, your kids, or whatever else is bothering you, you need to take some time to relax.

How do you unwind? If you’re like most adults I know you’re tired and stressed out daily. It’s very important for your mental well-being and even your physical health to figure out ways to help yourself unwind after a long, hard day (or week!). Here are some ideas to help you figure out your perfect strategy to unwind.

If you’re in dire need to unwind, if stress is literally making you sick – take a day off! If it’s not possible to get a day off of work then plan out a weekend day to do…absolutely nothing. If you need to get your spouse, a relative, or a babysitter to help you with the kids for a day then do it! Don’t feel guilty or embarrassed that you need to ask for help – everyone needs a day that they can be a little selfish and do exactly what they would like to do.

If don’t feel the need to take an entire day off, and feel like a few hours here and there will do the trick, then schedule yourself in some “me time” daily. Your me time can be just an hour here or there where you can fit it in, or perhaps you want to make it a set time every day so that you know exactly when your free time is coming and can look forward to it on a regular basis. Now, what you do in that  time is up to you, but here are some suggestions:

  • Make yourself a blog! You can get one here on WordPress for free.
  • Start a new hobby. Try knitting or crochet, drawing, drone flying, you choose!
  • Go bowling. It’s great exercise, inexpensive, and lots of fun.
  • Puzzles! It can even be a family activity if you want to invite them to join you.
  • Get a pet. You can spend your free time cuddling it.
  • Take a class – cooking, painting, whatever you’re interested in
  • Go exercise – cardio, yoga, sports
  • Go to the coffee shop – if you don’t like coffee, drink hot chocolate!
  • Volunteer – some people find helping others helps them relax
  • Bake cookies – yum yum!
  • Read a book – I prefer paper, but ebooks are good, too.

I hope that you found this article on relaxing helpful. If you have any other ideas for me time activities please feel free to comment down below.

dawnoctopus-nova-name

Put Your Life in Drawers

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Organizing your house is easy. Organizing your life is a lot harder.

Organizing your items at home is great – it eliminates clutter and makes your house look more inviting than before. However, there’s usually no deeper meaning to organizing your stuff than aesthetic purposes. Taking control and organizing your life is a different story. Do you have a lot of “clutter” in your life? Do you feel anxious, worried, or a little down?

It’s a bright shiny new year, there’s no time to start like the present. I know that when I am feeling anxious or worried it’s because I feel like I am losing control of the things that I have to get done. Of course, with a house full of children, I am constantly behind on what I need to get done. However, organizing your life can be done a little bit at a time, so get started right now.

Get an App. No, Get 3 Apps.

If you are the official appointment keeper for your family, you need to get a calendar app with 24-hour reminder push notifications for your phone, a calendar for the kitchen, a calendar for the office, and some kind of family pinboard/chalkboard/dry erase board. I have all of these things, and I religiously record all of the family’s different doctor, dentist, psychiatrist, physical therapist, etc. appointments on each and every one.

It may seem like overkill, but when you have 3 children in 2 different schools with different activities and appointments things can get out of control very quickly. I feel that I am in much better control of daily life when things are written down, and it makes me feel much calmer about life when I am not wondering at 3AM “Does the baby have a Dr appointment tomorrow?”

Get Rid of Those Extra Worries

Stop worrying so much about the things that you can’t change, and work on the things that you can change. Seriously, how many things have you been worried about this week that haven’t actually happened? Are you worried that your child is going to have a bad day at school? Maybe get into a fight with their friend? If you’ve already talked to them about it, then there’s nothing left for you to do – so let that worry go.

Are you worried that your child is going to have a bad day at school? Maybe get into a fight with their friend? If you’ve already talked to them about it, then there’s nothing left for you to do – so let that worry go.

Are you scared about driving in the snow and the ice to go to work? Stop worrying – as long as you are driving as carefully as you can, then there’s nothing else you can do. Worrying about it isn’t going to stop someone else from being reckless.

I know that it’s hard to get rid of every worry and bad thought that you have, but get rid of as many as you can, you will be a happier person for the effort.

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Make Your Home Smell Like Winter

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Do you ever walk into the craft store and say “Hey! That smells delicious! What is that?”

It’s probably those cinnamon-infused pinecones that I always see there. I love the smell of cinnamon, but I think that those pine cones are a little weird and have too strong of a smell. If you love the cinnamon smell, but prefer something a little lighter that will still make your entire house smell delicious, then try a simmer pot!

 

Making a simmer pot using a crock pot/slow cooker is easy and you can let it simmer all day without even having to watch it, other than to just check in occasionally to make sure that it doesn’t need any more water. I don’t feel that this method spreads around as much scent as if you were to use a pot on the stove, but it’s the only way to go if you have any safety concerns about the stove method.

And let’s face it, if you lead a hectic life like I do, you might even accidentally forget that you have a pot simmering on the stove. Then your house might burn down, and hey, that would solve your problem about a stinky house, though, wouldn’t it?

As for what to put in the simmer pot – it’s up to you! I will include a list of some possibilities, mix and match the ingredients as you see fit.

  • dried orange peel
  • apple
  • cloves
  • cinnamon sticks
  • cardamom pods
  • fresh ginger
  • star anise
  • vanilla bean
  • lemon
  • rosemary
  • cranberries
  • bay leaf

Directions

  1. Using a small crock pot, I typically put in some apple slices/cores, 5-10 cloves, a splash of imitation vanilla, some clementine peels, and a crap-load of cinnamon.
  2. After the ingredients are added I fill the crock pot halfway with water, put the lid on, and turn it on high setting.
  3. When the lid starts to get a little steamy-looking I take the lid off and turn the crock pot to the low setting.
  4. You can let it simmer as long as you want – I usually leave it for a few hours and then turn it off before I start making dinner so the smells don’t get mixed-up. Just be sure to check it periodically to make sure that it still has plenty of water.

Tips

  • I try to keep the crock pot somewhere between 1/3-1/2 full of water at all times. It’s safer to have too much water than not enough.
  • When I add more water I run the faucet until the water is hot, and then just fill up a mug or measuring cup with hot water and dump it into the crock pot.

Enjoy your delicious-smelling house!

 

Life Too Busy?

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Is your life extra busy? Here are some suggestions on how to chill out and get the most out of your time.

If you have kids, especially more than one, you are probably in the car for about 20% of your time each week. They kids need to be taken to school, playdates, the library, sports, etc. Not only that, you are probably doing their laundry, cleaning the house, and then cooking dinner. That isn’t even including if you have a full-time job! It’s important to stay calm even when you feel like you don’t have a moment for yourself. Here are some ideas to keep you sane.

Keep a Tight Schedule

One of the most important ways to maximize your time is to have a set schedule. You obviously know when you need to drop-off/pick-up the kids, but what about all of the extra-curricular activities that they participate in? How about the re-occurring doctor’s appointments?  Try to schedule your errands such as Target runs, grocery shopping, and the gym on the same days each week as well. It might not give you extra free time, but at least you know what you have on your plate for the upcoming week, and you might even be able to schedule yourself some “me time” in there somewhere.

“Me Time” is Important

It’s easy to get burned out when you have a full schedule, especially if most of the things on your schedule are doing things for other people. You need to schedule in some down time in your calendar as well. Getting through a crazy week is much easier if you know that you know that you are going to have a few hours of “me time” on Sunday afternoon. If you aren’t able to schedule yourself a large chunk of time every week, try scheduling in smaller half-hour bites of time every day.

Remember, April Vacation is only a few short months away. You can make it!

Have You Sent Out Christmas Thank Yous?

screenshot-1Have you sent out thank you cards for your Christmas presents? Set a good example for your kids.

The easiest way to say thank you is either emailing, texting, or calling, of course. However, if you really want to show your appreciation for an extra-special gift, why not send them a card and write a special message inside? You can get very cheap cards at Target for .99, and in fact, if you would like to be cost-effective and plan on sending lots of thank you notes, buy a multi-pack of blank cards and save them for the next time that you would like to send someone a thank you card. As for today, it costs .47 to mail a letter. I always buy the forever stamps, some of them have really cute designs on them.

Get the Kids Involved

If your Christmas was anything like mine, the bulk of the presents were for the kids. Don’t just send off a card without involving the kids! Older kids can write their own thank you message, younger ones can copy the words “Thank you” that you write for them, and the littler ones can just write their name or draw a picture. If you’re sending a thank you on behalf of a baby, take a picture of the baby with the present and print it out and include it with the card. Priceless!

 

Feeling a Little Holiday Let-Down?

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Are you feeling a little glum because all of the fun of the holidays are over, and the spring is so, so far away? Don’t despair.

If you tend to be a little sad after all of the fun of the holidays are over, I feel you. I am lucky because I have many family birthdays spread throughout the winter so at least I have some little kid parties to look forward to, but I still feel a little blue when it’s cold and snowy outside.

Lift Your Mood

The best thing for you to do to lift your mood is to spend time with people you love. If you can’t spend time with them physically, no problem, that’s what the internet is for! Connecting people to people. Happiness begets happiness, so be sure to hang around people who lift your mood rather than stomp it down. Wouldn’t you rather spend time with someone who is hopeful and excited about life? Yeah, me too.

Get Out of Those PJs

When I am feeling a little down I tend to wear PJs or baggy sweats all day. That’s just not a good idea! You should take a shower, fix your hair, and put on something that makes you look and feel great. Unless, of course, going to the gym and working out makes you feel better. If you’re planning on working out, either at the gym or at home, feel free to leave those sweats on!

Feeling better now? You might want to see a doctor if your unhappiness persists. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real thing, and there are medications to help. Good luck!

Taking Care of You

selfcareHave you been taking care of you in this new year? Time to start the year out right and pamper yourself!

It’s 2017 now, it’s time to take some extra-special care of you. If you’ve been taking care of your family, your pets, your house, and everything else, you’re next! It’s hard to care for other people when you don’t take good care of yourself. Pampering yourself doesn’t need to take a lot of time or money. Think about what would make you happy if someone gave you a surprise, and do it for yourself!

fun ways that you can take care of you

  • Buy yourself a fun new scarf for the winter season
  • Make a fairy garden, go to the nursery and get some succulent plants
  • Take yourself out for a coffee…or ice cream. Or both!
  • Try a new moisturizer
  • Find 10 things to donate to the thrift store – and buy yourself 1 new thing
  • Window shop at a “fancy” store
  • Get out an assortment of scented candles and take a bubble bath
  • Make yourself a cup of tea and watch the sun rise/set
  • Call (not text!) a friend and have a chat
  • Get yourself some new shampoo and conditioner. I like OGX, it’s sulfate-free!
  • Try a new restaurant for lunch
  • Write a note to your future (or past) self
  • Get a Brazillian hair straightening treatment. It’ll cut your dry time in half. Truth.
  • Try a new color of nail polish
  • Call your sister and talk about your childhood
  • Send a “just cause” card to your BFF in the mail

See how many fun ways there are to take care of yourself and make yourself feel great? And even better, most of the items on this list, except the Brazillian hair straightening treatment, are under $25. Once you get one of those Brazillian hair straightening treatment, though, you’ll be hooked. I get them every 2 months. Hey, you’re worth it! If you need some more ideas for taking care of you, check out my article Time to Relax.

love, dawnblogtopus