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Lifestyle

My Year and A Half Living Full-Time in a Trailer

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We are finishing our time in our trailer and honestly it might be the most bitter-sweet thing I’ve ever experienced. I have loved every moment living in our travel trailer! It has grown my marriage, allowed me to experience so many unique places in the country, while also allowing my husband and I to stay together while working and finishing school. It’s done everything we needed and more and to let it go will be one of the hardest things.

Next week we are heading up to the Midwest to grab our things in storage and move to Pittsburgh to get settled before my husband starts his job at the local hospital. We are excited about the changes and its definitely the next right step for us. But its also so hard to let go of the year and a half of travel and memories that we have had in here. My husband will be the first to tell you that living in a trailer has been amazing. We will absolutely be buying one in the future and may even retire in one we loved it so much!

One of the best perks and the one I will always mention is how much its grown our marriage. Our travel trailer is 32 feet long so there is no room to hide! We have had to learn how to work together better than we did in the past. We were together all the time, had no family or friends around and lived in a confined space. So we had to learn to be more patient, be more understand, let go of anger, and to be extrodinarily kind. And honestly we have fought far less in the last year and a half because of these lessons that we learned. We work together and enjoy quality time together in ways that wouldn’t have been possible without getting out and trying something new.

Travel trailer life pushes you to go outside and adventure, to not sit in front of the TV but to be active. Because the space is limited, we were forced to get out more and honestly we really learned how little we need in terms of possessions and a house. While we are moving to a bigger place, its not near as big as what we used to believe we needed. The goal will be to continue to limit the amount of items that we need and maintain a lifestyle of staying outside and active.

With all that being said, I want to highlight my top five moments from this adventure and hopefully inspire you to get out, try something new and maybe even buy a trailer!

1.) Our First Outdoor Movie – On the Side of the Trailer

My husband and I saved up all our money from Christmas and some of our savings to purchase a new projector. We were able to get the projector in January(a month or so after moving in) and used the side of the trailer to project the movie onto. We had our small electric outdoor fireplace, drinks, blankets and perfect chilly weather. The Greatest Showman played as we sang along and enjoyed just the perfect night together. One of many outdoor movie nights that we have been able to enjoy while roaming the country. It was one of those moments that was so simple but so perfect at the same time and was just a great outcome of our trailer life!

2.) Birthday Adventures – Seattle Addition

Our first big road trip from Seattle was the first time really getting out feet wet traveling with the trailer. The drive up was full of craziness between being extremely cold one nights sleep at the truck stop, singing and chatting the whole drive up. We loved every moment in Seattle and fell in love with the beauty of the area. So when my birthday came along, I was given free reign to choose all our activities without complaint! And I utilized every moment of it. We traveled to two of the major parks in the surrounding areas (3-4 hours away from Seattle each). Meaning that my poor hubby drove about 10 hours round trip that weekend so that I could go exploring and enjoy the views! He was such a sweetheart about it and I couldn’t have imagined a better birthday view.

3.) Drive to Washington DC

Honestly, this was the craziest day of our trip. This was the shortest distance that we needed to travel, only about 5 and a half hours. But it ended up taking us double that amount of time to get there. To start, we had endless issues getting the awning to go back up. Some small mechanism decided to break down the morning we were supposed to leave and it took us hours to get it up and ready for travel. Once we got the awning up and went to check out I noticed a giant hole in the siding of our travel! One that I had never seen before! It turns out the day before while mowing the grass areas, one of the staff hit a rock that went straight through the siding of the camper. So we had to deal with that and get an agreement for them to pay the repairs before we could head out. Then as we were driving we had a cabinet door fall and several other issues on the drive. But the reason it is ranked as one of my top memories is because it was a crazy day but we handled everything with grace, love and support. We didn’t argue, we just dealt with the issues and moved on! To me it was a sign of how much we had grown in our marriage in such a short time.

4.) Cooking In The Trailer

Some of my favorite memories are trying to figure out how to cool in a 20 year old trailer. There were many things that don’t work the same as modern technology. For example, the oven does not heat evenly, everything is centered to the front right so you have to be mindful of that when you are working. I burnt several items trying to cook things evenly and not realizing how burnt the bottom was getting! But it was unique and different and we spent this time together learning and growing. I tried endless new recipes and learned to clean (slightly) better than before by having such a small kitchen. It pushed me to be better about cleaning up quickly and more efficiently.

5.) Christmas Eve 2019

I was having a really hard time this Christmas being by ourselves and being in south Florida. The weather was 85 degrees out, beautiful and sunny but it didn’t feel at all like Christmas. I wasn’t able to skype with family on Christmas Eve and it was just all weighing on me. But my hubby was so kind and stepped up to make me feel better. Sitting with me while I cried, playing board games with me, and getting up early on Christmas to take photos with me at the beach. Sometimes its the small things that we do for others that mean the most.

Quarantine Series – Is it possible to be positive in the middle of a crisis?

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I have seen a lot of posts recently about how the gravity of what’s going on has really weighed on everyone’s hearts. Its caused stress, anxiety and depression. As someone who has experienced all these emotions for a good chunk of my life, I can relate and empathize with everyone’s feelings.

It’s incredibly easy to get lost in the noise and the black hole of despair and panic. Many times it happens so gradually that you don’t notice it’s happened until its consuming all your thoughts. And being stuck in your home, while keeping yourself safe, is adding to the stress and anxiety in your life. But take heart and think about all that we have overcome in the past! We have overcome personal, social, regional and national catastrophes as a nation. And through it all we have come out stronger than we were before. Life is always going to throw things your way, it’s always going to have ups and downs. And as stressful and disheartening as those moments are, they teach us lessons. They teach us to be kinder, loving, smarter, and more confident. If we were to not face trials in life, we would not grow and succeed.

Staying positive through tragedy, embracing change and knowing that the future is bright is all you can do. Embrace the change, embrace the good and the bad, embrace the present and look to the future full of hope. Life will be crazy and the anxiety will run high at times. But you can find joy in the midst of anxiety. It is possible to feel all the emotions at once! Let them run — be positive while still being anxious. Be joyful while still feeling the pang of sorrow. It is when we suppress them that they can take over our lives. Be okay with things being stressful, anxious, overwhelming. But also be okay with joy and light being present as well. You can feel all the emotions and its okay to do so!

However you are feeling in the midst of this pandemic, remember that its okay to feel the emotions. It’s okay to be overwhelmed, but don’t be afraid to be positive as well. You aren’t negating the things going on in the world, you are just choosing to be a light in the midst of that darkness!

Quarantine Series – Why us? Why now?

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Covid-19, why did it happen to us? Why did this happen right now? Why did it have to disrupt weddings, graduations, births, and more? Is it possible to have confidence in the face of Covid-19? Is it possible to see the world, in all its pain and suffering, and still have confidence? I would argue that yes, not only is it possible, it is desperately needed.

You see if we walk into situations full of fear and panic, that fear and panic will simply grow and grow until you collapse from the weight of it. And it’s honestly the easiest response. Giving into fear and panic is the easy answer. It’s the most accepted answer in today’s society. But what happens if we counter society, what happens if we walk into a situation with confidence instead of fear? What might happen is that we pull together. We become the community we were always meant to be. We become the lifeblood of the nation and care for our neighbors! We pull together to take care of the sick, elderly, poor, disabled, etc. Confidence over fear shows that we believe that as a society we are greater than the fear of a pandemic.

But where does this confidence come from? This confidence comes from faith. Faith that there is a God who is just, powerful and knows more than we ever will. Faith that our God is all powerful, mighty and we can trust Him even in the worst of times. Confidence that He is a God that is bigger than anything we can face and that when we put our confidence in Him there is no need to fear. I’m not going to lie; we got some devastating news this week and my initial thought was anger at God. How could He let this happen? How could He not know how important this was? Why now? Why us?

Honestly, I don’t know the answers to these questions. I think many times its easy to wallow and be frustrated when things don’t go our way. And as someone who really struggles not to get jealous of others, I can find my jealousy rearing its ugly head when things happen. Why did this have to happen to us, did we do something to deserve this? I don’t think we did. I don’t think this is a punishment for something we did. Maybe, just maybe, this is God pushing us toward Him and pushing us to be more like Him. To show grace and love even when things aren’t going the way we wanted or planned. That maybe when I prayed as a child to be the most compassionate person in the world, that I would face obstacles where I could show compassion and kindness. Compassion and kindness don’t happen overnight, they happen through time and facing obstacles.

So yes, things like viruses, war, famine, etc. are going to come into our lives. It will be frustrating, upsetting, and cause a little bit of chaos. But there is no reason to not have confidence in the midst of them. No reason to let our confidence waiver in the midst of these situations. Yes it is hard and yes it is not fun, but in the end it will be worth it. I want to look back at the end of my life and be proud of how I handled myself in times of stress and panic. Did I give in and get upset? Or did I step up with confidence and kindness? We have a choice and it is yours alone to make.

This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t take precautions or be aware of your surroundings and stay safe. But I don’t believe that we should give into fear and panic. Regardless of what’s going on, we are stronger when we stay stable, confident and unified. So, stand strong, support each other, support your neighbor and keep going. The more confidence we have that we can beat this and move on, the faster things will progress. Mindset is everything people. Change your mindset, change your life!

Quarantine Series – At Home Activity Ideas

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Quarantined. Social Distancing. Whatever case you are facing during this COVID-19 Pandemic, here are some ideas to try and keep yourself sane. At least semi-sane!

1.Take Care of Yourself

From my time working from home I can attest that you need to get up, take a shower, get ready just like you would any other day. If you don’t you will slide into depression and frustration faster than you would believe. Since these quarantines last 2 weeks minimum, I highly recommend you exercise this and don’t let it go! Below are some self care ideas if you can’t think of any.

2. Board Games

This is my go to at home activity. I absolutely love board games and I think it brings families together in the best way possible. I’ve linked a couple of my favorites here in case you are looking for some options!

3. Sign up for something outside your comfort zone.

This is a great option for those who are goal oriented or have a lot of pent up energy. Sign up for a new class, all of these have online options, as well as local classes once the quarantine is over!

  • 5K Walk or Run – Get out and start running in preparation for the event!
  • Martial Art Classes – Join an in-line martial art class and then keep it up once we can stop self isolating.
  • Sip & Paint Class – Grab a glass of wine and a Bob Ross YouTube video and enjoy!
  • Beginners Cooking Class – There are so many beginners cooking videos! Pick a food you’ve been wanting to eat and learn how to cook it!

4. Plan a trip for later in 2020!

The tourism company is taking a huge hit right now. Don’t be scared to make travel plans for the later half of 2020. They will need all the business to get back up and running. A few notes as you look for vacation options.

  • It’s okay to utilize the lower prices for airlines and hotels
  • Visit small businesses and promote them/purchase items to keep them afloat – Online gift cards are an amazing idea! Especially small businesses in the area your traveling to!
  • Take the plunge on the trip you’ve always wanted to take. Don’t be scared of getting sick, take a chance and travel big!

5. Organize Organize Organize

This is my least favorite thing to do, not going to lie. But you are at home and have the time. Just take the time to organize your home and then you are done! Everything will be done and you can move on to another, more fun idea. Plus you will psychologically feel better with a clean home and it will keep you calm as the day start running together.

6. Crafting and Gifting

I’m a believer that if you have the crafting gene and enjoy doing it, you should do it and help others through your gifts! Go down to storage and find broken, leftover craft materials and create new items for the elderly in nursing homes. Anything to brighten their day! If you sew, sew masks for those at the hospital that need them or blankets for the newborns in the ICU. Whatever your craft is, use it to help those in their time of need.

7. Learn a new activity.

There are more YouTube videos than you would believe with all kinds of tricks you can learn! One of my favorite things is looking up new cooking techniques and trying them out. I learned how to cut an onion a lot easier this way. Some fun ideas are listed below:

  • Cooking Shows – Learn New Techniques and Recipes
  • Learn a New Language – I’ve stopped and started learning French so many times I can’t count. Definitely a fun option if you are bored at home!
  • New workout techniques! I am really interested in barre and there are some at home barre videos you can try. Why not give some new at home workouts a try.
  • Makeup – There are hundreds, if not thousands of makeup artists on YouTube. Find a couple you like and learn some new techniques. Always something new to learn! I’m not very good at makeup so a couple videos would certainly be beneficial
  • Hair Tutorials- Find a YouTuber with similar hair type to your own and learn some new techniques! You can carry these with you post quarantine and if they don’t turn out good no one will see them since you are home alone.

8. Start a Side Hustle

That side hustle that you’ve always wanted to try? Why not try now? You have more time than you ever thought possible. So you might as well embrace it and make the most of the situation. Plus there are a lot of materials being offered free for the next 2 months, take advantage of this time!

  • Start a YouTube series
  • Start a Blog
  • Start a real business plan for the small business you’ve dreamed of doing
  • Research, research research. It’s not like you don’t have the time!

9. Garden

Seriously, YOU ARE HOME. Why not get your garden, backyard, flowerbed all set up and ready to go? It doesn’t require hanging out with anyone else and it gets you the fresh air that you desperately need during this time!

10. Shop Small

Y’all know that our small businesses community is really struggling right now. So if you have some extra cash and want to support your local small businesses, now is the time! Buy a gift card, order takeout, buy some gifts for birthdays/Christmas now, or update your wardrobe. However you can, please help, they need it now more than ever before. I listed a couple of my favorites below!

What are you doing to stay occupied during this time?? Let me know below!

Quarantine Series – 5 Tips to Working From Home

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Working from home for an extended period of time is completely different than working in an office format. I will be the first to admit that I am not perfect at it, but I work in a restricted space and have learned a lot of lessons in my time. Below are my 5 tips to working from home!

Morning Routine

Continue doing the same morning routine that you have been doing for years. Get up, shower, get dressed, etc. Don’t just roll out of bed and pull up your computer. I can promise you if you don’t keep up your morning routine you will spiral. You need your mind and body to stay consistent and know it’s time for work. Just like you would any other work week. The more consistent you can keep you life during this time, the better.

Separate Space

If possible, create a separate work environment for yourself. Make a space that you can stay focused in and then can walk away from when the ‘work day’ is over. And honestly, you will need the space just to keep your mind clear and focused. This space is critical for you to not get distracted and to keep focused during your work hours. I don’t have the luxury of a separate space as I work in a 32 foot trailer, so I just focus hard on creating and maintaining boundaries. The more boundaries you can put in place the better life will be.

Create Boundaries

Seriously, create real boundaries. Don’t overwork just because you are at home. If you are supposed to work until 5pm, work until 5pm and then stop. Work from home boundaries are absolutely critical to your sanity and keeping yourself focused. If you don’t create them in the beginning, it will be harder to enforce them later on. People will respect that you keep boundaries, don’t be afraid to make them and keep them.

Take Periodic Breaks

In an office setting, you get up and get coffee, head to lunch, and take several small breaks throughout the day. You need to continue a habit of getting up and walking around even while you are working from home. These breaks clear your mind and keep your body from getting stiff. Don’t stay in the same spot all day long. Get up, move around, just make sure to get your blood flowing.

Stay Healthy

Without doubt the thing I struggle with the most working from home is staying healthy. So I implore you, get up and exercise. Eat healthy and don’t eat all the food in your house just because you are home. This is where all of your self-control comes into place. You will need to keep yourself healthy while you are working from home. It’s critical to your health and ability to do your job well that you stay healthy. So be diligent and stay on top of this while you are working from home. You will thank yourself later.

There are many ways to work from home, many different techniques and styles. But these are my top 5 tips to at least get you started. If you have any tips of your own, please list them below!

Staying Confident in a World that Doesn’t Want You to Succeed

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You can’t have that. That is a ridiculous idea. You wasted so much time and money pursuing something that will never work out. The amount of times I have seen disapproving faces from people when I talk about my life goals, or what my huband and I are doing in life is insane. People either don’t understand why, don’t want to, or believe that we are ruining our lives. There aren’t many people out there anymore who are genuinely there to help you and encourage you. To say that you are more than what you have allowed yourself to believe. If I could say anything to you, it would be this, you are more than you believe. You can take a chance and still be successful. You can be so much more than you give yourself credit for.

And this isn’t a generational thing, my parents decided to change careers and pursue their passion. Which is an incredible, wonderful and brave thing to do. But the amount of disapproval, you’ll never accomplish it, and general nasty attitudes was insane. First of all, we live in the United States a place known for making your dreams come true. So why can’t the average every day person pursue their goals? Because we get sucked in my debts and responsibilities and believe we can’t take care of those while also pursuing that which gives us life. And I’m as guilty of this as anyone. I get sucked into the lie that these dreams I have are too big, too far fetched, too unrealistic. But that is a load of hooey. If my husband can become a doctor (side note: he graduates in 3 months!) and accomplish his dreams, whose to say that I can’t accomplish mine.

The only thing standing between you and your goals is YOU. You and your beliefs. Beliefs that you can or cannot do something. It’s okay if you don’t have money, start where you are. Do what you can. Just push for the things that make you the happiest. Life isn’t going to magically hand you your dream career and your dream life. Just like marriage, building a career is hard. And buidling a career on the side of your full time job is even harder. So give yourself grace. Tell yourself its okay to make mistakes and to not be where you want to be. You are only guaranteed one day, so keep pushing to make today the best day. Keep pushing each day to make tomorrow a better day. Just don’t give up. If you know that you don’t want to look back on your life without having made a difference, then get out and make a difference! Get out there and help those in need, encourage those who are desperate for a positive message, and bring light to this world that is getting consumed in darkness.

Pursue your career goals, bring light to the darkest areas in the world, find ways to be positive and happy so that you can bring more light into the world. Most of all, don’t accept that life is what it is. It’s up to you to make it better. Stay focused on the end result and one day you will look back and know that you made a difference in this world. People will always be negative, there will always be those who doubt you and your abilities. Don’t listen to those lies. You were created by a wonderful and powerful God. Believe that He made you for a reason and shine that light He gave you into the world.

Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Ramen Dump – Chrissy Teigen Cravings Review

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I put off writing this review for weeks. Let me start out by saying that I had high hopes for this recipe. My husband and I have really grown to like ramen and I was interested in expanding my uses of ramen. Especially since it’s such a cheap ingredient! I will be honest that I was a little worried when I started reading the ingredients, there were a lot of items that I just wasn’t a fan of. For example, one of the prime ingredients is apple cider vinegar, which is a rough flavor, when it’s not cooked I feel like it overpowers the dish. There was also raw cabbage mix that went in, again something that I think it rough without being cooked with other ingredients.

Onto the honest thoughts. This was without doubt the most disgusting dish that I have ever had. I could barely get 3 bites down and my husband got maybe one bite before he looked over at me with wide eyes. This was just bad all around. For one, the ramen wasn’t cooked it was softened with the apple cider vinegar and that flavor combo was…. interesting to say the least. Combine that with the sugar, peas and corn and we just couldn’t stomach the flavors. I mean if you are a die hard ramen fan, then maybe I would suggest giving it a shot, but honestly I would say just avoid this recipe in its entirety.

Overall Review:

  • Overall Difficulty: 1/5
  • Price: Less than $15 for all ingredients.
  • Taste: 1/5
  • Recommendation: Now let me just state, this was an incredibly easy dish to make. It wasn’t hard and took very little time. However I would not recommend this dish. It makes a ton of food and if you don’t like it you will throw it all in the trash like I did. Sometimes its best to just let a recipe die and this is the one I would recommend.

The recipe can be found in Chrissy Teigens cookbook Cravings. This recipe review is a part of our Cravings Cookbook review.

xoxo – The Unprofessional Chef

Scottsdale Coffee Tour

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Calling all coffee shop lovers! I had the best time touring a bunch of the cutest coffee shops in the Scottsdale area! I loved all of these locations so much and would happily go back to all of them!

Press Coffee

This cute little coffee shop is located right in the heart of Scottsdale Quarter. It is a great place to stop while shopping or before you go on your shopping spree. The atmosphere is calm and collected. There are a variety of two person tables within the cafe for you to sit at. I wouldn’t recommend this location for larger groups as this is pretty tight location. Because I wanted to try something a little different, I asked for their recommended item. Which was a Hot Chai Latte with Almondmilk. My drink came out within about 5 minutes even though they were very busy. On to the drink. HOLY CRAP. This drink is amazing. I am writing this after my first sip and it is taking all my willpower not to drink the entire thing right now. Light, flavorful and just the right temperature. I highly recommend this location for those looking for a place to sit and work and relax.

Also, I came on a super rainy day in Scottsdale and this place was full of people. From the moment I came in until the moment I left, there was a constant and steady stream of people coming in. Cost of the drink was about $6.30, so a little pricier than I normally pay at these cafes. But the flavor was so good without being overpowering that I thought it was well worth the cost.

Ruze Cake Shop: Stop and Taste the Roses

The BEST macrons. So so good and so worth the price. The espresso macron was the best hands down. The cutest little shop in Old Town Scottsdale and worth a trip with you and your girlfriends. Gives me some Gwendolyn vibes without being in Indiana. They cater and have macron and Arizona cactus cookies that are a part of that deal. Perfect for any wedding you may have coming up as everything is decorated so well and the attention to detail is immaculate. I’d highly recommend these if you are in the area or need some cute items to add to a grab bag or gift bag. I would personally get a few macarons or Arizona cookies to put into gift bags for a girls bridal or baby shower! Such a cute environment for a girls catch up session!

Website: https://www.ruzecakehouse.com/

C’est la Tea – Teaspressa

Okay, it took me way too long to find this. Let’s start out by saying that if I can’t see a sign from the road it will take me 10 years to find it! So, I passed this place twice before I found it. But once you get here, its totally worth it. A very cute location and very Instagram-able for those who are into that! The location itself is super cute, with white chairs and tables and outdoor seating for when its nice out. The tea itself is great and worth a stop. Also, I just saw a girl in the cutest outfit– a newspaper dress and white leather boots – I’m going to need that outfit asap.

Regardless, Teaspressa is a very cute place for those who are looking for a place to sit down and relax. This location is about 8 minutes from Old Town Scottsdale, so its a drive if you live in North Scottsdale or the surrounding area. The tea itself — I got a London Fog as that’s my favorite tea. Matcha is a little rough for me to handle. I also haven’t had it iced before today and it was really good and very refreshing. This was also my third stop of the day so I am really feeling that caffeine kick. Imma need a nap after this!

Prep & Pastry

Prep & Pastry is the cutest brunch place in Scottsdale! The food, mimosas and atmosphere are all amazing and totally worth a visit. I highly suggest making a reservation or getting on the wait list as soon as possible. Otherwise, I saw that the wait was about an hour when we arrived at 10:30am on Sunday.

The food itself was absolutely phenomenal! Their french toast had a champagne infused whip cream that might have been one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. Couple that with the best Monte Cristo I’ve ever tasted and I was already in a food coma. We ended the night with an espresso donut that was just melt in your mouth goodness. I highly recommend coming here and trying these items. The food and service are well worth the wait to get a table!

Also, I just need to shout out the serious fan girl moment I had today. I got to meet Erin from Wink & A Twirl and she was just so sweet and so kind and it was such a blessing to get to chat with her for a moment. Let me just say that I have had so much fun getting to know people on the Instagram platform. There can be negativity there, but there is also so much joy and wonderful people as well!

Have you been to any of these locations? If so, post a picture in the comments below!

5 Tips to Building Confidence in 2020

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Do you start every 2020 with a list of resolutions? Are they normally goals like exercising more frequently or eating healthier? While these are goals to be admired and ones we should all stick to, they normally don’t last longer than a month into the new year. So this year, I implore you, don’t look at 2020 as a list of resolutions that you have to meet in order to succeed. Instead look at 2020 as an opportunity to be more confident. Make one goal and bet on yourself. Bet that you can and will be more confident in 2020.

Bet on yourself that you can be confident in all areas of your life. Be more confident in your relationships, in your career, in your finances, in your dreams and goals. Instead of saying, I need to lose 10 pounds by July, say I need to be more confident and to do that I will eat right and work out. And every day strive to be just a tiny bit more confident. The more you strive for confidence, the less you will beat yourself up if you mess up or don’t have time for that goal today. Confidence manifests itself throughout every part of your life. The more you focus on becoming self-assured and confident, the more you will find yourself succeeding in all other areas.

There are many ways to start developing confidence in your life, but here are 5 tips to build you confidence as we start the new year.

1.) Let Go

Let go of the anger, hatred or jealousy that you are harboring. And if you believe you aren’t harboring any, take a deep breath and really think through your life. I bet there is something that is in the back of your subconscious bothering you. I struggle the most with jealousy. Jealousy of what I expected to be doing in my career, jealousy of what I thought my life would look like at this point, jealousy of travels that others have taken. It’s my biggest struggle to let go of. But everyday I work to let go of that jealousy. To work on myself and who I am instead of focusing on others and what they are doing. Whatever you are harboring in your heart is stopping you from being your most confident self. Let go of the anger, hatred and jealousy; forgive others, and most importantly forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for any past mistakes or regrets you may have. You have more confidence in you than you believe you do.

2.) Count Your Blessings

Think of the song by Bing Crosby when you are feeling down on yourself. “When I’m worried and I can’t sleep. I count my blessings instead of sheep. I fall asleep counting my blessings.” It’s easy to get down on ourselves and lose our confidence when we forget to count our blessings. Even in those moments where you think there are no blessings to be found, there are. And that is what you need to focus on. There are more blessings than you will ever know. The more you focus on your blessings, the more confident you will be. Blessings will show you how good you really have it and confidence will flow from that revelation.

3.) Keep the Faith

You are going to fall on hard times. You are going to hit times of financially, emotional, physical or family crisis. It’s inevitable and a part of this life. All I know with certainty is that there is a God who loves you. Who is ready to meet you where you are and loves you unconditionally. So keep the faith, keep your heart and mind focused on what is truly important in this life. And when you do, you will notice your confidence growing because you will have put your confidence in the one who can handle it all.

4.) Show Kindness

One of the most proven ways to build confidence is by doing something kind for someone else. It seems like an oxymoron but its true. Giving of yourself to someone else brings calm to you as well as confidence. Because confidence is not only an inward manifestation, its an outward one as well. It requires giving of yourself in ways you are not used to. So go out of your way to help someone. And yes, giving someone a cup of coffee counts. But it doesn’t need to be money. It can be taking time to help someone carry their groceries, it can be mowing your neighbors lawn, or babysitting someones kids so they can have a date night. Kindness is not expensive, it just takes the confidence to step out and offer it.

5.) Be Gracious with Yourself

You are not going to be perfect, you never will be. You will fail and you will make mistakes. Sometimes over and over again. Confidence is being gracious when you’ve made a mistake. It’s not belittling yourself after a mistake, instead its picking yourself back up and pushing forward. Be gracious with yourself, you only get one chance on this earth. Take it and embrace every moment, the good and the bad, because that’s all you get. Be confident, be brave and be gracious.

I am confident that you can make this year the best one yet. It’s up to you to choose to be the best version of yourself. So be confident, be strong and be kind in all circumstances. 2020 is going to be your year!

Surviving Christmas – 5 Tips to Handle the Holidays

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Have you ever found the holidays a stressful time? Maybe found yourself dreading the holidays because of family issues, financial stresses or sadness? Or maybe your just overwhelmed by all the obligations that come with the holidays.

There is always something that is going to cause you stress through the holidays. The trick is having the tools to overcome them and handle them appropriately. And while no one knows the answer to every situation, there are definitely tools to help you through them. Below are my 5 tips and tricks to get you through the holidays!

1.) Go In With a Plan

Don’t go in without thinking through who will be there, how long you plan to be there, and what the schedule of events is. Family is important, but its also important to know your limits and what you can handle. If you know you can’t handle more than a few hours with family, then plan to only be there that amount of time and stick to it. You have no one that you have to please, trust me. You need to make sure that at the end of the holidays, you are sane and still happy.

2.) Have Calming Action Items/Thoughts

Have ways to stay calm during the holidays. There are two techniques that I have found work the best. One is when you are starting to feel overwhelmed, breathe in for 7 seconds and out for 7 seconds. It seems like a small action item, but it works better than you know. Another one that I am a huge fan of was a tip from Candace Cameron Bure. She said one of her best techniques is to STOP. Stop and evaluate why you are feeling what you are feeling. Stop and ask yourself if you are hungry or tired or if there is some other emotion causing your stress or anger. Whatever it may be when you stop and focus you will have the clarity to work through the issue.

3.) Watch What You Eat & Drink

It may seem redundant or even silly to mention watching what you eat and drink during the holidays. But I really believe it makes a difference. The times of my life where I have overindulged in ice cream, sweets and candies are the times where I feel the worst. What you feed yourself is how you will feel. So keeping yourself focused on not overindulging in food, wine or other items; and you will keep yourself healthy and calm. A calm body will help keep a calm mind and will get you through the holidays without feeling like you are falling apart.

4.) Be Kind

Be overtly, undeniably kind. Be kind even when you don’t want to be. Be kind even when it is the hardest option. You will never regret choosing kindness over anger. When you see a crossroads during the holidays, where you have the choice to be kind or to be hateful or spiteful. Choose kindness even if its not deserved. The thing about kindness is it doesn’t just help the person you are being kind too. It actually helps you out just as much. It changes your heart and soul a little bit at a time. Each act of kindness, no matter how small or hard it is at the time, is ever wasted.

5.) Find the Blessings

This is without doubt the most important tip. Find the blessings where you are. You may be missing a loved one, unable to be with loved ones, full of grief, sadness or loss. Or you may be exuberantly happy this holiday. Whatever the case may be, remember to find the blessings. This life will be full of ups and downs, but no matter what happens, there is always a blessing to be found. So look around you, find a blessing and hold on to that. And if you cannot find one, I will provide one for you. There is God out there who loves and adores you. And He is willing and ready to meet you right where you are.

You will survive this holiday season. Keep you head held high and count your blessings.

Happy Holidays! xoxo- Kayla