Over the past few weeks my skin has really improved!  I'm not a naturally toned and tan person, so I decided that I have to work with a got...kinda squishy, marshmallowy white skin.  One thing I know is that when I see people who have glowing skin, they look younger and healthier.  So, in light of summer quickly approaching, I've been trying out a few new tricks to see if I could get that glow too!

Here is what my current routine looks like:

1.  Start the bathwater and pour in 1 cup of epsom salt with essential oils.
2.  Step into the shallow water and dry brush my entire body while the tub fills.
3.  Sit down and soak while I read a few chapters in a book.
4.  Get out, dry off and rub in my Cel-Lite Magic Massage oil (everywhere but my face and neck).
5.  Drink at least 70 ounces of water throughout the day to help with all the detox.

And you know what?  I can honestly say that my skin has improved!  Even Ironman has commented that my skin looks better than all the years he's known me...I promise I'm not lying, you can ask him (he could just be buttering me up for extra brownie points, though).  Let me tell you what I have noticed:

1.  My skin is much softer and my "chicken skin" has disappeared.
2.  My skin is a more even color and some older, dark scars are diminishing.
3.  My skin has more moisture to it and I don't have to use as much Cel-Lite Magic Massage Oil as I did when I first began (my skin was so thirsty, it just soaked it right up for days).
4.  My blemishes and breakouts on my back are gone.
5.  My skin feels and looks more alive (probably from the daily dry brushing).
6.  My cellulite has significantly improved.
7.  My skin looks and feels noticeably tighter, especially around my thighs, hips, lower tummy, love handles and bottom.

Let's just say, I like my routine and I'm sticking to it!  I'm really happy with the results and highly recommend this to anyone who feels like your skin could use a "face lift".

The epsom salt and essential oils bath soak, plus the dry brushing are both amazing ways to detox.  There is so much more that they can do, however.  You should really take some time on google or Pinterest to research the benefits of both.  You'll be amazed.

And as for the Cel-Lite Magic Massage Oil, it's amazing.  I just replaced my daily lotion with it and have already ordered a second bottle because I'm sold.  Something I read a while back talked about grapefruit being a good snack because it's a fat burning food.  Cel-Lite Magic has grapefruit.  Ding ding ding.  Plus, a few years back Ironman read where men who smelled grapefruit on a woman, would typically guess that woman to be 6 years younger than her actual age.  Looks like this is your sign.  Get some of that magic oil right HERE.  Leave my enroller (1570543) and sponsor (1570543) ID numbers in the boxes so that I can be your go to girl for all things oils!  Trust me, you'll be bikini ready in no time.



Fitness has never been my favorite hobby, but the older I get, the more I'm convinced that I just have to make it a habit.  Over the last few months, it's actually gotten easier!  And last week, for the first time, I wanted to exercise to relieve some tension.  Once I realized what I had done, I felt proud of myself and couldn't believe how far I've come.

Hiking Koko Head in Hawaii!
Last fall, I started with Betty Rocker's 30 day challenge.  I liked that it was free, it was only 15 minutes a day and it was just using my own body weight.  Easy peasy.  After that, I did her 90 day challenge.  It was still good, but I would recommend her 30 day challenge as the best place to get started.

Cute workout clothes help me stay motivated!
Once I wrapped that challenge up, I was looking for what to do next.  I knew that if I didn't find something that made me excited and motivated, then I would fall off the bandwagon.  I had been keeping up with Karena and Katrina from Tone It Up for a while at that point.  I liked how they are friends who work together and that their husbands are very involved, but I couldn't figure out their website and felt that it was a little confusing.  However, I just decided that I needed to figure it out and go for it!

Running the Cooper River Bridge Run in 2016!
Let me tell you why I have come to love these workouts.  Every week, Karena and Katrina update the blog and post the workouts for the next 7 days.  Then, each day, you can go to their website and see the Daily Workout.  Every day is under an hour.  Some are right at an hour and some are only about 20 minutes (love those days, haha).  Most are free, but a few times a week the option is not.  However, you can go to their YouTube channel and find a free option to do instead.  I like that because you don't have to pay for the workouts if you don't mind doing the free videos!  If you are looking for something to take the guesswork out and give you a daily routine, you should check out Tone It Up!

Do you have any online workouts that you love?  Share below and give me some fresh ideas!



If you read my recent post on my Spring 2017 Bucket List, you saw that one of my goals was to do better with cooking dinner and having it ready for Ironman when he gets home from work.  Thanks to Pinterest, I have some fresh ideas.  And thanks to my Crock Pot, it's not going to be too hard to follow through.

So, here's what I have planned for this week:

Monday - Eggplant Parmesan

Tuesday - Tacos

Wednesday - Coconut Quinoa Curry

Thursday - Split Pea Soup

Friday - Charcuterie.  This one isn't using my crock pot, but we actually love throwing this together each Friday night.  When Ironman gets home from work, we usually go to the grocery store together and get some random things that we want to snack on with a great bottle of wine.  It's a great way to end the week and start the weekend off relaxing together.

Saturday - Pizza

Sunday - Vegetable Lentil Soup

I know that many people go to the grocery store once per week and stock up on everything at once.  Usually that really overwhelms me and I forget things that I need.  So, I've found that it usually works best for me if I take it one day at a time, stop by the store for what I need that day and throw it together then.  That way, I am just focused on one meal.  Way easier.

What about you?  Are you a "take it one day at a time" type cook?  Or do you plan ahead, make a grocery list and buy it all at once kind of cook?  Let me know in the comments below!



Just a few days ago I wrote that Ironman and I had decided to give up Netflix.  Gasp.  Crazy, right? Well, we've gone 7 days and it's not been hard at all.  We've watched 2 movies together that we wanted to rent from iTunes, gone to the gym together, read books, talked more, had a leisurely dinner on our front porch and even gone on a walk one night.  It's been great!

However, I don't want to give the impression that Netflix is from the devil.  That's like banning guns because people get shot or spoons because people get fat or texting because people get unsocial.  No, I believe it's a constant choice to live in balance and make healthy choices.  Ironman and I needed a break from Netflix, but that doesn't mean that we are done forever or that we haven't really enjoyed it together in the past.  Over the years, we have actually had a lot of fun watching TV series together.  When we find a great series, we can't wait to watch another episode together.  We get food that we enjoy.  Fall in love with the characters.  Sing the theme song to each other with each new episode.  Talk about the story.  Learn new things.  We've actually had a blast watching some shows together over the years.  So, I want to share some of our absolute favorites:

My couch, a blanket, slippers and a good Netflix show.
LOST.  This was the first TV series that Ironman and I ever watched together from start to finish.  When we were dating, though our first few years of marriage, we would go over to my friend's house and watch each new episode with her.  It was a fun tradition and since it was before we had Netflix, we had to wait an entire week before seeing the next episode...torture!

MERLIN.  The friendship between Merlin and King Arthur was our favorite because it was always a good reminder that even a king is just a normal person with annoying friends.

X-FILES.  For months, this show kept us on our toes.  At some point, we got the names confused and have forever called them "Sculder and Mully" since.

WHITE COLLAR.  Neal Caffrey is so sly, but truly cares about his small circle of friends.  This show is completely responsible for Ironman and I becoming wine snobs.

GILMORE GIRLS.  And this show is completely responsible for us becoming coffee snobs.  Drama, drama, drama.  Fast talking.  Bad decisions.  Crazy relationships.  Good friends.  Can we move to Stars Hollow?  I actually watched this through with my mother in law first.  It was a blast!  Each night, when Ironman went to work, Ruth and I would snuggle up in the oversized chair in the office and watch several episodes.  We even went back to visit her when the new Gilmore Girls movie came out so that we could watch it together!

PRISON BREAK.  My eyes were closed for a good portion of the show because of all of the fights, but I loved the genius brothers.

THE OFFICE.  Do these people ever work?  No matter how much they drive each other crazy, they stick around and keep working together.  It's a great lesson on making the best of a bad situation...every single day.

STAR TREK (The Next Generation).  In case you haven't noticed, we like syfy.  I'm not sure what Ironman's reasoning is, but mine is that I like to watch something that I don't believe could really ever happen to me...like live in space, vampires, etc.  Many of these episodes are silly and pretty much all of them are terrible wardrobe and acting, but there's something about sitting down to watch something and knowing that it's good, old clean entertainment is much more relaxing some nights.

EUREKA.  This was like an updated version of X-Files.  The town of Eureka is full of geniuses who solve syfy type mysteries.

NORTH & SOUTH.  If you like Downton Abbey, you will most likely enjoy this 4 episode mini series.  It's the typical "main characters hate each other, learn to love each other and live happily ever after" type show.

SHERLOCK.  He's a genius.  He solves crimes.  And he has people who love him even though he's not easy to love.

DOWNTON ABBEY.  I can't say how much I loved this show and was sad to see it come to an end. I loved the way that they dressed, spoke and practiced such elegance and grace at almost all times.  They faced hard times and made hard decisions, but did so with much more style than I ever do.  Although I can't imagine a life like that, it sure was fun to try to while I watched those seasons.

THE CROWN.  We've watched one season so far and really enjoyed it since it reminds us a bit of Downton Abbey.  Beautiful clothes, wonderful manners, etc.  I also like that it's helped me learn a little bit about history!

...probably the only crown I'll ever wear
HEARTLAND.  Ironman never really got into this show, but I love it and have watched all the episodes mainly on my own.  There's something just so peaceful about watching this girl live on a farm and spend her days with people and animals she loves.  She is a hard worker.  She cares about her family.  She uses her time wisely.  Even the actress (in real life) says that she doesn't watch TV and barely uses a cell phone.  Watching this show always reminds me to live a real life (as I watch a tv show...haha...ironic).  I want to get outside and get fresh air daily.  Spend time eating dinner every night at the table with people that I love.  Work hard to take care of my own responsibilities.  I know that TV isn't really the best way to spend my time, but I do think that this show has been a good influence on me if that's possible!

WHEN CALLS THE HEART.  Cheesiest show ever, but simply sweet at the same time.  Every Sunday night, Ironman and I go over to Dan and Dee's house (a family friend) to watch this show together with them on Hallmark Channel.  We have snacks, catch up, laugh at the ridiculous parts and share shocked faces when we are surprised.  It's been a fun tradition.

There have been other shows that we have watched and liked, but this is the list of the ones that come to mind and bring back fun memories and time we spent together.  Let's be honest, we've had Netflix for so many years now, I can't remember everything we've watched so I'm probably leaving out something...like "Everybody Loves Raymond" (too late).  Although we are taking a break from Netflix, we would love an idea of what to try watching in the future...what's one that you love and would recommend we try?



I think that I got way ahead of myself with my Winter 2016 Bucket List.  Usually I am pretty excited about setting goals and working towards crossing them off, but we have a lot going on and I think that I need to take a little bit of a breather.  Bucket Lists are great (obviously I love them), but at some stages in your life, it just won't be possible to cross much off without overspending your budget and stressing out your calendar.  In light of that fact, my Spring 2017 Bucket List is going to be a little shorter and more focused.

In our church small group, we have been reading His Needs Her Needs and watching the online video series.  I have really enjoyed it and learned a lot in just a few short weeks!  One thing I decided is that I want to spend a lot more time with Ironman doing fun activities together.  I know that we have a great marriage, but I want it to always continue to improve.  We love to travel and go on some great trips, but when we are at home, we aren't all that exciting.  I love being at home and can spend hours alone.  Then, Ironman comes home and is tired from the day, so we don't do much other than watch Netflix most nights.  Just last week we decided we are going to kick that habit.  One movie every now and then is fun and we love it, but watching TV Shows on Netflix is just taking up too much of our time together because there's always "just one more".  Without Netflix we will have so many hours freed up to do things together like take a walk, ride our bikes, talk, sit on the front porch, cook together, have friends over and more!

So, with all that to say, here are the 10 items on my Spring Bucket List:

1.  Go camping.  We love camping together and both want to do it more often.  There's just something about getting away from it all and being alone, away from the world.  I always enjoy it and usually try to convince Ironman that we should pack up and do the Appalachian Trail so that we can enjoy the peace and quiet for 6 months straight.  I don't love hiking, but Ironman does, so maybe we can include something short and easy on our trip that will give him some adventure and not kill me in the process.

2.  Bike the Swamp Rabbit Trail.  I had this on my Winter Bucket List, but there were no warm weekends that worked for us.  So, if at first we don't succeed, try try again!  We could even do this on the same weekend as camping, if we find an opening at the Travelers Rest Campground or another campground that has a biking trail nearby.

3.  Plant something.  Ironman wants to do a garden and some trees.  I'd be happy with just one tree to get us started.  As I type this, the weather is absolutely perfect so being outside sounds wonderful!

4.  Exercise.  When he is working out, Ironman likes to be alone.  But, we really enjoy going on bike rides and walks together and Ironman even enjoys gym classes like Barre and Yoga!  For years, we tried to jog/run together but it never worked out because I am too slow.  We figured out how to make it work last summer, though!  Ironman runs and I ride my bike beside him...we are both happy (win win).

5.  Play games.  Right now, we are in the middle of a really hard, 1, 000 piece puzzle that I clearly underestimated when I bought it to surprise Ironman a few weeks back.  Since we have a huge, farmhouse table, we thought it would be fun to always have a puzzle going on one end.  So far, it has been!  Monopoly is another game we love to play together when we are in the mood, but I'd love to get into Checkers and see how we like playing against each other.

6.  Go to a concert.  When we were first married, Ironman and I went to one concert to see one of his brothers play in the Dirty Guv'nahs!  It's been years and we have gone through so many different artists and albums that we love.  Jack Johnson reminds us of our college days.  Norah Jones and Eva Cassidy in the first year or so of marriage.  Ray Lamantagne after that.  Now, we love Band of Horses.  Although it might not be this Spring, we would love to plan to go to a concert together somewhere out of town.

7.  Visit a museum.  We both love history and really enjoy museums.  For years, we've talked about wanting to visit the Creation Museum, but would be willing to settle for something else until we can go another time.  I think it's always good to see how other people lived and to hear their stories...it puts a lot into perspective for me each time I go learn.

8.  Walk through some unique shops.  We love The Peddler and Thieves Market in town.  Plus, there is Scarlet's just outside of Florence.  Although we don't usually buy anything, we both like looking at old, second hand items and imaging giving them a second life in our fixer upper.  I love to buy used items as much as possible because I believe they have so much character and help a home have that lived in feel.  Once our renovations are done, I'm sure we will begin to buy items here and there to fill our home with things that we love.

9.  Go site seeing.  South Carolina has so many adorable little towns that I would love to get to know better and Camden is one of them.  I would love to go for the day and walk around down town, look in the little shops, eat somewhere good and discover what makes Camden special.  Talking about site-seeing...our 10 year wedding anniversary is at the end of this year and we want to make it special.  We have been looking around and talking about it for years and have finally decided on what we want to do!  So, before Summer, I'd really like to get all the plans set in place and the resort and airline tickets reserved.

10.  Cook dinner.  Sounds so easy right?  I have never really enjoyed cooking, but know that it means a lot to Ironman to come home to a nice dinner.  Although I am doing much better than in the past, I want to continue to improve in this area.  I love my crockpot and do best when I use it because it seems so much simpler to me...throw it in and done.  So, I have been using Pinterest to my advantage and looking for crock pot ideas to keep Ironman fat and happy.  Just kidding, I don't know if he can really even get fat.  I'll do a post soon with a week's menu and I'd love any ideas and inspiration that you'd love to share!

Please share what you plan to do this Spring in the comments below!



When I was in school studying to be an elementary school teacher, I learned about how students who lived in messy homes had more problems with stress and anxiety.  I had never considered this before, but it made total sense because I have never been able to relax until my environment is clean and organized.

Imagine coming home to a messy home with clothes and belongings thrown all over the place and covering all surfaces...the curtains and blinds closed, creating a dark atmosphere...bad smells because of trash that needs to be taken out...how do you feel?  Maybe a little depressed and overwhelmed?  Now imagine coming home to a home that feels clean and organized...everything is in it's place and surfaces are clutter free...the sunlight is shining in, making it feel bright and open...the air smells fresh...how do you feel?  Happy to be home and ready to relax and enjoy some down time?

I know that many people have busy lives and don't feel that they have time to keep a tidy home, but I think that it is so important to make time.  I truly believe that making that time will positively effect everything else; your work, your rest, your relationships, etc.  Although, it's not easy, it can be done with a few simple steps.  Keep this up every single day and before you know it, you will have created a habit you won't want to break.

1.  Create a routine.  The easiest way to keep a tidy house is to create a routine that works for you and then stick with it.  For me, I like to wake up and take my morning walk with my sister.  Then, when I come home, I get started.  This routine has become a habit and I feel out of sorts when I don't get it all done (like when something comes up unexpectedly).  No, I don't always want to tidy up and get these chores done, but I don't let myself do anything else until they are done.  This forces me to deal with it and not procrastinate.  So, when do you think would work best for you?  When you first wake up?  During a lunch break?  As soon as you get home from work?  Whenever it is, just stick with it!  Better yet, make it a family routine.  Get your children involved.  This will mean less work for you and it will help them learn the responsibility of caring for a home.

2.  Put things away.  Everything that you own should have a place and that place should make sense.  For instance, your bills and papers should have files or folders where they are stored.  Your shoes and coats need a place or should go back in your closet each day.  I suggest keeping your purse and keys by the door where you will always know where to find them.  Don't let things pile up.  An organized mess doesn't count as keeping things tidy.

3.  Make your bed.  When I take the time to straighten up my bedroom, make the bed and open up the blinds to let the sunlight in, it effects my attitude and the rest of my day.  Do it.  You'll feel so much better and be so much more productive in other areas of your home and life.

4.  Wash and put away dishes.  I don't love cooking and my kitchen feels gross during the middle of this renovation, so this is even more important for me right now.  Although I can't control the floors being gross and the insulation coming out of the studs and the lack of counter-space, I can control the dishes.  Having the kitchen sink empty and clean reduces so much stress in the kitchen.

5.  Do a load of laundry.  It's so overwhelming when I wait until I need to do 5 loads of laundry.  I get so sick of folding and putting away clothes.  But, I've found if I just do one load a day, I can keep up with it all and not get so overwhelmed about it.  Folding and putting away one load only takes me minutes and then I'm done!

6.  Play music.  There's something so relaxing about coming into a clean, tidy, brightly lit room with soothing music playing softly in the background.  This alone can create a more inviting environment. Ironman loves to play classical music, but we also have some favorite stations that we play through Pandora (it's free!).  Turn off the TV and turn on the music.  It will feel strange at first...and maybe a little empty.  But, it can be so peaceful and creates a more open environment for conversation.

7.  Diffuse essential oils.  There's nothing worse than a house that smells like trash or unbathed pets.  One of my favorite oils to diffuse is Young Living Purification Blend because it removes odors from the air naturally.  I don't want to simply mask odors and I also don't want to use sprays and cleaners that leave behind harmful toxins.  The great thing about diffusing essential oils is that you can also choose what to diffuse according to the environment you want to create.  For instance, do you need more pep in your step?  Diffuse Young Living Motivation Blend.  Want to wind down before bedtime?  Diffuse Young Living Stress Away Blend.  There are thousands of options.

If you are already overwhelmed, I know that this sounds impossible right now.  But, I promise you'll feel better if you start doing these things each day.  If you want a home that feels comfortable, calm and secure, these daily tasks will definitely get you headed in the right direction.

Do you have a tip or trick that helps you keep a tidy home?  If so, please share!



Sometime in January, this cute Instagram couple started following me.  I immediately followed them back because they were adorable and loved to travel just like us.  For weeks, I liked all their photos and left comments.  They did the same.  Since they were young and in love and seemed to have so much in common with Ironman and me, I assumed that we were going to be friends and stay in touch through social media.  I really did like them.

Last week, however, I realized that I hadn't seen them like any of my posts in a while.  After checking my followers, I saw that they were no longer following me.  I know that this is silly, but it hurt my feelings!  I felt like it had all been fake; that they had followed me just so that I would follow them in return.  Normally this wouldn't bother me (since we aren't really friends anyway), but other things had been going on in the background.  As I have been growing my Instagram following, I have noticed many people following me and then unfollowing me.  At first I didn't realize what was happening and wondered why my numbers were going up and down daily.  Since I use social media to follow and connect with people I enjoy, it bothered me that so many seem to do it to simply gain their own following.

Throughout my life, I have definitely learned a lot about friendship.  True friends are such a blessing and not easily found.  And sadly social media, although seems to help people stay more connected, also seems to be creating more and more fake friendships.  I'm not saying that I want to fight the times and hate on social media.  No.  It's been great to be able to get in touch with childhood friends and connect with new friends who I've grown to love.  But, I don't want to join in on following and unfollowing people to my own advantage.  I want to be a real friend to those I like and want to get to know better.

At some point in the past, someone talked to me about friendships in comparison to a house.  It went something like, you invite people to your home.  Some are just acquittances and don't get past the front porch.  Some are friends and are invited into your living room.  But, your closest friends are the only ones found in the kitchen.  There may be only 2-3 during your entire lifetime.

As I've met and talked to people, I've realized how many people don't have true friendships and it's so sad!  I think part of the problem is time.  We are busy, true.  But, when we have time, we use it for other things.  Another problem that I see is social media.  It connects people, yes.  But, it is also killing relationships...pay attention next time you're out in public and look at how many people are on their cell phone while they are with someone else who they could be talking to instead.  Finally, though, I feel like people don't know what makes a true friend, so they don't know how to be one either.  I'm no expert, but here are the things that matter to me.

1.  Caring.  I'll always remember Jon Acuff saying "care about what the people you care about, care about".  To do this, you'll have to be a good listener.  Listen to what's going well in your friend's life.  Hear what's hard.  Know their likes and dislikes.  Pay attention when they aren't themselves.  Ask them questions.  Pray for your friends.  Be sensitive to your friends needs and wants so that they know you have taken the time to get to know them.

2.  Dependable.  There is a big difference between "I'll do it" and "I'll try".  When someone says "I'll try", I hear it as "I'm not going to put effort, but if it happens then great".  People need someone to depend on.  If you say you'll do something, do it.  If you say you'll be somewhere, be there (on time). If someone is trying to get a hold of you, answer that phone call or respond to that text.  Be available to your friends so that they know you are there for them when they need you.

3.  Trustworthy.  Give good advice.  Keep secrets.  Have your friends back.  People already have enough things to worry about, so don't be one of them.  Stick by your friends side no matter what happens.  Be the type of friend that people feel safe with and sure about.

Although there is a lot more that goes into a friendship, these are the three things that tell me whether someone truly is my friend or not.  I ask myself "does this person care about me?", "can I depend on them" and "can I trust them?".  Some friends may meet 1 or 2 of these, but a true friend must meet all three consistently.  I haven't always been a true friend and I'm sorry for those times, but I think that it has helped me learn and grow into the friend that I am today.  And remember, you can't be all things to everyone...in your lifetime, you'll only have 2-3 friends in your kitchen and that's good!

Think about your friendships now.  Are there people that you need to distance yourself from?  Is there someone you should spend more time with?  Being a true friend to a few is so much better than a crappy friend to many, so choose your friends wisely.  Are you a true friend?



Until last year, I had no idea that people actually planned out their blog posts months in advance and wrote them ahead of time.  Each time I publish a new post, it's when I have just finished writing it.  Since I am organized and pay attention to detail, I think it's always been assumed that I plan ahead.  However, I've recently come to believe that I actually fly by the seat of my pants more than people realize!  Many days I wake up and have no plans, but take things as they come.  Even when I travel, I usually don't know much else except where I'm going and where I'm staying.  I pretty much do the same with my blog!  So, in effort to have more of a plan, I've come up with a list of 31 blog topics that I think I would enjoy writing.  

1.  natural hair care
2.  capsule wardrobe: packing
3.  2017 goals
4.  my daily routine: morning and evening
5.  Friday favorites
6.  my tips for living simply

7.  this weeks menu
8.  what's in my purse
9.  a day in the life of me
10.  our kitchen renovation
11.  capsule wardrobe: why I'm taking a break
12.  my love/hate relationship with makeup
13.  Tuesday tips
14.  guest post
15.  how to keep a tidy home
16.  my wishlist
17.  blogging: a thing of the past?
18.  travel tips

19.  Winter Bucket List update
20.  mix it up monday
21.  can't live without
22.  my new fitness routine
23.  what's working Wednesday
24.  my grocery list
25.  our favorite movies and tv shows
26.  how to enjoy health, wealth and happiness 
27.  throw back Thursday
28.  my reading list
29.  Sunday funday
30.  naturally healthy nails
31.  my Spring Bucket List

I'd also love to hear your ideas!  What would you like to read about on my blog?



Some days I feel super productive and some days I'm like, "what did I do all day?".  It's almost as if I got off on the wrong side of the bed and then the entire day is just weird.  However, some days I feel like I 'm motivated and on top of things.  I know it's not rocket science, but more about how I go about my day (and especially start my morning) that truly effects everything.  Here are 12 steps that I feel like make for a much more productive day for me!

Photo by Emily Christopher...we were in Hawaii!!!

1.  Wake up and get up.  Ironman and I set our alarm for the same time every day and don't hit the snooze button.  I know it's hard to break that habit if you're already used to it, but you'll be much more awake and rested each day if you stick to it.

2.  Ningxia Red.  Before anything else hits my stomach, I like to start with this Young Living superfruit supplement.  I've noticed a difference in my hair, skin and nails, energy levels, digestion and so much more over the past three years of taking this daily.

3.  Get moving.  My favorite way to get in some cardio is to take a walk.  I love to head outdoors, get some sunlight and fresh air and better yet, catch up with my sister who walks with me each morning.  It's a great way to get up and moving and start the day off on a positive note.  Most days, Emily from Just Because comes over at noon and we get in a more intense workout, like HIIT or something else that just about kills us.

The best is when you can take your morning walk on the beach!

4.  Stay hydrated.  I know that they say to do this when you first wake up, but then I'll be out on my walk and regret all the water.  So, when I get back home, I do my best to guzzle 32 ounces.  I find it I start off well in the morning, I usually do well the rest of the day.

5.  Enjoy some quiet time.  Sometimes this is while sitting on my leather couch and reading Jesus Calling and sometimes it's while taking a hot bath.  I just know that every morning I need some alone time to be quiet, think and pray.  It makes me feel a lot more calm and helps me start my day focused.

6.  Eat breakfast.  Homemade granola and smoothies are my favorite.  I've always thought it is crazy that people can skip this meal.  Every time I've tried to skip or had to, I've felt nauseated and dizzy.  I know it's often said to be the most important meal and that you should never skip.  Although I can't skip, I think it's best for people to eat when they feel hungry and not simply when they are told they should eat.

7.  Tidy up.  Walk through the house and put things back in their place, do the dishes, make your bed and start a load of laundry.  Your day will be much more productive if you are in a clean and clutter free environment, especially if you are like me and work from home.

8.  Dress to impress.  I look back at old photos and see how well people dressed only decades ago.  It seems that it's going steadily downhill.  I don't believe that the problem is that we have less time or money to take care of ourselves, but that we just choose to put other things first.  I love the capsule wardrobe because it gives me less (but better) choices, which makes getting dressed that much easier.  Also, when I set boundaries with social media and Netflix, I find that I have much more time to care for myself and my home.

9.  Get started.  Look at your calendar to remind yourself of appointments or planned events.  If you have a lot to do and feel you don't know where to start, write out a list of everything you need to get accomplished.  This will help you stay on top of things and make sure that you use your time well.

10.  Stay focused.  Plan time to text, make phone calls, check and respond to FaceBook, Instagram and your emails.  Make sure that you set boundaries on that time so that you aren't mindlessly wasting away your day.  When you are at work, work.  When you are at play, play.  When you are eating a meal, eat.  When you are catching up with a friend, do that.  Whatever you are doing, be all there.  And remember not to plan too much in one day.  Give yourself time to get everything done well, without feeling all hurried and frazzled.

11.  Turn off.  Once the day is done, put it all behind you.  Get off social media, phone, emails and put away your work.  Take the time to wind down.  Spend time with your family.  Enjoy your dinner. Go on a bike ride.  Join a Bible study.  Whatever it is, make sure that you set boundaries between your work life and home life.  Work to live, don't live to work.  You need a life...a real life, with hobbies and friends and rest.  Plus, the down time will mean that when you are working, you do a better job.

12.  Goodnight.  At least an hour before going to sleep, start your bedtime ritual (and I don't mean watching TV).  Take a bath, read a book, diffuse some calming essential oils (StressAway is my absolute favorite)...do something relaxing that doesn't involve a screen.  Go to bed at the same time each night.  Get an alarm clock and leave your phone in another room.  You'll sleep so much better, I promise!

If I have had a productive day, I am much more able to relax and rest better that night.  Feeling that I used my time wisely to take care of myself, my home and get things done always helps me to feel accomplished and proud of myself at the end of the day.

What is one thing that you do each day that helps you have a more productive day?