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Motivational Monday: How Small Gestures Make a Big Impact

Have you ever had a REALLY bad day, and someone recognized it and did something nice for you unexpectedly? Or have you walked into work and there was a nice note left for you written by a coworker and friend? Or have you received a text from a loved one that says, Have a great day!

It’s those unexpected small gestures that make a big impact on us. Even if a bad experience happened there are always ways to get through them. So, remember what those people who care for you, have done on a bad day or wanted to start your morning with a smile. Pass this on by doing the same for someone else. Send an I Love You text, especially to someone who is going through a rough time right now. Send a card in the mail to your friend who lives far away that says you’re thinking of them.

Remember, to do the same for yourself too, buy pretty flowers to keep in your home and put them where you’ll see them every morning before work, write yourself a note on pretty paper, keep notes from loved ones and hang them on a board where you can see them daily. Any of these will keep you remembering you are loved, happy and that you can make it through the week.

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Motivational Monday: A Lesson in Quitting

This weekend I listened to a podcast called Goal Digger hosted by Jenna Kutcher episode 118: What Nastia Liukin Learned After Her Gold Medal. Nastia is a Russian American former gymnast. The number one takeaway I learned from this podcast was the lesson Nastia’s parents taught her in wanting to quit. Whenever she would have a bad day, she’d tell her parents she wanted to quit and her parents would say to her, Okay, but not today. I can totally relate to this feeling of wanting to be done with something when I’ve had a bad day, feel overworked, tired, mentally drained, etc. Once Nastia would have a good day her parents would say, Okay now you can quit. Have you ever told yourself you can quit something on a GOOD day? After hearing this on the podcast I realized this is such a great technique of reverse psychology. I’ve never thought to quit something on a good day. This goes to show what a positive and negative mindset can do for a person on a good and bad day.

So, the next time you want to quit something on a bad day, give yourself a break for the rest of the night, don’t focus on quitting, focus on bringing your mind elsewhere and staying present. And, when you have a good day, come back to the day you thought about quitting and this should make you realize if you REALLY want to quit. Everything you do will make more sense with a clear mind.

Have you ever told yourself you can quit something on a good day? Also, if you’d like to hear the entire episode from the podcast, visit iTunes and search Goal Digger.

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Motivational Monday: Reality & Dreams

I spent the other night looking at photos from the past 5 years and found myself comparing my life then to what it is now. When looking back those years feel like a dream because my life is so different than before.

I thought to myself, what if someone new came into my life and looked through photos of my past? While I realized they’d know more about my past without any explanation from me, I also realized what happened then doesn’t define who I am now.

Every experience and challenge has shaped me into who I am today. This is the same for anyone, we are not who we are yesterday if we choose. But that’s the key, we have to choose who we want to be-that’s our reality. Defined by our experiences and left to dwell on the past? Or take the lessons from the past and move on, keep going and stay positive.

So, what days will you choose to have?

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Motivational Monday: Take Small Steps to Declutter Your Home

For the past month I had let receipts, bills and general paperwork pile up in my living room. During the week I kept thinking I needed to clean my apartment but never made time. So, as I was leaving this weekend for a getaway I knew I HAD to clean this week. Once I got home on Sunday I spent three hours decluttering my home. An hour in the kitchen, bathroom and living room.

While I did this I listened to the podcast-Fit, Fierce and Fabulous by Courtney Bentley and then YouTube- Amy Landino’s channel-Amy Tv. I highly recommend having something educational play while doing mindless tasks because you can focus in on learning something new!

Now that my space is decluttered and clean, my mind doesn’t have to worry about when I’ll need to make time to clean. I find that setting time frames for myself makes it easy to get tasks done. This also helps to not make the chores last all day. And you can get a little Me Time in too-my Me Time was working on my blog.

If you still have cleaning and organizing to do after your set time frame is up-set up another date and time for when you’ll get this done. Having this planned means holding yourself accountable and not letting it drag out for a month, like I did!

Tip: Use a planner to write out your goals so you can visualize what your day will look like to get the project done.

Does decluttering your home make your mind less anxious?

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Beauty Giveaway on Instagram

Hi Everyone!

I am partnering with Tiffany Williams-skincare specialist of Naturally Lovely Kinks, to giveaway her top sellers. You will receive a hair and body gift basket that includes: Nourishing Lavender Chamomile Hair Spray

Natures Seduction Body Lotion

Apple Turmeric Radiance Scrub

Hair Pudding Rosemary Delight and Knot Free-Knot Today-Knot Ever Hair Conditioner.

Naturally Lovely Kinks provides 100% organic skin and haircare products. I love that the products are handmade, organic, vegan and rich in vitamins. I’ve tried the Natures Seduction Body Lotion and it provides hydration all day! Tiffany is an incrediblely motivated woman who inspires everyone to be positive and be themselves. Check out more of her products on her site:

http://www.naturallylovelykinks.com

To participate:

Follow @StylesToMakeYouSmile & @NaturallyLovelyKinks on Instagram

Like the post on NLK page

Tag one friend, you can tag more than one person for multiple entries.

Giveaway for US residents only.

This giveaway is not affiliated with Instagram in any way.

Winner will be announced on NLK IG page on 6/23 at 4pm EST

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A Special Father’s Day Post

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there! I thought I’d share some lessons my Dad has taught me over the years. But first a little background: He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, ran a family owned restaurant, worked as the Chief of my grandfathers Country Club and is a semi-retired successful businessman.

How to cook pasta-this something he learned growing up and passed down to my siblings, nephews and I earlier this year-See the post I wrote about here: How to make fresh pasta

The fun of cooking-When I was growing up he would cook me pancakes with an A in the center!

He can always tell you what the weather forecast is!

A love for cooking for family and community-During the holidays he cooks a prime rib dinner and Italian soup, and chicken and burgers for the annual family summer picnic.He works the church dinners which serve hundreds of people.

How to be a good sport-He danced with me during my senior year dance recital to I’ve Had the Time of My Life. He and my Mom dance every Friday night with friends.

He’s shown the work it takes to be a successful businessman which is long hours, dedication and partnerships.

A love for his home-He always does a beautiful job with the landscaping around the house, he has a garden and has hanging flowers on the front and back decks.

He has an incredible knack for knowing directions! Wherever you are, he can tell you exactly what roads lead home.

Love you, Dad!

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Motivational Monday: Body Positivity

Last week, I posted a picture of me on my Instagram at Pure Barre, ready for class and received a lot of positive feedback so I thought I’d share more today. Here’s what I wrote in the comments on IG:

“I’ve found the best way to be body positive is to be mindful of the workout I’m doing rather than focus on my weight or giving up during class. I know the more classes I attend and the healthier I eat my body will adjust to being tone.

When you find a workout you’re passionate about it’ll make wanting to workout easier.”

Many people found the message inspiring and I hope you do too! I’ve learned that every time you enter the doors of a gym, studio or decide to workout on your own-you’re far from giving up. I’ve also learned that there’s a difference between giving up from exhaustion and giving up mentally. You need to fight the mental saying of “I can’t” and keep going because if you’re in a class, the class doesn’t stop so if you stop because you tell yourself you can’t do something you’ll only stop to get back up. But if you stop from exhaustion it’s okay to give yourself a break.

As far as weight goes, if you’re attending classes regularly and eating healthy the weight will come off, just be patient.

How do you deal with body positivity?

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Tips for Weekly Meal Planning

If you’ve made yourself a weekly food budget, you know how important it is to stick to it. The question is: Are you making the right decisions when it comes to buying food based on how much you eat per week? Do you under or over buy? As I mentioned in other blog posts, I’ve realized the importance of buying freezer meals-they last longer than fresh food and you don’t have to eat it all at once. Also, buying food in bulk can save money in the long run. When it comes to fresh food, you need to decide what meals you’ll be eating the food with or else it will go to waste (I’ve been guilty of this!). This all comes down to weekly meal planning.

Make meal planning easier by knowing: Exactly what you’re going to eat every meal, how much food you need to buy, the cost of the food and what foods will last the week or longer.

Tip: It’s also helpful to know what you already have at home that can go with your meals, so it’s best to make a list at home. I’m guilty of making a mental list of what I need and spend way too long at the grocery store trying to remember what I already have at home.

Basically, the longer your food lasts, the farther your money will go. Personally, my meal planning is about 50/50 with fresh and frozen/pantry items. Because I know what fresh items I need to buy each week, it will save time on meal planning. I can incorporate the fresh foods into weekly meals without over planning on what to eat. This also saves me from buying extra food-like if I want a small dose of something but don’t plan to incorporate it into another meal then I’ll wait until I plan an entire meal around that specific food.

What are some tips you have for meal planning?

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Motivational Monday: Make Use of Your Time

What would you do if you had all the time in the day to do anything you wanted? Would you start a new hobby or work on one the one you’re currently doing, travel, workout, spend time with loved ones.

Did you know that we spend our free time doing exactly what we want (within our means)? Whether we need a break to just watch a movie/TV show or scroll through social media. But what if you could turn that time around and spend it doing something that will make you really happy? What if you spent that time doing one of the things mentioned above and it inspired you to start something new?

Sometimes when we take a break, it will inspire us to be more creative. Thoughts will come pouring in about what we should be doing. All we have to do is listen to them and then take action. Whatever that thing was that came to mind was there for a reason and it’s telling us that this is what we want. Maybe it’s to travel to another country, go visit a friend in another state, join a group that interests you, start a new career or move to new state.

If you decide to move forward with your thoughts, make a plan to execute, save money if needed and see where it takes you! Once you get there, write down your thoughts from how spending this time doing what you wanted made you feel and recognize if it’s something you’d do again.

How do you make use of your time? Has something inspiring ever come to you where you listened to it and it changed you? Please let me know in the comments!

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Lessons I’ve Learned While Blogging

Blogging is a never ending journey. It’s a place to always learn and create and always have lessons to share. So, here are some of the lessons I’ve learned so far after five months of blogging:

Consistency-I know this one of the things bloggers struggle most with (and I have too in the past). So, how I’ve found to combat this is to pick a day or two to write my posts. For me, those days are on the weekend. If I have a weekend with no plans I’ll spend the morning running errands, working out either in the morning or early afternoon, cleaning, laundry and then in the early evening I’ll sit down to blog. Because I’m mindful of knowing that I’m going to blog on the weekends, in the evenings when the house work is done, it helps my mind to be calm. I can focus on getting my blog content written and know that anything I still need to do can be done another day.

The other thing that helps with consistency is to know what I want to write about. I have my week planned out based on the topics such as: motivation, food, shopping, lessons or blogging. I then pick a day for each of those topics and write the article (this is where a content calendar would come into play). Within each topic I’ll think about a post I want to write. Sometimes I’ll write down what I want to say on paper and then transfer it over to the laptop-transferring makes the process fast because you’re just rewriting everything without thinking too much (just be mindful of errors or changes you want to make). Otherwise, I’ll write the post on my laptop.

Put the phone away-I have a rule when I blog and it is to leave my phone in another room. This helps to keep distractions limited because my phone’s social media and email notifications go off all the time. When this happens I normally click to: read the email, see who liked my post, who is now following me, etc. I also leave the phone on silent which really helps from having no distractions.

Be positive-The best part about blogging for me, is to show people a positive message in the world. I love to share that it’s okay to struggle with things as long as you come out of it with a positive message to say that something was really hard but this is how I made it out of that time in my life.

The blog is yours-I realized today that the reason I love my blog is because it is mine. I don’t have someone telling me, you should do this or change this to read like that. I love being able to choose my own topics and have others be interested in the same subject as me. Blogging provides a space of freedom for anyone looking to embrace their talents, let other’s learn from you and you learn from others. I never thought I’d love learning as much as I do from reading blogs, listening to podcasts and writing my own blog content. The best part is to make it your own, show who you are and help others.

You can choose your environment-During the spring/summer/fall months I write at a desk surrounded by pretty flowers, my favorite blogging mug, notebook, pen and a nice message written on a chalkboard to motivate me. During the winter I’ll write in my living room with the TV playing music to help motivate me. I also love working from coffee shops, being around other people motivate me to do work.

New blog post ideas-When I have an idea for a post my mind never stops thinking about it until I’ve written it. Normally, my ideas are titles for posts and then one or two ideas of content. I’ll write these in a notebook and come back to them when I’m ready to write. Once I begin writing the post all comes together and the ideas start flowing. I’ll stop either when the post is complete or when I need a break. Sometimes it’s good to come back to content either a few hours later or the next day to read from a new perspective.

What are lessons you’ve learned while blogging? I’d love to know! 🙂

 

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Lessons My Mom Taught Me

My Mom has taught me many lessons over the years, from the importance of pictures, as they always spark a remember when conversation to sayings I’ll always remember. Here are some of my favorites that I hope you can learn from.

 
1. “Only buy it if you love it!” This is her ultimate saying while clothes shopping. If you know you’ll wear a piece of clothing all the time then buy it or if you need to buy something that’s expensive but you know you’ll use it, buy it! The value of something outweighs the cost based on how much you use it! See how I relate this lesson in this post-Tips For Your Next Clothes Shopping Trip

2. How to SAVE MONEY! My Mom received the “Bank of Mom” title from my Sister when we were growing up because Mom would always save money for big projects-the house maintenance, a vacation, college education, etc. This lesson stuck with me and it is how I was able to buy my first car. It’s not always fun saving money vs. buying things immediately but the tradeoff is when you finally purchase the thing you’ve saved for, which makes it worth it in the end.

3. “Don’t let WANT be your middle name”- I can hear her saying this to me when I was younger. She is right, there needs to be a clear understanding of want vs. need in life. And if it’s something you want that’s expensive, you’ll need to save money for it, then it will be worth it in the end because you’ll always remember how much you paid for it!

4. How to have fun and laugh! My Mom always has fun wherever she goes-out to dinner, having a party at home with friends and family, in the car jamming out to her favorite song-she once told me she waited in the car until a song was over and I TOTALLY do this too! Haha. We can always find something to laugh about no matter the situation.

5. How to do things by yourself-My Mom taught me it’s okay to do things alone because then you can do whatever you want when you want. See this post-Learning How to go to Events Alone & Painting Tips

6. How to shop for clothes-Twice a year we’d go on a major clothing spree. We’d be at the mall from the time it opened until the time it closed! We’d meet my Dad for dinner and he’d ask if we’d had good luck finding clothes and it was always as YES! She’d teach me about what looks good and flatters my figure, etc. and it’s how I’m able to share all the clothes shopping tips on my blog!

7. A love for dance-She passed along her love of dance to me, as she’s danced for many years and I’ve been dancing since I was a baby. My senior year of high school we ended my dancing journey with a jazz duet where we did the kick line at the end of the dance and everyone clapped for us. We laughed and hugged at the end of the dance. *I also got to do a dance with my Dad my senior year! She’s the reason why I love the ballet and Broadway shows.

8. The importance of family-Whenever my family gets together it’s always a good time! We all laugh over past memories and find anything in the present to talk about that’s funny. We give each other advice and always make time to see each other on the holidays. And, if we go out to dinner, we are ALWAYS the last ones in the restaurant because we like to talk! I remember one specific night when I was younger where we stayed at the restaurant until it closed and said goodbye to the workers as they headed home while we just stood in the parking lot talking all night!

9. Pictures are everything-On Christmas Eve, my Mom’s side of the family gets together and it’s a tradition to take pictures of each family. And when I say pictures, I mean, the ENTIRE FAMILY TAKES PICTURES AT THE SAME TIME-SO YOU NEVER KNOW WHERE TO LOOK! Ha! My Mom always has pictures printed and put into albums so you can always look back at them. In my parent’s home there is a wall with shelves dedicated to family albums. *My Dad always loved taking videos and it’s also fun to watch them and see how everyone’s grown.

10. “Enjoy the age you are because you’ll never be it again”-Oh how true this statement is! You only live once, so enjoy everything that each year brings you! It’s taught me not to worry about getting old but to focus on the age you are and making the most of your years.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! Love you!

What are the lessons your Mom taught you throughout your life? Share with me in the comments or on social media-Instagram-@stylestomakeyousmile or Facebook Page-Styles to Make You Smile

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Lessons I’ve Learned at 31

This weekend I made a list of the lessons life has taught me at age 31 and I thought I’d share some of them with you all. These lessons I’ve learned have helped me grow into the person I am. I hope they help you grow into the person you want to be no matter what age you are. ❤

Take a break when you need to. Whether it’s from work, school, and your busy schedule or from someone you love. Your body will tell you when you need one-physically or if you’re like me, your mind will be saying, I need a day off to be left alone. When you take that time for yourself, make sure you do things you enjoy to help you recharge.
Your body will change physically. When I was in my late 20’s I found my first gray hair and I now have just a few more 😉 Haha. I’ve always loved to sleep but now I’ve realized getting sleep helps me to function during the day. Having a routine where I go to sleep around the same time each night helps. Certain foods I used to eat I can’t eat anymore because they upset my digestive system, instead find the foods that give you energy.

Write things down as soon as you think of them. This also goes for doing things as soon as you think of them or you may forget until later. Stopping what you’re currently doing to do what you’re thinking of is okay because you’ll remember to go back to what you were doing originally.

It’s okay to do things alone. Just like I learned to go to events alone, see in this post-Learning How to go to Events Alone & Painting Tips Being alone in public is okay. I love going for walks at the park by myself so I can think or not think about anything and just enjoy being outside. I’ve also learned to go to cafes alone so that I can blog.

You’ve probably faced dealing with a friend or family member dying of a disease or sudden death, whether they’ve lived a long life or were a child. Unfortunately, I’ve seen many people I love pass away. The lesson I learned from this is to do what you love before your life is over. The person who passed would be so proud of you for it. Life is too short not live how you want, so if you want to be doing something, go out and make it happen however you can. I know that money can hold people back from their dreams but find small ways to start and go from there.

Everyone in your life is struggling with a battle you may not know anything about until or IF they decide to share. And if they share their struggles it may make you realize why they act the way they do. Things always make sense when you know more information about a person but until you do, don’t judge them, just remind yourself that they may be struggling with something and ask if you can help in any way even if it’s just to talk.

Learning to deal with people who don’t like me has taken most of twenties to deal with. It wasn’t until I found the right people who liked me and appreciated me that I realized who matters. Don’t ever hold yourself back from being great just because someone doesn’t like you or tells you aren’t good enough to do something. DO IT ANYWAY.
Listen to advice. I have always loved reading people’s stories in books and listening to them online/TV. Everyone is on a journey and it may be similar to yours. Their advice may make you realize things about yourself that you need to change (even if someone close to you has been telling you the advice for years, sometimes if you hear it from someone else’s perspective it will click with you).

Confidence is something that I’m working on every single day. I’ve learned that it comes with believing the positive advice/things people say about you, finding a great mentor such as a friend/family member/therapist/coworker and most importantly believing in yourself. Confidence is NOT something that can be forced onto someone, so as much as you’re seeing someone else struggling with confidence, you can give them advice but know that they have to make the choice to be confident on their own.

Travel and go to as many events as possible. Getting out of the house is important and it’s FUN to do new things. Seeing how other people live is important and can put things in your life into perspective. You may even make new friends from going to new places simply because you’re interested in the things they are.

Decide what’s important for your life. People may not agree with your choices or understand what makes you happy but that’s okay.

Put your all into the things and people you love. Starting my blog has given me something to look forward to every day, I believe everyone needs this. Everyone needs people who care about them, so find the ones who do and treat them well.

HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE. Just like I’ve talked about in my blog post, Motivational Monday: Live the Life You Want  you have to live the life you want to live and not listen to judgement, only positivity. Focus on what makes you happy because life’s too short not to.

What are some things you’ve learned at your current age? Please let me know in the comments! ❤

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What I’ve Learned in One Month of Blogging

MM-Happiness vs. Passion

I can’t believe it’s already been a month since I’ve launched my blog. I thought I’d share what I did before I started my blog, what I’ve learned and things I’m still working on. If you didn’t do the things I did before I started my blog, you can start now!

Before I began my blog:
I researched A LOT! I searched everything I could think of about blogging on YouTube; what equipment to use, what is SEO, and a bloggers life to name a few. I would watch videos in the mornings before work. I listened to two Podcasts: The Influencer Podcast and The Becoming Fearless Podcast after work while cooking and doing dishes. I watched Live Instagram videos after work and during lunch and I watched free webinars on the weekends and took notes. I did all of this because I wanted to know how others were so successful at blogging and how I can be too.
I tried the WordPress website for free-I used the WordPress domain before purchasing my domain. This was so I could get used to using the site before I launched it to the world. Having a lot of things in place before launching benefited me, so that I could then work on other things the day of launching-like my Facebook page. I had my picture taken, a Welcome page, a background picture and two posts written and published beforehand.

I began an Instagram account two months prior to launching my blog (I heard this tip from more than one influencer in the blogging world). This helped determine if I enjoyed posting pictures every day AND if I liked the public to see what I was posting (prior to this I’ve never had any public accounts).

Things I’ve learned:
I love going to cafés just to get posts written for my blog (and buy a smoothie). I’ve found that I can zone into my work and work quickly (the pressure of getting work done before the café closes helps to work fast, even if I’m there for three hours, I treat it like a countdown). I also love working from home so I can cast YouTube music videos on my TV while writing my blog posts.
The only person who will promote yourself the most is you, so if you publish a post on your blog, promote it to your social channels so they can view it.

Things I’m still working on:
Creating an editorial calendar and sticking to it. I’ve tried to plan with a physical calendar and with an excel spreadsheet. Neither of these have stuck with me, yet. I feel like I need something to see visually every day that is inspiring. I’ve seen the idea of a white out board, does this work for anyone else?

Along with the editorial calendar comes with making sure every post is ready for the week-this is important if you have a very busy personal life or if some weeks are busier than others-planning is key! Use the calendar to plan a month’s worth of blog posts before this I would just determine in my mind what I would write about and then write and schedule it on the weekends.

Managing social channels-For now I have Facebook and Instagram and I’ve heard influencers say to work mainly in the channels you’re interested in. But one of the main reasons I picked WordPress as my blogging platform is to engage with the community, so I also have to be following, commenting and liking posts. I also just joined Style Collective so I have to keep up with those girls too. While this sounds like a lot, I really do love engaging with others in the blogging community. It’s finding the time to properly engage with everyone that I need to balance-I do most of this on my free weekends. Anyone have any free tips on this?
Diving into new social channels can be a little intimidating but I know that I want to try Pintrest because of all the beautiful inspiration!

 

I’d love to read in the comments what you did before you started your blog, what you learned and are still working on.