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.

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.

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?

What to do When Your Meal Goes Unplanned

You know those nights where you have dinner all planned out then something happens and your “planned meal” goes unplanned? The tomatoes you planned to put in the pasta aren’t good, you planned a fun night out but it got cancelled or you just weren’t in the mood for the meal you planned? Whatever your situation is, try to selvage any food you have in your kitchen to make a meal work.

Here are my tips on what to do when this happens…

Tip 1. If you’ve already begun cooking dinner and one ingredient is bad, mix in something similar. This literally happened to me tonight-hello post inspiration! I was planning on making pasta with chicken and tomatoes and found that most of the tomatoes I had bought three days ago went bad…so instead I replaced them with spinach and mixed it into the pasta. Cooking with fresh ingredients can be challenging because you don’t know how long the food will truly last-I have trouble using avocados all the time because if I don’t check on them regularly to see if they are ready to eat they can go bad pretty fast.

Tip 2. There have been many times where I will take out chicken to unthaw it and think it’s going to be ready to go the next night but turns out it’s not. When this happens my whole dinner game is thrown off. Also, the opposite has happened where I’ll forget to take the chicken out of the freezer to unthaw then I have to wait until it unthaws for dinner the next night. So what then? I’ve learned this year that it’s best to keep the freezer stocked full of food you can cook on the stove in less than twenty minutes such as turkey and chicken burgers. These are perfect substitutes when things go unplanned because you were planning on cooking anyway.
Tip 3. There is ALWAYS something in your kitchen you can cook for dinner. You might need to be creative-try mixing ingredients, looking online for inspiration (search for recipes where you already have most of the ingredients), cook something simple like pasta but make your own dressing. Or try my favorite, have breakfast for dinner-this can be anything from eggs on toast to an omelet with cheese and veggies. Don’t overthink the recipe and don’t get overwhelmed, as long as you’re grocery shopping on a regular basis and stocking up on food like pantry or frozen foods, you’ll always have something you can substitute when dinner goes unplanned.

Tip 4. For the nights when you thought you weren’t going to be home but your plans changed-instead of running out to the grocery store to buy food (since you were planning to spend money anyway on dinner) see what you have in the kitchen that you can cook up quickly. My mindset when this happens is that I’m not in the mood to cook because I was planning on having a fun night out, so if I can quickly cook up something in the microwave, in the oven or even make a sandwich I will. If all else fails, do what my grandmother would do and have a bag of popcorn! She always said that a bag of popcorn counts as dinner!
Tip 5. When you had a meal planned but you aren’t in the mood for it. This happens to me when I’ve made a big batch of something like pasta, and have eaten it for the past three days, it means it’s time to eat something else! Mood and cravings are everything when it comes to food, so ask yourself what are you REALLY in the mood for? If you can’t quiet figure it out, just make something that comes to mind or if it’s something you have in stock make that instead.

Do you have any solutions to unplanned meals? Let me know in the comments or on social media! @stylestomakeyousmile

How I Stock My Kitchen

When I go grocery shopping each week, I normally have a list of items to buy, but what I’ve come to realize is that I can add value to my shopping trip and stock my kitchen if I buy at least one extra item from the list below. This is helpful in case there were ever a time when I couldn’t run to the grocery store like getting sick or having a busy week.

Below are lists of items I stock up on:
Freezer-Organic chicken and beef and turkey burgers, pizza, vegetables (you can get bags of these for under a dollar at certain stores), fruits-strawberries and mixed berries, vegetable rice/quinoa and Greek yogurt pops.
Fridge-Water, Almond milk, yogurt, eggs
Pantry-Cereal, peanut butter, soup, pasta, tuna, cereal bars, rolled oats.
Other-Apples, oranges, avocado, tomatoes, cucumbers

Stocking up on these items means I will always have a full kitchen. It also means I’ll never run out of ideas on what to cook. While I might buy something one week, it means I can eat it when I’m in the mood for it later on. None of these items listed costs more than $10 total, so it won’t break my budget. For more information on budgeting read: How to Stick to a Weekly Food Budget When you give and take on your budget it all comes out the same-stock up on one expensive item one week-like organic chicken-then next week stock up on frozen vegetables.

How do you stock your kitchen? Let me know in the comments below or on social media @stylestomakeyousmile

Motivational Monday: Staying True to Your Values

Values are what you hold true in your life. As you mature, your values make you into who you are and you’ll put the energy from those values into everything you do-at work, in your relationships and within yourself. When you stay true to your values it shows outwardly who you are as a person. The things you value in life show other’s what is important to you. It is good to find people who value the same things as you.
Below are some of my values in life:

Spending time with loved ones.
Being appreciative and respectful toward others.
Staying positive in any situation.
What are your values in life and what do they mean to you?

Motivational Monday: Celebrate Life

People all want the same things in life which are to be happy, overcome struggles, find themselves, and be surrounded by people who love and support you and have great times turn into great memories.
For anyone who celebrates birthdays, always remember to treat every day as good as a birthday. You should celebrate being alive today. There is always something good in every day whether it’s something you did for someone or something someone said to you or something you did for yourself. Treating yourself as good as you treat others is can make a difference in your own happiness. Think of what you would say to a friend in a time of need and repeat that to yourself.

Wake up each morning to decide that today will be worth it. Any struggles you’re facing can always be worked through. As long as you don’t let your struggles diminish you, you can get to a point where the struggles you face today, won’t be your struggles for tomorrow.

There will always be a balance of struggle and celebration in life. If you can recognize the work you’re doing to win against the struggles than that in itself is a celebration of life. ❤