Summer Entertaining

It’s finally warm enough here in the Midwest to have dinner outside.   My screened-in porch is one of my favorite places to be when the weather is nice, and it’s definitely my favorite place to enjoy meals and have fun with friends. If you struggle with entertaining, summer entertaining might be just what turns things around.  Summer entertaining is expected to be way less elaborate because if the weather is nice, aside from serving a bit of food, there isn’t much more you need to do. No need to deep clean the house, just set up a table and some chairs outside, turn on some music and enjoy a much more casual atmosphere than a standard dinner party. I also love impromptu summer entertaining – which happens often around our house.  We’ll be off doing whatever we do on the weekends – at the soccer field, a swim meet, farmer’s market, etc. and we run into friends.  It feels natural to invite them to come over afterwards for a drink or game of cards.  Right? Spending time with others is the BEST way to deepen relationships, and it can be tons of fun too.  Strong relationships are a key to a happier and healthier life. Here are a few of my favorite outdoor/summer entertaining tips:  Keep it simple. Throw together a cheese and cracker plate with whatever is in the fridge and pantry.  Add a few fresh veggies, pickles or even fruit and it can be lovely and tasty. Bring your own.  Not sure if you have enough drinks on hand?  Enjoy tastings with friends where everyone brings a...
Up for a FREE meal?

Up for a FREE meal?

Who doesn’t love getting something for free?  Especially a meal at a nice restaurant, a hotel room or an afternoon of bowling.  Thanks to the years I’ve been mystery shopping, those are a regular part of our lives. In just the last month, I’ve had a breakfast date with my hubby ($42), went bowling and played laser tag with the kids ($115), had pizza and beer for lunch over Spring Break ($50) and got a carry-out lunch at a national chain restaurant ($35).  This is just me doing a shop or two here and there.  If I had the time I could do so much more.  I started mystery shopping almost twenty-five years ago when the company I was working for closed it’s doors and I was out of a job.  I started doing a few dinner shops a month so we could still enjoy a nice meal out without spending money we didn’t have!  Now I just do it for fun, to stretch our entertainment dollars and to force myself out of my routine and try new things. It would be challenging to make a full-time living mystery shopping; most shops don’t pay much outside of reimbursement, but for cutting costs or adding extras to your life, it’s a great part-time gig.  It is important to undersand that once you conduct the shop, you will have to come home and fill out an online form (sometimes within 12-hours of doing the shop), upload some pictures and be available for the next few days for questions.  At first, it would take me an hour or so to fill out...
The Best Hidden Resource!

The Best Hidden Resource!

Today I’m singing praises about a resource most of us have access to, and few people ever use.  It makes my life easier, brings me daily enjoyment and costs NOTHING.  What is it? The local library. Seriously – if you don’t use your local library, you really need to check it out.  Libraries are so much more than dusty old shelves of books (although if you love to read, you’ll appreciate that too).  Ready for some examples of why the library is such a great resource? It’s free.  Unless you habitually forget to turn in your books, the library will cost you nothing. The library contains more than books.  Most libraries have DVD’s, audio books, music and magazines.  Mine also has board games and get this –  museum passes!  Yep, on our recent Spring Break we were able to check out family passes for two state museums and visit them for free.  This easily saved us $100. If your library doesn’t carry what you want, you can request it.  The library doesn’t have a book you want to read?  Ask them to purchase it or see if they can get it on loan from another library.  Most libraries are continually buying new material and they appreciate it when members tell them what they’d like to see. The programs can be terrific.  When my kids were little, we were regulars at story time – it was a fun, free activity we could do together.  Now they always enjoy participating in the summer reading program. Our library offers a program or two almost every day of the week – truly something...

Early Mornings Make Me Happy

That first sip of hot coffee, a cuddly blanket with a warm kitty curled up at my feet.  Add in my current reading material, and THAT is the perfect way to start my day.  Once I have a few moments of easing into the day in that manner, I am ready to do some yoga or pilates, work on a personal project and get ready with plenty of time to spare. How I love a great start to the day. Getting up early to enable such a perfect morning routine is a struggle for me, but the days I am successful are ALWAYS better days.  I’m more productive, less stressed and just plain enjoy life more. And since enjoying life and creating a healthier and happier life is exactly what I promote here, I thought I’d share one of my favorite resources to help you create a better start to YOUR day: I’ve taken the online course myself and gleaned quite a bit of useful information.  This time around, Crystal is doing a live version – for extra motivation.  The class starts April 9th and registration ends then, so if you think you need a little push in improving YOUR mornings, sign up soon!  I’ll be participating and I’d love to have you join me!  Go check it out HERE. What makes up the perfect morning for you?  I’d love for you to share in the comments!...
Kick Start Your Life

Kick Start Your Life

How has it felt making small changes each week for the last month?  Good I hope! Just in case you’ve missed a week, I’m including a quick summary for you: Week 1:  Kick off – Have Fun Week 2:  Kick off your Exercise Week 3:  Kick off your Eating Week 4:  Kick off your Home This process is quite similar to what I do in my signature program “Make the Most of Every Day.”  The biggest difference is that I tailor the program to YOU.  Working together, we concentrate on your goals, desires and dreams. We also look for the little things that will make each and every day better and figure out how to implement them in your life – whatever it looks like right now. This program is a great starting point to creating a life you love and it’s a fantastic way to test having a life or health coach and discovering if it’s the missing link to reaching your dreams. If you are curious and want to learn more, click over HERE and check out all the details.  I’d love to work with you and help you create a happier, healthier life!...

Kick Start Your Home

Let’s talk about your home this week.  I bet you are asking yourself “what in the heck does my house have to do with my health and having a terrific summer?”  Right?  Hear me out … When your house is a mess, full of clutter and not a cozy and comfortable place to be, it’s hard to relax and enjoy life.  It’s challenging to prepare healthy meals in a messy or disorganized kitchen.  If you’re trying to work out at home, it’s impossible to manage if there is so much stuff lying around that you don’t have room to move. Plus, doesn’t it feel great to enjoy your home and feel good about it?  Be able to have friends over at the spur of the moment to share life?  So yes, your house CAN contribute to a healthier and happier life.  Ready to get started? Today I have a simple task for you.  Grab a bag or basket and walk around the house for a few minutes.  Your goal is to find 5 things to either give away, sell or throw away.  This should be pretty easy the first time.  However, tomorrow you are going to do the same thing.  Then again the next day and so on.  By the time we “meet” on the Facebook event on Thursday at 1:00ish EST you’ll have removed TWENTY things from your house.  Wow!  That’s less clutter, less stuff to take care of (and therefore more time for other things) and a strong start toward an overall healthier and happier home. Looking to dive even deeper into creating a life you love?...

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