Social Media Automation Series - Part 4: Buffer


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Buffer is one of the social media automation tools that everyone knows about, talks about, and uses.  I am definitely an avid user.  It is the ONLY tool I've found so far that really lets you Retweet a post within Twitter and with its Chrome Extension.  Anything else I've used treats the tweet as an original tweet unless you add "RT @handle" to the comment box.  In my opinion, this is BEST FEATURE of Buffer.

Social Media Automation Series - Part 3: Dlvr.it

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I just starting using Dlvr.it and so far, I've enjoyed it.  You are able to curate content by pulling from feeds or websites you like.  Since getting into blogging personally, there are several bloggers of
which I've really enjoyed their blogs, tweets, etc. They are :

Social Media Automation Series - Part 2: Paper.li

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Paper.li has been one of the greatest tools I've found for finding content.  With the free plan, you can subscribe to 10 content sources.  These sources can be searches in Paper.li's Genius Source, direct feeds from sites you love, from twitter, really anything you want.  I use this for both work and BIG and so far, it's algorithm for finding content is the best I've seen in any app or tool.  It's "Genius" source truly is genius.

Social Media Automation Series - Part 1: Crowdfire

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There are so many social media automation tools out there. Each has its own merits, benefits, and pitfalls. As I've managed my company's social media as well as my own. I've learned a ton from a variety of different sources. Abby Lawson's Building A Framework has been super helpful as well as Blog by Number by Suzi at startamomblog.com. They both go through the how, what, when and why of starting a blog including of course some about social media.

May's Reading List

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I'm always reading at least 3 books at a time. I have loved to read since I can remember or more accurately since I learned how. Filling out my reading log in elementary school was the highlight of my week! Yes, I am a dork. I was also sort of an only child. I have 6 brothers and sisters but they are much older than me. The oldest is 25 years older than me. Therefore, I never lived with any of them but got the benefit of having them around. Plus, I was the youngest so I was the baby and a touch pampered.

When You Aren't Using Your #Bujo

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The past several weeks I have not been using my bullet journal really in the way it's intended. I was writing my daily affirmation, my gratitude, and my goal every day, but I wasn't including ANYTHING else.  I wasn't writing about work priorities (yes, I have a real job) and things to do with that.  I wasn't even writing potential blog post ideas or creating pretty pages in my bujo.  I've been using a great workbook by Suzi at StartAMomBlog.com.  It's full of fantastic ideas, helpful tips, and resources; plus, a place for you to track post ideas, post titles, affiliate links, and so on.  It is AWESOME and because it's a Google Sheet, I can access anywhere and don't have to lug anything around.  

Which is Great but...


I'm really a pen and paper kind of gal and obsessing over to do lists has been something I've done since high school.  Currently, however, as you can tell from my post header, I haven't been writing any to dos or to don'ts!  Affirmations, gratitude, and goals are great.  It's important to remind yourself every day that you are worth it, what you are grateful for, and what your dream is.  That being said, what about the steps to get there??  If you aren't writing down things to do, then are you ignoring them, are you procrastinating them, or are you bored and don't have anything really to do?  I think I am currently a mixture of all 3 of those. 

 Allow me to rewind a bit.


I used to work at a $15 billion company; my division was $500M; my area was about $60M - I managed all of the Asian markets.  I loved aspects of the job primarily that it was doing business with China which has been my passion since I saw the movie, The Last Emperor.  There were things that also royally sucked.  For the first few years, I commuted from Charlotte, NC to Greensboro, NC which is about 1.5 hours.  I had conference calls at 6am, 7am, all throughout the day, and then again at 7pm, 8pm, 10pm or anytime in between.  How I managed to meet my husband during that time, I just don't know.  Finally, I was able to work from home 3 days a week but we also moved to Charlotte proper which was even a longer commute.  Kindle Unlimited's audio books were a life saver!  

Needless to say, to do lists and project management was a part of every day.  Managing multiple customers and multiple sales people in 15 different countries took some serious organization.  I had trackers for everything; I could tell you off the top of my head a customer's program in those 15 different countries in Asia and more than likely what they did in South America too.  I was on my A-GAME.  I was developing new products and innovation.  It was fantastic until...

I got pregnant.

I was trying to get pregnant without a doubt but we'd also been trying for a year and a half.  So, when it happened, I was like uh, now what.  Commuting for 4 hours a day and conference calls early in the morning and late at night were no longer going to cut it.  I found a new job pretty easily that was local.  In the interviews, it sounded wonderful.  I got a huge office and I thought I'd be doing Marketing and Product Development.

That is my job title after all


Turns out, I coordinate more shipping FedEx and make trade show arrangements.  It is, however, much less stressful.  It also means I don't exactly have a very full calendar or lots of huge projects going on at any one time.  Meetings aren't even scheduled using a calendar!  You kind of wait and see if they happen.  Strange, I know.  Consequently, I start my day with every intention of creating bujo spreads, but I have no tasks to really do or keep track of.  Yes, I fill the social media pipelines every day for BellaInspired and my company, but there aren't major work projects like I'm used to managing and prioritizing.  Or even more so, there aren't 20 plus salespeople asking me for a million things yesterday.  I wouldn't have been able to handle those things with PPD and having a baby, but 

I'm bored

I guess you can surmise why I started this blog now, huh?  I'm a self-starter and I like setting targets, achieving goals, and being successful.  It just doesn't feel real since it's not my "real" full time job.


What about you?

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When You Aren't Using Your #Bujo

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The past several weeks I have not been using my bullet journal really in the way it's intended. I was writing my daily affirmation, my gratitude, and my goal every day, but I wasn't including ANYTHING else.  I wasn't writing about work priorities (yes, I have a real job) and things to do with that.  I wasn't even writing potential blog post ideas or creating pretty pages in my bujo.  I've been using a great workbook by Suzi at StartAMomBlog.com.  It's full of fantastic ideas, helpful tips, and resources; plus, a place for you to track post ideas, post titles, affiliate links, and so on.  It is AWESOME and because it's a Google Sheet, I can access anywhere and don't have to lug anything around.  

A journey to discover the perfect planner or journal or bujo

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I have loved journals, workbooks, self-discovery and journaling prompts, and notebooks of every kind since I was able to write, draw, or doodle. Remember the floral hard back lined journals? That is what I started with. I would use them to write quotes, keep a diary, and would have never thought to use it as a notebook for school. I'm not sure why - at the time, they were much prettier than the plain spiral bound notebooks I used. I also had Trapper Keepers and every other fad of the time.


Then, I graduated from college and I was SOOO busy that I felt I needed a real organizer, like this:

I thought I was so super duper fancy. 



I wrote all of my addresses in it and used it daily to track what I needed to do at my internship with an event planning company! Looking back, I'm not sure why I thought I had so much to do. This planner proved to be very bulky although it held everything. The one thing I hated was being bound by the page layout and I hated the green color.

So, I got a Coach leather mini-planner that held could function as a wallet too! I loved this thing and I could carry it everywhere. However, the pages were a bit cramped and it also had all of those appointment time slots that I just wrote through. Finally, I gave up on the true organizer concept. It was expensive to keep buying refills that I didn't care for and didn't use the way they were intended (which don't ask me why but it really bothered me).

Then, I went to grad school and kind of used my old big planner, kind of used the coach one, used my computer, used a variety of plain ole notebooks: spiral bound, 3 ring binders, composition books.  I always felt disorganized and had stuff everywhere.  


Nothing was pretty or organized.


After graduating, I moved to smaller, functional notebooks but I kept seeing these beautiful planners and notebooks/planners by Erin Condren and Bloom.  I mean how can you not love all of that color and life planning goodness.  I wanted to dive into them; somehow, I thought the constraint of days and appointment times wouldn't be an issue as it had been in my Franklin Covey.  Then, I started looking through Pinterest about planners.  I'm still unsure whether this was the biggest mistake or greatest find.  First, there are a MILLION pins on planning, organizing, journaling, art journaling, bullet journaling, bujo, planners, which planner is best and on and on and on.  There are also printables 


The more I read about bujo and started following Boho Berry, Tiny Ray of Sunshine, and the original bullet journaler, Ryder Carroll, the more I decided why did I need to buy some fancy planner that didn't really fit my needs.  At the time, I was working on projects which although they had deadlines and dates, my work didn't fit into a true week format.  Sometimes, I needed daily stuff; sometimes, I needed weekly stuff; sometimes, I needed monthly stuff.  Introduce the Ampad Versa Crossover.  
I wasn't totally sure about the Arc System or the Levenger Circa.  They looked fantastic, but what can I say I'm cheap.  The Ampad, however, was only $11!  Plus, it came with tabs, pockets, post its, dividers, everything.

I decorated it, I bujo'd in it, I doodled, I created Level 10 life wheels, I planned, I organized and I was ecstatic!  Plus, with printables, I could try new designs, different layouts, whatever struck my fancy.  Not to mention, Pinterest is loaded with different layouts, different ideas, different everything.

As you can see, however, the Ampad took a beating and got dirty and to be honest, I got bored.  It was everything I wanted and needed but the flimsy blue plastic cover just wasn't pretty.  I knew this time, however, that I loved being able to move pages about.  So, I bought a beautiful pink Arc notebook.

I love this notebook!


But I won't use it!  I used it to work through several intense life goal/life planning sessions from Sorted:  Freedom Through Structure and Living Forward.  I literally poured my dreams into it.  

See 10 Dreams for My Life!  I literally detail out everything I want in life from the type of house, the lifestyle, how much money we have, where we travel.  You name it; I have it outlined, written out in this notebook, but I have never used the notebook daily.  It's too pretty or something.  I'm scared I'm going to take the juju out of it or something equally irrational.  

This is my current planner which I got for free and love the dot grid thing but it's almost to the last page.  There is such a sense of accomplishment when you fill up a notebook or planner, I think.
  

So, it's off to the new notebook soon and no, it's not the pretty Arc one.  I bought yet another 3 ring hard binder to try because it had stickers of all things!  It's too big and bulky and I'm totally not sure about it.  I'll keep you posted.  The journey still continues I suppose, but what never changes is I love trying all sorts of different planners, bujos, and journals!




What about you and your journey to the perfect planner?

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A journey to discover the perfect planner or journal or bujo

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
**Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase.





I have loved journals, workbooks, self-discovery and journaling prompts, and notebooks of every kind since I was able to write, draw, or doodle. Remember the floral hard back lined journals? That is what I started with. I would use them to write quotes, keep a diary, and would have never thought to use it as a notebook for school. I'm not sure why - at the time, they were much prettier than the plain spiral bound notebooks I used. I also had Trapper Keepers and every other fad of the time.

6 Habits that will make you feel More Productive

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As I talked about in my Journaling post, I was really drawn to the daily ritual discussed in The Miracle Morning. It sounded equally like a great way to ease into the day as well as a way to get the creative juices flowing and as it touts "feel productive before 8am." I'm a bit of an overachiever; so, anything that makes me feel like I've already accomplished something is a win for me.


What constitutes this ritual? Why do habits and routine make us perform better? A habit is defined as "a settled or regular tendency or practice" which means it's something we perform on auto-pilot. It doesn't take extra thought or motivation to complete the action. When we have positive habits and rituals, our body goes through the motions without extra effort and sets us up with a foundation for daily success. Similarly, bad habits do the opposite but are oh so hard to break because they come naturally (eating fast food or smoking are some obvious examples). Good habits allow for us to reach life goals and set the tone for everyday life. With the Miracle Morning, you are training and implementing good habits while helping to visualize your end goal or life goals.



The first habit is silence. Just taking a few moments in the morning to give thanks for what you have; to meditate (if you wish to call it that).  Simply engaging in the act of not rushing to emails or social media or to your kids gives a fresh perspective on the day.  Daily gratitude has been shown to create real and long-lasting effects in one's everyday life.  Research done at Berkeley has proven that those that practice gratitude have better immune systems, have more joy, and are more helpful and generous.   Those alone seem like great reasons to start practicing silence and gratitude!

The next is affirmations.  I show my full affirmation board and talk about affirmations in another post.  Suffice it to say, I'm 100% on board with doing daily affirmations.  They make you feel better and according to some research, they help sculpt the brain and work the positivity muscle.  More can be read about affirmations here.

Along with affirmations, visualization is another key habit in the Miracle Morning.  If you can really see in your mind's eye what you want, you are already half way to getting there.  Most people wake up in the morning and go through the motions of everyday life without a thought as to what they want out of life.  Beyond thinking of the paycheck they need, that they have to feed their kids, that they somehow have to pay for college, that they need a bigger house, that they need more stuff.  Some are little better than zombies on the treadmill hoping they'll somehow run into the life of their dreams when they aren't actually going anywhere.  Yes, we all need money to pay for various things, but what do you really want out of life and why?  

Why do I want a really big 5,000 square foot house?  I love to entertain; I love traditional Southern decor and the grandness it demonstrates to me.  Those are the selfish reasons.  Ultimately, I want to have a house where fundraisers are thrown to generate donations to give back to the community.  I love historic preservation; I love children; I want to be able to give back.  No, you don't need a big house to give back - you can have a tiny house, not spend as much, and give cash.  That's just not me.  Plus, I've been living in less than 1500 square foot for a decade and I want room to spread out!

Exercise: the habit I love to love and love to hate at the same time.  We all know with our desk jobs that we have to exercise daily to prevent our middles from growing as we age.  Truthfully, I feel better when I exercise regularly. I used to go to the gym for an hour a day and walk for 2 hours a day, but I also lived in Washington, DC where everything was walkable and all I had to do was walk out the front door of my building.  I currently live on 400 acres full of forest without trails and on a relatively busy road.  I have to drive to go walk which takes time I don't have with a child and full time job.  This is an important habit I know; I'm just hoping with the new house and neighborhood I can get back to my walking habit!  I now try to do 20 minutes of exercise with Skimble or Sworkit.

Reading, as a habit, is important for a variety of reasons, but most importantly, it helps to develop the mind.   It boosts creativity, gives you new ideas, and helps you grow as a person.  Reading is my favorite habit and I have read every day of my life for pleasure with the exception of those 2 years of grad school!  You couldn't pay me to read for pleasure then!  Even 10 minutes can expose you to something you might not have otherwise encountered that day.

Scribing or writing every day is something that might seem to take a lot of time, but it doesn't have to.  Keeping a one-sentence journal every day is enough to get into the habit of it.  Writing down our thoughts and feelings helps to flesh them out, give them clarity, and make us really think about the swirling emotions, feelings, thoughts constantly circulating in our brains.  The Artist's Way does an excellent job of going into detail about how writing every day helps to unblock your creativity and open the mind to new possibilities.  


While the acronym is SAVERS, they certainly don't have to be practiced in any particular order.  Although, starting with Silence seems to work best, otherwise, you start going and promptly forget it!  I prefer starting with silence, making coffee, writing, doing affirmations/visualization, and the exercising but that's just me.


What about you?  What rituals and habits do you do daily?




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6 Habits that will make you feel More Productive

**Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase.






As I talked about in my Journaling post, I was really drawn to the daily ritual discussed in The Miracle Morning. It sounded equally like a great way to ease into the day as well as a way to get the creative juices flowing and as it touts "feel productive before 8am." I'm a bit of an overachiever; so, anything that makes me feel like I've already accomplished something is a win for me.

The Life You "Should" Live

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The Life You "Should" Live

I've been reading Circling the Sun: A Novel about Beryl Markham who not only was an aviator but one of the first female horse trainers at the turn of the twentieth century.  It's a powerful story of what it is to be free, to be wild, and what it means to be in society.  Obviously, life for women has changed greatly over the past 100 years, but there are strides that have been made.  One of the biggest being you don't have to be married in order to have a life.  Some old timers might make snide and ugly comments about women that don't marry, but there are choices in providing for oneself.

One of the themes that comes up in the book is "the life you "should" live" as dictated by your parents, your circumstance, your whatever.  It got me to thinking.  The hubs and I are in the middle of making of pretty significant life choice:  buying the home we will live in forever.  Like we will die there and never move again.  This makes me elated.  


BUT I HATE MOVING


When I say I hate it, I mean I cry for the month before we move, act irrationally, and cry for weeks following the move.  I don't know why it bothers me so much but it does.  The act of packing is particularly what bothers me.  I think I'm going to do it wrong somehow; it all gets back to that perfectionism thing I mentioned before.  

What has been interesting, however, is that in our deciding to (fingers crossed) actually buy and move into this home, there have been lots of mumblings about whether or not this is the "right" choice we "should" make.  My family lives in an old home and I've always wanted to live in the big Southern mansion with white columns.  

This fits the bill, right?
What I've been questioning is A) have I come to this conclusion and desire because it's always been the thing I "should" do B) is this the life I really want C) why is it anyone's business where my hubs and I live.  Growing up, I was pretty rebellious.  I pierced one ear 5 times and 2 in the other.  I only wanted clothes from Goodwill and wore them to the country club.  These things led to some pretty tense relations at home.  I also had this weird thing about money; yes, I liked it but it made life seem fake to me.  I also had a dear friend (who is still so very dear to me) that when we would meet older boys, she would rattle off that we lived in a big mansion (only part of it to be fair), my dad had a plane (also old), and we had a 65 ft yacht (not old - it was awesome).  Yes, I grew up in a fairly charmed life but I was so concerned about somehow losing my soul when I became an adult.  At one point, I think I said out loud I don't want to get old because my soul will die. 


 <<I know very 90s weird teenage angst>>  


Fast forward until now, I am 37 and am rip-roaring towards the life my parents always dreamed for me and I do for myself.  I'm on the way to having the right house, the right friends, the country club, and so on.  It's wonderful and I am grateful, but there's this tiny itch I have.


Am I living the life I "Should" live or the life I want?




What about you?



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The Life You "Should" Live

**Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase.


The Life You "Should" Live

I've been reading Circling the Sun: A Novel about Beryl Markham who not only was an aviator but one of the first female horse trainers at the turn of the twentieth century.  It's a powerful story of what it is to be free, to be wild, and what it means to be in society.  Obviously, life for women has changed greatly over the past 100 years, but there are strides that have been made.  One of the biggest being you don't have to be married in order to have a life.  Some old timers might make snide and ugly comments about women that don't marry, but there are choices in providing for oneself.

What does Success REALLY mean?

**Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase.







Last night, my husband and I were sitting on our back porch discussing our potential new house, careers, and what we wanted out of life. A pretty deep conversation for a Tuesday night but what can I say this house has created lots of questions for him, for me, for LB, and for our life altogether. We moved to my family's farm out in the middle of nowhere (it's really only 15 miles from downtown Charlotte) almost 2 years ago. The 5-year plan was to live there for free (lucky I know), save money, and then buy a house once LB was ready to go to kindergarten.


The Best Laid Plans

All of this has been fast forwarded because the house of my dreams came on the market 3 weeks ago. It's a beautiful old Southern mansion with white columns and exactly what I have envisioned living in since I could think about growing up and owning a home. So, we put an offer in and after some back and forth, it was accepted.  Of course, next is the home inspection which was completed last Friday.  We got the report on Monday and oh my WORD, it looked like the house was moments away from falling down and imploding based on the inspector's comments.  So now, we're waiting on estimates to see what all these repairs could potentially cost and if we can afford it.



Obviously, this is my dream so I really really want it and I am ever so fortunate that my hubs is 100% on board.  All of this, however, led him to ask me "What does success look like to you?  And you know, you might have to change what success looks like to you."  These are rather BIG questions and I was a bit taken back.  I know what success looked like to me when I was in my 20s:  married, with a little girl, live in a big house, belong to the country club, be able to travel when and where I want with my family, buy whatever clothes, books, stuff I want, have a job I enjoy, own a boat (like a 65ft yacht), and basically have tons of money.  So, for the broad strokes, my definition of success has not changed.  In fact, I've actually met quite a few of those "life goals" - I'm happily married, a mom to the sweetest little girl ever, and we're working on the house part.

BUT - what about success in my job?  I really envisioned being some sort of CEO of a company that did business in China, leading gargantuan deals, being some sort of really big high roller when I was in college and in my 20s.  I also thought I'd make $70K right out of college...that didn't happen, but I've always had these GINORMOUS dreams.  Was I letting myself down because it really doesn't seem like that is what I am destined to be?  The Answer:

I really don't know


But what I'm leaning towards is "no".  Definitions of success can change over time and they should.  Things fundamentally change as you grow older.  Some things become more important and some go by the wayside.  The older I've gotten the more I've realized A) I really just want to be independently wealthy (still haven't made this work yet) B) lots of stuff isn't happiness (just credit card debt) C) my priority really is my family, not my career.  

I am not a woman that particularly wants to stay home with my child.  There certainly are days I do and days I don't.  I really just want to provide for her the best life has to offer:  opportunities for travel and exposure, college, and so on.  Right now, my working (even if I don't love it) is the way to provide them.  I'm also hoping that blogging helps to support my life and My Why.


What is Your Why and definition of Success?

What does Success REALLY mean?

**Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase.







Last night, my husband and I were sitting on our back porch discussing our potential new house, careers, and what we wanted out of life. A pretty deep conversation for a Tuesday night but what can I say this house has created lots of questions for him, for me, for LB, and for our life altogether. We moved to my family's farm out in the middle of nowhere (it's really only 15 miles from downtown Charlotte) almost 2 years ago. The 5-year plan was to live there for free (lucky I know), save money, and then buy a house once LB was ready to go to kindergarten.

Affirmations

**Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase.





I showed my affirmation board here, but I truly believe they work wonders. Affirming what you believe about yourself, your environment, and your life is a critical component in developing self-love, eliminating self-doubt, and telling the world what you expect from it. While that sounds a little like hocus pocus, it works for if for no other reason than giving a daily mood boost.


Happiness is truly one part simply be grateful for what you have. Repeatedly filling your mind with positive thoughts and feelings and eliminating the negative ones creates an air of hope within the soul and spirit. Buddha created an entire religion out of trying to eliminate one's desires. Affirmations are a practice that enables one to recenter expectations and feeling happiness whenever one draws upon them.

According to some research, affirmations actually rewire the brain. They help raise the good feeling hormones in the body. Similar to exercising one's body, the more you do it, the stronger those muscles become. Think back to a time when you kept brooding over whatever negative.  Generally speaking, the more you concentrate on it, the worse and worse you feel.  You need a distraction in order to backtrack back to reality and being positive.  

I, myself, have noticed if I start dwelling in my morning pages about bad stuff that I have to stop myself and write 

I am only going to focus on the positive now


Sometimes that jerks me back to reality; sometimes it doesn't, but the act of writing it out, acknowledging my mindset, starts to turn the tide back to what my true intention should be.  The Secret discusses at length about the power of intention, affirmations, and truly believing in whatever circumstances you desire to have in your world.  I always go back to where I was in the summer of 2016 -- desperately wanting to get pregnant and changes jobs.  I wrote and read daily: I have a healthy pregnancy and I have a new job.  By June, I was pregnant.  By September 1, I started a new job.  The one thing to always remember, however, is to be careful what you wish for.  I got a new job, but I should have been extremely explicit.  I should have been stating:

I have a new job I love



Affirmations

**Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase.





I showed my affirmation board here, but I truly believe they work wonders. Affirming what you believe about yourself, your environment, and your life is a critical component in developing self-love, eliminating self-doubt, and telling the world what you expect from it. While that sounds a little like hocus pocus, it works for if for no other reason than giving a daily mood boost.

The Power of Journaling

I began journaling I think as soon as I could write complete sentences. I always was trying to find a way to getting everything going on in my head out. There was very little method is my scribing. Sometimes, I would write daily, even multiple times a day, and then other times, it would be weeks, if not, months...probably even years if I am honest. Regardless of frequency, I always returned. Things would become too overwhelming. Life would feel too bad. I’d be struggling with something I just couldn’t get over. Writing always seemed to help. It might not have helped immediately, but it just felt good to get some of the mundane madness out of the churn that existed within me.



Depression has been a friend and enemy for most of my life both through adolescence and adulthood. Motherhood really brought a depression reckoning from which I’ve only recently come out of. Throughout it all, writing was a constant companion. Prior to motherhood, there was the actual trying to get pregnant which in and of itself created a new kind of anxiety, fear, and sadness. What if I could not have a child? What if the little LB I’d dreamed of since forever wasn’t to be.

The What If's - YUCK!


Again, journaling proved to be the best therapy.  I knew, however, that I need more habit, more routine, and more method to my madness if I was going to get through this with a clear head.  Pinterest is, of course, a great resource. The more I searched for planning, routines, the more I seemed to find. Along my search, I came across Boho Berry who mentioned Hal Elrod who had created this idea of “The Miracle Morning”. The central premise is around S.A.V.E.R.S. A series of daily habits: Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, and Scribing.

A Framework


This framework created a pattern of habits that allowed me to incorporate journaling into my daily life. I couldn’t just do it when I felt like it, but I would wake every morning and practice. Practice meditation, practice positivity through affirmations (like I have a healthy pregnancy), practice visualization (through my vision board), practice exercise, reading I already down pat, and the daily practice of scribing. Writing down every thought, every feeling, every worry, and let it go to the universe. It no longer mattered if I felt like it; it really didn’t matter what I said; it just mattered that I did it daily.


Had to Do It Daily - Habit



I had tried to do Morning Pages in The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron for years, but without much success. For whatever reason, the Miracle Morning resonated with me. Well, to be truthful, everything but the exercise part did! I felt lighter in the mornings and I felt more in tune with myself than I had in years. Another great tool was the Awemanac. Great prompts and ways to get your mind working creatively.

I regressed a bit during the first 8 months of LB’s life, but honestly, as a new mom, I just couldn’t think in the morning trying to get her fed, dressed, and myself to work. I’ve been back at it with a vengeance (at least the writing portion) since the end of last year and I tell you...it’s been the one unwavering way I’ve found myself daily.


The Power of Journaling

I began journaling I think as soon as I could write complete sentences. I always was trying to find a way to getting everything going on in my head out. There was very little method is my scribing. Sometimes, I would write daily, even multiple times a day, and then other times, it would be weeks, if not, months...probably even years if I am honest. Regardless of frequency, I always returned. Things would become too overwhelming. Life would feel too bad. I’d be struggling with something I just couldn’t get over. Writing always seemed to help. It might not have helped immediately, but it just felt good to get some of the mundane madness out of the churn that existed within me.


How Vision Boards Can Change Your Life


How Vision Boards Can Change Change Your Life

If you don’t believe me, read on


Back in 2008, I was getting ready to graduate from MBA school and started a vision board with Blogger. I was excited and nervous to move back to China. [Side note: I told my mom at 10 that the Forbidden City used to be my house and I wanted to learn Chinese and move to China. I studied abroad in Beijing in 2001.] Due to my previous experience with wanting something so much and it happening, I figured why not outline the rest of what I wanted in life.


Text from 2008 board 



Now, I did not get the VP of Research Hotels job (I was 28 after all). However, if you read the highlighted part, you’ll see my description of my perfect husband and our child. Fast forward to 2011, I met a man that perfectly matched my description, we married in 2014, and had our little girl in 2017. Below is a collage of the accompanying pictures I placed on my vision board. I know Matthew Mcconaughey and Patrick Dempsey - how cliche! The other pictures are of housing design both interior and exterior. Honestly, after I made this, I don’t think I ever looked at it again. There were a total of 4 posts in my “Vision Board” Blog.

Pictures from Blogger Vision Board 2008

Freaked out yet?

I mentioned my husband and I married in 2014 and had a little girl, Bella Boo, in 2017. The struggle to get pregnant was real. I truly began to believe I had waited too long; I was too old; my eggs had all died. Plus, we started going to the fertility clinic which was not a pleasant experience. My head and heart hurt. I had wanted a little girl since I was a little girl. I couldn’t imagine if this dream/goal didn’t come true. So, what did I do? I started another vision board. I needed something to make me stay positive, focus on what was important, and what I wanted.


Vision Board from 2016-2017 

I found the Wishboard App and made my first Wishboard. You’ll note the pictures of little baby girls (maybe a little creepy but it helped), pictures of homes, job stuff, a 4 Runner, and a big boat. I also did Affirmations every day. Part of this came from something I read. Hal Elrod wrote a book Miracle Morning. The basic premise is successful people complete 6 things every morning: Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, and Scribing - SAVERS for short. I’ll talk more about this in another post.

Every day from Feb 2016 until January 26, 2017, I completed the affirmations, journaling, and visualization parts of this miracle morning method. I got pregnant on Memorial Day weekend of 2016. After Miss Belle was born, the miracle morning wasn’t quite as habitual as I would have liked. But really, what first time mom, working full time, waking up several times a night, can be so disciplined? Not this mom especially because I was suffering from MAJOR postpartum depression. For almost a year, I cried and cried but didn’t know why. I hated and questioned everything about myself as a person, a mother, a wife, everything. I digress.

Things turned a corner at the end of last year. Getting set up with the proper medications, therapist, and psychiatrist was literally a life saver. I don’t know what my husband or I would’ve done without them. Again, will likely blog more about PPD in future posts.

Now, it’s May 2018. Here is a picture of my most recent wishboard. If you look at the top, there’s this beautiful white columned house. I put that in my vision board back in Feb 2016.
Current Vision Board May 2018

If you look at the vision board from 2008, you’ll notice a house that looks eerily similiar.

Pictures from 2008 Vision Board 
Well, guess who has put an offer in on that house?? My husband and I did. Offer been accepted and if the home inspection and financing go through without a hitch, we’ll be moving in this summer!



Vision Boards DEFINITELY WORK!