On The Verge of 40

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Sunday is my birthday and I will be 39.  It's such a lackluster sort of birthday - you aren't quite yet the BIG 40, but you are literally at the threshold of moving into your forties.  I have 5 brothers and sisters and all of them turned 40 many years ago now.  I only actually remember my youngers siblings' and brother/sister in law's 40th birthdays because they were in the past decade.  My other siblings turned 40 over 20 plus years ago either before I was in college or during...so I wasn't present at their 40th birthdays.  I remember them all as being very joyous occasions with lots of jokes of being over the hill and grey hair.  In fact, I threw my husband's 40th birthday party this past December and it was fantastic even if I did do it myself!


This picture pretty much sums up how I felt.  LIKE. A. ROCKSTAR.  It was the first really big fancy party that I threw in my really big fancy house.  Even my mom was impressed which is seriously saying something.  She really is a rockstar at throwing parties - like for reals.


I felt very grown-up at the moment and really had a fantastic time.  Now, however, as I broach my 39th, I have to admit I'm feeling a little unsure and maybe even a little insecure.  Yes, I have met and married the husband literally of my dreams; yes, we have the most adorable little girl in the entire world; and even, yes, we live in the home I have always dreamed of and wanted.  I even like....no love my job.  I mean, really Lee, what can you feel unsure about then (I bet you are asking cause as I write that, I'm thinking it - do I really feel this way)?  

I still don't really feel like I'm a grown-up or am grown up enough.  I still worry about us paying our bills every month despite the fact that we both make really decent money.  I've been listening to a lot of financial books like (You Need a Budget, You're a BadA$$ at Making Money, Your Money or Your Life) all in the hopes of somehow figuring out what my deal is with money and why I feel like I never have any (which is quite a shitty feeling by the way).  I even had a breakdown in front of my mother a month or so ago (which really concerned her and she doesn't get concerned) because I told her I needed to cut my grocery budget to $30 bucks a week.  

What I think I am beginning to figure out is (thanks in large part to the book, Your Money or Your Life) I have always had an impossible time with what "ENOUGH" is.  I have never felt good enough for just about anything EXCEPT in learning Chinese.  This feeling was so prevalent when I had PPD that I literally thought I would die from it.  Not a good enough wife, not a good enough mother, not earning enough, not being debt-free enough, no being frugal enough, not spending wisely enough.  You get the idea.  


So, as I work my way day by day to 40 for the next 367 days, I officially declare I AM FUCKING ENOUGH JUST AS I AM.  That is my new mantra and to hell with the rest.










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Setting Your Kids Up For Success

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You want your children to be happy and healthy above all else. You also want them to grow up strong and secure in themselves and to be able to achieve whatever it is they want out of life. After all, as a parent, it’s your job to give your child everything they need in their first years of life! (And of course, for the next couple of decades too…)

Every parent out there has a different way to raise their child and because of that, there are some great (and various) ways out there to set your children up for success in the future. I’ve listed a couple of the best below, and if you’re a new parent looking for a bit of inspiration, feel free to read through them. 


Encourage Them to Ask

Kids are learning about their surroundings all the way through their childhoods. Even when kids act out and do things to frustrate and annoy you, that innate curiosity of how the world works is behind the action. Even when your child is only a year old and keeps chucking their spoon off the high chair, they’re working out what happens to the spoon, and how their parents react to it. 

Encourage this curiosity, even in its childish state. When you read to a baby, one that’s just starting to memorize their mother’s voice, you’re teaching them what a book is for, what words are, and that the sound that comes out of your mouth is one of love and learning. 

As your kids get older and older instill in them the need to ask questions and to never be afraid to do so. Children love to learn, especially when something is interesting and off the top of their own heads, so once they master speech, show them how to use it! 

Get Them Vaccinated

It’s a very good idea to get your children vaccinated as early as you can to make sure their first few years of life are free from the worry of serious illnesses. Kids deserve to be happy and content in this crucial (and sensitive) developmental period, especially if you want them to be able to achieve great things one day.  If you are leary about vaccines, the initial research connecting autism and vaccines has been retracted. Read about that on the Mayo Clinic's website.

There’s a huge range of vaccines and vaccine administration options out there. Most of all, you’re going to want a family-friendly clinic, such as CBD Medical, to treat your children. Places like these make it a policy to keep kids calm and stable during their visits and to make sure any memories involving needles aren’t painful in nature. Remember, babies can cry up a storm loud enough to distress them for the rest of the week, even if they don’t remember the experience as they get older. 

Setting your kids up for success is going to be a challenge, for as long as they’re growing and learning about the world around them. Make sure you’re always standing behind them, with some key advice, and a safety net when one is needed. 
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Making Sure Your Kids are Getting Sufficient Exercise

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When we think of exercise, many of us automatically think of our own exercise regimes. We think of heading to the gym, meeting up with a personal trainer, and attending different classes, but adults aren’t the only ones who need to exercise - kids need to exercise too!

73 Questions About Me - #VogueParody

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Similar to Joan Senio, I had never heard of this challenge but I love answering funny questions so here we go!  To read Joan's answers, click here.

1.What’s your usual Starbuck’s order?

I also really don't like Starbucks - it's way too bitter.

2. What does your workstation look like?

I have washi tape, colored markers, colored pencils, every type of pen imaginable, and my bullet journal with my at all times.

3. Favorite food?

I love steak - both filet mignon and country style steak.  Yep, I'm Southern.

4. Favorite author?

Also, impossible to pick one… I love JK Rowling though!

5. What do you think of open relationships?

Definitely not for me

6. What is your favorite video game?

Image result for mortal kombat
I loved Mario Brothers growing up and I have to admit I do love Mortal Combat.  




7. Guilty Pleasure Food?

French fries and potato chips

8. Favorite movie?

Steel Magnolias - hands down

9. Favorite book?

The Alchemist

10. Twitter or Instagram?

Twitter, definitely!

11. Desktop or laptop?

laptop

12. Best advice you’ve ever received?

Follow your heart

13. What project are you working on right now?

Writing a book, creating planner stuff, my house (it's 100 years old)

14. Favorite color?

#ff6f69

15. Did you get good grades in school?

Yes and I got really mad if I made a B.

16. Dream job?

Have a planner empire.

17. Play any sports?

Tennis

18. Do you have a degree?

Yes, BA in East Asian Studies and International Affairs, Minor Chinese and a MBA in International Business with a focus on China.

19. Nationality?

Southern

20. What is your favorite kind of blog post?

Something that inspires.

21. What do you like to collect?

Handbags

22. Describe yourself in three words?

Positive, Determined, Adventurous

23. If you were a rapper what would your stage name be?

I love Snoop and Dr. Dre but those are already taken

24. Who is the last person you DMed?

No one.

25. What’s on top of your wish list right now?

Window treatments for the whole house!

26. Sorting house?

Griffindor

27. How many tattoos do you have?

Zero

28. What are you most grateful for this year?

My husband, little girl, and our forever home

29. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you this month?


I've blogged alot and felt inspired again.

30. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you today?

I focused on my blog for 2 hours.

31. What’s the best thing ever?

Napping

32. Favorite season?

I love them all - Indian Summer - late summer / early fall

33. Favorite holiday?

Christmas - for sure!

34. What fictional character do you relate to the most?

Image result for shelby steel magnolias
Shelby in Steel Magnolias

35. Do you like surprises?

Yes, I love surprises.

36. What’s the biggest surprise you’ve ever had?

When my husband proposed too, I just kept giggling hysterically and it's on video.

37. Which surprise made you cry.

not sure on this one.

38. What’s the best surprise you’ve given someone else?

When I moved to China for 3 months, I left my boyfriend (now husband) love notes hidden all over his house.

39. Do you like muffins?

Nope hate them

40. Do you cook often?

Yep almost every day

41. What’s your favourite dessert?

Cheese!

42. Is there a dessert you don’t like?

I don’t like Tiramisu.

43. Cake or pie?

pie

44. What’s your least favorite food?

I don’t like anchovies or sardines. - me either Joan!

45. What’s your favorite condiment?

remoulade 

46. It’s 4am on a random Saturday. What are you eating?

I'm sleeping

47. If you could teach a college class, what would it be called?

All about China

48. Best animated film?

Beauty and the Beast
Image result for beauty and the beast

49. What has a guy said or done to impress you?

Bought my dream house

50. Best thing to do on a first date?

A place with outside games/beer garden

51. Worst thing to do on a first date?

Drink too much alcohol - agree

52. What’s the best pick up line?

think they're all cheesy

53. Best comic book character?

Ummm...batman. dont' read comics so much
54. Name three things which can always be found in your purse.
phone, notebook, a random toy

55. Favorite drink?

Sauvignon blanc!

56. If you could play a historical character in a movie who would it be?

The Empress Dowager of China (see a them here?)

57. Kittens or puppies?

Puppies

58. Favorite sushi roll?

don't know their names!

59. What lipstick do you use?

don't use often

60. What foundation do you use?

BB Cream

61. Blow dry or air dry?

air dry

62. Who is your fashion icon?

I love Prada

63. Favorite Disney character?

Image result for beauty and the beast
Belle

64. What are you doing tomorrow?

laying out mulch

65. Movie you laughed the hardest through?

American Pie

66. Movie that made you cry?

Steel Magnolias, Terms of Endearment

67. If you could sing a duet with anybody, who would you choose?

You really don't want me to sing

68. If your life was a song what would the title be?

Hit me with your best shot

69. What’s your favorite animal?

dogs

70. Favorite illustrator?

Walt Disney?

71. Person you’d like to have coffee with?

Definitely Joan

72. What country would you like to visit?

Fiji, Bora Bora, any of the Pacific Islands

73. Best way to decompress?

A walk, reading, a really great massage!
I love these things and they always make you think about the most random stuff.  Inevitably, I make myself laugh out loud!  I enjoyed the song question the most!
Hope you liked my answers!  Here are my nominations!  No pressure lovelies - just Friyay Fun!

My Nominations






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Lack of Time is Lack of Priorities

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Time Management

At the end of the day, it’s all about time management. When it comes to time management, we don’t want to admit we don't have it all together. It’s one of the hardest issues to face and can be a challenge. However, the good news is it’s very doable.

What’s the hardest task? Do that one first. For some people, filing is the worst administrative task there is and for others, it’s filling out paperwork and making phone calls. Whatever you identify, as being your hardest task, is the one you should do first.  

You will find this practice to be difficult at first; however, as time goes by you will be grateful you stuck with it. If you do nothing else in time management, this is the best tip you can follow. These tasks will become easier and quicker the more you practice.

Write It Down

Writing things down is very important. "Forgetting" tends to waste a huge amount of time and effort. When you write things down, the mind/body activity helps you to remember the task. Plus, you also have a built-in reminder you can refer to when or if you forget the details or specifics. Seeing things on paper also helps you to prioritize.


Prioritize Tasks

In order to prioritize tasks and events, you must know what must be done, what needs to be done, what you want to do, what is important to you, where your priorities are, and what’s falling by the wayside.

Put things in order of what should be done first. Putting things down on paper is the key to getting your life prioritized. Don’t simply make a to-do list. Write everything down in order of importance and priority. If you have to, you can number the items. This will drive home the point of how important one item is over another. Continue to write down what needs to be done.

Defer Tasks

Don’t be afraid to carry things over to the next day. If you were unable to complete a task, don’t be afraid to carry it over to the next day’s to-do list. Don’t view it as a failure. View it as a fact and keep on moving. Moving forward is what’s important at all times no matter the day’s successes or failures previously.

What’s the worst thing that could happen if you don't get to do everything? Can it wait? Will everyone survive? These questions may seem as though you are making excuses, but you are learning to prioritize. Once you learn how to prioritize, you will be in flow with what’s important to you and your life.

Avoiding Procrastination

The most highly successful people don’t have to deal with procrastination often. It’s not even in the cards for them. However, for the rest of us, it’s a reality. Here are a few tips to deal with procrastination when it strikes:

·         Allow a few minutes for guilty pleasures but put a timer on it
·         Set a schedule for checking social media
·         Work on a computer that does not allow (blocks) social media and email
·         Time yourself when checking emails or answering them

Balance Work and Play

If you’re all work and no play, you are sure to be successful; however, the down side to this is burn out. If you do anything for too long, burn out will surely follow. Here are a few tips to keep the scales balanced:

·         Choose your time to work and stick to it.
·         Decide, how much if at all, time you will spend on work        after hours (for example reading emails at the dinner table, taking calls during family time, etc.)
·         Leave work at work.
·         Prioritize your work schedule and your home life will run more smoothly as well.
·         Learn how to delegate.
·         Learn how to say no.

Just like children, we need to schedule free time or play time. We need to be intentional about our time but to understand that while it’s over, it’s time to let it go. Playing for too long can lead to procrastination and loss of structure.


Take 5-minute play breaks; walk in fresh air, hydrate yourself, do some deep breathing or write in a journal. All of these will help to renergize your spirit. 



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