How We Celebrate Valentines Day on the Cheap!

If your anything like my family right now, your broke! Christmas, overdone, but that happens every year so you're really not devastated. But the holidays never end so you have to plan for Valentine's day. Looking at the budget you don't really have the money to pay for a sitter and go out to eat, buy gifts for your spouse and kids, but you don't want to ignore the holiday altogether. So what do you do? 

Here is what we do.

The Gift
I ask my husband to do something for me that needs to be done but I don't want to do. My favorite to ask is detailing my car. I ask him to do this every Valentines and Mothers Day. It's cheap but yet sooooo nice. I usually give my hubby a full body massage. My husband doesn't get these on a regular basis even though I am a massage therapist. You know your partner better than anyone else do something that they will really appreciate to show your love. Cause that is what that day is all about yeah?

If your partner is the kind that likes receiving gifts more than not, then find something that they need or something cheap that they wouldn't already buy for themselves. For example, when my husband is feeling like a big spender he will buy me my favorite bottle of wine, I'm cheap it's 11 bucks, and chocolate covered strawberries. I love it!!

The Kids
Kids are easy, chocolate! I buy them whatever cute chocolate/candy box that they are into for that year. For dinner, we cook, or go to Papa Murphy's and get the heart shaped pizza. If I remember right its between 8-11 bucks a pizza. They love it.

The Date
After we send the kids to bed, we get romantic with Netflix and Chill.

For the whole day, I can spend as little as $40, including the pizza and kids gifts. We like it, it's a low key low spend holiday for us. I get my car cleaned he gets some much-needed attention and the kids have fun eating pizza and chocolate.


2016 Lessons and Goals for 2017


For my first six months blogging I have learned an overwhelming amount. I started this blog because I like to make a positive impact on people and because I thought it would be fun. I'm not sure how much of an impact it has made but it has been fun, and a whole lot of work. More work than I originally thought it would be, but, hey nothing good in life come easy yea?

So What Have I Learned

Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. 
It all takes time, building a blog, finding readers, gaining their trust. I started this adventure not knowing what to expect and I didn't have high expectations of how it was going to go so, patience is on my side for this aspect. 

Consistency is key.
At first, I had all these ideas and I was popping them out pretty rapidly, but then my ideas slowed then so did my posting, then the holidays happen. So the traffic on my site has been all over the place. As a blog reader, that is not ideal.

Writing a good blog post is a whole lot harder than I thought.
One of the qualities that I thought qualified myself for being a blogger is that in conversations I am a good story teller. So when I try to take a story that I've told and had a good reaction from and apply it to paper, something happens, it's not as good. I'm hoping practice can fix this.

Goals for 2017

I'm going to slow down my posting.
Twice a month will be my posting schedule. I want to work a lot on quality. Up until now, even this post, I would get an idea, write it in 10 minutes, edited maybe the next day then post it. I was just so excited I couldn't wait. With posting less I'll have more time to think about my post a little more, read and edit them more, and come up with really good quality topics.

Social Media
Learn how to use this tool better. I don't use social media a bunch in my personal life so learning how to navigate this will be a challenge for me.

I'm adding a few more chapters.
Fitness, I am, like just about everyone else trying to be more healthy. So I plan on throwing a few post about how I am doing with that. You have seen my post about hiking, I plan on expanding that a little bit and see how that goes.

Smoothies. 
I love smoothies and make them often for breakfast. The plan is to figure out how to do a post with a recipe and post some of my smoothy recipes for you.

I thank you! 
I thank you for sticking with me while I'm learning this whole blogging business. I hope that you will stick with me and watch me grow. I hope that you have had a great 2016 and that your 2017 is even better!

How I Deal With The Holidays As An Introvert!

First, let me clear up what an introvert is. The difference between an introvert and an extrovert is how we recharge. I recharge by being alone and not being around a big group of people. Extroverts recharge by being around people and a lively uptick atmosphere. At least this is true for my husband, the extrovert, and I, the introvert. Big groups of people for me are sometimes overwhelming and exhausting.

Now that you know what my definition of an introvert is let me tell you my holiday schedule. It all starts with Thanksgiving, we host it at my house. Usually, it's a small gathering not too bad. Then I go Black Friday Shopping. 8 Tips For a Succesful Black Friday Trip here. I consider Black Friday super fun, but it takes me the whole weekend to recover. The first or second weekend in December is my daughters birthday party. Then there is going up to my moms for a weekend in December. Then whatever Christmas parties are in between. Then we have 4 family Christmas parties to attend on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Just writing that out makes me overwhelmed.

So how do I manage?


  • Schedule a massage. Sometimes with a new massage therapist. I've known my therapist since I was 19 and we are really good friends, so it's hard for us not to chat the whole massage. So going to someone new could help the temptation to talk the whole time. To be honest my answer to everything is to get a massage.

  • Read. During this time a year, I take the time to read every night. It's alone time. I also use the excuse that I need to wrap presents. This means being in my room behind a locked door, it's blissful. My husband hates wrapping, so it's perfect.

  • I know it's kind of cliche to say but take one day at a time. Sometimes I have to break it down to one event at a time.

  • Plan and be organized. It's even worse if you are frazzled because of last minute stuff to do before an event.

  • Say no to some parties. There are a few parties that my husband and kids go to that I don't. My husband is pretty understanding about how much I can handle. I also don't volunteer at the school this month.

  • I plan a day where I don't leave the house or get out of my PJs. I will be super lazy and just spend the day with my family no one else. We watch movies, we eat snacks, leftovers, microwave meals, whatever is super easy. I take this day and I am off.


It's a struggle to be an introvert during the holidays because there are so many events and parties. If I'm not careful to schedule some down time I become overwhelmed and grumpy and nobody wants to be around me.

I do love the holidays. It's the only time of year that I get to see some family. I love sharing food and catching up with people. Going and making cookies at Gramma's house with my kids. Winter break from school. It is a fun time of year, but it can be overwhelming. 




10 Gifts for an Out Doors Lover


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If have someone on your list this season that loves to go hiking and be outdoors then this is the list for you.

Smart Phone Gloves or Mittens



If you have followed any of my hiking post you have noticed that I also Pokemon hunt while I hike. Now I currently don't own a pair of these but I think they would help a lot in the Pokemon hunting part of my hiking. This morning while walking my hands were freezing and I was not wanting to take them out of my pockets to catch Pokemon, these gloves would have solved this problem.


AegisGears Paracord Bracelet X-Series with 19 Piece Outdoor Survival Gear Kit


I don't know about you but this kit is just cool, anyone that hikes would love this! It has 1 5/16" magnesium flint fire starter, 12' custom military grade MIL-C-5040 type III 550 parachute cord embedded with copper wire, hemp tinder line, secondary fishing line, compass, stainless-steel scraper, 2 fishing hooks, 2 fishing lines, 2 swivels, 2 weights, 2 floats, alcohol pad, dried tinder and 2 safety pins.


Swiss Army Knife


If they are not new to the outdoors they probably already have one. But if your loved one is a newbie then this is a must!


BSN Medical Leukotape P Sports Tape (Blister Prevetion Tape)



So far I haven't had the pleasure of using this tape, but I hear its amazing. This is definitely in my shopping cart for my sister in law, she walks the 3 day breast cancer walk every year.

Fitbit
Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband

Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband

Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch


I've had a few Fit Bits over the past couple years and so far my favorite has been the Blaze. It has some pretty cool features that I use while hiking like the pace rate and altitude tracker.

TETON Sports Oasis 1100 2 Liter Hydration Backpack; Free Rain Cover Included



These are great! What I like about this one above, is the chest strap. Its a little bigger then most, I have another one that is pretty small which is great because it's light, but I like to over pack, especially when I bring the kids with me.


Discovery Pass If you live in Washington State

If your not in Washington State check to see if there is a pass for your state parks.

Garmin eTrex 30x



You may have the question, "What does this tracker have that a phone doesn't?
25 hour battery life.
Get signals from satellite not towers.
More durable.

Dog Rope Leash




If your loved one has a hound then they are going to need a good strong leash to keep them from

running after that squirrel.



AVEX Claret Wine Glass

 


Now who doesn't need a wine glass while hiking?????





10 Gift Ideas For Your Essential Oil Enthusiast


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Essential Bottle Aromatherapy Set

This would be a wonderful gift set for your essential oil lover who likes to mix up there own blends. As I've encountered, I get this new idea for a blend then go to my cupboard and find out I ran out of the container I need. You can never have to many!!




SOLIGT Essential Oil Key Tool

This tool helps open and close roller ball caps, it would work great as a super cool stocking stuffer. With this tool you will save your loved ones finger nails from breaking! One of the most annoying and challenging part of using the essential oils, is getting the roller ball caps on and off.




Essential Oil Wooden Box Organizer

This is soooo going on my Christmas List! It has 68 slots with foam padding at the top to help secure your oils. Also comes with a bonus label sheet!!!! If you are finding oil bottles all over your house, or your oil lover can never remember where they placed that oil they were working with, this is the gift for you!!



Basic Aluminum Essential Oil Case

If your oil lover is not ready to hold 68 spaces, here is a super cute case for them. This case has 25 slots and it comes in 10 different colors. A case like this would also be a really good travel case!




Travel Size Spray Perfume Bottles

These perfume bottles are perfect! Some of the other bottles are clear glass which is not good for essential oils. Essential oils should always be away from light.





Mini Mason Jars

Mini Mason Jars are super cute and would be perfect for your oils lover that likes to make blends and give them out. I love that the lids are not plastic. I have dropped my jars and had the plastic list break.




Tree of Life Essential Oil Diffuser Necklace 

Perfect for that someone who loves essential oils, but can't put them on there skin. I am one of those people, on a rare occasion do I put essential oils on my body. I have super sensitive skin and can not wear essential oils often. 




Car Diffuser

I love, Love, LOVE, my car diffuser. It helps mask the interesting my kids play a lot of sports smells. I have a full review of the one I own here






URPOWER Essential Oil Diffuser

If your Essential Oil lover doesn't already have a diffuser then this is a must give for you.







Edens Garden Essential Oil Set

Any essential oils would work. If you are not sure what essential oils they would need, just go see what essential oils they are low on. It is also very important to pay attention to brand. Most of us EO people can be a little picky on the brand we use.



8 Tips That Will Help You Have a Successful Black Friday Shopping Trip!


This post contains affiliate links and I may receive a commission if you make a purchase or click on my link.

So this post is a little outside the norm for me, but I have been Black Friday shopping for the last eight years now and have learned a few very helpful tricks. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you plan to join us in line at 3am.

1.
Shop with a friend!

Maybe not a group, but at least one other friend of like mind. There are a few reasons for this:

• Motivation when tired.
• Tag Team. One can stand in line while the others shops. Often times the line to check out wraps around the store and you could be there for hours. It’s best, if you see that when you walk in, one of you gets in line and the other shops. Then, find your friend in line and switch. There will be plenty of time for both of you... trust me.
• Divide and conquer. A couple of times we have gone in a store as soon as they opened their doors and there was only one item we were after. We split the store, find what we need, then get out! We have done Target in ten minutes using this strategy!

2.
Do Not Buy Electronics!!! We have this rule for few reasons....

• Electronics sold on Black Friday are not as well made. Rumor has it, that the TVs sold on Black Friday are made at a lower quality to make up for the price difference. I'm not sure if this is true or not, but that’s what “They” say.
• Too many people are competing for them. The electronics department in all the stores we enter is always packed full of people, and often times this is where problems with fighting and shenanigans happen. I just avoid this all together.

There is one exception to this rule. If you’re at a store that price matches. If the store price matches, it is more likely they will have the item and it would be manufactured at the same quality as normal.

3.
Make a list!!!!!!!

I can't stress this point enough. Be organized. Every year we go through the morning paper find all the items we wish to get and then make a list. We have found the following tips as an efficient way to itemize:

• Sort items by priority. Some things will be more important to you than others.

• If the items are at more than one location, note which stores have the items you want.
• Sale prices. Write down the sale prices next to each item.
• Store opening times. This is important so you will be able to stagger your arrival times accordingly.

4.
If they run out of the item you want, don't buy the next one up. This may just be us, but the joy of Black Friday for us is getting the perfect gift at that insanely low price. I could buy it at regular price any other day of the year. My favorite thing to do afterwards is to come home, show my hubby my loot and make him guess how much I spent. If I over spend, the game isn’t as fun.

5. Research the store’s return policies and price match policies and whether they change for Black Friday. There are a few stores that price match, but not on Black Friday. Then, there are few stores that price match only on Black Friday. This is how you get some of those items that were all sold out and avoid a bit of frustration. It is also important to know what the store policy is for returning items in case you have to take something back. 





6.
Don't Bring Your Purse. I bring a small wallet that fits into my coat pocket, which zips shut. It’s less you have to carry, and less likely to get stolen.

7.
Park in the back. It may seem inconvenient, but it’s a lot easier to get out. If you park near the front you have to fight the throng of people walking through the parking lot. Just remember, it’s early, nobody has had a good night’s sleep. For some people, this means that common courtesy goes right out the window. Also, lock all purchases in your trunk. I would suck if those amazing deals you just scored got stolen.

8.
Bring snacks and your favorite caffeinated beverage. It’s bad enough that you have to stand in line for everything else this morning. You don't want to stand in line to get food too. There are times when you can sit in your car and not in a line. Just make sure to watch the water consumption so you don't have to use the bathroom a lot.

Did I say 8? Well here is an extra one on the house!!!

9.
Be Patient!!!! The lines are going to be long. It is going to be crowded. At least one of the items on your list is not going to be there. At least one moment during the shopping trip you will think, “Why do I even put myself through this?” At this moment in your trip, don't be a jerk!!!!!!! You ruin everybody else’s time around you if you complain about the lines to the store staff, not to mention making everyone else’s wait longer because your taking up employee time to complain.

Now that you have all been armed with the knowledge of a Black Friday veteran, get on out there and take advantage of those amazing deals!



Headaches Suck! How I treat Headaches With Out Pain Relievers.




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Chiropractic

I personally have suffered from headaches for as long as I can remember. I was 19 when I was in a car accident and over the counter pain relievers were no longer enough of a remedy for my chronic headaches. After that car accident, my boyfriend (now husband) introduced me to chiropractic care. I was terrified at first. I saw him get adjusted and told him I wanted no part of it. But my headaches only got worse after the accident and when you’re in that much constant pain, you will eventually try new things to find relief.

Even after I decided to try chiropractic care, I was so terrified of the whole experience that I made my husband come with me when I got adjustments to make sure I didn't die. We've all heard the horror stories about chiropractors, but I am a firm believer in them now! In the interest of full discloser, I must admit that I now work with chiropractors so I do have a slightly biased opinion. However, after receiving chiropractic care, the frequency and strength of my headaches has reduced a ton!!!! As of today, if I keep up with maintenance care, I rarely have headaches at all. That being said, I am a working mom and (even though I work for a chiropractor) I am not very good at taking care of myself, so I don't keep up with my care as well as I should. Which is why this post continues!!

Massages

I am a massage therapist so it shouldn't surprise you that massage is my next solution! When I have a headache and I am able get in for a massage, 99.9% of the time, my headache is gone before the hour is up. Also, 99.9% my clients have the same result. The exception is when it’s a migraine headache. Migraines are much less predictable and those solutions would be an entirely different post.

Aromatherapy

So, when I have been terrible at seeing my boss and I can't manage to get in for a massage, I find myself standing over my essential oils wondering what I can put near my nose to make the pounding in my head go away.

Good Essential oils to reach for when treating a headache are:

Roman Chamomile
Frankincense
Geranium
Ginger
Helichrysum
Lavender
Melissa
Peppermint
Rose
Thyme

Mix a blend of oils or a use single scent, whatever works better for you. Then, put a few drops where you can smell it and enjoy the relief.

Daily Stretches

Daily stretching is one of the best ways to prevent a headache from coming in the first place! Keeping your neck limber and releasing tension every day by stretching would definitely help. Buuuuut, I really don't want to be a hypocrite because I don't do it. I end up suffering for my neglect though! If you were my client and you came in with a tension headache complaint, I would show you a few stretches to help with the tension in your neck and shoulders. I will post some of these stretches below. But as a blogger, in the interest of full disclosure, I honestly don't end up doing these stretches until I already have a headache. They do help with relief, but you should do them more often than I do to help prevent headaches before you are in pain.