Lil Red’s Book Club: Flowers Over The Inferno By Ilaria Tuti Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Flowers Over The Inferno By Ilaria Tuti Edition

Hi! I have always loved to read and once I start a book that I enjoy, I find it absolutely impossible to put it down. Because I have not been “going out” to protect myself and my high risk clients from COVID, I have had ample free time to read and have been finishing books left and right. The most recent? Probably one of the most interesting, disturbing books I’ve read in ages: Flowers Over The Inferno by Ilaria Tuti and translated from the Italian by Ekin Oklap.

Before we begin discussing Flowers Over The Inferno without any spoilers, it is important that a trigger warning be put in place. This book is centered around the hunt for a serial killer who attacks with twisted savagery. There is also human experimentation in this book and, if you read the Author’s Note at the end, you will find that what she spoke of was an actual experiment performed in 1945.

Now, if I haven’t scared you off yet, let’s get into it:

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Flowers Over The Inferno takes place in the picaresque village of Traveni. Surrounded by thick forests and the Italian Alps, Traveni looks like something straight out of a fairy tale. The dark secrets that linger there, however, are anything but. And, once a horribly mutilated body is found in the forest these secrets that have long since been attempted to be forgotten begin to bubble to the surface.

As you can see, the cover of this book says “A Teresa Battaglia Novel”. Who is Teresa Battaglia you might ask? An aging superintendent in the Italian police force with an extensive background in criminal profiling. Crotchety, sarcastic, and sensitive when she wants to be, Teresa leads the male dominated team and is, for the most part, highly respected. She is now in charge of leading this new case and time is of the essence because she knows this killer will strike again soon.

And strike, he did. Again and again with each act seemingly more brutal than the next. In a town where everyone knows everyone, surely someone knows something. However, with a “holier than thou” herd mentality of the villagers, who would want to admit such a damning secret? It is only when the gruesome past of Traveni is revealed that the killer’s identity becomes apparent and we learn that not everyone/everything is how it seems.

Ilaria Tuti’s Flowers Over The Inferno was easily one of the best books I’ve read in a while because it was so unlike anything I’ve read before. The Italian style of writing is vastly different and it felt like every description in the book was milked to the point that I could picture it perfectly in my head. The details and imagery that Tuti conjures makes the situation all the more desperate to the point that you feel like you are on the hunt with Teresa.

Despite disturbing subject matter, this book resonated with me deeply. It put into perspective all of the ways that people, even the villain, can be victims and I could feel the deep empathy that Teresa felt for all of those she was trying to help. Every attack felt like a blow to the gut but the deep seeded trauma that the killer suffered felt just the same.

Flowers Over The Inferno reads like a battle between good and evil and it is up to Teresa and her team to close the dark secrets of Traveni forever. Will the police force come out victorious or will darkness permanently be cast over the town? Read Flowers Over The Inferno and find out!

If you are looking for a gripping page turner, then Flowers Over The Inferno is right for you and I reward it the prestigious ten out of ten stars. The characters were all so unique and the story line was like nothing I have ever read before and even delved into the supernatural at times. All I know is, you won’t be able to put it down if you can stomach it and I am hoping for another Teresa Battaglia novel ASAP!

What are you currently reading? Do you have a favorite literary character? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

How To Protect Your Home From Storm Damage

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How To Protect Your Home From Storm Damage

The impact of severe storms and natural disasters are hard to predict. If caught off guard and not prepared, you could end up dishing out several thousand dollars for repairs. Whether you just moved into an area that experiences frequent storms or you are looking to up your preparedness, these tips will help you better protect your home:

Get Home Insurance Or Update Your Policy:

Having home insurance is crucial to protecting your home. It ensures that if something awful happens, you may not have to pay for the expense solely out of your pocket. When shopping for home insurance or updating your policy, make sure the policy covers the basics of what you need. If your home is surrounded by trees, it would be a good idea to make sure that your policy covers for that type of damage. Keep in mind it is up to you to find that out before a big storm comes. Read through your policy. Even though it may cover some storm-related damages, it may not cover all. For instance, damage from flooding, hurricanes, and earthquakes requires a special policy.

Seal Your Doors And Windows:

This is imperative to protecting your home. You do not want to be caught in a storm and your windows are not sealed or boarded up. Make sure that you seal your windows tightly without any breaks. The littlest break can cause a myriad of problems. If you are facing a tornado or hurricane the strong winds can get in, allowing for those storms to travel through while taking your home with it.

Repair The Roof:

You have been putting it off long enough! Check your roof to make sure there are not any loose or missing shingles. If you find some, replace or fix them as soon as possible. You do not want a strong wind to catch onto a shingle coming loose. Your roof will suffer and so will you when you have to pay storm damage repair. It is also recommended that you seal your chimneys or vents if they are located on the roof. If they are not sealed up properly, you leave your home vulnerable to the elements, putting you in danger.

Repair Loose Siding:

Keep an eye out for loose pieces of siding that may catch a gust of wind. You also want to look for unattached edges. If the siding catches a powerful wind, it can fly off and leave your home exposed to the elements. Flying siding also causes a lot of damage. Attach it back to the frame of the house and check that they are secure often.

Repair Your Fences:

Your fences can cause a lot of damage to your home if they are not secured or repaired before a storm. Look for places where the fence is loose and ensure that the gates are tightly secured. It is also a good idea to survey your property, making sure to put away things that could fly around and cause more damage. Any outdoor furniture on your patio, deck, or lawn should be put inside the house.

Once the outside of your home is secure, settle in with a good book and enjoy the thunderstorm!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Escape Room Game EPIC FAIL

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Escape Room Game EPIC FAIL

Hello! For my birthday this past June, my brother and his family treated me to a bunch of goodies including this here room escape game for me and Johnny to play:

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I have been eager to play this since it was gifted to me because I have always wanted to go to a real life room escape game. I used to LOVE playing the escape room computer games back in the day and I’d like to think that I would do pretty well for myself. In fact, that’s what I thought about this at home escape room too. Johnny and I are smart cookies and I was confident that we could solve the puzzles and escape the secret lab. Unfortunately, I was dead wrong.

Johnny and I finally decided to attempt this game when we were dogsitting for the weekend because the house we were in was way bigger than our apartment and we needed room to spread things out. The basic gist? Solve ten consecutive riddles with the help of hints if you need and escape the secret lab.

We initially started out strongly in our attempt to escape the lab. Of course, we had to use ALL of the hints to solve the first three or four riddles we completed but we solved them, lol. All of this took us at least an hour but, then, things started getting more complicated.

After our small successes with the “easier” riddles, they became more and more difficult to solve. We were getting hints that we had no idea what to do with and, after a few drinks, let’s just say things got very murky. Johnny and I puzzled over the last clue that we attempted for forty-five minutes bare minimum and then gave up to go watch Impractical Jokers.

I’m not going to lie, I was a little disappointed that we couldn’t solve the game but we completely lost all of our momentum and there was no way we were getting it back. Honestly, I was impressed at how much we even accomplished because it was really hard – the level three and a half difficulty wasn’t lying!

I don’t know how inclined I am to play another at home room escape game again. After two hours of working through the riddles, we were still so far away from solving it that it kind of lost its fun. I think we will stick to our preferred Trivial Pursuit from now on but if you’re feeling adventurous and have a knack for riddle solving, then an Escape Room game might be right for you! 😀

What have been your experiences with room escape games? What is your favorite game to play at home? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Face Mask Festivities: Celavi Pomegranate Sheet Mask Edition

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Face Mask Festivities: Celavi Pomegranate Sheet Mask Edition

Howdy! I am currently working through a handful of different sheet masks from a brand called Celavi, which I purchased on Amazon. During the last edition of Face Mask Festivities, we discussed Celavi’s Charcoal sheet mask and I was really encouraged after using it because I noticed the positive effect it had on my skin once I took it off. I was now tied 1-1 between masks that I liked and disliked because the Honey one was a dud.

The Pomegranate sheet mask was my tie breaker with the promises to Brighten and Enhance. And we are now *drum roll please* at 2-1 because it was a goddamn delight. Take a look at some pics and let’s discuss:

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^^^ Lol, sheet mask pictures crack me up!

I used the Pomegranate sheet mask after a real DOOZY of a day and, honestly, any brightening or enhancing would have been a noticeable change because your girl looked hit! And, I must say, the change in my skin was very noticeable after a twenty minute struggle of wearing the mask. Because, let’s keep it real, ill fitting face masks do not make for the most relaxing pampering!

When I removed the sheet mask, my skin seriously looked like I had just used a bunch of Vitamin C radiance treatments. My face was glowing bright and I looked wide awake even though I felt dead tired. So, needless to say, I was impressed and it was actually just the perk me up I needed to complete my last few tasks of the day.

The Celavi Pomegranate Sheet Mask has definitely been my favorite one out of the three that I have tried. I have three more left to test out so keep it posted for more new Face Mask Festivities soon!

How do you spend your time after work? Which products do you love for brightening and radiance? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

If The Shoe Fits: Marc Fisher Heeled Boots Edition

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If The Shoe Fits: Marc Fisher Heeled Boots Edition

Hi there and welcome to the newest edition of If The Shoe Fits! It has been a tragically long time since I did any type of shopping that wasn’t for necessities. In fact, my last in store TJMaxx shopping trip was all the way back in February. Shocking, I know, but what’s the point of buying new clothes if literally no one is going to see you in it cause COVID lol.

Every once in a while I would scroll through TJMaxx’s website but nothing jumped out at me and I was worried about the hassle of returning unwanted items. I would online window shop once or twice a month and, since February, there has not been one single item that I deemed worth buying. Until I saw these gorgeous admiral blue boots by Marc Fisher, that is! Check em’ out:

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Since my birthday, I have had a TJMaxx gift card burning a hole in my pocket and I was so happy to finally find something truly worth spending it on. As I browsed through the TJ’s website, I legit clutched my pearls when these boots popped up on the screen. They immediately went into my shopping cart and I have not looked back since. It’s not every day you find a pair of blue knee high, heeled boots and in a crocodile pattern to boot! Ba dum chhhh.

Anyways, everything about my new Marc Fisher boots is perfect to me. They are just so unique and I have seriously never seen anything like them before, which makes them all the more appealing. Were they a necessary purchase amidst the coronavirus pandemic? My answer is: Absolutely because mama needed a treat! It has been so long since I had a treat yoself purchase and it felt like giving myself a big hug when my boots finally arrived in the mail. Now, here’s to hoping I’ll find at least somewhere to wear them to this year. 😀

How have your shopping habits changed since the coronavirus? What was your last treat yoself buy? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Smoky Cauliflower Bites Recipe

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Smoky Cauliflower Bites Recipe

Hello! As I get older, I have definitely been trying to eat more healthy. AKA more fruits and veggies and less Taco Bell, lol! But, seriously, sometimes it’s just a hassle to make a healthy meal – especially after a long day at work. Quick and easy recipes are the name of the game in my household and this super simple/speedy recipe for Smoky Cauliflower Bites makes for a delicious and ultra fast appetizer for your fam:

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, broken into florets

Directions:

  1. Combine all of your dry ingredients and mix into the olive oil, then pour over your cauliflower florets. You might want to let it sit for a few hours, shaking every so often to let the flavored oil sink in on all of the areas it might have missed.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 and transfer into a baking pan and roast until tender – about 15 to 20 minutes. This recipe is by Courtney Stultz of Weir, KS and I have no rights to it!

My client’s brother makes these cauliflower bites often and it is my absolute favorite treat. Last week, he so generously bought a head of cauliflower for me and mixed up the dry ingredients into a zip lock bag so all I would have to do is cut the veggies and heat it up at home. It was such a sweet gesture and I was eager to make it because it is so delicious in every sense of the word.

After fifteen minutes of roasting in the oven, my cauliflower was ready to eat and it was just as good as when my client’s brother makes it. I love all of the seasonings that drench the cauliflower because they add quite a bit of heat to it but it was never overpowering. Johnny and I dipped our bold and smoky cauliflower bites in Ranch dressing and enjoyed it as a side dish with our dinner. Ranch or sour cream is a good bet to have handy with you just in case there’s a little too much “oomph” for anyone at the table.

Easy as pie to make and tasty any time of the day, make these Smokey Cauliflower Bites to spice things up at your next family dinner!

What is your favorite veggie recipe? How do you eat healthy at home? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Museum Of Ice Cream X Sephora Fake Eyelashes Review

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Museum Of Ice Cream X Sephora Fake Eyelashes Review

Hi! As you saw from my last OOTD on lifewithlilred, I was sporting some pretty funky fake eyelashes. In case you haven’t seen it, take a look at some pics and let’s discuss:

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I purchased the Museum Of Ice Cream X Sephora lashes during my last online Sephora haul and considered them a steal for only seven bucks. So much so, in fact, that I ordered two sets! I have never been a fake eyelashes girl and have always preferred heavily applying my Better Than Sex mascara. However, that all changed last year when I rocked some crazy red lashes for Halloween and I realized that fake lashes were AWESOME!

Before experimenting with fake lashes, I had always assumed that I would have a difficult time putting them on. Happily, I found that wasn’t the case and when I wear fake lashes they last all day. I will say that the MOIC lashes were a bit harder to apply than your traditional fake lashes because there were tufts of feathers on the lash line, which is where your lash glue goes.

Speaking of lash glue, just know if you purchase this set for yourself that it comes without glue. SO I had to apply these huge ass heavy lashes with Dollar Tree lash glue. I had to use a lot and some of it did get in the feathers but that was just unavoidable. I had a few problems with the inner corner lifting so I would put lash glue on a Q Tip and pat the area until they decided to stick around for awhile.

After the initial application process and minor issues, the MOIC lashes stayed on until I removed them around nine thirty at night! Color me impressed. These lashes were rather heavy, which definitely took some getting used to but it’s not like they were ever uncomfortable. And, I loved how they looked!

I would not wear these lashes on the daily but they are such a fun way to spice up my same old same old makeup routine. Not only did they look fabulous in my pictures but they were a unique and cheap purchase that I am really pleased with. Highly recommend!

Where do you purchase funky fake lashes? How do you rock unique makeup? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Making It Work

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Making It Work

Hello! I recently had to cancel a lifewithlilred photo shoot for COVID reasons and I was so disappointed because it was a treat I was really looking forward to. Safety trumps all, however, so I decided to try and make a photo shoot work anyway. Thanks to my mom’s iPod photography skills, I had a bounty of great shots to pick from and I enjoyed the quality time with JANE most of all.

You know how after you take a bunch of pictures, you immediately seek out the ones that you deem “good”? I am guilty of it, myself, and it took a few times of scrolling through my pics to see the beauty in the unintentional shots my mom captured. In fact, quite a few of them ended up being my favorites! Check it out:

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Keeping two businesses up and running during any time is stressful but during a pandemic it is even crazier! This photo shoot was such a nice way to relax and have some fun and so much new content for lifewithlilred has been inspiring for me. Not to mention your girl was feeling her goddamn self!!

For the past six years of being self employed, making it work has been the name of the game. I wouldn’t have it any other way and it only improves my ability to think creatively and problem solve. These “oopsie” pictures are a visual reminder to me to keep making things work – from maintaining my businesses to taking the time to notice the amazing things that can be captured every moment. It’s all about just knowing where to look. 🙂

How do you make it work during stressful times? What is something that you find beautiful? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Garden Goodies

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Garden Goodies

Hi! I looove having lots of fresh fruits and veggies at my apartment and, during the summer, I am never lacking in that department. My dad as well as all of the families of my clients have gardens and I always seem to be returning home from work with surplus veggies. It’s freaking awesome and I haven’t been without cucumbers, zucchinis, tomatoes, peppers, and green beans in weeks.

I know that all of the families I work with are up to their ears in produce and they have entire gardens but, shit, I am too! I can’t even get to the bottom of my crisper drawer until it’s filled up again with all of the garden goodies I am constantly being gifted with. The last thing I am doing is complaining about it, though!!

My appetite changes drastically in the summer because I get nauseous when it’s really hot. I find myself craving light dishes as I think I would keel over even thinking about eating a heavy meal in my hot ass apartment. Having a never ending supply of veggies has been a game changer because I can snack on them all day totally guilt free and it has added a lot of variety to my cooking.

This past week, I had an overflow of produce that I needed to purge from my fridge – cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, lemon, and lots of garlic. So, I decided to prepare a cucumber salad with the ingredients I had available. My recipe went as so:

Lemon Cucumber Salad

  • 2 large cucumbers with the skin peeled and cut in slices
  • 1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • Multicolored grape tomatoes, halved
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • Juice from one lemon, with some of the pulp added too
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, Italian seasoning to taste

I am obsessed with the salad I whipped up and have been eating a few servings daily. I just love the tart lemon mixed with the tang of the balsamic vinegar and when it’s poured over crisp veggies it is an absolute treat. Get creative with your cooking and try making a salad recipe of your own next family dinner!

How has your garden been doing? What do you have growing? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

How Can You Tell When A Job Is Good For You?

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How Can You Tell When A Job Is Good For You?

Being able to tell when a job is good for you can be hard; it’s tricky in the moment, when you’re caught up with work, and it might be all forgotten about by the time you slip into bed at night. However, there are quite a few things you can look out for as you work away day by day to tell you if the job you’re currently signed up for is actually good for your health. Make sure you keep the points below in mind if you’re curious about where you stand with your occupation, and whether or not something needs to change:

Every Day is Satisfying:

If you want to know if a job is good for you or not, it’s important to take note of how you feel at the end of each working day. Say, if you’re working in food service jobs right now, and you’re coming home feeling like the day was good (Even with a couple of fussy customers!) and you’re surrounded by friends at work, you might just be in the right position for you.

Overall, you need to be satisfied with how your workdays usually go. You need to be able to come home feeling like you’ve done some good work, and you’re ready to face a similar tomorrow. Jobs should be satisfying, in order for you to do your best work through them, and if not, it’s time to look elsewhere!

You’re Always Motivated to Keep Going:

Working can take a lot out of us, but when we enjoy a job, we keep going, if not for any other reason than we’re being paid for it – don’t worry, it’s valid! But in knowing that a job is right for you, being able to keep going, no matter how tough things get, is a great way to determine whether or not you’re happy where you are.

Take some time to think about the worst days and how you handled them. Did you need to stop and take five? If so, did you get back to the task at hand? Because even if you did, you’re well suited to your job!

You’re Still Feeling Healthy:

And, finally, it’s important to think about how physically strong and/or well you feel, after working in a job for at least six months. Are you worn out? Do you get on with labor you’re not trained for or can’t handle? Are you at a desk for 8 hours a day? Because all of these questions can help you to determine if your work is keeping you healthy, and if you need to offset any of the effects.

A job is good for you when you know how to do it, you can do it safely, and you’re satisfied when you come home again at the end of the day. A good job is one that treats you like a human being, and ensures you have everything you need to succeed. Good luck!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Lil Red’s Book Club: A Killer’s Mind By Mike Omer Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: A Killer’s Mind By Mike Omer Edition

Howdy and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Within this past year, I read a book called Into The Darkness by Mike Omer. The book chronicled forensic psychologist Doctor Zoe Bentley and FBI agent Tatum Grey as they tried to hunt down a serial killer. Little did I know, however, that Into The Darkness was the second part of a series of Zoe Bentley books, which all started with A Killer’s Mind. Whoops!

After realizing I was reading the second book first, I was too far in to not finish it. In fact, I was even more eager to read the first one because I loved the second one. I finally finished A Killer’s Mind a few days ago and it was excellent. I will be placing a trigger warning on this review because the book covered a lot of unsavory stuff, including the tracking of sexually deviant serial killers. Now, without giving any spoilers away, let’s discuss:

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Forensic psychologist Doctor Zoe Bentley has a knack for getting inside the mind of a killer. And, she has the experience to back it up, as she lived next door to a serial killer in her youth and is now a civilian consultant for the FBI. It is her job to create a profile for whomever they are tracking to help narrow their search pool and discover what makes the killer tick.

Despite her job being draining, Zoe loves it and has been sent to Chicago to help their police investigate a recent chain of killings. The bodies of three women had been found in different public locations. Sounds really bad. But it gets worse. The women that have been discovered were all in different stages of the embalming process and were essentially set up as human dolls in plain sight.

It is up to intense Zoe and marches to the beat of his own drum Tatum to crack the case before the killer strikes again. The only problem? Finding out who he is, of course!

Although the content of A Killer’s Mind was nothing short of disturbing, it was a great read. I mentioned when I reviewed Into The Darkness that Mike Omer’s books read like Law & Order SVU and A Killer’s Mind was no different. I loved the sharpness and brilliance of each character doing their best to keep the people in their community safe. The palpable chemistry between Agent Grey and Zoe is nothing to sneeze at, either. 😀

I adored Zoe Bentley in Into The Darkness so it was fun to read her story from the beginning. I knew she lived next door to a serial killer from reading the second book but I had no idea what all transpired in her youth. A Killer’s Mind delved deep into this and Zoe was able to use her own experiences to become amazing at her job. She’s a strong and smart female lead and I just want more!

If you have a weak stomach, the Zoe Bentley books are definitely not for you. But, if you’re looking for intense investigations with interconnected story lines, then this series might be one to look into. The villains are sickening but the heroes are incredible and you will be rooting for the good guys by the first page of both A Killer’s Mind and Into The Darkness.

I am going to give A Killer’s Mind an: eight out of ten star rating. Total page turner, a crazy scary story line, and ingenious workers on the case. It doesn’t get much better than that. However, there were certainly parts that I had a hard time reading and it is not a book for everyone.

What is the last book that you finished? Do you have a favorite genre or author? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

8 Things You Can Do To Make Your Kitchen Better This Week

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8 Things You Can Do To Make Your Kitchen Better This Week

If you’re looking for ways you can make your kitchen better this week, you’ll find eight ideas you can try below. Making your kitchen better doesn’t have to mean spending a fortune on new items and remodeling. The ideas below should be fairly easy to implement, and they should actually make a big difference to your kitchen! The kitchen can be the hub of the home, a place to prepare food, eat together, do homework, and catch up over coffee. It’s a multi purpose room so the days of having a cold and uncomfortable kitchen must be forgotten. Read on for more:

Install Under Cabinet Lighting:

Under cabinet lighting can add something special to your kitchen, helping to light it effectively and giving it a unique appearance. This can also save energy, as you are eliminating the need to light the entire room. The bulbs burn cool, and they don’t require much power, either.

Come Up With A Better Storage Solution:

Better storage solutions are so important in the kitchen, as there are many items that could easily make the place look overrun with junk. For example, your herbs and spices, cutlery, cleaning products – all of these things are usually kept in the kitchen, so you’ll need to come up with solutions for all of them. You can make cupboards more effective by hanging hooks on the back of the doors to hang things that you frequently reach for, such as dusters, cooking implements, and more. Smart storage solutions are essential in any modern day kitchen and will help you to utilize the entire space.

Freshen Up Your Cabinets:

Your cabinets are one of the main features of your kitchen. A fresh coat of paint can work wonders for them, especially if you decide to go for a brighter color to give the room some personality. If you’d rather, you could always look into a cabinet refinishing service to make your cabinets look like new again without having to replace them.

Build A Rack For Your Pots and Pans:

A rack for your pots and pans can look great and save you a lot of hassle when cooking. This is great for homeowners that enjoy cooking and will mean no more hassle having to put pans away in a small cupboard, making a racket every time you take something out!

Make Sure You Have Task Lighting:

Task lighting is crucial in any kitchen. You need to see what you’re doing when you prepare food, so make sure you choose the correct bulbs and ensure that it is in the ideal position. Having dimmer switches, lamps, and other lighting options can be helpful when you have people over. You won’t want bright task lighting when you’re eating a meal!

Swap Out Your Hardware:

Your hardware is one of the easiest and most cost effective things to change in your kitchen. You can find all kinds of options to suit the look you want to achieve, and it’s really easy to change drawer pulls and things yourself. You could even swap out your old tap for a new, more modern looking one. Making small changes like this takes very little effort and won’t cost too much money.

Add A New Backsplash:

A new backsplash in your kitchen can help to give the room some personality. Obviously, a backsplash is great because it stops you from getting marks on the wall when cooking, but this is also an opportunity to show off your style and bring some interest to the kitchen. Tiles can look great, but you need to make sure you’re comfortable with grouting and all of the other things associated with installing a backsplash. You can get really creative here, so check out some ideas before you go ahead to make sure you’re happy with the result.

Install Underfloor Heating:

Underfloor heating is an amazing addition that you’ll only truly appreciate when you head down to the kitchen for your morning coffee and realize you don’t need to wear socks or slippers to stay comfortable. Nothing wakes you up quite like a cold kitchen floor in the morning, but underfloor heating can make it so much more comfortable and cozy.

Keep yourself occupied for a few days and have your kitchen looking amazing with the tips above!

Featured Image By: Pexels

 

More OOTD Photo Shoot Pics

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More OOTD Photo Shoot Pics

Hi! Yesterday, I talked you through the styling for my In Summer, We Wear Black OOTD. I really enjoyed creating that post and it has since become one of my favorite outfits. Today, I am just going to share some additional pictures from the photo shoot because there were so many that I liked and I couldn’t limit it to one post! Check it out:

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There is seriously nothing better than when you are totally and completely feeling yourself and that is how I felt when I took these pictures. I had a blast because my mom was the photographer and the self-confidence surge was, obviously, a lot of fun too! ❤

Do you have a favorite outfit? What does your clothes say about you? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

In Summer, We Wear Black OOTD

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In Summer, We Wear Black OOTD

Howdy! Something I really miss doing while I continue to keep my distance amidst the coronavirus pandemic is having photo shoots for lifewithlilred. I loved doing my makeup, styling the perfect outfit, and feeling like America’s Next Top Model for the day. This past month, I felt comfortable enough to schedule a social distance photo shoot with my usual photographer. But, unfortunately, he had to cancel due to a COVID case at his work (All has since been resolved!).

After that, I decided that I would have my mom take my pictures for me over the weekend – just like she used to when lifewithlilred first started! Now, sweet JANE has no photography experience at all but, unlike my dad, she knows how to take pictures on my iPod. This makes it very easy for me because I can set up the shot, have her stand exactly where I want her to, and she can snap away.

After ten or so shots, I usually take a look at what we have, evaluate what I liked and didn’t like, and then continue the process until I’m satisfied. JANE was a rock star, as per ushe, and I was very happy with the following shots for this All Black Everything OOTD:

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Who? What? Wear?

Nine times out of ten in the summertime, you can find me posted up in my normal uniform of all black. Ten times out of ten, you will hear me complaining about how hot it is. Be that as it may, I never “outgrew” my emo phase. It has turned into a lifestyle at this point so I can’t just stop dressing in a way that I’m almost always prepared for a funeral for a little thing like the sun, lol. Besides, the feathery fake lashes I was rocking were enough of a neon pop to make up for the, otherwise, bleak color palette.

I have become a huge fan of fake eyelashes lately and when I saw the funky pair I’m sporting in the pics while online shopping Sephora, I couldn’t pass them up. I knew that I wanted them to make a major statement in my pictures because they are so unique, so my all black OOTD only enhanced it. It also made the beautiful flowers in my dad’s garden pop, which was another goal I had in mind when preparing this shoot.

When it comes to my personal style, I love having a lot of essential pieces that have an extra something to them. The skort is such a fun take on traditional shorts and they also give the illusion of a romper when styled properly (Which is great for me because I look awful in real rompers!). With a playsuit vibe in mind, I opted for one of my favorite tops to wear tucked in and the end result was an, in my opinion, more modern take on an actual romper or shorts and T-shirt combo.

After the initial outfit was styled, it was all about accessories. I chose one of my smaller brimmed hats for this shoot because I didn’t want a huge floppy one taking away from the eyelashes. Wearing Johnny’s sunglasses was another easy choice because they’re relatively plain and it definitely popped nicely against the black.

Bat wing embellished platforms helped complete this chic goth in the sun OOTD. In fact, I know they did because one of the neighborhood kids said they looked vampire-y. Great success! And, finally, I am extra enough to carry a parasol. Enough said.

I am not exaggerating when I say to you all that I felt like a million bucks in these pictures. It was a hot day but my outfit kept me nice and cool and I felt freaking sexy in it. Lol, since coronavirus, I have not put the most effort into my personal appearance and it felt amazing to both feel and look good. I definitely spammed Facebook with pictures of myself but, damn, I couldn’t help it! Your girl was feeling herself!!

This wasn’t exactly the fancy shmancy photo shoot that I had in mind but it was easily one of my favorites. I loved being able to spend time with my mom and I got a HUGE boost of self-confidence. Some new content on the blog is nothing to sneeze at, either. 😉 Keep it posted for more pics this week!

When do you feel confident? Which color do you wear the most often? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Ideal Inspiration Blogger Award

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Ideal Inspiration Blogger Award

Hi! This past weekend, lifewithlilred was nominated for its first Ideal Inspiration Blogger Award by my friend, Luna, over at BetterDayWeb. It has been a good long while since my page was nominated for a blogging award so I was excited to work on this post after reading Luna’s comment to me with the award info. It is so nice to know that other people take something positive with them when they visit my page and it is much appreciated. For more positive, inspiring bloggers, do be sure to check out Luna’s blog, as well! Now, let’s get on to the rules for this award:

The Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their site
  • Answer the questions you got
  • Nominate up to 9 bloggers and ask them 5 new questions
  • Notify the bloggers you nominate so they know they have been nominated
  • List the rules and display the award logo in your blog post
  • Provide a link to the award creator. Rising Star from https://idealinspiration.blog/

Q & A:

What is the absolute best thing that has happened in your life so far? Just one?! How about three? Lol, I love being an aunt, I am insanely proud of my two businesses, and I have a wonderful family and boyfriend. That is all, definitely, the best!

Do you have a special talent, if yes; what is it? I have an excellent memory, which made my time in the theater world a snap with all of the lines I had to memorize! Now, I use that special gift to learn different languages. I currently practice French, Italian, Spanish, German, Czech, and American Sign Language. I’d like to learn Latin or Swedish next.

If you could do anything you wanted at all with no risk of failing. What would you do? This is a tough one! I would probably go to the skating rink and bust out some Olympic level figure skating – which, sadly, only happens in my dreams!

Fill in the blank. To me, Happiness is ________. Being with my family, hands down.

What always makes you smile? Coming home from work and seeing Johnny after a long day. 🙂

My Nominees (I’m only doing three):

My Questions For You:

  1. Which actor or actress would you love to be besties with?
  2. Do you like salty snacks or do you have a sweet tooth?
  3. How did the coronavirus affect your neck of the woods?
  4. Favorite movie, TV show, and book?
  5. What is your favorite season and why?

Thank you so much again to the darling Luna for nominating lifewithlilred for the Ideal Inspiration Blogger Award! How would you answer some of Luna’s questions for her nominees? How about some of my questions for mine? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

Face Mask Festivities: Celavi Charcoal Sheet Mask Edition

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Face Mask Festivities: Celavi Charcoal Sheet Mask Edition

Hello! I recently ordered a pack of face masks by Celavi off of Amazon during a skin care haul. I got twelve face masks for ten dollars and I figured, successful or not, that’s a cheap way to get some blog content – especially considering I don’t do much of anything anymore! I recently tried the Charcoal sheet mask by Celavi that was supposed to purify and refine and, although it wasn’t the best, it wasn’t too bad. Take a look at some pics and let’s discuss:

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As all of you know, I love charcoal skin care products so I was eager to try this mask. After my last face mask experience with Celavi, I wasn’t expecting too much out of the Charcoal one but I figured if it could clear away just some of my blackheads, then I would be happy. And it did. All of the pesky blackheads on my nose were sent packing and my skin felt clean and fresh after removing the mask.

My main qualm with the face masks I purchased is that they are HUGE. They slip and slide on my face, as you can see in the picture above, and the serums in the mask always end up getting in my eyes. Not fun. However, once the mask begins to dry about fifteen minutes in, it holds a lot better and it makes the experience much more pleasant. I typically wear my Celavi masks for twenty minutes and sometimes a little extra if they are still damp.

This Charcoal sheet mask was by no means the best one I’ve ever used but it was a vast improvement from the Honey one by Celavi that I tried because it actually did something. I have four other Celavi masks to try and, after the minor success of the Charcoal mask, I’m kind of looking forward to the other ones. Keep it posted and find out what I think! 🙂

What is your favorite skin care trend? Who else is a charcoal skin care fan? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Feeling Blue? Get In The Christmas Spirit Early!

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Feeling Blue? Get In The Christmas Spirit Early!

Christmas will be here before we know it. It’s scary how quick this whole year has gone and everything that has happened. But with recent events it is understandable that many of our minds just naturally wander to Christmas and some of the brighter times we have in the future. Chase the Christmas spirit by getting organized early. You won’t believe how less stressful Christmas time can be when you don’t leave things to the last minute. With that in mind, here are some top tips to get ready for the festive season ahead:

Create lists:

Writing up a list can save you a lot of hassle and time. It’s a way of downloading all those ideas you have in your mind and having them safe somewhere for you to refer back to. List what you need to do, who you need to buy for, gift ideas, and budgets. Check things off as you go along and you’ll be holiday season ready in no time.

What about the Christmas budget?

The sooner you start thinking about Christmas might be the moment you start to panic about the financial side of things. Many people save up throughout the year, but others may find that that they need some extra help around the holiday season. This is when looking at ways to finance the Christmas period could be useful. Many then use the following months to start planning and paying things back off.

Get those holiday cards written:

With all of the writing and sending off of Christmas cards in time for the actual day, it might be best to get them out of the way now. The same can be said for if you decide to throw a Christmas party or gathering. One of the biggest jobs is getting those party invitations sent out to your guests. Again, give yourself plenty of time to do this and consider having them printed to save on time.

Start bulk buying the food:

We know that Christmas is a time of eating and drinking with friends and family. While you can’t stock up on the fresh stuff, you can begin to buy in the food and drink that will last. This helps spread the cost of Christmas over a few weeks instead of feeling the pinch in one big food bill.

Buy gifts when you see them:

If you are out shopping and you are suddenly inspired for a gift idea, get it there and then. You will either forget it or regret it if you don’t purchase it. Buying gifts early can not only help spread the cost but it also gets you super organized. You may want to look at the gifts for the day and also any stocking fillers, things such as Christmas sweaters and shirts could be a good option to buy now and websites like UglyChristmasSweater.com have a great selection.

Start wrapping early:

Finally, when you buy a gift wrap it up and put it away. The last thing you want is a huge pile of gifts to wrap all at once. You will feel so much better knowing this job is done and you are prepared for the big day ahead.

Let’s hope these top tips will assist in getting you organized for the Christmas season and help improve your current 2020 blahs!

Featured Image By: Pixabay

July 2020 Finishes

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July 2020 Finishes

Hello!! July was an insanely hot and busy month and I found that, other than my normal day and night skin care routine, I let any other pampering fall by the wayside. I know what you all are thinking: “That is so not like you, Sarah!” However, Lil Red does not do well in extreme heat (I literally get sick) and it is always extremely hot in my apartment. Not to mention, most of July was in the high eighties and mid nineties in my neck of the woods. Therefore, any movement away from being directly in front of my fan was deemed unnecessary.

I only finished one product that you all haven’t heard of already so we will briefly chat about that. Then, I will provide you with some links to previous beauty themed posts this past month in case you missed them. And, finally, make sure you tune in tomorrow for a new Face Mask Festivities to close out the month. Alright! Let’s get to it:

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Would I Use Again:

Why/Why Not?

SkinLab Moisturizer: As you all know, I love my SkinLab Lift & Firm moisturizer and it took me one month to finish one jar. You can read more about it in this post, since it pops up often enough lol. 🙂

Azure Lux Serum: During a recent Amazon haul, I needed to stock up on my skin care. Originally, I was going to stick with my usual and just order a bunch of the Azure Lux Rose Gold serums. I purchased a few but I also decided to give the 24K Gold serum a try, as well. Was it much different than its Rose Gold sister? Not really. But I love the Rose Gold sister so, obviously, I loved the 24K serum too!

My skin feels so bright and radiant whenever I use the Azure Lux serums and they are so nourishing, to boot. I definitely think my skin has become more glowy and fresh since using the Azure Lux products and it takes me one month to finish one bottle.

More To Enjoy:

Be sure to tune in tomorrow for a brand new Face Mask Festivities!

Which products did you use up this month? Which products have you been impressed with lately? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Got Body Pain? Check Out These Weird Causes

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Got Body Pain? Check Out These Weird Causes

Fortunately, many of us go through most of our lives in a pain-free state. But sometimes, we get what can only be described as body pain – and it hurts like mad! Body pain, though, doesn’t seem to have any apparent identifiable cause. It tends to erupt out of the blue, making your day a misery.

So what’s behind it? Why does it happen? Here are some weird causes you’d never expect:

Lack Of Water:

Body pain can emerge for all kinds of reasons, including lack of proper hydration. Water is essential for practically all of the body’s vital processes. If you don’t have enough of it in your system, you’ll start experiencing symptoms, none of which are pleasant.

Researchers think that a lack of water causes pain by impairing functions. This state of deprivation then leads to exhaustion, which has knock-on effects on the muscles. Pain can be especially intense if you lack electrolytes in your system. Muscles can go into spasm – and if that happens, you soon know about it.

Insufficient Sleep:

Body pain can also result from a lack of sleep. When you don’t get enough shut-eye, your body automatically starts to release more alertness compounds to keep you active during the day. However, when it releases too much, it can leave you feeling panicked and fatigued.

Tissues need adequate rest to keep them supple and functioning adequately. So when you go without sleep for an extended period of time, it can prevent them from carrying out necessary repair work. Eventually, soreness accumulates, and you really start to feel it. If you can’t get enough sleep, try drinking chamomile before bed or listening to soft music. Relaxing the nervous system makes it much easier to get effective shut-eye.

Muscular Imbalance:

Every muscle group in the body has an agonist and an antagonist. The agonist moves a part of the body in one direction, and then the agonist brings it back to the center. However, many people wind up seeing their chiropractor when they have a severe imbalance between the two. When muscles are strong in one direction but not another, it can lead to excess strain on particular muscle groups, causing pain.

Resolving muscle balance is relatively easy. You just need to train in the right way. Focus on strengthening the opposite muscle to make it as strong and robust as the other.

Lyme’s Disease:

Lyme’s disease is a condition caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium. People acquire the infection from tick bites. It starts off slow, but if it goes untreated, it can cause extreme symptoms, including exhaustion and hot flashes. You can find out whether you have the condition by taking an antibody test.

Multiple Sclerosis:

Finally, many people in the early stages of MS experience high levels of body pain. Multiple sclerosis occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the myelin sheath around nerve cells, causing inflammation and pain. Eventually, the condition progresses to the point where the nervous system can’t transmit signals to the brain anymore. It can also lead to trouble walking.

If you are experiencing prolonged pain, schedule an appointment with your doctor ASAP.

Featured Image By: Pexels

What Makes Your Dog Tilt Its Head At You?

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What Makes Your Dog Tilt Its Head At You?

Humans and dogs have been living together for millennia. And in that time, they’ve co-developed, with people adapting to dogs and vice versa. In that time, domesticated pooches have developed a string of behaviors that are entirely different from their wolf ancestors. One of these behaviors is head tilting. Dogs will stare at you with their heads cocked to one side or the other, instead of being level. It’s often very noticeable. But what makes them do this? Is it just random?

Researchers think that it’s more than just a weird tick. The science suggests that it might be related to a pooch’s emotional intelligence. Dogs, it turns out, are very good at picking up on the state of mind of their owners. They know, for instance, when you’re excited, sad, angry, or annoyed. Researchers think that their head movements might have something to do with their interpretation of your mood.

Because dogs are not people, they can’t empathize with the same emotions that we have. Dogs do not share many of the thoughts and feelings that we experience. They have their own setup. However, they appear to have rudimentary skills of empathy. They can listen and recognise you as something separate from themselves. And this fact might be at the root of why they tilt their head.

Tilting seems to be context-independent. Dogs will do it whether you’re praising them for being a good pup or scolding them for eating the furniture. It appears to be a sign that they’re paying attention to what you’re saying and taking note (in their own way).

The Canine Ear Hypothesis:

Researchers also suggest that tilting may occur because of differences in the construction of the canine ear compared to those of humans. Dogs have very sensitive ears and can hear a similar range of sounds to us. However, their directional hearing might not be as good as ours.

Humans have particularly good directional hearing because of the distance our ears are from each other. The left and right ears pick up sounds with a slight delay, allowing people to determine where a noise is coming from. Dog ears are closer together and also more buried in the skull, meaning that differentiation is not as high.

Tilting of the head, therefore, might be a way for them to better hear where commands are coming from, by changing the angle of the sound. Adjusting their pinnae could let them pinpoint the location of noises in their environment.

What This Means For Owners:

Dogs that tilt their heads may be more empathetic than those that don’t. It may be a sign that they’re listening for specific words or inflections. It may also make dog training easier. Dogs who listen more intently can carry out your commands better.

The way your dog tilts its head is also an indication of their character. Cocking it to one side and looking right at you is a sign of health and strength. Pointing their nose towards the floor, however, suggests deference and worry. What signs is your dog giving you?

Featured Image By: Pexels

New Hot Pink & Chartreuse Nails

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New Hot Pink & Chartreuse Nails

Hello! As an essential worker who is in close contact to a high risk population, I have been really limiting my time out in public. Honestly, it takes a lot to even leave the house sometimes. Back in the “normal” days, I always looked forward to my monthly nail appointments. But, now, I really really look forward to it because it is one of the two to three community outings I do per month.

I am so thankful to my favorite salon, Elysian Nails, for taking all of the necessary precautions that make me feel like I can relax while I’m there. Normally, when I’m out doing grocery shopping I want to leave ASAP because of all of the people! Even though we are in crazy times, everyone needs a treat and I feel like a million bucks whenever I leave the salon chair. Still a nervous wreck – but a million bucks, none of the less.

The nail tech I had this time around was not the most gentle, but I still really like how my claws turned out! Take a look:

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As someone with a ton of tattoos and piercings, like me, can tell you: Beauty is pain. However, I don’t think I have ever been nicked or said “ouch” as many times as this previous one. And, I really don’t mean to complain, but it was definitely not the most pleasant experience – especially since the salon is where I go to find myself, lol.

Despite all of the ouchies, I absolutely love the colors of my nails. Both of these shades are by my favorite nail care brand, Londontown. The pink hue is called Summer Fling and the chartreuse is appropriately named Electric Avenue. Summer time is when you can go all out with bright, poppy colors and I was inspired by my favorite warm weather treat – watermelon!

It’s amazing how something so little like a neon color can make me smile but I feel happy when I look at my nails. And, given the current state of everything going on right now, I’ll take any extra pep in my step that I can get. Thanks to Elysian Nails for always keeping my claws on point and to Londontown for introducing me to a Summer Fling on Electric Avenue! 😀

Have you ever had an unpleasant salon experience? What happened? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Why Debt To Success Could Aid You And Your Career

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Why Debt To Success Could Aid You And Your Career

When we have debt of any type, it can greatly impact our lives, from the way in which we handle our career choices to our personal lives. These issues offer further problems that allow us to be set up to fail. When trying to pay off debt, you may have found the repayments are too much or your debts are not minimizing as quickly as you would have liked. There are options, however.

Debt to success systems have been implemented for a while and provide assistance that could be hugely beneficial to you. They are both transparent and affordable and open to discuss the scheme as well as how it could work for you. If debts are left unpaid, then they can easily spiral and, with added interest and other hidden costs of debts, you can be left with hefty bills for years on end, which is completely stressful for you.

Releasing yourself from the grasps of government chains can be the best way to aid you in moving forward, but with a simple automated system, you can be sure that you can create a positive move. With Debt to Success System, you can learn about the ways that you can start to repay in a neat and secure monthly payment program, which allows you to remove yourself from the throws of debt and move away from the societal schemes that create bigger stresses in our lives.

Why is removing debt so important?

Even if you feel as if you are managing your debts well, you are still tied into a system that is constantly hanging over your head. If your income drops, you are still having to pay that hefty sum of money. Debts can affect all areas of your life, including mortgages and insurance. By paying off your debt in a secure and affordable way, you may find that you have less stress and more disposable income in your life. They say that the average person should be debt free by the age of 58, unless you choose to extend your payments. However, if you are in your early thirties, you may feel that this is a long way off and can really affect the way that you view money. For business, time may be more limited in order to sink finances back into it.

You should also consider using a disciplined budget, which will assist with repayments. If you are struggling with budgeting, then there are plenty of online assistance tools to ensure that you can meet these requirements. You must be sure that you are prepared to rid yourself of debt in order to move forward in business. During the Covid-19 crisis, the amount of debt in the average household has heightened. With job losses and money loss, it is easier to slip into debt. By looking at a system that works such as DTS, you can move towards the business goals that you have really wanted to focus on.

Use the tips above to get your money write and continue moving forward in your life!

Featured Image By: Unsplash

Quarantine Life: It Can Still Be Fun

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Quarantine Life: It Can Still Be Fun

Hi! When I first moved into my apartment, I LOVED that shit. Seriously, it was awesome. A young business owner going here, there, and everywhere and then returning to my cool little place once the day was over. The annoyances of every apartment like loud neighbors and crappy air conditioning didn’t seem so bad because, in all reality, I wasn’t there that much.

Fast forward a year and some change later and, now, my boyfriend and I are confined to our apartment on the daily. Our on the go life style of a blogger (me) and working musician (he) got severely cramped by the coronavirus and the minor annoyances at chez nous have turned into major headaches.

Despite our quarantine living quarters not being ideal (It’s like living in your own personal sweat lodge.), Johnny and I still manage to have fun in our tiny little sauna. So, I am here to remind you that it is still possible to enjoy yourself from the safety of your home. In fact, the fact that I know I am safe at home makes my time that much more enjoyable.

It has been a big change to go from constantly being out to sometimes being fearful to leave the house. Unfortunately, that is the current state of things right now and once I accepted that boredom came with being safe, I felt a lot better about being home. It took Johnny and I while to come up with the perfect combination of at home entertainment but now that we have hit our sweet spot, this whole quarantine thing ain’t so bad. (Our most effective combo is playing The Office after Law & Order SVU.)

Yes, we have consumed more media content than is probably recommended for a lifetime but we still experienced new things. For example, Johnny bought me my first LEGO set and since then we have been hooked on building together. Or who can forget Hanks For The Memories when he introduced me to Forrest Gump and I taught him a thing or two about Cast Away.

Lame? Yes. Super fun? Obviously, or I wouldn’t be blogging about it! Now is the time to watch all the TV you can, so get hooked on a series with some friends and gab to your heart’s content. Watch something totally random. Order a book you would never read on your Kindle. Try cooking a difficult but delicious looking recipe. Your activities are, admittedly, limited at home so you might as well try to keep them interesting!

The most important thing I try to remember as Johnny and I continue to hunker down is a positive attitude. Of course, I’m not thrilled by any of this. But, it’s the best thing we can do to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. I also keep in mind that I will never get the chance to sit through an entire season of America’s Next Top Model in one day totally guilt free again. That is a positive and it makes sinking into the couch and hearing Johnny’s disgruntled comments about my favorite show all the more sweeter. 🙂

How do you keep a positive attitude during the coronavirus pandemic? What has been your favorite hobby to pass the time? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Taking Care Of My Mental Health In Quarantine

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Taking Care Of My Mental Health In Quarantine

Hello! Living in a quarantine style state can be very taxing on one’s mental health. It’s hard when you can’t see your friends as often and every day outings that you used to look forward to have become a thing of the past. As someone who has struggled with depression for over a decade, I know first hand that it can be very easy to fall into a slump when you’re confined to the four walls of your home day in and day out.

So, how do I keep a positive attitude despite hardly ever leaving my apartment? A healthy mixture of the following keeps me right on track:

Scheduled Pampering:

Once a week, typically over the weekend, I always enjoy using a new face mask. I like having a “treat” that I look forward to and experimenting with different face masks is a fun and cheap way to try something new. I ordered a pack of six different sheet face masks from Amazon and got twelve in total for ten bucks. I thought it was a steal and now I have something new to try for the next several weeks. Score!

Getting Enough Sleep:

I think one of the most important things that one can do, especially if they are currently not working, is to continue with their normal sleep schedule. It is very easy to fall into the trap of staying up late and sleeping in until the following afternoon and that is not good! Try and maintain your regular schedule throughout the day as much as possible. I always find that a sense of normality makes me feel better and a good night’s sleep tends to do the trick, too. 🙂

Exercise Your Mind:

There are so many fun apps and games that are designed to make you think. Believe you me, I enjoy a video game or movie marathon just as much as the next one. But, so much mindless entertainment can leave your brain feeling mushy. Spend an hour or two a day with a good book, a crossword puzzle, or even building with LEGO. I promise that it will be a welcome break from whatever show you’re currently binging and your brain will thank you!

Talking About It:

We are all dealing with the current state of things differently because we have never experienced anything like this before. Everyone is feeling nervous and scared and those feelings can continue to fester into something debilitating if you keep it all bottled up. Have a conversation with a trusted friend or family member and voice what is concerning you or giving you anxiety. You will probably find that they have a lot of similar fears and that is usually really comforting to me and, hopefully, for you too.

With the times that we are living in right now, it is easy to let your own self care fall by the wayside. So, use the tips above and get yourself back to baseline and, then, beyond!

How have you been taking care of your mental health? What make you feel better? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Four Ways To Help Bring Calmness To Your Life

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Four Ways To Help Bring Calmness To Your Life

Bringing a sense of calmness into your life can be refreshing. With the hustle and bustle of life, things tend to get a little overwhelming and it’s good to find some perspective to keep grounded. Here are four ways to help bring a sense of tranquility into your day:

Reduce Your Stress Levels:

Stress is something that can really throw you off from keeping yourself calm, and not only is it something that affects you mentally, it can also have a lot of physical impacts too. It’s important to try and find ways to reduce your stress levels where you can and try to control what stress has been created in your life that you might be able influence. If you’re finding your job is getting too stressful, make the necessary arrangements to try and find solutions to making it more bearable. Whether it’s speaking to your boss or looking for a job that is less stressful in nature. There are both big and small ways that you can help to reduce your stress levels. Look at what’s stressing you out currently and pinpoint the areas where you might be able to improve it.

Find Positive Outlets:

Positive outlets are good for controlling stress and for bringing more calmness to your life. Everyone has various outlets that keep them satisfied and happy in life. Yours might be a lot different from the next person, but that’s fine as long as they bring comfort for you. So perhaps one of these outlets might be reading a book once a week or month? It could be taking fitness classes or picking up a hobby that you’ve always wanted to try. Find something that’s going to be good for you, and the more you have, the better you’ll feel.

Keep Yourself Distracted:

Keeping yourself distracted can certainly help when it comes to bringing more peace into your life. Avoid the things that are causing the issues and find those parts in your life that help to keep you distracted. It might be trying some products from kayahempco.com or throwing yourself into work if that’s something you enjoy doing. There will always be something that can help keep you from thinking about those negatives in your life, so concentrate on what will give you that opportunity to switch off.

Surround Yourself With The Right People:

Surrounding yourself with the right people is certainly important, and there can be a lot of joy that comes from being with those you love. Spending time with people who are going to bring you up, rather than put you done will be so much better for your state of mind and promoting a more carefree lifestyle. It’s not healthy to have people in your life who are going to bring you down.

Life isn’t always calm, but can be when we focus on the things that make us happiest!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Writer’s Block? Have Some Quarantine Writing Prompts!

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Writer’s Block? Have Some Quarantine Writing Prompts!

Hello! Depending on where you live in this great big universe, you might have been or currently are living in a state of quarantine. As for me, I have been in a lock down lifestyle since March 19th in Akron, Ohio. Other than leaving the house to go to work as an “essential” employee, I probably go out two times a month for groceries and appointments.

Maintaining a blog in normal times is hard work. However, maintaining a blog in a time of quarantine is a whole different ball game. I, myself, have had a difficult time coming up with daily content and sometimes it feels impossible to come up with a blog post for the day.

Back in early 2020, I could find inspiration to write about anything from a quick trip to TJMaxx or an adventure outing with friends. Fast forward over half a year later and the most exciting thing I have to tell you guys is when I get a new LEGO set. Lol, so I understand better than anyone what it means to have writer’s block right now and there is no shame in it!

If you are coming up with question marks for your page, try writing about the following:

  1. Have you picked up any new hobbies or perfected an old skill in quarantine?
  2. What have you been binge watching lately?
  3. How many books have you finished? Which one was your favorite?
  4. How has your garden or potted plants been growing?
  5. What has been the most difficult part about being in quarantine?
  6. What has been the best part about being in quarantine?
  7. Have you cooked or baked anything new?
  8. How has your beauty routine changed since being in quarantine?
  9. How has your work or day to day life been affected by the coronavirus?
  10. What are you most looking forward to doing post quarantine?

We are all having a hard enough time right now so don’t let your blog be another thing that stresses you out. Use the prompts above and tag me in it so I can read it, too! 🙂

Much love. -Sarah

Harry Potter Great Hall LEGO Set

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Harry Potter Great Hall LEGO Set

Hello! While in quarantine, Johnny and I have been enjoying putting together LEGO sets including ones from Harry Potter and Star Wars. Johnny bought me the Hogwarts Clock Tower set for my birthday and we had such fun assembling it that I went ahead and bought the Great Hall set a few weeks later. Although the bigger sets are a bit pricey, they are worth every penny in the hours of entertainment that Johnny and I get out of them.

We stretched the Great Hall set out over the course of a weekend while Harry Potter movies, Impractical Jokers, or The Office played on TV. After at least five solid hours of building our Great Hall was finally complete. The best part? Attaching it to the Clock Tower, of course! Check it out:

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While the Clock Tower set is specifically from the Yule Ball scene in The Goblet Of Fire, our Great Hall set combines imagery from both the first and second films. Don’t believe me? We have Professor Quirrell and the basilisk to prove it! Our sets are, technically, not the most cohesive right now but our two sets combined look AWESOME… From the outside, at least.

In comparison to the Clock Tower set, the Great Hall had a lot more pieces which made it a much more intricate and time consuming build. All the while, it was insanely hot in our apartment so spreading it out over a few days was definitely the move. As always, Johnny and I have a great system when it comes to our LEGO construction. He takes care of all of the detail work, which is impossible for me to do with my nails. I, on the other hand, handle a lot of the big pieces and everyone wins!

Johnny and I like to buy a new LEGO set every few months and I am already looking forward to my next Harry Potter purchases. What’s on deck? For starters, the Whomping Willow set! Then, I would love to add the Astronomy Tower, Hagrid’s Hut, and the Quidditch Pitch. Hey, it’s Harry Potter so I have to dream big! 🙂

What has been keeping you entertained in quarantine? Who else enjoys building with LEGO? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

5 Ways To Be An Eco-Friendly Pet Owner

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5 Ways To Be An Eco-Friendly Pet Owner

The choices you make for your pets can affect the environment in the same way as the choices you make for yourselves. It’s important to try to reduce your pet’s carbon paw print whenever possible. This might not always be an easy task and their health and happiness should always come first. There are, however, several ways you can be a more eco-friendly pet owner:

Adopt a pet:

By adopting a pet from a shelter rather than buying one, you could end up saving two lives. You’ll be giving a home to an animal that needs one, and also freeing up space in the shelter for another stray or abandoned pet. It’s a more ethical choice to adopt a pet from a shelter.

Be responsible about the type of pet you adopt. If you want a dog but only live in a small home, then it’s best to go for dogs for small spaces. If you get a larger dog, then remember to take it for walks once or twice a day as it will need regular exercise.

Sustainable pet food:

There are several ways to make pet food more sustainable. You could try to make your own dog food, it’s actually a lot easier than it sounds. Speak to your veterinarian about the dietary needs of your pet. Certain animals might need more specialist food that you can only buy.

If you’re buying pet food, check out the best brands for healthy and sustainable products. There are several brands that aim to reduce their environmental impact by limiting shipping, emissions, and GMOs.

Recycled toys:

Some animals such as dogs and cats can really go through toys. These will probably end up in a landfill. It’s better to go for recycled toys or toys made from natural, biodegradable materials. These toys are much better for the environment in the long run.

There are also some great brands that sell eco-friendly toys. These toys are made from durable recycled plastic. You can also find recycled leashes and other accessories. These can even be made from earth-friendly fabric like hemp and other certified recycled materials.

Non-toxic shampoo:

Use organic and natural shampoos for your pet’s bath time. You can find plenty of organic pet products online and they’re not very expensive. Look at the label and see if it’s free of dyes and parabens, as it will be better for your pet’s fur. Not only are non-toxic shampoos gentler on your pet’s skin, but they’re also better for the environment. There will be fewer nasty chemicals running down the drain as a result.

Clean up waste:

You can get a hold of recycled eco-friendly cat litter from big brands such as Purina. This is made from old newspapers. If your dog or other animals do their business outside, then clean it up. It can actually be damaging to the environment to leave it. When cleaning up after your pet, use bags made from plant-based or recycled materials and throw it out immediately.

We can all do our part to help the environment and now your pet can be included with the tips above!

Featured Image By: Pixabay

Face Mask Festivities: Celavi Honey Sheet Mask Edition

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Face Mask Festivities: Celavi Honey Sheet Mask Edition

Hello! Within the past week or so, I had a great big skin care haul from Amazon. I purchased all of my necessities for the next three months and I also ordered a set of sheet face masks by Celavi. I received two of the six different kinds of masks in the set, totaling twelve masks for a little over ten dollars. I considered it a steal and the comments on Amazon from previous buyers was encouraging. So, I added it to my cart.

This past weekend, I finally got around to using one of the new sheet masks, opting for the Honey option because whose skin doesn’t need to be cleansed and moisturized? Lol, take a look at some pics and let’s discuss:

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When I use a face mask, I never apply it with the thought that it’s going to have a massive affect on my skin. In fact, this is what probably keeps me from being disappointed with some of the duds that I’ve used. Rather, I like to think that I got to spend twenty minutes with a mask on being pampered and that’s how I’m going to think of my time spent using this Celavi mask.

Did I notice a huge or even minor difference in my skin after twenty minutes with this super saturated mask on? Not particularly. Don’t get me wrong, my skin did feel slightly more moisturized. But my skin care routine makes my skin feel insanely hydrated so, in that regard, it didn’t do all that much.

My skin definitely didn’t have that fresh “ahhhh” feeling after removing the mask. I can also confidently say that if I didn’t have one more of the Celavi Honey sheet masks in my hoard, I would not be using it again. But, like I said, no hard feelings and I still enjoyed myself. I took a leap of faith on some cheap masks and they can’t all be winners!

Have you used any beauty duds recently? Do you have a favorite sheet mask? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Girls In The Garden By Lisa Jewell Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Girls In The Garden By Lisa Jewell Edition

Hi! As the old saying goes: “when in quarantine, do as those in quarantine do”, which is just Greek for I’ve been reading a lot. Lol, I’ve been devouring books left and right and have been loving every minute that gives my brain a break from the America’s Next Top Model marathons. The most recent book I finished was called The Girls In The Garden by Lisa Jewell. It was… Okay I guess?

Without giving any spoilers away, let’s discuss. But, please be warned that there is some subject matter in The Girls In The Garden that could be very triggering. Now, let’s get to it:

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Virginia Park may seem like the perfect, picturesque place to raise a family. Quaint flats, a communal park that stretches close to three acres, and tons of children running about. However, the situation that brought young mother Clare and her two daughters Pip and Grace into the neighborhood was anything but picture perfect.

Clare, who is estranged from her husband, is weak and vulnerable upon their arrival. This, in turn, leaves her twelve year old daughter, Grace, and eleven year old daughter, Pip, free to explore the park and get acquainted with the other kids. Handsome Dylan, frigid Tyler, and the eccentric sisters Willow, Catkin, and Fern. The parents of the three sisters, Adele and Leo, are essentially the “cool parents” and their house is constantly full of kids running in and out.

As the preteens and teenagers hang about the park, cliques begin to form and catty attitudes cause a palpable tension. All the while, the children’s parents aren’t doing much better, shielding dark secrets of their own that span from their childhood. Long buried memories begin to reveal themselves ranging from pervy old men to affairs and, oh yeah, murder.

One fateful summer night, the present mimicked the past after a young, pretty girl is found bloody, unconscious and uncovered in the park. So similar to the death of another young, pretty girl in the park decades prior. Who is responsible for the past and present attacks? And will history try to repeat itself once more? Read The Girls In The Garden to find out more!

Okay, so I know what you guys are thinking: A whodoneit with intertwining stories and secrets. How did Sarah not like it? Believe you me, all of that is very fair and I did enjoy certain aspects of the story line. However, there were a lot of parts that made me just plain uncomfortable to read. This includes some insanely inappropriate displays of affection between a freshly turned thirteen year old girl and her boyfriend.

After that part went down, I really didn’t care what happened next in the book because I just didn’t care anymore. It was such a stomach churning thing and it literally made me feel disgusting after reading it. It’s really too bad too because if the author wasn’t so focused on being “edgy”, she would have had a hell of a book on her hands. Although, I did see the ending coming.

Had a crucial part of this book not made me nauseous, I would have rated The Girls In The Garden much higher. But, that is not the case. So, for the first time in history, Lil Red will be awarding no stars out of ten stars. I really didn’t care for the direction this book took towards the end and I couldn’t look past it. Not sorry about it and I definitely wouldn’t recommend this for your next book club meeting!

Which book is currently on your night stand? Do you have any reading recommendations for me? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

4 Things To Consider If You’re Thinking About Going Back To School

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4 Things To Consider If You’re Thinking About Going Back To School

Are you thinking of going back to school? Although it’s a very exciting endeavor, it’s also very daunting – especially if you’ve been out of education for several years. You need to make sure that you’re prepared for what’s coming your way. No matter the reason behind the decision – whether it’s to follow your interests or boost your career, you’ll want to research thoroughly into it beforehand.

Throughout the research process, it’s likely that you’ll have several main considerations about furthering your education, which might include the following:

What You’ll Specialize in:

What are you interested in studying? If you’re doing it as a way of enhancing your career, chances are this will be a subject that’s related to the job you’re doing now. For example, if you’re a lawyer, you might want to specialize in a particular type of law – like brain injury law, commercial law, or family law.

However, if you’re looking for something new that you’ve never done before, the selection process might be a bit trickier. This is why it’s a good idea to look at various colleges/universities/training programs, comparing and contrasting them based on what they include and what career you could get into in the future from completing it.

The Cost:

Unfortunately, studying doesn’t come cheaply. And with some universities across the country costing up to $70,000, it might feel out of reach. Before applying to further education, it’s important to look at how much it costs and whether there are any finance options available to you. This way, you’ll know that you can afford to take it on – without unbearable student debts in the future.

Online VS In Person:

Do you want to study online or in-person? This is a top consideration that will help to shape your final decision. This choice will depend on how you want your studying to fit around your lifestyle. For example, if you work part-time or full-time, online studying is likely to be the best choice for you as you can work on assignments in the evenings or on the weekend.

If you’re looking to focus full-time on studying and only take on some part-time work to help cover your monthly costs, in-person studying at the university or college may be more suitable.

Should You Gain Work Experience Instead?

Is there a way that you can gain work experience? Even though further education will give you another degree, diploma, or other accreditation, for some roles, work experience is preferred. Also, if you want to get an insight into that career but don’t want the cost or ties to a course, then perhaps trying to get work experience is the better option.

Through taking on an internship or placement, you’ll be able to see whether that type of career is right for you while showcasing to future employers your dedication to the profession.

These are four of the top things to consider if you’re thinking of going back to school. At the end of the day, of course, the decision is up to you. But by looking at the above and researching into the course and prospects it will offer you, you’ll be able to determine the best route to follow.

Featured Image By: Moose Photos from Pexels

Huge Bath & Body Works Online Haul

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Huge Bath & Body Works Online Haul

Hello! One thing that I have always enjoyed doing is shopping the semi annual sales at Bath & Body Works. Never would I ever buy their products full price but when they are slashing them fifty to seventy-five percent off, why wouldn’t you stock up?! Not only did I snag some early birthday gifts for my bestie but I also was able to score some shower gels for me as well as a huge supply of foaming hand soap to get myself and Johnny through another few months of quarantine. Check it out:

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If you aren’t hip to the glory of the foaming hand soaps from B&BW, then I highly suggest you hit up their sales and buy a few for yourself. They are easily the best hand soaps I have ever used. First of all, they smell fabulous. Second, a tiny pump of it goes a really long way. And, finally, they leave my hands feeling completely clean, totally moisturized, and smelling awesome.

Before, I was always okay with just buying drugstore brands for my shower gel and hand soap needs and would tut at the original expensive B&BW prices. But, when I discovered their semi annual sale, my life changed for the better. Over dramatic, yes. Lol, but it’s true. I love having a huge supply of smell goods in my apartment and my stock pile is guilt free because I paid a fraction of what the original cost would be.

Although it is the most fun to shop the sale in stores, I was still excited to fire up my laptop and check it out online. There is a potential for me to not like some of the scents because I couldn’t give it a whiff test but those products can easily be passed on to someone else or saved for a rainy day when I realize my hoard is ready for a restock!

I was happy to still shop B&BW’s sale in an nontraditional way and, now, I will patiently wait for their post winter price cuts so I can do it all over again! 😀

What is your favorite semi annual sale to shop? How do you save money on brand name shopping? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

3 Simple Ideas To Inspire Your Bedroom Renovations

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3 Simple Ideas To Inspire Your Bedroom Renovations

If you are keen to spend some of the time that you are forced to spend indoors during the coronavirus crisis in a productive way, why not embark on some home renovations? While your living spaces might already be looking stylish and on-trend, think about moving upstairs and focusing on your bedroom. This should be a room that exudes relaxation, tranquillity, and calm. This is the space of your home where you rest your weary bones and strive to achieve unbroken sleep every night. If you are keen to have a go at flexing your interior design muscles in your bedroom, take a look at these three ideas:

Color:

The color palette that you choose for your bedroom needs to be relatively mooted. This doesn’t mean that you can’t inject areas of brighter or bolder hues, but the walls of your room should be relatively bland. White, cream, or pastel shades are more conducive to restful spaces. If you are more of a bold tone lover, think about using the fabrics, throws, and cushions to add texture and pattern in your space. Try and choose a theme of colors. If you like warmth, white, yellows, and reds could be inspirational. If you love natural tones, greens, oranges, and chocolate browns can be ideal. Whip up some local artwork or family photographs and personalize the space alongside your relaxing color palette to make your bedroom cozy and customized.

Storage:

Some bedrooms are blessed with amazing floor space meaning that you can easily install some fitted wardrobes and a couple of chest of drawers alongside a rocking chair and bedside tables. Storage never becomes an issue and your clothing can be housed with ease. However, if your bedroom is an unusual shape or it’s a little small, you need to think outside the box to maximize storage and stop your room from feeling cramped. Go for something more bespoke for the space. You may worry about what’s the average price of a custom closet, but there are easy ways to keep costs down. Go for minimal compartments, less extravagant materials and finishes, and forego the glazed door options. A custom closet will look incredible and it will keep your clothes, shoes, and knick-knacks safe.

Flooring:

Some of us are lucky enough to have original wooden floorboards if we live in period properties. If you have oak flooring, get it sanded and waxed and lay a lovely large rug on top to protect your feet and maintain a cozy feel. If you want to emulate this look but don’t have the authentic features, go for a cheaper man made laminate that utilizes a walnut, oak, or birch veneer. These look fantastic and are easy to fit with a tongue and groove system. If you prefer carpet and a plush softness underfoot, get a decent underlay and a long pile twist to give you that luxurious feel.

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Love the chandelier!

Revolutionizing your bedroom should be fun. Use these inspiring ideas and enjoy giving your bedroom a makeover!

Featured Image By: Pexels

My Quarantine Beauty Routine

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My Quarantine Beauty Routine

Hi! Living in a lock down state has definitely put a damper on my beauty routine. In fact, I can probably count on under ten fingers the amount of times I’ve put a full face of makeup on since March nineteenth. Sure, it’s nice to be feeling myself after I beat my face but, at the end of the day, it’s not like Johnny and I do anything so what’s the point?

Every once in a while I’ll put some mascara and blush on but, for the most part, my face has been au natural. Because of that, I have really just been enjoying doing face masks on my already blank face in the evening. I have also incorporated a night time skin care routine into my beauty regimen. I used to not have one, as I never took my makeup off before bed. But, now, I always apply my serum, eye cream, and moisturizer before bed too.

Although I miss doing my makeup, I like sleeping in before work more! Lol, what I really miss is shopping. I’m not comfortable making my rounds in a store like TJMaxx or Target yet. And, when I find some cute, in season clothes online I realize that no one will probably see me in it till next year so what’s the point? I mainly have just been ordering my skin care online and extra hand soaps from Bath & Body Works when I need it.

On the bright side, this lack of shopping and applying makeup has saved me money. The lack of going out to restaurants and bars and doing my eating (And drinking!) at home also saves me money. So, when the fateful day comes that I can finally have a TJ’s shopping trip without having a panic attack, I know the haul that will be purchased will be totally guilt free. Score!

What do you miss doing most while in quarantine? How have your normal routines been affected? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Things I’m Missing

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Things I’m Missing

Hello! Johnny and I have been living in a lock down style state since March 19th when the restaurants and bars in Ohio closed down. Since then, the only things I have left my apartment for other than work has been the grocery store, gas station, and my monthly nail appointment. And, on occasion, we might have a friend over for a drink through serious social distancing in my living room.

Despite being constantly surrounded at home by “entertainment” like the TV, streaming services, video games, books, and board games there are definitely some activities in the community that all of the America’s Next Top Model marathons in the world couldn’t replace. I eagerly await going to all of the following once it is safe to do so:

TJMaxx:

Lol, of course TJ’s was going to be the first on my list! You guys have no idea the amount of TJMaxx related memes that I have been sent by people who have genuinely been thinking of me during this pandemic for that reason alone! I miss going on my monthly shopping trips to TJMaxx with my mom more than anything but we have all been picking and choosing what we do very carefully. For example, my monthly “treat” outing is visiting the nail salon where I feel most comfortable. I know I wouldn’t feel safe in a store full of people so online shopping has been the move for months now.

But, trust and believe that as soon as I feel one hundred and fifty million percent okay, TJ’s will be the first place I visit. I have plenty of birthday gift cards burning a hole in my pocket and I intend on using them on a gigantic haul. It’s always nice to have something to look forward to, haha. 🙂

Restaurants/Bars:

It’s not like Johnny and I went out a ton pre-coronavirus but we would usually go to the bar or out to eat maybe once a week or so. These outings were the best last summer when we could have drinks on all of the outdoor patios in Kent. It was just such a nice way to spend an hour or two after work and I miss being able to unwind with our friends.

Most of all, however, I miss going to the bars where the band my boyfriend is in, The Outside Voices, would play. Going to their shows over the weekend was always something we really looked forward to and I know it has been so hard on him to not be doing anything musical. In fact, I think he misses performing just as much as I miss shopping at TJMaxx and that’s really saying something.

Guilt Free Hang Outs:

I have been able to Skype with and social distance hang out with a few of my friends on occasion. Of course, it’s always nice to see them whether that be on the laptop screen or at the opposite end of the room. But what I really miss is being able to hug them and interact more closely. For example, when Lea usually comes over we like to curl up on the couch and drink wine. Not so much anymore, lol.

I miss all of the little things that I never thought much of before. Big hugs goodbye, sitting on the same couch, or venturing out for random adventures – just for starters. A lot of thought goes into doing just about anything now and I miss the spontaneity that comes with guilt free hang outs with all of my besties.

What are the activities that you’re missing the most right now? Do you have a safe “treat” outing that you participate in? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Harry Potter Hang Out

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Harry Potter Hang Out

Hello! Sunday is normally my and Johnny’s lazy day where we indulge in a movie or TV marathon. It could be anything from binge watching the same show all day, experimenting with something new, or revisiting old favorites. For example, this past Sunday, Johnny and I had a Harry Potter marathon and watched The Chamber Of Secrets, The Prisoner Of Azkaban, and The Goblet Of Fire.

Of course, Johnny fell asleep immediately when we started Chamber Of Secrets and that gave me the opportunity to reflect on how much I friggen LOVE Harry Potter. All I can think about whenever watching the movies for the millionth time is how cool it was to essentially grow up with the cast. I also always reminisce on all of the fun my family had when we vacationed to Orlando, Florida and got to experience The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. (Take me back, PLEASE!)

It’s so special to think back to all of the Harry Potter midnight showings I’ve attended, reading the books for the first time, and then reading them one hundred times more. There is nothing better than immersing yourself in something magical when there is so much craziness going on in our world and Sunday felt like such a treat for that reason.

All of Sunday, I got to peek into the fantastic and mysterious wizarding world and it was a relief to “be” somewhere different for the day. Granted, I won’t be making anything levitate or be able to unlock my apartment door just by uttering a simple charm. But, my mind was occupied and totally entertained all day and that is the next best thing when you’re in quarantine!

What is your favorite book series? How about your favorite movie series? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Invest In Your Home – It Will Pay You Back!

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Invest In Your Home – It Will Pay You Back!

Our homes are our sanctuary from the world, the place where we make happy memories with friends and family. But more than that, they are also the single biggest financial asset that you’re likely to own in your life. Most of us would like to own a home to pass on to our children as an inheritance or to provide a pension pot and some security in retirement, as well as having a nice place to live. And that means taking care of those four walls and everything in between. Not only for your own safety and enjoyment, but to protect your investment and hopefully allow it to mature, so that if you do come to sell your home, you make a good return. Read on to find out more:

Repair Damage Swiftly:

It should go without saying, but you’d be surprised how many people are either slow to repair damage to their homes or even just don’t see how run down their property gets over the years through general wear and tear. The trouble is that when we don’t attend to minor problems quickly, they often have the potential to develop into far more complex and costly to repair issues over time.

If your home suffers something like subsidence or storm damage, then make it a priority to contact a specialist company such as https://www.hlrestoration.com/storm-restoration/ to tackle the damage and prevent it from getting worse over time. Even simple things such as keeping on top of routine repainting, jet washing patios and decking, and making sure the gutters are cleared out and flowing properly can make a huge difference over time.

Add In Some Bathrooms:

In modern times, the perception of a luxury residence and the standards that people want from their accommodation have changed a lot. So modern houses are generally always built with a small ensuite bathroom to each bedroom. If you live in an older property, then this may not be the case – frequently there are less bathrooms and perhaps only one bedroom with an ensuite shower room.

One way to really boost value and the perception of your home, as well as making it more pleasant and functional to live in yourself, is to add a bathroom or two! If you have the space, then taking a little from a large bedroom or even converting a storage closet or finding a little extra space out of a hallway can give you enough room to include a shower, sink, and compact toilet. This is something buyers actively look for that really can improve the value of your property.

Reconfigure The Layout:

Sometimes a lot can be achieved simply by reconfiguring the existing layout of your home. Improve the flow and visualize how the space could work for you. Creating a large open plan kitchen and living space can completely change the way you live. Removing walls is not a complicated job if they are stud walls, but even if they are load-bearing, the right contractor can reinforce with steel beams and remove them. This will cost a little more, but it could well be worth it for the open plan layout of your dreams and modernizing your home for a future sale.

Use the tips above to give your home a huge boost in its value!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Amazon Skin Care Haul

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Amazon Skin Care Haul

Hello! I live in Summit County in Ohio, which is one of the seven counties being mandated to wear masks anywhere you go now. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, I haven’t been “shopping shopping” in months – just groceries and an occasional trip to the nail salon. So, I’ve had to resort to Amazon for purchasing all of my skin care needs as opposed to making one of my monthly or bimonthly trips to TJMaxx.

Needless to say, I miss TJ’s more than anything. But, I am happy that I have been able to find the brands that I love on Amazon. I also purchased some sheet masks by Celavi because my boyfriend finally caved and said he’d wear one with me. GREAT SUCCESS! Lol, check it out:

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You guys already know how much I love the SkinLab moisturizers and Azure Lux serums so let’s talk face masks. I paid ten or so dollars for twelve sheet masks by Celavi and I considered it a steal. I never have this many face masks on my person at one time and it is going to be so nice to relax with them after a long day at work. Johnny finally participating in the Face Mask Festivities will just be an added bonus!

Online shopping certainly is not the same as making my rounds at TJMaxx but, in the meantime, it is the safest option. I plan on continuing to get my skin care through Amazon until I feel one hundred percent safe going “shopping shopping” again. Until then, you can catch me and Johnny chilling in our Celavi sheet masks all pandemic long. 😀

Are you online shopping more frequently now? Which actual store do you miss the most? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

How To More Adequately Prevent Property Damage

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How To More Adequately Prevent Property Damage

When you become a homeowner for the first time, you’ll feel a sense of true achievement. You should, because it is. That being said, now you open yourself up to many more responsibilities than you would when renting. It’s now your duty to care for the maintenance tasks of the property, and to do so with a sense of urgency to prevent them getting out of hand.

Issues will come your way, and they, more than likely, will have an effect on your property. It’s not about completely avoiding them outright, rather it’s more about learning what to do when these challenges do appear. For instance, nothing you can do will prevent a harsh blizzard from coming in during the winter, provided you live in an area where that happens. Yet you can apply a few preventative measures to stop the damage from becoming unnecessarily significant.

So, how can you more adequately prevent property damage? What efforts will ensure or even guarantee this outcome? We’ll explore that together, below:

Preparing For The Seasons:

The seasons can come hard and fast depending on where you live. For some, the intensity of summer requires real forethought, while for others, the intensity of winter can feel like entering another world entirely. In this latter example, purchasing a de-icer, ensuring that your pipes are routinely worked to avoid them freezing over or purchasing large quantities of grit for your sloped driveway can be important. AC repair and ventilation adjustments can also help in the midst of summer. Prepare for the upcoming seasons and keep yourself safe and comfortable all year round.

Preventing Leaks:

Preventing leaks in your property is also very important, and, unfortunately, failing to do so will ultimately result in one. That sounds like an obvious statement, but you’d be amazed at just how many avenues leaks can find to provide you with a lovely, unwanted amount of property damage. Avoiding water damage in your home includes ensuring your roofing insulation is well applied, caring for your pipes, appropriately plumbing, and investing in shielding your home from the elements. With these efforts combined, you’re sure to come to the best possible solution.

Important DIY Skill Sets:

DIY skill sets can help you avoid contributing to property damage yourself. You’d be surprised at how commonly bodged jobs can cause issues from shoddy wiring to bad plumbing, and even shelves that haven’t been secured as strongly as they should have been. If you can take the time to learn and research before you begin and visit the hardware store to ensure you have the correct tools (such as using a level instead of simply going by eye), you’ll be in a better place. You can visit DIY forums to ask questions and pre-plan your approach to begin with. And in the case of some examples, like electrical work, it’s simply best to call in the professionals.

With this advice, we hope you can more adequately prevent property damage each day to keep your home strong and in tact all year.

Featured Image By: Pexels

A Cleaner Home For A Healthier You

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A Cleaner Home For A Healthier You

It’s no secret that most people want to maintain a clean home. No matter how hard you work on this side of your life, though, there won’t be much point if you’re not using the right tools, methods, and techniques to ensure that your place doesn’t just look clean, but is also hygienic. It’s easy to make something look good, but viruses like COVID-19 can’t be seen by the human eye, and they can last for a very long time on the surfaces and objects found within your home. Let’s take a look at some of the steps that can be taken to overcome an issue like this. This has been split into the rooms you use, making it easier to get started with the right methods in the right places:

The Kitchen:

Kitchens are spaces that have to be clean. With food preparation being the main purpose of a room like this, you could easily find you and your family members experiencing health issues if you’re not working hard enough to clean it. There are a number of key areas that need to be focused on when you’re going through this, and you can find each of them listed below. It’s always worth making sure that you use chemicals that are both safe near food but strong enough to kill hardy bacteria and viruses.

Surfaces & Cupboards:

The surfaces in your kitchen are designed to make it nice and easy to prepare your food, but you have to make sure that they’re cleaned before you use them. Anti-bacterial sprays are perfect for this, with companies like Detol offering options that can safely clean your worktops. The same effort can be applied to your cupboards, too.

Fridges & Freezers:

Any appliance that is used for storing food needs to be kept extremely clean. This makes it well worth disinfecting your fridge on a weekly basis to ensure that you don’t have anything growing unseen. Alongside this, you can find special air fresheners that can help to remove any unwanted odors from your food bearing appliances.

The Oven:

Much like your fridge and freezer, it also makes sense to clean your oven from time to time. It will be much harder for bacteria and viruses to live in a place like this, with the extreme heat killing most of them off. Of course, though, this doesn’t mean that your oven shouldn’t be given the right kind of treatment.

The Bathroom:

Much like the kitchen, bathrooms can be very sensitive rooms. You will perform a range of different tasks in a space like this, and many of them will involve processes that have to be sanitary. Of course, though, alongside performing hygiene tasks in a room like this, you will also be using your bathrooms to get rid of waste, creating a challenge for those who want to keep this room as clean as can be. You can find some of the most crucial cleaning jobs you’ll have to perform in this room below.

The Toilet:

The toilet is probably one of the most obvious cleaning jobs you have in your home. The waste that goes into this vessel is extremely unsanitary, and this means that you will need a strong chemical like bleach to make sure that it’s hygienic. You can wash the whole toilet with bleach, though it’s worth making sure that you rinse it off where the skin will be touching the toilet.

Sinks, Baths, & Showers:

Alongside your toilet, you will also have sinks, baths, and a shower to think about when you’re cleaning your bathroom. It’s always worth making sure that these areas are kept clean, but you don’t have to scrub them as often as you’ll be working on the toilet.

Toothbrushes & Other Sanitation Tools:

Your toothbrush is an item that you will always want to keep clean, and it may shock you to know that many people live with their toothbrush very close to their toilet. Bacteria and viruses can travel through the air, making it well worth keeping your toothbrush somewhere that keeps it out of the line of sight of your toilet.

Communal Spaces:

The areas you share with your family and other housemates can quite easily become very dirty without the right care and attention, and these spaces are some of the most likely to aid in the spread of sickness. This makes it well worth spending the right amount of time cleaning these spaces. You can find a list of the tools and techniques you should use for this below, giving you everything you need to get started with it. Of course, though, communal spaces can be very different from one another, and this means you may need to apply your own ideas.

Tables & Other Surfaces:

Shared tables and other surfaces can be a hotbed for bacteria and viruses. Much like the surfaces in your kitchen, you should be disinfecting these places whenever they’re going to be used for food. Doing this as part of your regular cleaning routine can also be a smart idea.

Shared Tools:

Remote controls, computer keyboards, and other shared tools are another area to consider when you’re making your home more hygienic. Using anti-bacterial wipes to clean these elements of your communal spaces can be an excellent way to keep them sanitary, with each person giving them a wipe down before the next person uses them.

Carpets & Rugs:

Fabrics are surprisingly good environments for many bacteria and viruses to grow in, with moisture and food easily getting trapped between fibers. Professional carpet cleaning can be a great way to turn this around, giving you the chance to deep clean this part of your home without having to use harsh liquid chemicals on them.

Soft Furniture:

Alongside carpets and rugs, it’s also worth thinking about your soft furniture. As these are also made using fabrics, you will have to be careful to make sure that you’re cleaning them properly when people from outside your home use them.

The Bedrooms:

Having somewhere to sleep is crucial to normal life, and most people will get this done in their bedroom. It’s easy to neglect hygiene in a room like this, with many people only spending a small portion of each day in their bedroom. Of course, though, it’s well worth putting some time into this to make sure that you’re not going to make yourself sick. Children’s rooms should always be given extra consideration as you go through this, with your little ones finding it very difficult to keep up with cleaning after themselves.

Tables & Other Surfaces:

The tables and surfaces in the bedrooms in your home can be easy to ignore. Most people will spend very little time in rooms like this, but this doesn’t mean that they will be free from bacteria and viruses. You don’t need to give this space as much attention as you give the other parts of your home, but it’s worth using disinfectant from time to time.

The Bed:

Your bed can also play a role in this. Issues like bed bugs can cause major health issues, and leaving your bed dirty for long periods can be a good way to encourage them to find your home. Changing your sheets on a regular basis can help with this, but it’s also worth spending time cleaning your bed’s frame, too.

The Walls & Floors:

The walls and floors in your bedroom should also be cleaned on a regular basis, with carpets being vacuumed, and hard floors being mopped. The walls can be trickier to clean, and it’s usually best to be proactive with this. Whenever a mess is made, you should be ready to start cleaning.

This extra busy work will all be worth it. Keeping your home clean will make you feel better in day to day life, while also limiting the chances that you or your family members will get sick when they are at home. With issues like COVID-19 causing so many problems around the world, this sort of action could end up being essential in the future.

Thankfully, though, this article should give you everything you need to start making a difference, even if you absolutely hate cleaning. If you’d prefer to give this sort of work to someone else, there are plenty of cleaning companies out there that will happily do the job of cleaning your place. Though it’s always worth keeping in mind that this can end up costing quite a bit of money!

Featured Image By: Unsplash

Lil Red’s Book Club: Christina McDonald’s Behind Every Lie Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Christina McDonald’s Behind Every Lie Edition

Hello! For a while, I was really into reading the thriller/mystery books with an unstable narrator. I loved the plot twists and the grand reveals and all of the pieces finally coming together that seemed so disjointed throughout the book. Then, after a while, I became bored with the premise of another alcoholic or sleep deprived young woman being accused of murder.

Then, Christina McDonald said “hold my beer” and asked “what if the girl was struck by lightning?”. Lol, without giving any spoilers away, this is Behind Every Lie:

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Behind Every Lie is a back and forth thriller that alternates between Eva Hansen and her mother, Kat, every few chapters or so. However, all of Kat’s speaking will be in the past tense because her murder is what our unstable narrator, Eva, is being accused of when she wakes in the hospital after being struck by lightning. The catch? Eva can’t remember a damn thing.

Eva is an artist who lives under a cloud of insecurities and stays under the protective wing of her boyfriend, Liam. Already unstable from past trauma and tensions running high since the lightning strike, Eva’s world as she knows it takes a drastic turn when she realizes not everyone is who she thinks she is… Even herself.

So who is Eva? And who murdered her mom? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

For the most part, I really enjoyed Behind Every Lie. I haven’t read an unstable narrator novel in a while and the premise of this one was so different that I went for it. I’m not going to lie, I loved the story line – especially because I guessed what happened before it was revealed in the book and who doesn’t love that? 😀

However, the characters were not the most likeable and I had a hard time caring about any of them. They were all so closed off in their own ways that it was difficult to form a connection to them until the last few pages when the grand reveal was… revealed. Not to say that it wasn’t worth the read because it was for the story line alone. The characters are just not the ones you are going to remember vividly a year after reading this.

Overall, I did like this book and would definitely read something else by Christina McDonald. I rate Behind Every Lie with six and a half out of ten stars for a unique take on an unstable narrator and an unputdownable plot. Not bad. Not bad, at all.

What have you been reading recently? What is your favorite genre to read? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

At Home Concerts

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At Home Concerts

Hello! For those of you who don’t know, my “big girl job” is as an independent provider for people with special needs. I specialize in community integration and the development of daily living skills and have been an “essential” employee throughout the coronavirus pandemic. So, you can imagine how hard it is to do my job of getting my clients out and about in the community when there is a contagious virus and many of them are high risk.

My job has now been limited to the homes of my clients and that is A-okay because it’s what is best for them, their families, and myself. But, that’s not to say it hasn’t been easy, especially when cabin fever is kicking in for everyone. I am constantly trying to come up with fun ways to keep my clients entertained at home to combat the boredom blues and was particularly pleased with my brain blast last week.

My most senior client who I am with the most often during the week LOVES the golden oldies and always tells me about when he saw The Beach Boys and Sha Na Na in concert. After his recollection last week, he asked when we can see those bands live together. I told him as soon as it was safe, as always, and then I realized we kind of could see them in concert.

I told him I had an idea and pulled YouTube up on his TV. Then, I found some live footage of Sha Na Na performing as well as plenty of full length Beach Boys concerts. He couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw his favorites performing right in front of him again. In fact, he was so elated that he told me to bring his brother up so he could see how much fun he was having. 🙂

My friend and I plan on having weekly “concerts” at home, compliments of YouTube. We have The Beach Boys on deck and who knows what will be next! It was amazing to see him so excited about something and, sometimes, the most fun things can happen right at home. ❤

Which bands have you seen in concert? Who would you love to see perform live? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

How To Consistently Meet Your Health Goals

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How To Consistently Meet Your Health Goals

Explore a Range of Treatments to Your Problems:

Whatever existing health problems you might have, it’s important to approach those problems in a range of ways. If you try different treatment options you’ll find the one that works for you much sooner. Things like Functional Medicine and other alternative options might provide you with benefits as well as regular mainstream treatments. It’s up to you to explore the options out there and find the right way forward for you.

Get Help and Support from Others:

There’s no need to go at it alone when you’re trying to get in shape or improve your health. Health professionals as well as personal trainers can help you get to where you want to be. You can get help and support from friends and work out together. Having that extra person working out alongside you can really spur you on and provide you with the motivation that you need.

Remember Physical and Mental Health Go Hand in Hand:

One thing that many people get wrong is thinking that there’s a disconnect between physical and mental health, but that’s not the case. You should remember that these things go hand in hand. When you get one right, it’ll help the other. So when you’re trying to reach your health goals, you should also try to make sure that you pay attention to your mental health too.

Consistency and commitment are key when you’re attempting to reach your health goals month after month and year after year. The tips and ideas we’ve discussed above will help you to get this right and ensure your health comes first, which is the way it should be.

Featured Image By:  Pixabay

Save Time By Outsourcing Your Personal Admin

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Save Time By Outsourcing Your Personal Admin

Do you feel like you don’t have any time? If you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get stuff done, you may be overstretching yourself. It’s okay to pay someone to complete personal admin. From getting help moving house to having your shopping delivered, you can carve some time back for yourself by leaving your daily tasks to the professionals:

Help Moving House:

Were you considering renting a van and driving your furniture to your new home? Moving is already stressful enough without you having to relocate your entire house at the same time. Hire a moving company to do the job for you. You can often select the level of service you require, from long-distance relocation to storage options until you get settled in. Let yourself focus on getting your family into the new place while a moving company does the rest for you.

Grocery Shopping:

Are you fed up with making your way to the supermarket every week? Well, stop doing it! 1.8 billion people worldwide shop online, so it’s time to join a quarter of the population and start saving yourself some time. Choose a delivery service and let your food come to you. If you don’t drive, ordering your food shopping saves you even more time than relying on public transport. You can order more in one go, too, rather than carrying bags home yourself.

Painting and Decorating:

While we’d all love a pristine home, if you’re not a professional, doing some home decor yourself can often be disappointing. You have a perfect idea of what you want the room to look like, only to find your DIY skills are a little lacking. The hours tick by while you’re watching paint dry, knowing you’ll have to put another coat of paint on. Doesn’t sound fun, right? Pay a professional painter or decorator, and you’ll be happy with the finished product and save yourself time in the process.

Gardening:

It can feel daunting to tackle your garden maintenance, especially if your outdoor space has gone unloved for a while. You could seek out Pinterest for some garden inspiration, or you could hire a professional gardener to take the stress off you. Your garden might need a little spruce up or you might take the opportunity to hire a landscape gardener for a complete overhaul. Take back some vital weekend time you might otherwise spend wondering what to do with your garden.

Daily Errands:

Are you tired of having to wait in line or complete daily errands that are otherwise pretty dull? From putting together IKEA furniture to folding your laundry, there are hundreds of daily tasks you can outsource to someone else. See if there’s a service like TaskRabbit in your area to hire someone to take on your daily errands. Or, you might want to earn money doing this for someone yourself.

There are hundreds of little things you can outsource to others to make time for yourself. Start outsourcing your personal admin today, and you’ll be surprised when it frees up time to do the things you actually enjoy.

Featured Image By: Pexels