Author Archives: lifewithlilred

About lifewithlilred

Just your average gal blogging an average blog!

Boost Your Curb Appeal With These Ideas

Standard
Boost Your Curb Appeal With These Ideas

You can only rearrange your furniture, redecorate, and clean so much inside until you have exhausted all of your ideas to change up your space. So turn your focus to the exterior of your house, instead! Spring is going to be here before we know it and with warmer weather, you can finally get started on outdoor projects. Not only will you love making big changes but they will definitely help boost your home’s curb appeal, to boot! Try out the following:

New windows and doors:

Installing new windows and doors can totally transform your home’s exterior. If you have been living at your place for several years now and are starting to feel blah with its appearance, this might be just the boost it needs. Don’t forget to have fun with your choices, too! A bright colored door can sure make a statement and it will set your house apart from the rest in your neighborhood.

Fresh paint:

If the paint on the outside of your home has seen better days, then perhaps a fresh coat is in order. Chipping paint and discoloration can really lower your curb appeal and makes your place seem less inviting. Fresh paint can fix this quickly and give your house a much needed face lift.

A deck or porch:

Having a place outside for your friends to sit this summer is so important so that you can finally socialize! Maybe your porch is just too small and could be expanded to accommodate company? Or if you have enough space in the back yard, you could go big and have a deck installed. There is nothing like enjoying the sunshine with your friends and a porch or deck will give you the opportunity to do so while boosting your curb appeal.

Repave your driveway:

The driveway might be one of the last things you think about but it is one of the first things that people see when they look at your yard. If winter weather has left your driveway cracked and damaged, then repaving it will definitely be in order as it will stick out like a sore thumb on an, otherwise, well taken care of property.

Expand your garage:

If you have a single garage and more than one car, your property can look a bit jumbled with multiple cars parked on the driveway. Not to mention that playing musical cars every morning when people are leaving is super annoying! Expanding your garage is always a good bet to boost your curb appeal and you will never have to go into a freezing cold or insanely hot car again.

We have had ample time to improve our home’s interior and now we can turn our focus outwards as we transition into spring!

Pandemic Problems: Is Your Home Haven On Rocky Waters?

Standard
Pandemic Problems: Is Your Home Haven On Rocky Waters?

For years, the human species has adhered to the fact that no person is an island. With that in mind, we’ve put ourselves out there and generally socialized as much as possible. In the last year, however, that advice has very much changed and, for many, this shift hasn’t exactly been a smooth transition. Luckily, as we seek new ways to communicate, many of us are finding that we can get by with far less extroversion than we’ve been led to believe. Unluckily, a failure to take care of your island could soon see your mental health suffering regardless.

Our homes have gone from being places where we sleep to being our entire worlds. In many cases, the landscape simply isn’t prepared for this level of usage. That’s bad news for your happiness and efficiency throughout these lock down days, and it’s something you need to address. To help you do that, we’re going to consider three common problems that could be leaving your home lacking:

You haven’t put a personal spin on things:

If you’re used to spending just a few hours at home, you may not have ever done much with the space. That needs to change sooner rather than later now that your home time hours have extended so much. Something simple like decorating to your tastes or framing a few personal snaps could make a huge difference to helping you settle despite what’s happening outside of your four walls.

There’s no space to breathe:

A cluttered home has never helped with mental health, and certainly won’t now. Sadly, getting rid of a mess is harder than ever at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you can keep putting it off. There’s no excuse to let clutter rein free when you consider that skip bin hire is still available, and companies have taken significant steps to keep it safe. By investing sooner rather than later, you can get rid of all of the rubbish that’s been building up through lock down. With space to play with, you’ll soon feel like you can breathe again despite continued restrictions.

rocky1

Pexels Image

You haven’t split the space:

Lastly, your trouble may be due to something as simple as a lack of segmented spaces. With many working from home, splitting work and living areas is fundamental. It also pays to have daytime and nighttime spaces to break things up. Even in a small flat, changing furniture or lighting could be a split enough from day to night, etc. If you have the space, though, keeping each room for a different purpose could soon see you feeling like you’re traveling a whole lot further than you actually are.

We may have been existing solely at home for a while now, but this is still a difficult adjustment to make. Ease your passage by considering these home issues and doing what you can to get your island right at last.

Featured Image By: Pexels

Living With Anxiety? Here’s How To Make Coping Easier

Standard
Living With Anxiety? Here’s How To Make Coping Easier

You know that feeling, where your heart starts to pound and your breathing quickens in response to a stressful or worrying situation? Or maybe you’re familiar with the feeling of having sweaty, clammy palms when you have an overwhelming or stressful situation to deal with? These feelings are both anxiety, which is the body’s response to feelings of stress and being overwhelmed.

Having a little anxiety on a semi-regular basis is fairly normal. However, it’s when anxiety begins to take over your life that there can be a problem, and it is something that is worth looking further into. While realising that you have anxiety can be stressful, don’t panic – there are plenty of ways that you can make managing living with anxiety easier.

It’s important to remember when it comes to anxiety that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to anxiety management; what works for one person may not work for another. The key to successfully being able to manage anxiety is making sure that you find the right approach for you and your needs. Bearing that in mind, below is a guide to a selection of anxiety coping and management strategies that you might find helpful. Have a read, take note, and determine which options work best for you:

Identify your triggers:

One of the most important steps that you can take when it comes to managing anxiety is identifying what triggers it in the first place. For some people, anxiety is triggered by experiences like starting a new job, meeting a partner’s family or friends, having to give a presentation at work, or attending a health appointment. For others, anxiety isn’t about experiences, it’s simply linked to stress and overthinking different things.

The fact is, that everyone has their own anxiety triggers; what triggers a friend with anxiety to become anxious may not trigger you, and vice versa. Often, anxiety is linked to a previous experience or situation, and things that are linked to those situations and experiences can, therefore, cause anxiety.

For example, say you got stuck in a lift and it took a while to be rescued. This may result in anxiety around using lifts or of being in confined spaces. Or, perhaps you had a loved one pass away in traumatic circumstances, you may find that you start to become anxious about other loved ones and the traumatic circumstance that caused the death, such as being involved in a road traffic accident.

By identifying what your triggers are, you can help make managing your anxiety a little easier. Because once you know what causes you to become anxious, you can begin to work out strategies for dealing with those feelings.

Decide the best strategies for coping:

When it comes to living with anxiety, it is no easy task. For some people, anxiety can be a minor annoyance and for others, anxiety can be completely and utterly debilitating. But by putting coping strategies in place, you can make managing your anxiety simpler and easier. The key here is to decide what the best coping strategies are for you and your anxiety.

Focused deep breathing is one anxiety management strategy that a lot of people find helpful. If you feel that you are becoming overly anxious, you might find that focused, deep breathing could help. You can either try and utilize this technique on your own or you can opt to use an app like the Calm app to help you manage the process of deep breathing to calm your anxiety.

Some people find that getting out and about and being active helps to make them feel less stressed out. Sometimes, simply taking the time to get out of the house and go for a short walk can be all it takes to relieve some of the stresses and strains that you might be struggling with. Or, if you don’t fancy heading out of the house, you might find that yoga can help you to feel a little calmer, and can help to reduce some of your feelings of anxiety.

Other anxiety sufferers find that sourcing certain treatments, such as Neurofeedback anxiety support can help them to make managing their anxiety and its associated symptoms a little easier to navigate. It’s always worth taking the time to look into new treatment options and therapies to see if they might work for you.

Keeping a journal of your thoughts and feelings can also be helpful when it comes to managing anxiety. Writing down what is making you feel anxious helps to get that concern out of your head and can make dealing with it less daunting and stressful.

Talking is another useful way to help make living with anxiety easier too. When you talk and share how you are feeling, you start to feel less pressure and less stress as a result. Whether you find talking with a friend or family member, speaking to a therapist, or talking to other anxiety sufferers helpful, talking can be a fantastic tool for reducing feelings of anxiety.

You may also want to consider joining some anxiety support groups, as it’s often helpful to have other people to talk to who understand what it is that you are going through and are able to offer support by sharing their own experiences.

Managing anxiety is no simple or straightforward task but the ideas above can help minimize those feelings and get you moving in the right direction.

Featured Image By: Pixabay

3 Things That Keep Me Sane

Standard
3 Things That Keep Me Sane

Hello! Throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Johnny and I have essentially just been in our apartment other than work and groceries. No one is saying that it is not monotonous AF but it is for the best and we will continue doing our part in keeping ourselves and loved ones safe. With continuous days at home, it can be hard to work up the motivation to do much of anything. But, setting goals has always helped me move forward with what I want to accomplish and completing these three tasks every day has kept me from going totally stir crazy:

Writing Every Morning:

Whether it be on a work day or the weekend, as soon as I take my morning shower and ready myself for the day, I sit at the computer and prepare a scheduled post to publish. I never thought that I would be able to keep daily content coming when there is literally nothing to do. I have surprised myself and think that I am even better at my craft now because I have learned to draw inspiration from all of the little things that now make up my day.

I feel a great sense of accomplishment every time I complete a post during this pandemic because it really can be difficult. However, lifewithlilred has been dedicated to creating daily content for the past several years and not even COVID-19 can stop that! Starting my morning off with a goal already checked off of my to do list makes me feel ready to take on the rest of the day and keeps me motivated to do it again tomorrow.

Practice Languages:

One of my favorite hobbies is learning new languages and every day I practice French, Italian, Spanish, German, and Czech on Duolingo. In fact, I am on an over eighty day streak of daily practicing and I have never even come close to that before. This Christmas, Johnny got me Duolingo Plus to help me continue practicing my languages in a more efficient way and it has been awesome. No adds and unlimited hearts, baby!

I like to set aside at least an hour every day to work on learning new languages and I feel proud of the huge steps that I have taken in each one that I practice. I definitely feel like I have gotten better in all of them – particularly German and Czech and I never thought that would happen! I feel excited to learn more each day and I can’t wait to get to a one hundred day streak!

Read:

The last thing that I like to do every day is read. I have always been an avid reader and I enjoy it even more now because I feel like I can escape my apartment and join the characters from the book in their world. I try to read at least thirty to forty pages plus in whatever book I am working on each day. I love the feeling of excitement I get every time I crack a book open because I know I am going to be transported on an adventure. However, I love the sense of accomplishment I feel after finishing a book and starting a new one even more. 😀

I am currently reading a delightful book called Miss Benson’s Beetle by one of my favorite authors, Rachel Joyce. It has been a nice palette cleanser from the psychological thrillers that I have been reading so definitely be on the lookout for a Lil Red’s Book Club review of it soon!

Once I complete these three tasks every day, I give myself permission to play all of the video games or watch all of the Netflix that I want. Hey, everyone deserves a treat after accomplishing their daily goals, right? 🙂

Do you set daily goals for yourself? Have you improved on one of your hobbies during the pandemic? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Holiday Haul: Gift To Myself Edition

Standard
Holiday Haul: Gift To Myself Edition

Hello! It would not be the holiday season without purchasing a little post Christmas prezzie for myself so, armed with gift cards to TJMaxx so generously gifted to me, I began to online shop. Well… I actually wouldn’t call this “shopping” because, for once, I knew exactly what I wanted when I went on TJ’s website instead of searching for what I didn’t know I needed.

I have had my eye on a beautiful skull adorned cashmere sweater by 360 Cashmere for the past several months now but it was too expensive for me to justify buying it. Then, as a Christmas miracle, it got marked down and I said “I think I can swing that”! My new sweater is totally me and I am so happy with my purchase. Merry late Christmas to myself! Check it out:

05ED382F-9690-4566-A365-282026EC2AE2095F017C-B205-4B0D-97E2-E964F23F3E3F124597D0-88A8-4ED9-8DFC-20E71B9F0D2D8B0058D5-5B4C-452B-8858-92F44AF9C2A3

The first time I saw this sweater all of those months ago, I fell in love. I absolutely adore skull prints on clothing, which just goes to show that some people never outgrow their emo phase lol. I have also never owned anything cashmere before and the mere idea of wearing it felt luxurious. I was so eager to finally try this sweater on and I felt just as posh and cozy as I imagined – if not MORE!

My skull sweater is as soft as puppy fur and it doesn’t feel too hot, either, which is something that I was worried about. The oversized shape also allows the fabric to breathe for maximum comfort. Despite loving the style of slouchy sweaters, I actually can’t say that I own one and not for lack of trying. I have never found one that was just right until now, I suppose. 🙂

From the charcoal grey palette to a V neck line that isn’t plunging and my favorite pattern, this sweater checks all of my boxes. I can’t wait to wear it with jet black super skinny jeans and tall boots but I can also picture myself pairing it with a long skirt, similar to my OOTD this past Christmas. Now, if only things were safe so I could break this bad boy out for a game night with Johnny and our friends.

My holiday haul ended with a special gift from me to me and I know that I will get great use of it. I’m also proud of myself for waiting for my sweater to get marked down because it showed self restraint that I didn’t know I was capable of, haha!

Did you treat yourself to anything this past holiday season? What is your favorite gift that you received in your holiday haul? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

5 Ideas To Fill Your Free Time With

Standard
5 Ideas To Fill Your Free Time With

It’s safe to say that, at the moment, we all have more free time than we ever have had in the past – especially if you are unable to work due to the restrictions that are currently in place or are on furlough. That’s a lot of free time to account for! Back in normal times, you may have spent evenings or weekends with friends and family, going to different events or meetings, or just being out and enjoying different activities. With all of those options depleted, we all need to be able to find new ways to fill our free time. Here are five ideas to inspire you:

1. Reading:

If you know that you usually spend a lot of time watching Netflix or different TV shows and movies, maybe you want to shake that up and choose to read, instead? Reading can be really relaxing, it can help you to expand your horizons, and it’s enjoyable too. It also allows you to have an adventure with the characters in your book!

2. Learning Something New:

Maybe you want to challenge your brain a little more? It could be that you would love to learn something new. Could learning how to speak French fluently be a goal for you? Or how about mastering a new piece of computer software that you have always wanted? This can be a fun and very beneficial way to kill time.

3. Furthering Your Career:

Being on pause from your job can be a bit strange and it can also leave you thinking about what else you want to do in life. If you’ve found that you don’t like where you’re currently at professionally, it will be nice for you to think about what you can do to try and change that or drive your career forward. Maybe you want to earn an mph degree online or learn new skills that will help you to apply for a new job? Sometimes, a career change could be what you need to fill your free time.

4. Something Creative:

It’s always fun to get more in touch with your creative side. So maybe you want to paint something, make something, or sew something? You don’t have to have been into crafts your entire life to turn to a creative pastime and really enjoy it. Why not pick up knitting, drawing, or cross-stitch? There’s no better time than the present!

5. Launching A Business:

It could even be that you’ve always been interested in starting a side hustle. So this could be perfect for you and just what you want to be able to change your career or start something new. Maybe you love baking? Or do you enjoy writing? Or you love the idea of consulting? If you have the time now, why not dedicate some of it towards this? You may find that you not only enjoy it, but it can really take your life in a new direction too.

Use the ideas above to help motivate yourself and turn your time away from work into something equally as productive!

Featured Image By: Unsplash

Face Mask Festivities: Formula 10.0.6 Get Your Glow On Edition

Standard
Face Mask Festivities: Formula 10.0.6 Get Your Glow On Edition

Hello! After testing out the Turn Up The Heat self-warming face mask by Formula 10.0.6, I was less than impressed. It’s safe to say that I was expecting another disappointment when I tried their Get Your Glow On skin brightening peel mask but I was dead wrong. Despite one issue, this mask rocked and I am very excited to use it again! Take a look at some pics and let’s discuss:

DECAD10D-4EE7-45CF-9E04-D421F5EDB7434A46A9AB-A146-40DF-A62E-9EF3C8084DEA48FDAE15-12DD-4251-9747-3CD205524B1A9F66AA7E-7E9D-410E-A1A7-675DAD478A21

Similar to the last mask I used by Formula 10.0.6, the Get Your Glow On mask was incredibly difficult to get out of the squeeze bottle. It wasn’t so much the mask as it was the bottle itself, which was stiff and rigid. I have nerve damage in my hands from a car accident and I had a tough go of squeezing enough of the mask to cover my face into my hands. In fact, I had almost given up on using it completely so if you struggle with any type of nerve damage or arthritis in your hands, this mask might be more trouble than its worth even though it worked well.

After finally getting enough product into my hands to apply to my face, it was smooth sailing and the mask smelled great – just like Lip Smackers chapstick! I left the mask on while I took a bath and it was ready to peel off by the time I finished my soak. It took about twenty to twenty-five minutes for the mask to dry, which is quite a bit more time than the directions recommend so be aware of that if you do decide to give the Get Your Glow On mask a try.

The mask peeled off perfectly and I felt like a snake shedding its skin, lol. I just love peel off masks in general and they are fun when they actually work because I’ve used a few in the past that just never dried or peeled. After removing the mask, I really felt like my skin looked brighter. I used this mask first thing in the morning and my skin no longer looked tired but radiant, even, and clear. It also didn’t dry my skin out at all, which is a huge plus because the Turn Up The Heat mask left my skin feeling so tight.

The Get Your Glow On mask was a huge improvement in comparison to my previous experience with Formula 10.0.6 and I would recommend it as long as you’re okay with struggling with the bottle each time you use it. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

What is your favorite type of face mask? How do you pamper yourself 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: Formula 10.0.6 Turn Up The Heat Edition

Standard
Face Mask Festivities: Formula 10.0.6 Turn Up The Heat Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a new edition of Face Mask Festivities. Today, we are going to be talking about one of the masks that I received in my Holiday Haul by Formula 10.0.6 and, I have to say, I am very glad that this is a mask that I didn’t buy on my own because it was a massive dud. But, hey, they can’t all be winners and it’s still always nice to try something new. Take a look at some pics and let’s discuss:

D436819E-1F09-489A-8BCE-19ADC1E91C4A4494573C-4DFE-4A01-BF88-BD457244FF330A808C6C-3E9F-4424-A710-3B7AD858FD8DCD435D72-055D-4D07-AE95-A87E829C297C

My first qualm with the Turn Up The Heat face mask was the pump bottle that it came in. If you held it with the pump on top, nothing came out and if you held it with the pump on the bottom, it was still really difficult to get anything out. Also, the amount of face mask that pumped out was minuscule so it took some time to get enough to cover my face and, even then, it was a thin coating at best. A squeeze bottle would have worked so much better!

Despite the issues with simply getting the product out of the bottle, I was still excited to try it because I love a good self-warming mask. But, unfortunately, the mask never heated up on my face. Rather, it got warm in my hands and by the time I applied it to my face, the effect was already gone and that was definitely a disappointment since the self-warming was the whole point of the mask.

Up until I finished washing the mask off, I was still holding on to a slight benefit of the doubt but that quickly dissipated once I realized how tight my skin was afterwards. It felt so dehydrated and I couldn’t get my moisturizer on fast enough. I also noticed no positive changes in my complexion, either. WHOMP WHOMP.

I would not recommend this mask at all as it was lackluster on all fronts. The highly inconvenient packaging was one thing but the Turn Up The Heat mask did not work as described and did nothing for my skin. Don’t bother with this one!

Is there a self-warming mask that you recommend? Have you used any products that were duds lately? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Hosting A Fun Family Game Night

Standard
Hosting A Fun Family Game Night

Many of us have exhausted a range of activities in the midst of societal lock down. We’ve baked, we’ve cooked, we’ve tried foreign cuisine, we’ve read, we’ve relaxed. So, it’s understandable if you’re feeling restless or irritable once your options for activities have been depleted. Not being able to ‘get out’ and enjoy the warm weather (by virtue of it being winter) also limits us a little more. You shouldn’t feel guilty for feeling irritable, as a lot of people are – myself included!

But what’s best for when you’re feeling irritable? To us, playing games and having fun with our family members can really help. Games help us act creatively, to compete in safe settings, and moreover, to have fun and a laugh. Hosting a fun game night with the family can be lovely then, and perhaps a weekly tradition.

But what sort of game nights could you have with the family? Your board game collection is a great place to start or you could order a couple of games online for something totally different. Why not also consider some of the following options?

Word & Quiz Games:

It can be fun to test your general knowledge or show off your Words With Friends skills with a word game. My personal favorite word game is Scrabble and using a descramble words tool can help you buff up before the games begin. Memory games, general trivia, and even games like timed ‘random Wikipedia journeys’ can be a great idea. These games will help you get a brain workout by the end of them! And who’s to say they aren’t competitive?

Video Game Parties:

If you have any video games consoles and games that offer cooperative play, you will be in for a blast. Four play Mario Party can be phenomenal, for instance, helping you enjoy a range of mini games across a players board, building stars, and dunking on others as you go. You’re sure to have fun with Mariokart, Keep Talking, And Nobody Explodes to show you what friendly competition is all about. We would also recommend Human Fall Flat and Fall Guys if you’re looking for something comical and cartoonish.

A Homespun Talent Show:

It can also be a wonderful idea to enjoy a homespun talent show, one that helps you feel connected, appreciated, and able to express your silliest joys. Perhaps you and your partner can do a magic show for the children, while they can lip sync and play air guitar to their favorite song. It sounds very silly, and it is! The goal is for everyone to be grinning from ear to ear. You can all judge and score each act and work up to the semi finals and finals over the course of a weekend. It might be a bit of work, but the outcome will be well worth it!

With this advice, we hope you can enjoy a fun game night with the family – and no doubt end up having a ball. You will feel much better afterwards too! 🙂

Featured Image By: Pexels

DoorDash Deliciousness

Standard
DoorDash Deliciousness

Hello! Sometimes, you just need a treat and, with the stress of my job, I know that better than most. Whether this be stopping at Starbucks on your way to work, ordering a little something online, or taking a luxurious bubble bath, it’s important to do what you can to help put the pep back in your step. In my case, I decided to order myself dinner from my favorite Indian restaurant, The Saffron Patch.

Johnny has absolutely no desire to try Indian food while I, on the other hand, LOVE it. And, as a strict vegetarian it is so nice to have tons of options on The Saffron Patch’s menu. Thanks to DoorDash, I was able to indulge my never ending craving for Indian food and I got a great deal for it, to boot! Check it out:

709A1294-077E-4048-9B2C-98811BDE812CDBEB9E8E-B0E9-4DAF-A61A-367CE0805F95B5988C3D-52F1-437E-8497-B264304839FC33FA44C4-5746-4B97-91C8-ED0DEC522843D17F3DE8-A901-427A-A1F0-331A1551E667C1A849F4-6FE1-4CBC-BA03-2A89CA50EA0C

DoorDash is awesome because you get free deliveries for your first month of using the service. Not only that, but I also got twenty percent off of my order and, in total, I saved close to eight dollars. For forty dollars, I was able to get my favorite dishes of Vegetable Biryani with cucumber Raita, Malai Kofta with saffron rice, and garlic Naan as well as provide a healthy tip. I thought this was a steal, especially since the servings are huge because it is family style.

I always say that if I had a visit from someone who has never been to good ol’ Akron, Ohio that we would go to TJMaxx and The Saffron Patch and I still stand by that statement. It has been ages since I ordered from my favorite restaurant and it was even better than I remember it being. The Biryani was completely loaded with huge pieces of carrots, potatoes, peppers, and cauliflower while the sauce in the Malai Kofta was rich and the balls of lentils and veggies were tender. The Naan was buttery and had SO. Much. Garlic. – Just how I like it!

Like I said, it had been a long while since I had Indian food and I normally order a level three for spiciness which would be considered Medium Hot. I decided to just order a level two of Medium to be safe since I was having the food delivered and I’m glad I did because it was hot! This was no matter, though, because the cucumber Raita helped dissipate the spiciness and it was so delicious when mixed with all of my dishes.

I couldn’t have asked for a better meal if I tried. Or, should I say meals? Lol, since Johnny doesn’t eat Indian food, I had all of the leftovers to myself and it lasted me a good five days. So not complaining!! 😀

What is your favorite restaurant? How do you treat yourself? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah