Tag Archives: planning

Lil Red Loves: Game Night

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Lil Red Loves: Game Night

Hello! Prior to the pandemic, you could usually catch Johnny and I hanging out at our favorite bar called the Zephyr on a Friday or Saturday night. Now, I can’t tell you the last time we have been to a bar so it is all about nights in when we want to hang out with our friends. Johnny and I have always been avid gamers and we have a huge collection of board games and a variety of gaming systems including a Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Nintendo 64, GameCube, and Wii. With this expansive collection, game nights are now the move for our weekend activities.

While you don’t need much to make a game night a success, here are a few tips that I have found effective to make your evening even better:

Ready The Room:

Prior to hosting a game night, please do a deep clean of your space! Lol, this should go without saying but it is so true. You want your space to be the perfect set up for people to relax and have fun which means clearing clutter, taking out the trash, and doing the dreaded cleaning of your bathroom. Have fresh hand towels at the ready, light some candles or fairy lights, and prep your space to be the ultimate chill zone. (Keep in mind that if you are partaking in dranks, a guest room and comfy couches are a must so no one risks the safety of themselves and others to drive home.)

Location Is Everything:

Normally, Johnny and I will alternate which home we are having our game night at and this always works out well for us. However, if you are having multiple people over, a small apartment like mine might not cut it so that’s something to think about. If you are having guests from several different areas over, it’s best to choose a home that is it at the center of all of yours so no one has to drive super far.

Food & Drinks:

I absolutely love cooking for people so for mine and Johnny’s game nights, our friends will alternate between who is cooking dinner. This doesn’t need to be a fancy five star meal but just something tasty that everyone can enjoy. For example, I made a big pot of homemade mac n’ cheese for one of our game nights while our guests brought sides of salad and garlic bread. That being said, there is nothing wrong with ordering Chinese takeout or pizza if you want a quick and easy meal! (Also, make sure you are attentive to any of your guests with dietary needs or preferences. Last game night, our friends brought veggie burgers for their favorite Lil Red vegetarian!)

If your game night is one that tends to run longer, don’t forget the snacks. You can get creative with themed snacks like decorated cookies or cupcakes that look like the mushrooms in Mario games but a bowl of chips will also be just fine. Fruit salad, a sundae bar, and a Chex or trail mix station can also be a big hit.

For drinks, it is important to think about all of your guests because some might not drink alcohol. Always have your Britta pitcher full or water bottles at the ready as well as a variety of different sodas and juices. If you are partaking in dranks, there is nothing wrong with a good old fashioned White Claw lol but you can also play bartender and make a signature drink. How about a pitcher of Sangria or white wine spritzers? Every game night house could have a different signature drink!

Playlist Perfect:

Any good game night will have some music playing in the background. For this, Johnny and I have our record player but we also have a Bluetooth speaker which we love. Remember, you don’t want the music to be too loud to disturb your neighbors or that you have to yell to talk to your friends. Just something quiet that everyone can agree on to add to the party ambiance.

Games Galore:

Now, most importantly, are the games! Are you having video gamers over? Mario Party and Super Smash Bros. will be a huge success. Board game lovers? How about a night based off of classics like Monopoly and Sorry or a co op game to solve together? Word game fans? Scrabble or Catch Phrase will go over well! Card game aficionados? Try a Magic The Gathering tournament or a casino night.

You know your guests best so it is up to you to choose the perfect selection of games to keep your evening rolling. A good rule of thumb is to avoid overly involved games that are difficult to explain or have a ton of rules. You want to play things that are easy to catch on to for maximum enjoyment for everyone. There are also some party games that can truly become annoying if you are playing with a group of people who have a ton of inside jokes that everyone might not be in on, so definitely be mindful of that.

With the tips above and your own special take on a game filled evening, your game nights will turn into an event that your friends will spend the week looking forward to. Play well and have fun!

What are your favorite games? What are your tips for hosting game nights? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Shake The Holiday Time Stress – Plan Ahead!

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Shake The Holiday Time Stress – Plan Ahead!

Hi! While the holiday season can be the most wonderful time of the year, it can also be the most stressful. All you have to do is visit a store in October to know that the countdown to the holidays are fast approaching because Christmas decorations have taken over. Some people may thrive on leaving holiday preparations to the last minute and that is okay! But it is so not me and if that doesn’t work for you, either, try the tips below to sail smoothly into the holiday season:

Start Shopping Now:

One of the best ways to shake the holiday stress is, of course, starting your shopping early. In fact, I know some people who start shopping for the next Christmas with the end of season sales in January! You don’t need to be this extreme but shopping a few months in advance is a must. This will eliminate any anxiety about if your packages will arrive before your celebrated holiday. It also provides for extra time to return damaged or not as good as you thought presents.

Shopping in advance doesn’t just ensure that all of your prezzies will get to their designated giftee in a timely manner – it is better on your wallet too. Breaking up your buying between several months will also get rid of the stress of a huge credit card bill come January first!

Sort Out The Spread:

Maybe your holiday stress stems from having to prepare a big meal for the family and your guests. Although you can’t buy your food way in advance, there are some things that you can do now. How about sending invites to your holiday dinner that people have to RSVP to? Don’t forget to ask about any allergies! This way, you will know who all will be in attendance so you don’t end up cooking way too much or too little.

Once you have a firm idea of who is joining your holiday dinner and their food preferences, you can plan out your spread accordingly. It might not hurt to have some back up recipes in place just in case you can’t get your hands on a ham or turkey at the grocery store.

Know When To Excuse Yourself:

If you have a strained relationship with a family member or guest at your Christmas gathering, this can be a HUGE stressor. Develop a plan now for what you can do to protect your mental health if this is the case for you and practice it. This could be sticking with the cool cousins for the gathering, arriving after a triggering person has left, or simply knowing when to step away to compose yourself. You have every right to an enjoyable time and having a plan thought out prior to the big day will add a sense of security since you won’t have to wing responses or reactions on the spot.

The holiday season is a joyous time but can it be stressful? Big time. Plan ahead now to eliminate the mad dash feel. Then, when everything is in place: Sit back and relax – you have earned it! ❤

What are your holiday season stressors? How do you prepare for a family gathering? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Crunch Time!

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Crunch Time!

Hello! The countdown for my wedding is on and I definitely feel like I am in crunch time now. And, mind you, this is just for a super small ceremony – I couldn’t imagine the stress that soon to be married people feel for a big wedding! Thankfully, if there’s one thing that Lil Red loves to do, it’s plan and Johnny and I are constantly checking things off of our wedding to do list. In fact, I was able to cross three things off in just one day.

This past week, I got halfway through with removing all of the horrible and heinous disk sequins from my wedding dress. It is a night and day improvement with just having the top half completely sequin free and it is so worth the painstaking, time consuming effort. Later that afternoon, Johnny and I went to the courthouse to get our marriage license application sorted so that is all good to go which is very exciting!

After going to the courthouse, I treated myself to brand new jewelry for the four studs in my nose at Lucid Body Piercing. I never change the jewelry in my nose so my crystal studs were looking incredibly dingy and that just won’t do for my wedding day. The professionals at Lucid were able to hook me up with slightly bigger studs with a disk backing, which means a little more bling and no more screw posts forever getting tangled. 😀

Once my jewelry was selected, the owner of the studio, Alex, put them all in for free and it was such an amazing experience because he is so skilled and knowledgeable. We had many a laugh while he swapped my studs out and when we weren’t chit chatting, he thoroughly explained what he was doing which made me feel so comfortable. After my wedding, I am playing around with going back to the shop for a potential new nose piercing. Just being in a piercing studio to have jewelry changed out was enough to have the body mod bug come back biting!

Mine and Johnny’s wedding check list is winding down and soon, we will have nothing left to do but wait for our big day. I have really enjoyed doing the wedding preparations with my fiance and I can’t wait to get married! ❤

What helps you stay organized? Are there any new piercings or tattoos in your future? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Wedding Dress Delight

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Wedding Dress Delight

Hello! My nontraditional wedding dress was ordered online and I am in love! The best part about my wedding dress, however, was the time I got to spend with my mom in the process of getting it just right. Because Johnny and I are having such a small ceremony, there really wasn’t much planning involved that our loved ones could participate in. So, it was really important to me to have my mom and sister there for the things that didn’t require Johnny and I just sitting in our apartment talking lol.

My sister came with me for my makeup test run and it was wonderful to have her company and expertise. For my wedding dress, my mom came with me to every appointment at a local dry cleaner who also specializes in alterations. From getting my initial measurements taken to the actual alteration session and a final try on when picking it up, JANE was there for it all. This was incredibly special to me and it was really exciting for us both to see the end results of what we had been imagining for my dress all along.

The alteration aspect of my wedding dress is absolutely perfect in every way and I can’t wait to show all of you what it started from to how it turned out after Johnny and I are married, of course! However, there is still a fair amount of work to do because my dress is covered in completely heinous disk sequins that need removed. Had I realized that the sequins were a thing, I would have requested to not have them in my customization notes but they blended into the dress in the picture and were not visible. -_-

Lucky for me, the sequins can be removed easily but it is a very time consuming task! Over the weekends and on my days where I arrive home early from work, I plan on setting aside at least twenty minutes each evening until my dress is sequin free. In my first go at it, I was able to take off at least fifty sequins and the front bodice is already almost halfway done.

My mom will not see my dress in its sequin free glory until the actual wedding and I cannot wait to see her reaction to it because I know it’s going to be even better than she remembers! And I am always going to remember our time spent together to get my wedding dress prepared for my big day. ❤

What are some special memories from your wedding? What alterations did your wedding apparel need? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Smile!

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Smile!

Hi!! Johnny and I have a lot to smile about and I am so excited for all of our upcoming adventures. We recently got fully vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine and are looking forward to a much more active summer than last year! We also recently got engaged and have really been enjoying planning our nuptials. Our wedding will be short, sweet, and small so the ceremony didn’t need much thought but our outfits most definitely did! We have even begun making plans for our honeymoon, hopefully, next year. 😀

Getting vaccinated has lifted our cloud of constant anxiety significantly and while we will always err on the side of caution, it has felt so good to do things we never would have considered at the start of the pandemic. For example, when my brother and his family came to visit from Georgia, we all went to the zoo and ate at a restaurant. That was mine and Johnny’s first big outing since March nineteenth of last year and it was a blast. Spending time in public with my whole family is what I have been waiting for for so long and not experiencing crippling fear the whole time was the cherry on top!

Returning to some semblance of normal has felt like coming home after a long vacation. What never will be normal, however, is my fiance’s process when it comes to taking selfies with me! Lol, I swear getting a regular, smiling picture with Johnny can be like pulling teeth but it always makes me laugh until we snap just the right pic:

^^^ He loves me! 😀

Every day with Johnny is the best day and I feel so thankful for all of the wonderful things we have to smile about. ❤

What are you looking forward to this summer? What can always make you smile? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Planning An Eco-Friendly Funeral

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Planning An Eco-Friendly Funeral

It’s becoming increasingly common for people to plan their own funerals. With the price of events like this skyrocketing in recent times, it makes sense that people don’t want to burden their loved ones with a huge bill. Whether you’re going through a funeral care company or want to plan the whole thing yourself, making sure that your final send-off is good for the environment is a great way to approach an issue like this. To help you get started, this post will be exploring some of the key areas that you will need to consider:

The Location:

The location you choose for your funeral is very important, with many people wanting this ceremony to take place somewhere meaningful to them. Whether you choose the town you grew up in or the city you lived in for most of your life, it always makes sense that the location you pick won’t force your guests to make massive journeys. Having a funeral local to most of your guests is likely to be nice and easy, as most people’s fondest memories are in the areas where their friends and family are.

Burial Vs. Cremation:

Many people like the idea of being buried, though this option isn’t as environmentally friendly as cremation. While coffins and bodies can break down over time, this can take many years and this process isn’t always good for the ground when there are a lot of people buried close to one another. This method also takes a lot of space. Cremation can be a much better option, with the ashes that are leftover being good for the ground if you bury them properly. Cremation urns tend to be more affordable than proper coffins, too.

The Donations:

People will almost certainly want to make donations to a cause that you support when you pass away. This gives everyone one last chance to honor your memory, all without having to go over the top. Choosing charities or initiatives that do things like planting trees can be a great way to leave a positive mark on the world once you’ve gone. People will be very eager to donate to causes like this.

The Transport:

Finally, it’s time to think about how you will be transported to your funeral. Hearses are generally used for this, and this is definitely the best option if you want to avoid any difficult organization. There are more and more funeral companies offering electric hearses, and this can help make your funeral transport a little better for the planet.

While it can feel morbid to focus on something like this, many people find that planning their funeral is a big weight off of their shoulders. This will get more important as you get older, as this event will draw closer and closer. This isn’t something to worry about, though; everyone has to go through this process and you’re certainly not alone!

Featured Image By: Unsplash

Projects To Work On As A Family

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Projects To Work On As A Family

A project that you work on as a family is a wonderful bonding experience that encourages team work and improving communication skills. Projects can bring siblings closer together and help teach new things to your children. In this post, we are going to look at a few projects both big and small that will create lasting memories with your loved ones. Let’s get started:

Make Something Grow:

Now is the perfect time to start thinking about a family gardening project. It will get you out into the sunshine after a long winter indoors and you will get to enjoy the fruits (and veggies!) of your labor all spring and summer long. If you can’t all agree on what should get planted or not, each family member could be assigned with their own plot of the garden to grow what they would like.

Build A Home:

One of the ultimate family projects would have to be building a home. It is not only an exciting project but will be a great exercise in learning how to compromise when planning out each room because everyone is going to have an opinion. When you have a solid idea of what you want your build to turn out like, consult with Toronto home builders or the experts in your area to turn your dream home into a reality.

Plan A Trip:

When it’s safer to travel again, a vacation or weekend getaway will be like the light at the end of the tunnel of this pandemic for your family. Once you agree on a location, things like restaurants and activities will have to be determined. Have each of your family members plan their ideal vacation day and enjoy some well deserved time off.

Art Projects:

You don’t have to be good at art to have fun doing it and a family paint or craft night will help get you in touch with your creative sides. Paint along with Bob Ross or look for inspiration for canvas art on Pinterest. Or, maybe you could all learn a skill together like macrame, woodworking, or pottery. Creating some artwork as a family could even turn into a home decorating project next!

Learn A New Language:

Learning a different language is so beneficial and it’s a cool project to work on as a family because you will always have someone to practice with. Sign up for some classes at the library or your local community center. You can also practice on Duolingo together. Foreign film movie nights and trying to cook some of the food that is traditional to the language you are learning is a must too.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet and the ideas above will give you something exciting and meaningful to do together as a family. Have fun!

4 Steps For The Perfect Movie Marathon

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4 Steps For The Perfect Movie Marathon

When you’re in lock down, you have to constantly think of new ways to entertain yourself. Many people have taken up new hobbies, such as baking, gardening, or arts and crafts. These are excellent ways to keep your creative juices flowing and take your mind away from the harsh realities of the global situation.

But if none of these activities appeals to you, nothing beats the simple pleasure of watching a good film. An excellent way to keep your household entertained in lock down is to throw a family movie night. A chance to recreate the currently inaccessible cinematic experience in your own home, watching film after film with the lights off and surrounded by endless buckets of popcorn.

Anyone can have a movie marathon; you don’t need a 75-inch TV screen or a home cinema. As long as you have a selection of films and something to watch them on, you’re all set. To get your night off to a good start, here are the four steps of planning the perfect movie marathon.

Figure out your set-up:

The very first thing you need to do is set up the technology required. What will you be using to watch the film? The bigger the screen you use, the better the experience will be, so opt for a TV over a laptop or tablet if possible. If you have the budget for it, you could enlist electrical contractor services to help you install a home entertainment system and surround-sound speakers, but it’s not essential. You can make do with what you have.

Pick the movies:

The crucial decision for your movie marathon is deciding what to watch. Although you can choose anything you like, the best movie marathons follow a theme: a common element linking each one of the movies you pick. This could be watching all the films in a series, such as the Lord Of The Rings movies or the Twilight saga. Alternatively, it could feature films by a single director. If you are watching with the whole family, it’s hard to find something for everyone, so you could keep all viewers happy by getting each person to pick one of the films.

Get some snacks:

It’s not a movie marathon without something to munch on while you watch. Popcorn is a must-have and you’ll need some fizzy drinks too. If you’re planning on going through the night, you might need some caffeinated beverages on standby! Make sure there is something for everyone and you’ve covered all dietary requirements. You should try to refrain from including noisy foods like potato chips, as these will distract from the film.

Make it comfortable:

The final step is to make the room as comfortable and atmospheric as possible. Turn the lights down low, set the heating or air conditioning to a cozy temperature, and turn off phones and other distractions. Make sure there are plenty of blankets and pillows for everyone to find a comfortable position but don’t make it too comfy or you might not stay awake to the end!

You can’t go wrong with a movie night to help shake the boredom blues. Turn your living room into the movie theater and enjoy!

Featured Image By: Pixabay

Simple Tips To Improve Your Mornings

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Simple Tips To Improve Your Mornings

Hello! Every day seems like twenty-four more hours of the exact same thing: Wake up, work, relax, repeat. It can be hard to spring out of bed every day with a pep in your step when things are so monotonous but that doesn’t mean you can’t try. Starting your morning out strongly means that you have a better chance of keeping the momentum going all day, which can definitely help improve a blah mood! To get your day going on the right foot, keep the following in mind:

Don’t hit the snooze:

No one is more guilty of hitting the snooze button than me but I really am trying to work on this bad habit! Hitting the snooze button, even for just five minutes will already be pushing your morning back which makes the pre-work rush even more frantic. As soon as your alarm goes off, shrug off your blankets and get yourself moving. If you are feeling sleep deprived, it’s better to go to bed earlier than bank on those extra five to ten minutes every morning that leave you scrambling around the house so you can leave for work on time.

Have something to eat:

Some people are just not breakfast people and that’s okay – no one is saying you need an elaborate breakfast spread every morning. But, it’s important to try eating a little something before you start your day. We need the extra energy to help get us through until lunch time and your morning is really going to drag if all you can think about is how hungry you are. Have yogurts or breakfast bars handy at home so you can have a quick bite before work. You will have plenty of time to do so if you aren’t hitting the snooze!

Complete your normal morning routine:

I’m sure all of our morning routines have changed drastically since the start of the pandemic since there really is nowhere to be that requires us to get spruced up. I, myself, have tumbled into an unending cycle of leggings and hoodies. But, there is just something about completing your full morning routine, even with nowhere to be, that hits different. This might mean applying a bit of makeup, styling your hair, or shaving. Whatever it is, give it a shot. It will bring back a touch of normalcy to your day and it will be nice to feel totally work ready again.

Prepare things the night before:

Whether this be making your breakfast or lunch, prepping your paper work, or readying your outfit, it’s always better to do these things the night before. Leaving all of these random additional tasks for your work morning will only add time and stress as you start your day. Plus, if you do everything that you can to already be ready the night before, then you can hit the snooze button without it having such a negative impact! 😀

The tips above are all easy changes that you can start incorporating into your morning routine immediately so you can always wake up on the right side of the bed!

Are you a morning or night person? When do you normally get up in the morning? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Why You Should Plan For Retirement Early

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Why You Should Plan For Retirement Early

Despite how important retirement is, a lot of us leave planning to the last minute. You might plan to get around to it soon, but ‘soon’ can easily become ‘next year’, and then it’s too late. Most people don’t know how much cash they will need to retire securely, and many don’t have a pension at all. It’s never too early to plan for retirement so get started with the tips below:

When Do You Want To Retire? When Can You?

Think about your ideal retirement and look at your finances to start planning from tomorrow. This will help you to work out if there is a distance between when you want to retire and when you actually will be able to. Are you hoping for mortgage-free living in retirement or will you live in a retirement community? Do you want to enjoy your retirement with travel and restaurants? Try to work out how much you expect to spend each month.

By working out these things early, if you find you can’t reach your ideal retirement with your current finances and the rate you’re saving at, you can work out how much more you will need to set aside each month in order to actually reach your retirement goal. If you don’t get prepared, you could end up with a lot less saved up than you expected. Your goal of retiring at 60 could easily get pushed back to 65, and then 70.

Delaying Could Cost You Thousands:

If you start saving for your retirement at 30, you can save less money each year than if you start saving at 50, and still end up with the same amount in your retirement fund. Every year that you put off planning for your pension means that you will have more catching up to do later on, which is when you will likely have more outgoings, thanks to a growing family or a bigger mortgage. In the future, you won’t thank your present self for a lack of planning for your retirement.

Retiring Isn’t Always A Choice:

You might think of retirement as a milestone for later in life, but sometimes the choice of when you retire is not up to you. You might have to retire earlier than you wanted to due to poor health, a change in family circumstances, or a redundancy. There are lots of reasons that you might find yourself having to stop working earlier than you had planned to. If you don’t plan for changes of circumstances like this, there can be a lot of problems. Trying to support your family or pay your mortgage on a smaller pension than you had planned for would be a big issue.

Planning early is important when it comes to your retirement, so get started ASAP!

Featured Image By: Unsplash