June 28, 2013

You can make it through tough times...

It seems like everyone I know lately is STRESSED to the max! When you think that surely nothing else could go wrong, it does. Even if you're happy and content 90% of the time, things happen. Stress starts to get to you. Something happens and you start feeling tense. Sometimes a LOT of things happen at the same time and it gets to be too much. If things get super tough you should talk to your doctor and get some help, but for those challenging times that everyone is facing, here are some things you can do to help.

Some things you can do something about, and some things you can't. If there is something that you don't want to do that is causing you anxiety, suck it up and GET IT DONE! Make a plan to reward yourself when you have completed the task, (maybe with a little retail therapy? or a massage?) but do it. You'll feel better once it's crossed off your list!

If you have something big that you need to and you're DREADING IT, break it down into steps. Once you tackle the first one, the second item on the list is easier to do. After that, the ball is already rolling and you're just crossing moving on down the line!

Sometimes you just can't do anything about the situation. You can't change things that are out of your control and you just have to walk away for a bit and take care of yourself. In that case, here are some suggestions that you can do when you feel overwhelmed.

A hot bath and a glass of wine can work wonders! Remember that troubles will pass and if you always ALWAYS do the best that you can, then there are no regrets. Hang on tight to those that you love and please take care of yourself!

June 26, 2013

Skinny Mocha Frosty OBSESSED!

I am supposed to post a fitness tip today for week 2 of the Summer Fitness Challenge but having had a rough week of heat, humidity, storms and a power outage my workouts were nothing to write home about!

Healthy living isn't only about working out... Eating right is super important, too! I've found a frosty treat that is chocolatey, creamy, icy, gives me my caffeine fix, and has no artificial sweeteners or junky ingredients! Tastes kind of like a Wendy's Frosty but with a kick. Oh yeah... Did I mention that it only has about 100 calories in a big glass full of cool tastiness?

June 25, 2013

Preparing for a Multi-Day Power Outage

Late last week the Minneapolis area was hit with severe storms that downed thousands of trees and left 590,000 homes and businesses without power. Some are STILL without power 5 days later.

We were fortunate to have only had to go a little over 24 hours without electricity but I was shocked at how ill prepared I was to handle it.

Saturday morning - no power - no Keurig - no coffee. No big deal, right? I'll just make a quick run to Starbucks. Except that they didn't have power either. After driving around for 45 minutes trying to find someplace that had power and didn't have a line around the block, I broke down, bought some horrible gas station coffee and headed for home.

So here is my solution. It's a 3 day emergency kit for when you become URBAN AMISH like we were, but you're not a "Doomsday Prepper" and you're not preparing for the zombie apocalypse. There are a million websites out there already that can help you with that. This kit is a little more geared toward those creature comforts that we COULD go without... but we don't really want to.

  1. If you can afford it, you can skip everything else on this list by purchasing the MAC DADDY of generators for about $1,000. It will keep your house running for days! All you need is enough gas to keep it going. According to amazon.com 8 gallons of gas will keep you in business for about 10 hours at 50% usage. That means you'll need some pretty big gas cans, but even your A/C will keep on running!
  2. If you have a gas stove, you're in business! The electronic ignition might not work, so you have to carefully light the flame with a match, but you can cook inside. If you have an electric stove, you'll want to make sure that your gas grill has fuel - and if it has a side burner like this one, you can boil water to make - COFFEE!
  3. Not just any crappy instant coffee. My 3-day kit has a supply of Starbucks VIA instant coffee. Because nothing makes me crabby like the power being out and not having coffee. I guess if the power is out you probably should make sure that your bar is well stocked too. (see #14) Our power came on just after I poured a crap load of RUM into my ICEE from Taco Bell! (who had a giant generator powering their restaurant!)
  4. Battery Operated Lanterns are great because it sucks when your living room rug gets ruined from melted was being poured on it. Just make sure you have extra batteries on hand. (see #7)
  5. Yes, you should still have candles. Just in case you run out of batteries. But be careful around rugs, pets and small children.
  6. A headlamp will make sure that everyone knows that you're a total DORK but it comes in handy for things like reading, board games, using the bathroom... 
  7. Extra batteries are a total necessity because I can guarantee that if the power outage is a big one you won't be able to buy them anywhere! Shelves WILL be empty.
  8. This awesome little charger will boost your cell phone or iPad to a full charge 4 times! Totally awesome!
  9. Portable laptop chargers are super cool and will get you up and running! If you have internet you can probably even keep up with your Farm in Farmville or whatever.
  10. Keep a book around - just in case. If your Kindle runs out and your laptop is out of juice it get's really boring really fast. Something like a stupid trivia book is fun AND can help pass the sucky time.
  11. So can UNO or other games. Especially if you have kids that need to be entertained. You might try to find some other things to do that don't require electricity. Though your kids probably won't think they're fun anyhow.
  12. Gallon jugs full of water help maintain coldness in an only partially full freezer. Who knew?! Not me. My deep freeze was practically empty and if I had put some jugs of water in there, they would have kept things from defrosting much longer! 
  1. For lighting candles and for the pilot light on your gas stove - or anything else you want to burn - you'll need matches.
  2. If the outage lasts for more than 24 hours, you'll want to have a fully stocked bar at home. According to the "Modern Survival Blog" liquor is the 30th most likely thing to sell out at a store after the power goes out. It's #14 on my list. Priorities!
  3. Because when the power is out, the dishwasher doesn't work. Either you wash them by hand, or you throw them away. OR you let them pile up until the power goes back on... but that doesn't smell very good.
  4. Paper plates for the same reason. 
  5. Paper towels... yep. You don't want to clean up spills with regular towels and have them sitting there wet and stinky until the power comes on and you can wash them. Paper towels all the way!
  6. You'll want to have easy access to a pair of work gloves and
  7. some trash bags. In case there is anything dangerous in your yard or if you need to clean up some broken glass, etc. 
  8. And finally, you'll want to make sure that you know where your first aid kit is and that you have a supply of band-aids. Again, you don't need an "end of the world" style kit... just some band-aids and some antibiotic cream in case you cut yourself.

What else would you add to the list? Besides a VISA card to go stay in a fine hotel with room service! Here are those items again in one collage for pinning:

June 19, 2013

Follow me! The end of Google Reader

I have enjoyed the last 4 months as a new blogger more than I ever imagined, and the response to "A Beautiful Little Life" has been completely overwhelming. Google analytics is showing 9,500 pageviews in the last month!

You probably already know that Google Reader is going away at the end of June. So how do we stay in touch? I, personally, have transferred all of the blogs I follow over to Feedly, but I also have checked out Bloglovin' and it's good, too!

Basically, if you click on the little envelope image at the top of the right hand column, you'll get redirected to Feedly. If you click the little plus sign, you get redirected to Bloglovin'. You can also follow on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn!

Summer Exercise Challenge - Yoga for Beginners

I teamed up with a few other bloggers to pull together a "Summer Exercise Challenge" - mostly to motivate myself to stay active - but also to help others discover some new ways to stay fit!

Jenny at The Cutest Curliest blog already posted her Monday fitness check-in and she did a week of BLOGILATES! What the heck is it? You'll have to check out her post and find out! She also put pics of her "before" body. NOT going to happen here, so fuhgeddaboutit!

Markell at "A Mouse in My Kitchen" is doing a 100 MILE SUMMER challenge. She has a downloadable schedule for you and some great resources, so if running is your thing, check it out!

June 17, 2013

DIY Terrarium - or Toyrarium!

This post brought to you by Miracle-Gro. All opinions are 100% mine.
I recently came across the CUTEST project to do with kids over the summer! It's making a plant terrarium, but using little toy dinosaurs, etc. to make a TOYRARIUM! It's super cute, but I don't have any little ones around, so I made a few adaptations.
I've been looking at terrariums and DIY projects on Pinterest for months and wanting to make one. When I saw how easy it was on the Miracle-Gro Facebook page, I thought I'd give it a try!  (Click here to see THEIR instructions: The Gro Project)

I started by assembling my items. I had a tall glass vase that I used in my office that I thought would be the perfect size. We have sedum growing on our retaining wall out front, so I plucked a few bits of it for my project. I have lots of white rocks that I've collected over the years from Lake Superior camping trips, AND we just bought a huge bag of Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix at Menards last week so that I could finish up my outdoor pots! That's really all you need.

Start by putting the rocks in the bottom of your vase. Enough to cover the bottom.

Fill the vase about 1/3 full with Miracle-Gro potting soil. From there, you just add your plants, gently burying the root, and add your decorative elements! Mine is a little tiny garden gnome. If you have a difficult time reaching inside the vase, you can use a long handled spoon to really get in there!

It turns out that there is a whole movement going on that I knew nothing about called "The Gro Project" and it was started by Miracle Grow. There are a TON of fun garden projects on their Pinterest page, so be sure to check it out.
But there's a lot more... On the Miracle-Gro website they have these seed pods that you can buy that grow an entire food garden with 18 different plants for $29.99. THAT is a beautiful thing for a rookie like me. They have an app where you can enter your zip code and it tells  you all about growing in your area - and on their Facebook page they have these cute FREE printables, desktop wallpaper, and tumblr / wordpress themes that you can download from The Gro Project! SO CUTE!

I hope you have as much fun with this project as I did! Now I'm headed back to Menards for LiquaFeed All Purpose Plant Food that you just attach to your garden hose to feed and water your outdoor plants at the same time AND some Shake’n Feed All Purpose Plant Food. The plant food is the BEST because it not only feeds your plants, but it keeps weeds down as well. It lasts for up to 3 months, so one shake and you're good for the entire summer! I love products that make gardening easier!
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Eyelash Update - 6 WEEKS!

You may recall that I have been using the Fysiko Eyelash Growth Serum as part of a 16 week test program. I'm 6 weeks in and have definitely noticed some changes in my lashes!

I wore mascara on Friday and my lashes were ridiculous! They were rubbing on my sunglasses so bad - I couldn't believe it!

Designer Spotlight: Nate Berkus

One of my favorite designers is Hopkins, Minnesota native, Nate Berkus.

I not only love his design aesthetic, but his philosophy as well! It doesn't hurt that he's absolutely adorable, but he has heart, too. His life has had its share of tragedy. He lost his boyfriend in Sri Lanka when the 2004 tsunami hit the Far East and he began to see things in a new way. He began to have "real empathy" as he calls it. He has no time for negativity and he values human connection, which drives his business. 

In an interview for the New York Daily News, Berkus says, "Before the tsunami, I was this golden child where nothing had ever happened to me. Life changes. We all go through tough times and good times. I genuinely want the best for people. Design is how I help, or at least how I try."

June 14, 2013

Handbags, Totes & Clutches for Summer from SUNDANCE

Summers Day Duffel
My sister calls me a bag whore. I prefer to refer to myself as a bag "collector" but I do love bags all the same. My favorite bags for summer are light and airy with lots of texture and a pop of color. I love a big beach tote, an easy cross-body bag, a bright clutch with a maxi dress... Here are a few of my favorites!

June 10, 2013

Fun Summer Scarves - Just $5.99!

Those of you who know me well know that I am a big bargain shopper. I love it when I can get something super cute for very little money. I'm obsessed with scarves. 

I love the pop of color they give to a simple tank top in the summer and how they can really dress up a knit maxi dress. When I found this line of scarves on amazon.com that had a TON of styles priced at just $5.99 each, I was super excited!

Summer Layers

With the chilly weather we've had lately, I've needed an extra layer to throw on over whatever little summery number I chose for the day. Here are a few easy pieces that you can wear all summer long to help get rid of the chill, whether it's from mother nature or from the office air conditioner.

June 8, 2013

Bird Watching or Kitty Watching?

For Mother's Day I received THE MOST awesome gift you could give a total bird nerd like me... a finch feeder with lots of their favorite food. Since then, I've enjoyed hours of bird watching - and kitty watching! 

Snowball isn't exactly a little kitty anymore. As a matter of fact, she is quite large! (we keep saying that if she grows into her tail we're going to be screwed!) She has turned into a naughty teenager that picks on Gypsy, (her big cat sister) then runs away to hide under the couch. 

Her favorite perch is a gorgeous vintage trunk that my hubby's grandfather brought with him on the boat from Sweden that sits beneath the window in our living room. (more on that trunk in a future post!) 

From there, she has a "birds-eye view" of the feeder outside. It's like kitty porn!

June 6, 2013

Create a Coffee Station

Using a simple tray that I picked up at the thrift store, I'm creating a "coffee station" in my kitchen. By pulling it all together, hopefully it will end the question, "Honey... Where's the sugar?" and we'll have everything at our fingertips first thing in the morning. When we need it the most!

Coffee Before
Coffee Station
Kitchen Corner Pretties
Completed Coffee Corner!

June 5, 2013

Work at Home Wednesday

Work at Home Wednesday

Ok. A blogger didn't really save my life last night... but I love this tee! SO cute! I would wear this EVERY Wednesday if I could!

June 4, 2013

Perfect Pixie Cuts for Summer

I am always torn between wearing my hair cropped in a super short pixie or wearing it long enough to pull back in a ponytail. I love the ease of having longer hair, but in my opinion there is nothing more chic than a woman with short hair. It just shows a certain confidence and style that never goes unnoticed!

Here are some of my favorite pixie cuts for summer, starting with the popular new asymmetrical pixie and ending with some gorgeous brides with short hair.