We all know those people. Those people who look perfectly put together. Those people who are never flustered. People who always arrive on time. Scratch that. Those people who are always early.

Yes, some people have more on their plate than others. Some people spend more time getting ready than others. And some people are just perfect. (We hate those people.) But for the majority, those that are always on time tend to follow these rules:

1 Google Maps

They LOVE Google maps, not only so that they know HOW to get to where they’re going, but so they know WHEN to leave. Google Maps will show traffic and public transportation delays, which becomes immensely helpful in determining WHEN to leave the house. But as great as Google Maps is, it’s far from perfect. In fact I don’t know anyone who can walk as fast as Google or any buses that show up on time like Google says they will. So plan accordingly and add at least 10-15 minutes to your Google Maps directions.

2 Entryway

They designate one place to leave their jacket, work bag, headphones, and any other items that are carried every day, whether at a command center or near the front door. Same goes with keys. There’s ONE spot that their keys live ALL THE TIME. They know that they will forget where they put them if it’s not in that same spot. Skip the morning drama and have these essentials right by the front door.

Top 10 ways to arrive on time to everything, including remembering where you put your keys!

3 Mornings

Speaking of morning, they skip the snooze. Yep, that’s right. The alarm goes off and they get up. Let me repeat, alarm goes off and they get up. That extra 5 minutes of not so great sleep isn’t worth starting the day off behind. Mornings are too important to snooze.

4 Scheduling

They’re not scheduled back to back to back because they know SOMETHING will run late and alter the entire day. Those people who always arrive on time likely also love to be productive and gets lots done throughout the day. Yet they know that one late meeting or traffic jam could toy with the entire day’s schedule. So they’re smart about their time. They never schedule events too close together. And if they’ve got extra time before meetings, they know how to fill it.

5 Downtime

They’re OK with downtime. Meaning that they know how to fill the time when they arrive early for a reservation or show up to a doctors appointment 15 minutes ahead of time. Not only do they know how to use that time, they use it productively. They’re updating a grocery list, they’re responding to emails on their phone, they’re cleaning out their purse.

6 Alarms

Alarms aren’t just for waking up. People who arrive on time often set alarms for important events during the day. They have an alarm letting them know when they need to leave a social gathering, when they need to call an Uber or when they need to start on a project.

7 Plan

They plan EVERYTHING. I mean EVERYTHING. Calendars aren’t just for important events. Punctual people not only show up on time, but they plan out their days. This includes travel time, down time and those not so exciting activities (think laundry). They also know that just because something is planned doesn’t mean it can’t be changed. Flexibility is key when planning out their day. Adding activities to their calendar creates the best chance of accomplishing everything they want to do.

8 Time Suck

They’re not late for events because they don’t check their email or voicemail right before they leave. They also don’t check Facebook. Let’s repeat, they don’t check Facebook right before they’re supposed to go somewhere. Whatever your guilty pleasure, what we think will only take a minute or two often sucks you in for much longer. Don’t let yourself get sucked in. Especially right before you need go to somewhere.

9 End

People who arrive on time end their tasks on time. You can’t be on time for the next activity if you linger to long on the current one. They map out their day in advance, taking time to really think about how long each activity / event will take before adding it to the calendar. And if an event starts to run long, they find a way to wrap things up.

10 The Unknown

They fill up their gas tank when it reaches 1/4 tank. Yes, I’m serious. Yes, this is tip#10. But not just the gas tank. They always have a snack with them, they keep napkins in their car. Simply put, they prevent the unknown last minute delays the best they can.

Here's our list of the top 10 things that people do who arrive on time. Incorporate these easy solutions to be punctual and organized throughout the day.

 

 

 

 




 

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I’m sharing my ultimate list of all the things I accomplished before I had my baby. It’s the list of what to do before you’re due!

The ULTIMATE list of everything you need to do before you're due! 100 things that you probaly never thought of before, but will be happy you did!

When I first found out I was pregnant, I was elated. Totally overjoyed. Then I got to work. Got to work figuring out what the heck I needed to do to prepare. I was looking for that huge laundry list. A laundry list of all the little things that I should get done before the baby is born. All the things, as a first time parent, I didn’t think of. Well, let me tell you folks …. that list didn’t exist. I looked and looked and looked. Yes, I found a couple ‘here’s 10 things you didn’t think to do before you’re due’ type lists. Which are awesome. Heck, I wrote one too.

But that huge master list didn’t exist. So I did what any crazy to do list obsessed person would do. I created my own.

A Couple Notes First

A. This list may seem a little nutty, I realize this. Most people don’t love to-do lists as much as I do. I really love them. Really. Some moms to be want to relax and kick back to enjoy their pregnancy. I. Don’t. Relax. Happiness to me equals a to do list.

B. You’ll notice that I break down some to-dos to very specific tasks. For example – plan birth announcements gets broken down to several steps including make list of everyone to send announcements to, obtain home addresses of everyone, research photographers online, select photographer, find announcements templates that I like on Minted.com, etc. I find that breaking down a project to the smallest task is the most effective way to ensure it gets accomplished. It also makes for a HUGE to do list.

C. Just because it’s on MY list doesn’t mean it needs to be on YOURS. We all have different things we want to accomplish before our baby is born. Think of this long list as inspiration and ideas to help you write your own list.

D. I organized this list based on rough categories, not by date. As you read through you’ll notice that some tasks are more appropriate to do when you first get pregnant, while others won’t happen until towards the end (installing car seat).

Enjoy!

100 Things to Do Before You’re Due

Dog Owners

1 Stock up on dog food, bones and toys. Prevent yourself from running errands after the baby is born. Plus, your pup will appreciate having some extra toys to entertain them while you’re extra busy!

2 Figure out what you’ll do with your dog when you’re in the hospital. Can friends or family watch your pup? Or utilize an overnight doggy daycare?

3 Teach your pup to ‘drop it’ …. for all those times she grabs the baby toys!

4 If there’s any shots that your dog is due to have in the near future get those taken care of. Since we were planning to send our dog, Reagan, to daycare once in week, I also made sure that we were up to date on any shots that the daycare required.

5 Reagan used to sit in the backseat when in the car, but since we’ll have the car seat in the backseat, Reagan gets upgraded to the front seat. We did a couple practice drives so that she was used to sitting up front before Declan was born.

6 Play crying baby noise to get Reagan used to it. This task is about as fun as it sounds.

7 Decide which rooms, if any, will be off limits to your dog and start enforcing it.

8 Deep clean house to hopefully get rid of as much dog dander as possible.

9 As silly as this sounds, practice walking your dog pushing your stroller. Reagan was pretty overwhelmed by the stroller so I’m glad we got her used to it ahead of time.

10 Find a blanket that you’ll wrap your baby in after he’s born to show your dog to smell before introducing baby and dog. Add this blanket to your hospital bag.

11 Dogs can get a little upset once the baby comes home as they’re getting less attention than usual. Joe & I decided that we would periodically allow Reagan to sleep our bed if we’re taking a nap and that Joe would spend extra time with her when he was off on his paternity leave.

Top list of 100 things that you should do before you have your baby! What to do before you're due!

Hospital / Medical  

12 Sign up for birthing classes at your hospital.

13 Find an OB Dr.

14 Do a trial run driving to the hospital so that you know how to get there (and know the best route).

15 Decide on a pediatrician.

16 Fill out hospital paperwork ahead of time (so that you don’t have to fill it out when you’re in labor).

17 Put doctors phone numbers in your phone (OB, hospital #, pediatrician).

18 Make a list of everything you’ll need in your hospital bag. Ask your new mommy friends what they found helpful. For the record, the hair dryer and straightener that I insisted on bringing with me were never used 🙂 .

19 About a month before your due date, start packing your hospital bag. Better to be ready as you never know when the baby will arrive.

20 Get some cute newborn outfits to put in your hospital bag for those first photos with your baby.

21 Decide if you’re going to donate your extra umbilical cord blood.

22 Decide if you want pain medication when in labor (epidural).

23 Make sure you have your spouse’s work phone number in case you go into labor during work hours. Yes, I’m embarrassed, I didn’t have Joe’s work phone number in my phone, only his cell phone.

24 Our health insurance open enrollment occurred one month before Declan was born. We spent some time determining which plan would be best for us after Declan was born (there were over 8 plans to choose from). Yes, once he’s born we could have researched the multiple plan options then, but I was happy we spent time figuring this out beforehand. Then when Declan was born, we just added him to that plan.

25 While we’re thinking about insurance, we made sure we knew HOW to add Declan to our insurance after he was born. This made it super easy to just log on to Joe’s account (we’re on his employer insurance) to add Declan.

26 Download an app that helps track your contractions. Wat easier than watching a clock and writing it down. Plus, these days isn’t there an app for everything?

27 Inquire about circumcision process. In Seattle I learned it’s common for the OB to perform the circumcision about a week or so after the baby is born.

28 Get tdap shots. Joe and I both got ours along with my parents, as they were going to be spending a lot of time with Declan. Tdap shots can make your arm sore for a couple days and it takes a couple weeks to kick in. My doctor recommended that everyone gets a tdap by the 32nd week of pregnancy.

29 Make a list of baby medicines that are good to have on hand (email friends, google). Nothing’s worse than driving to CVS in the middle of the night for a sick baby.

30 Medical bills can be confusing. Medical bills when you’re pregnant can be overwhelming. I kept a list of every doctor appointment (big or small) and documented what occurred during the apt (Ultrasound, flu shot, etc). That way when you receive a bill, you can cross check it with your list to ensure everything looks correct (hey, hospital billing make mistakes too).

31 Download movies on your tablet to watch at the hospital. We never ended up watching the TV in our hospital room because we had enough shoes on my iPad to keep us entertained before Declan arrived.

32 Our medical bills started coming in the mail quicker than most congratulatory cards. It’s wise to have a system to track and pay for the bills as they arrive. I simply created a Google doc listing all the appointments/hospital stays/procedures along with the date and a little detail about the appointment. Then as I received bills I cross referenced with my list and marked down the date that I paid the bill.

Non Baby Related 

33 Clean out the inside of our car.

34 Get a new family room rug (our current one has SO much dog hair that just won’t get out via vacuuming).

35 Get rid of our old coffee table. It was sitting in our family room taking up space and I knew it would drive me crazy. Remember you’re going to spending a lot of time in your house. Make sure you like the space 😀.

36 Clean out fridge and freezer.

37 Stock up on stables for the home (toilet paper, paper towels, dish detergent, etc).

38 Buy gifts for any upcoming holidays, birthdays, weddings and showers. One last thing you’ll want to deal with.

39 Keep your house clean. This is an ongoing task that I tried to do every day starting three weeks prior to my due date. My rational was that I didn’t want to come home after delivering a baby to a dirty house.

40 Do laundry before it starts piling up (for the same reasons as above).

41 Pay your bills and go through mail as it arrives (for the same reason as above).

42 When I first found out I was pregnant I started nesting. And by nesting I mean some serious purging of stuff I just don’t need anymore. And there’s over 100 things we didn’t need anymore.

43 I did another home purge session in my 3rd trimester after we had most of our baby items.

The largest list of tasks to accomplish before you have your baby!

Nursery / Baby Registry 

44 Research and buy crib. We bought this one because of the extra storage at the bottom.

45 Put the crib together. Set aside a couple hours. This is NOT a one person job.

46 Order breast pump. Mine took a while to ship so it’s best to get this ordered before the baby arrives. Most insurance will cover this.

47 Once we found out the gender, I decided on the nursery theme and put together a collage of ideas.

48 Wash all baby clothes and blankets with dye free detergent before organizing and hanging up.

49 Buy baptism outfit.

50 Buy fragrance and dye free detergent. There’s detergent marketed specifically for babies, but we bought generic fragrance and dye free bottle.

51 Decide the initial sleeping arrangement for you, your spouse and baby. It’s recommended that the baby sleeps in your room at the beginning (and it makes it a heck of a lot easier for night feedings).

52 Make sure baby bed is ready to sleep in, whether that’s a crib, pack & play, bassinet or co-sleeper. We used this pack & play which I can’t recommend enough. It has a bassinet attachment for the early months and is relatively small in size so it doesn’t take up too much space.

53 Clean all the baby toys you have (we were given lots from friends and bought some second hand).

54 Test out all baby toys to make sure they’re working with new batteries. Just a warning: there will be a time (many times) that you’ll wish the batteries ran out!

55 Install car seat. Joe is WAY better at this than I am. Make sure your car is parked on a flat surface before installing. The street we live in is on a hill so we had to drive to the grocery store to install ours. Learn from our mistake: watch a YouTube video on installing a car seat before you try yourself!

56 Get blackout blinds for the nursery. (Note, we never got this accomplished before the baby was born. Another rookie mistake. So we ended up buying these temporary ones that might not be so temporary 🙂 )

57 Make clothes hanger labels for baby clothes. Both totally unnecessary and necessary at the same time. (I bought these on Etsy)

58 Organize all baby clothes by size. Make sure newborn sizes are the most easily accessible.

59 Ask friends about their favorite baby items (stroller, monitor, carrier, etc) to go on your baby registry. I relied heavily on recommendations from friends.

60 Decide where to register (we chose Amazon and Target). Both give you free gifts for registering. I’m a sucker for free 😀.

61 Create your baby registry. We registered on Amazon and Target.

62 Closer to your due date and as more items on your registry get purchased, add some additional items that you’ll need when your little one gets a little older. If you don’t have enough items on your registry you’re just asking for people to buy you stuff that you may not need.

63 Purchase thank you cards. You’ll be getting a lot of gifts 😀.

64 Also buy postage stamps (for thank you cards and baby announcements).

65 Make a list of gifts you receive and who gave them to you. I made a Google doc and shared with Joe so we could both enter the information.

66 Using my google doc, I kept up to date on sending thank you cards by writing them weekly. I knew once the baby was born I would likely get behind writing thank yous.

67 Determine how many baby clothes you want to have of each size (newborn, 3 month, 6 month, etc). There’s no magic number. I think it’s good to get an idea of how much you want. I went a little nuts and created a spreadsheet to track how many pieces of clothing we were receiving at each size. #notnecessary

68 Sign up for Amazon Family. It’s free and you get discounted baby stuff.

69 Stock up on diapers. You’ll go through these way faster than you can imagine. We had a lot of size 1, but not as many newborn size as we heard that babies outgrow the newborn size quickly.

70 Stock up on other supplies for baby (wipes, diaper cream, baby shampoo, etc).

71 Instead of buying a sound machine I installed this app on my iPhone and iPad. We really didn’t end up needing to use sound that much for Declan to go to sleep so I was glad we didn’t end up buying a sound machine.

72 If you’re breastfeeding, make sure you’ve got the essentials: creams, breastfeeding bras, bra pads, etc. you won’t want to be running around to baby stores to pick these items up after the baby is born.

So many things to do before you're due!

Family / Visitors

73 With your spouse, decide when you want family to come visit. My parents were in town when Declan was born and Joe’s parents came a week later. We were SO grateful for the help and wished they could have stayed longer.  On the contrary some of our friends chose to wait a couple weeks or months before family visits.

74 If family will be coming shortly after your child is born, stock up on things your family members will like. Think groceries, toiletries, prepare guest room, clean the guest bathroom, etc. While your family is likely coming to help, it’s nice to have the essentials for them when they arrive.

75 If you’ll be baptizing your baby, decide who the god parents will be.

76 If family is going to be visiting with you for a while, consider asking them to get a tdap shot.

77 Work with your church to schedule baptism. Our church had a short class we needed to take ahead of time.

78 Find a fun way to tell your family that you’re pregnant. I took this opportunity to make a cute little DIY.

79 Make a list of friends and family to inform once the baby is born. I went as far as to prep an email and save as a draft with all the email addresses I wanted to send it to. Then all I needed to do was attach some photos and add Declan’s measurements and date before going hitting send.

80 Talk to your partner about when you’ll want visitors (local friends & family) after the baby is born, keeping in mind that your opinion may change drastically once the baby arrives, but it’s good to chat about it ahead of time. We ended up having a lot of our friends come visit shortly after Declan was born (mostly because we wanted some non baby adult conversation), but I’ve heard that many parents need a couple weeks to get adjusted.

Baby Announcements / Thank Yous / Photos 

81 Select a baby announcement design. I ordered this one from minted.com.

82 Ask local friends for photographer recommendations.

83 Book a photographer for newborn photos or see if your hospital has a photographer on site.

84 Find photo example ideas for your photographer. Pinterest is a great place to look for newborn photo inspiration.

85 Make a list of everyone that you want to send baby announcements to. Get a list from your spouse, your parents and your in-laws.

86 Obtain mailing addresses for everyone you want to send an announcement to.

87 If you’re thinking of taking monthly photos of your baby, come up with the photo ideas / theme. Again, Pinterest has some great inspiration.

the most detailed list of things to do before you're due!

Miscellaneous 

88 Find an app to use to track baby feeding & sleeping (We use Baby Connect and love it. We chose not to track sleep, but we track feeding and diapers.)

89 Make a list of potential baby names. Both first and middle names. We waited until we knew the gender before Joe and I made our lists.

90 Decide in baby’s name!

91 Maybe a little silly, ok a lot silly, reserve an email address for your kiddo. Email addresses go quick. Especially gmail.

92 Sign up for a moms group to attend after your baby is born. If you can’t find one by doing a quick Google search, ask you OB for recommendations.

93 Determine how much time you and your spouse are taking off of work.

94 Make a list of child care options for when you go back to work. In Seattle, most daycares have huge waitlists so it’s best to start this process early.

95 Tour daycare options. You’ll want to tour any facility that you’re considering.

96 Finalize child care.

97 Make diaper changing stations around your home. We have a three story townhouse so to prevent having to run up and down the stairs we packed diaper changing supplies in baskets and placed one on each floor.

98 Two words: freezer meals. Now I don’t typically love frozen casseroles, but post baby is no time to become a gourmet chef.

99 Put extra baby supplies in your car just in case! Think diapers, outfit change, wipes, formula.

100 Make a list of things you need to do right after the baby is born. My list included: schedule first pediatrician apt, schedule circumcision, add Declan on to our insurance, confirm photo session. All of these items depended on WHEN Declan was actually born. It was nice to have a list handy since I really wasn’t thinking about all this stuff the day he was born!

and one more just because ….

101 I wanted to remember all the little things that Declan started to do – when he first started opening his eyes, sleeping through the night, rolling over, etc.  The easiest way for us to document these things was through a shared Google Doc. I denoted each week with the dates and then list interesting things that happened that week (ex. Week 8 June 24th).

 

And that’s it! Everything I did before our son was born. I’d love to hear what you did to prepare before you’re due! List any of your to-do’s in the comments!

The ULTIMATE list of everything you need to do before you're due! 100 things that you probaly never thought of before, but will be happy you did!

 

 

 

 

 





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This morning I spent some time checking out all my favorite stores finding the best Labor Day deals on organization, storage and cleaning supplies.

 

I was disappointed at the lack of steals at some stores,  but pleasantly surprised with the Labor Day sales at others (Hello Ebay!). Along with the expected discount on great summer seasonal items, there were some good finds on baskets, trays and storage solutions.

After several hours of online shopping, I bring you my favorites! #yourewelcome #shoppedtillIdropped

Enjoy!

 

Ebay

Use code P20LABORDAY to get an additional 20% off $25 or more.
1. I’m a big fan of any kitchen bowls that have lids.
2. Yep, a really big fan.
3. One less excuse not to eat a salad.
4. I’m also big fan of vertical storage. Anything that maximizes the wall space is on the top of my list.

CB2

All shelving is 20% off!

5. For those of us without a ton of extra space for an office, wall desk units are a great option. This one is the prettiest I’ve seen, both opened and closed.

6. All CB2’s patio furniture covers are heavily marked down. You definitely don’t need to own CB2 furniture to use their covers. Just check the measurements of your furniture and make sure the cover is at least the same size (or bigger).

Walmart

End of summer sale with huge discounts on all the typical ‘summery’ items.

7. If you’re in the market for a new vacuum, this is a steal!

8. I typically don’t think of Walmart as the location for sheds, but they’ve got great variety and lots are on sale now. We’re debating on getting one for the side of our townhouse. 

9. I like all my bins to match so I love this set of 4. It’s a great deal to store all your off season items – holiday decorations, clothes, etc. 

Target

30% off home items, plus an extra 15% off with code LABORDAY. Plus free shipping on order $35 and over.

10. We use these 3 of these baskets for under the couch storage (aka baby toy storage). Long, wide, and short baskets make easy storage under the couch or bed.  

11. Instead of a shoe rack, we use this round basket with handles to drop our extra shoes at the front door. Returning shoes to our bedroom closet becomes so much easier with a basket with handles!12. And this one is just fun. And of course, on sale.

West Elm

Use the code ‘HUGESALE’ to get free shipping on your order. Discounts range from 15-30% off.

13. Just because summer’s over, doesn’t mean that this tablet speaker won’t come in handy!

14. Those of us with small entryways always benefit from utilizing vertical wall space. West Elm has quite a few contemporary options.

Overstock

Up to 70% off of a HUGE slection. Sign up for their newsletter and get an additional 12% off.

15. These dry erase wall calendars come in sizes ranging from 16×12 to 40×30. Perfect way to keep track of all the family activities.

Container Store

Their big sale is 25% off all shelving, desks and Elfa going on for a while.

16. Hey, even hoses need to be organized. 

17. Prevent phone cords from breaking with Sugru Self-Setting Rubber.

Bed Bath and Beyond

Bonus: Free shipping over $29.

18. I’m always a fan of vertical storage.

19. Easy way to separate your dirty and clean laundry while traveling.

20. And last but not least ….. Appliance Cart, but really an ‘anything’ cart. I’m envisioning Craft Cart.

Happy shopping!

 

 

 

 




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If you’ve ever wondered if smart home automation was worth it for your home, here’s everything you need to know!

You’ve probably heard the term Smart Home, but what does it mean and is your house a Smart Home?

We’ve been chatting on the blog a lot about technology and apps lately that make life easier. I’ll admit, sometimes technology can be more overwhelming than it’s worth. Other times it’s a lifesaver that we couldn’t imagine living without. I remember when the Iphone first came out. The idea of apps seemed totally unnecessary and completely confusing. Now a day doesn’t go by that I’m not using dozens of the apps on my phone.

Smart home automation is on the rise and for good reason. Not only does it streamline and simplify life, but it can even keep your home safe. Here’s everything you need to know:

What is Smart Home Automation?

A smart home lets you control your home using your smart phone, whether you are on vacation, at work, or just sitting in your bed. Implementing smart home technology for a rookie simply means adding more automation and scheduling than you previously had. Imagine lights scheduled to turn on when you’re out of town; a security system that notifies you if it detects movement when you’re out; and an air conditioning system that you can control over the Internet.

Yes, it might sound a little like The Jetsons, but didn’t we all secretly want to live in a home like that?

The Hive Welcome Home System has all the essentials to make your home a Smart Home:

  • Hive Hub – Hive Hub plugs into a broadband router to see and control the Hive ecosystem of products from a smartphone, tablet or laptop
  • Active Thermostat™ – A clever way to control heating and cooling, at home or from your smartphone
  • Active Light™ – Switch lights on and off, set schedules, and dim lights from a smartphone with Hive Active Light™ bulbs
  • Active Plug™ – Turn electrical appliances like an iron, radio or lamp on and off, from anywhere at anytime
  • Window or Door Sensors – Clever wireless sensors send alerts to a smartphone if windows or doors are opened or closed
  • Motion Sensor – Clever wireless sensor sends an alert to your smartphone if there’s movement in your home

Real Life Examples

Sounds neat, right? But when would I actually use it, you may wonder. I know; that was my first thought. While the uses are plentiful, here’s some examples of how I’ve been using my home automation: On a regular basis, I leave our home and worry that I left an appliance plugged in. Whether the iron, hair straightener or Christmas lights, it’s an awful feeling. ‘I think I turned it off. No that was yesterday. No, No, I’m pretty sure I turned it off. What’s the worst that would happen if I left the straightener on all day? Ugh. OK I need to turn around and drive home.’ Sound familiar? I use the Hive Active Plugs™ on these appliances. This allows me to confirm the appliances are turned off even AFTER leaving the house in the morning. And if I forgot, all I need to do is press a button on my phone to turn them off!

Before leaving for vacation, I make a list of tasks to prepare for the trip. Doing laundry and cleaning dishes before leaving allows us to come home to a clean house, which is always nice. I often ask a neighbor to grab any packages we receive at our door (hello, Amazon!) and I turn on several lamps throughout our home to make it appear that we’re home at night. By using the Hive Active Light™ to schedule lights to turn on (and off) throughout our home during vacation, it automatically gives the appearance that we’re home.

I also activate the Hive Motion Sensor which sends an alert to my phone if there’s movement in our home (aka if someone breaks in).

It’s no secret that Seattle gets a LOT of rain. The rainy season is long, but the temperatures are mild. It’s not uncommon for a spring or fall day to be warm enough to keep the windows open. While it’s typically not a huge deal for the windows to be open while it’s raining, I do like them shut when I leave the house.

Did I remember to shut the windows before I left the house to run errands? I can never remember.

Hive Window or Door Sensors lets me know if I have a door or window open. Now don’t judge, but I use this feature BEFORE I leave the home. Having a 3-story townhouse, the last thing I want to do as I’m about to leave the house is head all the way up to the third floor to make sure the windows are closed. I simple check the Hive app on my phone to see! #lazygirlhack

Installation

Now I’ll admit it. While I LOVE technology and any gadgets that make life easier, I’m typically awful at the setup of most electronics. Setting up our entire home with Smart House automation seemed more like a job for my husband, Joe. To my surprise, the Hive Welcome System was all set up in less than 30 minutes by …. ME! Super easy and very intuitive. Just grab your Welcome Box, router, computer & smart phone and follow the instructions online.

Once set up, it’s easy to customize based on your needs:

Sample of some of the customization and notification options available:

It’s easy to manage straight from your phone:

So is it worth it?

In a word …

YES

In a couple more words ….

Energy efficiency

Money saving

Home security

Convenience

If you’ve ever been interested in Smart Home Automation, Hive has you covered:

  • Easy, self-install approach (so easy, even I could do it!)
  • Low monthly subscription rates
  • Service features such as access to the Hive mobile app, on-demand customer service and ongoing warranty
  • Makes your daily life easier and a whole lot less stressful (never worry about whether you left your hair straightener on again!)
  • Unique features can double as a security system for your home!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Hive. The opinions and text are all mine.

Smart Home Automation 101 - Your one stop shop to learning everything about automating your home straight from your phone!

 

 

 

 




 

 

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If you've got 5 minutes, you'll love this quick and easy solution to remove pilling from your favorite outfit. This smart DIY hack will save you big bucks!

Yes, this photo below is what a pair of my leggings used looked like. And I wore them. Alot. They’re maternity pants that were NOT cheap, but felt cheap after a couple wears. Pilling started almost immediately. But I continued to wear them … because well working from home every day, I’ve been known to wear a lot worse.

I told Joe, my husband, how frustrated I was that these expensive maternity pants were pilling after wearing them a handful of times and he laughed saying ‘I thought that was how they were supposed to look.’ #wardrobefail

If you've got 5 minutes, you'll love this quick and easy solution to remove pilling from your favorite outfit. This smart DIY hack will save you big bucks!

Happy to tell you that I was able to find a solution that didn’t involve throwing good money down the drain. Yes, it’s possible to remove pilling on your own! But as I’m nearing the end of my pregnancy, I’m kicking myself for wearing these overpriced pilled ridden pants for so long without fixing them sooner. Especially considering the fix took me all of 5 minutes. #liveandlearn

Supplies 

  • Cheap razor (the cheaper the better …. like this one)
  • Paper towel
  • Lint roller 
  • Your pilled clothing!

If you've got 5 minutes, you'll love this quick and easy solution to remove pilling from your favorite outfit. This smart DIY hack will save you big bucks!

Remove Pilling

The first thing I did was iron my pants. Although it’s not essential, I was a little nervous that shaving my pants would rip the fabric. Well, this ended up not being an issue at all, but I’m a ‘better safe than sorry’ type of gal.

Save your good razors for your legs. Seriously. Skip the fancy ones that have the moisture strips or soap bars on the side (it will actually cause more pilling than it will remove). A cheap no frills razor will be most effective. Just make sure it’s a sharp new one.

Pull the fabric taut with one hand and lightly shave one section at a time. This will prevent you from cutting through the garment.

If you've got 5 minutes, you'll love this quick and easy solution to remove pilling from your favorite outfit. This smart DIY hack will save you big bucks!

As the razor gets full (and it will quickly!), wipe it off with a paper towel. This mound of pilling was just the beginning!

If you've got 5 minutes, you'll love this quick and easy solution to remove pilling from your favorite outfit. This smart DIY hack will save you big bucks!

I found it easier to place my garmet on a hard surface whiling shaving it instead of carpet.

Now not all the pilling stuck onto the razor so I also rolled a lint roller over the paints to collect the remains.

If you've got 5 minutes, you'll love this quick and easy solution to remove pilling from your favorite outfit. This smart DIY hack will save you big bucks!

Depending on how much pilling there is, it make take you a quick minute or a little longer to get your garmet back to it’s original state. Do as I say and not as I do …. don’t wait too long to tackle this project after you see pilling on your clothes!

If you've got 5 minutes, you'll love this quick and easy solution to remove pilling from your favorite outfit. This smart DIY hack will save you big bucks!

Prevent Pilling

Even though this was a pretty simple little project, it’s always best to try to prevent pilling from starting in the first place:

  • Turn your garments inside out before washing and drying.
  • Liquid laundry detergent is more gentle on clothing, as is using the gentle cycle (duh)!
  • When possible, hang dry your clothes instead of using the dryer. The dryer is the big pilling culperate.
  • Make sure not to overload your washer. Cramming too many garmets in prevents the from moving around and causes damage to the surface.

May your expensive clothes continue to look EXPENSIVE and hopefully pilling never goes in style!

If you've got 5 minutes, you'll love this quick and easy solution to remove pilling from your favorite outfit. This smart DIY hack will save you big bucks!

 

 

 

 




 

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Disclosure: This shop, Tips to Cope with Pet Allergies, has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ForgetAllergies #CollectiveBias

Top surprising things you can do to deal with pet allergies. I was allergic to our new puppy and these solutions saved the day! Dog allergies are no fun!

Top surprising things you can do to deal with pet allergies. I was allergic to our new puppy and these solutions saved the day! Dog allergies are no fun!

When we brought our little doberman, Reagan, home last year, I was so proud of all the preparation we had done ahead of time. (You can read all about it here.) The to-do lists, the products and planning: I was convinced that we had thought of it all. And for the most part we did. Except one crucial thing – what if Joe or I was allergic? We both had light allergies in the past, so a pet allergy was definitely a possibility. Yet, in all the excitement of bringing home Reagan, we brushed passed the idea that our adorable little puppy could cause some serious allergies.

We needed something to combat those allergies. Not all allergy medicine is created equal. Like it’s name implies, Xyzal® Allergy 24HR provides relief of sneezing, runny nose, itchy watery eyes, nose and throat for 24 hours! (It’s as effective at hour 24 as hour one and is full prescription strength.) I love that it is available over the counter at CVS and that it starts working in 60 minutes. I take one before I go to bed at night to give me all night, all day allergy relief. Taking one each night creates better continuous symptom relief….. ideal for those with a pet allergy.

Top surprising things you can do to deal with pet allergies. I was allergic to our new puppy and these solutions saved the day! Dog allergies are no fun!

We absolutely fell in love with Reagan from the first day we brought her home. Since I work from home, I got acquainted with her VERY quickly as we spent a LOT of time together. After about 3 weeks, I could tell I was starting to develop allergies. Oh boy! I was so worried what this meant for our newest member of the family. Worst case scenarios of having to bring Reagan back to the breeder crossed my mind daily.

Top surprising things you can do to deal with pet allergies. I was allergic to our new puppy and these solutions saved the day! Dog allergies are no fun!

My initial panic faded quickly as I started looking for solutions. Through suggestions from friends, discussions with our vet and a couple internet searches, I came up with a solid plan of attack. Here’s what worked for me:

1 Reagan gets a good brushing each and every day …. but not from me. Joe takes her outside to brush her each morning to remove the dander without bringing it into the house.

2 I noticed from the first day we brought Reagan home, the house now got a little dirtier faster than before. Dirt and pet hair would pile up on the rugs much quicker than I expected. This was motivation enough for me to increase my vacuuming frequency.

3 Regular use of over the counter allergy medication is key for me! Each night before I go to bed, I take Xyzal, that gets me through the next day!

4 Just like during cold & flu season, I wash my hands more often than usual. I’m also more diligent about keeping my hands away from my face (specifically my eyes).

5 We learned quickly that Reagan didn’t appreciate a spa day as much as I do. Most dogs probably do not need to be washed weekly, but our vet recommended a weekly bath using either hypoallergenic or oatmeal based dog shampoo. It was nice to have a clean puppy and also helped remove a lot of the dander from her skin. This is another task that Joe handles for me.

Top surprising things you can do to deal with pet allergies. I was allergic to our new puppy and these solutions saved the day! Dog allergies are no fun!

6 We didn’t have intentions of allowing Reagan to roam free throughout our entire townhouse, but planned to evaluate as she got older (and better behaved). Once my allergies occurred, we designated the master bedroom and office as dog free zones. The last thing I needed was to be laying in bed with dog dander surrounding me!

7 HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters have been popular for many years. Since we were in the market for a new vacuum, we purchased one with a built in HEPA filtration system. It helps pick up more of the dander from the floors. We also got a small HEPA room air purifier that I periodically move from room to room.

8 Last but not least ….. CLEANING. I like to keep a clean home so I’m naturally pretty motivated to clean. Knowing that there was dog dander all around gave me any extra motivation I needed to dust and clean a little bit more regularly. It’s not the cleaning motivation I would wish on to others, but it incentivizes me to keep our house clean. I sometimes wear a white safety mask when I do deep cleaning.

Top surprising things you can do to deal with pet allergies. I was allergic to our new puppy and these solutions saved the day! Dog allergies are no fun!

Top surprising things you can do to deal with pet allergies. I was allergic to our new puppy and these solutions saved the day! Dog allergies are no fun!

I stocked up on a few key supplies to get me through the allergies:

  • Dog shampoo
  • Cleaning supplies
  • HEPA filters
  • Xyzal® Allergy 24HR is available over the counter at CVS (in the allergy & sinus section). I grabbed the 10 count, but these also come in 35, 55 and 80 counts. Remember to read and follow product labeling before using a new medicine.

 

 

Top surprising things you can do to deal with pet allergies. I was allergic to our new puppy and these solutions saved the day! Dog allergies are no fun!

 

 

 




 

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Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. All opinions are mine alone. #StopPainNow #CollectiveBias

A list of essential items to pack on your next vacation to keep up your exercise routine! You'll be surprised by some of the items we ALWAYS bring with us!

Routines have always been super important to me. Call me boring or predictable, but whether at work or home, I accomplish the most when I have a consistent game plan that I follow regularly. Over the last year I’ve learned the importance of this working from home. (It’s not as easy as it looks!)

It’s been incorporated in my life from an early age growing up competitively figure skating. The lessons I’ve learned figure skating have stuck with me for years (the discipline, long hours and dedication). Unfortunately the other thing that stuck was back pain from the constant strain put on my body over the years. Long after I retired my skates, I still deal with the pain: acupuncture, physical therapy, massage … oh I’ve tried it all. In addition, I take a pain releaver regularly, Curamin® Stop Pain Now. It’s a dietary supplement with natural ingredients that truly gets to the source of the pain (instead of just temporarily masking it).

While I’m definitely no workout or health expert, I have had my share of travel over the years (for both work and fun) and have fine tuned my process for packing. My moto has always been that a little preparation goes a long way. Knowing that I want to workout during my trips, I make sure to plan accordingly.

A list of essential items to pack on your next vacation to keep up your exercise routine! You'll be surprised by some of the items we ALWAYS bring with us!1 Workout Clothes // 2 Sunglasses // 3 Curamin® Extra Strength

1 workout clothes / Since I’m already wearing my tennis shoes on my flight, I tend to dress casual. Often workout clothes is the easiest wardrobe choice for a flight. Plus, it makes it easy to workout on a wim.

2 sunglasses / As more and more of my vacations include an Airbnb instead of a hotel, I expect to be excersising outside as opposed to a hotel gym. Keeping sunglasses on hand makes a morning jog so much more enjoyable in the sunny weather!

3 Curamin® Extra Strength / I keep a bottle in my purse so I’ve always got some on hand, but also in my workout bag to take after exercising. The last thing I want is for my workout schedule to be placed on hold because of pain. Grab yours at your local health food store, or online. Curamin® is actually the #1 selling brand and is safe, effective and non-addictive which is really important to me.

A list of essential items to pack on your next vacation to keep up your exercise routine! You'll be surprised by some of the items we ALWAYS bring with us!4 sunscreen // 5 hair ties // 6 pouch // 7 extra toiletries // 8 empty laundry bag

4 sunscreen / I’d rather exercise outside during the nice weather months than inside in a gym. Since my fair skin can barely handle the limited sun that we receive in Seattle, I always have sunscreen with me on all my warm weather trips!

5 hair ties / Nothing’s worse that searching for a hair tie after you’ve gotten all ready to workout. I keep a special stash just for my workouts so that I never forget them.

6 pouch / Sometimes you can sneak in a workout when you wouldn’t expect it. That’s why I always like to have a small pouch on me to hold so many of these exercise essentials. It prevents me from having to dig through my large suitcase for what I need .

7 extra toiletries / In addition to my standard toiletries, I like to bring some extras such as face wipes and body spray that always come in handy after a quick workout.

8 extra laundry bag / After working out, throw your sweaty clothes into a separate laundry bag to keep them from mingling with your clean clothes.

A list of essential items to pack on your next vacation to keep up your exercise routine! You'll be surprised by some of the items we ALWAYS bring with us!9 water bottle // 10 snacks // 11 plastic baggies

9 water bottle / I keep a water bottle in my carry on and fill up before a flight. It also comes in handy at the hotel instead of paying the high price for the water bottle sitting in our hotel!

10 snacks / working out on an empty stomach is always a bad idea, so I carry protein bars with me if I need a little energizer before or after my workout.

11 plastic baggies / I always keep plastic bags on hand. They seem to come in handy for SO many reasons. They’re great for storing my phone during a raining outdoor workout or portioning out snacks for the trip!

A list of essential items to pack on your next vacation to keep up your exercise routine! You'll be surprised by some of the items we ALWAYS bring with us!12 athletic shoes // 13 bag for dirty shoes // 14 headphones // 15 workout bands

12 athletic shoes / A workout essential, I typically wear my shoes on the plane. It’s so much more confortable to head through the airport in flats. Plus athletic shoes are often my bigger shoes so it saves extra room in my suitcase.

13 bag for dirty shoes / Athletic shoes too easily pick up mud and dirt while outside. While on vacation the last thing I want to do is clean my shoes. Instead, I grab a couple small dog waste bags to wrap my shoes in to keep the dirt away from my clothes.

14 headphones / Some can exercise without music, but I’m not one of those people. Very little things DEmotivate me to exercise than the lack of music!

15 workout bands / I love to bring a small workout band to incprorate additional excerices to my routine. It also makes working out right in my hotel room so easy!

 

 

What are your tips for keeping your routine while traveling?

 

 

 

 




 

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Forget which channel is which? Make your own customizable TV channel guide with our free printable and secure to your remote!

I love watching TV …. the more bad reality TV the better in my mind. Most of my binge watching is on Netflix or Amazon these days. Believe it or not, but we don’t have cable! Friends are shocked when they hear this because they know I love my bad TV shows 🙂 .

That being said, when I do turn on ‘regular TV’ I never remember which channel is which. Scrolling through looking for the right channel can be so irritating, especially with commercials.

We’ve all heard the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I think about this every time I’m scrolling frustrated trying to find the channel I’m looking for. I claim I’m going to write these down eventually. But then I find the channel I’m looking for and forget my problem ever existed! Sound familar?

Not only did it drive me crazy to not know what channel is what, I know it can be frustrating for guests visiting us. With our baby due date fast approaching, we’ve got lots of house guests coming in town to help (thanks goodness!). Not having to ask for the channels is just one of the ways that I try to make hosting easier on everyone.

Here’s how I make my TV Channel Guide

Supplies

Forget which channel is which? Make your own customizable TV channel guide with our free printable and secure to your remote!

Instructions

The first thing you’ll want to do is write down all the channels you have. For those of you with cable, that’s likely LOTS of channels. Personally I only jotted down the  channels I actually watched. It seems that most of us watch a fraction of the channels that we have!

Here’s our TV Channel Guide Template to download

This template is an editable word document so that you can add in your own channels. I created 4 different sizes, but you’re able to adjust any of the sizes on your own. I selected the size that fit the back of my TV remote. Once I created the guide, I simply taped it to the back of the remote.

If there’s not enough room to list all your TV channels on any of the templates, adjust the length by clicking on the bottom of the rectangle to select it (you’ll see the circles appear). Drag the bottom middle circle down to the length that you want.

Now type out all your channels, print on thick card stock paper and cut out.

Forget which channel is which? Make your own customizable TV channel guide with our free printable and secure to your remote!

Then cut two piece of contact paper slightly larger than your TV channel guide cutout.

Forget which channel is which? Make your own customizable TV channel guide with our free printable and secure to your remote!

Affix one sheet of contact paper on back side of the guide and one on the top. Using a scissor, cut the excess contact paper around the sides. While covering with contact paper isn’t required, it makes the guide more durable.

Forget which channel is which? Make your own customizable TV channel guide with our free printable and secure to your remote!

For quick access, tape the TV channel guide to the back of your remote.

Forget which channel is which? Make your own customizable TV channel guide with our free printable and secure to your remote!

And yes, these are really ALL the TV channels that we have. Thank goodness for Netflix and Amazon Prime!

 

 

 

 

 




 

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