My girlfriends in college and I thought we’d always live in the same city. After college (Miami University in Ohio) most of us moved to Chicago and saw each other daily. Sure enough, spouses, kids, and jobs started to change things. Some moved out to the suburbs and others, like me, moved across the country.
Don’t worry, this isn’t a sad story. We still all get together regularly (weddings and baby showers will keep trips lined up for years to come 🙂 ). But there’s also a lot more phone calls. I think of my group of friends as smart, savvy, intelligent and any other adjectives that describes brilliant. Yet, every time the group tries to get on Google Hangouts, at least one of us has problems connecting. We spend half the call like this: “can you see me”, “I can’t see you, but I can hear you”, “is your sound on”. So … taking matters in to my own hands, I put together this guide for my friends so that there was no more Google Hangout chaos.
What is Google Hangout?
It’s Google’s free video-conferencing tool that allows up to 10 participants to join at a time.
Who can use Google Hangout?
In order to use this free feature all you need is a Google Plus account. If you already have a Gmail account, then you automatically have a Google Plus account! So just make sure everyone who will be participating on the hangout has Gmail.
Ensure that your laptop/desktop has both a webcam and a speaker (or headphones that you can speak in to). These are essential. If it doesn’t, opt for an ipad or smart phone. You can download the Google Hangouts app for free.
Now let’s get started.
The following is a story of two Lindsay’s connecting via Google Hangout. Lindsay Crazy is calling Lindsay Organized.
Lindsay Crazy initiates the call by logging in to her Gmail so she can get to Google+:
Then she selects the ‘Hangouts’ icon, which has two locations to choose from:
She’s then directed to a new page (and ensures that her pop up blockers are down). She select ‘Video Call’.
Now she invites her friend, Lindsay Organized, by typing in her email address. (She could have typed in just Lindsay Organized if she had added Lindsay Organized as one of her Gmail contacts.) If she wanted to, she could have invited more friends to the call in this same section. She then selects ‘Invite’.Now Lindsay Crazy just has to sit back and wait for Lindsay Organized to answer. This is Lindsay Crazy waiting patiently :).Lindsay Organized now needs to answer. She’ll do this by logging in to her Google+ account and selecting the gray ‘Hangout’ button. Now she’s able to see that Lindsay crazy is calling her. (Yep, none of the Lindsays think this is very intuitive either.) She clicks on the Hangout icon.OR …. she could have gone back in to her Gmail. If the person calling her was previously programmed in to her Gmail contacts, then the screen below will appear. She could then just click on the Hangouts icon from her email view. TADA!
Lindsay Crazy & Lindsay Organized are connected! (This is Lindsay Organized’s screen view) You’ll always see your friend in the big screen and a tiny version of what you look like in the small screen on the bottom right. Notice there’s a dark gray icon bar on the top. This has options such as muting, removing the video, inviting more people and hanging up the call.
Now that you know HOW to use Google Hangouts, here’s some great uses:
Chat with your girlfriends accross the country
Let grandparents see their grandkids in action!
For phone calls where you want to SHOW the other person something
Work conference calls
May you all be able to have fun conversations with your girlfriends, wherever you’re located!
Make ahead of time breakfast sandwiches are an easy way to have a delicious warm breakfast quickly!
I’m not expert in the kitchen …. if anything far from it (although I like to think I’ve mastered the crock pot, my husband would say otherwise). I don’t know about you, but my mornings are crazy, no matter how organized I TRY to make them. But I do love a quick, easy and time saving way to have a hot breakfast in the morning…. especially if I can make in large batches ahead of time. This recipe checks all those boxes!
I’ve been making these freezer breakfast sandwiches for years. If you look in my freezer, you’ll always find a couple of these tucked away in random spots. These are easy to pop in the microwave before work and take with on the way. And actually, I’ve been known to eat these for dinner from time to time too.
This recipe makes 10, but that’s only because the English muffins come in a pack of 10.
10 English Muffins (wheat or white)
5 slices of bacon (regular or turkey bacon) … you can substitute other types of meat if you like (sausage, ham, etc.)
10 large eggs
One pack of sliced cheese (any flavor you like, typically comes in packs of 8 slices)
Salt & pepper
10 small plastic sandwich bags
Instructions for Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches
Pre-heat the oven at 350 degrees.
Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and crack one egg in to each well. Add a touch of salt & pepper to each egg.
Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes.
While the eggs are baking, put the bacon in the microwave per instructions. Then let cool & rip each strip in half.
Next, toast each of the English muffins (even though I’ll be freezing these afterwards, I still like to toast first).
Rip up the cheese slices in to 4ths.
Once the eggs are done, you can start assembling your sandwiches. The eggs will be easy to pop out of the muffin tin using a fork. Pile on 3 pieces of ripped cheese to the English muffin, then a slice of bacon and finally an egg.
I always let the sandwiches cool for 10 minutes or so before putting it in the plastic bags to go in to the freezer.
To reheat these, simply take out of the plastic bag and wrap in a paper towel. Microwave for 1 1/2 minutes and ‘tada’! Easy peasy breakfast sandwiches (errrr … dinner sandwiches) ready to eat!
Here’s the scoop to what those really organized people do regularly to keep them so organized!
I think of myself as a pretty self aware person. I know my strengths and weaknesses. For example, baking is not a strength of mine as evident of this #pinterestfail. I’ll let you guess which one is mine. —->
What I lack in operating an oven, I hopefully make up in organizing. I’m not perfect, but I do love it and am intentional about how I spend my time. I came up with 10 ‘principles’ so to speak that I try to follow:
1 Make a List and Check it Twice
FREE your mind (and the rest will follow) …. Literally. Yes, we all make to-do lists. That’s a given. But the uber organized write down EVERYTHING. No matter how small in order to get it off their mind. Yes, you’re smart and yes, you may have an awesome memory. Yet, if you’re taking up space in your mind remembering tiny details, you’re likely not able to focus on the task at hand. Whether you’re an electronic gal like me (Wunderlist and Todoist are awesome apps) or a paper gal, have a place where you write down things that pop up. My phone comes with me to bed (and it’s not just because it’s my alarm clock) 🙂 . If it’s on my mind before I go to bed it gets typed in my phone.
2 A Home for Everything
I’m not going to go crazy and say you can’t have a junk drawer or two, but everything in your home should have … well a home. Clutter adds chaos. Not only should everything have a home, but that home should make sense. For example, my coffee cups are in the cabinet directly above my coffee machine so it makes getting coffee in the morning easier (which is fabulous because I drink about 5 cups of coffee a day). I also spend 10 minutes at the end of the day, cleaning out my ‘junk spaces’ and putting those items back in to their home. Although I may allow for a junk basket to throw things in, I don’t allow the items to say in there long. Otherwise I really don’t need them … which leads me to #3.
3 No Unnecessary Clutter
That old rule ‘if you haven’t used it in 6 months it has to go’ is in full swing. Organized people don’t have unnecessary STUFF hanging around their house that they don’t use, even for that magical ‘rainy day’. Everything has a place and everything has a purpose. As a self declared pack rat, it took me a little while to get onboard with this. When my husband, Joe, and I first moved in together 5 years ago, we both owned our own toasters. I had a near nervous breakdown when he said we couldn’t keep both. “But if one breaks, then we’ll have an extra” was my justification. Well 5 years later the wining toaster (his) still hasn’t broke. And yes, I got rid of mine. Thus the list of 100 Things to Throw Away NOW was created.
4 Love Mornings!
Yep, you knew this one was coming. You may not be a morning person; no one is telling you that you need to get up before the sunrise, BUT …. you should be intentional about what you do in the morning. Have a plan. For example, the age old statement that organized people make their bed every morning does have merit. But don’t limit it to that. Something as simple as taking out dishes from the dishwasher can set the tone for the day. For me I wipe down our kitchen counters every morning. I hate crumbs and it’s oddly calming to get home after a long day at work and know my kitchen doesn’t look like a mess. I also try to wake up an extra 10 minutes early (it’s totally doable… it’s 10 minutes!) just so I don’t feel like I’m rushing in the morning. Nothing makes me feel more disorganized than a morning scramble.
5 Break Down Big Projects
Large projects can be overwhelming and stressful. And most of the time the stress isn’t helpful in feeling organized or efficient. For example I’m hosting out of town guests in a couple weeks. Since that’s not really a to-do list item, I break it down in to categories such as itinerary, cleaning, groceries. Then under each of those categories I will list the action items I need to do. So for groceries my action items are:
Make a list of the groceries we need for the weekend
Check the kitchen to see which of those items I already have
Go to the grocery store to purchase the remaining items
Yes, this isn’t brain surgery. But the sooner you do this, the easier it is to prevent last minute fire drills and stress.
6 An Organization System That’s Realistic
You can have the fanciest newest app or prettiest binder with as many tabs as your heart desires, but if it’s not realistic to maintain you might as well skip it completely. For the longest time I was the queen of this. Not the princess, the QUEEN. I’d spend hours transferring all my to do items over to my newest system. At the end I feel like I conquered the world. But actually I didn’t accomplish anything. And most of these were so rigorous that I couldn’t keep up and I’d fail within a week. Sadly, it would have been a better use of my time to color code my sock drawer.
7 Do it Now
Organized people want to act and get things done. Why put off for tomorrow what can be done today? This ensures that your to do list doesn’t pile up unnecessarily. Something as little as bringing dirty laundry down from the bedroom to the laundry room as you’re walking past this room saves time and effort later on. We have a 3 story townhouse (yes, this my way of exercising) and I have a rule that I never walk up or down a flight of stairs empty handed.
8 Prioritize the Things You NEED to Get Done
Over the things you ‘want’ to get done. There’s always things on our to-do list that we just aren’t excited about. Well, find that thing and do it today. Get it off your mind and checked off your list. You’ll feel so much better and you won’t spend time dreading it. I learned this lesson the hard way. For me it was calling a plumber. Our toilets were making really weird noises (literally sounded like this) and my husband was really busy with a work project so I got the job of handling it. I just didn’t want to deal with it. Not my wheel house. I actually put doing laundry ahead of the toilet. Well, by the time I finally called a plumber the problem had gotten so much worse and cost us a lot more money to fix. Tough. Lesson. Learned. Ugh.
This is another cliche organizing word. But it’s true. Organized people not only figure out what they need to accomplish today, but in to the future. For example, I try to go grocery shop every Saturday morning. By looking ahead at my calendar I realized I needed to bring a present to our friends’ son’s birthday party in three weeks. The grocery store is near Target = one trip out instead of two. I just saved myself at least an hour or two making a separate trip.
10 Multitasking is so 2016
More and more us type A people like to boast that we’re always multitasking. We’re doing so much at once. Aren’t we amazing? But seriously. Yes, you may be doing a couple things at once, but how well are you doing any of them? And how long did it take you to complete those things? Ever try to just buckle down and do one thing at a time? So a slightly embarrassing confession: I’ve been known to get on a stair climber, drink a glass of wine while responding to emails and watching Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Let’s just say, I definitely didn’t burn any calories and it I had to reread each email about 3 times before I could respond. Now wine & Real Housewives is multitasking I’ve definitely mastered 🙂 .