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Book Review & Giveaway: The House That Cleans Itself

By January 15, 2018 How To, inspiration, Uncategorized, Wins

Book Review: The House That Cleans Itself
Mindy Starns Clark
Harvest House Publishers, 2007
ISBN-13: 978-0736918800

It is no secret that I am not the best housekeeper. I love organizing and condensing household items, but I HATE CLEANING! One of my biggest anxiety triggers is cleaning. True story. Whenever I start to clean my house I get overwhelmed by the fact that cleaning just doesn’t come naturally to me, and I beat myself up over how my efforts never seem good enough. If someone is watching me clean- forget about it! I shut down and I become paralyzed by this anxiety.

For years I have been trying to overcome this hurdle in my life. From trying different cleaning schedules, hacks, and habits, to hiring housekeepers to come once a month to help out when I was working. I’ve gotten better at cleaning over the years, but I finally found an absolute game changer in the book, The House That Cleans Itself.

Finally I have found someone who gets me! In the first chapter the author admits that cleaning is a talent that not everyone possesses. Throughout the book she offers relatable stories from her own journey from messy to tidy, as well as sprinkling in “My most embarrassing messy house stories” from others. One thing that hooked me was the promise on the cover to show me, “how to keep your house twice as clean in half the time.” Digging in deeper (page 11), she spoke directly to my soul when she said her system will “take a person who feels like a failure in caring for his or her home and change that person into someone who is unburdened, unashamed, and successful in caring for their home.”



Awe struck at these sentiments, I couldn’t wait to turn the pages and reveal the secrets of the universe, and I was not disappointed! Her creative approach takes you through a step by step process that focuses on changing your environment instead of focusing on changing your habits. This was mind blowing to me! Her reasoning rings true though, if you could change your habits you would have done it already. What a game changer!

Skimming the table of contents, there are 2 parts to this book. The first part is her step by step process to start the journey to a tidier home, the planning and implementation, including two chapters on inviting God to your cleaning party. Trust me (or ask my husband), when it comes to keeping the house tidy, I definitely need God (laughing but serious). Its actually very refreshing that this is included in the book. Part 2 is about the CONVERT system that makes the cleaning process more manageable and includes tips on maintaining your new clean home.

Overall I loved this book! As a mother of a young child, there’s a constant struggle to keep an organized home. Toys can quickly add up, schedules can become overwhelming, and this book offers great solutions for those problems and so much more! The author’s tone is so relatable and down to Earth- there’s no judgement and it’s an easy read. I rate this book ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5.


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5 Easy Tips to Smash the Hell Out of Your New Year’s Resolution!

By December 26, 2017 How To, inspiration, Wins

Now that Christmas is over and 2017 is coming to a close, it’s time to start looking to the future. Newsflash: “next year” is less than one week away. That fact can be terrifying for some people, and empowering for others, especially those who make New Year’s Resolutions. Statistically, about 41% of Americans usually make New Year’s Resolutions. Interestingly, 72.6% maintain their resolution for the first week. At two weeks the success rate drops to 68.4%, and at one month it dips to 58.4%. After six months 44.8% of people keep their resolutions, but alas, typically only 8% can keep their resolution for the entire year. I don’t mean to dishearten you with these stats. In fact, I want you to be part of the 8% success rate. So how do we make that happen?

First of all, let’s be a little more positive. Did you know that people who explicitly make resolutions are 10x more likely to succeed at their goals than people who don’t? Let’s talk about goals. You’ve probably heard that they should be S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely). Sure that’s a great acronym for a poster, but in real life often it’s not that black and white. Let’s look at history:

2017’s Top New Year’s Resolutions:

11. Find a better job
10. Find the love of my life
9. Do more good deeds for others
8. Learn something new
7. Work out more
6. Spend more time with friends and family
5. Do more exciting things
4. quit smoking
3. Better financial decisions
2. Life / Self Improvements
1. Lose weight / eat healthier

About half of those things can’t be quantified. Seriously, how do you measure progress on finding a better job? I guess you could graph how many applications you send out, and how many interviews you schedule, but that’s kind of depressing. In a perfect world the stats would be 1:1 with a perfect job becoming available to you at the perfect time, and you submit the perfect application and resume and ace the interview and take the better job with better pay and better opportunities… yeah, it sounds like a dream to me too.

So, here are my top 5, realistic tips for smashing the hell out of your New Year’s Resolution, no matter what it is. These 5 tips are a great action plan that is easy to understand and follow. Seriously, I don’t know why no one has laid it out like this before! Keep reading, I’m actually going to give you 4 of the 5 tips now, and if you like what I’m saying I will email you my #1 tip.

Here we go:

5. Plan your resolution like you are planning to run a marathon. Don’t just give yourself a black and white objective. You can’t be a couch potato one day who has never trained for a marathon, and the next day plan to run it perfectly, finish in a good time, and not throw up. It takes planning, hard work and persistence to be able to do something that big and succeed. Plan out your resolution the same way. Think of steps you need to be successful and plan them out intentionally.

4. Speaking of planning, schedule your resolution- use your favorite calendar, not a fake one you’re not used to looking at (been there!). If that’s an app, an organizer, or your iphone calendar, set appointments with yourself and put reminders in as much as you can. Want to read more? Schedule a weekly trip to the library. Actually schedule it, don’t just make a mental note. Heading to the gym more? Schedule that too. Eating healthier? Schedule a meal prep day at the beginning of each week and maybe a healthy themed day of the week like “Soup & Salad Saturday,” or “Fish Friday.” Make your schedule for at least 3 months, 6 if you can. It takes 6 months of doing a habit for it to become part of your personality.

3. The actual point of a New Year’s Resolution is not to do a habit for a year and revert back to your former self. It is to do a habit enough for a year to hopefully become part of your identity and personality. For this to happen, you should start the early stages (and late stages) talking about your resolution, to anyone who will listen. By talking about your New Year’s Resolution, you make yourself accountable. (No one wants to talk about goals and admit they gave up on them.) Additionally, when you talk about your goals, you invite other people to become your accountability partners. Sometimes you really do need to talk to someone else about your goals in order to keep motivation up. Whether it’s a cheerleader, a partner in crime, or a kick in the ass, it’s nice to have someone checking in on your goals and keeping you accountable.

2. Invest in yourself and your resolution. By spending money on your resolution you are more likely to keep it. Learning a new language? Buy a book or an online course and commit to using it. Feel like working out more? Buy a gym membership or clothes to wear to the gym. One catch though- make sure the stakes are high enough for you to care about them. $10 a month for a gym membership might be easy to disregard and blow off. Make sure the investment is a noticeable squeeze on your wallet; something painful to part with that guilts you into following through. For example: there are a few websites that place bets on your weight loss. If that seems too weird for you, try rewarding yourself by putting a dollar in a jar every time you go to the gym. When you reach $30 for 30 days, buy yourself a new gym outfit or treat yourself to a mani pedi, or save it and try to make $300 during the year. If you are trying to save money, pay yourself for good deeds. When you make your own lunch instead of grabbing fast food, put $3-$5 in a jar, and when you succeed 10x, you’ll have $30-$50 more in your pocket that wouldn’t have been there.

For my  #1 tip that will help you succeed at your New Year’s Resolution, sign up for my free emails, below. I promise it is an easy step that will help you be part of the 8% successful. I also promise not to spam you, and keep contact to once or twice a month. I can’t wait to share this tip with you! See you on the other side!

Click here to receive emails from me, including my #1 tip on how to succeed at your New Year’s Resolution!

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4 Creative Ways To Have The Ultimate Staycation

By November 12, 2017 Frugality, How To, Wins

Now that weather is turning colder, the holidays are approaching and everyone is making travel plans for the end of the year. Itineraries may include which relatives to visit (which to avoid!) or where to plan a relaxing vacation to (because you worked hard all year and you deserve it!). The truth is, not everyone can afford to travel during the holidays. Sometimes it’s a matter of savings, or time constraints, or some people just want to relax at home instead of bustling to go somewhere, and that’s understandable as well.

Personally I love traveling, but it’s not always in the cards for my family and I. Over the years I have had many amazing vacations to all-inclusive resorts, and I figured out how to enjoy similar experiences and indulgences at home on staycation. Never heard of a staycation? It’s a growing trend where you take time off of work and you stay home and relax instead of traveling and spending a lot of money. Think of it as the modern equivalent of a mental health day or mental health week, with advanced planning.

Speaking of planning, you have to do SOME planning for this to turn out extraordinary. Fabulousness rarely ever happens by accident. When I was working I used to dream up the most indulgent staycations that would rival the all-inclusive vacations I used to take. Itineraries would include excursions, themed dinner nights, plenty of R&R, and every staycation I would book a massage.

So, where should you start when planning your next splendid staycation? Below is my simple strategy for enjoying an ultimate luxurious staycation. Before you go crazy trying to do research and spend money I suggest you REIN it in!

R- Relax
E- Explore
I- Indulge
N- Try Something New

These 4 categories are the secret to having amazing vacations and staycations. Let’s take a closer look:

Relaxing– Who doesn’t want to relax on a vacation or staycation? There are two ways to go about relaxing though- active and passive relaxing. I suggest doing at least one of each. Passive relaxing is easy- unplug from the world and technology, lounge around, veg out, and / or catch up on sleep. Active Relaxing includes going to a spa for some pampering, smoking cigars, golfing, wine tasting, doing yoga, etc.

Exploring– On a vacation one of my favorite things to do is signing up for excursions off of the resort. I always try to experience a sightseeing tour or immerse myself in a local cultural activity. It’s a nice reminder that I’m not at home and I should take the opportunity to explore my current destination. If you are on staycation you can do the same thing by exploring a nearby city, getting out into nature, attending a local festival, or planning an adventure from Groupon.

Indulge– Who doesn’t love a good indulgence? Whether it be delighting in food or drink, shopping, or enjoying spa treatments, everyone deserves a treat when they are on staycation or vacation. I mentioned before that I book a massage every staycation that I plan; it’s a splurge. I love it because it is such a special luxury for me that I don’t experience very often. Some people like splurging on calories at an amazing restaurant or bar, others on mani-pedis. If you are on a budget you can still bask in a little extravagance by having a DIY spa night at your house, or plan a whisky tasting for you and your friends.

Try Something New– For me, this is usually home cooked food, though it could be something educational as well. In resorts, there may be themed restaurants or themed buffet nights. On staycation I like to replicate this by trying a new exotic recipe or going to a new restaurant (preferably with a cultural theme so its something different and special for you). You could also take the opportunity to learn something new, like how to play an instrument or speak a foreign language.

By doing some planning, and implementing these tips, you can completely upgrade your next staycation experience. Not only will you feel well rested, but you will be excited that you did something with your time off instead of just laying around the house the whole time. Here’s to making your next staycation absolutely incredible! Cheers!

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The Best Gratitude Tip on The Internet

By November 6, 2017 How To, Wins

Finding Gratitude Every Day

11:11 pm. Make a Wish. Or not. To some people, patterned clock numbers are an example of synchronicity, or meaningful coincidences. Many people see these serendipitous happenings and feel a connection to the universe worthy of making a wish on, like a shooting star or birthday candles.

What if I taught you something new? Instead of wishing and wanting, what if these signs are a reminder to be grateful, or a reminder to pray?

I don’t know about you, but prayer does not come naturally to me. I did not grow up in the church (when I was little I piggy backed off of my friends and relatives, attending their churches for Christmas and Easter). Don’t get me wrong, I want to have God in my life more, but I always forget to turn to him FIRST. Growing up, the habit of talking to Him just wasn’t there, and it’s still an effort to remember to keep the conversation going, especially when things are good.

A few years ago I started focusing on the art of being content. At this point I did not make wishes on clock numbers, but I would still see the patterns. “Maybe it does mean something,” I thought, “What if instead of making a wish, I took a breath and said, ‘Thank You,’ for something good in my life?”

Even if you had a horrible day, this is an easy way to remember to give a silent shout out of gratitude for the air in your lungs. You can use this habit to do a full prayer, give a nod to the cosmos, or just use it as a reminder to yourself that there is at least one thing to be thankful for every day. If you look for these cues I guarantee that you will find more. Then maybe, just maybe, this small act of contentment will grow into something bigger and more worthy of the universe.


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