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6 Things to Do Every Day (for a Clean Home)

There are 6 things I do every day to keep my home clean. I don’t know about you but there’s nothing I love more than a clean home. There’s something about a clean and uncluttered living space that makes me feel like I have my life together. Being able to walk into the living room without tripping over toys, preparing food in a kitchen without a sink full of dishes and relaxing in a bedroom without a pile of laundry on the floor are all things that bring me joy. I know, I’m pretty lame. However, as much as a clean home brings me joy, there isn’t anything else that can have the complete opposite effect on my mood than having to clean my house. I don’t want to spend hours a day cleaning and organizing my home. How can I enjoy my clean home if I am always spending my time cleaning it?

Well, I narrowed it down to the top 6 things I have to do every day that really make a huge difference in the cleanliness in my home. I’m not talking about how I use to clean my room as a kid either. You won’t see me stuffing things in closets or tossing items in “catch-all” baskets. These, my friends, are the 6 things that I do every single day that have leveled up my home and kept me from breaking my back cleaning it every day. Let’s get into it.

Make the Bed

Ok, ok, ok! I know this is a very common “tip” that pretty much every one swears by and recommends. Seriously though, they are not wrong. I was never a bed-maker person (if that’s even a thing). My reasoning behind this thinking was that I was going to waste my precious time and ever-fading energy making my bed, only to mess it back up later that evening. It seemed sacrilegious, honestly.

However, after deciding that I needed a morning routine that implemented things I normally did not do, it felt only natural that I should try making my bed every morning. I promise you, this single act alone changed my life. Not only does it make me feel like I am ready to start my day, it instantly makes the room look cleaner. No kidding. I could have crap all over my nightstand or my husband could have his dirty socks on the floor, it will still look cleaner than if the bed was unmade.

Now, about those dirty socks. Making the bed every morning also, strangely enough, makes me want to tidy up the rest of the room. Usually, after admiring how pretty my bed looks once its made, that stinky sock catches my eye. How could I leave my beautifully made bed to exist in a room with dirty socks?! Completely uncalled for and unheard of! Those socks end up in the hamper and my room looks pristine once again.

“Making your bed every morning is correlated with better productivity, a greater sense of well-being, and stronger skills at sticking with a budget.”

~ Charles Duhigg

Manage Clutter

Boy, oh boy! I use to be the Queen of clutter. I saved everything and I mean everything. I had beer labels that had been folded into hearts 17 years ago that I refused to toss out. Did you hear what I said? I saved beer bottle labels. In other words, I saved garbage. No joke. When we moved 2 years ago to the house we are in now, I decided I was going to finally free myself of the clutter. I had no idea how much this clutter was weighing me down. I swear, I probably made 12-15 trips to Goodwill to drop off donations before our move. They do say that one (wo-)man’s trash is another (wo-)man’s treasure. The last thing I wanted to do was pack up a bunch of unnecessary junk and physically move it with us to the new house.

Not only did this save time when it came to moving but it drastically cut down the time it took for me to unpack once we were in the new house. Everything had a place. Honestly, even if my stuff was not in it’s place, I didn’t have enough physical stuff anymore to make my living space look cluttered. This instantly makes my home appear cleaner.

It also had an affect on the vibe of my house. I felt like a weight had been lifted off of me. Does it make me crazy to say that I even feel like the air in my home is lighter and more crisp? LOL It’s so true. It feels like negative energy has been removed and replaced with positive vibes. Positive vibes only please.

“Clearing the clutter in your physical space will go a long way toward clearing the clutter in your mind and relationships.”

~ Peter Walsh

Sort the Mail

This is a big one. I know earlier I said there is nothing I cared less for than cleaning my home…but I forgot about mail. I use to have stacks of mail all over my house and in my car. I will say though that my intentions were good. I always intended to sort through it later when I had time but you know what? I never did find that free time.

Now, what I do is sort the mail as soon as I get it. Let’s face it, we all kind of skim through our mail when we first get it right? Use that time that you’re skimming to sort the mail. Put all the junk mail in a pile to be thrown out and the rest of the mail in another pile. This is where I take it a step further.

I use a mail organizer that has three slots. I put all the mail that needs my immediate attention into the first slot and everything else in the second slot. The third slot is where I put mail for the other members of my family. They know to look here for their mail. Not only does this method keep me from having piles of mail all over my house but it also lets me organize my mail in a cute way. This is the exact mail organizer I use.

“Discourse is fleeting, but junk mail is forever.”

~ Joe Bob Briggs

Clean as You Cook

Have you ever found a delicious recipe online and decided to make it? However, once your masterpiece was completed, were you left with a huge mess in the kitchen? Flour and sugar sprinkled on the counters, egg shells strewn about along with every seasoning bottle in your kitchen? We’ve all been there and it isn’t pretty. This is why I am an advocate for cleaning as you cook.

When I am cooking, I put every ingredient I use back to it’s rightful home immediately after I use it. I will even take it a step further. Once I am done with a pot, pan, cutting board or spatula I will wash it, dry it and put it back. By doing this, I am left with a clean kitchen even after I just prepared dinner for a family of five. This is probably one of the most effective cleaning tips I use that keep my kitchen clean.

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“This is a self-cleaning kitchen. Clean up after yourself!”

~ Unknown

Wipe Up Spills While They’re Fresh

This is something I wish every member in my home would adopt, but they haven’t. This is probably why I insist on doing most of the cooking. Cleaning up dried food splatters, burnt casserole dishes and sauce pans that have been sitting over night take some serious elbow grease. Elbow grease, which is something that I do not want to muster up to be honest. Yet, here I am, wanting a clean home.

I always keep a microfiber cloth next to the sink that I use to wipe up spills as soon as they happen. These are the cloths that I use and let me tell you, they have changed the game. I prefer to use these instead of paper towels. Not only are they more cost effective but they are better for the environment. That’s a double win, my friend. The really come in handy for any spills or splatters that might happen. The best part is when they get dirty, I just throw them in the wash and they are as good as new.

“Never cry over spilled milk, because it may have been poisoned.”

~ W.C. Fields

Sweep the Kitchen Floor

I do this every night before I got to bed. It only takes a couple minutes and I don’t have to worry about all the crumbs and dirt plotting against me throughout the night while I slumber. It is especially quick and easy with my dustpan. I did not think one appliance could have such an impact on my life. I’m obsessed with my EyeVac and it was the best money I ever spent.

Not only does this prevent debris build up on the kitchen floor but it also prevents pests. There is nothing worse than seeing a marching line of sugar ants coming into the kitchen because of a chocolate chip morsel from yesterdays cookie bake-off that fell onto the floor unnoticed. Is it weird that I find it fulfilling? There is something about sweeping up the “dirt” from the day and throwing it away that brings me inner peace and keeps my home clean.

“Do you want to be great? Pick up a broom and sweep the floor.”

~ Mother Teresa

There you have it! Try implementing all or some of these tips into your daily routine and see if it makes a positive impact in your life. I certainly feel like these six tips have changed my life and my home. What are some daily routines that you do to keep your home clean?

Another area of my life that I like to keep “clean and organized” is finance. I use different budgeting sheets to keep me organized. All the sheets I use I have uploaded to the ‘Free Stuff‘ tab above for you to download for free. Also, if you’re interested in starting a budget or maybe you just want to simplify your budget, here are a few tips on how to do just that!

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Virtual Birthday Parties While in Quarantine

Hosting a virtual birthday party while in quarantine is a real thing. In today’s day and age, social distancing is causing a lot of uncertainty in pretty much every aspect of our lives. Never in my life did I think I would ever blog about this topic, you know? However, it was recently my nephews birthday and it got me thinking about how we would be able to celebrate together…but apart. Consider this it’s your birthday, so naturally you planned on spending the day with friends and family celebrating the day you came into this world, right? Only now, you are suppose to stay in your home and avoid large gatherings of people. How do we get around this? Social distancing has caused a lot of us to rethink where we spend our time and who we spend our time with.

Although this is in the forefront of most peoples’ minds, it does not need to hinder our ability to still enjoy birthday parties and celebrating with friends and family. It will just take a bit of thinking outside the box (as if a virtual birthday party while in quarantine is not cool enough!) Surprisingly, there are actually numerous ways you can do this and still keep it fun and exciting for everyone.

The Quarantine Plan

Just as you would with an in-person birthday party, there are certain factors you need for virtual birthday parties while in quarantine. One of those factors is a a guest list. However, you need to consider each guests technological strengths and weaknesses. Your great-aunt Millie may have difficulty navigating the web to join your party without help. You could arrange to have a member currently in her home to help or maybe you could walk her through it over the phone. This is just something to keep in mind when making your guest list.

After you have your guest list, it’s time to send out the invites. This can be accomplished with a group email or group text. Another way you can do this is through the social gathering app you select to use. Most of these apps have a feature that will allow you to send invites to the people you want to allow access to your group. Now, it’s time to pick a platform for your party.

Pick a Birthday Platform

It’s important to pick a platform that is easy to use and readily accessible to all of your guests on your list (and not to mention free). There are numerous group-calling apps available. Simply doing a Google search will bring up a ton for you to explore. Here are a few that are pretty user friendly and, in most cases, are free to use.

  • Facebook Group Video Chat – start a Facebook group video chat and invite up to six guests. This is done through Messenger. Then you can “go live” with your guests and as long as you’ve accepted the setting to allow group members to “go live” as well, you can all see and talk to each other. Now this doesn’t mean you can only have six guests. You can invite up to 50 people who can join to listen, via voice or be on camera however you will only be able to see the first six guests.
  • Zoom – With Zoom you can host a virtual meeting. There are numerous price plans to choose from. However, there is a free plan. The free plan allows you to host up to 100 participants for up to 40 minutes at a time absolutely free.
  • Skype Group Video Calling – Skype video chat app allows for group calls up to 50 people for free on just about any mobile device, tablet or computer. Just download the app and get started for free.

Time to Leave the House – Virtual Trips

Now, it’s up to you how you want to spend your birthday. It’s your party after all. With video chat you can still enjoy the moment when your guests sing happy birthday to you and watch you blow out your candles. You can merely group video chat with your guests and celebrate that way, or you can all leave your houses virtually. There are a number of free and pretty cool places you can all travel to together. Here are some ideas:

It’s Your Birthday Party

Don’t let social distancing be a cause for lack of celebration on your big day. Using alternative methods and technology to bring people together can still create long, lasting memories and make you feel special on your birthday. Honestly, having a virtual birthday party while in quarantine will probably be one of the most unique events you remember most. Take advantage of the time you have and the technology available to have a fun and exciting birthday.

Interested in learning what essentials you need while quarantined? Better yet, want to learn DIY hacks you can use to drastically cut your cost for these essential items? Check out my list of quarantine essentials here and start saving some big bucks!

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Don’t Achieve Your Goals…Hack Them!

What Exactly is a Goal?

Goals are nothing new. Goals are short-term or long-term objectives that we set in order to obtain a specific result. It’s safe to say that everyone has had a specific goal they wanted to achieve at one point in their life. Goals can be major confidence boosters when achieved. Think about New Year’s resolutions (and why they suck). This is a very common form of goal setting. However, what about when we don’t achieve our goals? Boy-o-boy it can really take a dump on our confidence levels. This is why I choose to hack my goals.

So, how do we ensure we have the highest probability of achieving our goals? How do we set ourselves up for success? Well, my eager, goal-setting friends…we don’t, we hack them! That’s right. Around here, we don’t achieve our goals, we hack them! I am going to explain exactly how we do it. Don’t worry, it’s not all the current mumbo jumbo that’s on the web now. You won’t find any “write your goal down every day” or “expect to fail and prepare for it” nonsense. Ok, maybe nonsense is too harsh a word. Ummmm, maybe it isn’t.

Why Rational Thinking Sucks

Hear me out. Personally, I have set a bazillion goals in my life thus far. Everything from losing weight to obtaining my dream job have been among my repertoire of life goals. Generally, I would type my goal into Google and search for “secret-tips” on how to achieve it. I tried writing my goal down in a journal every night before bed. I tried visualizing myself achieving my goals every morning. I even tried establishing reasonable goals that I knew I could achieve. I literally LOL-ed when I typed that. This was actually one of those “secret-tips” I had found online when I was trying to get my dream job. Really?! If you set a reasonable goal that you already know you can achieve, then is it really a goal?

Once I decided that this hamster wheel of set-goal-fail-goal was not working for me, I decided to break the rules. After all, my fourth grade Principal will attest that I mastered this ability at a very young age. Here are my “secret-tips” on how I hack every single goal I set for myself.

Put Your Finger on It

First, you need to know exactly what your goal is. Be as specific as you can. For example, instead of “I want to save money”, you could elaborate more and say “I want to save $10,000 by the end of this year to buy a new car.” See this difference? You are turning your goal from being very general into something extremely specific and personal. It is no longer an everyday Joe Blow goal, it’s yours. Own it.

This wraps up a huge chunk of goal setting steps into one.

  • Know your goal and what you want to achieve. I want to save money, done.
  • Set a measurable goal. I want to save $10,000, done.
  • Specify the amount of time needed to achieve your goal. I want to save $10,000 by the end of this year, done.
  • Find the main reason you want to attain this goal. I want a new car, duh.

Congrats! Just by putting your finger on your goal and specifically figuring out your what’s and why’s, you have bypassed more than half the chapters in most of the goal setting instruction books out there today. Hack your goals! Can you believe there are actually courses you can take online that teach you this stuff? Some of these courses cost hundreds (and even thousands) of dollars. Yet, here I am. Giving away the goods for free. LOL So, now what?

Write It Everywhere

I am not exaggerating when I say everywhere. Write your goal down on post-it notes and place them all over your house. Use a sharpie marker and write it on your bathroom mirror (don’t worry, it wipes right off with rubbing alcohol). Write it on an index card and put it in your wallet. Better yet, right it on a piece of masking tape and place it on the front of your debit card as a quick reminder before you swipe. #evilgenius This truly helps you hack your goals.

Now, I have used all of the ideas I just listed above. However, the one I currently use is a goal tracking sheet. I write my goals down on 4 tracker sheets and put each sheet in a cute dollar store frame. Then, I strategically place these frames throughout my home. One frame goes on the bathroom counter, one on my office desk, one in the kitchen and one on the coffee table in the living room. Not only am I reminded of my goals all day long (regardless of what room I am in) but it also looks super cute with my decor. Dontcha think?

You don’t need to use my goal tracking sheet, but if you want to you can download and print a free copy here. Just scroll down until you see this image and click ‘download’.

Right and Wrong

Next, grab a piece of paper and fold it in half length-wise so that when it is unfolded it forms two columns. Column one will be labeled “Right” or “Do’s” and column two will be labeled “Wrong” or “Don’ts”. Now, in the “Right/Do’s” column list out everything you can do on a day-to-day basis that will help you achieve your goal. Using our example goal above, our list might look like this:

Right/Do’s:

  • Keep track of all my spending – log everything you spend. Doing this helps to identify areas of weakness (it’s Starbucks for me) and helps you put into perspective what a “need” purchase is versus a “want” purchase.
  • Start the Dime Savings challenge – implementing simple savings challenges can help jump-start your goal. You don’t have to use this one. Simply Google “savings challenges” and you will quickly be overwhelmed with the thousands that are in existence.
  • Use only cash for purchases – I currently do this. I am less likely to go shopping if I know I have to change out of my pajamas and go to the bank first to withdraw money. Removing the modern day convenience of using a debit card is in fact a huge inconvenience. But, it helps me save money.
  • Start a budget and stick to it – You have to know what is coming in and what is going out when it comes to your finances. You can start a budget with just a sheet of paper or you can download budgeting apps. Again, just Google “start a budget” and you will get tons of ideas. You can also use the budgeting method I use. I found a super simple approach that works for me and I share it with you here.

Wrong/Don’ts:

  • No more impulse shopping – this means not spending money on things you want at first sight. It’s always a good idea to take time to think about whether or not you really need something before buying it.
  • Stop buying fast food this month – this isn’t really hard for me. My biggest vice is Starbucks. However, I solved this dilemma for myself and now I get my Starbucks for free. If you’re interested in doing the same, learn how I do it here.
  • Do not use my debit card – no need for an explanation, right?
  • No online shopping for 30 days – Hands off my money Jeff Bezos!

Be Your Own Hype Man

Now that you know what your goal is, you’ve written it everywhere and you know what your Do’s and Don’ts are, it’s time to tell the World about it. Feel free to share your goal on your social media platforms to keep yourself accountable or write it down in the comments below. The point is to make it known to everyone. You are more inclined to stick to a goal if you know that your peers will be aware of your success or failure, because Science. Hack your goals, my friends.

Personally, I like to work my goal into every day conversations. For example, I’m making dinner at home and my kids ask me, “Why are we having spaghetti for dinner again?” I can then, very confidently reply, “Because it’s cheap and it’s helping me save $10,000 by the end of this year to buy a new car.” #winning. Another example would be in the checkout line at the supermarket. After handing my stacks of coupons to the cashier, he annoyingly says, “you sure have a lot of coupons.” This provides me with the opportunity to say “Shut up and scan!” just kidding. I would say “Yeah, I know. All the money I save with these coupons is helping me save $10,000 by the end of this year to buy a new car.” Hack your goals. There is something about hearing myself verbalize my goals aloud that help me achieve them. Again, Science.

Fake It Till You Make It

Finally, walk the walk. What I mean by this is to go about your daily life as if you have already achieved your goal. Act like you already have that $10 grand in your bank account and browse online at the car you will purchase. Altering your mannerisms and your routines to reflect the behavior your future self will have after achieving your goal rewires your brain. This causes your brain to be on the same frequency as it would be when you achieve your goal. Check out this super interesting article from NCBI about The Neuroscience of Goals and Behavior Change. I know, I know. I like nerdy things and I cannot lie but this stuff really interests me.

Now Go Out & Smash Your Goals

I don’t mean to make everyone a believer of how I hack my goals. Nor am I saying this is the end-all-be-all of goal setting. This is what works for me and since I have implemented these hacks, I have slayed every goal I set out to achieve. However, don’t take my word for it. I challenge you to try these hacks out on your next goal and see if it works for you. Then, let me know how it worked out! I love connecting with others and building this community. Now get out there and kick some goal-booty!

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10 Free Things to Do When You’re Completely Bored

Really?

Yes, really. I don’t know about you but sometimes I can’t think of anything to do to occupy my time. This is usually because I’ve done everything already like self-care, house tasks, binging on Netflix, etc. So what can you do when you get really bored and can’t think of a single thing to do and don’t want to spend any money? Here are 10 free things you can do when you’re completely bored. (some of these might surprise you!)

  1. Make iron on shirts using supplies you already have around your home. You will need a printer, plastic wrap, parchment paper, iron and a t-shirt.
    • Print out your desired picture and make sure it fits wherever you’re going to place it.
    • Place your artwork between to large pieces of plastic wrap.  Flatten out any wrinkles and cut away the excess plastic wrap around your printed picture.
    • Place the plastic-wrapped image face-up on your shirt and place a piece of parchment paper on top of it.
    • Iron over the parchment paper for at least 3-5 minutes until you can lift the corners up and your printed picture fuses to your t-shirt.
  2. Create a household budget and get your finances in order instead of being bored. Here is all the info you need on how to create a super simple budget as well as free printables you can use.
  3. Go for a walk or ride your bike & play the ABC game. What is the ABC game, Melissa? Well let me tell you. You start with the first letter of the alphabet “A” and find something you can see that starts with that letter then you move onto the next letter “B” and continue through the alphabet. For example, you’re riding your bike and you see a Honda Accord parked in a driveway. Next, you see a lady walking her Bichon Frises just as a Cat approaches and distracts the Dog. You get the idea. We also play this game on long road trips.
  4. Learn origami! I found an amazing blog that shows you how to make a ton of different origami projects all geared towards beginners. Check it out here.
  5. Bake something! Whether it’s cookies, a cake or some other heavenly baked good, at least if you’re bored you’ll have a decadent treat to munch on.
  6. Watch a new movie or TV series. I don’t mean on Netflix either. Did you know that Amazon Prime has thousands of current movies and TV shows you can stream and watch at anytime? I use my Amazon Prime subscription to watch all of my favorite shows (Outlander, Black Sails) before they air on TV. I’m a total nerd, what can I say? You can get a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime here! You can cancel at any time and are under no obligation to join. Why not try it out and watch whatever you want for 29 days for free before cancelling it? #savage.
  7. Read a book…or better yet, have one read to you! Audible is my ride or die when it comes to audio-books. They. Have. Everything. Really, they do. Sometimes, I just want to listen to a book with my eyes closed or listen to a book while I do other things. This is when Audible comes in clutch. You can try it out for yourself here. Of course, IMO nothing can compare to physically reading a book, the smell of the pages or the feel of the paper (I told you I was a nerd). So this is you too, then you can always check out Kindle Unlimited instead of heading to the bookstore. They offer unlimited reading on over 1 million ebooks that you can read on any device. Pretty snazzy, right?
  8. Make passive income. You’re totally bored, I get it. Why not make money while you’re bored? #winning. Here are 3 passive streams of income you can use right now to start making some cold, hard cash! Use one or use all 3 to earn some extra cash.
  9. Play 20 Questions. However, I play this game with a different twist using just myself and a piece of paper. I write down 20 questions that I currently have. Some examples would be, “is it better to foam roll before or after stretching?” or “when will the new season of Queen of the South air?” Then, I google each question and ta-dah! Just like that, I get answers to all of my questions. Is it weird to admit I like having answers to everything? Yes? Ok, just asking.
  10. Organize your phone apps. I am totally guilty of having tons of apps scattered on my phone. I literally download 3-4 apps that serve the same purpose then end up only using one. However, I never delete the remaining ones that I don’t use. It’s a vicious cycle. Organizing them into like-folders will not only make it easier to find a specific app when you need it but it will also make your phone appear more organized. It also allows you to see the apps you no longer use so you can delete them which frees up space on your phone. Ultimately, we all know that more space = more speed.

There it is There.

There ya go! 10 things you can do when you are completely bored and it doesn’t involve you spending a dime! Speaking of dimes, want to learn how you can save all your dimes and turn it into $500? Check it out here.

What are some things you like to do when you’re bored? Comment below and let’s help each other kick boredom’s booty! Till next time…

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DIY Quarantine Essentials

I am sure everyone has been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic in one way or another. These are scary times for sure. It seems like the course of this situation changes hourly and new information is always popping up. Even though it is important to stay up to date with the information provided to the public by the Centers for Disease Control, it is even more important to make sure that you and your loved ones are safe and prepared. I want to share with you my DIY quarantine essentials so that we can all stay safe and healthy.

Toilet Talk

I remember when the toilet paper hoarding first started. It was all over the news and social media. At first, I remember thinking “what in the world is everyone doing with all the toilet paper? They need to calm down.” Then, it happened. I went to replace a roll of toilet paper in my bathroom and noticed that we needed more. I headed to the store only to be confronted with swarms of people and absolutely zero toilet paper in sight. Now I was on high alert.

Ultimately, I headed home defeated and prepared myself to break the news to my family that we were soon going to resort to scooting our butts across the rug like our dogs do because of the Coronavirus. Even though my dogs seem to enjoy doing this, I wasn’t planning on taking it to this level. This was DEFCON-5 and I needed to find alternatives.

Here are my current DIY quarantine essentials. Or should I call these hacks? Either way, from toilet paper to washing laundry, here are the current things my household is using in order to successfully (and hygienically) survive while in quarantine.

Do You Tabo?

This may be a new one for most of you, unless your Filipino, then you already know what’s up! This handy dandy little “dipper” or aka “ladle” is what Filipinos use to jugas (or wash) your body parts, specifically your hoo-ha. Fill it up with water and rinse yourself after using the bathroom. Comment below for a full instructional video. (just kidding) Get your very own tabo here. Here is what a tabo looks like:

…But How Do I Dry Myself?

The easiest answer is with a small towel. This is where I got a little creative. I took several washcloths, cut them into 4 equal pieces and placed them in a cute little basket next to my toilet. After I use the restroom, rinse with my Tabo, I dry with these small sections of washcloth. These little towels get thrown into the washer to be used again later. How many of you didn’t expect to see this on a DIY quarantine essentials list? LOL

I know what some of you are probably thinking. Using a Tabo may not be ideal and a little too hands-on for some. If that’s the case, I do have another alternative for you. Although it is not a DIY solution, I feel a bidet can be considered a life hack item. This is a toilet seat that will wash and dry you after using the restroom. It even has a heated seat for that extra spa-like defecation session. Amazon has a lot of different types of bidets. I really like this one because it has all the bells and whistles at a more affordable price…and Prime shipping. What more could I ask for?

DIY Hand Sanitizer

With the empty shelves in stores than once held an abundance of hand sanitizer options, I have resorted to making my own. This has been a life saver when it comes to my DIY quarantine essentials because hand sanitizer is sold out every where! The recipe is really simple and I find comfort in the fact that I have an abundant supply of hand sanitizer to use when washing with soap and water is not available. Here is what you will need:

Now, all you do is pour all of the ingredients into a small mixing bowl and stir everything together. Once you reach a cohesive consistency, pour it into your cute pump bottle and begin using. Don’t forget to label the bottle appropriately as hand sanitizer. I like using my easy peasy label-maker to label all of my DIY concoctions. I don’t know how I ever survived without this label-maker.

Laundry Detergent

Ok, this is something I use to make all the time a couple years ago. It saved me a ton of money. Wait, why did I stop using this? Oh that’s right, I lack motivation. I have since gotten a bit lazy and now use laundry soap pods. However, thanks to COVID-19, my trusty little laundry soap pods are no longer available in my local stores. Am I worried? No. Do I have a back-up plan? Absolutely!

The best thing about this DIY laundry soap is that you can customize the scent, make as much or as little as you need and it looks super cute in this dispenser bottle up on the laundry room shelf. You will be able to make a ton of laundry detergent with it only costing you less than $1 per gallon to make. Here is what you will need:

I found this complete kit available on Amazon if you want to purchase all 3 items at once. Just add a bucket and say…well, nevermind.

Now, let’s get ready to make some detergent!

  • Grate 1/3 of your Fels Naptha bar
  • Melt the grated shavings in 3 cups of water in a pot on medium heat until completely melted.  (keep an eye on this as it will bubble over)
  • Add the Borax and Washing Soda to the pot and stir for a few minutes until dissolved
  • Add 3 gallons of water to your 5 gallon bucket
  • Pour your soap mixture into the bucket and stir
  • Let it rest for 24 hours – this allows the consistency to “settle” a bit
  • After 24 hours – pour your homemade detergent into your dispenser bottles or empty gallon jugs.

Tada! Now you have 3 gallons of laundry detergent! I think I am going to stick with my homemade laundry detergent even after life returns to normal after COVID-19. Using this DIY has saved me hundreds of dollars a year on store bought laundry detergent in the past. Honestly, I don’t even add in the essential oil because I feel like the Fels Naptha has a nice clean scent to it already.

That’s All Folks

There ya have it! These are the things I have implemented in my house since being quarantined. I don’t have to worry about running out or putting myself and my loved ones at risk by going out to the grocery stores. Our bottoms, hands and clothes are staying clean and sanitized with these DIY hacks.

I hope you enjoyed this post and found some useful information. Leave me a comment below if you tried any of these DIY’s or have other useful hacks to share. We can all benefit from sharing our knowledge with each other. Check out this post on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by doing one simple thing. Stay safe and healthy my friends.

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Nurse Advice: How to Prevent the Coronavirus

I know these are difficult times for many of us. Things become even more difficult when faced with a potential threat that we don’t really know a whole lot about. One thing is for certain , even though we are all fearful of different things, we all know what fear feels like…and it’s not fun. I’ve been a registered nurse for over 10 years and want to share some nurse advice on how to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. So here it is, nurse advice for preventing Coronavirus.

Know Your Enemy

The first step in protecting yourself and your loved ones from the Coronavirus is understanding what it is. How can we figure out how to do this if we aren’t sure what it is? Here are the facts: the Coronavirus is just that, a virus. This virus affects the respiratory system and is spread by respiratory droplets. There are no vaccines or treatments for viruses. Viruses simply need to run their course. The average healthy person will not have any difficulty recovering from a virus, however people with weakened immune systems may.

The Best Defense

I know you have all heard the importance of hand washing, however I am going to step up on my soap box and preach about this until I am blue in the face.

This. Is. How. You. Prevent. Coronavirus.

Washing your hands with soap and water is the best defense you have to protecting yourself and your loved ones from contracting and/or transmitting the Coronavirus. I am not talking about a quick squirt of hand soap and a quick pass under the water faucet. I am talking about a dollop of hand soap, lathering it up good and scrubbing adequately between your fingers, palms, wrists and under your fingernails for at least 20 seconds.

Also, for the love of all things holy, after washing your hands in a public place turn the faucet (if its not touch-less) off with a paper towel. Reaching for the grimy faucet handle with your freshly cleaned hands to turn off the water will only reintroduce those pesky germs you just spent the last 20 seconds washing down the drain.

Can I Just Use Hand Sanitizer?

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are a great option for when traditional hand washing with soap and water is not available. What most people don’t know is that it is not the hand sanitizer or the hand soap that effectively gets rid of the virus. It is actually the friction you create with your hands when washing them. This friction, the act of briskly rubbing your hands together, is what causes the “break-down” of the virus from contact with your skin and allows it to be rinsed down the drain during hand washing. If you really wanna get down and dirty, you can obtain the same effectiveness simply with friction and water, no soap needed. However, this is a discussion for another time lol.

Sneeze in Your Sleeve

This is a practice pretty much every healthcare worker already implements. When you have to sneeze or cough, do it into your elbow or shirt sleeve instead of covering your mouth and nose with your hand. By covering your mouth and nose with your hand, you are putting secretions on your hands which you will spread to surrounding people and objects when you touch them. If you bury your face into the crook of your arm, you are trapping these little germy-germs into the fabric of your clothing which keeps your hands cleaner and contaminate free. Give it a try next time you sneeze or cough. You’ll like it.

Final Prevention Tip

Try not to panic. I know, I know, easier said than done. Keep this in mind, we have been dealing with viruses foreeeeeever. Remember that pesky virus called Influenza that we all get shots for every year? Well, it too is a virus. It actually claims tens of thousands of lives every year, sadly enough. I won’t go any further about that because I’d have to pull out my big mama soap box. It would get real, real quick. Anyways, the point that I am absolutely failing to make is that keeping calm and thinking rationally will win the race every time. Freaking out in the isle 15 of your local Walmart because you aren’t able to buy 96 rolls of toilet paper is not going to help you prevent the Coronavirus. This is what my family and I use that keeps us from having to hoard toilet paper. You can thank me later. There are also a ton of DIY essentials you can use to replace items that seem to be non-existent in the stores.

Here’s my final food for thought and final nurse advice for preventing Coronavirus. Staying level-headed, sneezing in your sleeve and washing your hands like it’s going out of style is all the defense you need against this pandemic. Everything else is over kill and honestly, a complete waste of time. Till next time, happy hand washing.

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10 Ways to Burn 200 Calories Without Exercise!

Love/Hate Relationship

When I think of a love-hate relationship, only one thing comes to mind…exercise! Now don’t get me wrong. There are days when I am totally into it but let’s be real. Exercising gets me all sweaty, takes up free time and ruins my blowout. So, how can I lose weight/stay in-shape/be healthy if I don’t exercise? Well, it’s pretty simple. Here’s 10 easy ways to burn 200 calories without exercise.

It’s Like Science or Something

First of all, it takes approximately 3,500 calories burned to lose one pound of fat. This is the bare-bone basics. In order to lose one pound of fat in one week, you would need to burn or reduce your caloric intake by 500 calories. (3500 calories / 7 days a week = 500 calories per day) Now, you can cut back on your food calories, increase your calorie burn with exercise or a combination of both.

Theoretically, as long as you decrease your calories by 500 every day, you will lose one pound every week. ( I do need to mention for obvious reasons: the information in this blog is not to take the place of medical advice. I am only sharing what works for me. Please consult your physician prior to starting or altering your nutrition or exercise regimen. )

Now that that’s out of the way. Let’s get into it. I like to mix in sneaky little ways to burn extra calories during the day so that I don’t need to sweat out my blow-out. Here are 10 simple and easy ways to burn 200 calories without exercise.

  1. Drink ice cold water! Seriously?! Yes! When you drink cold water your body has to use extra calories to warm the water to body temperature. You can burn about 25 calories for every glass of cold water you drink. Just chug 8 glasses of cold water every day and you’ll easily burn an extra 200 calories! Put it in a water bottle like this one and you’ll be keeping cute and hydrated!
  2. Laugh. I don’t mean at this tip, I mean laugh out loud. Laughing can burn up to 40 calories in under 15 minutes. Imagine if you put on a funny movie or watched stand-up comedy? You could burn 200 calories in about an hour and a half.
  3. Take your pooch for a walk. Not only will your fur baby enjoy getting some fresh air but you will burn 200 calories for every one hour walk you take with your pup.
  4. Chew gum…all day long. It is possible to burn 200 calories by simply chewing gum for roughly 18 hours. Of course, you don’t need to chew the same piece for that long. Also, stick with sugar-free gum or you will be sacrificing some unnecessary calories that you don’t need.
  5. Take a nap or sleep for 3 extra hours. Not only do you burn calories while you sleep but you will also have prevented yourself from consuming calories you normally would while you were awake.
  6. Type 5,000 words. Yes I know that’s a lot. Maybe you have always wanted to write a short story. Well, here’s your chance to do it and burn 200 calories at the same time. Two birds, one stone.
  7. Get busy…and I am not talking about chores. With just one hour of sexual activity, you can easily burn 200 calories.
  8. Get to first base. No, no, no put down the ball and glove. I am talking about kissing. Grab your honey and make-out for 2 hours. You’ll burn 200 calories…and maybe even 400 if it leads to #7 😉
  9. Mop your floors and scrub your toilets! Deep cleaning your house for an hour will burn 200 calories. Plus, you’ll have a squeaky clean home to show for it. Here are the top 6 things you can do every day to keep your home clean and fresh.
  10. Last but not least…go shopping! Walking around a mall or pushing a cart around the grocery store are all ways that you can burn 200 calories in just a little over an hour.

There You Have It

You can use one or all of these easy ways to burn 200 calories a day without exercise. Which of these tips are you going to try? Leave a comment below so I can also share with you which one of these tips is my favorite to implement when I am trying to burn 200 calories without exercising.

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Top 3 Apps to Save Money

How it Usually Starts

You’ve seen posts like this all over social media. “Use this app and save money!” Then, when you click on the link to download the app, you realize it will take months to save a mere 5 bucks. I want apps that will save me money immediately! I usually get discouraged and end up deleting the app all together. Honestly, does this sound like you too? Don’t leave me standing out here all alone.

Honestly…

I am not going to sugar coat anything in this post. I am not going to try and persuade you to sign up for apps. If you find value in this post and want to give the apps a try, feel free to click on the download links. Also, I am not going to share only the apps that I am affiliated with. I am only going to share with you the three top apps that I personally use routinely that help me save money. Plain and simple. Ready? Let’s go!

Gasoline

First, I use the GetUpside app every time I put gas in my car. Here’s how I use the app. When I open the app, it automatically brings up a map of the area I am currently in. There are 3 options you can select: gas, restaurants & groceries. I have yet to try this app for anything other than gas. Next, I select the gas station I will be filling up at and hit the “claim” button. This claims the cash back offer that I will receive for getting gas at that particular station.

Now, since I have my debit card linked to the app, I do not need to submit any physical receipts. The app simple matches my purchase with the card that was used and within 24 hours (it’s usually only a couple of hours) I will receive my cash back. Finally, I transfer my cash back into my account.

I can’t believe it took me so long to find this app. I honestly only get gas now if there is a cash back offer I can claim on the GetUpside app. If you would like to try it out, you can use invite code WC9CMW when you sign up and you will get an extra 15 cents per gallon cash back AND an extra 15 cents per gallon cash back on your first use! Cha-ching! You can click here to download the GetUpside app.

My Frequent Purchases

Now, let’s talk about how I save money on stuff I frequently purchase online. For online purchases, I like to use the Drop app. I have talked about the Drop app on my blog before. If you’re interested you can check it out here.

Whenever I order groceries from Walmart Pickup & Delivery, I use Drop. When I take an Uber anywhere, I use Drop. When I buy Starbucks gift cards, I use Drop. All I do is open up the Drop app and select what I am going to buy. For example, when I order an Uber I will first open up the Drop app. I find the Uber logo on the app and click on it. It will then open my Uber app for me. Then, I just order my Uber as I normally would. By the next day, I will have accrued points in the Drop app for my Uber ride.

Finally, I will cash my points in for gift cards. Last month I cashed my points in for gift cards to Starbucks, Harkins theaters, Groupon, Whole Foods and Sephora. I am literally obsessed with this app. If you would like to try it out, click here. You can also Use my code x4e2b to get $5 – no strings attached. It’s a pretty sweet deal.

For Everything Else

This app, by far, is my favorite. I know you’re not suppose to have favorites, but I can’t help it. Or is that with your kids? Anywho-the Dosh app is where it’s at! The Dosh app in a nutshell is an app that tracks your purchases made with your linked debit or credit cards, matches them with cash back offers on Dosh and then gives you money back. I don’t have to waste time searching through the app for offers or submitting receipts, I just go about my merry way and let the app do all the work for me. It doesn’t get any better than that! Oh wait! Yes, is does get better.

Dosh isn’t like most cash back apps. Dosh doesn’t make you wait 3 months to get your cash back. Dosh gives you your cash back fast! I am talking between a few hours and a couple of days. None of this first quarter, second quarter bologna. I like to think of this app as a “set-it-and-forget-it” kind of app. It’s honestly the easiest money you’ve ever made. If you want to check out Dosh, you can click here. You will get an instant free $5 if you sign up through that link.

Is That All?

No, these aren’t the only apps I use to save money. However, these are the top 3 apps that I use almost on a daily basis. Between these 3 apps, I can confidently say that I save between $100-$300 per month. Every bit counts, right? Let me know if you try out any of these apps and what you think of them.