#310 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

… is there a color on that ‘happy’ spectrum that would be a nice compliment to your overall curb appeal? Is there a color that comes to mind that might strengthen your mood at the end of a long day?

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#310

Paint your front door

What is the first thing you notice every time you come home? Does the entrance to your living space welcome you? Even on the dreariest of days, arriving home and entering through a doorway that is inviting and positively staged, can revitalize your energy.

It may be as simple as painting your front door!

When your point of entry “pops”, people (including you) are more likely to respond positively. Guests will feel welcomed and newcomers will be entering with a great first impression. Your personality can be displayed quickly and easily by using a quart size can of paint.

Think of a color that represents ‘happy’ to you and then step outside and imagine it on the rectangle that is your front door. Imagine how it looks with the brick, siding, wood, or stucco that covers your home… is there a color on that ‘happy’ spectrum that would be a nice compliment to your overall curb appeal? Is there a color that comes to mind that might strengthen your mood at the end of a long day?

I’m including a few before & after photos I pulled off the internet for inspiration and I’m sure we can agree that they are all fantastic makeovers – creating an inviting entry with personality and charm.

From the blog Bren Did

paint door_thumb[1]
From the blog Ginger Snap Crafts
Of course, there is a technique involved but with only a couple of pointers to keep in mind, the entire appeal of your home can be enticed. Using an exterior paint with a high gloss finish and a low nap (or foam) roller is most often recommended. Start with a clean door, lightly sanded, and primed. In as little as an hour the look of your home will be updated with your individual personality!

And remember… it’s only paint so go ahead and spruce up your entry by….

Painting your front door!

(I’d love to see the results if this post inspired you!)

#311 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Of course, it’s helpful to know how to read a map and have a companion as you undertake this kind of exploration unless of course, you have flares, extra food, and warm blankets.

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#311

Explore

This is absolutely one of my most favorite things to do… contributing specifically to feelings of happiness, adventure, and at times… education.

Exploring can be so many things. It can be wandering through your neighborhood looking for window box or front porch decorating ideas. It can be a walk in the woods identifying trees or through a meadow looking for four-leaf clovers.

My goal however, is driving along back roads and exploring the countryside, little towns, or city neighborhoods. My father instilled a love of exploration when I was a small girl. He loved to drive and hence, Sunday’s were for piling the fam in the car and taking off to discover what jewels existed along a route we had never taken.

It may have been a waterfall, an old schoolhouse, or a new ice cream store. It was often just winding roads and beautiful scenery – more Pennsylvania mountains or rocky creek beds and we were most often able to discover a roadside-rest where we could picnic.

I still love the adventure of not knowing what lies ahead, the discovery of a quaint little museum or an artisan haven. I’ve accidentally discovered a membership only ski mountain, dozens of hole-in-the-wall greasy spoon restaurant boasting amazing bacon or french fries, a bathing location of George Washington, and an Indian arrowhead museum.

I’ve wound up on dirt roads that traveled across fields that were more than likely private property, had to drive in reverse for a half mile after hitting a marshy dead end, and come up on moose watering in a pond that perfectly reflected the fall foliage behind it.

I’ve stood in awe of nature’s beauty more times than I can count simply because I took a chance on a road that looked less travelled and I’ve prayed what I thought were my last prayers as we traveled across a switchback moving us into a redstone canyon. I drove through a population of jackrabbits in the middle of the night that scared half the wits from me and along Eastern Shore roads that led to a rope ferry.

Of course, it’s helpful to know how to read a map and have a companion as you undertake this kind of exploration unless of course, you have flares, extra food, and warm blankets. Cell service is not entirely reliable if you’re out in the boondocks.

Finding treasures, locating interesting venues, and getting away from the routine of home lends to authentic joy, peace, and contentment. It’s as simple as learning how to …

Explore

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#312 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Personally, I’ve developed a comfort level with dust bunnies that may not be entirely healthy. I’m honest enough to say that I have yet to master this seemingly simple system …

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#312

Deep clean something

Some of you may already do this on a regular basis and it may contribute significantly to your level of happiness and/or good living. I do not. And yet, it definitely IS something that ends in total satisfaction and sense of accomplishment.

I have a friend who deep cleans a room in her house each month. For years, she has committed to moving through a room – top to bottom & inside, out – re-identifying the need for and usefulness of everything it contains. With an eleven-room home, she gives herself the holidays off and then starts from the beginning – giving each room another do over. Organized drawers, filed papers, freshly caulked and painted woodwork, windows, light fixtures, etc. – once a year.

Oddly enough, one of my comforting childhood memories is coming home from school and finding my mother embedded in this process. The house smelled clean, the tidiness felt safe, and I knew she was taking pride in our home – providing an environment where we could flourish.

Personally, I’ve developed a comfort level with dust bunnies that may not be entirely healthy. I’m honest enough to say that I have yet to master this seemingly simple system but I strive to make it happen and can at least attest that the gratification of having accomplished one entire room has been amazing!

Some people I’ve known only deep clean when they move from place to place, others do a Spring cleaning annually, and my good friend found solace in creating a deep clean rotation. No matter the specific procedure or the direct timing, it always feels good once you’ve…

Deep clean something.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#313 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

We challenged ourselves to introduce a new recipe into our evening routine at least once a week when we weren’t using a meal service and the intrigue continued, anticipating the preparation and new flavor combos.

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#313

Try new recipes

At the age of 12, I found myself responsible for making dinner for my family several times a week. My recipe collection was limited limited to the three things that I recalled my mother making… Tuna Noodle Casserole, Meatloaf, and Spaghetti with meat sauce. That’s it. Sadly, those meals went into a rotation that seemed endless. So much so, that my siblings still resist anything resembling those entrees.

When my children were small, getting them to eat was a challenge sometimes and so I leaned into the pattern of making the dinners I knew wouldn’t be met with opposition. They were mostly uninventive, predictable, mundane, and bland. Eating wasn’t much fun for the adults in the house.

 

Until I made an effort to try new recipes.

I’m not talking about exorbitant delicacies from Bon Appetite, but those from Rachel Ray or Ina Garten; maybe even a really simple – follow the picture – recipe from Tasty that proliferates our Facebook and Instagram feeds.

A great way to explore new recipes and flavor combinations is to use a meal delivery service such as Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Plated or the half dozen others that are now in the market. We’ve tried several and what they share is variety from the meals I’ve cooked for decades now. Using a meal service has allowed us to regenerate an interest in cooking again. We’ve been introduced to foods like Israeli Couscous and Lemon Risotto; using olive oil and lemon zest more than ever before.

The meal service allows you to try different recipes without committing to an entire package of something as they send only enough for that particular meal. If you find that lamb with mint jelly isn’t your thing then at least you won’t be throwing away an entire jar of it.

We challenged ourselves to introduce a new recipe into our evening routine at least once a week when we weren’t using a meal service and the intrigue continued, anticipating the preparation and new flavor combos. Who knew that stimulating our dinner routine was a easy as …

Trying new recipes.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#314 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Food is often a neutralizer of gender, age, and differences. It can open people’s hearts and consequently, their minds to new experiences, ideas, and conversation.

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#314

Make dinner for your neighbor

What a special treat it is to come home in the evening and not have to worry about making a meal! Demonstrate a gesture of kindness by doubling a recipe tonight and taking the extra to a neighbor so they won’t have to cook tomorrow!

We are generally good about supporting the dining needs of our friends and neighbors when they are sick, have a baby, or a death in the family but why not… just because? Not that I think we should be feeding the whole block or that our next door friends can’t take care of themselves but why not treat them to something completely unexpected?

For practically no extra effort and very little expense, duplicating a pan of baked ziti or an oven roasted chicken might just make the day for a family with very little time or a single dad exhausted after a long work day.

If your neighbor is single or elderly, invite them over to share the meal or offer to stay and provide company while they eat what you delivered. Food is often a neutralizer of gender, age, and differences. It can open people’s hearts and consequently, their minds to new experiences, ideas, and conversation. If nothing else, it is an extension of generosity that might just also make or fortify a meaningful, connection. Give it a try. The next time you’re making a crock pot or casserole type meal, double the recipe and …

Make dinner for your neighbor.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#315 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

The accessory combination was more pricey than that designer dress I’ve worn dozens of times but my confidence that day was out the door and the belt was the icing on the cake.

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#315

Splurge on an outfit

If you’re on a tight budget, a mom, a dad, tightly focused on the future, or following a similar trajectory, there is a good chance that you fail to treat yourself once in a while. And, while I am the champion of practicality and budget focused financial achievement, there is a time that splurging on an outfit that helps you feels strong, beautiful (or handsome), and confident – is totally warranted.

Do it for your next job interview, or the next wedding you attend. Imagine the sensation of standing a little straighter or smiling a little brighter because you feel empowered by attire that is flattering, well constructed, and in fashion.

It doesn’t matter your budget. At one time, buying a pair of sandals that weren’t rubber was an upgrade for me and I felt confident in my stride. I splurged on a classic black dress by a well known designer at another point in my life and it was my ‘uniform’ whenever I had a cocktail event to attend for years (It’s still a classic and dresses up or down with jewelry accessories).

While classic purchases are the more practical consideration, an occasional splurge on something you may never wear again can be an uplifting accomplice for a very special occasion. When I finally earned my B.A. in midlife, I treated myself to a bright red patent leather belt and matching shoes. They were the perfect compliment to my black and white outfit and I just never had another occasion to for that combination. The accessory combination was more pricey than that designer dress I’ve worn dozens of times but my confidence that day was out the door and the belt was the icing on the cake.

This is not to say that what we wear is how we construct our personality or the basis of our identity but psychologically speaking, what we wear affects our mood. When we wear quality clothing that fits well, we feel better so treat yourself and …

Splurge on an outfit.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#316  of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Of course, there are some people who don’t want their feet touched… I simply cannot understand denying yourself that pleasure as it can be almost orgasmic with the right massage – but o.k…

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#316

Get a pedicure

From the top of your head to the tip of your toes, life is better when things are put together. No, that’s not really the kind of poetry I referenced a few days ago. I’m talking about making your toes – and your heels – pretty. Even the funkiest feet are prettier with clean, trimmed nails and soft, smooth heels. This includes – YOU, gentlemen.

Admittedly, I was well into adulthood before I had my first pedicure but quickly understood it was such a simple pleasure that I added $25 to my monthly budget from anywhere I could in order to treat myself. I love to go barefoot and so – no visual needed – my feet were in constant need of TLC and I was slow to respond personally. The fact that there are people in the world willing to take on that task blows my mind but I try never to look a gift-horse in the mouth (sorry – for all my non-american or much younger readers, I’m not sure of a good substitute for that idiom). I graciously accept the loving care that anyone is willing to commit to my feet.

Our feet are important! They carry us where we want to go. They hold us in position. They are abused, squished, tormented, and only sometimes – temperature regulated. They deserve any extra attention they can get!! Additionally, when ‘professionals’ are regularly assessing a body part, they are more apt to discover early warning signs of potential problems (i.e., bunions, corns, fungus). Pedicures most often include a brief foot massage – improving circulation. And, if absolutely nothing else – taking 30 min. – give or take – out of your daily routine to completely relax has its own specific health benefits.

Of course, there are some people who don’t want their feet touched… I simply cannot understand denying yourself that pleasure as it can be almost orgasmic with the right massage – but o.k., I respect that a few will protest this suggestion. Winter, spring, summer, and fall… once a month and just because …

Get a pedicure.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.