#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.

 

 

 

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

Unfortunately – finding one often means visiting several and experimenting a bit. But… it’s just hair and anything that happens to it (outside of catastrophe) will ‘grow out’, be it length, layers, or colors; so be brave!

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.

#317

Find a great hairdresser

How many times have you seen a photograph of yourself and lamented about your hair? How many days do you glance in a mirror and feel a slight sinking feeling because your hair just isn’t how or where you want it to be? Have you ever browsed a series of photos, realizing that you’ve had the ‘same look’ for waaayy too long?

Hair is an important part of our overall appearance – unless of course you have none. One look at a photo of DT boarding Air Force One on a windy day is all we need to understand the significance of good hair. A good cut, good color, and the appropriate style for the shape of our face can make a great difference in how we perceive ourselves – and apparently… how others perceive us.

Using those parameters for good hair will typically involve a good – no… great, hair stylist. Unfortunately – finding one often means visiting several and experimenting a bit. But… it’s just hair and anything that happens to it (outside of catastrophe) will ‘grow out’, be it length, layers, or colors; so be brave!

I was often directed to books of styles and asked to choose one – my stylist would then accommodate my request by cutting, curling, or coloring my hair to match the picture I provided. The one MAJOR problem with this method is that my face never matched the photo. Had I cut a few of those styles out and tried to visualize them on my face, on my body – I might have saved months of regrowth time and hundreds, if not thousands of dollars – over time. Today at least, we can use Photoshop to try this method of style selection, or…

We could let the professional use their best judgment after they consider our hair texture, patterns, and face shape; not to mention the amount of time/money/energy it may take to sustain the style! Finding a great hairstylist may take time and money. The dude I’ve been using for 13 years now is NOT cheap and from time to time I have allowed other people to cut – thinking they could just follow ‘his’ lines – but NO! It’s never the same and I finally conceded that I’d rather drink less Starbucks and have him do the cutting. The trade off it totally worth it! Some things in life are just priceless so do yourself a favor and …

Find a great hairdresser.

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

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

Bad posture is the culprit for more than back pain. There is evidence that it promotes Asthma (restricted breathing), heart disease, joint degeneration, and higher levels of stress.

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.

#318

Stand up straight

At the risk of sounding like your mother, I think we can all use the reminder to ‘stand up straight’. The number of Americans who complain about back pain at some point in their life has crested over 80% and it is suggested that poor posture is to blame for a significant percentage. Since we’ve transitioned to desk jobs and electronic browsing – our shoulders curve and our heads are bent – throwing the natural alignment of our spines out of whack.

Bad posture is the culprit for more than back pain. There is evidence that it promotes Asthma (restricted breathing), heart disease, joint degeneration, and higher levels of stress. It is a leading cause of missed work and worldwide – back pain is the leading cause of disability. Improving posture strengthens the musculature surrounding the spine, keeping aligned properly.

I am particularly mindful of my own posture when I see a television news anchor or an interviewer sitting in perfect alignment (how long so they practice that so that it appears naturally?) It’s a reminder for me to square my shoulders and pull in my abdomen while simultaneously raising my chin Aligning myself perpendicular to the floor.

There are a number of products marketed to help you remember and/or strengthen the back muscles but in a recent review, the writer declared that they were mostly annoying and that the only significant solution was to pay attention and practice. Essentially – include it in your mindfulness regiment. It’s a little thing that can make a world of difference. Remember…

Stand up straight

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