5 Things to be Happy About: April Edition

I’ve always been a little biased about April because it’s my birthday month, so naturally I love this month more than some others. Raise your hand if your birthday month is April!? There is a lot that I am especially looking forward to this month, so I’m not too sure how I’m going to keep it to five things, but we’re going to try!

1| Travel

I find that I get to travel in April and May whether it’s for my birthday or I’m able to take time off from work because it’s not the busy season for us yet. This month, I’m going to Boston for a week for the first time with Josh, and we are both so excited to take time off from work and get a chance to explore a new city. We have been trying to schedule one city trip a year so we can explore new places every year. Needless to say, there will be some exciting travel-related content coming your way on the blog!

2| Treat Yourself

It might have to do with this month being my birthday month and the Easter season, but I find that I’m always more comfortable to treating myself to anything whether it’s dessert, wine, or an experience (like a trip to a new city)! After the holidays, I get pretty strict about eating healthy, working out and saving my money. After three months, I’m ready to give myself one (or several) treats!

3| Easter 

Easter has always been a holiday I look forward to because it’s a time for family, food and it’s overall a relaxing and enjoyable day. We always celebrate the holiday at my parent’s house with a big brunch. We even still color eggs as a family and get chocolate treats from my mom! But hey, it’s a tradition my family has and loves, and it’s something I look forward to every April.

4| My Birthday 

I’ll actually be in Boston on my birthday, so I think it’ll be a great way to ring in 23 years! Stay tuned for a post coming up soon on 23 lessons I’ve learned in 23 years. I think it’s something you’ll enjoy reading. When is your birthday month? Make sure to share in the comments below!

5| Spring Outfits

For those who don’t know, I’ve been ready for spring since January but the weather here in PA hasn’t been giving that to me. We had a snowstorm in the middle of March, and all I’ve been wanting is to have warm enough weather to wear spring dresses and outfits. I’m hoping April is when I can finally bust out my spring clothes since I haven’t been able to yet!

What are you looking forward to this month? Make sure to share in the comment below!

 

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Mental Cleanse Challenge: Week 5

It’s crazy to think that this month has flown by so quickly. It seems like yesterday that Erin reached out to me to see if i was interested in collaborating with her on this challenge. After going through this month with focusing on self care, relaxation and more—I’ve learned so much from this process and experience. I want to thank Erin from A Welder’s Wife for joining me with these challenges and experience altogether. It has been wonderful to work with her and see how she has done each week during the challenges!

If it’s your first post catching up on the Mental Cleanse Challenge visit the posts below to catch up on the weekly challenges and posts below to see how Erin and I did each week!

My Posts:

1| Week 1: Introduction

2| Week 2: Self Care

3| Week 3: Diet & Exercise

4| Week 4: Digital Cleanse

Erin’s Posts:

1| Mental Cleanse Challenge Week 1

2| Mental Cleanse Challenge Week 2

3| Mental Cleanse Challenge Week 3

4| Mental Cleanse Challenge Week 4

Now keep reading below to see how I did last week on the positivity challenges:

Feb. 20: No complaint day.

I was a little nervous about this challenge because if I’m stressing out over a workout…I will complain. But, I’m happy to say that I made it through Insanity without a single complaint! A huge win for me personally, haha!

Feb 21: Write down 3 great things that happened today.

1. I had a productive day at work. 2. I worked hard on the blog after work. 3. I meal prepped for the entire week.

Feb 22: Spend 15 minutes in silence focusing on one positive attribute about yourself.

My positive attribute was focusing on my self-motivation and drive to keep going. The part I struggled with was only focusing on this one thought when there were other thoughts in my head.

Feb 23: Compliment a stranger.

This is never a difficult task since I’m around people most of the time. It is always nice to see someone light up after you give them a genuine compliment.

Feb 24: Write a letter to yourself explaining why you are unique.

I thought I was going to have a difficult time with this one, but instead of writing a letter, I decided to do it as a list, which seemed less daunting and overwhelming for someone who feels uncomfortable talking about themselves.

Feb 25: Ask your friends to describe you in 3 words, write them down, and repeat it to yourself throughout the day.

I decided to ask my co-workers it was the best decision of my life. They said: confident, outgoing and crazy (in a good way, haha). It makes me happy to see how they perceive me is in a positive way. It definitely made my day to think about this throughout the rest of the day.

Feb 26: Write out your challenge wins and treat yourself!

I’m so happy to say that I was able to complete all the challenges throughout this month. This challenge and teaming with up Erin taught me so much about practicing self care and focusing on time for myself, which was so important. I was most surprised about the diet and exercise challenges like going vegan and trying a new workout!


Overall, I’m sad to see that that challenge is over with, but I love knowing it’s something I can plan for another month down the road when I’m in need of some self care and relaxation. If you followed along with these challenges:

What was your favorite/least favorite week?

My favorite week was the self care week because it had mix of everything from walking to pampering sessions and everything in between. My least favorite week was probably the diet and exercise because it was a little more challenging even though it was worth it!

What challenges were you most surprised that you were able to accomplish?

No complaint day during the positivity week and trying a new workout during the diet and exercise week. Both were two that I was worried about, but was happy and proud for accomplishing them.

What challenges were your favorite or most difficult to complete?

I loved all the positivity challenges even though they were also the most difficult challenges to complete for me personally. When I was able to cross the daily challenge off my list for each day, it was so satisfying.

Is this something you’d like to try again down the road?

YES! I definitely want to plan this for summertime when I’ll need another pick-me-up-month and need to focus on self care, relaxation and refreshing my mind altogether.

Want a review of all the challenges?

 

I hope you enjoyed following along on these challenges throughout the month of February with Erin and I. It was so fun and refreshing to have a month filled with challenges that focused on self care, relaxation and everything in between to focus on mental health. Make sure to leave comments below asking the reflection questions and any other comments you have from participating in the challenges!

 

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Mental Cleanse Challenge: Week 3

Another week has already come and gone! I feel that these challenges are coming and going so quickly and that February is flying by. It doesn’t help that this month has been very busy at work, which makes the days seem very short.

If this is your first post catching up on my 30-Day Mental Cleanse Challenge with Erin, stop and go back to the beginning. Read the first post in this challenge series about the collaboration for creating self-care challenges and a review of my first week of the Mental Cleanse Challenge!

Are you caught up to speed? Good, now we can move on to reviewing last week’s challenges and where I struggled!

Feb. 6: Try a new workout you’ve never done before.

I knew this would be challenging for me because I’ve done a lot of different workouts. But I decided to go out of my comfort zone and not cheat, so I tried a cardio ab workout I found online.

Feb. 7: Keep all three meals “phone free.” No social media scrolling!

This isn’t ever an issue for breakfast or dinner, but lunch at the office is filled with social media browsing. Instead, I got my coworkers on board to keep their phones away for lunch.

Feb. 8: Do a yoga for beginners workout to give your muscles TLC.

I needed this. I have been going hard on the leg and cardio workouts, so some yoga was exactly what I needed this day. I only did a 15-minute, but it’s better than nothing, right?!

Feb. 9: Make two of your three meals meatless. Need inspiration? Check Pinterest!

I typically don’t have an issue with this because I love to eat a lot of vegetables, fruit and salads to begin with. I had a huge salad for lunch and a veggie pasta for dinner.

Feb. 10: Meditate for 5 minutes and focus on your breath.

I was able to do in this in the office. I was feeling overwhelmed and took the opportunity to calm myself with breathing and relaxing for 10 minutes. Breathing works wonders for stress, friends.

Feb. 11: Take your workout outdoors even if it’s for 20 minutes! 

We were happy to see a little warm weather this day, so I took a walk outside for 15 minutes. It’s still winter here in PA, so we didn’t want to go overboard with the outdoors.

Feb. 12: Go vegan for a day!

What was I thinking with this challenge? Not having eggs, cheese or any other animal products was challenging, but achievable. I ate lentil soup, salad, fruit salad, and rice with veggies throughout the day.

How did you do with these challenges? Make sure to share your wins and losses from this week! Don’t be shy, it’s okay if you had a slip-up or two!


The Third Week of Challenges: Digital Cleanse

  • Feb. 13: Clean out your inbox and sort your emails into folders. Delete all spam.
  • Feb. 14: No social media before 11 a.m. Take the time to be productive!
  • Feb. 15: Unfollow people on social media who don’t inspire you.
  • Feb. 16: Organize your desktop accordingly into folders. Delete unnecessary items.
  • Feb. 17: Go through your phone and organize your apps into folders. Delete apps, old notes, contacts, etc.
  • Feb. 18: Have a phone-free night with family or loved ones!
  • Feb. 19: Unsubscribe from email marketing you’re not interested in keeping up with.

How have you been loving the challenges so far? What challenges were the easiest/most difficult for week two? What challenges for the third week are you most concerned about? Make sure to share in the comments below!

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5 Things to be Happy About | February 2017

And we’re back with the positive vibes and gratitude here on Blissfully Brunette. (Praise hands emoji)

But for real, I think we could all use a little positivity here in the world because the past two weeks on social media haven’t been pretty. So let’s change the energy out there, shall we?

If this is your first “Things to be Happy About” post—welcome! This is a post I write monthly to share and express gratitude about the month ahead. These posts are some of my favorite to write because it reminds me to enjoy and appreciate the little things in life we often forget. Make sure to leave a comment below sharing what you’re looking forward to now that it’s February!

1| Feeling Settled in the New Year

The first few weeks of January can feel a little overwhelming, especially if you’re focusing on all your goals, getting back to work, and coming back down from the “holiday high” that I experience every year. Basically, it takes me a solid week or two to admit that Christmas is over, and life will return to normal. In February, I am settled in my life, I have my routine down. etc.

2| Goals & Grind

I don’t know about you, but I am NOT the type of person who will wake up on January 1st and be ready to completely change my life for the new year. Definitely not a thing here in my world. Instead, I like to slowly incorporate positive changes, new habits, and work on my goals slowly. Now that we’re heading into February, I will be set to achieve all my #GirlBoss goals and work hard all month long.

3| Valentine’s Day

Plot twist! Josh and I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. You can read all about it—you might get a kick out of my humorous take on it. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy this day. Instead, I’ll bake something with my friends, watch Netflix, and drink wine for the night. Or, I’ll bring in festive cookies for coworkers. Trust me, you still can appreciate this holiday without going all-out with the Pinterest DIY gifts.

4| A Short Month

There’s something about knowing the month being short makes me feel blissful. February in the northeast means a not-so-fun time with the weather and the mass amount of snow. But, I look forward to this month because the month will fly by and we will be a month closer to spring, which brings me to my last one…

5| Preparing For Spring

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Spring is very underrated; and it’s a season I secretly look forward to. After the holiday season, I immediately think about my excitement for spring, and think about slightly warmer weather even though winter can last through March here in PA/NY. I begin “spring cleaning” and decluttering so I can get a jump start before the season arrives.

What are you happy about now that it’s February? Make sure to leave a comment below!

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10 Things to be Happy About: December Edition

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I cannot believe that it’s the last edition of “10 Things to be Happy About” for 2016. I’m happy to say that I was able to express gratitude all-year long with these posts as a simple way of sharing what I’m looking forward to each month. I think these posts were helpful for people because they put everything into perspective. It’s all about the little things that we need to appreciate in life. Hopefully, you were given a little bit of bliss, and were reminded of simple things to be happy about as the year passed by.

1| Cooking and Baking

I am no Martha Stewart by any means, but let me tell you that I still enjoy cooking and baking for the holidays. There are so many special dishes and treats that I’m used to having around this time of year, and now that I don’t live at home, I have to learn how to make them myself! Needless to say I’ll be spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

2| Time with Family and Friends

I’m all about family and friends. I’m happy to say I have two of my best friends coming into town before the holidays to finish up some last-minute Christmas shopping and to spend a little extra time with them before things got very busy for the holiday season.

3| Wrapping Gifts

Call me crazy, but I think wrapping gifts is arguably more fun that going out to shopping to find and buy the gifts. I make hot chocolate, blast Michael Buble’s Christmas album, and spend the afternoon wrapping gifts and organizing them for my trip home. Let me know if you hate wrapping, or if it’s something you look forward to during the holidays?!

4| Christmas Music

The best part about December is that there are radio stations that play Christmas music 24/7, which is why I’m in full holiday mode. You better believe that the only thing I’m playing in my car all month long will be the Christmas station. I only have one month of non-stop Christmas music, so let me enjoy it!

5| Winter Fashion

Layers, layers and all the warm and cozy accessories essentially sum up what the winter months mean for my taste in style and fashion. I’m essentially living in sweaters, blanket scarves, leggings, and boots. Although I don’t love the below-freezing temperature, and the horrible roads—I do love winter fashion.

6| Hallmark Holiday Movies

Aside from Christmas music playing non-stop in my car, Hallmark Holiday movies are playing non-stop in my home. I love the cheesy, romance movies that are playing all-month long on Hallmark. Yes, I know they’re very lame and predictable, but it’s all part of what I love most during this time of year!

7| Giving Back

One of the best parts of the this month is the idea of giving back and spreading a little extra kindness and bliss for everyone in your life. Whether you’re giving back to your in-laws or a stranger you’ve never met; be sure to think about how you can spread a little holiday cheer this month as a way to give back.

8| Traditions

Every family has their own set of traditions that are special within that family. This year, with it being my first holiday living with Josh, I want to make sure we begin creating some traditions of our own. That way, we can keep traditions from our families and also create our own that are special for us.

9| Christmas Cookies

I don’t know what I love more: baking and decorating each individual Christmas cookie, or eating them for a few weeks. I could live without cheesecakes and pies during this month because all I’m looking forward to specifically are the traditional Christmas cookies!

10| Prepare for a New Year

There’s nothing better than reflecting on the past year, and preparing for the new year ahead. This year, I’m hoping to a little extra time to sit down and really think about what I want to achieve for 2017. 2016 has been wonderful, and I’m hoping to take this bliss and bring into the new year.

What are you looking forward to now that it’s December? What are some holiday traditions your family has? Make sure to share in the comments below!

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