A Month of Gratitude & Kindness

November is finally here, and while I can’t quite wrap my mind around that fact—I’m definitely looking forward to this month. This month especially, I’m going to plan something a little different as a challenge for the month. I want to try and practice gratitude, kindness and giving every day throughout the month of November.

You all know how important expressing gratitude and giving back are to me whether it’s through my “10 Things to be Happy About” posts every month, or if I’m sharing the love in the blogging community each month. These little acts of kindness and giving can make a person’s day, so why not try and extend those actions for an entire month? How do I plan to do that? It will involve a ton of journaling, giving back and other little kindness challenges throughout the month.

This isn’t something I plan to promote excessively, but I do challenge you all to try and think a little more about expressing gratitude and giving more as we approach the holiday season. It’s always good to challenge yourself to be a little more kind, giving and thankful. Trust me, you will feel good about doing any of these tasks throughout the month.

Below are my personal challenges to complete throughout the month of November.

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If you do try any of these challenges, or create your own kindness and gratitude challenge for the month, make sure to reach out on Twitter (@BlissBrunette). I would love to know what challenges you’re doing throughout the month! I hope everyone can find some time to express gratitude and share a little kindness with the world in their own way this month. Trust me, the world could use that positive, happy energy!

How do you plan to give back this month? Have you ever completed a gratitude or kindness challenge before? Make sure to leave a comment below!

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12 Things to do for a Better Day

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If you have been struggling with getting through the day because of stress, or you have been feeling overwhelmed with life altogether, keep on reading. I’m sharing 12 things you can do every day for a better, more blissful day.

1| Be prepared

Your outfit is set out, along with your meals for the day, and your bag is packed by the door ready to go. The more you prepare the night before, the less you’ll stress in the morning while you’re getting ready. Take a little time to make your lunch and get your breakfast planned, and pick your outfit. You’ll thank me for this one in the long run.

2| Make your bed

There are two types of people: people who make their beds and unhappy people. I’m serious when I say that there’s nothing better than getting into a fresh bed after a long day. Take two minutes to make your bed in the morning. It brings your entire room together and keeps the space looking clean.

3| Drink water immediately

I keep a water bottle next to my bed so that the first thing I do is drink water. Even if you’re not a morning person, water will hydrate you and get your body and mind moving more quickly with little effort. You’ll feel yourself wake up naturally and you’ll feel a little happier before the day begins.

4| Enjoy your breakfast/coffee at home

Don’t skip breakfast. Allow yourself enough time to have coffee and something for breakfast, and have it at home. Don’t pick up breakfast sandwiches and coffee from Dunkin Donuts. You’re spending unnecessary money, and having breakfast sandwiches or bagels everyday isn’t good for your body altogether.

5| Tackle your biggest task first

Skip the email check and morning chit-chat with people in the office. Instead, focus on the big project, report or event you have to work on, and get that done. Then, you have the entire day ahead of you to work on all your other tasks, and the end of your work day will be smooth sailing.

6| Don’t buy your lunch

Another way people spend unnecessary money is by buying lunch every day. Let’s do some math. If you spend an average of $10 a day on lunch and multiply that by 260 (5 days a week for 52 weeks a year) that’s $2,600 you’re spending. You’ll save money, calories and time if you bring your lunch instead.

7| Detach yourself from work after 5 p.m.

This can be tough for some people, especially if you work in a field where people think you should be on the clock 24/7. Don’t read your emails, and don’t answer work calls or texts after 5 p.m. You deserve time for yourself. No, you’re not being selfish if you don’t respond to your boss because you weren’t created to work 24 hours a day. It can wait until tomorrow.

8| Get your 20-30 minutes in

Set aside time when you get a little active whether it’s yoga, walking, running, or Pilates. What’s great about this is that you can do so many activities that are fun and don’t feel like you’re working out. Find out what workouts are best for you, and incorporate them into your everyday routine. You’ll relieve stress and clear your head from the day.

9| Clean as you go

Instead of letting dishes pile up in the sink, wash them as you go throughout the day. When you take something out, put it back. You’ll be surprised how this little task can affect the entire cleanliness of your home. Then you don’t set an hour a day just for cleaning up because you’ve been working at it throughout the day.

10| Do a little self care every day

Keep a journal, take up a new hobby, put on a face masks and drink some wine. Whatever is it, make sure you’re giving yourself a little treat and time to unwind after a long day. You deserve to have time for self care in your daily routine even if it’s only for 30 minutes a day.

11| Write your to-do list for the next day

Take five minutes every night to plan out your day for the next day. Make sure to account for any meetings, appointments, plans with friends and family, etc. Outline what your day will look like, so you don’t stress about anything at night. You’ll feel relieved you did this small, but essential step for a blissful day.

12| Don’t get sucked into social media all night

When I sit and scroll on social media late at night, I have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep. Instead, I stop checking my phone after a certain time, and I prep my mind to go in sleep mode. It has done wonders for my sleep schedule, and it ends my day on a good note because let’s be honest, sleep is too important to overlook in your routine.

What tips would you add to this list? What tip do you need to work on? Make sure to leave a comment below!

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7 Easy Tips on How to Structure Your Day

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If you missed last week’s post, I shared “A Day in my Life” where I talk about what a typical weekday looks like for me. I was happy to say that I received a ton of comments about my organization, and how I structure my day.

“You have a busy day!” “You’re so disciplined!” and “You’re so organized!” were some of the comments that were repeated on this post. So I thought you would enjoy reading how I structure my day and still find time for my passions, time to relax, etc.

First, let me say that no one is perfect. For the most part, I am disciplined with sticking to my routine, staying on top of my to-do list, and being productive. However, there have been days where I come home exhausted and treat myself to cookies, a book and my couch. This is okay! Don’t ever feel like you can’t stray away from your routine because you don’t want to lose your drive. If you truly love what you do, you’ll never lose that ambition.

Now, let’s talk about how you can structure your day without losing sleep, and still find time to relax each day. You can guarantee you’ll add a little bliss to your life when you apply these tips to you daily routine.

1|What are your goals?

What do you want to truly accomplish out of your daily routine? Are you trying to make your blog a business? Are you hoping to change your career? Do you want to have more time for yourself? Once your set aside what your main goals are, it will be much easier to pick and choose how you should spend your time, and how you should structure your day altogether.

2| How Are You Wasting Time?

I encourage everyone to try this at least two or three days out of the week. Find a piece of paper, and write down how you spend your time in one-hour increments throughout the day. You must include everything from showering, cooking, cleaning, spending time on social media, driving to work, watching Netflix, etc. Now, ask yourself what’s really important. Do you need to watch three hours of Game of Thrones every night? How can you better spend your time, so that you’re working toward your goals.

3| Break It Down

Let’s get to the actual planning. Get out a piece of paper (or planner) and structure your day based on what’s most important to achieving your goals or what you’re passionate about. For me, I want time to blog and work on growing my blog without losing focus on my full-time job or time for self care. I break down blogging into separate increments each day. I share blog posts on social media and comment/read other blogs every morning from 7:30 to 8 a.m. This leave time to take photos, write, edit in the evening, which I typically do on Tuesdays and Thursdays or the weekends.

4| Set Timers

I love to set timers. If I blog, I set aside an hour or two so I don’t let it consume my entire evening. For workouts, I have a timer counting down the minutes. I’m not saying you should set a timer for everything, but only for specific tasks you know that you’ll get distracted and lose track of time. Then, you can monitor your time easily, and you’ll still have time for other tasks each day.

5| What Works For Your Lifestyle?

Another huge component you need to take into consideration is your lifestyle. Do you start work at 6 a.m. or at 1 p.m. When you start your day, do you have to workout, or do you get up and go right to work? This will mostly be dependent on your career. If you work part-time for five hours, you have a little more wiggle room for other activities in comparison to someone who works for eight or nine hours a day. Consider your work schedule, time with loved ones, time for yourself, etc. when you’re going to structure your day.

6| Know Your Limits

I personally could not wake up, get ready, blog, go to work until 5, workout for an hour, cook, eat dinner, clean, and blog some more all while doing the other things I love and giving myself time to relax. That’s why I do different tasks on Mondays/Wednesdays in comparison to the tasks I do on Tuesdays/Thursdays. You can check back on “A Day In My Life” to see this. Find out what is too much for you to handle, and plan accordingly.

7| Trial And Error

If you have spent time creating a plan for structuring your day and find out your hate it—do not worry! This is completely fine. It’s okay if you have a trial and error period for structuring your daily routine. It will help you along the way to determine what will be best for your if you need to try something new, or change a section of your routine. Soon, you will find the routine that works best for you, your life and that will help you accomplish your goals!

I hope this help you all learn more about how you can structure your day to maximize your time, and stay on track of your goals you want to accomplish.

How do you structure your day or restructure your day? What do you want to change about your daily routine specifically? Make sure to leave your comments below!

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10 Things to be Happy About: March Edition

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I don’t know about you guys, but I’m happy that February is behind us and we are moving forward to March. Why? Well, you’ll just have to keep reading to find out!

For those who have never read these posts on my blog, I share ten things I’m looking forward to in the upcoming month. I think it’s important to show appreciation and love for the little things we take for granted. So, here’s my March edition of “10 Things to be Happy About:”

1. (Slightly) Warmer Weather

I am all about spring weather. I love when it’s 45-50 degrees, there’s no wind, and you can enjoy the outdoors. I love March because it’s the first sign of being able to go outside without wearing several layers of clothing outside. Cheers to less snow, and more sun.

2. Dr. Seuss’ Birthday (March 2nd)

Dr. Seuss made my childhood. I was constantly reading his books growing up, and I know that it’s a day to appreciate a talented writer and his gift he left on earth. I don’t think I’ll be eating green eggs and ham, but I’ll definitely read one of his books to my nephew to celebrate the day.

3. Pi Day (March 14th)

You guys know I’ll make any excuse to have some dessert. Pi Day is an annual celebration of the mathematical constant π (pi). It’s celebrated on March 14 (3/14 in the month/day format because 3, 1, and 4 are the first three digits of pi. I’m sure I’ll be celebrating with chocolate peanut butter pie.

4. Longer Days

If you’re in the northeastern United States, you know that it gets dark around 4:30 in winter. In March, minutes add on to the days, and it gets darker later. I love this because I am strongly affected by my environment. When it’s dark and gloomy, I feel unproductive and tried. When it’s light and sunny, I’m happy and positive.

5. St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th)

Let me start by saying I’m not Irish, nor have I ever been the type of person to say, “Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day,” because that doesn’t make sense. However, I enjoy the pride Irish Americans have for their heritage; and I love beer—so no one can lose on this holiday.

6. St. Joseph’s Day (March 19th)

For all my Italian Americans out there, you probably celebrate this day instead of St. Patrick’s Day. Many people think this is a holiday with strict religious interpretation, but it’s to commemorate St. Joseph ending the great famine in Italy. So, like most Italian festivities, it’s all about the food.

7. First Day of Spring (March 20th)

I love spring. I feel like it’s the underrated season of the four options. Maybe I am biased because my birthday is in April, but I love the newness that spring brings to earth. Ralph Waldon Emerson said it best: “The earth laughs in flowers.” There is an unspoken joy that spring brings.

8. National Puppy Day (March 23rd)

There are two types of people: dog lovers and cat lovers. I have always been a dog person. When I discovered that there was a day dedicated to puppies, I was beyond excited. If you’re an animal lover, take the day to volunteer at a shelter to take care of the dogs.

9. Spring Cleaning

I am a clean freak. Spring cleaning is essentially my Christmas in spring. I love going through my closets and bookshelves, and getting rid of everything I don’t use anymore. Since I’m looking to buy my first place in summer, I’m hoping to get rid of as much as possible before making the move.

10. Easter (March 27th)

Easter is underrated. I never realized how much I enjoyed the holiday until I got older. There is so much meaning behind this holiday in terms of faith and understanding for me. It’s also a time I truly enjoy spending with family.  It’s like the spring version of Thanksgiving—it’s about love and gratitude, but during a different time of year.

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

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Please, Love Yourself.

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I love quotes. I have a list of several quotes that have made me the person I am today. I love learning new quotes and dishing them out to friends and family where they’re struggling, or need a little pick-me-up message. It’s not abnormal for me to search Pinterest for words of wisdom. However, I stumbled across a quote recently, and it brought on a lot of emotions for me.

“And if I asked you to name all the things you love, how long would it take for you to name yourself?”

It makes me teary-eyed to read those words and think: “I don’t think I would name myself at all.” And, unfortunately, I don’t think I’m the only person who thinks that.

Bottom line: you need to love yourself.

We live in a world where it can be very difficult to love ourselves. With unrealistic standards of beauty, unrealistic standards of happiness and the do-it-all mentality, it is stressful. We are constantly absorbed with social media where we see other bloggers and people that exude confidence and happiness. They’re always doing something spectacular, fun and Instagram-worthy. We see accounts of fitness inspiration that makes us hate the way we look. And these are only a few examples.

We need to stop comparing our lives to the Instagram of a fitness blogger. In reality, that person still struggles with things we know nothing about. Similar to how other people and bloggers don’t know what our personal struggles are.

So how do we solve this issue?

We spread kindness. We need to throw around kindness like confetti, and share it to anyone and everyone we encounter every day. We need to build each other up—because there are too many things that bring us down—and we don’t need to add more to that list.

We also need to remember that we are not perfect, and we weren’t created to be perfect. We are constantly striving to achieve the “best” life. And while being ambitious is a positive quality, the pressure we put on ourselves is too much. We need to remember that it’s okay to say no, a break from stress is essential, and that life doesn’t suck just because you’re not doing things that other bloggers are doing via Instagram.

Let’s set aside our flaws and focus on our strengths. We have positive attributes we should love about ourselves. Now it’s time to love ourselves the way our friends and family love us.

I hope this post inspired you to love yourself because you truly deserve it. I promise.

What do you love about yourself? Go ahead, be confident and leave a comment with your five favorite qualities about yourself! What else do you love in life?

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