Traveling with #TuesdayTopics

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I don’t travel nearly as much as I want to.

I have a travel bag that stays packed and ready to go for when I do… Makes it so much easier to get out of the door, without forgetting anything. Buying an extra one of these is easier to buy it at home, than getting stuck out without it.

My Travel Bag
My Travel Bag

My bag has:

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Floss
  • Comb
  • Brush
  • Foundation
  • Lip Gloss
  • Shower Cap
  • Hair clips
  • Flat iron

I have this to toss in my carry on so that I never have to think about it. I have a separate one for my husband and family for when all of us travel together. That way, even if my checked bag gets lost, I still have my essentials.

I also need my phone. I can always get my map there. I’m pretty good with directions, so all I need to do is I figure out the direction I need to go, and I normally can get there without further guidance (although I still like to have it).

And finally, clean panties… Who doesn’t need those?

Why is my list so short? Mainly because I realized that most things are replaceable with ease, even when you travel. As much as it may feel like I’m compelled to pack my entire closet, I normally pick an outfit a day, for summer – a suit, and then one dressed up outfit. That’s pretty much it.

I’ve gotten pretty efficient at packing and haven’t needed to buy anything and am packed in one small carry on. I normally only need something bigger when the family is coming.

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Dream a Little Dream of Me with #TuesdayTopics

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The Pinnacle of this round of Tuesday Topics has led us to the final ONE… Your Lifelong Dream

Another thought provoking topic.

When I was young, I wanted to be a singer… think Beyonce. But my mom told me, that’s a lot of work and you’d probably have to give up school to work that hard. Being 8, and having a love for school, I thought it was impractical to do both.

Soon thereafter, I wanted to be an international corporate lawyer. I wanted to travel the world with my job, being a complete jetsetter… having houses worldwide. I was well on my way to fulfilling this dream.

Now, I’ll be honest, I don’t know what my dream is anymore.

I had my son during law school and my life just changed. It changed my thought process, my desires my dreams.

I would still like to travel the world, but I can’t do it the same way with now two kids and one on the way.

I would still like to sing, but how can I do it successfully and still raise a family?

In the last few months, I’ve really been trying to DREAM BIG… but I can only dream in practical terms. Of course, that’s an oxymoron – dreams aren’t supposed to be practical. The perfect prince carrying you off into the sunset and kids who clean their rooms, read intently and play quietly and neatly in their rooms until you call them for their meals are children who don’t exist… but we dream.

Hell, I don’t know what my dream is… all I can focus on is my children and my family. I want them to be healthy and happy. But that’s not a lifelong dream for me… that’s my dream for them.

I’m not saying that they are the cause of me not having a dream… I just wish my initial dream had included them.

What is your lifelong dream?

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Quotes to Live By with #TuesdayTopics

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This week is our favorite quotes. The first, I’ll get out of the way because I know I’ve said it before

Source: The Quote Factory

The First Time Someone Shows You Who They Are, Believe Them ~ Maya Angelou

But I’ll talk a little bit more about it. I’ve never been one who had to try something for myself and fail to realize that it doesn’t work. That goes for relationships too. I’ve never had a bad boyfriend. They were great for the time, as I grew, I just realized that they weren’t for me.

On the other hand, I have heard so many others tell me about the person (especially guy) who calls them only for a booty call, only to be surprised when he doesn’t want a real relationship. Or the person who had someone “borrow” $500 from someone else (and never return it), only to come to them and ask them for the same amount, then cry about how they were deceived. Or the man who cheats with you, then turns around and cheats ON you.

Like any rule, there are exceptions to every rule, and just because you know the one person who was doesn’t follow the rules, doesn’t mean it’s not a good rule to follow.

It doesn’t mean that the person can’t change (or it wasn’t a one-off), I just mean watch out, keep your eyes peeled, guard your heart, and let them prove who they really are.

Only Lend Money

 

Only Lend Money You Can Afford to Lose ~ ME (since I can’t find it anywhere online)

Unfortunately I fell prey to this one a few too many times before I learned my lesson. I always looked for the good in people before, and thinking that since I hadn’t done anything to hurt them, why would they do anything to hurt me… especially with larger amounts of money. Of course, now, several years later, I’m still paying off the debt, I wish I would have learned this many years prior.

Now, it’s easy. If the person shows me their true colors, (1) it was an amount that I won’t miss and (2) it’s a cheap way to know that it will never happen again.

I’m not saying don’t give people money… sometimes it’s just easier to say, “here, keep it, I don’t expect it back.” than it is to say “it’s a loan, and I expect it back.” No hard feelings, and if they do decide to repay you, it’s a welcome surprise ~ and you know that their character goes beyond the superficial. Even though they didn’t have to pay you back, they did anyway.

**Just watch to make sure that they don’t come back for a larger amount since you “trusted” them the first time.

And of course, because I do talk fitness…

Fitness is Like Marriage. You Can’t Cheat on It, and Expect it to Work. ~ Bonnie Pfiester

I get asked constantly about whether someone could take a “cheat day”, but ultimately no, you can’t.

It doesn’t mean that you can’t have sweets, or carbs or chips. It just means that instead of overindulging until you can’t eat anymore, you fit it into your lifestyle (not big on the word, diet because diet implies temporary).

Every day, you pick up some something you love, and take half a slice, or a quarter of slice, instead of a hole one. The one bite rule is a good one to follow. For most “indulgent” items, one bite is about 100 calories. So, if you can afford 500 calories, then you can take 5 bites… but should you? That’s up to you.

 

What are your favorite quotes? Are they ones you live by or just overall good ones? Share them with me!

 

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School of Life with #TuesdayTopics

TuesdaysTop - 10LIKEFour. Attending, even Graduating, College or Graduate School Doesn’t Make You Smart

This may qualify as learning something in school, but not in by a teacher in a classroom. Tons of people go to post-high school education… and they come out acting smarter than the rest of the world. Although some of them may be actually smarter than the rest of the world, I think a good number of them were smarter even when they started school. It’s disappointing how many stupid shortsighted people you cross when you get in a workplace with degrees or initials after their names.

Three. Parents Don’t Get Sleep

Well, I can only speak from the mother perspective and most nights, my husband seems to sleep just fine, but once I gave birth to my first, I don’t sleep well. Even if a child isn’t up during the night, every turn they make makes me jump up… maybe not get up, but roll over, adjust, be halfway awake ~ no longer comfortable sleeping. Then I have to wait until I drift off again, only to wake up the next movement.

Two. Racism Still Exists

I’m not saying everyone is racist. I’m just saying that the legal world is still full of the good ole boys, even if they occasionally hire someone not in their “club”. People are racist against their own race (which I recently learned is called colorism). I think we need to talk about it, but it’s hard when so many people get completely reviled by comments like by Paula Deen. I’m not saying that it was ok, but twenty years ago and an apology should suffice. If not, that means no one changes or grows over time and we are the same people we were twenty years ago. Are you?

Quick story about my first real encounter with real racism. I was a college sophomore, working part-time at a car dealership. This older white man came in and started a conversation with me… or at least tried to.

  • Him: Do you work here full-time?
  • Me: No. I’m a full-time student, this is my weekend job.
  • Him: Oh, so you go to Santa Monica College?
  • Me: No, I go to UCLA {these schools were almost equal distance from my job}
  • Him: So, what sport do you play?
  • Me: {completely puzzled, I understood the inference, but didn’t understand why he would make that assumption} I don’t play a sport.
  • Him: How did you get into UCLA?
  • Me: {I don’t anger easily, but I was easily getting red in the face by this point, I was at work} I got in on my merit. Sharon, your customer needs your assistance.

I am good at holding my temper, so wasn’t pulled into a debate. Being a car dealership, and my short work time there, I never saw him again. I believe this is a form of the quiet racism that exists still in this country, being black, how could I get into a great school like UCLA? Simple assumption, no outward rudeness, no use of the n-word, just a stereotype with no basis. I would hope that that conversation would have changed his thinking, but I will never know.

One. Being a Parent Changes Your Life!

I’m sure a lot of people would say that, but on the outside, looking in, you just see the lack of sleep, the running around, the neglect or overparenting that some people do. But I mean, in your heart. You look at the world differently. Sometimes you find the world more dangerous, scared that anything can attack you or hurt you or your child. You can look at your mortality, worrying if you die too soon. Or you can be like me that really examined what I want my family to be, filling in the holes that I feel existed in my own life. Trying to change it for the better. Anyway you cut it, the world becomes a different place, as a parent, whether its scary, hopeful, loving, large or curious.

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5 Songs That Bring Back Memories with #TuesdayTopics

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Songs that bring me back… There are SO many. I used to be a singing diva. I would sing every chance I got, loved learning new songs and old ones.

Nice and Slow by USHER

While my girls and I would get ready to go out, we’d put on the Usher cd – and end up playing this song over and over. We would sing to it… learn the “rap” portion (we weren’t rappers by any means) and make up some dance for it. We made up a lot of dances in college for the club, taking up a great amount of space on the dance floor.

 

Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen

This was the first song I was exposed to besides in mere passing that wasn’t in the Gospel, jazz, musak, rap or R&B genres. For the most part, I would listen just to the R&B stations, not really anything else. In the school chorus, we had to sing Bohemian Rhapsody for a concert… it’s an extremely challenging song to sing, but tons of fun. Then when it was in Wayne’s World, I felt like I wasn’t a complete outsider.

 

Any song from Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, or the Lion King

In junior high and high school, our annual district wide concert was based around (what’s now called) a mash-up of Disney songs. I loved this time of the year, the beauty of Disney songs would appeal to my emotions. I would always end up crying when I was practicing at home for one reason or another. I tried out for the solo every year and never got it because I wasn’t a trained dancer. The leads never sung all that well, but looked good in their size 2/4 pre-made costumes and had taken dance in a studio. I learned then that I would probably never fit what people thought of as a singer… and started concentrating more on academics.

 

Let’s Chill by Guy

By far, my favorite love song. The song is simple… no ultimatums, no harsh words… just a simple way to say that I love you and I choose you and I hope you choose me too.

We Are the Champions by Queen

Not quite sure why Queen was the author of this song, but it was played often after games and clean-ups. I was on a lot of winning teams in high school. I loved the thrill and the high of winning and loved to push harder if I messed up. In volleyball, I played middle blocker. If you know anything about volleyball, my short 5’6″ stature is pretty small for this role, but I could out jump everyone on the floor, except the one girl who was six foot, who could normally only touch one to two inches above me. Not bad for this vball shorty.

I wish I could say I had a wedding song or something, but my husband and I never had a dancing reception, so we didn’t have a “song”. To date, we don’t have a “song”. Can you get a song after you’ve been together for a decade and married for six years?

What are some of the songs that bring back memories for you?

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Favorite Products that I Can’t Live Without with #TuesdayTopics

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This week is a difficult one for me… man, do I sound like a broken record. Although I love technology, I just don’t invest in them because they age too quickly and something “new” is “old” in just a year. So, when I do get it, I treasure it. It’s not often and it’s not a lot. So, here we go!

SIX

I love my Samsung Galaxy SIII. This is the first phone in a long while that wasn’t the “free” phone that came with the extended contract. I have not been disappointed. I got a great deal at Costco on it for last year’s Black Friday. Phone, phone case, convertible charger, accessory case – all for $120!

FIVE

Interestingly enough, I also have a Samsung laptop. I’ve had two prior laptops, both ended up dying within the first year of use… and was slowing way before that. It’s a strong year and a half going for this one, and unless I drop it (cross my fingers), should last another year or longer!

FOUR

My iPod. I was not nearly as fascinated with it as I am my phone, but right now, it completely occupies my kids attention for HOURS! How could I not like something so simple, but so entertaining!

THREE

Nintendo Wii. Besides being able to play games, I can also watch Netflix – FREE! I recently received an XBOX Kinect for a gift and you have to pay to access Netflix and several other things that we already pay for… why do I want to pay for it twice? So, in short, I really appreciate having the Wii and being able to stream services through it. I just wish it were HD. I have the first generation, but it works great, there’s no reason to upgrade!

TWO

Stuffed animals. I’m not sure if this counts as a “product”, but all of the stuffed animals that we have completely keep my kids entertained for hours!

ONE

This is a duplicate from Things That Make Me Happy! It’s my television and DVR. We have Panasonic television (courtesy of Costco – I love that place), and our Time Warner DVR. I can’t wait to upgrade my DVR service though, having a larger memory card in order to record four shows at a time, but other than that – it keeps me and my family from arguing over the remote! I can always record my things to watch later. I rarely catch anything live and I wouldn’t know when anything is and I’m ok with that!

What are your Favorite Products? Check out Tuesday Topics? Stop by Live.Love.Lauren. and Austin Family Diary.

 

 

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I Love My Job with #TuesdayTopics

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I have a couple of jobs… the first and foremost is Stay at Home Mom. My job is to take care of these two little ones:

Kids for Swim class
Right before swim class

As a SAHM, you know the drill of the long list of things we have to do… so I’m going to talk about what I enjoy:

  • The uncontrollable bouts of laughter! Just being able to sit and enjoy it. While working, I could never really sit and enjoy it because there was always something else to do.
  • Watching my kids play together (or fight together). I never really had these periods of time with my siblings. I enjoy watching the two of them play together for hours – chase each other around and laugh for hours.
  • Less stress! Man, do I not miss the days of early rising, late sleeping and trying to get everything done in between. I don’t have to worry about those things most days. Not to say I get everything done, but I don’t have a problem making sure that I get the things done that I NEED to, without staying up until one am. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I won’t be up until one, just means I rarely NEED to be up until one.

No Get Thin Quick SchemesSecondly, I’m a fitness coach, I help people with their health and fitness goals, making them healthier and sexier!

  • I help people! I love helping people! I naturally like lending a hand, and getting things done. I like giving advice (check out other posts on the blog), but I also read a lot and take TONS of advice. I’m a strong believer that I don’t need to go through it to know how to get to the other side. 
  • Watching pounds drop off others! Even though my advice isn’t always taken, enough nuggets of goodness stick, that helps people get over their humps and into smaller pants. The change is remarkable and quite frankly I LOVE watching it happen.
  • Research! I know it bores most people, but I love reading articles on health, finding out what the newest, latest, greatest “diet” scheme is… and how it compares to what Beachbody preaches and what I believe.

Lastly, I also do some side legal and completely unrelated desktop publishing. I love designing things. I like some of the old school products, I don’t use Photoshop, and I make a flyer or design cards regularly. I can do some basic online work too, and I can do most of my own design work, but I love collaborating because working together makes a better product.

Want to join us for Tuesday Topics? Head on over to Life.Love.Lauren or the Austin Family Diary to join us or read other posts!

 

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Goals updated! Thanks to #TuesdayTopics

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This week’s Tuesday Topics is PERFECT!

I’ve been procrastinating on writing an update on my goals… so this will be a two-for post! Anything that cuts down my work, works for me!

My goals at the beginning of the year were:

My goals for this year are:

1. Cultivate relationships

  • God – Read the bible from cover to cover. I’ve started reading the One Year Bible by YouVersion (user name bellereine… read with me!) I’m on Day 136 – a little behind, but definitely making serious progress!
  • Friends – call and text regularly, try to touch base no less than monthly. I’m a loner, and I really need to change. Still chipping away at this. I’m getting better. 
  • Business – build a business network. I need to build my blog and my brand. Still working on this too. Building a business is about cultivating those relationships. I’m getting better.

2. Lose weight. I’ve lost 25 pounds since January 1! Yay me! Not sure how much I’ll lose before the year is out since, ya know, I’m pregnant and all.

  • Exercise daily. My primary exercise plan will be TurboFire, but I will also be walking regularly. I’ve switched to ChaLEAN Extreme because it makes me less nauseous from being pregnant. Don’t let that deter you from doing it! I saw 8 month pregnant women in her LIVE class! I’m just not used to bouncing exercises anyway.
  • Eat between 1200-1500 calories daily. I will be eating a primarily vegetarian diet for the month of January, switching into a Paleo diet for February. LOL! This was tossed out the window! I’m pregnant (yes, this is getting repetitive), but I am not getting enough calories.
  • Log info with MyFitnessPal (my username is aprilgrant. work out with me!) 🙁 Not even close.

4. Be more organized

  • Clean for an hour daily YES!
  • Post five times a weekSteadily four, so I’m doing alright!
  • Tweet and Facebook dailyYep, I’m there
  • Keep to-do listNot really, I have one, but it’s not being updated regularly.
  • Finish projectsI’ve got tons sitting around the house! Finished cleaning the office! (Finally some pictures, right?)
Office p2
Before
Office After
After

5. Work with my son

  • Create and maintain a financial plan he’s set some wonderful goals and have managed to hit two of them!
  • Instill the idea of goal settingonly somewhat. He only seems to get it with money, now I have to try to cross it over to other things.
  • Work with his behavioreh, sometimes.
  • Do more activities for lessonsno, not at all.

6. Get out of the house daily. – TOTAL FAIL since school let out two weeks ago.

  • Momtourage
  • Park
  • Walks

7. Trim finances.

  • Pay off student loan debt it’s a stretch to get this done this year, hopefully, we just keep going in the right direction.
  • Pay off credit card debtHalfway done… it’s June, and we’re right on track!
  • Increase savings accountYES!
  • Create emergency accountYES!

8. Write more – not even close!

  • Finish script
  • Finish book
  • Write ebook

9. Read more – not even close!

  • Finish a fun book each month
  • Finish an educational book each month

So, specifically for this month… I want to:

  1. Start selling items online – take pictures, and post to get some sales!
  2. Cultivate business relationships
  3. Do more activities with my son
  4. Write more
  5. Read more
  6. Get out of the house
  7. Structure my time more – which will resolve 4, 5 and 6, so that I’ll take the time out to do that.
  8. Get my daughter to sleep through the night.

Want to join us? Tell me what you want goals you have for this month!

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It Makes Me SO Happy! #TuesdayTopics

Life. Love.Lauren
On to another round of Tuesday Topics! This week, we’re back at TEN!
Ten things that Make ME happy!
TEN
My television makes me happy and I’m not ashamed to say it… watching drama on television is SO much better than having it in my life. There are a lot of shows that I find entertaining: comedies, dramas, “reality”, and competition. The summer season is upon us and I can’t wait for MasterChef!
Nine
My home. It’s quiet, it’s peaceful, and I can control it. I wish it were neater… but I don’t choose to spend too much time doing it. I think I’ll be more motivated as the kids get older because even though they make the mess, they can also help clean it up!
EIGHT
My community. There are 29 parks, 2 malls, some of the best schools in the state and a great parks and recreation department. It’s definitely a middle class area, which means it’s not too costly to live here!
Seven
My computer. From blogging, reading blogs, playing games, desktop publishing to whatever else that I do, my computer is in my hand… I can get ideas for my son and daughter and upload all of my wonderful pictures!
SIX
Who can skip the phone? It has now become most people’s favorite electronic item, and it has definitely become mine!
Five
Food… from strawberries, chocolate, steak, sushi… I LOVE meeting with friends over a meal! It’s great to be able to eat and six and relax and share and just love each other.
FOUR, three, TWO, one!
This wonderful family with one on the way! Meeting, falling in love with, and marrying my husband has been a journey like no other. He has been my rock when I needed it, and help me chauffeur these other three into this crazy world! There is nothing better than knowing you have a support system and he’s it!
3 Favorite People
What are your 10 things that you happy?!?!

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And Finally… Why I Started Blogging! #TuesdayTopics

Tuesday Topics R2

 

Why I started blogging? Hmmm… the answer is complex… only because this blog is not what it started out to be. This is the way it became what it is today.

First, this was supposed to be a fitness site… to let you know how great it was to workout and that I am selling some great workout programs. Because Beachbody has some awesome programs and I thought I could talk endlessly about them.

But I couldn’t.

I got bored.

Quite frankly, my stats to me that my readers felt that way too.

So, I started thinking about things I was passionate about… then I reconsidered because I knew that my family would like read it.

I thought about what I do regularly… my family, my non-profit work, and writing… I ended up talking about finances because quite frankly, mine sucked!

Just like my fitness, I needed to get in better shape. So I have a series on Wednesdays all about how to keep yourself out of debt.. or huge amounts of it. I’m no expert – but I know what I did wrong, and I don’t think you should have to go through it either.

Then I realized that I need to open up a little more. Not just on the site, but in real life. I keep to myself pretty much most of the time. There are very few people who know anything about me and I don’t share readily. I’m a homebody introvert. It’s based on things that have happened in my past, but I need to work through it.

That’s why I do the blog hops and pretty much all other posts.

Oh, and the giveaways… because who doesn’t like free stuff! Join me at the final blog hop of Tuesday Topics!

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Childhood Pictures


Tuesday Topics R2So, week 5 has arrived. I have been dreading this week’s post more than any other, mainly because I only know of one picture before I was 10 and I don’t look back fondly on my childhood.

In the spirit of learning about myself and opening up, I decided to post anyway. I won’t go much into what I feel about my childhood, but here are a couple of pictures… one when I was a baby, one when I was about 9.

 

childhood pics 002

 

 

april at 9

SimplyHelpingHim
Loving Your Body, God’s Way
Women in the Bible ~ Influences
The Year of Lean

Don’t forget to check out my lovely sponsors – Raising Reagan, Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyholic, Pamela’s Heavenly Treats and The Gold Life… Links to the right!

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