Why we choose Cruising…and you should, too!

Our vacation of choice is cruising.  We absolutely love it.

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In college, I took a cruise with girlfriends.  Four girls 20-21 in an inside stateroom.  It was cramped, but who spends time in their room anyways?  We partied and had a great time.  At that time, we were some of the youngest on our cruise ship and that was great!  We closed the bar each night and our final night some of us stayed up to watch the boat come into port.  The memories from that spring break have stuck with me for a long time.

In 2011 I *finally* convinced my hubby to go somewhere other than Maine.  We took our first cruise as a couple.  And for us, it really was a delayed honeymoon.  We’d been married nearly 3 years and hadn’t had that dream honeymoon so many take after getting married.  We’d been trying to get pregnant for nearly two years with no success and it was time for a break. So we went on a cruise.  Well then the hubs fell in love!  After military deployments, he hadn’t been keen on leaving the country, but what better way than to be on a moving hotel??

That cruise was also my first time in an oceanside balcony room as well as a much larger ship than 2002.  We had the *best* time!  We visited (almost) all new places for me and enjoyed every minute of our time together.  We came home re-energized and re-vitalized and excited to plan our next one.

Our next cruise didn’t happen until 2016.  But it was worth the wait!  With a nearly two year old, time just the two of us was far and few between, so this vacation was exactly the rejuvenation we needed!  We visited some old and new places.  We slept in, we napped, we laid on the adults only deck in the sun, we took evening walks.  Every minute was everything I could ask for and more.

And now, we’re sharing cruising with our son and our friends and their daughter.  In a few weeks we will go on my fourth, hubby’s third, and B’s first cruise.  I can’t wait!  I’m excited for our first *real* family vacation.  Albeit a little stressed about having an almost three year old on a big moving ship…and a plan…and an airport…and cities (remember, we live in the middle of nowhere).  It should be interesting!

So why cruising?  How could you not love having everything you need in walking distance? And when you open your door, the ocean view is right there.  And in the meantime, you’re docking in beautiful tropical islands! And if you don’t like the island, wait 8 hours, you’ll be on the ocean again, and in a day or two in another beautiful tropical port.  It’s been a great way for our family to experience new places while still feeling “safe” on a ship.  Not to mention, the food!  OMG!  The FOOD!!  Delicious and almost all of it is included.  And that that isn’t, you don’t *have* to eat at those places.  And now, most cruise lines have drink packages that either are included when you book certain trips or you can purchase.  So all your alcohol is included, too!

Most people we know love all inclusive resorts.  For us, laying on the beach all day really isn’t our cup of tea.  And we want to see more than one place.  We want to visit different islands and see new things.  Enter your moving hotel!  And most of the big ships nowadays have amazing entertainment, too!  One of our cruises had a Cirque du Soleil show on board!  I mean, how awesome is that?  A circus at sea!  And dinner while you watch!  I can’t say enough about how awesome cruising is.  I don’t know that any vacation can live up to it for us.

Add in the fact that there are so many ships to choose from!  You can choose if you want to be on a big city of a ship, have more entertainment, have a themed cruise, or have an awesome water park.  The possibilities are endless.  We choose mid-sized ships that are big enough to have plenty to do but small enough to not feel like you’ll never see the same person twice.  We choose destinations that usually include 1-2 new stops that we have not visited before.

So far we have been to St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Nassau, and Tortola (and I have been to San Juan and Great Stirrup Cay).  We have gone snorkeling, on a glass bottom boat, to a rum factory, to beaches, and zip lining.  We have toured some of the most beautiful places in the world without having to put more thought in than to pick a cruise ship.

The price tag also isn’t bad at all!  Our average cruise for a standard ocean view balcony has run around $3000-3500.  Not bad when you plan a year in advance and make monthly payments on it either.  There are some other added expenses such as your flight, any car services, extra restaurants, and shore excursions, but some are avoidable (other than getting *to* the port obviously) and unnecessary.

If you haven’t checked out cruising, I highly recommend it.  If you want more information, feel free to contact me or post questions here!

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Direct Sales Consultants: Why You Should Re-evaluate Your Company

So I’m laying it all out.  For five years I had worked for a direct sales company that I loved.  But recently I realized that my love for it wasn’t the product…it was the people.  And why was I still there?  Because somehow I was afraid leaving that company would mean that I would lose those people.  WAKE UP CALL: It doesn’t!  True friends will still be there.  If they were just there because you sold a product, they aren’t FRIENDS.

Instead, I recently decided to leave that company that I joined five years ago.  I still like the product and I still use it.  BUT, I don’t *love* it anymore.  And if you read ANYTHING about direct sales, you KNOW that in order to be successful you need to LOVE the product and have it with you all the time, using it all the time.

Besides that, what made me re-evaluate?  I was spending more money than I was making. Ding, ding, ding!  That’s a warning sign!!  I shouldn’t be spending more money than I’m making.  At the very least, my direct sales should help me feed the habit of the product I love.

The other reason?  My goals changed.  Take a serious look at your goals for 2017.  It’s still only February!  I told you about my 2017 Goals in a previous post.  A lot of that is about getting HEALTHY in 2017…once and for all.  One of the BIG issues with PCOS is that it is an endocrine disorder.  So much of what we handle, clean with, and eat is loaded with endocrine disrupters.  AUGH!!  You know when you go on a diet, you’re told if you’re going to eat something with a label, make sure you read it??  Do the same for all the cleaners, body washes, face washes, soaps, toothpastes, deodorant, etc.  Did you know that it only takes 27 seconds for your skin to absorb what it comes into contact with??  That doesn’t just count for germs!!  It counts when it comes to what you treat your skin with and what you wipe your counters down with.  EW!  Think about everything you touch every day.  Now think about the ingredients.  Do you KNOW what is in them??  If you don’t, I am telling you, go look!  Then go to The Environmental Working Group and see what that ingredient does to your body.  Scary, eh?

I digress…but anyways, it all comes back to one thing DO WHAT YOU LOVE, LOVE WHAT YOU DO!  If your direct sales company doesn’t align with what you love or your goals, it may be time to say goodbye and know that it was a great time learning and meeting people and the people that are meant to stay will!

If you’d like to know some of the direct sales companies I back as well as what company I sell for, please do not hesitate to contact me!

Book Review: Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk

In an effort to keep track of all the books I read and have some new ideas for blog posts, I’m going to start trying to write book reviews!  Especially now that I have the Book of the Month membership, I figure why not!!

In January, I selected two books and was more excited about the other one (to be reviewed soon!) but liked this book so much more!

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Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney – This was a slightly early release (I received on Jan 6 and it was released for everyone else Jan 16).  I was kind of excited about this fact.  There’s something about reading a book before it is released.  A little special feeling. Haha!

The premise of the book is an 84-year-old woman who is reminiscing about her past while celebrating New Year’s.  Her son is living in another state while she is in New York City.  She walks everywhere even though mass transit is an option.  She literally takes a walk down memory lane throughout the book.  At 84 in 1984-85, she lived through some of the exciting times in US history.

As a woman, reading about Lillian Boxfish’s career during a time when women did not play a large part in the workforce was extremely interesting.  I mean, she left the workforce when she had a baby because that was the “standard” of the time.  Can you imagine?  Living in 2017, that’s almost 100% unheard of.  Who knew!

She’s an ad executive with a quirky and entertaining sense of humor and the author’s ability to make you fall in love with and want to know more and more and more about Lillian is absolutely amazing.  I couldn’t resist continuing to read this book and it only took me about a week!  I would have rather been reading than watching tv or playing on Facebook.  It’s been a long time since a book has done that for me.

In general the one thing that I really didn’t like about the book is that it didn’t follow your normal “introduction, climax, resolution, lesson” type format.  I almost felt like when I finished the book I didn’t have any resolution or true ending.  I felt very unresolved!  I wasn’t sure what to think or feel.  It just ended.  I guess with Lillian getting home and having survived a night of walking in NYC and reminiscing her entire life?  Is it bad if I almost feel like her dying in her sleep when she got home would have felt like there was a final resolution?  But all-in-all, it was entertaining and well worth the read!

Creating a Vision For Your Life

Vision Boards.  Everyone who has ever worked direct sales knows this is a HUGE piece of helping you achieve in your business.  But have you ever thought about it helping you achieve what you want in your life?  Maybe your direct sales business is just a piece of what will help you achieve all those great things you want in your life.  Or maybe it’s the answer to it all.  You won’t know until you create it.

I am sure you can find many ways on the internet to create a vision board.  One size does not fit all.  You can cut out pictures from a magazine, use Pinterest, write it all out, whatever your heart desires…and whatever will help inspire you most.  Having a vision for what you want in life will help you figure out how you will get there and will help you set the goals necessary to get there.

Start by making a list

Write it all down.  Everything that comes to mind.

Mine looks something like this: Gardens full of vegetables, solar panels, chickens, bees, a vineyard, fruit trees, goats, homemade soaps, homemade bread, healthy body, healthy life, happy son, happy husband, annual vacations, no debt, a small cape house with a barn…and I am sure I could go on further!

Now create your Vision Board

Use Pinterest or use magazines, tape, and glue.  It’s up to you.  You could even write it all out.  Describe how you want each of those things on the list to look.  What it will do for you, how it will make you feel.  Search for good quotes that support what you are trying to achieve.  It’s going to take you time.  It doesn’t happen over night at all!  But make it simple.  You want it not to feel cluttered.  Ultimately, photo representations are the best way to inspire the vision for yourself, but if you’re writing it out, try drawing pictures, too. You want it to be something you can glance at and have it inspire you.

Now let it inspire you!  Hang it where you can see it.  Somewhere you will see it just about every day.  That way, you will never forget your inspiration and vision.

Now I’m going to get to work and design my vision board to share with you all soon! 🙂

What is PCOS?

One of the big underlying themes I think you see in my last post is health related issues that all seem to connect back to one thing…PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome.

As I was talking to a coworker today and listening to her talk about a family member who has not been able to conceive, I asked a few questions about what kinds of tests that this woman had had done.  Everything.  But then, the coworker told me some things she noticed about this family member that made me think PCOS…but the family member hasn’t been diagnosed.  Trying to help this individual find a provider who would help her, I talked to some friends…and realized that there’s a common misconception about PCOS….

Yes, PCOS stands for poly (i.e. many) cystic.  HOWEVER, new research has shown that not all women have cysts all over their ovaries.  WOAH!  So you’re thinking, “That means that there is a huge number of people out there with PCOS, right?”  RIGHT!

PCOS is an endocrine disorder.  Your endocrine system are all those organs that help you with hormone regulation.  And hormones affect how everything in your body works.  Think about your car…your car (if a 90s or newer), needs a computer to help everything function properly.  If one piece of the computer goes down, the whole car works a little funky.  Your endocrine system is just like that.  And then if one piece of your endocrine system doesn’t function quite right…all your other systems start to not work right.  And boom…then it’s time to fix it all.

Here’s the list…you would have two of three of the following to be diagnosed…

  1. Your ovaries are polycystic
  2. High androgen levels (this is what causes the abnormal hair growth or hair thinning some girls get)
  3. Menstrual dysfunction (i.e. lack of periods, lack of ovulation, or irregular periods)

Any way you swing it…it all sucks…but the good news is there’s ways to fix it…my favorite resources is PCOS Diva!

My Goals for 2017

I decided if I write my goals for 2017, you all can help hold me accountable, so here it goes…here’s my good, bad, and ugly of what I want to achieve in 2017!  SMART goals are the only way to go: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-Based. What are your goals for 2017?  Are they SMART goals?  How are you going to achieve them?  I will be following up on all of these goals in future blog posts, too, and hope you will update me on yours!

  1. Sell our house: It’s no surprise that I want to offload this house because a big part of our dreams is building our new homestead, so goal number one it is!  I want to sell our house by July which means the first goal is getting it ready to be on the market by April!
  2. Share essential oils: I am just starting out, but by the end of the summer (September 1), I hope to have shared my essential oils biz with at least three people and have them seeing what a difference oils can make in their life.  I love this stuff and I want to share it with the world!  Message me through my Contact page if you would like to talk more about essential oils.
  3. Improve my eating habits: I’ve tried every diet with no success.  I learned recently that if it is your problem, it’s not your solution, so a couple of other goals may help this one actually happen…but I want to have balanced out my eating by this summer (June 1) so that I am eating healthier on a more regular basis.  I want to have that balanced plate each mean with more vegetables than meat and fruit for dessert (most of the time).  This will just be one more step to a healthier me.
  4. Seek the counseling for my PTSD (and other issues): At my next doctor’s appointment, I intend to ask for a referral for the mental health counseling I have been procrastinating.  I sought counseling after our twins passed away, but I don’t think I really was ready for the level of counseling I needed.  I stopped going due to not meshing with the counselor.  It’s time, 4 years later, to find someone else to help me deal with some of the PTSD that has brought on.  And help me work through some other mental health issues that are important for my well being.  I know it will help me be a better wife, mom, daughter, and friend.  It’s time.  By the end of this year, I hope that I will be on track with my mental health so that all the other piece of my health fall into place!
  5. Lose the weight for good: I’ve been doing regular exercise with the hubs 5-6 days a week for the past 6 weeks.  I feel amazing.  I haven’t lost a ton of weight (okay, okay, in 6 weeks, I’ve probably lost almost 10 pounds, mostly in the past couple of weeks), but I want to keep going.  I need to make exercise a continued priority.  It’s a complete lifestyle change, and so far I’m feeling amazing about it, so that helps me stay inspired to keep going.  And for my PCOS, it’s the BEST thing I could do!  I’ve only got 30 more pounds to go to not be considered “obese” any longer.
  6. Run a 5K: I’ve said this ever year, but with fitness being a huge part of my goals, I am GOING to do it this year (you’re going to make sure I do, right??). So for the CHaD Hero, I plan to DO IT this time.  I will run the 5k at the Hero this year!  And I might even dress up. 😉
  7. Read more books: I set a goal of 30 books ever year, and I never do it.  By the end of 2017, I am going to have read 30 books!  And I will try to review all of them here for you, too! 🙂
  8. Be more consistent with my crafting business: I want to have at least a Facebook shop up at all times with lots of stuff to choose from.  I love crafting, and I think making at least $200 this year from it would be AMAZING.  That’s the goal!
  9. Blog more consistently: Alright, here goes…3-5 posts a week for at least the next 6 months.  That’s the goal.  Y’all gonna stick around for it??

Stay tuned for updates and more in depth information in all of the goals!!

New Year, Big Changes

It’s the new year and I’m determined to make progressive, but big changes.

Over the past year I’ve learned a lot about health and endocrine disruptors and PCOS.  I am a woman with PCOS, and I am DETERMINED to beat my PCOS naturally.  No drugs, no hormones, nothing but natural.  In order to do that, I’m making a lot of changes.  I’m going to use my blog to chronicle how I’m making those changes in things I do on a daily basis…things like cooking, shopping, cleaning, and even activities I do with my little man.  I listen to podcasts.  I read blogs and research and journals.  I want to know what I can do to not only live healthier for myself and my family, but to create a life where the things I’m doing are sustainable and natural.

As we get ready to sell our house, I’m looking forward to the new house where we can have gardens and orchards and live much more sustainably.  I dream of having solar panels and being off the grid.  I hope to chronicle that here, too.  Don’t get me wrong, we won’t live without SOME of the amenities like internet and phones…we aren’t quite THAT progressive…yet.  Honestly, I’d love to live in a tiny house and homeschool my son and live a simple life, but personality wise as a prepper household, that’s not exactly in the dynamic of our mindsets at the moment…maybe someday.

But I will still share with you our journey to there.  And all the things in between.  I want to chronicle this journey for ourselves, our kiddo and family, and everyone else.  I feel like this journey to simplification and natural living is really a movement.  Plus, ya know, how can you be a natural living prepper, right?  Maybe I’ll figure that out, but I’m glad you’re along for the ride.  Welcome!

Selling & Moving

So it’s been so long since I posted and so much has happened in such a  short time!

After over 3 years of looking and our entire 8.5 years of being married of hoping, we have FINALLY been able to purchase land to build our dream home on!  I am so excited!  We are moving back to the town that the hubs grew up in and it offers a small school (with a preschool!) and is a much quieter life.

The road to buy our land wasn’t all that easy unfortunately.  We thought we were buying 9 acres and figured we’d get it surveyed when we owned it.  We did do a percolation test before buying to make sure we’d be able to have a septic system and it perced beautifully!  Our septic company told us we’d be crazy not to purchase it.

We financed about 40% of the property, so the bank was doing their research and come to find out that it did not have a clean title which meant no title insurance. Well GR!  The way to clean the title?  The seller had to pay for survey!  Turns out…we bought 13 acres.  WAHOO!

We are so excited to start our homestead.  We’ve picked our house plan, we have our dreams of the layout…now to sell our current home.  It’s been fun, but I’m ready for the house of my dreams and looking forward to designing and loving every part of my home. 🙂

 

Why hello again…

You know that whole I’m going to post more this year and create this new blog and be good about posting thing?  Obvi I fell off the face of the planet, right??  Man, do I suck at this.  I get in a good stint of it and then poof, I disappear.  So here’s to take two!

Life with a  2.5 year old who talks non-stop and is working on potty-training…is accident prone (like his mama) and exploring EVERYTHING…has created quite the time suck.  That and ya, know, that whole election thing has me glued to my phone for the past couple of weeks…even after.  I am so over all the drama of the election.  Personal feelings?

The world is not going to end tomorrow.  I repeat, the world is not going to end tomorrow.  I think there were probably some right wingers that thought it was when Obama was elected promising free healthcare for all and ya know what?  They didn’t riot and burn things in the street, ask to be excused from exams because OMG my candidate didn’t win the election, or call the voters who voted a white veteran and his slow talking side kick misogynists, rapists, racists, red, blue or purple.  They gracefully accepted the loss and gave him the benefit of the doubt.  I’m so sick of it all.  Why can’t we just grow up and love each other and be kind?

Anyhow, I’m over it.  I’m just going to choose to be kind, be creative, and have hope for the future of my country and my family.  Meanwhile, we’re on our way to FINALLY having our dream home and homestead…but more on that in another post! 🙂