Healthy Organized Lifestyle

5 Organization projects to add to your spring-cleaning list March 31, 2017 10:27

 

  1. The Pantry – This is a project I dread. Maybe that’s why it’s first on my list. But what better motivation than the spring-cleaning itch to organize and spruce up the pantry? I’m not going to lie, seeing images like from classyclutter.net gives me organization envy. But there are some simple things you can do to make your pantry more organized without breaking the bank or re-decorating. First, get rid of unwanted food items. We all have that almost empty box of cereal no one will eat or maybe an expired can or two lingering in the back. Just toss them.  Organize cans and boxes by type. And if you can put breakfast items on one shelf, baking on another etc. It will feel a million times better!
  2. Purses/ tote bags – This is one that I typically forget about. I don’t know about you but I have a bag for work, a purse…a few purses, a diaper bag and an occasional bag for other day trips. And they don’t always get cleaned out immediately. Organize the chap sticks, gum packages, coupons and so forth. And if you have a SmartGirl Bag this will be an easy project that you can feel good about in the end. All the pockets in the SmartGirl Bag help to avoid the black hole effect. And it can be easily wiped clean.
  3. Clothes closets – You know the routine on this one. Time to put away winter gear and clothing and bring out the warm weather stuff. Maybe even time to purge a few items you didn’t wear this year.
  4. Junk drawer(s) – Ok another dreaded project. I’ve been avoiding mine for a while. But seriously how long can you keep scratch paper, random paper clips and dead pens?! Time to toss some things! And it only makes the treasures you find more usable.
  5. Computer files and photos - Have you thought of this? Time to throw away the trash on your computer, organize important documents, put photos in proper folders, back them up to an external hard drive, etc. Important tasks that sometimes get put on the back burner.

Top 10 Gifts for a Fit SmartGirl in 2017 December 19, 2016 11:11

We all know that fit SmartGirl that is sometimes too tough to buy for. Yoga pants again? Another tank top? Year after year her gift wishlist is the same old. This year, we've put together the top 10 perfect gifts to get that special fit woman for her new 2017 upcoming year!

  1. Apple Watch – now partners with the Nike app for complete training and tracking.
  2. Sassy tank top with a motivational or fun saying. Spice up your girl’s workout selections with a fun tank that she can enjoy.
  3. Daily/weekly fitness planner/journal. Help her plan and stay on course with a handwritten workout journal. Sure, there’s plenty of electronic apps these days but sometimes it’s just nice to have it all in writing on a nice Sunday morning as you plan your week over coffee.
  4. A mini blue tooth keyring speaker – headphones on a long run are out. Just tie this to your backpack, fanny belt or whatever and blare your music down the trail.
  5. Heated gloves – cold hands? Every runner or biker knows that’s the toughest part of winter. Get a pair of heated gloves and never suffer again. With a lithium battery that lasts hours, they’ll outrun you.
  6. Furniture sliders. Okay sounds odd. But did you know how many tough exercises can be done by using sliders underneath your feet? Check it out – she’ll be sure to thank you for the creativity
  7. Fitness channel subscription. Almost all major brands of fitness DVD’s also have an online monthly subscription program. Your loved one can shake up her routine by having a different at-home workout at her fingertips every day with this gift.
  8. Phone Power bank for extra power. Why worry about a dead phone during a long workout? An ultraslim power bank will charge your phone 2-3 times over. SmartGirl Bags has one today for an extra low price. Use code FITGIRL for 20% off too!
  9. Wine of the month club – whoops – okay not really fitness oriented, but quite fun after a long run!
  10. …….and #1 (we saved the best for last) why, a new SmartGirl Bag for the gym. Why go plain, same old same old? Or why get a pretty bag that’s a complete “black hole?” You can have pretty and super organized all in one. Our bags, quite affordable too we might add, provide you sassy flirty patterns and 11 pockets inside and out! Go for it Fit Girl! Use code FITGIRL for 20% off now through January 31, 2016!

 


5 Ways SmartGirls Maintain Weight During The Holidays November 16, 2016 14:44

By SmartGirl Bags

 

  1. SOUP.  Yes, we said soup. There are plenty of healthy soup recipes (see our blog on finding healthy recipes). Create 2-3 soups on Sunday night. Eat a decent high protein breakfast every day and have a big bowl of soup for lunch and a cup before dinner with a side salad. Eat dinner as usual. If hungry in between meals, have a cup of soup. If heading to a holiday party, have a cup beforehand to help resist fattening appetizers. Soup helps to fill you up thus, you will consume less calories as a whole without dieting.
  2. Shake up your workout routine with HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). Ditch your same old workout during November and December. Try a new routine with a Video of an HIIT workout or join a local boot-camp class. Even a workout of 20 minutes will burn fat for hours afterward and might be a great time to cut loose and rid yourself of holiday stress. Don’t forget SmartGirl Bags make great workout gym bags!
  3. Convert high sugar high calorie dessert recipes – take the holiday dessert recipes you love and find ways to make them lighter in fat and calories. Often substituting a half sugar half Stevia mix helps to reduce the sugar content. Pinterest is an excellent place to find recipes that are already converted.

  4. Low calories “adult drinks.” Many holiday parties and gatherings involve alcohol. While everything in moderation, consuming alcohol can be very fattening and lead to “loose decision making’ with subsequent food choices.  Two good options to consider drinking are Prosecco and Champagne. Both are lower in calories than wine or mixed drinks. Another option is club soda, stevia, lime and vodka or tequila.

  5. Breathe. Take time to relax and have some down time during this busy season. Often it’s the stress that adds the extra pounds not just extra calories. Set aside 10 mins each morning to do deep breathing exercises and mediate and/or pray. Write in a journal for a few minutes a day listing all your thankful for. Call a friend and have virtual “coffee” time together. smartgirl bags, breathe, yoga

10 Blogs To Find Healthy Recipes November 04, 2016 12:37

It’s 5 PM and your stomach is telling you its about time to make dinner. The littles in your house are starting to ask for food. You want to feed your family a good, healthy meal. So what do you do? Go to Pinterest of course! Save this pin for those nights when you need a good resource for dinner ideas or menu planning. 

 Here are 10 GREAT blogs to find some Healthy recipes that are great for the whole family brought to you by SmartGirl Bags.

 

  1. triedandtasty.com - Contains fabulous family friendly recipes as well as diet information and weight loss inspiration.
  2. melskitchencafe.com - One of my favorite recipes from this site is Grilled Island Chicken (http://www.melskitchencafe.com/grilled-island-chicken-2/) Her focus is on helping you get more comfortable in the kitchen.

  3. Life-in-the-lofthouse.com - Great recipes the kids will love too! (http://life-in-the-lofthouse.com/pf-changs-chicken-lettuce-wraps/ )
  4. makingthymeforhealth.com -This blog has some great vegetarian recipes.
    (http://www.makingthymeforhealth.com/chili-stuffed-spaghetti-squash-bowls/)
  5. cookingclassy.com - Classic recipes that your family will want to make over and over.

  6. thelemonbowl.com - This blog has a focus on seasonal ingredients and whole foods.

  7. therecipecritic.com - Tried and true recipes that will bring your family to the dinner table.

  8. joyfulhealthyeats.com - This blog has some great healthy recipes including gluten free, kid friendly and vegetarian recipes.

  9. chelseasmessyapron.com - Contains some great original recipes that are healthy and easy. (http://www.chelseasmessyapron.com/skillet-chicken-butternut-squash/ 
    SmartGirl Bags, perfect ladies totebag, perfect ladies gym bag, perfect ladies travel bag
  10. eat-yourself-skinny.com - The focus of this blog is to encourage healthy living but enjoy those treats now and again. (http://www.eat-yourself-skinny.com/butternut-squash-sage-spaghetti-with-zucchini-noodles/)


Easy Taco Soup, A Fall Favorite For the Smart Mom On The Go! September 19, 2016 12:07

I just love this time of year. The air gets little cooler; the days a little shorter.  The world gets a little more colorful and life gets a little slower. Summer is always so fun but so busy! Fall brings a new school year for the kiddos and slowly you fall back into a routine. However, the first few weeks of a new school year can be a little bit crazy. We wanted to share an easy, healthy dinner recipe to make those first few weeks back at school a little bit better. This is a family favorite at our house, Taco Soup. This quick and easy meal is perfect for those cool, Fall evenings. Enjoy!

 

 

EASY Taco Soup

1 lb lean ground beef 

1 package taco seasoning

1 16 oz can kidney beans, drained

1 8 oz can tomato sauce

1 medium onion

1 16 oz can corn

1 28 oz can stewed tomatoes (you can also use Mexican flavored tomatoes)

Tortilla chips

Sour cream

Grated cheese

 

Brown hamburger, drain grease. Sauté onion and add to hamburger. In a saucepan combine hamburger and onion mixture, taco seasoning, corn, kidney beans, stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Simmer 20-30 minutes. Serve topped with tortilla chips, sour cream and cheese to your liking.


Creating A Summer To-Go Bag – 5 Items You Must Include! July 18, 2016 12:39

Summer is a busy time. Moms with young kids are on the go constantly. Trips to the library, museums, splash pads, pool parties, play-dates, picnics at the park, not to mention sporting events, camping trips and day camps. Packing a bag with all the essentials will help you stay more organized for all the activities summer throws your way.  You never know when you’ll be rushing out the door for that last minute pool invitation or you just need to get out of the house for some fresh air at the park.

 

So what should your bag include? Every family will have their must-haves but here are 5 summer essentials to include:

 

  1. Sunscreen – keep it simple, sunscreen stick and spray to quickly apply to those kiddos ready for some fun in the sun.
  2. Bug Spray – It’s important to keep those kids safe from insect bites. Keep some insect repellant handy.
  3. Water – have some water bottles ready to go in your bag. Staying hydrated is important for healthy little bodies!
  4. Snacks – have a few snacks ready to go. We love fruit leathers and goldfish in our house. Something to curb little appetites while they are out playing hard!
  5. A change of clothes – You never know when those little legs will run through a fountain or splash in a mud puddle. It’s nice to have a spare change of clothes. You could even keep a spare swimsuit in your bag for such occasions.

 

Staying organized will help you enjoy those fleeting summer moments even more. And with your SmartGirl Bag, the eleven pockets inside and out it,  will make it even easier to stay organized. So stay Smart and pack your bag now!

 

Shop now for your perfect summer tote bag!


Convert Baby Diaper Changing Table to DIY Rolling Wine and Beverage Cart March 15, 2016 16:25

SmartGirl Bags presents …

DIY Wine and Beverage Cart  - from a baby diaper changing table

SmartGirl Bags believes in innovation and functionality and of course, our cornerstone: organization. That’s why this past month and a half, we’ve taken on a DIY project converting a diaper changing table to a nice functional and highly organized (just like our SmartGirl Tote bags) Rolling Wine and Beverage cart.  A rolling wine and beverage cart is very practical for hosting parties and events at your home. The locking wheels allow for mobility to optimize placement of your cart during events. Everything is at one’s fingertips to either serve your guests or allow them to serve themselves from glasses to openers to the drinks.  Our blog will discuss the steps we took and the lessons learnt with hints.

 

  1. We started by purchasing a used standard Diaper changing table for only $20 using a local Facebook group page that sells items
    1. While one would think all diaper changing tables are the same, we quickly found out that the one purchased was fairly large in size and with many crevices and ledges making it a chore to paint. Something to consider before buying yours – is how big do you want the cart to be? Also, when we went to install wine stem rack holders, the width of our cart made it very difficult as standard wine stem racks are only 12 inches long (depth) – more on this to come.
    2. Another buying factor would be to consider how much weight you will be putting on the cart. Our cart was solid thick wood EXCEPT for the shelves – they were a thin plywood type of wood that one could not even drill into to put a screw – therefore this limited what we could install and how, into this cart.
    3. Another factor to look at is what type of leg bottoms does the cart have. Read step 4 on castors for an explanation on why that’s important.
      SmartGirl Bags DIY Wine Cart
  2. Lightly Sand and Paint the cart with two coats of gray primer. Our cart was solid white and we were turning it to a black piece of furniture to match the black and white dining room (with red accents). So with that dramatic of a change, it required two coats of a gray primer. If you were going with a lighter color, you could get away with one coat. Because of all of this carts crevices, this part of the project took twice as long as expected
    SmartGirl Bags DIY Wine Cart
    .
  3. Paint the cart its new color. The end color of our cart was to be black to match the dining room set. The next step was to put two coats of black semi-sheen paint onto the cart allowing for a full dry in between coats of paint. We did this over the course of two weekends. You may also consider one coat of clear coat to seal - although we opted to skip this step.
    DIY wine and beverage cart featured by smartgirl bags
  4. Install Locking Wheels (aka Casters with brakes). The next step was to install the cart’s wheels – one of the main cool factors of our cart – giving it the ability to be moved easily throughout the home to position when company is mingling. The castors should have a lock called a brake so that your cart can remain stationary after it’s put into position. Finding and installing the right castors proved difficult for us beginners. We realized that our diaper changing table had very odd shaped legs that went from a thick wide leg to a very small thin bottom. This caused a problem finding castors that would fit. We purchased our first set of castors. This set were castors that have a rectangle-shaped top that has 4 screws that screw into the leg. We quickly realized when returning home, that would not work. The legs’ bottoms were so thin and narrow, the rectangle castor would not fit (too big). After, we discovered there are other types of castors. After several more castor purchases (and returns), we ended up with castor that has one large screw that you screw in after drilling a large enough hole. Make sure you know how to do this or have someone around who does. After experimenting, we found these castors with brakes that install with one solid large screw  after drilling a precise hole.  Not being experienced with a drill (and having only 1 shot to get this right), I enlisted the help of my darling husband for this part of the project.
      DIY wine and beverage cart by smartgirl bagsWine and beverage DIY cart featured by smartgirl bags
  5. Decide on and install a decorative cart top. Our inspiration came from a DIY Wine cart outlined on Pinterest and it had a blue and green mosaic tiled top. We ran into two problems with tile. We had a weight issue because of how thin the shelves are and we had a color issue finding the right mosaic tile at a low price (as the inspiration had done). First the thin shelves – we tried to find a way to reinforce them underneath but because the bottom of the shelf was not flush with the decorative wood (it was inset), we could not just add a reinforcement easily. So we would be forced to use only  a thin mosaic tile not any type of regular tile. After searching every craft and tile shop in town (this took two weeks), we could not find a color that would work. Our dining room is red, black and white. Finally, one day, while shopping, we found an interesting and creative solution. In the children’s arts and crafts section of Big Lots, we found 12”X12” very thin and flat cork circles. These circles were not even an 1/8” thick. I took them home and painted them red and placed on the first shelf cutting them with an exacto knife to a custom fit. A perfect decorative and artistic top was created with almost no weight!  Next we went to a local glass shop and ordered a thin 1/16” custom piece of glass to fit right over the top and keep the tiles dry should a spill occur. Wha La! The perfect artistic looking top was born.
    Wine and beverage DIY cart featured by SmartGirl BagsWine Cart top featured by smartgirl bags
  6. Install Wine Stem Rack under the first shelf. This step proved difficult because wine stem rack holders tend to come in cabinet width as a standard (12X12). Our shelf width was 18.5” in depth. A very odd width to accommodate. The choices for us included custom ordering the racks off of Etsy or building our own customer racks following a DIY instruction. In the end, I remembered our dining room table had a wine stem rack built into a cabinet that was underneath the tables in a storage cubby. I uninstalled these racks to find three rows approximately 22” long. I took these to Lowe’s where they cut them down to the needed 18.5.” After paining black, they were nicely installed! One open challenge right now – is how to keep the glasses from falling out of the front or back of the cart while moving it. If you don’t load too many glasses and are careful, it should not be a problem. We welcome ideas in the comments below.
    wine stem rack featured by smartgirl bagswine stem rack diy wine cart by SmartGirl bags
  7. Add Wine Bottle Rack or Holder. We initially thought we’d find a decorative metal wine bottle holder and install it by screwing into the base of the second or bottom shelf (preference). However because once again, our shelves were do thin that we could not screw into, we opted for a wooden decorative FREE-STANDING wine bottle rack found at World Market in a bland tan that we decided to paint red. The rack is wide enough, there’s no worries about it taking a tumble in movement. And the Red paint matches the cork top.
    wine bottle rack in DIY wine cart featured by SmartGirl Bags
  8. Add finishing touches and elements. Lastly and this is personal preference as well, it’s time to add finishing touches. We found a nice matching Paris tray also at World Market that fits nicely onto the top as well as a wine bottle holder for serving (keeps the bottles steady). We installed a metal two prong towel hook on one side and plans to install a hook for a beer bottle opener. In the future, we may add more décor to the cart – either a hand painted saying, our last name in calligraphy, or some wine related embellishments glued on with liquid nails. The nice thing is the cart is pretty much done and we can take our time to figure out embellishments as we move forward through the year.
    Finished wine cart by SmartGirl BagsSmartgirl Bags Featured DIY wine and beverage cart

Finished wine and beverage cart by SmartGirl Bags

SmartGirl Bags hopes you’ve enjoyed this DIY article and would love to see your comments and posts (even finished carts) as well as questions. Consider purchasing one of our highly functional organizer totebags for the gym, travel or work/career and use code: Winecart at checkout for 15% off. Shop now for your perfect stylish organizer tote bag


Getting organized for your week SmartGirl by SmartGirl Bags January 25, 2016 12:55

I cannot remember a time where I wasn’t juggling so many things in life. From juggling college and family to juggling a career and family, my days have consisted of running around ragged trying to accomplish multiple priorities and to-do lists with too many things on them to get done. After 26 years of this or more, I am sharing some of the tactics that have helped me to stay organized so I can pull it all off with as little effort as possible and without wasting time.

First, I have a Master to-do list. My master list is in the same notebook in the same place on the corner of the counter every day. The only time I move it is when we have a more formal event at the house and I am trying to look like I don’t have “piles” everywhere.  The master list is only allowed to be one page and it’s categorized into 5 chunks always in the same spiral college ruled notebook.  The list’s categories are “to go,” “to call,” “to do,” and “computer work,” and “personal goals.” These tasks and to-do’s are my master but they are not necessarily prioritized in any kind of order of importance (that comes later). My to-go section list places I remember I need to go. It could include the grocery store, a hardware story, get a pedicure, appointments, errands etc. My to-call list are calls I must remember to make at some point. This could include questions on a policy, doctor appointments, quotes for repairs etc. My to-do category is where I list things that must get done at home such as organize the office, do taxes or bills, cleanup the yard, pay the next door neighbor etc. My computer work section is generally anything I need to do online or on the computer such as email my accountant, pay my credit card, order more of this. And lastly the personal goals usually includes something I’m working on personally to grow and achieve a goal as well as spiritual goals such as eat less, pray more. After this list starts to get full or too scratched out with completes, I rewrite the whole list on a clean sheet of paper within that same notebook and throw away the old one. I probably only do that twice a month. It’s a moment of pleasure to scratch off the to-do or to create a fresh list that doesn’t have so many on it yet. Yes I am one of those people who add items to the list that I completed that were not originally written on there just to gain the pleasure of crossing it off. Sick, I know J

Next, every week, usually on Monday morning, I sit down and create my “weekly to do list.” The weekly list pulls from my master to-do list and from my smartphone’s calendar which has upcoming appointments and obligations. The weekly list considers prioritization and order of importance whereas the monthly list does not. I include in this weekly list a “tentative” workout plan, so I can see on which days I will need to work out in the early morning, lunchtime, or after work or which days I’ll be attending a group fitness class or running on my home treadmill. That very action is what has kept me on a faithful workout schedule for going on 9 years straight. I always write my weekly tasks in pencil in case things have to move around and change. Walgreens sells a nice one pager blank weekly tear-out page that works nice. But a piece of paper will also do the trick.

Next every single morning, I get my daily to-do list out. Before I discuss this, this year I’ve made it a point to spend time with God being thankful for a few minutes as well as submitting prayers and requests before tackling my daily task list. I cannot encourage you enough to try this as I find it’s now what brings more peace to my day. Okay back to the daily list. This is a blank piece of paper with categories that match the master list – to-go, to-call, to-do, computer, and personal goals. Looking at my weekly list, I write my daily plan out. Usually my daily plan has more details than just what is on my other lists. This is where I might write general household items like cook soup, go to the grocery store etc that aren’t important or different enough to call out every week on the other lists and vary according to needs and what’s going on that day.    I carry this list with me throughout the day  so I can make a call or complete a to-do on it wherever I am. At the end of each day, anything I did not finish on my daily list is set aside and I revisit it in the morning as I start this process all over again.

Maybe you think “that’s nuts” or “way too much work” – Honestly the whole process never takes me more than 10 minutes and over the years, I’ve tried all kinds of electronic forms of this approach. I have settled with the good old-fashioned paper and pen method because it helps me to think and organize better to have something write in front of me at all times.

Other important helpers to keep my day streamlined include having my gym bag organized, filled with essentials, and ready to go. I use my Purple Passion SmartGirl Bag for the gym taking with me every day. I also use a Red SmartGirl Organizer tote bag for work/career carrying my tablet, notebook/pen, and a/c cord nicely as well as library books or other essentials.

I hope whatever method of organization you use helps you to be successful and productive giving you more time to spend on yourself with a hot bath, pedicure or a nice book.

Shop now for your perfect flirty fun and super organized ladies tote bag!

Cheers SmartGirl


Packing the Perfect Ladies Travel Bag   January 18, 2016 14:29

Being away from home often exposes how it is the little things in life make our lives comfortable and cozy. It’s often frustrating to travel and find yourself without some comforts and conveniences as you play "planes, trains, and automobiles" within a 16 hour travel day.  A comfy neck pillow on a long flight is often a coveted item within the travel entourage. A little comfort when you cannot a single comfortable position to sleep, as you’re head bobs up and down, is like finding gold.  Having backup phone power when your phone dies in the middle of a movie is worth its weight in gold as well. At SmartGirl Bags, we recommend putting together a packing checklist that includes what to pack in your carry on travel bag for a long day of travel. You may not want to bring all of these items or you may have more to add to this list, but this list is our idea of a nice comfortable entertained flight.

Booties (for going barefoot when you remove flip-flops or sandals at security in summer – EWWW fungus)

Headphones (need we say more)

SmartGirl Bags SmartPack-Backup power banks (or two) to charge dying in-flight electronics

Book/kindle

Tablet PC – to play games/movies

Pen/paper or journal (the best ideas can come when traveling)

Neck blowup pillow (for comfort with sitting up and sleeping)

Phone a/c cord (for those extra-long days and convenient power stations that some airports now have)

Coffee mug (empty) This is also great for using at your hotel  - grab a nice large cup of coffee and bring it to your room while you get ready

Snacks  (who doesn’t regret not buying food before a 3 hour flight? – get prepared)

Laptop/power cord/mouse/mousepad

Gum/lipgloss

One-two day dosage of important medications

Brush or comb

Makeup emergency kit

Scarf – for those freezing flights

Gloves - (in winter)

And of course  - all this in your SmartGirl Bag with its 11 pockets inside and out that fit nicely under every airline seat! Get your perfect organizer tote - shop now

 

Let us know in the comments below what else you’d add!

 

 

 

 


Is WHAT you say so important? The Influence Of Non-Verbal Communication October 28, 2015 10:58

Communication is a tricky thing. There are PH’D degrees on the study of it. While numbers can vary according to the study, researchers all agree that non-verbal communication is of the utmost importance versus the words you actually say.

Even with the best intentions and speaking skills, Research studies show people will remember only 13% of any message.

The written text is a 3% comprehension rate – so how does that impact your PowerPoint slide creation or emails?

Add the actual words you say – and you’re up to 7% of your message being comprehended.

Hmmmmm......7% of your message – with what you say and what’s on your slide?

So the other whopping 93% of what’s understood by your listener is your non-verbal components. Non-verbal can include your voice tone, inflection, body language, pitch, rate and other factors.

Say these sentences three different ways:

What did you do last night? (Concerning tone, delivering message was you look so tired. I am worrying about you)

What did you do last night? (Angry tone, delivering message was you are in trouble, I am so mad at you)

What did you do last night? (Teasing tone, delivering message was you look like having fun last night. Tell me more!)

Here we used the same words each time but the non-verbal communication changed the message entirely. 

How does this impact your communications day to day? Be sure you’re mindful of the non-verbal presentation you give to others, and be sure to look at and assess the non-verbal communication of others during their messages to you. Reading the "whole picture" can help you be intuitive with what's being said and done.

 


Creating A Great Travel Packing Checklist October 12, 2015 17:09

I am one of those people who has a list for a list. My son’s friend once came over and was reading my to-do list. He laughed hysterically. I asked what he was laughing at. He said, “You have a list for your list – see here you say Christmas shop ‘see list.’” His perception was that my list making had gone overboard. In my life, I’ve reflected on that – I now firmly believe list making has created organization and saved me time. It has also prevented countless times of frustration of forgetting things. I will be sharing various lists I’ve created over the next few blog entries. We’ll start today with my favorite and most used list – the Travel Packing list.

  1. Travel Packing List – I use Excel to create a packing list that is truly repeatable for every trip.
    1. Pre-trip actions – Here I list actions that should be done before I start packing…perhaps days in advance…..for instance, pause newspaper service, get to the ATM, refill medicine, book a pet sitter, print travel documents etc etc
    2. What to pack – I keep a full comprehensive list – whether I’m traveling by car or plane may dictate what I bring. If I don’t need something, I just cross it off the list for that trip.
      1. This section is broken down checklist style by these categories. These are just mine – you might have others.
        1. Electronics – GPS, phone charger, camera/charger, Laptop and charger, Music dock/speaker, Headphone charger, backup phone power (SmartGirl Bags sells one!)
        2. Toiletry items – makeup, shampoo/conditioner, hair spray, makeup, hair clips, brush, comb, toothbrush, toothpaste etc
        3. Workout Gear – SmartGirl Gym Bag (sold here), Workout outfits, workout bra, running shoes, headbands, socks, water belt, jacket
        4. Beach/Pool gear (if applic) – Bathing suits, cover-up, pool shoes, flip flops, beach towels, sunglasses, snorkel mask/fins, sunblock, bug repellent
        5. Daily dress stuff – shoes, sandals, bathrobe, light jacket, pj’s, sweats, baseball cap, shorts, skirts/dresses, slip, pantyhose, tops, undies, bras, jewelry
        6. Entertainment – books, magazines, journal
        7. Doggy Stuff – dog food, leashes, crate, dog toys, baby gate, bowls, bones
        8. Snack Foods – protein bars, crackers/cheese, nuts,
        9. Medications – vitamins and medicines, ibuprofen, cold meds
        10. Work Stuff – laptop and charger, mouse, keyboard, mousepad, wireless headset, markers, notebooks, pens                                       

The idea is that before every trip, you print your list and use it to prepare and pack quickly so that you forget nothing. Evernote is a great place to keep your list – so it’s accessible all the time from anywhere or any type of cloud storage such as Dropbox, My Google Drive, OneDrive etc. Don't forget that SmartGirl Bags also make wonderful travel bags - with 5 exterior pockets to put everything you need in and 6 internal compartments, you're all set - whether car or plane!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this list. Would love your comments!


Making Time for Exercise August 28, 2015 09:20

Often we don’t exercise because we think we’re too busy and don‘t have time. These tips below will help you to consider if there are some options to add exercise into your life.

  1. Move during your work hours

A friend of mine, who works from home on conference calls all day, took this concept to new levels. She had her husband help her construct a treadmill “desk,” so she can walk literally all day. She says she walks at a snail’s pace when she needs to type and write while on calls but it’s still walking. She then ramps up the speed when she is between calls or just needs to listen in. What a novel idea! Even getting up and pacing during the day or sitting on a yoga ball would add extra activity into you life!

  1. Commute to Work Manually

Are you able to ride a bike, roller blade, or jog to work? If you live close enough to where you work, consider a manual method besides a vehicle to get to work. This will get your workout in and get you there.

  1. Don’t look at it as “all or nothing”

Perhaps you don’t go because you think I need a full hour or more to get results. Not true – studies show moving even for as little as 20 minutes gives results. Consider an app that allows you to program a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) session into your smartphone so you burn more calories than a steady pace.

  1. Kids and dogs can help you

Many people think they have to spend quality time with their kids sitting in front of a tv. Get moving! Take the kids to the park, play a game of tag for cardio, or an old fashioned game of kickball. Get your dogs moving too – take Fido out for a light jog or fast walk. Or even a game of chase in the yard.

  1. Exercise in the morning or late at night

While it’s not always ideal to get up early or stay up late, you can carve out a little time for an early morning workout or a late after dinner workout. You may find you like that little bit of time alone and can use it to prepare for the day or unwind after a busy day.


Repurposing August 11, 2015 10:30 1 Comment

An old kid’s sports rack storage system sat in my garage for too many years unused long after the kids grew up. It’s one of those wire rack types where you have slots for the golf bags and balls, and baseball bats and some hooks to hang things with a small middle and large top shelf. As I was about to give it to the Goodwill, I had an epiphany. I had been longing for a consolidated place to put all of my gardening things. I excitedly cleared out this rack and added S hooks to the back wall. I loaded my larger garden and lawn items such as soil and mulch in the bottom bin. I hung my mini shovels, scissors, bulb hole maker tools (is that what you call them?), all against the back wall. On the top shelf I put my fertilizer, fungicide, and insect sprays. On the middle shelf, I had a bin with my gardening gloves and other necessities. As I started at my new gardening area with extreme pride, I was filled with satisfaction. Not only did I organize my stuff, I repurposed an item for good use in this second chapter of life.

Our SmartGirl Bags are similar to that shelf (only WAY cuter!). According to our customers, we have them being used for many unusual purposes. One nurse uses her bag to tote all of her belongings from floor to floor about the hospital. We have a stylist who uses her bag to bring all her supplies when she goes onsite to do weddings. We have a pet groomer (yes a pet groomer) who uses her bag to keep all of her pet grooming tools in. We have one mom of a special needs wheelchair son who uses her bag to keep on the wheelchair with all of the medical supplies she needs as she goes about her day. Teachers also use our bag to tote the day’s necessities and lunch around the school. The list is endless.

In short, whether you’re repurposing a shelf or finding a new purpose for a SmartGirl Bag, we encourage you to get creative, get organized, and have fun!


Travel Smart: The Perfect Ladies Travel Bag by SmartGirl Bags July 29, 2015 10:14 2 Comments

The importance of the right travel bag on trips cannot be overstated. As women on the go, we often need a plethora of items with us to be prepared. My kids are grown and I travel often. I have gone on domestic and international trips, and I know there are certain items I want with me at all times for convenience sake. As I first think about passing through the Security gate (sometimes a real pain), I want to keep my tablet or iPad mini in the outer side pocket of my bag, so I can pass through quickly. I also keep little booties or socks with me in summer – think of all the barefoot travelers stepping in the same place on the floor each time they pass through security with their sandals or flip flops off. Can you say “foot fungus”? As I pass through Security, I pull out my tablet, throw my Tote bag into a bin along with my purse and shoes. It’s quite fast and simple now that I travel with a SmartGirl Bag.

Now, as I think about my carry on travel bag for what I need during a flight to stay entertained, get some work done, or just have fun, I know that I want a pocket for a water bottle (which shall remain empty until I pass Security). As a snacker, I want to have access during the flight to some snacks, protein bars, and gum in another pocket. I often listen to music and play games on my smartphone, so I want my headphones and phone in another outer pocket for a quick grab. Often during the flight I have work to do – So I want my work notebooks and pens in the inner pocket of my bag as well as my travel USB mouse and mousepad. Of course I keep my tablet A/C and phone chargers in one of the 6 internal compartments in my SmartGirl Bag. I never run out of phone juice, as I also keep my backup phone power-bank (SmartBank by SmartGirl Bags) in another pocket. When it’s time to relax, I pull out my stored blow-up neck pillow for relaxation and put my work away. Everything is at my fingertips with the open style pockets and a bag that fits perfectly under the airline seat in front of me.

But, I am spoiled. I want all of this storage and access at my fingertips – but I also want a cute stylish bag with sassy design, and I want it to be fun and PRETTY. That’s why I love my SmartGirl Bag. It’s the perfect combination of functionality and glam. I have traveled many trips now with this bag and am glad to say it’s held up well.

Don’t get caught again on a long trip with the wrong bag. My recommendation is to check out the SmartGirl Bag collection, the perfect ladies travel bags/totes at www.smartgirlbags.com and get ready for your next trip.

 


Aging and Weight Gain... What’s a "SmartGirl" To Do? July 21, 2015 15:03

So you’re a “SmartGirl” and do everything right. You exercise regularly and watch what you eat. In your 20’s, you’d be losing weight. But now in your 40’s and 50’s, you find your waistline expanding, your belly protruding and the number on the scale moving up. Frustrating? You bet! The experts will say it’s all about calories in calories out. If that’s the case, why do we find weight gain on 1200 calories a day? What was the ideal number to drop 5 pounds at age 25 in a heartbeat, is now our daily “maintenance” calorie allotment. Wow, who knew? The things they don’t tell you when you’re young about aging. With the hormones fluctuating, the body is in storage mode. It’s getting softer, rounder and bouncier. Uggh.

So what can we do? Are we out of hope? There are four approaches to this aging phenomenon. Unfortunately none are a magic cure, but with some strategizing, you may find peace and contentment.

  • Maintain a positive attitude. It’s easy to get discouraged. Your attitude will determine if you stay consistent at trying and achieving health. As soon as you throw in the towel and break open that bag of chips, you are increasing the battle’s intensity. Accept that the playing field has changed. You’re not in your 20’s anymore and it will take a different approach to see results. But find that inner strength. You can do it if you set your mind to it. Stay positive that you can consistently approach daily tactics to keep healthy and strong.
  • Change your approach to exercise. As I took an Insanity workout class the other day that kicked my butt (!), I was speaking with another older middle aged woman – who by the way had an excellent figure – that of a 20 something. She shared that this was her 2nd exercise class of the day and that she had a similarly vigorous class that morning. I asked her if taking two classes a day was her normal – she said that she takes two classes (2 hours total) a day and does weights 2-3 times a week. Wow!? two classes? I thought I was doing well with this one class that had just kicked my bootie. I asked her why – she said, “If I want to keep my figure at this age, I have to work twice as hard”. Okay ladies, I am the bearer of bad news – but it may just take double workouts to see the results we saw at half our age. Dare I say double up? I know, you’re thinking what I am thinking….how in the world will I find time for that? The bottom line – we must make time to increase exercise if we want to see more results at this age. Maybe it’s an extra walk in the morning, or an extra DVD routine. Something is better than nothing. Secondly, we can change the type of exercise we do. Perhaps adding more Interval training (a topic I’ll write about at a later time) is a way to shock your body. Or add a different type of exercise class --variety to shake things up. Drastic times take drastic measures.
  • Accept your new body as is – if you are living in good health – doing what you’re “supposed” to do, accept your new softer rounder body for the healthy person you still are. There are so many people out there that are suffering and in bad health. They cannot do the healthy routines we are doing. If you’re doing the best you can to be healthy (eating right, exercising), pat yourself on the back, keep doing it, and accept that this new rounder look just might be okay for the new era.
  • Treat yourself – As you continue to achieve milestones – whether it’s exercising longer, harder or more often or choosing something healthy over something not, treat yourself to something – a pedicure, a new SmartGirl Bag for the gym, or a new outfit. Stop beating yourself up and celebrate your successes!

The Perfect Mom Tote Bag: SmartGirl Bags July 15, 2015 10:50 1 Comment

As a mother on the go, this summer has been especially busy. With two boys, 8 and 10, both in summer baseball, and working full-time, it seems I’m always on the run. As I leave for the day, I am anticipating what I need for work all day long (as well as productive breaks and lunches) and what do I need as we run off to baseball practice at 5:30?

Maybe you can relate, but it seems like I carry the kitchen sink with me all the time. For work, I take my water bottle, snacks, lunch, tablet PC to surf or book to read during lunch as well as my checkbook to balance, notebook of to-do’s. Sometimes, I carry my walking shoes to get in 30 minutes too!

When it’s time to run to practice, there’s no time for supper first. So I fill my tote-bag with snacks for the kids, sunblock, hats, even a baseball glove or two. Until this summer, there’s hasn’t been a bag out there that could keep up until now. My mother-in-law gave me my new Red Hot Sizzle SmartGirl Bag. It’s the perfect tote bag for moms! She originally bought it for me because of the cute colors. I love polka dots and red! But we both quickly realized, this bag saves my life!

The SmartGirl saying is that they bridge the gap between sexy and functional – let me tell you how true that is! My SmartGirl Bag allows me to take everything I need all day and all evening with me in one tote. I love the organization of this bag! It has 5 open exterior pockets and 6 interior compartments that keep me organized! Everything has its own pocket too – not just dumped into one big black hole like most bags. The pockets and the bag’s main space are both roomy too.

I take this bag with us everywhere! I even get my husband to carry it around (a man with a bright red bag!) oftentimes because he loves that everything is in one place.

In short, my SmartGirl Bag has literally saved my life this summer. Take it from one Mom to another, this is a ladies perfect tote!

 

As told to SmartGirl Bags by Amanda R., Castlerock, Colorado, Summer

 



An Exercise To Help Determine If Your Life Is Out Of Balance June 26, 2015 01:00

A long time ago, I was an overweight stressed out workaholic. I was living a very "out of balance" life which was reflected in my body and health. From being weight, to high blood pressure, borderline diabetes and sleep apnea, my climbing the corporate ladder and my Type A personality were having an ill effect on the quality of my life.

A counselor and friend of mine, told me to do a pie chart analysis on myself to see where I was out of balance. Basically you  create two pie charts. One will reflect 5-8 key areas important in life to you and the percent of the pie you think you should be spending time in those areas. These are unique and very individualistic. What’s important for me may not even be on your pie chart. The second pie chart is a depiction of where you’re spending your time now truthfully. No one has to see these.

When I took a good hard look at my out of balance pie, I realized I had become a workaholic with no balance in fitness or fun. I had let 12-16 hour extremely stressful work days take over my life until I was one heavy set unhappy girl. When I saw these two contrasting pie chart results in front of me, I knew I had to make changes.  I saw areas I said where important that I was giving no time to. Areas I said weren't that important to me, I made a 50% slice of the pie. The numbers talk! I used this information to make huge changes in my life. I found another position in the company and committed to working only 40 hrs a week. In fact, I had a boss who insisted I cut back when he saw I was starting to overdo my commitment to the office. In addition, I committed to a life of exercise and fitness and lost weight. I committed to enjoying time with friends and time alone. And I made more time for God and prayer in my journey. I made time for romance. As you can see, knowing where to change can be the first baby step in setting yourself up for change.

Won’t you give this exercise a try today and help yourself?

Pie Chart Balancing Exercise

  1. Draw 2 large circles on a sheet of paper side by side
  2. On a separate sheet of paper, list 5-8 broad categories of important things in life to you. For instance, Spirituality, Family/Friends, Work/Career, Fun/Entertainment, Physical Fitness, Intellectual, Alone time
  3. Draw a dot in the very center of the circle. Now, draw “slices of pie” in the 1st circle that represent the ideal percent of time you should spend in each category. The dot in the center is used to draw your slice.
  4. Now draw “slices of pie” in the 2nd circle that represent the way you are spending your time now – realistically in each category. If you are not spending time in a category that you should be, this is a very narrow tiny slice of pie on the chart. Or you can leave it off altogether
  5. Now compare your charts. Where are YOU out of balance? Ask yourself why you’re allowing this. What’s driving the out of balance behavior? Revisit your ideal chart and ask yourself if these things ARE important? If so, what can you change to readjust your current pie slices to align to your ideal ones?

We'd love to hear feedback on how this exercise helped you gain a new perspective. Consider emailing your story to us at customerservice@smartgirlbags.com  Subject line: Pie Chart Testimony.

 

Thanks!


Has technology caused our minds to run ADHD? How to align your daily activities with your long-term goals. June 17, 2015 14:05

It goes something like this – You set out to email a client about case XYZ. As you type line 2 you realize you’re hungry, so you pause and get a snack. As you get the snack, you remember you need to call and make a doctor appointment. You get the doc’s voicemail, so you leave a message. That reminded you that you forgot to call and excuse little Johnny from afternoon PE. You get back to your computer and realize you need to order flowers for Aunt Sally’s 50th in California. So you place the order. Oh yeah, what was I doing? You go back and finish the email. You hit send only to realize you forgot the attachment. You hit “recall”, go to put the attachment in when a colleague walks in and wants to chat about your weekend. Your phone rings – it’s the doctor’s. What appointment did I need to make? Oh yeah, I still need to call the school.

This scenario is extreme, however, maybe some of you can relate – it’s a cycle of distractedness. Not finishing anything all the way before turning to something new. Our minds shuffle from one thing to another like a series of popup ads on a web page.

Could technology in its fullest the past 7-10 years be causing our lack of focus? With the Smartphone came the internet, email, popup messages or “notifications”. Everywhere we turn is a popup live message. Sean commented on Sarah’s picture. Aunt Kathy hit “like” on your picture. Ten more emails in your inbox, and here comes 3 texts and 2 “reminders.” Have we trained our minds to “skim” the surface and not go deep on any one item thus creating a lack of focus and attention?  Does this lack of focus cause us to be constantly “busy” but not productive?

If this resonates with you, the next question is do we need to fix it or is it okay? The answer solely depends on the individual and his/her goals. If you are trying to make sales, for instance, yet you never follow through on cold calls or leads, you will ultimately fail. If you are retired and you put off planting flowers for playing golf – no one knows for the better. If you are trying to run a company, yet your day to day activities are scattered and without priority, you might want to take another look.

So how do we fix this? Technology is here to stay – it might even get “worse”!

There are a few techniques that can help of course using technology.

First – make a list of daily priorities that must get done to be successful in achieving your goals. What percent of time out of an 8 hour work day, should you be allocating to these categories? For instance, back to the sales person example, if you should be cold calling 2 hours a day and responding to email 30 minutes, write this down. At this step, do not judge yourself or “fix” it. Just write your categories of importance down that ALIGN TO YOUR GOALS.

Secondly – Prioritize your categories. Of the categories and the designated time allocated to each, are there some categories that are higher priority than others? As a sales person, answering a customer’s email might be higher than turning in reports.

Thirdly – make a list of how you’re spending your day now and the amount of time for each category.

Fourth – compare the ideal (this is how to be successful) list to the current way I’m doing things list. Where are you out of whack? – Analyze what is causing you to miss the boat. Is it distractions? Lack of focus? Lack of prioritizing? Lack of motivation? Avoidance? You need to be super honest with yourself at this stage.

Lastly – Create a new daily schedule using your new prioritized list. Block out time in your calendar for specific items or categories. For instance from 8-10AM I will make cold calls every day. This is blocked out and I close down email, phone, web browsers etc until 10:00. From 10:00-11:00 I return customer’s emails and calls only. This is again, scheduled in your calendar and kept to.  Be sure to give yourself some break and free time too. Be realistic.

 

In summary, Is it a perfect system? No, but with some deliberation, you can gain control of your day to align what you do with what you want to do to be successful.  The next time you see notifications and texts etc you might stop and think “Hmmm I’ll look at that after my cold calling time.” Now, that’s a baby step improvement!


Balancing Work With Life....aka Work-life balance June 09, 2015 16:08

Work-Life Balance in actuality can basically be defined as a concept of proper prioritizing between work i.e. career & ambition and lifestyle i.e. family, health, leisure, meditation and pleasure. Work and career both are equally integral parts of our lives that aid in everything from helping us pay the daily bills to providing us with a sense of purpose.

Before the world witnessed the technological boom, the boundaries between work and home were pretty clear. However, nowadays work has found a way to invade our personal lives and has made the maintenance of work-life balance that much more challenging. Recessions and rapidly rising competition have instilled the fear in us all of falling victim of recent cutbacks or payoffs in the employment industry globally. This have induced many people to incorporate 24/7 communication via emails, mobiles and social media in order to be readily available even when they are not physically present at work.

It can be tempting to work the extra hours, especially if one is focusing on getting a promotion or even just to stay afloat. However, in the current economic situation where the pressure to work your hardest is ever increasing, the need to unwind from work is equally crucial. Studies have shown that a poor work-life balance can result in unhealthy levels of stress, fatigue and unhappiness and even reduced productivity. In the long term all these adverse effects may result in work burn-out.

SO, HOW DO YOU BALANCE YOUR LIFE AND WORK?

Learn how to restore the perfect balance and harmony between your professional and personal lives through these easy to follow tips!

  • Prioritize
  • Figure out your priorities foremost. Identify and value all your tasks and duties in descending order. This would help you in identifying the most important from the least.

  • Track and manage your time
  • Pay attention to your day to day tasks, both work-related and personal. Decide what is necessary and most rewarding, and then eliminate or delegate certain work to others. This would help you in focusing your energy towards more positive tasks. Moreover, learn to organize tasks efficiently in such a way that will save you time. Do what needs to be done and let the rest go.

  • Create realistic boundaries between work and home
  • Leave work at work. You need to make a conscious decision to separate your work life from your personal life. Such that, when you are with your family then leave your iPhone, blackberry or work laptop in the bag and focus solely on them. Concentrate on one thing at a time.

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle and take out time for yourself
  • It is always beneficial to look after yourself; eat well, sleep well, and include some physical exercise in your daily routine. A healthy body always aids in maintaining a fresh and active brain. Set aside some time each day for an activity that you enjoy in particular i.e. yoga, reading, dancing or some family related activity.

  • Enlist a support system
  • Let your boss, colleagues and family know that you are striving to achieve work-life balance. Ask for help from your co workers to cover for you in case of a home crisis and vice versa. Learn to delegate and accept assistance.

                Other easier tips for adaptation in to a more balanced lifestyle is to opt for a clutter free routine through purchasing work-friendly handbags (http://smartgirlbags.com/) and wearing comfortable shoes or clothes to help you feel at ease and relaxed throughout the day. This in turn would enable you to be more refreshed and thus enjoy your after-work activities more wholly. Striking a healthy work life balance is a continuous process which needs to be altered as changes occur in our life and therefore, requires periodic examining of one’s priorities in order to stay on track.


    Tips to Getting and Staying Organized by SmartGirl Bags May 22, 2015 13:23

    There are many benefits to being and staying organized. I personally believe it’s good for the soul. The feeling of order helps create contentment and inner peace. Whether you believe that or not, organization certainly helps you streamline your life and be more effective. SmartGirl Bags believes organization and “easy access” go hand in hand. Being super organized but having your things out of reach, means you won’t use the items or you won’t put them back or it takes too long and you give up. Having what need (easy access) when you need it is key to achieving your goals.

    Being organized helps you feel more confident and saves you time. The average person wastes almost an hour a day searching for misplaced items like house keys, reading glasses and important pieces of paper. In the gym, the time wasted can result in a lesser workout or even no workout at all.

    Below you’ll find tips to help you start organizing your life and keep it organized.

    1. Define what areas of your life are slowing you down because they are not organized.

    Perhaps it’s okay if you’re purse collection is not color-coded or super organized because you only change purses every few months. It’s not a big deal. Don’t waste time on that. That’s not a key area to invest in. However, if you’re gym bag is constantly overflowing and overloaded and you waste valuable workout time - maybe even having to forego a workout –to get back to work, then that IS a place to work on. Or for example you can never decide what to make for dinner because your pantry is disastrous and you cannot see what’s in there, perhaps that’s a place to spend time reorganizing.

    1. Create a list of what’s essential for you to complete important tasks or activities with

    If you go to the gym regularly, you need a master list of what’s essential to have with you each and every time you go so you don’t leave without important items. Having your SmartGirl Bag pre-packed with those essentials of course make it even easier. If you go camping in the summers, keeping a master list of camping essentials means that you know what it takes to prepare and can prepare that much easier and faster. If you only do certain activities certain times of the year, for instance, hiking in summers or beach vacations, lists of essentials can mean remembering what is important when the time comes. For instance, keeping a packing list for short and long trips, with a variation for beach and cruises means you’ll quickly be able to prepare for those trips. Keeping a camping checklist and a hiking and backpacking list means you won’t leave home without essentials that could save your life. These lists save valuable time when it’s time to go.

    1. Keep important items related to a specific activity in a certain spot or location

    Taking your master lists a step further, keeping the essentials within a category or activity in one spot takes organization a step further. For instance keeping all camping gear neatly organized and labeled and in one spot in the garage or basement means it’s even easier to get out the door when the time comes. Keeping your gym bag filled up and in the car means you can do a spontaneous workout at any time (also means no more excuses).  

    1. Get rid of what you don’t need

    Do you really need packet of peanut butter “just in case” in your gym bag? Or how about those extra socks that you think maybe one day will come in handy? Pare down your list of essentials to what you really need. This streamlined approach will help you feel even better about getting in and getting out. If you overdo your list – it’s no longer a list of essentials – it’s a list of “nice to have’s” and can become overwhelming.

    1. Get going and Reward yourself.

    Finally, a good way to maintain momentum with your organization is to put it into action and then reward yourself. If you’re organization methods are working and you’re achieving your goals, do something nice for yourself like a pedicure or non-fat latte.

    Consider starting your organizational efforts by ordering your new SmartGirl Bag today at www.smartgirlbags.com


    5 Healthy Instagram accounts to follow May 18, 2015 19:01

    As shared to SmartGirl Bags by a partner, Bulu Box.

    Here is our list of top healthy eating Instagrams that you should be following this week. 

    @FitMenCook

    These foodstagrams look truly delicious! No cheat meals needed with these mouth-watering recipes that are hearty and healthy. Kevin Curry of FitMenCook now has his own recipe app and has even put his cooking skills up against Food Network Star Robert Irvine. 

    @MyNewRoots

    Sarah, the creator of MyNewRoots.com, has been blogging her edible inspirations since 2007. Her plant-based recipes are simple and delicious. Pick up a new recipe or just motivate yourself to eat a few more greens in your diet with these fruit and vegetable based meals and desserts.

    @RDAmber

    Amber is a Registered Dietician and founder of Stirlist.com, a blog focused on healthy eating and overall wellness. Amber is a Nutrition Communications Consultant and takes you behind the scenes of  her life while mixing in some truly delicious (and healthy!) recipes.

    @nomnompaleo

    This self-proclaimed paleo food nerd is the mastermind behind the Saveur Award-winning food blog, NomNomPaleo, and Webby Award-winning cooking app! These delectable paleo recipes have us drooling on our phones as we scroll. 

    @GlutenFreeGoddessKarina

    Karina runs her blog, Gluten Free Goddess, in hopes of promoting healthy and delicious gluten-free recipes to help those like her with Celiac Disease. She's been showing off her delicious recipes since 2005 and continues to put out amazing meals and desserts (they look SO good!) through her blog and Instagram. 

     


    Starch-Based Diets May 12, 2015 14:58

    Recently I was asked to take a challenge: Try a starch-based diet for two weeks. The premise was I would feel better, lose weight and see improvements in my recently diagnosed high blood pressure. Starch-based diet guru, Dr. Charles McDougall, claims that eating a diet based around out of the ground grown starches such as potatoes, rice, and corn, will help our bodies to heal and to stay healthy and slim.  The idea is that the cultures who are starch-based such as the Asian countries, tend to be slim,  healthy, and live longer. Being a huge meat and cheese lover, I hesitated for about a week before accepting this challenge. My usual day involves eggs for breakfast, turkey and cheese for lunch, protein for an afternoon snack, and huge helping of meat at dinner with a small portion of starch and veggies. I wondered how I would be able to stick to starches only without passing out. I decided to try it for two weeks. I opted for a plant-based protein shake to start my days along with a big bowl of oatmeal with almond milk, walnuts, and cinnamon. Not too shabby - filling, healthy, tastes good.  I made a big pot of lentil soup with veggies to eat for lunch and beans and a corn tostado with tomato for dinner (I did miss the cheese). I found myself full and never running out of ideas for snacks. I didn't miss the meat or eggs until about day 4. Oatmeal again? Hmmmmm.  Eating out has been beans at Taco Bell - not sure that falls under the healthy category. Being a woman on the go, it's definitely a diet that requires cooking and planning.

    It's been one week - I've added shrimp to a few meals - not sure Dr. Charles would approve. I have lost 3 lbs and feel rather good! I am pressing forward to finish out the month with this plan. Because I'm actually enjoying looking to healthy foods to satisfy me, at the end of May, I will keep the plan but modify it be adding in fish,seafood, and eggs. Not sure about evil cheese.

    The key to life is moderation - Eating healthy 80-90% of the time and some occasional splurges.

    Starch-based? Why not - it's not for everyone but don't knock it till you've tried it.

    Here's the website for more information:

    https://www.drmcdougall.com/


    Kickoff your week right May 04, 2015 03:30

    Many times we dread Mondays. Often it's because the weekend was a time to relax and let go of some of our many responsibilities and Monday reminds us of the never-ending to-do list. 

    There a few reasons we might feel this way ....

    1. Unhappy with work

    2. The wrong balance between work and personal life 

    3. Unprepared for the week to come - procrastination get us 

    4. Lack of exercise or activity

    Which one can you relate to? Are the person who relates to all?  Let’s focus on some tips to help make Monday better. 

    Monday can be the greatest day to your week if you follow these 3 simple steps and take a closer look at how your Monday’s could turn into the BEST Monday’s ever!

     Step 1: Get up Early!

    Mark Tobiassen from Action Coach says, ” The average Millionaire wakes up at 6am or earlier everyday.” Make the most out of the time you have been given. It pays off in the long run.

    Step 2: Plan your Workout Time for the week the Night Before

    Knowing when you will be working out for the week gives you that extra push. Say this in the morning, “OK  body, I know I need to work out at X time today. No Excuses”  You will be shocked when you stop seeing your workout time as optional and start seeing it as mandatory.

    Step 3: Plan Healthy Meals for the week

    Don't let time sneak up on you and you don't know what to make for dinner. Get a plan and stick to it. 

    Remember, Monday’s can be awesome if  YOU make them Awesome!

     

     


    How Planning & Organization Can help you achieve your goals April 23, 2015 11:48

    Let’s face it, working out and a healthy lifestyle can be hard to accomplish when you’re living life at a fast pace. Between work, family, life, and other events there’s often little time or energy to stay on track. Planning and organization can help bring consistency to your lifelong commitment. First, by planning your week of workouts in advance on Sunday night or early Monday morning, you can create a plan that already takes into account appointments you have scheduled. Rather than waiting till Tuesday morning to realize your evening workout won’t happen because you forgot your husband has a work dinner you’re required to accompany him to, you review your work and personal calendar Sunday and realize that Tuesday you will have to get up super early to get that day’s workout in. You adjust your schedule accordingly. Planning also gives you a chance to come up with a “backup” plan. If Tuesday won’t work at all, perhaps Saturday or Sunday can be a makeup day or Thursday can be an extra long session to make up the difference. In the age of electronics, there are apps and tools out there for this kind of planning. However, sometimes it’s just a plain piece of paper labeled Monday-Sunday that works best with a number two pencil for changes. A national pharmacy store chain often sells a tablet of weekly planning pages that can be torn out and filled in at the start of the week. These are often great for that weekly view one stop shop view.

    Secondly, planning your meals a week in advance, can you help you stay on track with a healthy eating plan.  Often logging your favorite “go-to” meals in an app or tool, means you can simply review the master list and decide what the meals will be all week long. You can then lookup new recipes to fit in between old standbys.  Using the master list, you can then create a grocery list before the week begins. Easier said than done? Yes, sometimes planning does take a lot of work when we’re most tired (or lazy) on Sunday night.

    Is it worth it? Absolutely – Planning is one of the keys to having lifelong fitness and health. Anyone can plan for one diet for one month. But looking at healthy living for the rest of your life means making planning itself part of your routine just as you would fitness or rest or fun!

    Next, organization is another key to helping you achieve your lifelong fitness goals. Keeping your gym bag stocked with key essentials you need every workout helps you to stop scrambling and wasting key workout time and get into the gym quickly. A workout bag that has exterior pockets such as the SmartGirl Ladies gym bags, helps keep what you need most at your fingertips. Keeping a stock of essentials – water bottles, protein bars, headbands, helps you to be prepared for your workout. Having a power bank in your bag helps keep your phone charged so there’s no excuse for skipping a workout due to a dead phone battery. Lastly, having all of your sweaty, wet clothes in a tethered wet bag, helps you to get home, throw dirty clothes into the laundry and head to the next item on your list.

    SmartGirl Bags intends for their bags’ designs to help the woman on the go make things happen smoothly and easily. Between planning and staying organized, you are able to achieve lifelong goals. We throw in a bit of fun too with our sassy designs.