Healthy Organized Lifestyle

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 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  Subject line: Pie Chart Testimony.



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.


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 ( 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.