A Real Reason To Overcome Fear

I wish I could say that I have all the answers.

I certainly don’t.

What I do have are a hell of a lot of “been there, done that” stories that have brought me to where I am today.

And by sharing them, my hope is that you can laugh with me, cry with me, and see that we all have something to offer – even if we do have to dig really deep inside.


As part of my commitment to improving my own mental health I have been working my way through various journaling prompts to help with anxiety and depression, as well as overcoming fear.

No big deal, just exercises that make me dig a little deeper into my fears and anxiety than I usually want to go.


What are you grateful for today?

Definitely not pollen, but the warmer weather is nice.

Certainly grateful that it’s almost the end of the school year and we will be at the beach in no time at all.

Gotta get to three things per the instructions, so probably something to do with it being my daughter’s birthday.

Even though it makes me sad to see her growing up so quickly, I am grateful that we were able to have such a wonderful space cats celebration with our family in honor of her birthday.

Yes, space cats!


Next question. What are you afraid of?

Imagine me spitting my coffee across the room because that is exactly what happened.


Let’s try it a different way.

What am I not afraid of?

Um, not much. Storms – I actually like those.

Being alone – literally my favorite way to be.

Annnnnd not much else.

There is no way I could write out what all I am actually afraid of because it’s literally almost everything.

Just ask my mom.

Or my husband.

Or my kids…


Continuing on. What has that fear kept you from doing? 


Joke’s on me today because apparently these journal prompts are really intended to make me write a novel.

Again…literally everything.


Have you ever had a moment of clarity?

Where the big picture just comes out of nowhere and hits you like a ton of bricks?

Or a meteor, maybe?


Yeah, that’s me right now.

All of the things that I have wanted to do, and couldn’t.

All of the things I thought I would do, and didn’t.

All of the things I want so badly for my girls, but don’t embrace them myself.






The willingness to stand up for yourself and proudly say “this is me, take it or leave it.”


And you know what? I have taught them well.

Both of my girls are free spirits who know exactly what they like and what they don’t.


But I’m afraid that they need more from me than just encouraging words.

They need me to be an example.


I have spent my entire life trying my best to avoid having to face my fears. 

I fear being judged…so I try to fit in. 

I fear getting in trouble…so I follow the rules. 

I fear putting myself out there…so I miss out on some of life’s most important opportunities. 


Easy enough when it was just about me.

I didn’t mind missing out one bit if it also meant avoid potential failure.

But now, it’s not just about me.

It’s about the people that I could be helping and the example that I can set for my girls along the way.

As much as I like to avoid any and everything that could cause me any type of discomfort, my meteor shower of clarity today has made me realize one thing: I finally have a real reason to take the steps to overcome my fears.

Actually, I have two of them. 

And I want more than anything to make them proud.


Do you have a real reason for wanting to overcome your fears, or have you had a meteor shower hit you recently? I would love it if you let me know in the comments below!


I Took The Plunge With CoSchedule And This Happened To My Blogging Workflow

Let’s talk about your blogging workflow for a minute.

How many different programs, spreadsheets, and processes are you using as part of your blogging workflow to plan and promote your blog content?

Three?  Five?  More?

I decided that I would find out, and my total was seven.

SEVEN different things I had to log into or reference in order to manage what should be ONE workflow.

Aside from the sheer ridiculousness of using seven things for my workflow (is that even a flow anymore?), the negative impact on my productivity was literally making me crazy.

Read on to find out how I solved my blogging workflow woes and how you can implement the same thing for your blog.


Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Did you know that every time you switch tasks, it takes a toll on your productivity?

Yup – multitasking is more than just scrolling through your news feed while fixing dinner or putting on your mascara while sitting in carline.


Check out the different things that psychologists consider to be multitasking:

  • performing two or more tasks simultaneously
  • switching back and forth from one thing to another
  • performing a number of tasks in rapid succession

I’m pretty sure that my entire day’s activities are covered by a combination of these. Whoops!

And here I was thinking I was really making strides toward more productivity by having each task in an ordered list…

Check out this quote on task switching from the APA:

“Although switch costs may be relatively small, sometimes just a few tenths of a second per switch, they can add up to large amounts when people switch repeatedly back and forth between tasks. Thus, multitasking may seem efficient on the surface but may actually take more time in the end and involve more error. Meyer has said that even brief mental blocks created by shifting between tasks can cost as much as 40 percent of someone’s productive time.”


What if I told you there was a way to organize all your blog + social + email workflows in ONE Place?

Too good to be true?


Way out of your price range?

Also nope.

Are you curious?

I thought so!

Meet the CoSchedule Essentials Plan 🙂

Eliminate the endless email threads, piles of sticky notes, and the dozen
and half moving pieces.
Focus on the real work of writing top-notch content
AND growing your audience.

I have been in love with the idea of using CoSchedule with my blog forever, but always thought it was way out of my price range.

So I was content to just read the CoSchedule Blog and participate in their totally awesome webinars for the time being.

At least, I was content until I got an email from them explaining how I could get the Essentials Plan AND join their referral network to reduce the monthly subscription price as much as 100%!

(a.k.a. there’s a way to get it for free…but you have to put in the work!)

Holy Cow! 

I could barely contain my excitement about finally setting up an efficient blogging workflow within just one app.

I signed up immediately and started digging into all of the amazing features.

With CoSchedule You Can Build A Seamless Workflow From Start To Finish



You can sync all of your favorite tools and social platforms into one place, so you can focus on driving traffic to your blog (not jumping from one tool to the next).

Goodbye task switching!

CoSchedule even easily integrates with tools bloggers already use such as WordPress, Google Analytics, Evernote, Google Docs, MailChimp, Zapier, and more – so the endless logging in and out of multiple programs can be a thing of the past.

Imagine how much simpler sharing your content across multiple social media channels would be if you could schedule it out ahead of time and it just happened!

Even better, many of their features were built with bloggers and other solo marketing teams in mind, and their site is jam-packed with free tutorials, free checklists, and free webinars to help you make the most of your marketing workflow.

The video below walks you through exactly how to set up CoSchedule as a blogger, and I followed it step-by-step to be up and running in one afternoon.



Overall, I have been thrilled to see such a big improvement in my blogging productivity since signing up for a plan with CoSchedule.

I was able to discontinue use of several other apps as a result, and without having to switch from one program to another, I can stay “in the zone” and get MUCH more accomplished!

If you still aren’t sure that it would be a good fit for you, they do offer a FREE TRIAL so you can give CoSchedule a try risk-free.

And if you want to check out some of their awesome resources designed to improve your blogging workflow and save you some serious time, be sure to visit the CoSchedule blog!

5 Ways Being A Mom Makes You A Better Boss

5 Ways Being A Mom Makes You A Better Boss

How mothering and bossing make you even more brilliant at both.



Post Contributed By Jess Critchlow

Jess is the top dog at Light UP Work where she helps digital entrepreneurs with all of their people and team ‘stuff’ so they can build their team and grow their biz. When she’s not coaching, consulting and cajoling bosses you can find her enjoying life with her crazy kiddo and husband in Windsor Canada. You can find out more at  www.lightupwork.com.

Let’s rewind the clock for a second to over a decade ago.

It was 2007 and I was an eager 20 something in my first REAL corporate job.

My boss, Marilyn, was a brilliant woman who was also a beloved mentor for me. She was wise, patient, caring, intelligent and she got shit done.

She was the real deal.

On this particular day, she had an important meeting scheduled with a senior VP at the organization.

She was prepped, ready to wow them (as she always did)…and then it happened.

The school called… again.  

“Marilyn, you’ll have to come and get your daughter, she’s not feeling well.”

With 15 minutes left until her presentation, my boss drove to the school to pick up her daughter, plopped her daughter (and a coloring book) into a seat near me in our shared office, and raced off to her very important meeting.


20-year-old me looked at that 5-year-old and thought…

“I don’t know how she does it. Having kids must make her career life so much more difficult. I don’t think I can manage to have kids and a career, it seems too hard

Fast forward to 2018.

My kiddo is napping as I type (a miracle in itself), allowing me to squeeze just a few more minutes into my workday.

And you know what I’ve only just now begun to appreciate since having my own little one?


Having children made it more challenging for Marilyn’s career… but it also made her better.  


[clickToTweet tweet=”She was the most amazing boss and mentor not in spite of being a mother, but because of it.” quote=”She was the most amazing boss and mentor not in spite of being a mother, but because of it”]


What is it about being a mom that makes us better bosses?


And Why?

In a word: Practice.  

You’ve probably heard the old adage that to get truly masterful at anything you need to practice for at least 10,000 hours. 

Real practice.

The kind of practice that entails mistakes, feedback, and chances to try again.

No degree, leadership retreat, coach, TED talk or book will ever replace good old fashioned practice.

Being a mom means that you practice these skills all day, every day.

You are getting your 10,000 hours at warp speed – no breaks, no vacations.

[su_note note_color=”#FFeae7″ text_color=”555555″]Want more info on how to be a great boss? Check out the latest tips and tricks on Jess’ Blog at lightupwork.com![/su_note]


little kid in office


The 5 Ways Being A Mom Makes You A Better Boss

How mothering and bossing overlap to make you even more brilliant at both.

1. Efficiency and Asking for Help

Your kiddo needs to be at swim class at 6 pm. You have 872 things to do that day. You find a way to prioritize the top 3 things, schedule in the rest, and get that kid to swim class.

Moms are super efficient during their work day because they have to be.

There’s no ‘oh well, I’ll just stay late a couple hours and get it done eventually’.

Nope, not an option when you have to juggle soccer practice, swim class and sew a costume for the school play.

Thankfully it’s not the Middle Ages, so you don’t always have to do it all on your own… but that means you get plenty of practice with efficiency, delegation, and asking for help.


All trademarks of a great Boss (and a great mom).


2. Resilience

There is nothing like mothering to teach resilience.

Your toddler just lost their mind because you gave them the red cup instead of the blue one (how dare you?!).

Your teenager told you how they hate living with you… for the fifth time that week.

Your ten-year-old once again responded with ‘nothing’ and turned on their phone when you asked how school was.

And what do you do?

Breathe, reboot, shake it off, and go back in for more.


As bosses that is exactly what we can bring to our teams: the ability to shake off any setback.

We can have that tough sales call or board meeting and still go back to our teams and be able to motivate them, coach them, give them feedback and be there for them.


3. What Not How… aka Pick Your Battles

The best Bosses are able to decide what needs to be done and what a good end result will look like while avoiding the temptation of prescribing exactly how it needs to be done (also known as micromanaging).

Who is better at this than moms?

We just happen to call it something slightly different: Pick Your Battles.

The kids ate all their broccoli but mostly fed their meatloaf to the dog?

Put it in the win column and move on!

Moms become exceptionally skilled at focusing on the bigger perspective and end goal… and letting go of the little stuff.

Exactly what a great Boss does.


4. Balancing Relationship AND Task

Moms and great Bosses both inherently understand that the task is JUST as important as the relationship.

That finishing a report on time is important… and equally important is having the conversation to find out why your team member has been so withdrawn all week.

That doing homework and getting dinner on the table is important… and equally important is putting phones and iPads away and just talking about what happened that day at school.

Both the relationship AND the task get equal billing.

Sacrificing relationships for the sake of getting shit done is a mistake many of us regularly make… but we learn pretty quickly to correct back (after we’ve paid the price).


5. Mixing Empathy and Bravery

Last but certainly not least… the magic sauce of amazing bosses… a rich mix of empathy and bravery.  

Empathy is the ability to understand another person, read their emotional cues and be able to think from their perspective.

Bravery is doing the hard thing, the vulnerable thing, the uncomfortable thing.

Moms regularly have to bring BOTH to the table, being able to read their child, pick up on their cues and moods, and really understand their perspective while still:

…saying no to the music fest.

…grounding them from their friend’s birthday party that they’ve been looking forward to.

…admitting to the whole Santa Claus thing (yikes!).

Great bosses are defined by their ability to both think from another’s perspective and make tough decisions.

Not either/or, but both/and.

And who has more practice at that than moms?


Balancing motherhood and a career is freaking hard, which I’ve only now begun to appreciate. Practicing all of these truly difficult skills with no holidays, no breaks, all day everyday… is exactly what makes us moms a force to be reckoned with.

And ironically that’s WHY it makes us better bosses.

It makes us the boss that some new 20-year-old is looking at in wonder, thinking ‘Jeez that must be so hard’.

It is kid, it is… And it’s also totally worth it.

[line][su_note note_color=”#FFeae7″ text_color=”555555″]Jess is the top dog at Light UP Work where she helps online entrepreneurs transform into super confident + competent bosses so they can finally build their dream team (and grow their biz!) After spending over a decade in Corporate Land helping Bosses motivate their teams and increase productivity (while not becoming THAT jerk boss everyone loves to hate), she then moved out of the office and into the online entrepreneur space. Now she takes her juicy experience and geek-love of all things leadership and teamwork, translates it to work for the online world, and consults, coaches and cajoles her clients into becoming awesome bosses themselves – resulting in warm and fuzzies AND business growth! For any boss who’s finally ready to take their biz to the next level by getting their dream team in place, Light UP Work is where they can find help to get it right. You can find out more at http://www.lightupwork.com And when she’s not with her fellow Bosses talking all things people and teams, you can find her chasing after her crazy kiddo Rae or sampling the latest craft beer with her husband Ollie at their home in Windsor Canada.[/su_note]

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How To Combat Stolen Pins on Pinterest

Are you as tired of stolen pins as I am?

I have found a way to make sure that my Pinterest boards don’t contain any stolen pin images, and it’s actually pretty easy.

The best part?

I can easily help out my blogger friends by letting them know if I come across a stolen pin image of theirs during the process!

In this article:

  1. What is a stolen pin?
  2. Why would someone steal a pin?
  3. How can you tell if a pin is stolen?
  4. What to do if a pin image is stolen?
  5. How to identify stolen pins on your own boards using Pin Doctor!

If we all work together to get these stolen pins OFF of Pinterest, then we can go back to creating content for our readers without worrying that they will be sent somewhere other than our site when they click on our carefully crafted pin images!



What Is A Stolen Pin?

You may be wondering what the heck counts as a stolen pin anyway…

If someone uses an image that they did not create and do not have permission to use as a Pin Image pointing to their site, it is usually considered “stolen.”

Sometimes a Pin Thief will have the stolen Pin Image point to their own affiliate link as well.



Why Would Someone Steal A Pin?

Often, the stolen pin is a popular one, and the Pin Thief is hoping to capitalize off of that traffic to use it to their own advantage.

By “stealing” a pin image from a popular blogger or well-known website, the Pin Thief knows that there will be a better distribution of that pin across Pinterest and it will be more likely that Pinterest users will click through to their site.

Since many sites monetize via advertising networks, there is a direct correlation between increased traffic and increased revenue, even if the visitor doesn’t stick around.

If you are struggling with getting traffic to your website, please don’t follow the lead of the Pin Thieves!

Check out this FREE Blog Traffic Bonus Guide from Lena Gott to get some great ideas about increasing your traffic.


You can also see my post on working smarter instead of working harder with some additional tips from her!

When redirecting a stolen pin to an affiliate site, the Pin Thief is hoping to “lock in” their affiliate cookie and get credit for future purchases from that user.

As a result, many bloggers are spending HOURS reporting their stolen pins to Pinterest in an effort to protect their brand and their means of income.


How can you tell if a pin is stolen?

As you are skimming the Pinterest Feed, you may notice that the URL of the Pin Image will not match the destination that the pin directs you to, and the site listed will seem spammy & unrelated.

As you can see from this image, the website listed in white when I hovered over it with my mouse is the same website listed below as part of my username. Also, the title of the post on the pin and the title of the article it links to cover the same content.

A stolen pin, on the other hand, might have the title of the article below listed as “ways to make money fast” or something else completely unrelated.

Like in the example above, Rich Pins can be insanely helpful in this research, and I highly recommend that if you don’t currently have them enabled, that you do so soon.


Check out these articles to get started:
Pinterest For Business | Rich Pins
Simple Pin Media | Complete Guide To Rich Pins


What Do I Do If I Find A Stolen Pin?

If the pin is yours, you can report it directly to Pinterest.

But if it doesn’t belong to you, you can either notify the creator of the image or just move along and not repin it to your own board.

Lena Gott, who runs the popular website What Mommy Does, recently wrote a very good article titled What To Do When Someone Steals Your Pins. Make sure you check it out as it gives a step-by-step process for reporting pins that have been stolen as well as tips for identifying stolen pins and protecting your images.

How To Identify Stolen Pins On Your Own Pinterest Boards Using Pin Doctor

Watch the short video below where I show how to navigate the Pin Doctor report in BoardBooster and check the images versus the associated URLs to identify stolen pins. If you are anything like me, there are so many pins on your boards that checking each one manually would be quite cumbersome, but luckily your first report via Pin Doctor is FREE!

As a side note, if you haven’t tried out BoardBooster yet, you can get a FREE trial including 500 pins, one Pin Doctor report, and one use of the Pin Mover. Go ahead and sign up today, it only takes a few seconds and it’s totally worth it!



Hopefully, this post gave you some insight as to what can be done to combat stolen pins on Pinterest.

This is a huge problem, as pin thieves use bots to “scrape” the images from original pins and replace the URL with their own.

As bloggers, this causes us to lose both income and credibility.

Until Pinterest comes up with a better way to manage this issue, I hope that you will do your part and make sure to rid your own boards of stolen pins and help your fellow bloggers out by letting them know if you find one so that they can report the stolen pin to Pinterest.

Have you been affected by stolen pins? Let me know in the comments below, and add any other tips you might have for us as well!

Busy Mom's Guide to Bullet Journaling – Intro to Bullet Journal Basics

How to Organize Your Busy Mom Life – An Intro to Bullet Journaling

If you are anything like me, you’ve probably got tons of notepads and journals and planners gathering dust around your house that just didn’t quite fit into your life.

I have started lots of diaries, journal prompt lists, and even a digital journal, and just like with any calendar or planner, I forget to go back to them after the first day or two so I end up never finishing.

It’s really the inconsistency that bothers me – once I miss a few days I am so over it.

It makes me feel like it’s physical evidence that I just can’t hack it. 

I used to think that if I ever really had all of my thoughts and lists in one place I could get my life together…but that notebook would be so thick and heavy I still couldn’t use it!

I will be the first to admit it – I am a planner junkie, and if it claims to finally get my life organized, then out comes my wallet! I am a big fan of Erin Condren’s line of planners and her accessory line is awesome… but I also needed something with a little more flexibility to keep track of all of my ideas. (Side Note: Her teacher lesson planners are the coolest and I have been trying to come up with a reason to need one. Maybe I will add it to my teacher gift ideas list!)



Photo by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash

As a busy mom, it’s not uncommon to lose track of your responsibilities since things can get so hectic! Whether you are a new mom that is struggling to balance home responsibilities and motherhood, an overwhelmed mom tired of managing both your job and your household, or a busy mom who gets so wrapped up in the task at hand that you tend to forget everything else, you need an intro to bullet journal basics!


This is a unique form of journaling, unlike any other type you have probably tried out.

It takes a little more time in the beginning, as you learn the basics and get your bullet journal set up, but keeping up with it is so quick and easy. I thought I would never find a system that could help me juggle everything as a busy mom, but bullet journaling has totally changed my life!

And I really think you will find that it is perfect for bringing a little more order and organization to your busy and hectic life.

Before getting into the cool details of bullet journals and how to create them, I want to introduce some basic bullet journal concepts and terminology.


Intro to Bullet Journal Basics

I know I kept hearing people talk about their oh so fabulous bullet journal and saw tons of posts about them online, but I needed a really straightforward guide to help me get started with the basics.

It ‘s important to know the standard terms for the components because if you ever want to look up how others create their bullet journals when you are trying to find inspiration, it really comes in handy. Also, it can be a little confusing at first if you haven’t had an intro to bullet journal phrases and techniques.

What is a bullet journal?

  • A bullet journal, or “bujo” for short, is a type of journal that includes multiple sections in order to keep track of the multiple facets of your life.
  • Instead of having one journal for your finances and career notes, and another journal for household to-do lists and journal entries, everything is in a single journal. (What?!?!?! I was totally sold on the idea when I found this out!) Once one journal is filled up, you then switch to a new one and start again.
  • A bullet journal starts out completely blank, and it is up to you to customize it to fit your life.

What Is Rapid Logging?

  • You are not typically writing full-length journal entries when you use a bullet journal.
  • Instead, you summarize your points with short words and phrases, as well as using symbols (called signifiers) that you get to select.
  • The creator of the bullet journal concept, Ryder Carroll, calls this “Rapid Logging.”

What Are The Components of Rapid Logging?

  • Topics
  • Page Numbers
  • Short Sentences
  • Bullets

According to Ryder Carroll’s Getting Started guide, the four components of Rapid Logging are topics, page numbers, short sentences, and bullets.

This way you understand your notes and can find them on the different pages, but it doesn’t take up a lot of space or too much of your time. (Bingo!)


What Are Signifiers?

  • Symbols within your journal as part of explaining things, creating schedules and to-do lists, and for various other sources.
  • A signifier might be using a smiley face when you have a good day or putting a symbol of the moon when you are talking about an event taking place in the evening.
  • You will identify your signifiers somewhere in your journal using a guide called a key.


What Is An Index?

  • Your index contains a list of your topics and the page number or numbers.
  • The index is something most traditional journals or diaries don’t tend to have and is unique to the bullet journal setup.
  • When you start putting the bullet journal together, you decide on what sections to create, then you make an index for easy reference to help you easily locate the page you want.

But remember, there is no right way or wrong way to do this; that is the great thing about journaling in general, including with bullet journaling.

Everything is up to you!


Busy Mom's Guide to Bullet Journaling – How Is A Bullet Journal Different?

How Bullet Journaling Is Different From Other Journals

You might already be able to tell how using a bullet journal is different than other forms of journaling, and know why it is so helpful for busy moms, but let’s sum it up just in case you aren’t already familiar!



There are several key differences between a bullet journal and a traditional journal or planner, outlined below:

1. Just one journal is used for everything!

First of all, you don’t have just a gratitude journal or just a diet and fitness journal with bullet journaling.

You get to have everything in a single journal.

How cool is that?!?!

This is why it is good to choose a thicker journal, but one that is easy to write in.

  • The hardbound books are great but can be hard to deal with, and you want to avoid any that use glued in pages as the binding may crack over time and become loose or lost.
  • You can also use a softer journal that is easy to turn pages, fold, and manipulate in order to draw on the pages and use quickly without too much fuss. Many of these are refillable as well.

I ended up selecting this one because of the elastic closure and pocket in the back:

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2. Another difference with a bullet journal is that it has sections for each form of journaling, and also includes an index for easy reference.

The sections are how you sort out your gratitude journal, bucket lists, daily planner, and more. There are some really creative ideas for different sections and topics, but it is best to just start with the basics.


3. Short sentences and bullets are used in place of long sentences.

You will still do some writing using short sentences, and the basic bullets determine which type of entry you are making, either a task, an event, or a note.

  • Tasks are any actionable item, and you go one step further with them to mark them as completed, migrated to a later date, or scheduled.
  • Events are items with a date attached, so either you schedule them or you write about them as a logged entry after they occur.
  • Notes are facts, ideas, thoughts, and observations. Anything that you want to remember, but that isn’t currently actionable.

Matt Ragland

4. Signifiers, or symbols used to represent moods and situations, are another key difference in bullet journaling.

Signifiers are good for quickly understanding what was going on during an entry or when making marks about how a day went in a monthly calendar view on one of the pages. These are yet another way you can customize your bullet journal to fit your life and personality.

Many people also choose to use different colors as signifiers, so their bullet journals really stand out from the crowd!

Personally, I am in love with the Papermate Flair pens for my bullet journal. But since they are a felt-tip style and work best for thicker pages,  I use the InkJoy style when my pages might bleed through.

4. A bullet journal is truly flexible.

Organizing your life as a busy mom is much easier to do with a bullet journal than any other. You can keep track of finances, schedules, growth charts, to-do lists and more!

Other long-form journals can still be good for relieving anxiety, getting out your emotions each day, and helping to find triggers for emotional eating. You should still have these as a part of your routine if they are issues you are facing.

However, with a bullet journal, it is good for organizing all the different areas of your life that you feel need a little more order. If you feel that you want to include additional journal types like those mentioned above, make sure to check out all of the great ideas for habit tracking, self-care, and mental health that others have already designed!

So what do you think?

Is a bullet journal a good option for you?


5 Life-Changing Books Busy Moms Must Read To Combat Overwhelm

As a busy mom, it’s not easy to find time to curl up with a book, but I do try to squeeze in at least a chapter a day, especially for the life-changing takeaways in these books. So I thought I’d share the books that I think busy moms absolutely must read to combat overwhelm.

I have always been an avid reader, and I am trying to cultivate a love of reading in my girls as well.

Easier said than done, I know…



I figure one of the best ways to teach is by example, plus it’s a great excuse to indulge in my favorite hobby!

We don’t stick to just one format – so you’ll see options for e-readers, book subscriptions, and “real” books. Just keep in mind that if something piques your interest, you can probably find it in a number of formats! And just in case you don’t already have a Kindle or other e-reader, check this out:
Amazon.com – Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices


The 5 Choices is one of my favorite books on balance and productivity that’s out there. If you feel like you are too busy to be productive – take the time to learn the concepts in this easy read and finally feel like you can gain control of your life once and for all. Being able to clarify my roles and priorities has really been life-changing!

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Declutter Your Mind is the definitive handbook for getting rid of the mental clutter that has been causing you overwhelm. If you want to stop the stress and stop the negative thinking once and for all, grab a copy of this book to learn how to take control of your mind and use your thoughts to your advantage.

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The Worry Trick is a must read if worry and anxiety are interfering with your quality of life. Part humor and anecdotes, this book was written by a PhD and provides real solutions that can be integrated into your everyday life to overcome worry.

Unwind is delivered in classic FranklinCovey style, with easily implemented tips and 7 specific paradigm shifts aimed at eliminating the root cause of daily stresses. This book offered a great perspective about how changing your mindset about how you approach life can greatly decrease stress levels overall.

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Only Love Today is a collection of shorter essays and reminders to dwell in love, many of which appeared originally on her blog. It would make a perfect gift for a busy mom for Mother’s Day, but I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to decrease their stress and trying to be more present. Rachel is the Hands-Free Mama and her latest collection is full of short essays on a variety of aspects of life.

If you read as much as I do, then you know how convenient it is to have books available across multiple formats.

Try looking for one of these life-changing books for busy moms on an audiobook service or at your local library!


Have you read any of these books, or are there any you think I should add to the list? Let me know in the comments below!



10 Coolest Family-Friendly Subscription Boxes You Don't Want To Miss!

Family-friendly subscription boxes are popping up everywhere these days, and they’re one of the easiest ways to discover new products or contribute to family fun!

But if you’ve been on the internet long, you’ve likely seen thousands of different boxes advertised and may need some advice about which one would be best to try.

So, to make your choice a little easier, I thought I’d share 10 of my favorite (and fun) selections. These family-friendly subscription boxes range from flowers and festivities to cooking and crafts. Don’t miss out on the fun!

1. Kidstir.com

Cost: $12.95 and up

What’s Included: Kidstir kids cooking kits are designed to spark a love of good food in kids! Children ages 4-12 (and their parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles and other special grown-ups) love cooking with Kidstir. Kidstir is focused on building a 12-month cookbook through a family-friendly subscription box delivered monthly.

  • 3 step-by-step recipes that are simple and easy for children and grown-ups
  • 2 kid-sized cooking tools that get children involved in hands-on fun
  • 1 special extra item, like stickers, gift tags, door hangers, food decorating templates, name cards, conversation cards, or a puzzle book
  • 3 foodie education pages about all aspects of food, including culture, vocabulary, science, math and more
  • 3 fun and learning-filled games and activities 
  • 1 fresh food shopping list that is enclosed in the kit and emailed ahead of time
  • A weekly e-newsletter packed with more digital recipes, tips and tricks, and handy printables

Prepaid 12 month subscriptions also include a BONUS cookbook binder shipped alongside your first kit- a $24 value!

Shipping: If you select the current month as your start month, you’ll receive your first kit later in the same month. After that, your future monthly kits will arrive around the middle of each month.


2. Baby Booth Box

Is your baby a boy or girl?

Cost: $40.00

What’s Included: A Monthly themed baby photo shoot in a box! FREE milestone blanket for new subscribers! Every box comes with photography props for the perfect photoshoot:


For Mama:

  • Free Milestone Blanket
  • One unique gift (bath bombs, facemasks)
  • Coupon codes & Freebies from baby-centric brands [/left]


For Babies under 12 months:

  • 3+ photography props
  • scarves
  • glasses
  • shoes


Shipping: Shipping on the 5th of every month!

3. Bark Box 

Cost: $20 – $35

What’s Included: Give snack time and playtime an upgrade with BarkBox! A new themed subscription box every month, and every BarkBox has at least 2 innovative toys, 2 all-natural bags of treats, and a chew, curated from each month’s unique themed collection.

Shipping: Your first box ships immediately. Following boxes ship on the 15th. Shipping is always free!

4. Brick Loot


Price: $24.88 and up, Plus Shipping ($6 US)

What’s Included: You will receive a Brick Loot box filled with LEGO and brick related items. We search high and low for the newest, coolest and most outrageous items you will not find at your local toy store. All items are hand picked by our LEGO loving team and sure to leave you with a BIG smile! 

Brick Loot is the creation of 9-year-old Parker Krex (now 13)… how cool is that?!?!

Shipping: Boxes ship out the 10th of each month.


5. Little Passports

Price: $12.95 – $18.95

What’s Included: We offer fun and engaging options for children ages 3-13 with several different payment plans. We’ve carefully designed and hand selected each of the packages to ensure your child has a fun and educational experience:

  • Early Explorers packages include activity books, stickers, Flashlight Adventures, and souvenirs.
  • World Edition packages include letters from Sam and Sofia, souvenirs, photos, stickers, activity sheets and access to online games and activities.
  • USA Edition packages include activity journals, postcards, stickers, pop-out models and access to more information, games, and activities online.
  • Science Expeditions include a comic book, experimental guide, tools for hands-on experiments, stickers and online bonus materials. 

Shipping: Except for the first box, packages ship around the middle of the month.


6. Bluum, Inc.

Price: $34.00

What’s Included: In a nutshell, bluum is a monthly subscription box for awesome, busy parents, to help discover new products to make life with babies, toddlers and preschoolers easier and more fun. 

Your family-friendly subscription box includes four or more full-sized products each month, curated for you based on your child’s birth date and gender, always with a combined retail value of $45 or more! Products will be relevant to your family, curated for your child’s age and stage, and delivered monthly to surprise and delight you and your little one.

You can bluum from your first month of pregnancy all the way until your bluum baby is in preschool (up to 5 years old), and we know how fast that time flies by!

Shipping: When you first subscribe, your first box will ship within 5 days of ordering. After that, your child’s box will ship on or around the 9th of each month.

7. Disney Princess

com - Monthly Activity box
Price: $22.99 and up

What’s Included: A surprise box filled with unique items that portray magical stories and encourage children to Dream Big! Each magical box transforms into a scene from the story and may include Princess figurines, fashion accessories, goodies and our eco-friendly box.

Shipping: Depends on when you sign up: Disney Princess Pleyboxes are released every two months (January, March, May, July, September, November and January) Accounts started before the 7th of the month following a release month will receive the current box. If you sign up from the 7th and on, you will receive the following box scheduled (ie: signup by 4/6 for a March box).

8. FabFitFun

Cost: $49.99 after the first box

What’s Included: You’ll get a seasonal box filled with 8-10 full-sized, premium products valued at over $200. Each season choose products & add-ons you want in your box. Or keep it a surprise. You’ll love it either way!

Indulge in the best in beauty, fitness, wellness, home, and everything in between. Don’t forget to #fabfitfun when you share! With your membership, you can work out anywhere with FabFitFunTV and shop exclusive member sales.

Shipping: Your first box will ship within 10 days of purchase.


9. National Geographic

com - Monthly Activity box
Price: $17.99 and up

What’s Included: A surprise box filled with unique items that teach about animals, nature and our world. Travel to new countries every other month and rescue an extinct animal while having fun! Each box includes activities, toys & accessories including educational digital games themed around an ecosystem, that kids love to play with and share. These toys & accessories can include, tattoos, wristbands, stickers, pins, animal fact cards, figurines and educational digital games that explore our planet.

Learning also continues online. Using a secret code included in the mission kit, kids log in to Mission Center to join our characters Kia and Kyle on an exciting virtual adventure.

Shipping: Once you sign up you will receive the first box within 30 days. The stories are sequential so it will always start at the first box after you sign up.


10. BloomsyBox.com

Monthly Flowers

Save $5 on your first month at BloomsyBox! BLOOMSYA5

Cost: $39.99 and up

What’s Included: Each monthly subscription box contains a fresh handpicked bouquet delivered directly from our farms around the world. Our blooms come in three sizes—Small, Medium and Large. You can also order a single delivery or subscription as a gift!

From selecting only the finest seasonal blooms or traditionally beautiful bouquets, every bloom will be carefully cosseted in our signature Box for a flawless arrival at your door. Seasons change and so will your Bloomsy Box!

Shipping: Your first BloomsyBox will be delivered within 5-7 days after order. All other deliveries will be made between the 16th or the 23rd of each month unless specified otherwise.


Did you find a new favorite subscription box to try? I ordered a few, so be on the lookout for some unboxing videos coming up soon! I would love to see what cool family-friendly subscription box you get 🙂

Get Ready For The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle 2018 – The Best Way To Beat Overwhelm!

Making a home is way harder than it looks!

When it comes to homemaking, it’s never any one thing — the family members who need constant reminders or the daily kitchen clean-up duties or the budget and financial woes or the parenting “what-the-heck-am-I-doing” moments or the basement suddenly flooding- no, it’s not any of those things in particular.

The hardest part about homemaking?


It’s the cumulative effect of juggling all of the different and neverending roles and responsibilities and circumstances we face as moms each and every day and trying so desperately to give each of them our best.

Ultimate Homemaking Bundle
We want to lead beautiful, joyful, meaningful lives.
We want our homes to feel organized, functional and inviting.
We want to raise our families lovingly and intentionally.
We want to invest in ourselves and continually grow as people.

All of these things are good. But that doesn’t make them easy.

The reality is, we can all use a little help along the way from other women who have strengths in areas where we struggle or who are a little further down the road than we are. They say “it takes a village,” but in this day and age we often have to create our own village.

What if you could finally learn to organize and swipe simple decluttering methods to keep your household running smoothly most of the time?

What if you could find strategies for balancing ALL THE THINGS that come with homemaking– without going crazy and without compromising what’s most important to you?

What if you had real meal planning help and could serve your family quick & healthy meals without spending hours stressing over what to cook for dinner?

What if you found ideas to improve your relationships – your faith, your marriage, and your parenting?

And what if you could find the support you need to create an intentional home and life – one that falls in line with your values and dreams?

Well, you can. 🙂

I’m so excited to tell you about the 2018 Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, a digital library of resources and tools to help you in all these areas and more!

It includes products like eBooks, online courses, printables and planners, audio files, membership sites and more, crammed into one unbelievable collection, for a ridiculously low price. Like seriously low!

Ultimate Bundles creates a lot of different bundles, but this particular one has been running for 6 years (with brand new products each year!) and it’s their most popular bundle EVER.

Over 100,000 women have picked one up since 2013.

I love working with this family-run company because they care so much about the value and quality of each bundle and their customer service is amazing.

First of all, this is the first year the specially-formatted eReader files are included, so you’ll have a smooth reading experience no matter what kind of device you use. You used to have to pay $10 extra, but since they’re now included, it’s like you’re getting a $10 bonus!

It’s also the most resources ever included in one of these bundles! Whether you want decluttering and organizing tips, ideas to help you balance all your roleshealthy meal plans, mothering or marriage tips, or anything else related to homemaking, this bundle has you covered.

Curious what the bundle includes?

When you buy the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, you’ll get access to:

  • 62 eBooks
  • 30 eCourses, videos & audio files
  • 34 printables & workbooks,
  • and 3 membership sites

… all curated to give you an insanely helpful collection of resources to touch every part of your homemaking journey – at a price that’s too good to miss.

Will our homes ever be perfect?


Will these tools make life completely stress-free?


But learning smart strategies and solutions, and saving yourself time and stress trying to figure things out on your own sure does go a long way.

And with a little help, you really can create a home and life that (while imperfect) is pretty stinkin’ awesome. 🙂

That’s how they convince all of these amazing bloggers and product creators to include their products for so little!

For way less than the cost of an unplanned Target shopping trip, you’ll get a complete library to help you:

Move from overwhelmed and living paycheck to paycheck to confident in budgeting with money in the bank. (total value = $161.97)

  • The 90 Day Budget Bootcamp Workbook by Rosemarie Groner ($7.00)
  • Financial Foundations: Everything You Need to Build a Strong Financial Foundation by Jennifer Roskamp ($37.00)
  • Finding Your Greatest Worth: A Starter Kit by Nicole Rule ($49.00)
  • Real Life on a Budget Planner by Jessi Fearon ($19.97)
  • The Complete Grocery Budget Solution by Elise New ($49.00)

 Go from overwhelmed mom to totally in control (total value = $112.98)

  • ADHD Parent Manual by Elaine Taylor-Klaus ($27.00)
  • Create Coping Skills Champions at Home by Janine Halloran ($49.00)
  • Family Culture: Building A Strong Family Identity by Rachel Norman ($12.99)
  • So Many Littles, So Little Time: Worn Out Mom’s Guide to Mothering Little Ones by Amy H. Roberts ($7.99)
  • Unplug + Unlock: The Step by Step Guide to Conquer Screen Time Battles for Good by Julie McCorkle ($16.00)

Declutter your home and take it from chaos to calm in a simple and step by step way (total value = $126.61)

  • Clutter: Sorted: Take Your Home From Chaos to Calm, Step by Step by Chrissy Halton ($67.61)
  • Clutterfree: Declutter Your Home to Create Space for Joy by Christina Tiplea ($49.00)
  • The Clutter Handbook by Clean Mama ($10.00)

Besides being packed with so much great stuff, one of the things I like best about the bundle is the price. By offering it for a short time only, they’re able to give you access to over 129 digital products worth $3,680 — for just $29.97!

(Nope, I’m not kidding. Can you believe it?)

P.S. Did I mention the bonuses?! Choose from bonuses worth more than $180 like free kids’ books from Bookroo, unlimited books, audiobooks and magazines with a 3-month Scribd subscription, or free natural eyeshadow from Orglamix – just to name a few!

Learn more here: https://us154.isrefer.com/go/UhomB2018/a13318/

Here’s how it works:

Visit their website, take a quick look at all the goodness that comes in this package, then click the “Get my copy now!” button to go through their simple and secure 3-step checkout process.

You’ll receive an email with a login to their online access portal, where you’ll begin downloading your eBooks, signing up for your eCourses, and redeeming your free bonus offers.

But don’t get overwhelmed… use their Getting Started Guide to pick the topic you want to tackle first and start your stress-less homemaking journey!


Check out the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle right here: https://us154.isrefer.com/go/UhomB2018/a13318/

The most important detail, though, is this bundle is available for just six days!

After Monday night, April 16th, the sale ends and you’d have to buy all of these products individually.

I’d hate for you to miss out, so click HERE to learn more or buy the bundle.

It’s even backed by a 100% happiness guarantee, so you can make sure it’s right for you.

Creating a home and life you love is not out of reach. And even though it seems impossible at times, homemaking is a skill you can learn!

Learn more or get your bundle HERE

(Psst… the bundle goes away at 11:59 pm Eastern on Monday, April 16th, so don’t wait!)

Ultimate Homemaking Bundle

Sale Ends

Your Secret Weapon In The Battle Against Mom Guilt

Find Out Your Secret Weapon To Building The Life Of Your Dreams


It’s time to wrap up this 7-Day blog post series about letting go of mom guilt to get what you want out of life.

We’ve covered a lot of ground already this week and you should be very proud of yourself for sticking around!

I’ll bet you surprise yourself with how much progress you make going forward using the techniques you learn with this series. Before you know it, you’ll start reaching your big lofty goals one by one, without those guilty feelings holding you back.

On this last post in the series on mom guilt, I want to leave you with some tips and advice that will help you as you continue your journey.

Before we dive in, I want to share a quick story about my daughter and her unshakable confidence.

Right after she turned 3, she got really into superheroes.

One of her favorite cartoons features young children who transform into superheroes at night when they should be in bed in their PJ’s!

She is totally convinced that she is now “Super Alyssa,” who is super strong, super fast, and super brave. If something derails her plans or gets in her way, she is quick to say “let’s try again!”

Just like the characters in her favorite show, she knows that her first try may not result in success and she may need to call in reinforcements.

But part of being a superhero is not giving up until the job is done.

And she has totally unshakeable confidence that if she keeps trying, she will eventually succeed.


Did you know that you have a superpower, too?

You sure do – Confidence.

I like to think of it as a secret weapon that helps you keep doubt and guilt at bay. And it is the key to your success in any area of your life.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Confidence is your very own superpower and it’s completely up to you to develop and nourish it so you can reach your full potential.  ” quote=”Confidence is your very own superpower and it’s completely up to you to develop and nourish it so you can reach your full potential.  “]

Starting to make progress toward your big lofty goals by taking the baby steps that we discussed a few days ago can be a great confidence builder.

Don’t be afraid to go back to taking baby steps any time that you feel like you’re losing confidence in yourself or you start stressing out about how big your goals are!

One of the reasons why I recommend starting with baby steps first is to give you something known as a “quick win.”

Even reaching a small milestone can do wonders for your confidence and help you push that guilt further out of your life.

Setting larger milestone goals is another great way to break your goal down into manageable tasks and to boost your confidence.

For example, if your goal is to lose a large amount of weight, break it down into 10-pound increments and focus all of your energy on reaching that next 10-pound loss.

Think about what choices you can make in the upcoming week that will help you lose 10 pounds.

Think about your choices on a daily basis, and ask yourself if it is moving you closer to your goal or further away?

Celebrate your small successes – it’s a great confidence booster! 

Tracking your overall progress is another great way to feel like you’re moving in the right direction.

Sometimes it’s hard to see how far you’ve come in the day to day activities of life.

Chart your progress on a calendar, a large graph hanging on your fridge, in a document on your computer, or even in an app on your phone.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Remember to look at how far you’ve come whenever you feel like giving up.” quote=”Remember to look at how far you’ve come whenever you feel like giving up.”]

It’s nice to have a visual reminder that what you’re doing is working and giving you the results you want and need.

Last but not least, find a cheerleader to encourage you along the way.

This could be a close friend or family member, or it could be a group of like-minded people with similar goals.

One of the awesome things about the internet is that you can find people with the same or similar interests in lots of groups and forums.

A Facebook group is a great place to connect, compare tips, ideas, and results, and of course celebrate successes and serve as a source of encouragement.

The most important thing is that you keep developing your superpower and use that confidence to craft the life you’ve always wanted.

Good luck and keep up the great work!