A Few Thoughts After What Happened In Las Vegas

Last week, our nation experienced a tragedy that shocked people around the world.  We are grieving the loss of fellow Americans and others that were visiting our nation.  I am having a difficult time holding back the tears while I write this.  My heart hurts.

The tragedy that took place was a harsh reminder that none of us really know when we will leave this world.  A reminder that it’s really important to focus on what matters most and living life to the fullest.

What comes to mind when you think of a life lived to the fullest?  I think that’s a really important question for all of us to ponder.  What do you really want in this life?

The lovely actress Sophia Loren was once quoted saying “I’d rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size zero.”  So simple, yet so profound.  To me that quote means she would rather live her life enjoying each day than be a slave to a scale or to a clothing size.  In other words, she is allowing herself to be free to LIVE.

When I was smaller than a size two I was criticized by photographers.  No matter how hard I exercised or restricted the food I ate, I still wasn’t perfect enough for them.  Constantly restricting myself to gain approval from others ended up being a prison and led me into depression.  When I decided  to stop caring about what others thought and shifted my focus to living a full life I got my joy back.

Allowing yourself to be free to live your life doesn’t mean that you stop exercising and eating well.  It simply means that you won’t restrict yourself in an attempt to manipulate your body into a size that it wasn’t naturally designed to be.  If your goal weight doesn’t allow you to enjoy the things you like in a way thats moderate and healthy, then you could end up being pretty miserable.  Or, in the worst case, you could harm your health.

Life is way too short to allow superficial things and ideas to control you and cause you to miss out on living life to the fullest.  Which is why I passionately recommend you design a life that is well balanced and brings you joy.  In other words, just be you.

When you allow yourself to “just be you” and live authentically, you are giving yourself permission to be free.  And with that freedom, comes peace.  Being at peace with who you are and what you are capable of at any give time, gives you the freedom to focus on the things that matter most and are most precious to you.

Make it a great week.  Spend quality time with the ones you love and doing the things you love.  Time and experiences are two things we can never get back so it’s good to invest our time wisely.

Shared with love,




Why It’s Good To Be Spontaneous Some Of The Time

Why It's Good To Be Spontaneous Some Of The Time

Let’s face it, playing in the grownup sandbox requires a certain amount of planning.  Being organized helps you maintain your responsibilities, accomplish your goals, and relieve stress in your life so it makes perfect sense to stick to a schedule.  However, living a life wrapped around a tightly planned scheduled with little room for flexibility can actually begin to steal your joy and cause stress in your life.

While organization has its place, so does being spontaneous when it comes to living a balanced life.  A little spontaneity in your life is good for your mind, body, and soul no matter what type of personality you have.  It’s really important for our health and well being that we all learn to go with the flow from time to time.

My husband and I recently moved back to the California Coast and the weather can change from day to day which means great weather can show up on a work day.  On the days that we have “beautiful weather” we do our best to pack a blanket and some wine and head over to the beach even if it’s only for an hour.  Sometimes these outings are planned, other times they are last-minute decisions.  When these moments are spontaneous, they can feel more adventurous and we come back feeling refreshed and less confined by our adult schedules.  I’ve noticed that by being adaptable in my personal life, it helps me to be more relaxed when it comes to more business-related issues.  You get really good at behaviors that you continue to practice.  🙂

Spontaneous moments can be as big or as small as you want them to be.  They can be as simple as taking a moment to have a cup of coffee at your favorite cafe, sitting outside on your balcony watching a sunset, making a nice cheese plate and having a glass wine alone or with others, or as grand as taking a last-minute vacation.  One of my favorite spontaneous moments at our house is when my husband suggests we go out to dinner after a long week.  It’s amazing how taking a break from cooking and stepping away from all of our responsibilities for just a few hours can be so refreshing.

Ways You Can Be Spontaneous

In today’s fast-paced world, it can be very difficult to be spontaneous so one of the things I like to recommend is planned spontaneity.  When you plan your spontaneity, you set aside time to do something like take a drive, go to the park, play with your kids, have an indoor picnic, ride your bike, take your dog for a walk on a different street, or eat out.  The spontaneous part is that not every little detail of whatever you decide to do is planned and there are no tight schedules.

It’s important to be responsible and to work toward your goals.  It’s also important to have fun and to be adventurous.  Some of the most precious memories you will create may end up being a result of moments when you were willing to be flexible and spontaneous.

Here’s to a fun, productive, and adventurous week!

Shared with love,


Eight Ways To Save Money on Your Groceries

Eight Ways To Save Money on Your Groceries by Jennifer Ledford

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Regardless of whether you’re shopping for one or feeding a whole family, you may be noticing that high quality groceries can be a bit costly.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that food is the third-largest household expense.  And for a family of four, the average monthly bill runs between $568 for the super frugal to $1,293 for those on a more liberal budget, according to the USDA.

Eating healthy is important but it shouldn’t cause financial stress in your life.  I personally believe that stress is just as bad for you as smoking.  The good news is that it is totally possible to eat well and still save money on your grocery bill.

Eight Ways To Save Money on Your Groceries

Here are eight of my own personal tips on how to save money on your groceries without compromising on quality.

Shop bargain stores first.  It can pay off big  to shop the discount grocery stores in your area. For years we were blessed to have a Trader Joe’s just minutes from our house which allowed us to eat really well without having to rent out a room in our house just to do it.  Now that we have moved, it’s not as easy for me to get to one.

After experiencing sticker shock at one of our local grocery stores, I decided I wanted to explore other options.  A friend recommended Grocery Outlet.  I have to admit I was avoiding this store because as a kid I remember something with a similar name that we had nicknamed the “dented can store.”  It seemed to be filled with dented cans of food that didn’t sell for a good reason. Since I trust my friend, I decided to give it a whirl. I was pleasantly surprised!  They have a variety of organic foods and high quality choices.  It turns out that the Grocery Outlet is a great place to shop first (it’s actually part of their advertising) and then you can hit up your supermarket to find the things on your list they weren’t able to fill.

Take a trip to the Farmer’s Market.  Buying locally sourced food in season is usually more affordable.  When going to the Farmer’s Market you may want to try what I call reverse meal planning.  Basically, you find the food that looks tasty and cost-effective and then do a search for recipes to help you cook it when you get home.

Do inventory and make a list.  Go through your pantry and refrigerator before making your grocery list.  Choose recipes that will use up food you already have on hand.  I find it helps to have a list I work on throughout the week.  I keep a list attached to the fridge that I can update when one of us notices we are out of something.  This method can save you time while meal planning, multiple trips to the store, and buying unnecessary duplicates.

Shop Imperfect Produce.  I love this concept! If you grew up in an area where people grew their own fruits and vegetables, you probably know that they don’t always look perfect when they are harvested.  Imperfect Produce is a company that sells the less than perfect fruits and veggies that grocery stores won’t accept and delivers them to your door for a cost savings of thirty to fifty percent.  Imperfect helps stop food waste by finding a home for ‘ugly’ produce. They source it directly from farms and deliver it to customers’ doors and offer subscription produce boxes that are affordable and customizable. By eating imperfect produce you’re helping build a more sustainable and effective food system while saving money.  Talk about a win-win!

Limit the extras.  Shopping once a week is a good way to avoid those tempting impulse buys.  I don’t recommend completely depriving yourself because that can contribute to binging. However, limiting  items in your cart  like desserts and sugary drinks can help lower the final bill at the checkout counter.

Take advantage of sales.  If possible, check for sales and design meals around the discounts. Buy extras of things you know you will use up or are able to freeze.  It may cost a bit more on the front end but will result in a yearly savings.

Invest in a soda machine.  Shaming people about their beverage choices seems to be commonplace on blogs these days and I refuse to do that here.  This is a safe place for EVERYONE.  With that being said, investing in a soda machine allows you to save on sparkling water and/or soda.  When you make your own soda you have more control over the ingredients while you are saving money.  We use our Soda Stream to make sparkling water and will add a splash of juice, a slice of lemon, or a squeeze of lime to make it a bit more interesting but most of the time, we just drink it plain.

Buy store brands.  Name brand isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.  Just recently, I was checking labels on some stewed tomatoes and the store brand ended up having better ingredients than the high-end name brand which was double the price.  You can save quite a bit by buying store brands especially when it comes to non-food items.

No matter what your budget allows, it’s always nice to save money and use it for other things like vacations, investing, college funds, or a nice meal in a restaurant.

Here’s to eating healthy without straining your bank account.

Shared with love,