How To Have Less Stress And More Fun This Holiday Season


Less Stress And More Fun This Holiday Season

Photo is of our dog Hoppy and courtesy of Happy Tails in Montara.  It was taken after Hoppy’s grooming appointment! 


The holiday season is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year.  However, with parties to attend, gifts to buy, and a longer than normal to do list, the real meaning of this season can sometimes get lost.

Fortunately, there are no rules when it comes to celebrating the holiday season.  You get to decide how much you want to commit to.  Just like your fitness program, how you decide to spend the holiday season is totally up to you.

Here are seven helpful tips to help you enjoy a fun, meaningful, and stress-free holiday season.

1. Plan Ahead.

One of the best ways to avoid stress during the holidays is to  plan ahead. Take a moment to”mind dump” and list everything that is on your plate, such as gift shopping, Christmas parties and recipes to make. When you’re done, schedule important dates on your calendar  to make sure you remember your special events. Mental notes are a great place to start, however getting them all down on paper will give you a chance to prioritize what’s most important to you.

2. Don’t try to go at it alone.

Ask for help.  Allow each member of the family or your friends to pitch in. Need help cooking? Maybe your partner can help you out. If you don’t like wrapping presents, find someone in your family who sees it as therapeutic instead of overwhelming.  I’m more of a savory cook than a baker, so making sweets is out of my comfort zone.  However, my Uncle Paul loves to bake pies so we let him take care of dessert.

3. It’s OK to Say ‘No.’

Over-committing and over-scheduling can happen more often during the holiday season. It can be hard to say ‘no,’ because you don’t want to miss out on all of the fun or may feel obligated to say yes. However, over scheduling can lead to anxiety and stress. Remember that it’s OK to say ‘no.’ People will understand that this is a busy time of the year and you can’t do it all.

4. Prioritize Time To take care of yourself.

Just because the holiday season is all about giving, it doesn’t mean you should let your own needs fall to the side. Make sure to schedule time for yourself to do the things that help you to recharge.  For me, the daily hike with our dogs is exercise and therapy so I make sure that I set aside time each day to take them out.

5.  Set a Budget.

While you probably won’t see those holiday credit card statements until January, you may still feel the stress while checking out at the register.  Spending more money than your budget allows can make you feel less like Santa and more like the Grinch.  Remember that it’s the thought that counts.  Most people care more that you remembered them than they do about receiving a pricey gift.  A heartfelt note or handmade gift can leave a lasting impression on someone’s heart.


6. Focus on What’s Important.

One of the biggest causes of stress over the holidays is the desire to create the “picture perfect” setting. Remember that it is OK if things don’t go according to the plan. Don’t worry about the burnt cookies or that little disagreement between two of your relatives. Let go of expectations and focus on  the reason for the season.

7.  Be flexible.

It’s important to plan, however I recommend allowing yourself the flexibility to be spontaneous and savor precious moments.  The holidays are supposed to be enjoyed so give yourself permission to take advantage of last minute outings, ideas, or visits that can lead to forever memories.

May your holiday season be filled with many blessings!

Shared with love,



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,




Tips To Help Keep Your Pets Happy And Healthy

Jennifer Ledford - Trupanion Pet Insurance - Affiliate - Love my pets!

Last month, our little Shih Tzu Russell decided to eat a hair scrunchi that had dropped onto the floor.  Being the resourceful dog mom that I am, I was using the scrunchi to keep our Standard Poodle’s ears back while she eats.  I was out in the backyard scooping poop because that’s the glamorous life I lead and she shook it off.  Russell must have confused it with something worth eating and gobbled it right up.  After Russell spent two days in the hospital, we decided to invest in a “snood” to hold our poodle’s ears back to solve the problem.

Dogs are interesting creatures.  Some of them are extremely finicky and others are what I refer to as “cleaners” or “sidewalk snackers.”  We have three dogs.  Greta, our chihuahua mix, is extremely cautious and I rarely have to worry about her getting into anything.  Hoppy, our Standard Poodle, is somewhere in between and then there’s little Russell.  Thank goodness for our awesome pet insurance through Trupanion.

Because I have a dog that can get into things that are potentially harmful to him, I “dog proof” our house to keep him and the others safe. Even if your dog is pretty good about what he or she decides to munch on, I still recommend keeping potential hazards away from your pooch.

Here are a few pet safety tips courtesy of our pet insurance company Trupanion to help keep your fur babies happy and healthy:

  • Keep cleaners and chemicals well out of reach.  Allow any cleaners to air out and dry before you let your dog or cat sniff around. Trupanion has seen several claims for pets who have ingested everything from Mr. Clean to Fantastic All Purpose Heavy Duty Cleaner. Choosing natural cleaning substances are safer options for your pet as well as the humans. You can make a highly effective all-purpose cleaner using half a cup of white vinegar and water and baking soda can be a safe way to absorb unpleasant smells.
  • Plant a pet-safe garden. Choose safe plants for your dog or cat when working in the garden or bringing plants into your home this spring.  Herbs, vegetables—except for onions, chives, leeks and garlic— daises, roses, and violets are all great options that your pet can get into without concern. Take care with certain fertilizers, insecticides, and herbicides. They can be dangerous for your curious dog or cat.
  • Prevent pesky pests from infesting your pet. Fleas, ticks, and worms become especially prevalent as temperatures rise. Talk to your veterinarian about parasite preventatives for your pet, which may vary depending on where you live.


Lilies and household cleaners are abundant in the spring—and toxic for our pets. Below you’ll find Trupanion’s  infographic on common household toxins for cats and dogs and they’ve included tips from their veterinarians on how to keep your pet safe.

  • Keep emergency contact information readily accessible including your veterinarian’s phone number and directions to your local 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital. You never want to be caught off guard.
  • Prepare a pet first aid kit with any supplies you may need in case of an emergency. Make sure you include emergency contact information in the first aid kit as well.
  • Familiarize yourself with pet poisons and keep them out of reach of your pets. If you believe your pet has ingested a poison, do not wait for signs to develop — take your pet immediately to the veterinarian. If you can, quickly gather information on what was ingested and how much your pet was exposed to.
  • Consult your veterinarian to determine the best plan for you and your pet. Do not try to treat them with home remedies unless instructed by a veterinarian or expert.

Jennifer Ledford - Trupanion - Affiliate - Common Pet Poisons Found In Your Home - Love my pets!

It’s easy to take great care of your pets when you have the right information.

Herre’s to happy pets and happy humans!

Shared with love,

Quick disclaimer:  I’m proud to announce that I have partnered with Trupanion as an affiliate.  I only promote companies that I believe are the very best at what they do and that their product could benefit you.  Trupanion has helped us pay thousands of dollars toward our vet bills and has given us the ability to provide the very best veterinary care for our beloved animals.