DIY Photo Hoop: The Perfect Photo Prop for any Party

Photo props are huge right now! Between photobooths and backdrops, everyone is looking for that easy project to add a special something to their parties and get-togethers. I made this incredible photo hoop for my best friend’s baby shower a couple weeks ago and it went over really well. Not only was it beautiful, but it was cheap and easy to make!

DIY Photo Hoop

What you’ll need:

  • ribbon (I used 2″ gold glitter ribbon)
  • hula hoop
  • fake greenery and flowers
  • hot glue gun/glue sticks
  • fishing line (for when you hang it)

Instructions:

  • Glue the end of the ribbon onto the hoop and wrap the ribbon around it. I used two rolls of ribbon. If you run out of ribbon and there are a few inches of the hula hoop uncovered, don’t worry. This happened to me and I just made sure the flowers covered the bare spot so I wouldn’t have to buy more ribbon.

DIY Photo Hoop

  • Cut the stems off of your flowers so the blossoms can be glued down. You may also want to trim some leaves off to be used later if there are bare spots. Lay out your greenery and flowers to make sure you have a good idea of what you want.
  • Use your hot glue gun to glue down the greenery and flowers. Once everything is glued down, check to see if there are spots that could use more green and glue extra leaves in those spots.

DIY Photo Hoop

  • Once you are ready to hang it, tie fishing line to two different spots near the top of the hoop (think 10 and 2 on a clock) and tie the other ends of the fishing line to a tree branch or whatever it is you are using to hang your hoop.
  • Take beautiful pictures!

DIY Photo Hoop

Enjoy this easy prop and snap some beautiful memories. If you make your own photo hoop, tag me on Instagram in a picture of it (@ladybossnationblog) and I will re-gram it and give a shout out!

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Before and After: Losing 40 Pounds and Gaining So Much More

Before and after

Like so many women, I’ve struggled with my weight ever since I hit adulthood. I remember getting bigger my senior year and by the middle of my freshman year of college I had gained 45 pounds. I tried hard to take it off, with no success. From there I moved in with a friend in another city and only got bigger from there. I hit my highest weight at 195 and had never felt worse. I’m only 5’2, so at 195 I was nowhere near healthy.

Before weightlossMe (on the right) at highest weight- 195 lbs.

This led me into a very dark time. I was suddenly so aware of my body. I wore dumpy clothes because I thought I’d look ridiculous in something cute. I wouldn’t get intimate with any guy, because I was disgusted by myself and I knew they would be disgusted too. I held deep-rooted resentment towards my friends who, in the prime of our lives, were meeting guys and going on dates and never worrying about their bodies. All of this led to me being stuck in a sickening cycle of unhappiness.

Thankfully, I made the decision to move to another state which inadvertently led to me getting back in shape and loving myself again. My ability to love myself made it possible for a man to love me too, which is what happened when I moved back to Kansas and met the person I’m with now. And like so many relationships, we both gained weight over the first three years together. I was back where I started.

Summer- 2015
Before couple fitness
Summer- 2016
After couple fitness

In January 2016 we decided to do something about it and with the support of each other we went full speed. Mr. LBN lost 80 pounds and I lost 40!

Here is what I learned about the whole experience:

1. Don’t say no to strength training!

It really burns my butt that we grow up being told women should worry about cardio and stay away from the weights. Why oh why did I have to wait until I was 27 to learn how amazing strength training is?! Here is an example of what strength training can do… there was only a 5 pound loss between these two pictures. (Notice my shorts don’t look like undies in the second picture).

Progress picture

2. Don’t ignore all the diet rules you’ve heard your entire life.

There is a reason people tell us to eat breakfast and drink plenty of water everyday! It truly is important and really will make a difference in your transformation.

3. Don’t starve yourself.

I thought we all learned this in the sixth grade, but I still hear girls talk about it. You are only hurting your progress by starving yourself. It is not a myth that your body gets worried when you keep it from eating and then goes into fat-storing double time the next time you give it food. Starving yourself is only making it harder and who doesn’t want to eat?? That’s one of my greatest joys in life!!

Healthy food

4. Keep it simple and fun!

My diet consisted of salads and finger foods (fruit, veggies, cheese, meat, hard-boiled egg, etc). Every week I would cut up cheddar cheese and celery sticks, boil eggs, and bag up pepperonis, carrot sticks, and whatever else would be easy to throw in my lunch bag every morning. For dinner, I had salad. On the weekends, Mr. LBN and I would pick something new we had never tried and we’d cook together. We were eating great food and having fun at the same time. We never missed our old diet of fast food and whatever I felt like cooking that was in the cabinet.

Progress pic before and afterProgress pictures

5. Pick a plan or challenge to do with a partner

When I first started, the main reason my motivation didn’t fizzle out was because I found fitness challenges on Pinterest and did one at a time with a friend. It was helpful to have something with specific instructions, especially when I was still a gym newbie and didn’t know what exercises to do.
Love yourself

What did I gain from losing 40 pounds?

Everything.

I love myself. I’m proud of myself. I actually like to go shopping and try on clothes. My relationship has never been better. We have a deeper attraction to each other because we know how hard we worked together to get in shape. I have more self worth and confidence.

Am I trying to tell you that you can only have these things if you’re skinny? Definitely not. But everyone has their sweet spot and it took me losing weight and getting stronger to hit that spot.

What changes would you have to make in your life to gain the self confidence that you deserve? Or have you already hit your sweet spot? Tell me about it in the comments!

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50 Quick and Easy Ways to Practice Self Care for the Busy Woman

Life is wild. I get it. Your dishes are piled up, you’re behind on work, your kids are running circles around you like savages and your hair has been in a bun since 1997. How in the world is it possible to find the time and energy to focus on yourself and practice self care?

Self care ideas

I’ve put together 50 quick and easy additions to your life to always keep your happiest and healthiest self in check, even during your craziest days.

  1. Wake up early and enjoy the quiet
  2. Stretch for 15 minutes
  3. Drink hot water and lemon
  4. Plan your day
  5. Spend 20 minutes reading a book or magazine
  6. Cuddle with your children or pets
  7. Bake something
  8. Write in a journal
  9. Declutter a room
  10. Watch your favorite TV show
  11. Take a bath
  12. Go for a walk or sit outside
  13. Drink a yummy protein shake
  14. Start a new craft project
  15. Write a loved one a letter
  16. Watch videos of puppies and/or babies
  17. Do your make up for fun
  18. Meditate or practice healthy breathing
  19. Turn music on and dance or sing along
  20. Cook something you’ve never made before
  21. Get your camera out and take beautiful photos
  22. Practice an instrument
  23. Map out your goals and make a plan
  24. Go somewhere for a coffee
  25. Practice mindfulness
  26. Clean out your closet
  27. Call an out-of-town friend
  28. Check out a new blog
  29. Listen to your favorite album from start to finish
  30. Write a short story
  31. Read one of your favorite children’s books
  32. Pick up your favorite food for lunch
  33. Lay out in the sun and soak up some Vitamin D
  34. Go country-cruisin’
  35. Have a glass of wine or two
  36. Listen to an inspirational podcast episode
  37. Read one or two chapters of a book you’ve been meaning to read
  38. Practice yoga with your kids
  39. Take a selfie
  40. Pop a bottle of champagne with a bestie
  41. Go to the gym
  42. Write or doodle in a journal
  43. Try a new workout
  44. Use a face mask
  45. Be playful with your significant other
  46. Treat yourself to something you’ve had your eye on
  47. Fill out your planner for the week
  48. Find and watch an old movie or show you liked as a kid
  49. Take a long bath
  50. Remind yourself of your worth with affirmations

We all know how important self care is, but most of us think we don’t have the time for it. All of these ideas can be done in 15 minutes or less (and most of them in under 5!).Self care ideas

Practice self careIf you think the mom life has you too busy, just think of how beneficial it could be for you AND your kids to practice self care strategies together. You will set them up with healthy habits for the rest of their life. If work is getting in the way of your routine, just remember how much more productive you could be by practicing self care every day.

It’s time you make yourself a priority. Let me know in the comments what things you incorporate into your day to stay happy and healthy.

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What is an Instagram Pod and why is it Important?

Whether you’ve been working online for years or you’re just starting out, we all know one thing: Social Media is so incredibly important. One great way to gain an online presence is Instagram and my main piece of advice I have for starting out is to join an Instagram Pod.

Instagram pod

What is an Instagram pod?

A pod is essentially a group message with multiple other people who are also looking to grow their online presence. When anyone in the group posts to the platform, they send that post to the pod so everyone can go and engage with it.

Why do we need pods?

Instagram, like most other networking sites, has algorithms. This means that you can’t just make it to the top by spamming everyone’s feed. One important skill to have when building your brand is staying up to date with algorithms so you can more easily be found. The most efficient way to gain traffic on IG is to consistently have people comment on your posts. This shows the app that your content is important and well-received.

How can you make the most of your comments?

There are a few tips to make the most of your pod’s efficiency:

  • Comments should be at least four words.
  • Emojis are fine, but they do not count as a word
  • Show intention by commenting about the image (this comes off as personal instead of “spammy”)
  • Tag the person in your comment (@example) for an even more personal touch

How can you start or join an Instagram pod?

Reach out on platforms where there are other people who share your business or niche. For example, I belong to a couple blogging groups on Facebook. I reached out on one of them, explaining my niche and that I wanted to start a comment pod and instantly, I had 30 women on board. Instagram group messages only allow 16 people, so right there I had two pods of supportive women who all belonged to my niche and needed more Instagram traffic.

How can you be a good pod-mate?

Limit your sharing. If you only post to Instagram once or twice a day then go ahead and send those to your pod, but if you post 10 times a day, be considerate by just sharing 2 or 3 of those with your pod. It’s hard enough keeping up with your online business, so don’t expect your pod to take the time to comment on 10 of your posts a day. Getting the exposure on a few photos a day will help a bunch anyway!

Most importantly, keep up with everyone else’s posts and show your support by engaging with them. We’re all working toward the same goal so be the person who lifts others up. It’s true what they say: you get what you give!

That’s my advice on having an efficient Instagram pod! I hope it helps. Share your successes in the comment section below!

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A Lady Boss Guide to Celebrating your Friends

Every #girlboss knows by now that your lady friendships are some of the most important relationships you’ll ever have. Keep reading for ideas on how to celebrate your squad the way they deserve!

Celebrate your friends

I went through a phase in my twenties that many of us go through: the Friendless Phase. As much as I wanted nourishing lady friendships, it was just that time in our lives where the girls were falling into routines with work, getting into serious relationships, maybe even buying houses or having children. I dragged my feet through until finally the clouds broke and sunshine spilled in, warming up my pathetic little friend-less life!

We finally had reached the age where we were settled into our homes with significant others and at a good place in our jobs and ready to hire  a babysitter which meant we had the time and the freedom to give our lady friends the face-time they deserved all along!

Now, my friend-life is thriving. My squad keeps growing as more and more women notice their need to have the love and support of other women. I quickly realized how grateful I was for my awesome friends and I wanted to find ways to show them just how grateful I am.

Here’s a list of ideas for celebrating your friends to show them just how much you appreciate them:

Throw them a party!

Last year I threw my first annual Lady Squad Dinner Party. I love cooking so I had a blast making a meal plan and cooking so many things I had never tried before. I planned out 5 simple courses that seemed fancy, but were really pretty easy. The ladies were impressed and felt so special and I had a full heart from a night of serving and celebrating them.

Surprise them with a gift!

I have always been a big gift-giver. I don’t wait until birthdays or Christmas. If I see something and instantly think of you, you can bet your ass I’m getting it, wrapping it up with shiny paper and surprising you the very next time I see you! This doesn’t have to be an expensive ritual. Got a free Sunday? Knit a hat or draw a special picture and wrap it up for a friend. Think of how it makes you feel to receive any kind of surprise and let that inspire you to make your friends feel that way as often as possible!

Make one-on-one plans frequently!

Group outings are so fun. We all know that! But what I’ve learned from a year of my squad growing bigger and bigger is that you can’t stay completely in tune with your friends’ lives if you only hang out in a group. My whole squad meets every Sunday morning for coffee at our spot, so I get plenty of face time with them. That’s why I make sure to plan one-on-one time with each of my friends from time to time. I’ll invite one of them shopping or to brunch or even just to the dog park or a movie night at my house and make sure each of them know that I’m keeping them specifically in my thoughts.

Appreciate Your Friends

Follow this guide to always make your friends feel special! How do you celebrate your squad? Let me know in the comments.

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Let Go of Doubt to find your Creative Self

Creative

I’ve always been the creative type. Just ask my mom. She has stories of me spending hours painting only to bother her for clean brush water every once in awhile. This didn’t go away with age. I’ve tried so many types of creative outlets, loved almost all of them, stuck with almost none of them (but they sure were fun to try!)

The reason some creatives lose that passion as they get older is because of one little bitch of a word: doubt. I remember so many times that I’ve stared at a piece of paper just wishing I could put my pencil down and start drawing something, but doubt stopped me dead in my tracks.

Courage quotes

Why do we let self doubt control what we create? Doubt is the voice in the back of your head saying “if you don’t try then you can’t fail.” This is why my pencil often stays in one place, leaving me with a blank piece of paper and no creative relief.

Creativity is not only limited to artistic projects, so it is possible that self doubt is keeping you from starting the business, writing the book, submitting your guest post. If you think this might be you, then try this with me:

Pick one task or project right now that you are having trouble starting. Now rip off your band-aid of self doubt and just say to yourself “there is no reason I should be afraid of failing at this.” Step three? See what happens.

Courage quotes

If you can push past your doubt and let your creativity flow with confidence, you will be one step closer to letting go of self doubt altogether. Every tiny accomplishment will make you realize more and more how “failing” is only a construct created by you.

Don’t stare at your piece of paper without moving the pencil. Don’t think. Just have faith in yourself that you can accomplish exactly what you’ve planned all along.

Go for it

For a daily reminder of what you are capable of, save the free graphics above to your phone to use as a wallpaper and remind yourself everyday that you’re a badass!

Free phone wallpaper

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Mommy Bloggers give their Advice on What to Expect for your First Week with Baby

I am not a mom and I don’t have plans to be one, but that doesn’t mean I don’t find motherhood one of the most admirable things you can choose for yourself. If you’re pregnant for the first time you might be freaking out about what to expect. That’s why I reached out to six different mommy bloggers to get their advice on how to mentally and physically prepare yourself for your first couple weeks after baby comes!

Advice for new moms

Postnatal Exercise & Breastfeeding Advice
Shannon Sawicki from Venus Fitness

The first few weeks at home with your new baby can be very challenging. The physical recovery from giving birth, along with sleep deprivation, can make you feel like you might lose your mind. Plus, it’s hard on your fragile and developing maternal self-esteem. As a personal trainer and recent new mother here are a few tips to physically prepare for your new role:

Do your Pre and Post-natal Exercises. “Yeah, right” is what you’re probably thinking, but TRUST me! Between the stress of carrying your baby for nine months, labour, and a future of carrying a baby that is only going to get heavier, your core and back will benefit from these:

  • Bridge Pose
  • Dromedary Droop (or cat/cow pose)
  • Pelvic Tilts
  • Leg lifts

Before starting back up with these postnatal, it’s important to check with your Doctor first. Once you have the OK, and feel up to it, try incorporating them with your baby.

Breast feeding. You would think this would come naturally, but it often doesn’t. That is why there are support groups and books dedicated to this subject alone. If you choose to breastfeed, I suggest getting a nipple guard. This will help in those first few weeks when you are both learning. My baby happened to have a tongue-tie which prevented him from being able to properly latch. The nipple guard protected me from a lot of discomfort and potential infection. Bottom-line, if you are having difficulties breastfeeding talk to your doctor or seek out the help of a lactation consultation. Above all, remember that FED is best.

You can find more on motherhood and fitness at Shannon’s website, www.venusfitness.ca or e-mail her at Info@venusfitnessandlifestyle.com!

The importance of self-care at a selfless time in your life.
Andrea Rhodes from Selfies to Selfless

You are in the thick of it, new Millennial moms. Sleep deprived and haggard, there are days you wonder how the hell you got here. And it’s at this point that you’ll want – no, need – to get some balance back. You are at a critical point where you recognize your priorities have changed, but that you need to get some of your groove back. But how to begin that journey back to YOU?

For starters, you will have to do something that will feel so incredibly counterintuitive post-baby. You’ll have to be selfish. As a mom, you are hardwired to be selfless. Your kid(s) come first. Your family comes first. But at this critical juncture, YOU need to come first.

You will have to remember what made you happy before kids and then commit to figure out a way to do those things again. Maybe it’s wandering aimlessly through Target for an hour or meeting friends for a drink. Go to a movie and have a date night with your husband. Don’t be so quick to say no to an invite knowing you have a good excuse you could fall back on. If you can make it work, make it work.

Those short bursts of time away from your kids will reenergize you both mentally and physically. You’ll be at your best when you are back at home. A little less on edge, a little more willing to put up with the shenanigans your kids pull on you. And most importantly, you’ll start to see how you can be a mom without JUST being mom.

Andrea Rhoades is the creator of Selfies to Selfless, a parenting blog for Millennials. She is passionate about exploring the unique challenges the newest generation of parents face. Follow her as she reveals the hopes and dreams, fears and failures of Millennial parents. Follow Selfies to Selfless on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

Unexpected stays in the NICU
Vanessa Sze from Simple Lists Simple Life

Everything was normal in my pregnancy, until my daughter was being delivered. Due to a precaution, my daughter was sent to the NICU to spend her first week of life. It was not at all something I expected, but here are some tips to get you through a short stay in the NICU:

  • Your emotions are going to be everywhere! You just had a baby, but realize that the feelings your feeling about your baby being sent to the NICU are valid! Don’t feel guilty!
  • Buy a parking pass for the hospital. You will be visiting a lot!
  • Clean your phone before you enter the NICU EVERY time! Phones are filled with germs and you will want to take photos of your precious little one! Clean it!
  • It’s helpful to have someone available to watch your other child/ren, if you have any, or arrange a schedule between yourself and your partner to spend time at the NICU.
  • Take advantage of the Ronald McDonald house/room.
  • If you plan to breastfeed, pump every 3 hours that you are not with your baby. Also, pump after feeding your baby at the hospital. Use the pumps there! They can provide you with the pump, just bring the attachments. (In my hospital stays, the lactation consultant brought me attachments to use while in the hospital)
  • Bring a bottle for the NICU nurses to use to feed your baby. That way the baby will get used to the nipple.
  • Your baby, most likely, will get hooked on the pacifiers that only hospitals get. Ask for an extra one at discharge!
  • Trust the doctors, but ask questions! Make sure someone is there at the time the doctors do their rounds. Write down any questions you may want to ask as you think of them so you know what to ask!
  • There are going to be so many alarms going off, but don’t worry. Most likely, a cord is kinked!

You can read more in-depth details about these tips by Vanessa at her website, Simple Lists Simple Life.

Advice on how the partner can be helpful after baby comes
Meghna Dixit from Love, Life, and the Little One

Baby shoes photo

There are plenty of articles and tips on the Internet for postpartum recovery and care, but having been there and done that, I would like to blog about, what we, the new moms in our postpartum stage, want & expect from our husband / partner.

Here’s my list:

  • Hold the baggage : Literally & Figuratively. We are holding the baby almost all the time, feeding them, sleeping with them, bonding with them. All the other items like baby bag, our water bottle, extra shawl & sweater & any other weight that’s weighing us down emotionally and physically, we want our partner to hold & support. It’s not easy being stitched up at places, and walking straight as it is!
  • Take care of the visitors : With the baby comes the admirers of the baby, the family, the extended family, friends, colleagues & well wishers. We are anyway sleep deprived momzies, battling our inner and outer pain coupled with sudden burst of love that our heart can barely contain with the heaviness of the onset of depression. Please entertain the guests, please keep them away when we are sleeping and please only let the good-bye helpful – positive ones in..
  • Talk & Reassure us: Yes, you will be amazed by the little one who has arrived in your life. Yes, the focus will move on every twitch of the baby’s nose and the wrinkle on that little palm, and the pout & cry.. Yet, we need you too. Talk to us. Hear us out. Reassure us that the baby is amazing and so are we as a brand new mom.
  • Love without expecting sex: Hugs, cuddles, massages & kisses. Yes, a new mom wants it whether she knows it herself or not. Give her the love freely. Give her your attention and affection but don’t push her for sex. Let that be her choice at her discretion when she feels like it. She is a mother, but you can be her husband, her friend, her caretaker and partner in the journey ahead.

Parenting is a team sport. So, the partners need to be at sync with each other, holding on to each other’s strength to bridge the weaknesses.

This is only a very small snippet of the full list which you can find here! Meghna is a blogger at Love, Life, and the Little One. You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook!

Advice on dealing with Post-Partum Depression
Yvette Putter from The Mommy Confessionals

The term Post Partum is often discussed and mentioned and written about, but the honest truth about it is, that no amount of reading or talking about it beforehand can prepare you fully for it. It sneaks up on you and it comes when you least expect it, a time of immense joy.

I’ve been there. I’ve been the mom who couldn’t see just how badly she was hurting. The mom of a newborn that she loved so much, yet, who couldn’t explain her own feelings and thoughts most of the day because it just wasn’t rational.

When it comes to Post Partum Depression, what I think I want other moms to know, is that it CAN be you. You might not think so now, but it’s true. PPD can hit anyone.

The second thing I want new parents to know, is that while the mom is suffering from PPD, she most likely won’t realize it. She might not want to admit it. She might say you are crazy and stinky and not worthy of her and her newborn child for even suggesting such foolishness.

But, if YOU as a spouse or friend recognize the signs, then do something about it.

Even if the mom thinks you’re the crazy one. Find ways to help her. Find ways to make life easier. Find ways to give her time away from the house and the baby. Find ways to make her feel connected to who she was before she was a mom. Find ways to support her in getting sleep. Find ways to support her in eating healthily. Find ways to be there for her. Don’t ignore signs. Don’t accept her telling you that she is fine.

You can find more from the amazing Yvette at her website, The Mommy Confessionals.

What to expect when you’re adopting
Meghan Liddy from Lemons, Limes & Laughter

Unlike biological parenting, adoptive parenting doesn’t start at the beginning. For some, you jump in quickly. Many like me jump in months and even years later down the road. Adoption begins with loss and that loss is so important to acknowledge. Sometimes the emotional realization for adoptees happens in childhood and for others, it happens later in life.

When bringing a child home via adoption or fostering it is so important to erase expectations. Adoption is complex and nuanced and so from the day a child enters your home, your journey of complexity begins. For those bringing home older children, it is my experience best to cancel everything if possible. School, work, outside activities to give you and your new child(ren) time to transition and giving you time to adjust to parenting.

Find your resources: adoption groups, books, articles on trauma and adoptive parenting are so necessary. But most of all find resources where adoptees voices are centered. It gives you direct insight into your child’s potential thought process, emotional journey, and perspective.

In those first weeks, you might find yourself overwhelmed with the emotional complexities. Have someone that you can trust with every thought whether a spouse, pastor or therapist that can help you sort through your own emotions. For my own journey, a counselor helped me process and walk through different emotions while transitioning from a life of singleness to a life filled with two little ones underfoot. Often the narrative of adoption seems like unicorns and rainbows. It’s not and its ok to have real human emotions and to be honest but leave your child’s story with them. It’s the most sacred part of their journey.

It’s ok to have extra screen time, to not always be the perfect parent, to eat a few frozen dinners and to stress eat a few snickers. Like a post-partum mom, you are also undergoing an entirely different emotional and hormonal journey. The comparison is a dangerous game.

Let people take care of you but don’t let them take care of your child. Attachment is so important in those first months. It’s ok to let others pick up pieces for yourself. Let the meals on wheels come, let someone else write that email or send that update. You just focus on attaching and bonding with your child.

You can read more awesome content from Meghan Liddy at her website, Lemons, Limes & Laughter. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter to stay updated on her amazing adventure with adoption and other great advice.

Maternity photo

I hope this advice helps all of you new moms out there to quell your fears. Of course, you won’t know what to expect until baby comes, but we are all cheering you on! The most important thing to remember is that You Got This!

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Pomodoro Technique: Try this for Optimum Productivity without Getting Burned Out

As the boss of my own life, things can feel pretty electric. I have constant idea-flow and brainstorms that can make it hard to focus on what I’m doing. This can create a big struggle when it comes to productivity. Throw in a strong belief in self care and an affinity for all things distracting and sometimes I find myself spiraling out of control, grasping at any tiny task that might make me feel productive at the end of the day.

Pomodoro Technique

I recently heard about the Pomodoro technique and after giving it a try, I’m finding this might’ve been exactly what I needed.

The Pomodoro technique was created by Francesco Cirillo in the late 80’s. The basic idea is to use a timer to break up your workload in precise amounts that will optimize your productivity. Everyone works differently and this technique can easily be adapted and played around with until you find exactly what’s right for you.

I heard about the Pomodoro technique from a friend who found his “magic numbers” to be 43 minutes of work and 17 minutes of non-work. This seems silly, but he explained it perfectly. Why do stores always charge $24.99 instead of $25? Because whether you realize it or not, your brain is being tricked when it sees the “24.” My friends Pomodoro breakcdown does the same thing.

45 minutes is a common amount of time. Cutting it short, even by 2 minutes, will trick your brain into feeling like it won’t be so dreadfully long. The same thing happens with 17 minutes of rest. We all know how long 15 minutes feels, but any number after 15 make trick you into thinking you have plenty of time!

Of course, we are rational people and we know 2 minutes won’t actually make a difference with your time, but it will make a difference with your attitude. If your work-time is 45 minutes, you might be distracted by wishing it would be over sooner. If 43 minutes tricks your brain into thinking “that’s not so bad” then you can work without the nagging feeling in the back of your head saying “oh my gooooood, when will it ennnnnnnd??”

I’ve been using this technique for a couple weeks now and it hasn’t failed me yet. 43 minutes is enough for me to finish an article or make a few blog graphics or do some social media work and 17 minutes gives me just enough time to rest my brain so that when my timer goes off I can get right back into working mode with ease.

Here’s a pretty awesome timer with a great design to help you with the Pomodoro technique if you want a little style to go with your productivity!

I’d love to hear from you on your favorite tips and tricks to staying productive! Leave it in a comment below or e-mail me at ladybossblog@gmail.com and your advice might be featured at LBN for all to see!

Thanks for stopping by!

Pomodoro technique

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How to get Out of a Rut when your Friends are on Fire

Are you young enough to not have your shit together, but old enough to wish you did? You might be in a rut. Keep reading for my advice on how to feel good about it.

Get out of a rut

If you’re in your 20s then you’ve probably hit (or are about to hit) the point where it seems everyone around you is doing all the things you want to be doing. Your Facebook newsfeed is an endless scroll of pregnancy announcements, engagement photos, or friends bitching about jobs that seem to be 100x better than yours. I reached this stage of my life last year and while it wasn’t easy and my optimism might’ve gone into hiding for a bit, I did learn some things.

Shine Theory

Shine theory

This is a big one! Shine Theory is an idea created by the two incredible lady bosses behind the podcast Call Your Girlfriend. In short, it means that your friends’ and other women’s accomplishments are YOUR accomplishments. If you can let go of your own insecurities and feel truly happy for your friends, you can get yourself out of your rut and keep moving towards your own amazing goals.

Embrace your Envy

Envy is an awful feeling. You know what feels worse? The combination of envy and guilt. Don’t get down on yourself for being envious of your friends’ accomplishments. Its natural and its practically impossible to control. What you can do is reflect on those hard feelings. Get to the root of it. Are you really angry that your best friend got promoted? Of course not! Most likely, you’re hurt because you didn’t. The more you reflect on these feelings, the easier it will be to congratulate them and focus on your own goals.

Enjoy the Ride

Path to success

I’ve known too many women who want to rush through everything. Yes, I want to have a successful blog. Yes, I want to open an online store and do freelance photography and publish a book. Yes, I have an embarrassing amount of pins saved to my “future wedding” board on Pinterest. This doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the process. If you reach a big step and immediately start dreaming about the next one, you’re not enjoying every rung of the ladder.

I’ve been there, guys. Feeling like everyone is rushing past you in life can be alienating and defeating. I hope this advice will help you get unstuck. Hard feelings will only make a harder journey. Push past and reach your goals!

 

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Sugar Cookies to make your Monday Awesome

Looking for a way to brighten your Monday? I made these adorable sugar cookies and they did the trick!

Happy Monday Sugar Cookies

I used this recipe from Mirlandra’s Kitchen (Bonus: You don’t have to chill the dough!) for the cookies and they were delicious.

For the adorable “Happy Monday” stamp I used this amazing alphabet cookie stamp set. You can line up the letters to make it say whatever you’d like. Just stamp it right on the cookie before baking!

Once they were cool I half-dipped them in melted white chocolate and added gold and pearl sprinkles to make them even more adorable than they already were.

I brought these to work and made everyone’s Monday morning much better than expected. We could all use a little pick-me-up every once in awhile, right?

Happy Monday Sugar Cookies

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