24/7 Care for a 24/7 Town

I’m so privileged to be able to write for Las Vegas Woman Magazine. I absolutely love their team, and what their magazine stands for.

Here is a recent article I wrote regarding something I think every one should know about.

LV Woman

Written By: Meghan Bailey

All too often, many people live with a lingering symptom, whether it is a cough that has lasted too long or a rash that won’t go away. You know that you should have it checked by a medical professional, but the thought of taking a day off of work, waiting in an office watching Netflix—only to be called in at a pivotal moment in the show—sounds terrible enough to stick it out, but sticking it out could cause a long-term problem. That cough could turn into phenomena; that rash could be a sign of a serious issue. But what immediate options do you have besides going to the emergency room? That option is (Read More)

Party Foods That Make The Littles Feel Grown Up!

cheese-plate

Parties these days include more littles than they used too, and with that comes new challenges — the menu. I always put out what I like to call a wine board (only because I don’t know the fancy name for it), but the kids that come to our party don’t care for cold meats, jelly, “hard bread,” or olives. They do however want to feel like they are just as cool as the grown ups. This was when I started to create kids boards. I bought a beautiful large wooden cutting board with brushed nickel handles so the kids could carry it easier for refills, and there are refills.

My go-to combo:
Grapes
Cheddar Cheese
Ritz Chips
Baby Carrots
Mozzarella Balls
Blueberries
Milano Cookies (because they look grown up)

Since juice boxed are for “babies,” I find myself pouring their honest juices into a plastic champagne glass and dropping a couple of pieces of fruit in them. I’ve found the littles try to act older during cocktail hour. Then off they go with a snack box and water cups to the play room, but for those brief thirty minutes, they feel like they are a part of the “old” crowd.

What do you do to included the littles at grown up parties?

How Minimalism Helped Me Travel More

minimalist-travel

I’ve officially been living a minimalist lifestyle now for eighteen months, and I’ll never go back to a world of frivolous consumerism, jonesing, or spending. One of the best parts about minimalism is my freedom to travel when I want, and the income that was there along but allocated to all the wrong places.

Last year, I traveled somewhere 10 out of the 12 months, all without a single penny of debt. I also didn’t stay in hostels, eat fast food (all the time), or skimp of fun outings at each location. It’s easier than you think, the steps I took didn’t happen overnight, in fact, it took about six months to start on my wanderlust path. It’s only getting better as the months roll on.

The first thing I did was put an end to all frivolous shopping. The tempting small trinkets by the register, the “on-sale” shirt that I didn’t need, or the one day only sales. Think about this, if you save 40%, you still spent money, and I bet you didn’t even need what you bought. Our minds are so conditioned to consume and hoard.

The second thing I did was continue to look into my receipts and spending habits for a couple of months. Remember this article? I took my advice and kept at my bank statement. What did I need, what was just mindless? Once I had a good handle on it, I was able to understand how money affected me on a daily basis.

The third thing I did was to take on a couple of side projects here and there. I’m by no means a moonlighter like I used to be when I coached gymnastics, but I still have some talents that can bring in a little extra income. It isn’t much, but over a few months it adds up. I would also offer my talents as a gift vs. buying a gift. When my friends would have parties, I’d offer to photograph them as a gift (that saved on wine, kids birthday gifts, etc.), or if I had friends who needed any graphic work, I’d help with that in return for a couple of bottles of wine (score). You have to have a village mentality and work with what you’ve got.

The fourth thing I did was to download the Hotels Tonight app and sign up for Airfare Watchdog. Can’t tell you how much I’ve saved using these two services, and I’m sure I haven’t even begun to tap into amazingness. The Hotels Tonight app found us a hotel in New York City that was original $500 a night, and I paid $148 a night. My whole stay was less than one average nights stay.

Lastly, the fifth thing that I did was to be present when I traveled. One thing that you can do is turn 180 and start over analyzing everything. When I traveled I felt at ease knowing that I did everything I could to minimize the cost, pack lightly, and then I enjoyed the fruits of my mindful labor.

My favorite component of minimalism is the financial and clutter free feeling I’ve gained. But, again, I live a different kind of minimalism.

Sell Outs

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When I started blogging six years ago there were not as many bloggers are there are today, nor was there this constant and looming expectation to capture more followers than the next person so you can start monetizing your blog. We shared our voice; we posted our style, we cheered on each other.

Then the offers started to roll in. You’d see a few C/O (care of) posts, sponsored by but “these words are my posts”, and then your lifestyle icons start peddling St. Ives when you clearly knew she is a Suave girl. You want to feel wanted too, so you start trying to give “free” sponsored postings to showcase to potential brands that you too can sell their product. But, for you, it doesn’t happen, and now you think your favorite bloggers, some of who you may have made e-friendships with have become sell-outs.

This is where I am going to stop you. Because I have seen too many blog posts from women who are bashing other women because they monetized their blog. I’ve never collected a penny, so clearly being on the side of not feeling wanted by the brand community too, here are my thoughts.

Blogging is simple to break down; it’s a form of expression. Do you know hat else is a form of expression? Painting, photography, crafting, jewelry making, and knitting? These artists get the short end of the stick because a larger corporation can make it cheaper. How many times have you stood behind these types of creators telling people that they are worth their cost, that their craft is worth the extra couple of dollars? For me, a lot. So if you are putting an argumentative foot forward to protect artists, why are you secretly bashing a blogger collecting monetary perks for their art?

To be blunt, monetizing might not be in your cards, and if that is why you blog then you need to reconsider. I started mine to share my struggle to find out who I am or who I am supposed to be. Just because I haven’t had sponsored posts or made money from my blog doesn’t mean that my words or story isn’t important. You don’t get mad at actors, actresses, painters, musicians, etc. for making money. That is their calling, and sometimes people’s callings don’t match up.

And lastly, let’s get real. If a man started a blog about auto, tech, or fishing, began showcasing ads, sponsored posts, etc., many would say “Wow, he’s got a great eye for business.” Did you just have a light bulb moment? Women have to stop belittling other women.

Stop comparing. Support Others. Be a Good Person.

Creamy Fruit Oatmeal, Best Way To Start The Day

oatmeal

Confession, eating breakfast before 9 am makes me queasy. Apparently, because I have been diagnosed with mild acid reflux, the acid that sits in my stomach each night gets irritated if I eat before it settles. I think this is why brunching was invented. While I may have this dainty tummy, I also have fitness goals that have breakfast as a key component and it’s hard to workout in the early AM without a little fuel. Enter oatmeal gods gift to my tummy. But, if you eat oatmeal you know it can get boring fast. But, stop, it doesn’t have to be that way. Eating it at least four times a week (and NOT the one packet microwavable kind, what is that stuff anyways?). I’ve become quite the oatmeal connoisseur.

You can do a lot with oatmeal believe it or not, and here is my favorite recipe. If you have an oatmeal recipe I want to hear it, because I’m always looking for some healthy deliciousness.

Creamy Cinnamon _______(Insert fruit) Oatmeal for one:

Prep Time: About 3 minutes, Cook Time: About 5 minutes = 8 Minutes to deliciousness

Chopped Fruit (usually one piece, depending on what you pick)
2 tbsp. water
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Dash of brown sugar
Dash of salt
2/3 cup oats
3/4 cup of your favorite kind of milk (soy, almond, regular, etc.)
1 tsp. syrup (you can match the fruit you choose)

On the Stove (you can do microwave, but it doesn’t taste the same) put water, fruit, cinnamon, and salt in a small pot and let it simmer for a bit. When the fruit is soft or has had a couple of minutes in the cinnamon, add your oats and milk. Mix, cover for 3-5 minutes. Make sure you stir every minute, so it doesn’t stick. After 5 minutes pour your oatmeal in a bowl, put fresh fruit, the dash of brown sugar, and the syrup on top. Then eat it!

My favorite combos/lonesome loves:
Pears
Pear and Apple
Apple and Mango
Blueberry
Blueberry and Strawberry
Strawberry and Banana (Banana on top not in the initial mixture)
Almond and Strawberry

oatmeal-2

Google and the Like Button Have Killed Convo’s

By using Google and the Like Button you have officially leaned on a crutch of communication, and you need to stop. While I love me some Google and a couple hits of the Like Button I firmly believe the human race is ceasing conversations because of them.

Think about it. When you had MySpace (OMG I dated myself), the beginning of Facebook, or *gasp* life without internet on your phone, how many conversations or random battles did you have over how to survive a zombie apocalypse, if you can drink red wine with fish, or how to become a secret ninja? And, what about the times that are huge in someone’s life, like a new baby or a graduation and all you can do it hit a thumbs up button. I’m over it. When did we start ignoring what made relationships flourish, human connection? The same can hold true for blogging. I love to comment on bloggers posts, not because I have too, but because I want to start a conversation about what they are pouring their soul into.

There is a blog post that I read “How-To Questions Each State Googles More Frequently.” Look at these dinner table, bonfire, coffee shop (well maybe not all of them) topics could be a way to jump start stronger ties with people?

how-to-map-2

How about we all put down the thumbs button (try leaving a comment), and stop telling people to google things. Let’s have conversations and see where we get as a society this way.

New Year Resolutions and Reflections on a Crazy Year!

Violetsage

It’s in the books, 2016, is in the books. I can hardly believe that it is a new year already. They seem just to zoom by without stopping to say hello. I love to reflect, and I usually do it privately, but I felt compelled to share a couple of things today. There has been so much negativity on Facebook about the year 2016, and I don’t think it’s all bad. Sure, just like each year we had personal challenges, local challenges, and global challenges, but each year you learn more, and that is what I want you to remember moving into 2017.

My Personal 2016 Reflections:

This year I learned more about who I wanted to be as a person. I was able to let go of insecurities, the need for everyone to like me, and gained more inner self-confidence than I thought possible.

My wanderlust heart was fulfilled even more. We took a trip to Zion National Park, Salt Lake City,  Dallas, San Fran, New York, and Los Angeles. I just know 2017 is going to be even better.

I became a better mom, wife, and friend. 2017 is only going to enhance the groundwork I’ve already placed.

I learned that people coming together isn’t an anomaly anymore and if the people want something they are going to achieve it.

Twitter should be used cautiously by some.

Minimalism is my favorite way of life, as long as it’s done my way. Which is unique, involves buying things here and there, and spending a lot of time with friends and family.

My 2017 Resolutions:

This one is simple; I am going to stop searching for happiness. Because I don’t think happiness is just one emotion that you can enjoy, and searching for it takes the joy out of life. I am going to live in the moment instead. No more trying to create what I think happiness is, but live like I did when I was 17 and loving life with my best friends buying pet fish at 1 am in the Walmart parking lot. We didn’t think about happiness; we didn’t complicate it, we just were. We were present, we were willing, and that made us happy.

I’m also going to drink more water, even if it’s a chase after wine.

Happy New Year. Don’t find happiness, live life for the now and it will find you.