4 Things to Winter Clean From Your Couch

4 Things to Winter Clean

It’s 70 degrees this week in the South, so maybe I’ve been hit by the spring cleaning bug. I’ve always thought spring cleaning was kind of a waste. I get it, I understand that when the earth gets warm we get out of the lethargy that set upon us in the winter, but I’ve always thought winter cleaning made more sense. I mean, we’re stuck inside all the time, so why not make the most of what you’ve got?

I have an absurd amount of files in my digital storage and it always stresses me out. As much as I want to be a minimalist, I am not. But one day I hope to at least have less clutter. One thing we often don’t think about is the amount of clutter in our digital lives. Just because it’s digital, doesn’t mean it’s taking up space. I’m determined to cut down on the data that is on my phone and on my laptop so that my headspace can be clear when I’m working. The nice thing about it is that I can do all of this while sitting on my couch in my pjs. It’s like the lazy girl’s guide to spring cleaning in the winter.

 

Social Media Accounts

4 Things to Winter Clean

Facebook

Somehow I have 800 friends on Facebook, and while I’m sure I’ve met and interacted with them all, I have no idea how I actually know 800 people. So every season, I go through and look through my Facebook friends list. If accounts have been deactivated, bye bye. If I haven’t talked to you in 7 years and I don’t care to know what’s happening in your life anymore – see ya. And I know this sounds mean. But y’all. Do you really need to know what is happening in 800 people’s lives? Facebook only shows you like the same 30 people anyway.

Instagram

Instagram is my social media drug of choice. And I used to hate to unfollow people, especially if they only had like 300 followers. But I’m at the point now where if we are not real-life friends or related and I don’t align with what you post, I unfollow. And if there are accounts that I followed at one point because I loved their content, but their content is no longer relevant to me, I unfollow. OR if there are accounts that just make me feel bad because I can never be the #fitspiration they are or I feel sad because I will never own a Louis Vuitton bag like they do (this is an exaggerated answer, I love my $25 purses and will never leave that price range) then I unfollow! You don’t need to be following people on the social medias who make you feel bad about yourself.

Twitter

I am almost as obsessed with Twitter as I am with Instagram because I love to read. But sometimes it’s good to look through your list and give a little “unfollow” button a tap. I follow the same strategy for Twitter as I do with Instagram. If the information is no longer pertinent to my life or makes me feel icky, or regularly tweets obscenities for no reason, I am no longer a fan or a follower.

Pinterest

For me, Pinterest is less about unfollowing, and more about deleting. Back in 2011 when I jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon, I pinned like an 18 year old college student would pin. Nowadays, I pin more relevant to blogging. If you are a blogger and looking to clean up your Pinterest, make the boards you want for YOU secret, and keep Pinterest boards for your followers relevant to the people who follow you. Pin content they would want to see.

Your Digital Files

4 Things to Winter Clean

Photos

If you are like me, you have 10,000 unnecessary photos on your phone, drive, computer photo album, etc. Sometimes I look back and wonder why I thought it was a good idea to take a grainy, bad angled photo of a glass of water in 2008. No one needs that. Or if you’re a blogger – you have 25 photos of the same pose. See Example A above.

Documents 

I have almost 10,000 unnecessary documents on my drive because I was a Creative Writing student in college. (You should see my poor office. So. Many. Papers.) And because of that, I have versions upon versions of the same story. Consolidate and delete what you don’t need.

Your Phone

4 Things to Winter Clean

Apps 

I like to keep most of my apps organized and categorized in different folders on a second page of my phone screen. I really only keep 12 apps by themselves on my first page, and those are the apps I tend to use the most. On my second page, I like to keep apps for social media, blogging, entertainment, travel, lifestyle, business, utilities, and food. All in all I have around 73 apps. And do I use them all? Nope. Look through apps that you don’t use and delete those. They take up storage space and if you  don’t use them, why do you have them? (I ask myself this as I regularly delete and then guilt myself back into downloading my Runkeeper app. Because let’s be real, guys, I haven’t run more than 10 miles total since 2013.)

Contacts

This one is always iffy to me, because I think, What if I need them to network! But do you really need to network with the guy you met once when you were at a conference in college? Chances are if you haven’t needed them in the last 2 years, you probably don’t need them.

Text Messages

I am a sentimental hoarder. There. I said it. You guys, it took me like a year to delete text messages from when I was wedding planning. I have a problem. And if you have a problem like me, then you’ll see that little “Text Messages – 2GB” on your Storage screen on your phone. But do we really need all those messages? No ma’am, we do not. So screenshot the ones that are important to you, put them in a folder, and delete.

Emails

Nothing is more stressful than a messy inbox. I have 3 email accounts I regularly use, and 1 email account Pai and I share. In my work email, I have 11 folders with several subcategories under each folder; in my personal/blog email I have 3 categories with several subcategories and with my professional/side hustle email I have 5 categories with several subcategories underneath. You may think, Wow those are a lot of folders. But it helps me to clean out my inbox more effectively, and it helps me to look back a season later and think, Do I really need all the emails in this folder? No? Delete. For all of y’all who have 15,000 emails. I don’t understand you. Just mass delete all of those because you don’t need all that.

Voicemails

I repeat: I am a sentimental hoarder. I have a voicemail from years ago where my brother called to say he missed me and hoped I was having a good time at college in his cute, 3 year old voice. I never wanted to delete it UNTIL I realized you can save them as voice memos and deposit them into your iTunes folder. Hollah, now you can delete all your voicemails.

Things You Listen To

4 Things to Winter Clean

Voice Memos

Speaking of voice memos, why do you have the voice memo of the idea you had from 3 years ago that you already implemented? Delete it.

Spotify/iTunes

Remember when mixed CDS were a thing? Now we just make playlists, and what a joy those are! Except sometimes we can be playlist hoarders, too. Go through your playlists and delete any you don’t listen to anymore, and remove songs you no longer like. It’s better than hitting “skip” every time it comes on.

Podcasts

I am a podcast junkie, and I’m always looking for new podcasts! But often I hit it and quit it after a couple of shows if their content doesn’t keep me captivated. But I also sometimes keep it on my app just in case I want to listen to it in the future. If you haven’t listened to a podcast in several months, you don’t really need it. Delete it, and then resubscribe if you get the inkling to listen to it later. And speaking of which, the Apple Podcast app is not the greatest. I was a fan until they updated their features and now it’s the worst. So might I suggest Overcast? You can download it for free as long as you’re OK with ads popping up at the bottom. I love Overcast because you can make playlists that cater to your day/routine/whatever you need.

4 Things to Winter Clean

 

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13 Habits to Start Early in Your Marriage

13 Habits to Start Early in Your Marriage

I absolutely love marriage. Although Mr. M and I have only been married for a little over a year, it is a topic I have always been passionate about, and something I love to encourage other ladies in. Recently, Mr. M and I were at a Sweetheart Breakfast thrown by our church for Valentine’s Day, and they stressed the topic of mentorship. As Christians, we believe in living through community and recognize that we can do nothing by ourselves. As newlyweds, we are to fall under the leadership of an older couple and allow them to mentor us in our relationship. However, even though we have only been married for a year and some change, we also have a calling to turn around and mentor other couples who are younger than us and who may not be married. The beauty of mentorship is accountability. I can’t tell a girl I’m mentoring that she needs to honor her boyfriend with her words and actions if I’m not honoring my husband with my words and actions.

That is a big reason why I love to talk about marriage every Friday. It holds me accountable to the things that I say. Every day I am reminded of who I am as a woman of God and as a wife; and every day I am shown new ways to love my husband, and convicted of old things I do that don’t show my husband love. Mr. M and I love to look up to couples who have been married 10+ years and talk about how they are more in love than they have ever been. And that is our goal – to not allow the stressors and selfishness in our lives to distance us from each other. Instead, we want to take our flaws, work through them, and grow closer to each other.

Last night we celebrated Anti-Valentine’s Day – the day when we first made eyes at each other. We went out for a nice dinner and dessert, then came home put on our pjs and snuggled while watching a movie. It was the perfect “ahhh” after having a busy first two months of the year. And that got me thinking about how grateful I am that we made date night a habit in our marriage. Even though we don’t have kids yet, I believe that starting good practices now will help us to transition into them one day when we have little babies running around. (We’ll come back to this in a few years to see if I’m correct.)

13 Habits to Start Early in Your Marriage

Make Date Night a Priority

Rain, snow or shine – pick out a day of the week that you can set aside as TOGETHER time. Whether it’s cooking together, or going on an adventure, it’s important to set aside quality time where you know you get to talk and connect emotionally.

Related: Date Night Ideas

Go to Bed Together

I can count on one hand the number of times Mr. M and I have gone to bed separately, and when that has happened, I don’t sleep well until he’s in bed with me! It’s so crazy how easy it was (for me, not so much for him because I’m a bed & cover hog) to transition into sleeping next to him. Going to bed together each night allows you to talk, recap your day, or do other fun married things. And by the way – keep your cell phones out of the bedroom.

Spend Time With Each Other’s Families

This is easier for Mr. M and me, since his family lives in our town and my family is only two hours away. Creating great relationships with your families unifies you as a couple, and unifies your families as well. In a perfect world, everyone gets along, but I realize this is not the case. However, you can show love to your spouse by showing them that the people they love are important to you, too.

Seek Wise Counsel

Once again, I’m talking about mentorship. Having an older couple to love on you and guide you in your first few years (and subsequent years!) of marriage is SO beneficial. It’s nice to have someone to text, “I’m mad because he didn’t do the dishes, am I crazy?” and get a sincere response. I love my husband better because of the mentors we have in our lives.

Go to “Maintenance Counseling”

Before Mr. M and I got married, we spent 6 months in pre-marital counseling. Then, at the 6 month mark of marriage, we went to counseling again. Tonight we are going to our 1 year counseling appointment. I jokingly asked Mr. M if he had his laundry list of complaints to submit and work through tonight. But seriously, I’m a huge proponent of counseling in general. Going to someone who knows you as a couple, asks the hard questions, and allows you to walk through any issues you might be going through in a safe space is life-changing for your relationship. In your relationship, you need to pull the weeds when they are small before they turn into full-grown weeds that choke up your relationship. Maintenance counseling gives you the chance to expose hte weeds and pull them up.

State Expectations, Revisit Expectations

One thing we did not do is set clear expectations of who was going to clean what in the house. We both work full-time, so we both take care of the house. I do the laundry, and Mr. M does the bathrooms. And then our genius idea was “whoever sees what needs to be done will just do it.” Wellll guess who sees what needs to be done. After many emotional break downs and little arguments, we finally realized our system was not working. Now we set expectations of who cleans what and I ask for help rather than sulk and do everything by myself. Whatever it is in your relationship – state your expectation: whether it’s for finances, sex, quality time, etc. Every now and then, go back and revisit your expectations and see what needs to change and where you are doing well.

Have a Monthly Check-In

One great space to revisit expectations is by having a monthly check-in. Mr. M and I don’t do this, but it is something I definitely want to implement in our relationship! I heard on The Real the other day that this lady has a monthly check-in with her husband while they’re in the bathtub. It’s a non-threatening environment, and the intimacy that comes with being smooshed together in the bathtub makes it so you are more emotionally available to talk about hard things. I’ve also heard about couples taking coffee dates to go over their schedules, their week, and their finances. Date night is not the time to sit down and make a budget, or talk about business related things, so setting aside a time for a monthly check-in keeps you on the same page.

Surprise Each Other

It is SO easy to get into the routine of things and start to take your spouse for granted. I’m embarrassed to admit that this happened quicker than I expected in our marriage. We both have pretty consuming jobs – both emotionally and time wise – and I’m not so fantastic at compartmentalizing. When I notice we’re off sync, I have to take a heart check and see what’s going on. Usually it has to do with one of us being extraordinarily busy and consumed in our mind with things other than each other. I get it – this is how life goes. But like I said earlier, I don’t want to allow the stressors of life to get in the way and consume us. So when things like that happen, I take intentional time to stop by Mr. M’s job and bring him a sweet treat. You can surprise your spouse in a multitude of ways. What is his/her love language? Use that as a guide to see how you can treat your spouse spontaneously.

Related: 5 Ways to Connect in the Busy Seasons

13 Habits to Start Early in Your Marriage

Have Alone Time 

Look, I love my husband and want to spend all my time with him. But you know what else I really enjoy? Books and bubble baths and long romantic walks through the home goods section in TJ Maxx. While it is incredibly life-giving to spend time with your spouse, you also need to take time to yourself. Find an hour each week where you can get some quality 1:1 time with you. Whether it’s taking yourself on a coffee date, going to the gym, cleaning the house, etc. Whatever it is that brings you joy, do it. You will be a happier lady and a happier spouse.

Set a Budget, Revisit the Budget

I hate the B word. I’m really good at saving, but I’m also really good at spending and not allocating monies for this and that. Mr. M is more thrifty than I. I joke that at the end of the month, I start to use his debit card because he has more money in his account. But seriously – budget for the lifestyle you can afford and stick with it. (I’m preaching to the choir here.) Keep credit card charges at a minimum, and consult each other before major purchases. Someone once told me, “The two biggest stressors in marriage are sex and money; my suggestion is to have a lot of both.” While I laughed, it’s so true. If you don’t have a lot of money, you can be wise with your money and that will save you a ton of grief.

Spend Time in Scripture Together

Mr. M and I both grew up in Christian homes where our families spent time together in Bible Study and prayer. A good foundation to set for any Christian couple is to keep God in the center of your relationship. How do you do this? By spending time with the Lord by yourself and also with your spouse. In all transparency, I’m not fantastic at being vulnerable in my faith in front of my husband. Why? Because I’ve always felt more insecure about my faith and it’s a very personal thing to me. However, I am learning so much by opening up in prayer and worship with Mr. M. And I have to look at it as spiritual exercise – the more you do it, the more you enjoy it.

Honor Each Other

Your spouse is your best friend and your life partner. You have to live with that person and go to bed with them every night. So why wouldn’t you honor and give life to them? A little honor goes a looong way in your marriage. Respect each other with your words, your actions, and the way you speak about your spouse in front of people. I know that people say “men want respect, and women want love” but the truth is, we all want to be honored.

Get Away

Getting away with your spouse to get out your element does wonders for your relationship. Mr. M and I took little mini weekend getaways several times last year, and it was so lovely and helpful for us to get away from the routine and relax and enjoy each other. The downside to it? You get spoiled and want to get away ALL the time. When you set your budget with your spouse, make sure to set aside “date night” money and “get away money.” That way you have something to save up to look forward to!

What would habits would you recommend setting early on in your marriage?

 

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15 Chickflicks to Watch Tonight

15 Chickflicks to Watch Tonight

One of the saddest things of 2018 is the lack of chick flicks we’re producing these days. One of the staples of my childhood and teenage life was getting together with my best friends, or having a girl’s night with my mom, sisters, and grandma and aunts to watch a feel-good, cry your eyeballs out chick flick. And sadly,  I haven’t seen too many “I MUST GO SEE THIS” films coming out that represents what a 90s chick flick should be.

I’m a huge movie watcher, so I wanted to get together some of my favorite films that you can watch by yourself, with your bestie, or with your man for Valentine’s Day this year! And to my knowledge there are no Nicholas Sparks inspired movies on here. But there are a couple Julia Roberts movies mentioned because I think all good chick flicks should have Julia Robertson in them.

Cry Your Eyeballs Out

Steel Magnolias – 1989

This is the perfect “coming of age” movie in chick flicks, if you ask me. You deal with life, love, and loss. There are so many big named, amazing actresses in this movie and Sally Fields – she just takes the cake for her performance in this one.

PS I Love You – 2007

OK when I watched this for a second time in college, I started crying before the movie started, throughout the entirety of this film, and for 10 minutes after the movie ended. Granted, I was in a very dark place emotionally but if you need a cathartic movie – this is the one for you.

Happy Endings

Licensed to Wed – 2007

I don’t know how I just discovered this movie like a month ago, but it was recently added to Netflix so I watched it with my sister and Pai and we laughed the entire time! It features John Krasinski, Mandy Moore, and Robin Williams – so an A+ class in the comedy department.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding – 2002

I can watch this movie over and over and over again because it is so stinkin’ quirky, and quirky is my favorite. I also felt like it mirrored my life as I was planning our own intercultural wedding.

When Harry Met Sally – 1989

When Harry Met Sally has an R rating, so I didn’t watch it unitl I was a grown up, but as soon as it was over, I had to call my grandma as this is one of her favorite movies. We talked for a long time about love and marriage after watching this movie, so it holds a special place in my heart. The downside is it’s hard to hear Billy Crystal without thinking of Mikwasowski from Monster’s Inc.

Unconventional Endings

Me Before You – 2016

just watched this movie this week. I read the book last year and liked it, but didn’t think it was absolutely amazing. I would almost say I like the movie more than the book in this one! Louisa is so quirky and adorable, and the chemistry between her and Will Trainer is adorable. You’ll probably cry at the end.

LaLa Land – 2017

La La Land is a movie I need to own. Once I got past Emma Stone’s breathy singing, I fell in love with the head nod to 1960’s cinematography, and this is one modern day musical I can get behind. I love my chick flicks to be realistic, so the ending here was perfect for me.

15 Chickflicks to Watch Tonight

Quirky & Cute

500 Days of Summer – 2009

If there ever was a perfect casting choice, it was to put Zooey Deschanel across from Joseph Gordon Levitt. THEY ARE THE PERFECT AWKWARD COUPLE. I had no idea what to expect watching this movie in college, but I want to get my hands on it again because it is so perfect. Anytime I am at Ikea all I can think of is the line from this movie, “Honey, there’s an Asian family in our bathroom.”

About Time – 2013

I can’t mention chick flick movies without putting a movie on here with Rachel McAdams. If I’m being completely transparent with you guys, I don’t remember what this movie about (which is typical, this is why I get to watch movies over and over again) but I remember absolutely loving this one. It has time travel in it, so this is the second time Rachel McAdams is married to a time-traveler. Go figure.

Girl Power

Hidden Figures – 2016

Now that I’ve seen Empire, it’s hard to watch a movie with Taraji P Henson in it without imagining her screaming, “Lucious!” and banging someone with a broomstick. However, Hidden Figures is the perfect girl power movie – these ladies are smart and fierce. I love that this story is also based on a true story.

Mona Lisa Smile – 2003

I love it anytime Julia Roberts comes onto the scene. As a lady armed with a liberal arts degree and dreams of teaching one day, Mona Lisa Smile was the perfect feminist, liberal arts film.

The Help – 2011

Anytime you put Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer together, you have a power team. I love the bravery these ladies show in sharing their stories. Plus when a small town writer changes the world? It’s a great ending.

Movies You Can Watch With Your Man

Hitch – 2003

I am all here for Will Smith making us laugh. I have seen this movie more times than I can count, and a couple of those times have been with my husband and my parents. It’s the perfect rom-com to settle down with valentine.

Princess Bride – 1987

My husband didn’t initially think he would like Princess Bride, but after he sat down and watched it with me, he loved it! It’s corny, the hero saves the day, and it will make you laugh. This is a timeless classic you could watch even with your kids!

15 Chickflicks to Watch Tonight

What are your Valentine’s Day plans?

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10 Self-Affirmations to Make Your Day

10 Self-Affirmations to Make Your Day

Have you ever had those days where you just feel as if you aren’t enough? Like everything you do – no matter how well you do it – isn’t right?

Recently I received some news that made me question who I am. While it wasn’t exactly terrible news, it still caused me to doubt in my abilities and in my identity. I soon started to spiral down into a dark place where I was believing lies about myself that I knew weren’t true.

I have long said that being in your 20s is like being in the middle school of adulthood. We all are all in different stages. You have 25 years old who are still in school, who are out of school, who are married and unmarried, who have 1-2 kids and who don’t have children.

I recognize that we each have our own journeys, and our timetables vary. But some days it can still feel as if you’ve been left behind.

So what do you do?

You can sulk and have a pity party, or you can encourage yourself. I often use to wait until my mom or my husband would talk some sense into me, but the other day I realized (because Pai wasn’t texting me back) that there are just those days where you have to talk sense into yourself. So I grabbed my favorite pens and a piece of paper and wrote down things I knew were true:

I am a strong woman.

I am a confident woman.

I am a great wife.

I am competent.

There is a pastor from Bethel Church in Redding, California who says, “Your words build worlds.”

I used to not put much weight in what I had to say, but the older I get, the more I realize that the words I say not only reflect my situation, but speak life into my situation.

Even if something is the pits, I don’t have to say, “This is the pits.” Instead I can flip the situation on its head and say, “Even though this really sucks, it did give me the realization that I do ____ really well and that is going to help me in the future.”

After I wrote down my self-affirmations, I realized that the lies that were in my head didn’t measure up to the truth I had to tell myself. I was then able to go about my day confident in myself and in my abilities.

If I’m being honest, I never put much stock into self-affirmations. But it seems as if the older I get, the more I realize I don’t have it all together and I need that much more encouragement to make it through on those tough days.

10 Self-Affirmations to Make Your Day

If you’ve noticed, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted on a Monday. And that’s becauuuuse I’ve been working on soemthing that has been on my to-do list for months.

An email list!

I really pushed off the idea of having an email list for a long while, but I realized that if I want to get serious about this passion and hobby of mine, that this is the definite next step. So I am excited to introduce to you the Hugs & Lattes newsletter!

And to celebrate, I have 10 self-affirmations to make your day go right to download for you today.

What are  your favorite ways to pick yourself up on the down days?

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5 Quirky Ways to Celebrate Love this V Day

5 Quirky Ways to Celebrate Love this V Day

If I’m being honest, I’m not a huge fan of Valentine’s Day. I mean, I enjoy chocolate and a good excuse to celebrate love. But why do that just on February 14th and not all year? Some say (my dad, my husband) that I’m high maintenance.

It probably doesn’t help the fact that Mr. M and I met and consequently fell in love at an Anti-Valentine’s Day party. So February 15th is my preferred day to celebrate love.

But I’m not one to pass up an excuse to come up with an excuse to celebrate love – whether you’re loving on your partner or on your best friend: these five ideas are fun and quirky ways to celebrate an inexpensive Valentine’s Day!

Related: Why You Need to Celebrate Galentine’s Day

Inexpensive Valentine's Day Ideas

Take Awkward Couple Photos (on purpose)

I’m not gonna lie. . . I have done this both with my  best girl friends and with Mr. M. The girl friends were easier to convince. Awkward couple photos are bound to make you both laugh and have a fun time being silly. It also gives you a good excuse to make fun of Valentine’s Day and couples that take awkward photos by accident (because they’re awkward. . .)

Make a Spotify Playlist

When Mr. M and I first started dating, we spent a summer apart, so we stayed connected by making a collaborative playlist on Spotify. It’s like making mix tapes for each other, but in 2018. Pick out your favorite songs, or songs that remind you of each other and make a joint playlist! (This is also the perfect time to come up with your couple name.)

My best friend from college also regularly sends me an ACTUAL mixed cd for my  birthday or other special occasions and it’s my favorite part of snail mail.

Go on a Thrift Shop Shopping Spree 

Give each other a budget of $5-10, then go and pick out something fun and useful, or an item of clothing for each other. If you pick out clothes, wear those outfits on a date later that day!

Write a Poem for Each Other 

Whether you are a secret poet, or you just like to be adventurous, writing a poem for each other can be a fun way to express your love for your loved one. Your Valentine’s Day poem can either be silly or serious. My personal favorites are ones that make me laugh. If you’re not a great poet, you can still come up with fun ways to write about your loved one in a way that can make them feel special.

Make a Scrapbook Together

This one may appeal more to girl friends, because I have never met a man who willingly sits down and works on a scrapbook with his lady. I’ve started this thing where every New Year, we take time to reflect on the previous year and write down our highlights from each month and print out pictures from each month. Something like this could also be done for dating anniversaries, best friend-aversaries, or just any time you realize you have 1000 pictures on your phone.

Related:5 (Last Minute) Valentine’s Dates

Inexpensive Valentine's Day Ideas

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