Monday, April 20, 2020

5 things to do with your stimulus check

Last week the majority of the stimulus checks started hitting bank accounts. No matter your opinion on these checks, if you get one you have to figure out what to do with your stimulus check. The thing about $1200 is if you haven't been financially impacted, its a lot of money to just be given to you. I think during this time of national crisis we all have a responsibility to really think about what to do with your stimulus check. Today I'm sharing ideas for 5 things to do with your stimulus check.

1. Saving - This is what my husband and I are doing with ours, and my number 1 recommendation for anyone financially impacted. I shared before that I feel very little job security at the moment, while my husband and I do still have jobs I've taken a pay cut and a good portion of his is based on reaching sales goals. We've decided to put our stimulus check in savings until the end of the summer; by that time hopefully we feel better about this whole thing and can use it for something fun.

2. Investing - Stock prices are starting to rise but are still below where they were a month ago. If you've ever been interested in the stock market I think now is a good time to invest if you can leave the money for the long run. This is for sure not a get rich quick plan! Another way to invest is to "invest" in yourself and put your stimulus check toward paying off debt. PS: Has anyone used Robinhood for this? I'd be really interested in your experience.

3. Eating - This is the more responsible way to spend your stimulus check. Use it to get takeout from your favorite local restaurants once a week. Or maybe tip extra when you get delivery. I read something recently that said since the contactless deliveries have started the average tip has actually gone down because people don't feel the need to tip someone they don't see.

4. Shopping - The key to this one is to support made in America products and small shops. Sure you could shop the big department stores and luxury brands, but that's kinda defeating the point of this stimulus check. If you want to shop hit up local boutiques (most are still taking online orders and doing curbside pickup or front porch drop off) or etsy shops and support someone instead of a large corporation.

5. Donating - Maybe this has made you appreciate your blessings and you're feeling generous. Local food banks domestic violence shelters are being hit especially hard right now and would appreciate the extra funds to restock. Other good ideas would be animal shelters/rescues, churches, or non-profits that have probably seen a decline in their usual donations.

What are you planning to do with your stimulus check?

Monday, April 13, 2020

Go-to DFW restaurants

Back in January I shared 20 DFW restaurants I want to try this year. I'm happy to report that before this virus outbreak we'd actually crossed a couple of those off the list! But today I wanted to share our go-to DFW restaurants. These are the places we keep finding ourselves going back and back to during the last two years that I've called Dallas home. My husband grew up in Dallas and some of these are places he's been going with his family since childhood! If you're in DFW and looking for a local restaurant to support right now, you can't go wrong with any of these!

Mariano's - The Best Mexican food in DFW, hands down, no contest. My regular order : frozen margarita (they were invented here!), queso, and the chicken tortilla soup

Burger House - My husband grew up down the street from here and would ride his bike to grab a cheeseburger. He's now 30 and the workers still know him by name. These are everything a classic burger should be! My regular order : single cheese burger with mayo, lettuce, pickle and a cheese fry to share

Yolk - This breakfast spot is really close to our church so we would stop for (non-alcholic) brunch after Sunday service. My regular order : iced coffee with the green eggs and ham (scrambled eggs with pesto, swiss cheese and ham) with cheesy grits and an english muffin. If you want something healthy, the South Beach is also really good!

Bubba's - This is another spot my husband grew up going with his family that we've adopted as one of our go-to spots. My regular order : grilled tenders with green beans and mashed potatoes and gravy. PS : the roll with honey butter is 100% worth the calories

iFratelli's - This is our favorite pizza delivery both at home and at my office. They have a few locations across the metroplex, so if you're in DFW chances are you have a location near by. My regular order : at home we love just a classic pepperoni, but at work we love the staff special with grilled chicken, tomatoes, and artichoke hearts

Wang's - The best Chinese takeout in DFW! I was super skeptical the first time my husband brought me here because there was literally nobody eating inside, but as we were waiting for our order I quickly realized nobody eats in, but tons of people order takeout. My regular order : Garlic chicken, egg rolls, and crab puffs. If we're wanting a lot of leftovers we'll also order pork lo mein.

Sammy's BBQ - This holds a special place in my heart because my husband took me here the first time he brought me home to meet his family and it's where we had our rehearsal dinner. They're only open for lunch as they close once they sell out. My regular order : sausage and potato casserole are a must get every time and then I'll switch out my second meat and side depending on what I'm in the mood for

New York Subs - Another of my husband's childhood favorites; they'd get these for bus rides to away football games in high school. These are simple classic sub sandwiches but are so so good! My regular order : Half a # 3 (ham and cheese) with mayo, lettuce, and the special sauce and a bag of creole onion Zapps

Truck Yard - This is one of our favorite casual date night spots. There's an inside part for hot nights, but the real fun is sitting outside by the different food trucks that rotate out each day. My regular order : inside they always have philly cheesesteak and they're so good! I go with steak, provolone, onions, and peppers with the spicy ranch! Oh and the twisted mule on tap

Tasty Tails - As someone who grew up with a boat docked at my house, I'm very picky about seafood, especially seafood claiming to be "New Orleans style". But eating here reminds me of eating back in my hometown. My regular order : small shrimp Po'boy with tartar sauce and cajun fries

Rosa's - If we're in the mood for fast, but good mexican food this is where we go. One Tuesdays they do a $5 taco plate! My regular order : crunchy beef tacos, and yes, you do also need to eat the soft tortillas that come with your order because they are worth the carbs

Monday, April 6, 2020

tips to help manage stress

I think its safe to say we're collectively all under an elevated amount of stress at the moment. No matter where you live or what you do for work this virus is impacting your life. Every day I wake up wondering if this will be the day I lose my job; it's hard to justify paying meeting planners when you can't put on any meetings. I'm not so worried that I'll catch it and die, but I am worried about my grandmother and in-laws that fall in the high risk age range, not to mention my family members that work in health care.

Hopefully you're not feeling the same anxiety I am on a daily basis, but if you are I wanted to share a few tips to help manage stress. I want to stress that I am in no way an expert and these are just small things that work for me. If you're really having a hard time I recommend talking with an expert.

1. Don't look at your phone once you go to bed - This has made the biggest impact on me and managing my stress during this time. I found myself scrolling twitter and reading all the depressing news stories each night which then caused me to not be able to fall asleep. Once I get in bed I only touch my phone to make sure my alarm is set for the next morning.

2. Watch a favorite movie - There are some movies that just instantly make me feel better Elf, Moana, Sweet Home Alabama. Watching one of these instantly helps melt my stress. If you're not a big movie fan put on your favorite television series or open a good book. The idea is to transport yourself somewhere else to forget about real life.

3. Make a daily to-do list - Each night before I go to bed I try to think of 3 things I'm going to do the next day. These are usually easy things like drink 3 of my yeti's of water or set the table for dinner or take the dog for a walk. This way I have an easy set of activities to redirect my attention when I start feeling stressed. This also helps because part of what's causing the stress is that everything is out of my control, so this is allowing me to control something.

4. Look for the silver lining - I start each day thinking about either 3 positives or 3 things I'm thankful for. Then whenever I start to feel anxious or stressed I just remind myself of these. Some examples are spending more time at home with my husband and dog, saving money on gas, or all the movies available on Disney+

5. Indulge in some self-care - Paint you nails, light a candle, turn on a calming playlist and drink some wine, put on a face mask. Do whatever little thing feels indulgent and calms you. You deserve it!

6. Let it out - Sometimes the only way to feel better is to let it all out. Have a good shower cry or post a rant on Facebook. Letting all the negativity escape is sometimes the only way to get rid of it.

What are your tips to help manage stress?

Friday, April 3, 2020

6 Easter Basket Ideas for Adults

I originally planned to publish a post about Easter dresses today, but with the state of current affairs that seemed wrong. Our bishop closed all churches about 3 weeks ago and at least until the end of the month which means no Easter Sunday service. As a person of faith this has been hard. I know it's for the best to keep them closed so we don't have mass gatherings, but not having this peaceful space during such a stressful time is hard.

But Easter is a time of hope so I wanted to still publish something fun today. I fully believe that having these silly fun posts are essential to our health and mental well-being right now. So today I'm sharing 6 Easter Basket Ideas for Adults. These are all things you can buy online and have delivered to your home or pick up curbside.

1. Something to Keep Busy - A coloring book or board game are great ideas to help you pass the time. Looking for a great read to gift someone? I bet you can find something that sounds interesting in my 2020 reading list review. I also love the idea of a gift card for a month of Audible if you're trying to have less stuff in your home.

2. Something Trendy - This is more female Easter basket specific. But this is the perfect time to throw in something trendy, yet inexpensive! These earrings from Amazon and these from Target are perfect picks for something to include. Another good idea would be a headband, floppy sun hat, or rattan clutch.

3. Reusable Straw - You can find these lots of places, but I especially love this mini travel set. It seems silly to buy something "travel" specific right now, but I think it's important to think long term right now and remember one day we will be leaving our houses regularly again.

4. Self Care Items - Nail Polish (OPI I Eat Mainely Lobster is my favorite for spring) or a body scrub are perfect additions for a female basket. For your guy you could grab his favorite after shave balm or a fun new soap. I always talk about my favorite Burt's Bees at holiday gift guide time, but these would be a great item for an Easter basket as well!

5. Practical Basics - Underwear and socks usually aren't the most exciting gifts, but I love the idea of throwing in a fun practical item. MeUndies carries lots of fun prints that I think are well worth the price tag.

6. Candy - Is it really an Easter basket without candy? My personal favorite are Reese's Eggs, because they just taste better than the regular Reeses and Starburst jelly beans.

What are you hoping to find in your Easter basket this year?

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

What I've read in 2020 - Quarter 1

Earlier this year I made the decision to be more intentional with my time. Part of that goal was so that I could devote more time to reading instead of mindlessly scrolling social media. I've now read 10 books in 2020, only 2 less than I read in all of 2019, so obviously this goal is working. Today I wanted to share some reviews of what I've read in 2020 in case you're looking for a new book to read.

The Diplomat's Daughter - 5/5  This one was very interesting because it told a WW2 story from a perspective I've never considered. It tells the story of a Japanese diplomat's daughter stationed in America at the outbreak, a first generation American of German heritage, and an Austrian Jewish boy.

The Huntress - 5/5  I know it's early but I'm calling this my best read of 2020. It was slightly predictable, but the writing kept me interested and wanting to keep reading. Its about the hunt for a female nazi, nicknamed the huntress, after the end of the war.

Campaign Widows -  4/5   This was a fun frivolous read, especially during a campaign year! You don't really need to know anything about politics to enjoy this one, but if you do you'll probably pick up some extra funny bits. It follows a candidate's wife, former speechwriter, digital media editor, Georgetown "It" woman, and morning talkshow producer as they navigate election season.

The List - 4/5  The only reason this didn't get a full 5 stars is because I thought the ending was rushed after such a great buildup. I will say I was a journalism major and political science minor so that might have something to do why I enjoyed this one so much. Adrienne returns to her old stomping grounds of DC to work at the hottest news site in town as a style writer when she stumbles upon a story that is too big to not pursue.

Rush - 3/5   I wanted to love this one so much more than I did. Maybe I was just critical because I was a sorority girl at Ole Miss and found the over explanations of Oxford and Ole Miss student life to be exhausting? This story revolves around sorority rush at Ole Miss and tells the story from the point of view of a long time house staff member, a new house advisor, and a girl from a small town going through the process.

Bond Girl - 4/5   I may have been a little generous with this rating, but overall it was enjoyable. If you know anything about working in finance (I don't) you may have different feelings, but because I know nothing it was interesting to have a little peak into that world. This tells the story of a new graduate as she navigates life working on wall street leading up to the financial crisis of 2008.

The Last Train to London - 5/5   This was a very well written account of a part of WW2 I knew nothing about. After finishing this one I did some googling to see how much was real and it was heartwarming to find this true story of goodness during a time of such evil. This book is about the Kindertransport that brought thousands of Jewish children safely out of Germany at the beginning of WW2.

Playing with Matches - 3/5  This was so good until the end. I'll just say I didn't see the end coming and wasn't too happy about it. This is a fun light read about a girl who's first job out of college is as a matchmaker for a paid dating site.

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows - 2/5   So the story of this one was really really good, but I was NOT prepared for there to be actual erotic stories included. Had those been excluded this probably would have been a 4 or even 5 star read. The story centers around a girl who takes a job in what she thinks is to teach a creative writing workshop at the community center for Punjabi women. She quickly learns they are not able to read or write English, but they have a gift for story telling that others in the community do not know about.

The Lost Girls of Paris - 4/5   A story of female spies during WW2. It reminded me of The Alice Network, but not as good. A good quick read for someone wanting a historical fiction read.

What have you read so far in 2020?

PS : I've linked everything to Amazon because I think it's the easiest shipping/availably situation, but if able I encourage you to shop your favorite small local bookstore. My favorite is Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi - for now they are currently shipping!