LIFE

6 WAYS TO BRING SELF-CARE INTO THE WORKPLACE

08/10/2018

BleubirdxSiggis-Q3-9With a new business venture on the horizon, my little office has never been busier. The emails don’t seem to stop, and somehow my to-do list is always longer at the end of the day than when I started. Lucky for me, my work is a labor of love and I am truly grateful for what I do, but like any job, it can still be a struggle to stay focused, manage day-to-day stresses, and to remember to keep self-care a top priority. I’ve teamed up with siggi’s to celebrate the launch of new siggi’s SIMPLE SIDES™—an on-the-go, whole milk yogurt snack with no-sugar-added mix-ins—to discuss my key tips for balancing a busy work day with personal wellbeing in mind.

1. First things first, get organized. Nothing wastes my day more than spending a half an hour looking for that important piece of paper I’m sure was right here yesterday. Personally, my life (in and outside of work) runs a whole lot smoother when I know exactly where things are, so I’m able to stay on top of things. It’s true what they say, “a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind.” So, if you don’t have a home for everything on your desk right now, take fifteen minutes and give everything a place. An organized desk leaves more space for hustling. You can quote me on that.

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2. Create a workspace that inspires you. Family photos, kid’s artwork, fresh flowers, and a good smelling candle are some of my must-haves for a happy office, and working in uplifting surroundings can help you focus on tackling one thing at a time. Whether you have an office to yourself, a cubicle in a row, or just a little spot carved out of the kitchen counter, add whatever it takes to make the space feel like your own. It makes working more personal and fun!

3. Don’t let yourself get hangry. We all joke about getting “hangry,” but the girls in my office, can attest to the fact that everyone works together better when well fed. Cue new snacking solution siggi’s SIMPLE SIDES™. A busy day doesn’t always leave time for breaks, so these delicious, whole-milk, yogurt cups with no-added-sugar mix-ins included like nuts and dried fruit are the perfect option for keeping hunger at bay when working through lunch is a must!

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4. Speaking of breaks, take one if you need it. Some days the demands at work feel like they’re too much to handle. Other days, I have a hard time getting into a focused mindset from the moment I sit down at my computer. My solution to both is the same—to step away from my desk for a few minutes and practice a little self-care. Taking just a half hour to switch gears—taking a walk, reading a book, even phoning a friend—can reinvigorate my mind and recharge my batteries. Maybe your job only allows a short lunch break? Make the most of it and find some solitude to eat and do a little something you love, while leaving your to-do list at your desk. A good reset and a healthy meal is an A+ way to make sure you return to work feeling your best. siggi’s SIMPLE SIDES™ can help make that an easy task. There is a flavor to pair with every lunch, and the high protein will keep you full and ready to tackle the rest of your day.

5. One thing at a time. Take a moment to review your to-do list and organize points in order from “top priority” to “I’ll get to this when I can”. This helps me focus on doing the things on my to-do list instead of wasting time worrying about if I’m forgetting something important. I have more than one business that needs my attention each day, which can be tricky to navigate. I try to dedicate a set amount of time that I dedicate to each one, so the pressure of everything doesn’t get overwhelming. It can even help to set a timer. You’d be surprised how much more you are able to get done by this very simple practice.

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6. Get comfortable. Whether you’ve got a desk job or on your feet for hours, taking the steps to make sure you’re comfortable is key to happiness and good performance. This could mean a good chair with back support, a supportive pair of shoes, or even a mini heater under your desk if the building’s AC is on blast 24/7. I tend to dive straight into work still wearing the morning’s Pilates class ensemble more often than not because I’m never more productive than when I’m comfortable, but some days that means taking taking the time to get dressed up and wear a fancy dress that makes me feel confident in my own skin. Take comfort, whatever that means to you, into your own hands and do what helps you work best.

Self-care is a highly personal practice. What are some of the ways you weave it into your work day?
This post is in partnership with siggi’s.

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COME SUPPORT A GOOD CAUSE WITH TIDE LOADS OF HOPE

08/16/2017

Tide-Bleubird-Loads-Of-Hope-4Tide-Bleubird-Loads-Of-Hope-6Tide-Bleubird-Loads-Of-HopeThe back-to-school rush has officially begun at our household. My big kids went back early last week, and my littlest ones aren’t far behind starting in just a few days. I can hardly believe that Plum is a freshman and Julian a senior in high school. Where does time go? Like clockwork, we were able to get all the kids new clothes for the start of the school year, in addition to the usual supplies. This year, however, in order to make room for their new digs, the entire family rounded up old clothing for donation as a part of the Tide Loads of Hope campaign. A few months ago, Aubrey and I had our closet redone by California Closets. I’m going to be writing more about that process and share it with you soon, but as a part of this effort, we too, rounded up some of our clothes to be loved and worn by people in need. We truly couldn’t believe how many things in our closet hadn’t been touched in years! It was incredibly rewarding, and a true family affair.

If you aren’t already familiar, Tide Loads of Hope is a mobile laundromat founded twelve years ago in direct response to the destruction and catastrophe caused by Hurricane Katrina. It aims to restore a sense of normalcy to the lives of those in need by providing the comfort of clean clothing. The Tide Loads of Hope mission extends far beyond natural disaster relief, however. That said, this year the brand is hosting a clothing drive, called “Driving For Hope”, to mobilize their efforts further and get even more people involved. The Loads of Hope truck that is making five stops on a nation-wide tour. Nashville is one of those stops, along with Philadelphia, Miami, Dallas, and the west coast! Our family is incredibly excited not only to donate, but to dig in, and really get involved on the ground level. It’s easy to teach your kids about opening your heart and volunteering, but putting action behinds those lessons is another story.

That said, we’ll be dropping off our donations on the day of the event in Nashville on August 18th. If you’re interested in attending, the truck will be parked outside of Walmart (7044 Charlotte Pike) from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and word has it that country singer, Jessie James Decker, will be there between 10-11 a.m., as well. All collected clothing will be washed and the renewed items will then be donated to their new owners at Nashville Rescue Mission. So, if you’re looking for more ways to get involved, we hope to see you there with any unused or gently worn clothing. We’re really looking forward to helping our community with a fresh start and clean clothing, and teaching our kids more about giving to others.

If you can’t make it out to donate, you can support Tide Loads Of Hope by visiting TideLoadsofHope.com to donate directly or purchase a t-shirt, where $4 from each sale goes toward helping families affected by disaster.

DuoTide-Bleubird-Loads-Of-Hope-11This post is in partnership with Tide Loads Of Hope.

AN UPDATE ON BIJOU’S DIET

07/18/2017

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It’s been about five months since we switched Bijou over to an IAMS diet. If you haven’t already heard about this process, I wrote all about it here in February. When I first wrote about this, many of you were curious about the switch—especially those who were already big fans of #bijouthebengal. So, now that some time has passed I wanted to give you an update on her and how she has adjusted to the swap.

The first thing you should know about our animals is that we all love them dearly—especially the kids. They snuggle and play with all three of our pets non-stop. And, inevitably, they also like to get a little wild from time to time. Bijou’s always been able to hold her own, but most recently, we’ve noticed that she’s been way more playful—kitten-like. She used to spend most of the day upstairs, in my room, sleeping, but recently, she hangs downstairs with us, around the living room or kitchen, full of energy, rubbing against our legs, or makes herself comfortable right on our laps. (Bengals are not a super cuddly breed, so we are thrilled that she’s been more social and energetic.) Even my assistant, Tiana, has noticed the difference and has grown to love the constant company and distraction, while we work.

Another change I’ve personally noticed is Bijou’s physical appearance. She’s as cute as ever, but she seems to be looking her best since the switch. Her coat really is shinier and softer. I know this because previously, if Bijou didn’t consume a certain type of food (with a hefty price tag), she’d start to look a bit mangy and wild, and she hasn’t since swapping to IAMS.

Pets, in general, are a big responsibility. But, Bijou is definitely our most high-maintenance animal. That’s not to say that we don’t love and adore her, we do; it just means that sometimes we have to pay extra attention to ensure that she’s getting all of the love, care, and attention she needs and deserves. Her diet—along with other factors surrounding her health—is a big part of that equation. Making the switch to IAMS has been an overall seamless process that’s resulted in one happy and healthy cat. And, we’re thankful for that.

I know that some of you had a few questions about IAMS in my last post, so to read more on brand, its ethics, and its pet food, be sure to visit IAMS.com. We always aim to do what’s best for our pets, and Bijou seems to really be benefitting from her new diet.

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This post is in partnership with IAMS.

KEEPING THE KIDS BUSY THIS SUMMER

06/27/2017

Mother-Hoods-Gardiner-NY-13Last Tuesday marked the first official day of summer, and the signs are all around, especially in my household. My big kids have left to visit their dad in Florida until August, and my littlest ones have begun their summer school program after two weeks of vacation. For me, the summertime is always a bittersweet season. On one hand, our house grows especially quiet without teenagers and their friends hanging throughout the house, playing piano, and showing us the latest viral videos. We miss Julian and Plum so much while they’re gone. On the other hand, some of our favorite pastimes circle back around this time of year—running barefoot through sprinklers, afternoon barbecues at the river with friends, local farmer’s markets, and evening walks through our neighborhood, just to name a few. For Birdie and Sailor, the summer also can mean long, hot days trying to fight off boredom. If you’re a mom with small kids, chances are, you’re familiar with trying to keep busy minds amused in the summer months (because the plethora of toys they have just won’t cut it, most days).

Mother-Hoods-Gardiner-NY-2Mother-Hoods-Gardiner-NY-7Mother-Hoods-Gardiner-NY-9Luckily, both Birdie and Sailor have a deep love for coloring—especially when it comes to printouts. Are your kids as obsessed with printouts as mine are? It seems like a daily occurrence that they ask Aubrey or me to print off their favorite characters—most recently, outlines of popular cartoons like Moana, Pokemon, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Growing up in the height of the digital age, our kids are incredibly tech-savvy. The minute they come home from school and drop their things to the ground, they grab for our Acer Spin 7, and start browsing their favorite sites for new pictures and characters to bring to life with the touch of their crayons. Their little hands love using the Spin 7 because it’s simple, quick, and user-friendly. Everything they need is right at their fingertips, uncomplicated, and easy to navigate. And, because it can handle sticky fingerprints and a fall or two, our lives as parents are a little easier as well. They can do what they love, and we don’t have to worry. We send their selects off the printer and done—instant entertainment.

Mother-Hoods-Gardiner-NY-8Mother-Hoods-Gardiner-NY-14After a good hour or more, we have a floor full of Birdie and Sailor’s creations—colorful, scratchy, and beautiful. The kids select and hang up their favorites in their room. If the kids are growing tired of coloring inside the lines, we head back to the drawing board (i.e.—The Spin 7) to brainstorm, get even more creative, and make additional masterpieces of our own. I love seeing the ideas and images that come to life at the touch of their small hands and huge imaginations. You can see the pride radiating from them as the hold up their latest and greatest sheets of scribbles. In these moments, I always try to remind myself that even though life gets busy or quiet or hectic at times, it’s nice to know you can rely on your tech to work with your hectic schedule, bring out your kids’ inner creative genius, and enjoy your family in any season of parenthood.

Mother-Hoods-Gardiner-NY-15Mother-Hoods-Gardiner-NY-20Mother-Hoods-Gardiner-NY-17This post is in partnership with Acer, but the words and opinions are my own. Check out Acer’s great product line-up at Acer.com/KeepAsking

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ARE YOU A HOMEBODY?

03/09/2017

07_carrie apartment_sex and the city_bedroom_hbo_com“There’s no place like home”… I really couldn’t agree more. We live just outside of the city, in a sort-of hidden area of town that truly feels like a treehouse. I love being at home, and am still loving living here, just as much as I did when we first moved in nearly four years ago.

I work from home the majority of the time, so it’s safe to say that I spend a lot of my time within the comfort and security of my own four walls. And, while I certainly wouldn’t consider myself a hermit, I do prefer the familiarity and ease of being at home with my family. My perfect day would be spent relaxing in bed, with the kids running in and out, reading books and drinking coffee. Even when I’m out to dinner with Aubrey or enjoying the company of close friends at their houses, I always find myself releasing a small sigh, equal parts relief and contentedness, once we pull back into our driveway for the night. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is. Home is my happy place, plain and simple.

I know that there are all kinds of people though—introverts and extroverts, homebodies, and party animals. And, most of the time people fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. But, what about you? Do you find that you feel most alive in the space you’ve created and cultivated as your home base, or would you rather reenergize and refuel somewhere else? Would you consider yourself a homebody, too?

Photo above of Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment on Sex And The City via HBO.

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