1/03/2017

Happy 2017! How To Have The Best Year Ever!



I know, I know. Ideally, we should have gotten ready for 2017 BEFORE the new year began. But if you've been with me a while, you've no doubt heard me say....you can start fresh whenever you want! A truth be told, I spent the holiday season relaxing and spending time with loved ones -- not prepping for the new year. So now here we are, January 3, 2017 and I'm finally getting myself organized. So let's dive into my suggestions and what I'm actually doing to set myself up to have the best year ever -- one that is productive, organized and joyful.

1. Make A Manifestation Board

This is such a powerful concept! But honestly, it's pretty much the same thing as a vision board. Putting your hopes, dreams, and goals into a physical form really does help them come true. It's a visual reminder of what you're working towards. 

2. Pick Your One Little Word or Your Monthly Theme

I LOVE the idea of choosing a theme for each month. It helps to break down your goals and make them more achievable. Plus our seasons change so we can change our theme accordingly. But I think choosing a word or phrase for the entire year is a good idea too! Take some time to think this through. What do you want to accomplish in 2017? How do you want to feel? 

3. Choose & Setup Your Planner

Being organized comes in many different shapes & forms. So take a little time to explore the different calendar / planner options and choose what you think will be a good fit for you. If you have no idea where to start, I made a video talking about the basics of choosing a planner and reviewing some different planner options. That should be a big help!

And then once you've picked your planner for the new year, now comes the fun part: setting it up! If you're going with a 6 ring binder, you'll have a little bit more work in front of you. But even if you choose a spiral-bound planner, take some time to put in important days and events as well as your theme for each month or season! You can play around with stickers and different inserts -- the possibilities are endless! I designed a 2017 Planner Sticker Set with monthly stickers, daily little reminders and a place for you to write out your own goals. Check it out here. Also, here's a look at my 2017 Planner Setup to give you some ideas!


4. Practice Gratitude

Take some time to write out the things you were thankful for in 2016. What went well? What did you accomplish? What made you happy? And most importantly -- Who are you grateful to have in your life? Spend 5 minutes writing a quick thank you email or mail a card to those people who played a vital part in your life this past year. As I posted recently on Instagram, a grateful heart is a magnet for miracles!


5. Clean Up Your Social Media Accounts

I talked about this in my recent video on how I was getting ready for the new year, but go through your social media accounts and make sure the accounts you are following still serve your purpose. Also, make sure you're still following the accounts you want to follow. Clean up any old photos in your feed that don't fit your aesthetic. And most importantly, update your profile picture! It's a new year, start fresh!


6. Clean Up Your Inbox

First of all, DELETE any old emails or archive them. If you're a Gmail user, make folders and develop a system for dealing with your emails. I sometimes use my emails as a to-do list (horrible, I know) so I take time to go through my unread emails and make sure there aren't urgent matters that need to be taken care of. And for the love of all that is good and holy, UNSUBSCRIBE from emails subscription lists that are pointless and just clutter your inbox.

7. Clean Your Technology

Take the case off your cell phone and iPad and get those little crumbs out of there ;) Clean your technology with a sanitizing wipe and let everything breathe a little. Now is a good time to go through your phone and delete unused and unwanted apps, photos and contacts. Clean it out!!

8. Take Care of Admin Type Things

I consider any of the non-fun [aka boring ;)] life things we all have to do: admin. Although this isn't the  most category, it's essential. So set aside a little time to take care of these admin type things and put a structure in place so it's easy peasy moving forward. Put insurance verification in your car and in your wallet, make sure you have a place for incoming mail, review old bills and shred unnecessary papers, auto-schedule as many bills as possible.


9. Review Your Budget & Finances

I know I have said this before, but as women it is critical, essential, imperative that we be educated about MONEY! Learn about it. And pay attention to your own money. Log into your bank accounts and look at the numbers. You cannot make any changes in your financial life until you understand what is going on! Check out my financial basics video to learn more.


10. Get Your Head On Straight

I know we all have stress and difficulties in our life. Make a conscious effort to let go of the thoughts and beliefs that are holding you back and no longer serve you. I don't think that is going to happen overnight nor will you be able to just magically let go of it all and never think another negative thought. Recognize and appreciate that it's a process. But also make a decision that you are going to walk down this path now. And keep moving forward. More self-love and positive self-talk. More affirmations and manifestations of abundance and joy. 

12/16/2016

The Ultimate Beginner's Guide To Running!



You guys. I started running. 

Well running is a loose term. I'm working on becoming a runner. How's that? I've never been a fan of exercise - not one of those girls who loves to go to the gym. But as I get older, I realize it's so important for my heart health as a woman and just for my general mental and physical well-being. 

I don't know what happened, but something switched in me and I just decided that I'm going to start running. It also helps that I have a group of a super supportive girlfriends who run with me! Though we're spread out, we text each other on workout mornings to report our progress and hold each other accountable. We also share tips and recipe ideas - it is so wonderful! They are a big part of the reason why I'm sticking with this. Also, like I said - I just decided one day that I was going to do it. I think that's true of so many things we do in our lives, we have to just show up and do it. We have to make a conscious decision and move forward. Not everything is easy or even enjoyable, but we do these small daily steps to lead to something bigger. 

In the short of amount of time I have been a runner, I can say the two most important things to get started as a runner are proper shoes and using an app. I use a Couch To 5k app that helps me pace myself and has guided me to work my way up. I didn't expect to just go out there and run a 5k. I needed to train and prepare. So be realistic with yourself! But use the app - it's a big help. I'm assuming most of the apps are the same, but they basically make you alternate between running and walking for various intervals until you get up to running a 5k. Also, proper shoes are critical to protecting your knees as you start to run. I really recommend going to a running store and getting a proper fitting - they will give you so many tips on buying the right running shoes. There's a whole section on shoes below, read it! :) 

For those of you who are like me and never thought you could run or don't even know how to begin, I've compiled a list of resources and articles to get you started running. Hope this helps!


H O W T O S T A R T

How To Start A Running Habit, Even If You Think You Hate It

15 Steps To Becoming A Runner

How To Get Ready To Run 5K Plan

Common Running Form Mistakes & Tips To Correct

S H O E S

Tips On Buying The Right Running Shoe

Cool Tool - Shoe Adviser on Runner's World

Running Shoes: How To Choose


F U N S T U F F

10 Terms Every Runner Needs To Know

30 Songs To Listen To On Your Run

Top 10 Pandora Station For Running



C R O S S T R A I N I N G

Yoga Poses for Runners

6 Yoga Poses For Stronger Running

Cross-Training for Runners




P I N T E R E S T / I N S T A G R A M

Beginners Running Guide & Motivation (Pinterest)

Delicious Vegan Recipes!

Healthy Living Ideas

The Best Running Accounts To Follow On Instagram




M E A L P L A N N I N G / D I E T 


19 Meals for Your Best Run / Fuel Your Body

7 Day Clean Eating Menu Plan





How fun is this street art I saw in Los Angeles during a recent run? That's another part of running that I really enjoy, it's been helping me to get out and see things I wouldn't normally pay attention to!

Are you a runner? Any tips you'd like to share?

XO
Mae













12/12/2016

How To Start & Grow Your Blog! | Creating A Plan For 2017




As I mentioned recently in one of my email love letters, (join my list if you haven't already) I'm getting back to my roots! Well my  blogging roots that is. My blog started as a creative outlet (I know, I know so cliche...) when I was living overseas. It was my first step into the social media world. My little blog grew beyond my wildest dreams and that led to other opportunities and focusing on other social channels, most notable my YouTube channel. I LOVE YouTube and my community there (pop over & say hi!) but I was always a little sad at neglecting my blog as time went over. Well, one of my resolutions for 2017 is to bring my blog back in full force! I hope you've noticed, we've been having a party over here -- lots of amazing and useful new content for you all! So as I've been working to post more consistently, I have also been researching how to grow your blog. I think the most important thing is to create a plan! Here are some tips and tricks I've put together to help you grow your audience and become a blogging super star! 

F I R S T: THE HARD STUFF

Prior to creating a blog plan, be honest and ask yourself the most important question in blogging: 


Why are you blogging? What are you trying to get out of it? 

Obviously, there's no right or wrong answer, but whatever you say will determine the course of your next steps. If you want to “be creative and have fun,” your blog plan will inevitably look really different than if your answer is “to quit my job, live off my blog & write a book.” I say this all the time (even when giving advice on whether you should go to law school or not....) but you have to understand your intentions & the reasoning behind your actions. Some people call this "knowing your why". Think carefully about this question, but also realize it’s fluid. Things change over time, so be flexible, but you need a starting point.


Also, it's equally important to look at what you don't like or don't want to include in blogging. Maybe you don't want to spend more than 5 hours a week blogging. Or maybe you don't want to write about certain aspects. Understand these things as well.


N E X T: MAKE A PLAN 


I recommend including these areas in your blog plan, but of course you can be flexible.


Vision + Mission
There are many resources out there to help you create vision and mission statements. Don't get too caught up in what it looks like -- this is a time when the form is not as important as the substance. Just write down your overall vision for you social media presence and then then some supporting mission statements and you're good to go!

Content
This is the golden ticket! In the world of blogging and social media, content is king! I suggest using a free-flow method to write down all your ideas. Don't edit at this time. Just write everything down! Consider new topics or categories to cover & then within each heading write out ideas for types of things to feature. For example, I want to focus more on clean eating in 2017 so I want to share more recipes on my blog. Under the recipe category, I would write out "10 minute breakfast ideas" and so on. Then once you have this master list, you can use it to create an editorial calendar. (Stay tuned for more on that to come!)

Social Media
If content is king, then social media is queen. Having a social media plan is imperative. Vital. Non-negotiable. You catch my drift. But also don't let this overwhelm you. Make sure you brainstorm how you want to use the various social media platforms. For example, I use Facebook to share articles and videos that I don't post anywhere else. This is added value. I use Twitter for brief updates (duh), Instagram as a microblog to share curated images that are a mix of promotional and life updates, and Snapchat for quick, fun and fast vlogging.
Don't forget to ENGAGE with your audience! Ask questions in your posts and respond to comments. Also, this goes without saying but be consistent! If you need more detailed help with your social media, email me to setup a free consultation on how we can work together and I can help you!

Revenue Streams
Everyone can monetize their blog! Don't worry about your numbers, just get started and they will come. Even making money isn't your first priority with your blog, it certainly helps as a little extra boost. If you are currently monetizing your blog, make sure to keep notes on what is working for you and what you'd like to change in the new year! There are various affiliate networks that pay you to link through them. Also, make note of your financial goals for your blog (you should be setting financial goals for your persona life too!!) The easiest way to analyze your financial goals in on a quarterly basis - check out these tools to plan your financial goals for you blog. Also, remember to vary your social media streams. This is the easiest way to see your income double or even triple!

Continuing Education
I truly believe it is so important to continue your education in all aspects of life. Check out blogging conferences you can attend, or classes to take online. You don't have to spend a lot of money on this. Also, forming relationships with our bloggers and attending networking events also counts as continuing education! Continuing education can also be as simple as increasing your skill levels on social media or photography. Leave me a comment down below and let me know what you want to work on!

New Projects
Ugh. I know, it's so hard to come up with new projects when you feel like you have so many you want to finish already. #CanIGetAnAmen
But it's important to keep a running list of projects that you want to work on. Be strategic. Just writing these things down won't do you any good. You have to act on them. We'll talk more about this, but you need to make sure you're moving items from your Master Project List onto your monthly task list and daily to-do list. Also, it's helpful to have a list of new projects so that in the event that something you're working on doesn't work out - you can swiftly move on to the next.


F I N A L L Y: YOUR MARCHING ORDERS


I think it's helpful to dedicate a section in your planner specifically for your blog & social media world. It keeps things nice, neat and organized. (Check out my YouTube playlist to see my 2017 Planner Setup & Organization Plan!) But even if you don't have a separate section, don't let that stop you. Write our your blog plan wherever works for you! It can be in in a notebook, a Word doc, Google Docs or a fancy PDF. Be sure to visit your Blog Plan at the very least on a monthly basis. Make changes as necessary but also use it to keep you on track.


What are some of the action items you want to work on for your blog or social media in 2017? Leave me a comment down below or tweet me on Twitter! Let's keep this conversation going! xo

How To Choose A Planner & Get Organized for 2017

One of the questions I get asked most frequently is How To Choose A Planner. Whether you're new to organizing and just want to get started or you're an expert at the organization game, choosing a planner can be so daunting. There are so many options!

First up, let's talk about the basic type of planner categories. The biggest choice you need to make is the way the planner is bound -- spiral vs 6 ring binder. There are pros and cons to each type. A spiral planner can be more compact and easier to store on your desk, but a 6 ring binder (like Filofax) offers way more customization options.

The next thing to consider is the page layout. Do you need one day per page? How many activities will you be tracking? Do you have a lot of appointments? Will a week on two pages suffice? Do you like a timetable to be included to keep track of your how you use your time?

Check out my YouTube video for a closer look into some planner options. I recommend all of these planners! Just depends on which one fits your needs. Also, as I mention in the video, be flexible! You may need to change out your planner until you find an organization system that works for you!



Also, as you begin to prepare for 2017 (it's so close!), don't forget to pick up my new 2017 Planner Sticker Set! This DIY sticker set is super easy to download and print - it will help you get organized in the new year!

xo
Mae

11/27/2016

My 2017 Organization | Get Ready & Plan With Me!

The New Year will be here for you know it. Last year, I felt totally frantic as it approached. In fact, I was so not ready for the New Year, that I decided that February would be my new January ;) But this year, things are a little different. I'm at a different season of life, I'm wrapping things up on some major projects and I feel ready to move on to the new year and a fresh start. So how do you get ready for the new year? Well, I'm sharing my tips on how to get organized for 2017 in my latest video below. Practical steps that I'm actually doing to prepare and make sure that I will be successful in the new year. 

But, the most exciting part -- I am releasing an entire line of digital products to help you be more productive and efficient! YAY! 

First up, is my new DIY planner sticker set for 2017! It includes daily reminders for the new year as well room to write out your goals in your planner. The best part, because these are easy DIY planner stickers and you get the file, you can print as many as you want and need! Please check them out and let me know what you think!

Check out my latest YouTube video to see exactly what I am doing to prepare for a productive and organized new year! And stay tuned because there are more videos in this 2017 organization series - including how to choose a planner and more.


One Little Word
If you're interested in learning more on how to choose your one little word for the new year, be sure to check out my 2015 organization series -- it's a great introduction, full of amazing tips and very useful!

Please share your tips and suggestions for getting organized for 2017 in the comments! And don't forget to check out my 2017 planner sticker set!!


11/22/2016

Tips On How To Have A Stress Free Holiday


I've said it a million times before -- it's the most wonderful time of year. But unfortunately for a lot of us with all the love, laughter and joy comes stress. Whether it's because of a strained relationships with family members or all of the cooking that you have to do -- there's a lot going on this time of year and it can lead to unnecessary tension and stress. I want you to enjoy Thanksgiving, eat lots and laugh with your family. I want you to have a calm and peaceful Christmas and spend time focusing on what is most important. 

So here are my tips for how to have a stress free holiday:

Accept You Can't Do It All
I listed this first because it's is so necessary and a key to having a stress free holiday. The sooner you can get on board with this idea, the better. I know you're a super woman / mom / friend. But you cannot do it all for everyone. So prioritize and do your best. Accept the things you cannot do or change.

Just Buy It
Last night a friend showed me a picture of a delicious meal. I was so impressed, I immediately ask 'Did you make that?!' Without skipping a beat, he replied 'Yes! I made the money that I used to buy that!' I LOVED that answer! Understand that there are some things worth spending money on -- your time is one of them. Wherever you can -- BUY! Buy the dessert for your Thanksgiving dinner. Buy the cookies for that DIY Christmas Cookie Exchange. I promise you no one cares. Save yourself the hassle and remove extra stress this holiday season. I love this concept of being ok with good enough. Now, I know that's hard for some of us perfectionists out there but it can be a truly freeing and revolutionary concept once we accept it. So repeat after me: "Yes, it's good enough that I will buy the cake for my son's classroom party!" You get the idea :) 

Stay Home
I am usually one to promote accepting invitations and going out in to the world to experience different events. You never know what will happen or who you will meet. But this time of year is sooooo busy to begin with. Don't add extra stress by attending every single thing you get invited to. Again, prioritize and pick the things that mean the most to you. Attend the events you actually want to attend. For everything else, just send a lovely holiday card and call it good!

PLAN
Now of course I was going to include planning as one of my tips. Don't take it for granted. Spend some time now to map out your holiday party schedule, keep track of your gift list, decide what you'll be purchasing on Black Friday, organize your mailing list for holiday cards. All of these are important elements for staying organized during the holiday season. [And of course, don't forget to pick up my DIY printable stickers to make your planner look super cute as you organize! ;)]

When Life Gives You Lemons
Smell them! According to researchers at Ohio State University, the smell of lemons quickly boosts your mood. So the next time you feel stressed, use this easy and fast DIY trick to feel better instantly. 

Practice Self-Care
I know this should go without saying, but take care of yourself! When you are running around organizing dinners and wrapping gifts and pleasing everyone else, it's easy to get run down and exhausted. So plan some time in your weekly schedule to get a massage, read a book, watch some YouTube video on the couch, or whatever else you love to do. Do what you love! And a productivity tip: make sure you actually write it down in your planner, that way you are much more likely to do it. So Treat Yo Self! Oh and of course, I have some stickers for that! ;)

Do you have any other tips and tricks to share to help make this a stress-free and relaxed holiday season? Please do share them in the comments below!

Wishing you and yours all the very best
xo