Jord for Christmas


Does anyone have the hardest time shopping for the man in their life? I feel like my husband always says he doesn't need anything or he doesn't want anything. But where is the fun in that?! I love gifting and I love seeing people's reactions! But this year I think I really nailed it with a unique gift that the husband will love. And I know what you are thinking, why are you telling us his gift before Christmas? Well lucky for me we opened gifts early since we were travelling so I can give you a last minute idea for your dude. You guys. WOOD WATCHES! Have you ever seen them? They are amazing. And he loves that they are unique watches. And I love that they have them for women.

Alright. So let's talk about these men's watches. Adam travels a lot for baseball, and lots of times when they are out traveling he needs to dress nicer. That is why this watch was perfect for him. It gives him an upscale and trendy look without too much effort. And this Conway watch is AMAZING!  The Conway is JORD’s first chronograph watch for men. Which, did you know chronograph watches were originally invented and used for tracking astronomical objects in the sky? This one has a traditional display watch with a stop watch option, which is great for a man always finding new ways to compete with his guys.

Chronograph watches are now popular in aviation, racing, diving, and most athletics where precise time-tracking can be utilized. Many fashion chronograph watches on the market, don’t actually work! They just have the chronograph look on the face, but JORD’s Conway is a true operating Chronograph watch and uses the Citizen Miyota 0S10/0S1A movement. How cool is that? A watch that actually does what it says it will! 

So if you are tapped out for Christmas - then don't even worry about it! JORD has great watches all year long. So now you are one step ahead for the next gift giving time. And you can even get a free gift card by heading here - it just has to be used by February 28th.

Styled by Five: Pink Blush


Oh hey my party people. Clearly I have taken a small recess from the blog. This holiday season totally throws off my whole groove. But here I am again with a little Styled by 5 for you. And a little holiday cheer. Okay - maybe not holiday cheer but an idea for some holiday fashion! 

This month we teamed up with Pink Blush to show off an awesome Olive Trench. Let me tell you why I love this so much. You know how in the holiday season you go to all these parties and everyone always looks for the perfect black dress or sequined and bedazzled show piece? This is a fun and trendy piece that will amp up any holiday look - you can wear it with sequined, you can wear it as a coat, with a dress, leggings. All of it! I am obsessed with it.

Trench: Pink Blush
Top: Downeast
Leggings: LulaRoe
Shoes: Francesca'a
Necklace: Jane

Okay - so I decided to pair this trench with all black. My thoughts were this is something that I could show you just by changing the accessories you can make it a casual party outfit or a dressy party outfit. And if you traded the leggings our for a black pencil skirt and the booties out for pumps, you up it even one more level! It is so versatile and I love it.

Since we are all sharing the same piece on a different body type here is a reminder of my sizing – I am 5’9″ and I generally wear a 10/12 – 10 on a good day, 12 on a not good day… you understand, right? So I ordered this trench in a large. It was a perfect fit, the arms fit snug and were long enough which I can really appreciate. The body itself I thought would overlap a little more, but it just met in with a tiny overlap to create a sort of jacket look rather than like a full wrap, if that makes sense? I like how it looked overall though and you will totally see me wearing it again. I love sharing my style with you, but I also want you to see clothing I style in other body types so you can find what is best for you. So feel free to check out how Kaylynn, Bethany, Jacque, and Lauryn styled this outfit as well! And watch for a new piece of clothing styled by 5 every month.

Styled by 5: Lettie Boutique


It is officially time to start your holiday shopping! And since I know a lot of us, or maybe just me, do a little holiday shopping for ourselves or try to find the best deal to send to our loved ones I am helping you out with one of my favorite shops. Lettie is going to be offered a ton of awesome Black Friday deals, and coincidentally they are the featured Styled by 5 shop this month.

So before I get into how I styled this one - I want to talk about Black Friday deals at Lettie... because I love a good sale. Lettie's entire store will be 20% off with the code BLACK20. There is free shipping on all orders, plus the first 50 orders will also get a free gift. And to top it all off there will be doorbusters, stocking stuffers, and some FLASH sales going on. The sale starts at 6am MST on Friday morning and will run through Monday. All of that sounds heart eyes to me. what about you!? Okay. Now to the outfit.

I wanted to add something else to this outfit - because it could very easily be paired with some wedges and a hat, but I wanted to winterize this floral dress. So I decided to pair it with a duster cardigan - aka, my newest obsession - tights and booties. That way in addition to seeing the dress on different bodies you can also see it for different weather types. And where I live, it is starting to cool off so I can only imagine others are a few steps behind and starting to pull out tights and cardigans.

Cardigan: Downeast
Tights: Costco
Booties: Francesca's 

Since we are all sharing the same piece on a different body type here is a reminder of my sizing – I am 5’9″ and I generally wear a 10/12 – 10 on a good day, 12 on a not good day… you understand, right? So I ordered this dress in a large. The dress was the perfect fit where I didn't feel like it was so snug but I didn't feel like it was overly large and drowning me. Plus, the arms had the perfect amount of room so putting my hands in my pockets did not feel constricting. Does that make sense? I love sharing my style with you, but I also want you to see clothing I style in other body types so you can find what is best for you. So feel free to check out how Kaylynn, Bethany, Jacque, and Lauryn styled this outfit as well! And watch for a new piece of clothing styled by 5 every month.

Comfy Week Nights and Weekends


No matter what I am up to, my friends always mention how busy I am and that I need to slow down. And you know what? Most of the time I agree with them. And because of that I am always looking for ways to unwind in comfort after a long week or even a long work day. My favorite way lately? Coming home, throwing my hair up, changing into some Cuddl Duds, and playing with the pup.

You all know about hair up and a cute pup, but have you heard of Cuddl Duds?! Oh man... if you don't you need to. They are the perfect layering apparel to live life in comfort. I have friends that layer them under their snow gear, some wear them for pajamas, and some wear them for busy errand days - because no matter what you will be living easy in comfort. I am all about swapping into them after a full day of office wear. Plus, they are light enough that as the weather cools off I can just toss on another layer or two. I am a big fan. #GoComfy with Cuddl Duds at Kohl’s for the latest styles and color choices! When you're comfortable, everything is possible.

This post is sponsored by Cuddl Duds and Kohl’s, but my love to #GoComfy is all my own!

How to Stay Motivated and Actually Achieve Your Goals


Just about all of us have set some major life goal at one point or another, be it a fitness goal, a goal to learn something new, a goal to see through a major endeavor, or a goal to put an end to a bad habit. Yet not all of us can say that we have had success in meeting these goals. In fact, it is estimated that just 8 percent of those who make New Year’s resolutions actually achieve their goals.
As this article points out, motivation really is the key to achieving any goal. You have to have the motivation to do the work. Unfortunately, however, motivation so often wanes within a short period of time. How, then, do you maintain the motivation you need to actually see through your goals? Here are some tips for staying motivated and actually achieving the things you want to accomplish.
Write down your motivations. First, it’s important to write down why you want to achieve a particular goal. This will help make your motivations more tangible, and it will serve as an important reminder later when motivation is running low. It helps to write down some very specific motivations, as well as some broader ones. If you have a major fitness goal, for example, your motivations might be: be able to walk up three flights of stairs without running out of breath, be able to do 50 push-ups, fit back into my favorite pair of pants, and be more fit so I can be more active with my family.

Write down what makes you smile. We don’t always know what exactly motivates us to keep going on our goals. So, take note of what makes you smile throughout the day. To go along with the fitness goal example, maybe it’s seeing the muscle tone in your arms as you lift weights. Maybe it’s concocting the perfect-tasting smoothie. Or maybe it’s finally getting to hit “cool down” on your daily treadmill run. Pay attention to those little moments that boost your enthusiasm so that you can look forward to them on an everyday basis.
Break the goal down into small, meaningful steps. If you don’t break your goal down into smaller, more detailed steps, you’ll never know how you’re actually progressing toward your goal. That’s why it’s important to create a detailed plan for your goal. Let’s say, for example, that your goal is to lose 10 pounds in three months. If you were to break this goal down into weekly benchmarks, that would mean losing about three-fourths of a pound every week—or three pounds every four weeks.
Create a detailed plan. In addition to breaking the goal down into smaller steps, you’ll also want to created a detailed plan that you will follow for actually achieving your goal. What will you do each day to get you to those small milestones you just planned out? If your plan is to get in better shape, you might plan a diet around fresh produce and lean meats and commit yourself to doing a 30-minute “living room workout” on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
Dissect your excuses. Maybe your plan to get in better shape involves getting up half an hour earlier on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but when that alarm goes off in the morning, you simply tell yourself that you’re too tired—and then you don’t get up. But what’s the real excuse here? Are you, for example, staying up later than you should watching reruns of your favorite show on Netflix? If this is the case, then you are not exercising simply because you would rather watch your favorite TV show late at night. Whenever you find yourself making an excuse, stop and ask yourself what the root of this excuse is, and then find ways to alter your lifestyle to eliminate these excuses.
Seek outside inspiration. There are plenty of sources of outside inspiration you can turn to when motivation is running low. For instance, think of three people in your life whom you feel your most inspired around. Consider calling them up or spending some extra time with them. Alternatively, you might watch a TED talk or listen to a podcast that centers around the idea of motivation, discipline, or success. Music and books can be other great sources of inspiration.
Repeat these steps as often as necessary. Remember that you always have the option to repeat these steps as you progress toward your goals. You can always reassess where you are in relation to your goal and create new benchmarks to measure yourself against. You can also create a new game plan that will lead you more successfully to your goal. You can always pinpoint something that isn’t working and alter your lifestyle to counter it. Remember that keeping your motivation up is a process, and it’s normal to have to stop every once in a while to recharge.
By: Maurine Anderson

Managing Digital Privacy with a Partner


The internet brings a huge array of wonderful changes for relationships. It means that barriers between different cultures are down, that it’s easy to stay in touch with people who are far away, and that there’s always an adorable cat video waiting for you somewhere.
However, the internet also brings its share of challenges for relationships. After all, when a conversation with an old flame from college is just a click away, the temptation can be harder to resist. When hard-core pornography is constantly creeping in at the corners, and the anonymity of the net makes it easy to keep secrets, it can impact marriage and family in unexpected ways. Although you and your spouse may feel like you’re in your own little bubble, our hyper-connected world loves to puncture those bubbles.
Here’s the thing: every couple has their own way of dealing with the challenges that the internet presents. It’s impossible to say that one way is right or wrong. However, it’s always good to be well-informed, and open channels of communication between you and your significant other.
So, I’ve collected information about three young couples who have had to think about the question of online privacy between the two of them. Each deals with the challenge in their own way, according to their specific challenges and relationship. Reading more about them can help you develop a plan for how you’ll handle online privacy with your own partner.
Marin and Troy
Marin and Troy* have already come face-to-face with the challenges presented by the internet. Troy has struggled with a pornography addiction in the past, and so they’re taking measures to guard against it, and to rebuild trust between the two of them.
The first step for this is setting up filters on the internet on the home, and on both of their phones. This allows both of them to check their behavior online, and to stop and consider where they go and what they see, instead of being subject to compulsive clicks. In order to avoid friction or resentment between the two of them, they decided to set up Troy’s mother as the arbiter of filters on options that allow for parental controls.
In addition to the filters, both Marin and Troy have access to all of each other’s online accounts. Although at first this might feel like an alarming breach of privacy, they’ve decided that it’s a necessary measure in order to re-establish trust that was lost in the wreckage of addiction. What makes this work well for them is that it goes both ways, so both of them are more alert to the way they behave online. Marin said, “I was surprised to see that there were actually things on my account that I would have initially wanted to hide from Troy. Not anything really illicit, but just things I was saying about some of my friends, or the amount of shopping ads I received in my mailbox. Sharing access to each other’s accounts has actually opened up a lot of conversations that we wouldn’t have had otherwise.”
Ben and Carla
Ben and Carla decided from the get-go that they didn’t want to have any secrets from each other. Although they still have their old email accounts, they both have the passwords and access to the others’ account. But on social media, they’ve decided to merge their accounts into one family account instead of maintaining separate identities. This means that they both know about the others’ friends, their new projects, and the manner in which they interact with the people around them.
Ben told me, “We decided to merge accounts at some point during our engagement. I was contacted by an old High School girlfriend who wanted to chat again, even though it said on my profile that I was engaged. It’s possible that her reaching out was totally innocent, but we realized that it wasn’t really a question that we wanted to have come up over and over again once we were married.”
“Although both of us lost some friends in the transition,” said Carla, “The truth is that most of those friends were people that we didn’t keep in touch with anymore anyway. We know that we’re building a new life together and that there’s not necessarily room for anyone who doesn’t know us as a couple instead of as two individuals.”
Pat and Jun
Pat and Jun are two people who value their individuality and independence. In fact, deciding whether Jun would take Pat’s last name when they got married was a big deal. Both have their own careers and sets of friends that are independent of the relationship.
When they got married, they decided that they would keep all their own accounts and usernames. So how do they counter threats that could hurt the relationship? “We decided early on that we would make a decision right then to trust each other, and to talk openly about everything,” said Pat. “That means that if someone asks one of us out for a coffee date, we tell the other about it and talk over whether it makes either of us uncomfortable, or if it’s something that doesn’t threaten the relationship at all.”
While Pat and Jun maintain privacy online, even from each other, they both say that when they have kids around, they’re going to set up filters on the internet. “Filters can guard against everything from adult content to total time-wasting or cyber-bullying. I don’t want to censor what my kids can access, but I want to make sure that I’m able to talk to them about every new challenge as it comes, so I want to be aware of what they’re seeing,” said Jun.
By Christine Hill
*names have been changed for the sake of privacy

Exercising Your Mind


Ever since I stopped being a student, it seems like my mind has started falling apart. I can’t be the only who’s noticed. I’m not as quick on the uptake when I’m calculating a discount at the store, or the tip on the restaurant check. I don’t remember new people’s names as well, and I have a hard time expressing what I know about the nation’s drug abuse fiscal burden… see? That didn’t even make sense.
Your brain stops developing sometime in your 20’s, according to most studies. The prefrontal cortex is still developing between age 18 and 25. This region controls things like impulse control, self-evaluation, focusing attention, and complex planning.
However, as soon as your brain hits peak performance, certain functions start to deteriorate. The first things to go in your late 20’s and early 30’s are spatial skills, reasoning, and speed of thought. Next up is memory; it’s harder to find connections and names and recollections.
Keeping your mind active can stave off disease, make your quality of life better, and reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. So what can you do to keep your mind fit and spry once you’re done with school, and your job requires you to do the same type of busywork day in and day out?
Read Instead of Watching TV
Studies have found that reading improves connectivity in the brain, and especially exercises your language function and your ability to process movement and sensation. However, 42% of college grads will never read another book after graduation (how heartbreaking is that!)
Other studies show that reading stimulates the brain and decreases your risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia, especially when compared with watching tv, which dramatically increases your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. The beneficial effects can also be had from word puzzles, games, and cognitively engaging activities like painting or playing an instrument. So, even if reading isn’t your thing, cultivate a hobby that will keep your mind active.

Exercise Your Body

Although we usually think that exercise is something for the body, not the mind, the truth is that you can’t isolate them from each other. The way you treat your body affects the way your mind works, and vice versa. Exercise can have an amazing effect on the brain. In fact, kids who exercise regularly get better grades, are better able to focus, think creatively, and make new connections.
Exercise continues to have an effect on our brain as we age. Exercise improves blood flow to the brain, and the ability to make new nerve cells and connections within the brain. One study showed that simply walking every day improves your ability to daydream, plan for the future, remember the past, and even the ability to plan and execute a task.
There are other ways that your body’s health affects your brain, too. Eat well, and get enough sleep in order to continue to support your brain’s health.
Try Something Completely New
We’re only recently learning how much our brains love novelty. Our brains are wired to seek out brand-new things. We actually get a dopamine hit that encourages us to explore more and find more rewards when we try something new. Novelty helps us to build new connections and learn more. We used to think that you were born with a finite amount of brain cells. But now we know that brain cells are actually created throughout our life (called neurogenesis) and neuroplasticity (the ability for your brain to actually change over time) can be cultivated by exercising your brain and trying out new things periodically.
So, continue to try out new things as you age! Travel somewhere new, take a class for a skill you’ve always wanted. Best of all, meet new people! Social connectivity keeps our brain active, staves off disease, and reduces stress.
Be Positive
One of the biggest ways to quickly age your brain and make it slower before its time is negativity and stress. Stress can dampen your memory, hamper nerve and cell growth or development. Find your own stress relief technique, like exercise, social interaction, walks in the park, daily meditation, and cultivate it as a habit of your life.
By Christine Hill

How We Wore It: Fall Sweaters


It’s back! With my blog break there was also a break for How We Wore It! But I am excited to introduce it back to the blogging world today. In case you need a refresher, this is how it works. All of us were given the same “inspiration outfit” and we were asked to create our own take on it once we let our creative juices flow. Any outfit can be inspired by the colors, the patterns, the pieces, or the textures is fine.  So our how we wore it is coming from the inspiration side – with things we already have! Because not many people have the luxury to just go buy a new outfit based on what they see on Pinterest, so you have to work with what you have. First up is the look we used for our inspiration.

I picked out this outfit because I thought it was the perfect way to introduce fall while reintroducing How We Wore It. The outfit was simple enough that it could be taken to any inspiration direction. And now that the weather is finally cooling down I cannot wait to pull out all the sweaters and cardigans in my home. Here is my take on the look.
So when I originally was thinking of this outfit I had a really great idea in mind with the navy blue cardigan I have that is chunky and oversized… but then I remembered I have it to D.I. so I was out of luck. So I decided to go with another fun sweater in my closet. I swapper the dark on top, light on bottom for a light sweater on top and dark leggings. Then I still paired the look with brown boots and accessories.
Want to see more Diary of a Debutante inspired outfits? Check out how all these babes styled their look –  Kyla from FordOlogy / Paige from The Happy Flammily / Alyssa from Impractical Composition / Jessica from Flint Flair / Amber from amber nicole blogs / Jen from Real Life, On Purpose / Autumn from Stay gold Autumn / Rebekah from These are the Days / Tessa from Tessa Marie / Aubrey from Aubrey Zaruba / Emilie from Burke Does / Susan from Sue’s News / Madeline from CaseyLand / Sierra from Sierra’s View / Justine from Little Dove Creations / Jessica from Mason Jars and Lemon Bars / Kiana from Glitter and DonutsWant to be one of the 15 How We Wore It stylists next month? Don’t forget to sign up!

General Conference


This weekend is something I have been looking forward to for a long time. For as long as I can remember, my birthday always went hand in hand with General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. When I was younger that meant Buffalo Chips for breakfast, “going to church” in my pajamas, and getting to sit on a couch rather than in a pew. But as I got older it meant an opportunity to hear counsel from a living prophet and the apostles of the church. Listening to talks, experiences and guidance from the men and the women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, men and women that I have looked up to so dearly. And amazingly, every conference there seems to be at least one talk, if not all of them from a session, that seems to be completely directed towards me. Towards the questions I have, the trails I am facing, and the things going on in my life. I know, without a shadow of doubt, in those moments that these men and women are called of God. I know that their talks are inspired by my Heavenly Father. And I know that they are listening to the words He needs them to say for his sons and daughters, for me and for you. I am so grateful to be a member of a church that has modern day prophets and modern day revelation, so that I can learn and grow and become closer to my Heavenly Father in these latter days. And I am grateful for General Conference as it comes every year to give me the guidance and answers I have been praying for.

What is General Conference? General conference is a semiannual gathering of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During general conference weekend, Church members and others gather worldwide in a series of two-hour sessions to receive inspiration and instruction from Church leaders.

Why does the LDS Church hold General Conference twice a year? The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints hold a General Conference twice a year, once in April and once in October, as an opportunity for members to join together and listen to a prophets voice. This has been part of the church since 1830. Every week members can go to church to hear from local leaders and members of their ward family, but twice a year we can all come together to listen to words from a living prophet, a mouth piece from God.

How can I watch or listen to General Conference? You can watch live or listen live directly on This year there will be 5 different sessions broadcast to the public. The General Women’s Session was broadcast last week on Saturday September 24th at 6:00pm MDT. Priesthood Meeting will be broadcast October 1st at 6:00pm MDT. General Conference will be broadcast October 1st and 2nd at 10:00am and 2:00pm MDT.

When does the President of the church speak? For the October 2016 conference, the President of the Church, Thomas S. Monson, will be speaking during the Sunday morning session at 10:00 a.m. MDT on October 2nd – but there are other opportunities to hear him speak throughout other sessions as he conducts and gives reports.

Does General Conference come in only English? Conference is translated into 92 different languages for members and investigators around the world.

Is there a way to get involved or see snippets from General Conference on social media? Members of the church will be tweeting quotes and thoughts from conference all week by using #ldsconf.

Will the talks shared at General Conference be available after it is done? Within 24 hours the talks begin to be available online. Over the following 6 weeks they are put into publication in the Ensign, a church magazine, Mormon Channel, DVD, Audio CDs, iTunes, and so many other places. The talks are translated into over 70 languages for people around the world. There is also an archive of past General Conference for anyone to read.

Are there large meetings in addition to General Conference? Most members of the LDS church attend church on a weekly basis, but in addition to the general conference meetings there is a General Relief Society, Young Women, and Priesthood broadcast. In those meetings talks are designed and inspired to reach those specific groups. These talks will also be available online.

If you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to ask. I know that lots of times people are curious about other people’s practices but don’t want to offend by asking or they just don’t know what to ask. I am an open book and I am happy to answer any questions or have a discussion about anything. You can also read some more on #ldsconf from my friend here.

Color By Amber


There is a 75% chance I will buy something if it is going to a good cause. It makes me feel like I am shopping for a good reason – you know, like my money is going somewhere great? And that is why when I was introduced to Color by Amber I was hooked. To the point that I even signed up to sell it for a bit before deciding my life was a little to crazy. I loved the message behind the jewelry and I loved that it benefited more than just a girl trying to look fashionable.

Necklace: Color by Amber
Dress: Sister Missionary Mall
Shoes: Nordstrom Rack

Color by Amber is made of recycled content, they don’t send a single thing to the landfill, their products are BPA and chemical free. Basically everything is created around re-usability, recycling, and safety. And then to boot they help women world wide by creating Full Circle products that give back to women and children worldwide. Things like solar projects, education, and employing women to help create the beautiful products. So who said looking good has to be just for you? It can be for much more than that with products that give and give. And that is why I am a sucker for products like this.

Ensuring Your Pet Lives a Long, Healthy Life


Many of us consider our pets to be almost family, so it makes sense that we would do what we could to ensure a pet’s health—just as we would for a child. Here are some ways to ensure that your cat, dog, or other small pet is healthy, helping it to live a long and healthy life with your family.

Take your pet to the vet regularly. This one is a no-brainer, of course, but it’s worth the extra reminder. Taking your pet to the vet regularly will ensure that it’s getting the vaccines it needs, as well as regular screenings for common diseases. Your vet can also tell you how you might improve your pet’s diet, employ better grooming practices, or give your pet more effective regular exercise.

Restrict the ‘people food’. Yes—it’s so much more convenient to let your dog be the ‘garbage disposal’ of the household, cleaning off plates right before putting them in the dishwasher. The trouble with this, however, is that so much of the ‘people food’ we give our pets is detrimental to their health. In addition, those extra bits of food quickly add up and could lead to obesity in your pet. Try to avoid giving your pets people food as much as possible; at the very least, refrain from feeding them those foods that are known to be harmful, including alcohol, avocados, chocolate, caffeinated drinks, citrus, coconut, dairy, grapes, nuts, onions, raw meat, snack foods, yeast dough, and anything with bones in it.

Refrain from overfeeding. Many pet owners have a habit of keep their pets’ food bowls filled continually; and this is easy to do considering that our pets are great at acting like they’re hungry all the time. But with an estimated 54 percent of cats and dogs in the United States being overweight or obese, risk levels of diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, and some types of cancer in our pets are higher than ever. Talk to your vet about how much food your pet truly needs on a daily basis, and make it a point to stick to this amount.

Give your pets regular exercise. On a related note, it’s important not to underestimate the physical and psychological benefits that regular exercise can have on your pet’s health. How much exercise your pet needs will depend on its size, age, and whether it’s a dog, cat, or other small pet, of course. In general, dogs need anywhere between 30 minutes and two hours of physical activity every day; this might mean going on a walk, playing fetch, or playing at a dog park with other dogs. Cats, meanwhile, often don’t get enough exercise if they are indoor cats. A minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity is a good starting point for your cat, and how your cat gets to play with a laser pointer, and others even like to go on walks. Small rodents, meanwhile, often take care of themselves when given ample space and perhaps an exercise wheel. exercise will depend largely on its preferences. Some cats like to chase feathers, some like to chase feathers, some like to play with a laser pointer, and others even like to go on walks. Small rodents, meanwhile, often take care of themselves when given ample space and perhaps an exercise wheel.

Groom your pet regularly. Grooming isn’t just a matter of appearance; it can have major effects on your pet’s health, as well. First, if you groom your dog or cat yourself, this gives you an excellent opportunity to examine your pet’s skin and fur up close. You might, for example, notice a mysterious rash or parasite, allowing your pet to get the attention it needs in a timely manner. In addition, regular grooming, especially with medicated shampoos, can discourage parasite infestation. Don’t forget about tooth brushing, either. With more than 85 percent of cats and dogs over 4 years old being affected by dental disease, dental hygiene for your pet is an excellent topic to bring up to your vet at your next visit.

Beware of household toxins. As this article details, many of the paints, finishes, and other decorative coats we use around the home could be damaging our pets. This is because pets of all varieties have a tendency to chew or gnaw on household items; and because of their lower weight, it takes much less of a toxin to cause harm to a dog, cat, bird, or rodent. These toxins can cause cancer, organ damage, fur loss, and so much more. So before you take on that next DIY painting project, ask yourself: Is this something that my pet could be exposed to? Additionally, consider safe paint alternatives such as sandblasting or powder coating.

Consider a pet trust. Many people do not consider creating a pet trust when they sit down with an attorney to do their estate planning, but a pet trust is a great way to ensure that your pet will be cared for as you wish in case something happens to you. In a pet trust, you can designate a caregiver for your pet, allocate money to be used toward the care of your pet, and outline specifics on how you would like your pet cared for (such as what food it should be fed, how often to take it to the vet, etc.) This page contains more information on pet trusts.

You Can Be Good at Hard Talks


In every relationship, there comes a time for hard talks. These come in many shapes and sizes: from the touchy subject of whose family to spend Thanksgiving with to the intensely vulnerable confession about a health problem. The discussion, early in the relationship, may simply be about how you feel with where the relationship is going, or it might be time to disclose some information about your past, like an addiction or some kind of trauma that still affects you.

Avoidance Is Poison. We often postpone or avoid these conversations because we’re afraid of the fallout. Will it change how he or she feels about you? Will it invite conflict into your lives? Maybe it’s better to just forget about it…

Just kidding. However awkwardly you stumble through the conversation, however you might miscommunicate or even cause conflict, trying is miles better than not trying. Numerous studies have found that being emotionally disengaged and uninvested is much more harmful to a relationship than conflict or hard truths.

Communication Is a Skill. Communication certain truths MIGHT hurt or end a relationship. Failing to communicate important things WILL hurt or end a relationship. Never fool yourself into thinking that avoidance is actually a strategy.

The good news is that communication, especially communication in specific relationships, is a skill. Therefore, you can learn great communication skills and techniques. You can go from being wretched communicators now, to becoming world-class examples of strong communication if you’re simply willing to try.
Try These Tips 

Assume nothing

The first step in effective communication is to be humble. Sure, you know your partner pretty well. But assumptions block communication. Never assume that you know how he or she will react. Never assume that they understand your actions and intentions without them being explicitly stated. Conversely, never assume that you completely understand your partner’s actions and intentions. Go in with an open mind, and run every assumption you have through rigorous screening. Is he actually angry right now? Or does he just seem angry because he feels like he’s being rushed?

Understand different communication styles

The ever-so-popular book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus grandly illustrated the idea that we can get our signals crossed when we don’t understand each other well enough. However, communication differences go beyond simply “male” and “female” conversation styles. Your personality, goals, and background all determine communication style. For example, maybe he goes quiet and thoughtful when confronted with a challenge or dilemma in the relationship. He wants to carefully consider the problem before responding. Meanwhile, she’s taking his silence as withdrawal, and she’s desperately reaching for a reaction from him to show that he’s still invested and listening. In response, he thinks that she’s attacking him, and disrespecting his input.

Obviously, this can cause a perpetual spiral if it’s not countered. It’s important for her to understand that he needs some time and quiet in order to process things and offer her his best self. He needs to understand that she craves feedback and acknowledgement.

Some of us lead the charge for communication with our feelings. Others lean on logic, and others try their best to put a happy face on everything and gloss over communication challenges. Learn about your partner’s style, and your own. Make allowances for the strengths and weaknesses of each when you need to have a discussion.


I know that sometimes it feels calculated and controlling to rehearse or strategize a difficult conversation before the actual fact. But for many of us, it’s necessary. There’s a myth that what’s said in the heat of the moment is the truth, when actually, it’s often a defensive lie.

I personally have a tendency to avoid confrontation, even when I know it’s necessary. I’ve learned that if I reach out to the person in question ahead of time, or give them a “can we talk later?” it helps keep me on track and gives me an external motivator to stick to my guns and have the hard talk.

Additionally, it’s often wise to thoroughly think out a problem before going into confrontation mode. Is this really something that needs to be addressed? What do you actually want to change or share? How can you curb any language that might be accusatory? What are you actually wanting to say? For me, I often write it out first just to organize my thoughts, knowing that I can get stressed and jumbled when I’m on the spot. It can also help to talk it out with another friend just to make sure that you’re being fair and balanced.

Bridge the Gap with Love

The language that you use to approach the conversation can help remind you both that this is a temporary challenge inside the context of a bigger and better relationship. When we hear something like “I wish you wouldn’t smoke” it’s easy to exaggerate it in our heads to, “I think you’re stupid and weak” or “I’m ready to bail on this relationship” if we’re feeling insecure. Emphasize the things that you love about your partner, focus on care and concern. Help your partner feel your care with words, touch, and service.

By Christine Hill

Time Will Tell


Sometimes I really feel like I am on top of things and like I can rule the world… and then sometimes I feel like I am drowning in my own sea of life. For about half the year I live alone, because my husband travels for his job. And to avoid feeling lonely, I fill my time with a million other items. I work, I volunteer, I teach, I blog, I watch shows, and I try to spend time with friends. I try to do a lot of things so I never am on my own. And so I don’t let myself fall into a pity party. But then when my husband is home I still have all those things that I was previously used to doing PLUS one of the most important things in my life. All of that plus regular emotions and mental states, I have finally come to a point in my life that I realize the importance of prioritizing and cutting out what I can do without.

Watch: Arvo
Top: Eleventh Avenue
Hat: Aro & Co
Jeans: Old Navy
Shoes: Target

And the older I get the more I realize my priorities have shifted. My priorities used to be husband, friends, blog, social life, and so on – and then everything else was great too so I didn’t want to cut it. I wanted to do everything and anything I could. Because I liked feeling busy. But now I am realizing my priorities lie in my family, church, and personal well-being. Well being is the key one in there – because before I would load up my plate so full that I never had time for myself to just say nope, I am going to do me today. That is why I made sure to blog when I was too busy to even see straight, spent time commenting and scrolling on IG and Twitter, made sure to always volunteer for things – I don’t know. I was crazy! That is the only way to describe it. But I am putting myself first and really evaluating where I am at. And that is why I disappeared from here for a bit. With life and all I had going on, blogging just because I was “supposed to” didn’t feel right. So I took a break. I stopped spending so much time on social media. I said no to things, and man… did that feel good! So what are my priorities going to be tomorrow? Or next year? Or in five years? I couldn’t tell you…. things shift. Feelings change. And only time will be able to tell where I am landing.

Kini Swimwear


Remember a few months ago when I talked about Kini? That website to design your own swimsuit exactly the way you want it! That’s right exactly the way you want. From cut to color to print to so on. ALL OF IT. All you. Well – I told you then that you could see it soon. And soon turned into a little bit longer because of shipping from Australia and me not understanding the sizing difference of US vs Aussieland. So I am finally here to show you the goods! I decided to try out the two piece racer back and I am in LOVE with how it turned out. Like seriously, in love.

Swimsuit: Kini
Coverup: Pink Blush
Shoes: Target

Kini is so impressive – they suit looks just the way you designed it when it shows up in your hot little hands. There is nothing left to the imagination – because the preview shows you just what you want. There are a billion patterns and colors and combinations of all of the above to make your suit just the way you want it.

I loved designing my own suit and loved that there were different options. I always tend to get corals and pinks and whatnot with my swimwear, so I was really excited to try out something blue and floral this round. I also decided to go for a totally different look on the top with the sleeves versus strappy to try out a new style. Kini has filled all my design dreams and I will for sure be back for more.

Sizing reminders! I am generally a size 10 or 12. I ordered my Kini in a size 12US – make sure you check the conversion chart! The swimsuit fit my body perfectly, however the highwaist wasn’t as high as I would have hoped, but my belly button in generally is higher than the average so that is probably why. I really loved the styling and fit and the care that Kini put into making the suit a great quality.

Go check out Among the Young for more Kini inspiration – because, seriously… how could you not at this point?
© Deidre Emme. Design by Fearne and Breezy & Co.