New Year A to Z: Part 3

    Welcome to week three of 2019 and more ideas on how to mix it up this year!  This week, we look at more ways to diversify your lifestyle this, M-S.  Enjoy!

    Meal Prep

    Don’t worry….if you are not the hardcore prepper, I am not asking you to rope the moon.  There are definitely stages to meal prep. If you are ready to jump into the deep end of the pool, then you probably already know that meal prep on the weekend can seriously decrease your stress, spending, and unhealthy habits during the week.  I highly suggest following Clean Food Crush  (I know I’ve mentioned her stuff before, but it’s because it’s so good!) for tips on healthy family meals to make ahead of time, especially lunches. If you are just getting started and want an easy transition, your Crock Pot or Instant Pot is definitely going to do the work for you  check out a couple of boards on Pinterest, like this one or this one, to get started. If you shop on saturday and crock-it on Sunday, you will be ready to go by Monday. If you are at the very beginning and are just trying to make it day-to-day, try my little trick for healthy snacking at work, and as far as dinner, if you can at least write down on Sunday what you would like to have for dinner on every day of the week, you will be miles ahead.

    Non-fiction

    Put down that trashy romance novel (no judgement ‘cause I got like 50) or that newest David Baldacci thriller and step out of your fiction comfort zone.  There are some FANTASTIC, fun non fiction reads out there these days, by some of your favorite people. Throw these on as an audiobook in the car, or plop down with one before bed to get some solid life advice, hear some great stories, and in the case of the following books, just laugh your booty off.  I highly recommend Capital Gaines by Chip Gaines, Whiskey in a Teacup by Reese Witherspoon, and Why Not Me? By Mindy Kaling to get you started.

    Observe

    This may be a no-brainer for some and completely new for others.  This one is a self-development, help any relationship you have, make yourself a better person tip.  We probably have all heard the adage “listen first to understand”, which comes from Dr. Stephen Covey’s work.  But have we ever really practiced it? And have you ever listened with your eyes? Next time you are conversing, stop thinking about what you are going to say next, and really listen to understand your communication partner.  Observe them as they talk; what are their facial expressions saying that their words aren’t? What is their body language telling you? You can learn a lot about someone and their needs and wants by what they don’t say just as much as by what they do say.  Listen with your ears AND eyes in personal relationships and at work, and you may just find yourself communicating on a whole other level.

    Peace

    GO! GO! GO!  Is that what your brain says to you from dawn until dusk?  Well it’s time to shut that down. Make 2019 the year of your peace.  Find a daily practice, like meditation, journaling, praying, talking to yourself, singing in the shower, or just sitting and staring into space and thinking about all the things you are grateful for.  Use that time for you and no one else. Make this a daily non-negotiable and the rest of your day will feel more purposeful.

    Quality Time

    If you are anything like me you have AMAZING friends that every time you get together you say “It has been way too long, we need to not let it be this long before we see each other again!”  And then, fast forward 3 months and there you are again trying to figure out when and where you can meet up. Instead, start out the year by setting up a regular date night with your BFF or brother from another mother.  Drinks once a month, a new adventure every three weeks, whatever you choose the important thing is to NOT CANCEL. You owe it to yourself to surround yourself with great people for quality time!

    Road Trip

    Load up the snacks and grab your blankie because it’s road trip time!  With gas prices at the lowest we’ve seen in a long time and the weather hovering at a nice breezy beautiful 65 for the most part, now is the time to think of where you want to go and take off!  Make your own trail mix by combining raw almonds, sesame sticks, chunks of beef jerky, and M&Ms! You can also pre-pop some popcorn and pack it in baggies for the road. My go-to road playlist? I just tell Alexa to switch on some Taylor Swift!  Check out this website for some of the most recommended South Texas road trips to take this year!

    Subscription Box

    So you see those commercials and Facebook ads pop up for subscription boxes, but wonder if they are really for you.  Well chances are, because there are so many of them out there these days, there is definitely one for you. They fit all tastes, budgets, and personalities, so why not try one (choose one with a great cancellation policy in case you decide it’s not for you) this year.  If you want to feel like you are doing good for the world, you can choose CauseBox which specializes in bundling socially conscious products for you each quarter.    If you’re all about the pups, look no further than BarkBox.  Your pup receives specially chosen toys, treats, and chews monthly, usually fitting some sort of theme. If you dabble in (or are a master of) beauty products, you will LOVE the products and the price tag of the Ipsy Glam bag. Set specifications for your skin type and preferences and wait for the beauty to roll into your mailbox.  Each month, your haul comes in a cute, unique little bag you can use for makeup, credit cards, a camera, etc. If you don’t like these, check out this site for a list of other top boxes.  Treat yo’self!

    Stay tuned for next weeks final version of New Year A to Z, and tag us on your adventures @TheCastilloGroup!

     

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