Our MidCentury Backyard Reveal

Our MidCentury Backyard Reveal

One of the things we loved about our new home was the fact that we had a backyard. Our old place was a 3 story town home unit that had a small patio deck that was also home to the AC unit for the house. We had a pool as part of that housing community, which was great when we wanted to be outdoors enjoying the summer months, but nothing beats having a backyard for the kids to play in and the dog to run around freely.

Own your power with Athleta Girl

I was recently on a panel speaking about my career journey and I had said something along the lines of “we as the women today are in such an incredible time and place where we can be the example to our younger generation of women of how to exercise our own power with love and grace to manifest change in our lives.”

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As a mother of two young daughters I remember feeling both afraid and empowered to be raising two beautiful women in this crazy modern world. It’s definitely no easy task especially with all the that’s been happening with women’s rights lately. But for me that meant I had the ability to help construct a whole new set of rules or guideposts for them to live by, and that is empowering in itself.

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I’m so excited to be celebrating the International Day of the Girl with Athleta as they partner with Girls Leadership to help equip girls with skills to use the power of their voice. The International Day of the Girl is an important day for us to come together under the same goal to highlight, discuss, and take action to advance rights and opportunities for girls everywhere. And since women’s rights is still relatively new(ish) to us, it’s important that we celebrate it with our younger generation in any way we can. To help celebrate and support the work that Girls Leadership is doing, Athleta launched an exclusive line of limited edition All Kinds of Powerful mantra tees which the portion of the proceeds will be donated to Girls Leadership.

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Growing up my parents never spoke to me about bravery, courage, and the power of using my voice. I’m not sure if it was because I was a child of immigrant parents or if it was merely because they grew up in the time where it was the cultural norm for women to conform to all of society’s values instead of redefining their own.

One of the things we’ve been doing a home a lot lately is defining our values on a deeper level. We’ve been asking ourselves how we want to live and lead our lives here at home for ourselves and for those around us. One of the things I challenge my girls with high-mileage questions so that they can investigate their thoughts around that answer and define something that is more authentic to them.

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I asked my girls what does power mean to them. Olivia had answered “Power to me is being strong and independent.” Hearing this answer made my heart sing because independence is one of those characteristics I value in people and to hear my 8 year old girl use that as a way to describe power tugged on my heart strings. My eldest Airis said, “To be powerful is to be strong and a good leader.” The moment she said a good leader, I thought WOW! These girls are so empowered and filled with integrity. They also understand that everyone’s definition of powerful is unique to that person and it doesn’t diminish another person’s perspective of it. In fact they choose to learn from the differences rather than distance themselves from the other person.

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Power to me means

being a good leader.

Every girl deserves to know that she matters, she has a voice, and that voice can change the world around her. Here are some ways that you can strike up a conversation that helps her find ways to use her power.

Acknowledge that she is already powerful.

I cannot stress the importance of positive reinforcement and acknowledging the strength each person has inside, especially a young girl. Acknowledging one’s personal strength and power provides a strong foundation of self worth that they can continue to build on as they grow.








Power is honesty when it comes from a place of love.

Honesty and truth turns pain into power, but only when it comes from a pure place of love as the intention. When our voices are used in a malicious manner it doesn’t serve our highest purpose and only causes destruction.








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Help her find a version of power that works for her.

There are so many different examples of female leaders who are strong, independent, and powerful in their voice. Some are introverts, others are extroverts, and there are plenty of women in different industries leading in different ways. Allowing them to see different examples gives them space to create an ideal version of what might work for themselves.


Ask her to define power.

Power is not about having control over a situation or person. It is however about having the influence to create positive change. Make sure to help her understand that her words matter and her actions can impact others.


We’re celebrating this day by honoring our girls with love and celebrating them for their strength, courage, and power to be themselves. How are you celebrating?  


This post was sponsored by Athleta and I was compensated to write this post, but all the opinions are 100% my own.
































JUST ASK JO: How Do I Balance Blogging and Family Life

QUESTION: 

First, Ive been following you for awhile—I absolutely love your mission and passion you have for what you do and how much love you have for your family. Truly inspiring!

Secondly, I am a new mama and have recently started blogging, but I am having such trouble keeping my motivation to work on it (mostly because of being so focused on my sweet baby). I was wondering if you had any advice on balancing your work and family life, and how to stay motivated? 

Much love and thanks, 
Kenzie 

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ANSWER:

The ever so elusive question of balancing work and family life. First off, congrats on your blog. I know the excitement it feels to start jotting down thoughts, writing, and creating content that comes from the heart. It’s overwhelming at times especially when it begins to feel like you’re just standing in a dust storm trying to make sense of it all. Balance can feel like the same thing which is why I believe in harmony and taking things one day at a time.

The focus and motivation to work on my blog, create content, and to write ebb and flow. It’s probably one of the largest struggles that bloggers rarely talk about. If you’re like me than writing is a form of therapy and can almost be cathartic. Sometimes in your own writing you get overwhelmed add that with family life it’s a perfect cocktail for chaos.

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So here are some tangible things you can do to help balance out work/family life:

Create a schedule that works for you

If you’re freelancing, work for yourself, or have the flexibility to work from home at your 9-5 make sure to create a schedule that works for you, your work, and your family. Since working for myself I’ve adopted a 10AM - 6PM work day on most days and I love it!


My ideal day typically looks like this:

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  • 6:00AM - wake up

  • 6:30AM - go to the gym

  • 8:00AM - get back home. Hubs takes kids to school (Jonathan took on the role of stay-at-home dad when he went full time with his photography business over 8 years ago. So a lot of the drop off/pick up routines are still managed by him)

  • 9:00AM - breakfast/catch up with the hubs on the day

  • 9:30/10:00AM - start my work day

  • 12:00PM - lunch AWAY FROM MY DESK!

  • 6:00PM - dinner time

  • 7:00PM - unplugged hang time with the fam. This is so important to us and something we do our best to uphold.

  • 10:00PMish - bedtime and rinse and repeat

Set boundaries!!!

I cannot stress how important creating boundaries are for work/life balance. Boundaries are not walls. Boundaries are doors and you have the option and choice to open those doors whenever you want/need to in order to adjust to life’s constant changes. For me, boundaries aren’t actually put into place for the family, they are actually in place because I tend to be a work-a-holic and this helps me to keep my harmony while juggling both work and family.

One boundary that is pretty strict for me is the amount of time I spend working. I try really hard not to put in more than 30-35 hours a week of active work time. As a blogger/social media influencer I often get invited to social gatherings and that’s all part of the role of marketing. I also roll that time up into my work week so I don’t feel like I’m a complete slave to my work.

The other boundary that’s relatively firm is the day(s) I take coaching sessions with clients. Typically those days are Tuesday and Thursday and it really works well for me to keep that consistent.

The not so tangible…

Creative Motivation

The motivation needed to focus on work can be really difficult when you have young kids and all you want to do is hang with the babes. Listen to your instincts! If right now your focus is on your sweet baby then let it be. They are only little for a small period of time. But if you’re really looking to find motivation to write and work on your blog then maybe blocking out time to focus on two days of blogging/writing is what might work best.

Motivation can both be found external and internal. External motivation is when someone behaves in a way that is outside of that person. It often comes from parents, boss, coworkers, family, and salary or promotion (advancement). Internal motivation engages in a behavior that is personally motivating. Identifying which motivation is fueling your desire to work on your blog could be the first step to breaking out of this work slump you’re experiencing.

Celebrate the small wins!

Once you’ve broken out that slump, make sure to celebrate you. This helps create positive reinforcement to the steps you’re making towards your blogging/work goals. Celebrate even if the step happens to be opening your laptop, writing a few words, and closing it 20 minutes later. Celebrate the small wins, this applies to every area of your life.

Give yourself grace

This by far is my most important tip on regaining motivation in any area of life. Discipline gets you started on the journey, grace and self love keeps you going. Life is going to get messy and motivation, creativity, and the desire to pour into your hustle will ebb and flow. Don’t beat yourself up too much. Each area in life has a season and just like seasons they come and go.

Hope this helps!



5 Tips for Turning a Stressful Morning into a #PowerHour

5 Tips for Turning a Stressful Morning into a #PowerHour

The kids are back in school and I’m so thrilled! Don’t get me wrong, I love that I get to spend more time with them when they are home for the summer, but sometimes that can get really chaotic and challenging for two parents who work for themselves. One of the things I hear from women all the time is how chaotic mornings can be when it comes to rushing everyone out of the house to start their day. Below I’m sharing 5 tips you can try to help change that.

Stay organized with packing cubes

Keeping organized while on the road can be tricky and can cause a lot of stress regardless of whether or not you're constantly jet-setting or taking a trip once a year. Last year, I jumped on a plane 17 times for both work and pleasure. One of the greatest travel hacks I picked up during my travel were packing cubes!

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Packing cubes are pretty standard in the world of travel, but not many travelers have managed to pick up this little life hack. I get it! It's not the prettiest when you try to recreate the many blogger photos of open pieces of luggage filled to the brim with the most Instagram worthy travel accessories. But packing cubes have been a stress saver for me and personally, I'd rather be mindful of my mental health by staying organized. 

The benefits of packing cubes

Organize

I like to separate my workout clothing, my regular outfits, bathing suits, and underwear/PJs. This keeps my luggage neater and more organized especially if I need to zip it open during a layover. This also helps me from not overpacking when I can keep track of where things go in my luggage. 

Compression 

You can use packing cubes to compress your clothing for any trip. This is especially helpful if you're using a carry-on size. 

Versatility

Although I only use mine for clothing, you can also use them to separate camera gear, electronics, shoes, or anything else you want to store.

Environmentally Friendly

I know some people separate their clothing items with plastic bags or Ziploc bags. Nothing wrong with that, but we've slowly become a greener family and haven't bought plastic Ziploc bags for over a year and a half.

Efficiency

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A majority of my travel these days has been for work and are typically short trips. What I love about my packing cubes is the ability to literally throw my packing cubes into the drawers of my hotel or AirBnb and I'm off to whatever adventure is on my itinerary. If there are no dressers available, all my clothes are neatly organized in my packing cubes and I can pull out what I need based on which cube is holding which clothing category.

 

 

How I pack with packing cubes

So now that I've shared why I love them and why I think it's a must need for everyone let's get into getting all packed up!

One other organization hack I recently learned was to store all my travel essentials in clear containers in my closet. This just helps with time management and efficiency because let's be real, NO ONE HAS TIME to dig out toiletries and beauty products from all their cabinets. I also store my packing cubes in another clear container. We have several packing cubes as everyone in the family uses them in their luggages as well.

 LIFE HACK: Store all travel essentials in a labeled clear container so its easy to find and access.

LIFE HACK: Store all travel essentials in a labeled clear container so its easy to find and access.

Step 1: Lay out my clothes

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I lay out all my clothes so that I know what I'm packing and can do a quick overview what I need to pack and what I don't need to pack. I tend to overpack on the bikinis/bathing suits anytime I'm heading to a beach destination, hope I'm not the only one. 

Step 2: Get packing

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As I mentioned above I like to separate my clothing. Activewear goes in one cube, regular clothes go into another. Skivvies, PJs, and socks will go into a smaller cube, and then my bathing suits will have a cube of their own.

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3. Compress down

The beauty of packing cubes is the ability to literally press everything into a sweet little container. So fold your clothing neatly and pack it down.

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4. Zip it up

Zip it up and call it a day, the toss it into your luggage! 

5. Play a quick game of Tetris

The best thing about packing cubes is how neatly they fit into any luggage. You might find yourself playing a little game of Tetris if you prefer to have all of your clothes on on side of your luggage like I do. 

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Packing cubes are a life saver. The other thing that I love about them is that when its ready to pack up and go home, I separate the dirty items into one or more packing cubes and leave the clean items in another. This just helps when it comes to unpacking and doing laundry when I get back home. Last year I had some trips I had to take back to back so I left a packing cube filled with clean items in my luggage, washed the dirty clothes in one, and repacked it with a whole new set of clothes for my next trip! During trips when I have 2 or 3 days at home in between, this was such a game changer. 

A few other travel must-haves

Travel sized cosmetics/toiletries

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Stash all your travel cosmetics/toiletries for travel in other zippered bags. I like to compartmentalize everything when it comes to travel. My hair products will go in one little cosmetic bag and skincare will go into another. This is extremely helpful when it comes to unpacking at your destination or finding things in your luggage.

GUA SHA/JADE ROLLER

These are a must bring on every trip regardless of the duration. You can read all about the benefits of Gua Sha and Jade Rolling in a previous blog post. 

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Lo & Sons Fanny Pack

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Fanny packs are back! I love them and this one, in particular, is great for traveling! You can use it as a clutch and remove all the straps. What I love is that I stash my lipgloss, ID, phone, and credit cards in it and it's easy to access at the airport. 

Hope you enjoyed this travel hack. Share me your favorites in the comments below.