Summer Road Trip Series Featuring Tobermory

Who is in extra need of sunshine and vitamin D after our exceptionally long winter….I know I am! I’ve been longing for barbecues, beach days, picnics, and of course summer road trips. Ahhhh yess…I can see it now. Cruising down a country road to my favorite music on my next adventure with my hubs.  I am SO excited for this next blog series on my summer road trip adventures that you MUST put on your summer bucket list.

Who doesn’t LOVE crystal blue Carribean water? What if I told you that you could experience this water without making the trek down all the way to the Caribbean? In just about a 4 hour road trip north of Toronto, you can experience some of the most gorgeous water and amazing hiking trails. It’s the perfect weekend adventure for friends, couples, and families.

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Where to stay

While there is a plethora of accommodations within Tobermory, I actually recommend staying just outside of Tobermory in Lions Head. Rates are cheaper and you can take advantage of the fun activities that Lions Head has to offer. We stayed at the most adorable B&B with the most amazing hosts. The Purple Frog Bed and Breakfast not only provided top notch service and amazing food, but we arrived as guests, and left as friends. We stayed in the Garden Queen Room that offered a beautiful view of the garden and gazebo. If you’re planning making a trip out to Tobermory, book your accommodations well in advance (as in book now!).

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What we ate

When ever I’m on vacation (even if it’s only a weekend adventure) eating great food is definitely a MUST. Our B&B served us the most amazing food! Our favorite items on the breakfast menu were the french toast (soooo good!) and the homemade granola and yogurt). To keep us energized on our long hikes, our hosts prepared for us a brown bag packed lunch complete with sandwiches, fruit, veggies, and a granola bar. We were then spoiled at dinner with a hardy Greek meal which left us absolutely stuffed! Our stay at the Purple Frog was also complimented with fresh baked cookies every day.

What we did

Okay, now for the good stuff. Our weekend was booked solid with adventurous plans! We left early on a Friday morning. On our way, we stopped in Owen Sound for a challenging hike at Eugenia Falls. While the hike was physically tiring, the view was amazing and a stop you should make time for on your drive to Tobermory.

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Following this two hour hike, we ate a delicious picnic lunch by the waterfall. We then packed up the car and continued our way to Tobermory. We made our second stop in Lions Heads where we explored Greig’s Caves. This is an absolute MUST if you are visiting the area. The trails are family friendly, the views are surreal, and the caves are so much bigger than we had expected.

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After our second hike of the day we were beat. We checked into the Purple Frog, washed up for dinner, and enjoyed some delicious veggie burgers at a local pub (I can’t remember the name!). Following dinner we attended Lion’s Head Bayside Astronomy night which is a free event open to the public. Locals set up their telescopes giving you an opportunity to see a close up of the summer night sky including the moon and Saturn’s rings.

On Saturday our adventures continued on Flowerpot Island. We took a ferry ride over to the island which included a brief tour of some local shipwrecks. If you plan on visiting flower pot island book your tickets in advance! We booked our ferry through Bruce Anchor Cruises. Flowerpot Island was absolutely spectacular and our favorite spot on the trip! Here you can experience breath taking crystal blue water, cliff jumping, and great hiking trails. There are no restaurants on the island so make sure to bring along a packed lunch.

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We spent ALL day exploring the island, in fact we were on the last return ferry of the day. We ended the day with a delicious dinner at the Purple Frog and a late night campfire.

On the last day of our road trip we explored downtown Tobermory where we played tourist at the local shops. We then explored a tourist favorite… the Grotto. While very busy with tourists (like ourselves), we enjoyed every minute of hiking, swimming, and cave exploring.  A site that is definitely worth the visit.

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After the Grotto we were EXHAUSTED and decided to head home. It was an amazing trip where lots of memories were made. If you’re looking for an adventure to add to your summer bucket list I highly recommend making this road trip.

xo,

Liv

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Passion Fruit Spritzer

Spring is FINALLY here which means Summer is just around the corner! With summer on my mind I can’t help but start to daydream about my summer plans. Two thing I absolutely love about summer are BBQ’s and patios! Bring on the burgers and sangria!

Today on Sweet and Saving, I’m sharing my new favorite summer drink recipe that takes under 2 minutes to make, is light, refreshing, and oh so good! My obsession with passion fruit started a year ago while down in Jamaica. From the first time I had it, I was HOOKED! Passion Fruit is the sweet like candy and has some amazing health benefits. For one, passion fruit boosts the immune system, but it’s also known to aid in digestion, keep skin hydrated and glowing, improve blood circulation, improve bone and eye health, and protect against cancer and heart disease. It’s no wonder I became obsessed with this little miracle fruit.

Passion Fruit Spritzer RecipePassion Fruit Spritzer RecipePassion Fruit Spritzer Recipe

Ingredients

1/2 Cup of ice

1 Passion fruit (I buy mine from Farm Boy)

Mint leaves

Sparkling Water

YES…4 ingredients is all you need!

Directions

Fill your favorite cocktail glass with 1/2 cup of ice

Cut passion fruit in half and scrape out all the fruit and seeds into the glass

Add a handful of fresh mint leaves

Fill the glass with sparkling water

To add some kick add 1 shot of vodka (don’t forget to drink responsibly!).

The final step is to sit back and enjoy!

Passion Fruit Spritzer Recipe

Click to shop my favorite summer cocktail glasses!

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Xo,

Liv

 

 

Happy 1 Year Anniversary Sweet and Saving!

I can’t believe it’s already been 1 year since I launched Sweet and Saving. The blog has undergone many changes since May 1st, 2017. For those who are new to following the blog, it started off as “The Accountant’s Wife”, a blog focused on topics related to finance and accounting. Well, it turns out (not to my surprise) that I HATED writing about money, it was so BORING! And apparently you thought so too, because once I started blogging about fashion, food, decor and lifestyle topics (aka interesting topics), I saw a massive jump in my engagement! In February I did a complete blog re-brand and Sweet and Saving was born. Here I talk about about affordable ways to enjoy sugar (food), price (fashion and decor), and everything nice (lifestyle).

As we celebrate 1 year of Sweet and Saving (and the Accountant’s Wife), I wanted to share some exciting success stories of the blog. In year 1 we had almost 10,000 views, 4,000 visitors, and over 1,300 people are currently following the blog! I am SO thankful for all your support and for following me along my blogging journey. To celebrate 1 year with the blog I’ve rounded up YOUR blog favorites from the past year… Drum roll please!

#1 Want vs. Need – How we Paid off $40,000 of Debt in 16 Months!

#2 10 Items to Buy At Costco

10 items to buy at costco

#3 5 Nutrition Myths You Should Stop Believing Right Now

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#4 10 Things NOT To Spend Your Money On

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#5 7 Brides & How They Saved On Their Weddings

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#6 10 Date Night Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank

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#7 20 Things I’ve Learned In My Twenties

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#8 How To Make Your Wardrobe Go Further: The Denim Jacket

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#9 Selecting Cleaners For Your Home Part 1: Back To The Basics

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#10 10 Tips for Getting into a Routine

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I am very much looking forward to another year of blogging. But with a new year comes new goals. I’m hoping to get more personal and vulnerable with you guys, and work on developing really meaningful content with the purpose to encourage and empower. My goal is not to get more views or more visitors, I’m not here to make money, I’m simply here to share my thoughts, my insights, and provide a fun space for creativity and sharing.

Thanks for following along!

xo,

Liv

 

10 Tips for Getting into a Routine

We all know that marriage isn’t perfect and that once you start sharing a life together you realize how different the two of you really are. While I love my husband’s spontaneity, it also drives me nuts because spontaneity is the complete opposite of one of my favorite words…routine.  I am routine obsessed. I have my days, weeks, months, and years planned way in advance. While, I may be on the extreme end, routine helps me to keep on task, on track, and accomplish my personal and professional goals. The great thing about routine is that is looks different for every person. There is no right or wrong way to getting into a routine. BUT, since I’m a self proclaimed routine queen, I thought I would share my top tips for getting into a routine.

Sleep

Yes we are starting with sleep because sleep is the best thing you can do for your routine. In fact, I schedule my entire day around sleep. Get into the habit of going to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time every morning (yes even on weekends). It’s also essential that you get enough sleep. Determine what that looks like for you and set your alarm accordingly (personally I need a full 8 hours). Most people need to wind down before they go to sleep. Identify what winds you down and schedule it in your day. Eventually your biological clock with kick in and you will wake up before your alarm. You feel awake and ready to conquer the day.

Plan ahead

Planning…another word that I love. What is it that you need to get done tomorrow, next week, or next month? Plan your schedule ahead of time and prioritize! I love using a day planner to help my map out my days and weeks. They key is staying organized and aware of the tasks ahead.
Shop Day Planners

Day PlannerUnderstand your priorities

There is never enough time in the day which is why is so important to understand your daily and weekly goals and priorities. Write these priorities down, schedule them in your week, and be diligent in accomplishing the task at hand. When scheduling your priorities, think about the flow of your day. Does the flow make sense? Routine isn’t just about being organized, it’s about making your life easier and more productive. If you go grocery shopping once a week, schedule it in during a time when your’re already out of the house. For me, I do my grocery shopping after the gym on Saturday because I’m already out, and the gym is just down the road from the grocery store.

cd4e6369-c681-4699-9c07-5131f3000856Pick out your clothes the day before

You know those days when you feel like you have absolutely nothing to wear so you spend valuable time going through your closet only to make a giant mess that you’re then too tired to clean up at the end of the day? Ya been there…too many times. I pick out my outfit the night before and if I’m feeling really ambitious, I even pick my clothes out for the week on Sunday.

c5439ef6-1687-477d-b61c-e8c04f0459aa-1f6ee0a6c-69fb-49e6-87d9-eb594855572eb257b7ae-b12c-496f-b80b-3ac9bc65a0c1Do time consuming tasks the night before

I HATE making lunches, like really hate it. Not only is it a task I dread, but it’s so time consuming and definitely not how I want to start my day. So I don’t. I make lunches the night before and when possible, get it done early in the evening. Any task that you dread or takes up a lot of time (like showering or meal prep) do the night before. You will thank yourself in the morning.

Wake up nicely

The best way to kick start your morning routine is to wake up the right way. Personally, I absolutely HATE loud alarm clocks. So I wake up nicely to soothing music on my phone. It actually makes waking up a lot less dreadful. Whether you enjoy waking up to the radio, your favorite song, or an obnoxious alarm, figure out what works for you and incorporate it into your morning routine. The key is enjoying waking up!

Schedule “snooze” time

I’m definitely a morning person but I also love to press snooze a couple of times before getting out of bed. Knowing this, I actually set my alarm 20 minutes earlier than the time I need to wake up. This ensures I get to “snooze” without starting off my morning running around like a chicken with my head cut off because I pressed snooze one too many times.

Eat Breakfast

You’ve heard it a million times before but breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Get into the habit of having breakfast, even if it’s just a piece of fruit. Eating breakfast gives you the energy you need to wake you up and have a productive morning.

1b8aa714-f553-41e9-9d79-766668ed3872c91432ca-5c41-49bb-ab47-377055915054Pack your bag the night before

Do you find yourself running around trying to find your keys, wallet, or glasses? It seems to be a common occurrence in our home. Pack your work bag, purse, lap top case, whatever it may be, the night before. Get your belongings needed for the next day in order so you don’t waste valuable time searching for them.

Reward your routine

One of the easiest ways to get into a routine is to incorporate something in your routine that you look forward to. For me, I LOVE waking up to a fresh, hot cup of coffee. I look forward to it every morning which helps get me out of bed. What does a daily reward look like to you?
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xo,

Liv

The Organization Series: Space Tour

Hi friends! Who else has had to deal with this crazy Canadian weather? Being stuck inside all weekend during the ice storm provided the perfect opportunity to veg, chill out, and of course catch up on a little spring cleaning. But where to even begin? Spring cleaning, while refreshing, can be overwhelming, especially with the amount of junk and “stuff” accumulated during the winter months. Luckily, my friend Julia from Noun Management is here to help get us guide us through the process starting with the Space Tour. Over to you Julia!

PHYSICAL SPACE

I am quite sensitive to physical space. I hate when my closet is messy, my desk is cluttered, and foods are in weird places in the fridge (Why!? Why did you put the jam there, it’s always here). Perhaps you feel you are simply too busy or lazy to think about where exactly something goes, and I get that, but what may take you 2 seconds now, can save you time, money, and frustration in the long run. Let’s set you up.

L i f e   i s  h a r d.

Allow your environment to make life easier by

reducing obstacles that keep you from achieving your goals.

WHY THIS MATTERS

  • Saves Money – You won’t buy stuff you already have because you know your inventory
  • Saves Time – You spend less time searching for things, and spend less time going to the store so often.
  • Less Frustrated – The hunt is reduced, and so are the “Hunny! Where’s the insert anything here?” You decrease the potential moments of being frazzled.

SPACE TOUR

Begin by physically walking through your space. Start from when you wake up, or where you enter when you first enter the house with groceries, or where you enter after work. What do you do first? What comes after that? Are there times when you unnecessarily go into another room to get something? Can you move it? Great, do it! When you walk in the door after a long day, do you put your bag and keys on the floor? Then, do you lose your keys the next time you need to go out. Set yourself up to avoid this frustrating and time-consuming situation. Put a hook on the wall or a dish on a table by the door and get into the habit of always putting your keys there unless you’re out. What about your coats? Is your closet bursting? Since it’s spring, fold up your winter coats and scarves, hats, and mitts and put them in a storage bin under your bed or in another closet. Allow the choices left in your closet to be wise ones. Don’t waste your time and brain power searching through 3 Fall coats and 2 Winter ones, when you only have 2 spring jackets. Would you like to know our suggestions for reducing what’s in your closet? Let us know!

SAFETY

As you continue through your home, consider how safe it is. According to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, safety is a main need which motivates human behaviour (McLeod, 2014). To produce a sense of physical safety, one’s space should protect from the elements, provide security, order and stability (McLeod, 2014). Aside from potential renovations, ask yourself if there are areas of your space that aren’t safe. If you continually bump your hip on that table, or get your sweater caught on the hardware on your cupboards, perhaps change is in order.

COMFORT

Acknowledge how you feel in your space. Design company Herman Miller (2007) notes that comfort isn’t easy to measure but being uncomfortable pairs with being distracted (p. 2). If you are constantly squinting while watching TV, perhaps the solution could be to move your TV to another place, or to hang blinds. At your desk, if you are distracted by sounds, maybe noise cancelling headphones are worth investing in.


Beyond safety and comfort, take note of the small spaces you get caught up in. You may spend an unnecessary amount of time sorting through the drawer with the lunch containers, or your jewelry box. Make adjustments as you go. Please feel free to send us your specific questions and we’ll give you some suggestions.

VIBES

Additionally, be mindful of whether or not you actually LIKE elements of your space. Does that lazy-boy in the corner drive you nuts? Do you wish your bathroom felt more like a spa and less like a nautical trip to the beach? Begin to purge the items that don’t bring you any positive feelings. I recommend minimalist strategies and Hygge concepts to assist you in creating spaces you like. Again, if you would like to know our thoughts on creating spaces to help cultivate joy, let us know and we can devote more time into writing about this topic.

After this general sweep of your space, let’s tackle some specific areas: Bathroom and Closets, The Kitchen, and The Office Space. Eventually, we’ll get into the nitty gritty: Schedules and Calendars, and Finances.

​Always remember, what may look like chaos to one person, makes perfect sense to another. As long as there’s a method to your madness – you do you!

Genuinely,

Julia Duiella

Shop to start organizing today!

Space Tour

Details:

Urban Outfitters Gary Multi-Hook Wall Shelf • Urban Outfitters • $24

Urban Outfitters Optic Lines Wall Hook Shelf • Urban Outfitters • $39

Union Rustic Drewniak Wall Mounted Coat Rack • $32.99

Sorbus Foldable Fabric Storage Organizer Bag – Set of 2 – Grey • $17.97

HONEY CAN DO Honey-Can-Do 3-Pack Vacuum-Sealed Clothing Storage Bags • Honey-Can-Do • $25

B & O PLAY H9i Wireless Headphones • $500

SONY Wireless Noise-Cancelling Extra Bass Headphones • Sony • $249

FINE JEWELRY Hives & Honey Elsa Silver Jewelry Mirror • $291.65

Umbra Tesora Jewelry Stand • Umbra • C$72.70

CATHY’S CONCEPTS Compass Watch & Jewelry Case • Cathy’s Concepts • $51

YouCopia StoraStack Food Container Storage Organizer • $16.99

Rev-A-Shelf Food Storage Pull Out Drawer • $202–222

 

 

 

Work Cited:  

Herman Miller. (2008). Rethinking the classroom space: Spaces Designed for Active and Engaged Learning and Teaching. Retrieved April 15, 2018, from https://www.hermanmiller.com/research/categories/white-papers/rethinking-the-classroom/
McLeod, S. Simply Psychology. (2014). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Retrieved April 15, 2018, from http://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html

Your Guide to Building a New Home Part 1: Upgrades

When we were living in Toronto, my hopes and dreams of becoming a home owner quickly came to a squashing end. I finally accepted the fact that we would be renting forever. Don’t get me wrong, renting provides a lot of financial flexibility and you can do very well financially renting (read my blog on Rent vs Buy – That is the Question to learn more). BUT…there was still something about ownership that that I longed for. Having my own space that was MINE, not having to worry about landlords, and of course putting money into an investment each month instead of having thousands of dollars go towards rent. Well, our time is FINALLY here (well almost). Now that we live in a much more affordable city, we have been able to buy our first home! We weighed our options between buying a pre-owned home and building new (a whole other blog topic), but in the end we decided to build our very first home.

I’ve watched my parents build three homes and thought the process would be easy peasy…right? Wrong! There is SO much to learn throughout the building process that can be quite over whelming at times. I recently took a poll on Instagram  to see if YOU would be interested in our experience building a home in hopes that you can relate/learn from us. Turns out that 94% of you want to know what upgrades we went with a why. This series of blog posts is NOT at all intended to brag about our new home or show-off, I simply hope that you can learn from our experience and take something away from it.

My first piece of advice for anyone building a home is to create a BUDGET. The cost of building a home does NOT end with the purchase price. You need to budget for closing costs, lawyer fees, land transfer tax, furniture, fixtures, and of course UPGRADES! Honestly, I did not foresee how much we would spend on upgrades. Throughout our process we had to adjust our budget because the upgrades were starting to get out of control. We’ve spent approximately $15,000 in upgrades and we were conservative with our upgrades!

When it came to selecting upgrades we had to remind ourselves of two things. 1. This is our FIRST home…we don’t need to go crazy. 2. Upgrade things that you can’t change later on. When it comes to upgrades, it’s easy to be swayed into getting aesthetic upgrades (counters, flooring, etc). But remember…these things CAN be easily changed later on. Our house came with hardwood floors throughout (except the wet areas) and an allowance for granite counter tops. We decided to spend our granite budget in the kitchen because we want the kitchen to be the spotlight of our house. For our bathrooms we skipped the granite upgrade and are sticking with laminate because laminate can be easily swapped out for something nicer when we decided to update the bathrooms. Plus, laminate has come a LONG way since I was a kid and you can get some very nice laminate counter tops. The only aesthetic upgrades we treated ourselves to were:

  • A stone fireplace in the great room
  • Pot lights in the great room, kitchen, and showers,
  • A fiberglass front door (we got an amazing price for this upgrade!)
  • A partially finished basement. As we have open stairs to the basement we partially finished the basement  near the bottom of the stairs so that when you look down it looks as though the basement is finished and you don’t look down to a concrete floor.

These upgrades were VERY reasonable so we felt comfortable including these in our budget.

We spent the bulk of our upgrade budget on permanent features of the home that cannot be changed after the fact, or would be more costly to put in afterwards. Here is what we upgraded:

  • We added two windows in the basement and elongated all the basement windows to let in more light
  • We added two transom windows in the great room to again let in more natural light
  • We added central vac
  • We upgraded our oven/stove, bbq, and dryer to natural gas (the cost includes installation). Gas is less expensive to operate than electricity so in the long run we will be better off.
  • We upgraded the fridge waterline from plastic to metal as this is a better quality water line and we don’t have to worry about the plastic degrading.
  • We upgraded our exterior windows, doors, and patio door frames to color to match our brick and stone (the standard color was white)
  • We upgraded our stair case from wood to rod iron spindles as this would be difficult and costly to upgrade later on

So, if you’re building a new house (or renovating) think BUDGET and PERMANENT. Instead of spending your money on things that just look good, try to think long term and select upgrades that can’t be changed or added afterwards (like windows) or things that are difficult or costly to add down the road (like gas hookups for appliances or stair case renovations).

If you have any tips for selecting upgrade or building a new home I would LOVE to hear from you! Comment below to share your tips and tricks!

xo

Liv

 

5 Ways To Declutter Your Life (Other Than Your Home)

I’ve moved houses 4 times in the last 5 years, and still have 1 more move left. I am officially SICK of moving. BUT, the one thing I love about moving is that it gives me an opportunity to go through ALL my belongings and purge. It’s amazing how much STUFF we quickly accumulate. What is it about purging that makes us feel so refreshed? Decluttering not only helps clear your mind, but it actually decreases stress, increases productivity, and can motivate you to organize other aspects of your life. Hence today’s blog post! Spring cleaning don’t have to stop with your home, you can declutter other areas of your life that are known to cause you stress and decrease productivity.

Declutter your finances

Finances can be very stressful, especially if you have debt and lack an organization system. Start by decluttering your debt and your bills. Develop a plan to kick that debt in the butt and get it paid off, starting with the debt with the biggest interest. Use a BUDGET to know where your money IS going and where it SHOULD be going. There are some great apps to help you declutter your finances. My favorite money app is Mint that helps you budget, pay and track your bills giving you a sense of financial clarity.

Declutter your friends

Friendship plays such a key role in our well-being. Great friends inspire us, comfort us, guide us, laugh with us, and cry with us. But sometimes we try to hold on to friendships that have faded or are just plain toxic causing us undue stress. In no way am I saying that we should call it quits with each and every person in our life that has caused us stress in some way shape or form, rather we should evaluate our friendships and identify those relationships that cause constant drama and negativity in our lives, as well as those relationships that we are trying to hold on to even though both parties know the relationship is not what is once used to be. But keep in mind that there is a difference between toxic and fading friendships and friendships that are going through a rough patch and depend on our encouragement and support.

Declutter your social media

Who spends too much time on social media? How often do you go on social media to quickly glance at any new updates only to spend an hour creeping your sister’s best friend’s cousin’s pictures of her new puppy? A couple of years ago I decided to purge my social media of old friends/followers, pictures, and unfollowed a bunch of accounts that just became noise on my news feed. It was the BEST feeling in the world. I also recently deactivated my Twitter account because it was just another thing to waste time on… and I haven’t missed it one bit.

Declutter your email

This just so happens to be on my Spring Cleaning list this season. My inbox is filled with way too many newsletter and email subscriptions. I spend at least 5 minutes everyday just deleting junk mail. Unsubscribe to any unread junk mail you receive to get back some precious time in your day.

Declutter your mind

The mind is such a powerful thing. Having too much on our mind decreases productivity, increases stress, and keeps us from staying in the moment. Sometimes we just need to declutter our mind and release those persistent thoughts that take up too much real estate in our brains. When focusing on a specific task, focus ONLY on the task at hand. Turn off the distractions and empty your mind of the thoughts that are causing you to shift focus. To do this I have a notebook that I use to write down my thoughts, so I can re-visit them at a more appropriate time. Meditating for a few minutes before tackling a task has also shown to improve focus and increase productivity. Take 5 minutes to close your eyes, breath, and release.

What else in your life are you looking forward to decluttering? I would love to learn more! Leave your suggestions below in the comments!

Shop the look from my featured image!

Cozy
xo

 

Liv