How to Stay Stress-Free When You Travel

Let’s face it,  we can’t be home all the time. Whether you have to go out of town for a friend’s wedding, or you’re finally crossing off that trip to Europe from your bucket list, everybody travels once in a while. Traveling can be stressful for a lot of people, some more than others. If you’re one of them, here are some of our tips to reduce stress while you’re traveling.

Sources: Pixabay

Before you leave

Preparing for travel can be taxing, and you don’t want to be so stressed out before you even get where you’re going. Being prepared is essential when getting ready to go on a trip. Don’t wait until the last minute to start packing. If you pack the day before you leave, you’ll only increase the chances of forgetting something. If you’re leaving on a Friday, start packing the Monday before. That way, you’ll have plenty of time to triple check your bags or remind yourself of anything you might have forgotten. Stay organized and label your luggage with a luggage tag so you don’t lose it at baggage claim. Utilize a  duffel garment hanging bag so that your clothes stay looking nice while you travel. Having all your affairs in order before you leave means you won’t have to stress when it comes time to get in the car or catch your plane.

Sources: Pixabay

While you’re away

Once you get to your destination, you don’t want to have to worry about your home while you can’t keep an eye on it. It’s necessary to keep your home safe while you’re away so that your thoughts aren’t filled with every worst case scenario until you get home. Having a good home security system in place will keep your mind at ease so you can enjoy your trip. SimpliSafe has an abundance of information on how to keep your home safe while traveling. You’ll want to have an alarm system set up to alert you of any break-ins and a security camera so you can watch what’s going on at your house when you can’t be there. When you know your home is safe, you can sit back and relax on your vacation.

When you get home

The stress of traveling doesn’t necessarily stop once you get home. It can be tough to get back into the swing of things after being away for a while. The last thing you’ll want to do is figure out what’s for dinner, so sign up for a subscription box like  Hello Fresh. Meal subscriptions make choosing and preparing dinner easy since they provide all of the ingredients and directions. Take the extra few minutes to unpack your suitcase and put everything in place before going to bed. As tempting as it might be to crash in bed the minute you get home, you’ll thank yourself later when the mess isn’t piling up a week after your vacation is over.

Sources: Pixabay

The physical preparation for traveling can be easier to remember to do but you must not forget to incorporate the art of stillness during your travels.   Find moments everyday to meditate and reflect on what you experience. This will help your mind absorb all the new and different things you have experience and not have it overwhelm you or let it be lost from your memory after you return home.  Bring along a journal or use your phone or laptop to document your experiences. Being able to to find quiet time during your travel really helps heighten your sense of awareness of the culture and the people. Do a little bit of people watching, you would be surprise that you may learn something new  about yourself by simply doing some “people watching”. By finding stillness in your travels, you will return home feeling refreshed and renewed and not feel exhausted and going back to the same 9 to 5 grind mentality. Instead you will feel a sense of gratitude and hope.

5 Tips for Acing Your Engagement Photos

With the holidays quickly approaching, engagement season is right around the corner! Whether you’re in the middle of planning your special day or you think your partner may be poppin’ the question soon, your engagement photos are one of the first steps in planning your wedding. From what to where to choosing a perfect location, check out these five helpful tips for beautiful engagement photos that will last a lifetime!

Wear something that you’re comfortable in

While this may seem obvious, it’s the most important thing when it comes to taking engagement photos. In order to look good in your photos, it’s important that you feel good! If you or your partner wear clothes that are too clingy or tight, you’ll end up spending your entire photo session adjusting them or picking at them. If you purchase something new to wear in your photos, be sure to try the outfit on prior to your photo session to insure that it fits properly and you feel comfortable in it. You can even have someone take a picture of you in your new outfit so that you can see how it will photograph.

Courtesy of Blue Nile

Prepare everything prior to your session

To ensure a stress-free photo session, plan out you and your partner’s outfits ahead of time and steam or iron them so that they are wrinkle free in your photos. If you plan on wearing any jewelry or accessories be sure to have them picked out prior to your photo session. Last but certainly not least, what bride-to-be doesn’t want a ring shot?! Be sure to clean your ring so that your breathtaking ring sparkles and shines in the photos!

Location, location, location

When choosing the perfect location for your engagement session, consider what you and your fiancé love as a couple and which places reflect that. If you’re an adventurous couple who loves to hike, take your photos in the mountains wearing your hiking gear. Do you and your partner love cuddling on the couch binge-watching your favorite Netflix series? An at-home session may be best for you! Don’t be afraid to incorporate your favorite activities into your photo session! If you’re struggling to pick a location, check out these helpful tips for choosing a fun location for your shoot.

Courtesy of Blue Nile

Make a date out of it

Being engaged is one of the most special, exciting times of a couple’s life together. While planning your wedding can have its stressful moments, your engagement is only a short period of your lifetime of love. It’s important to take a step back and enjoy the moment! One of the biggest pieces of advice that many photographers offer is to make a date out of your engagement photo session. This allows you and your fiancé to feel connected and romantic heading into your shoot. It will also help ease any nerves that you or your partner may have!

Hire a professional photographer

Booking your engagement photo session with a professional photographer will get you the best photos imaginable that you can look back on for years to come. Many couples have never been photographed professionally prior to their engagement session and may need some guidance. Professional photographers have years of experience shooting couples and will know exactly how to guide and direct you and your partner throughout the photo session. This is also a great opportunity to get comfortable and familiar with your photographer prior to your wedding day, making for even better photos from your wedding.

When love is genuine and real between two people, there will always be a natural chemistry which the photographer will pick up.  Looking natural and at ease is always the key to a great photo shoot.  Preparing your heart and mind before the photo shoot will allow you to express yourself naturally without feeling forced to smile or embrace one another awkwardly.   Listen to upbeat music that will set the mood beforehand that will bring a smile to both your faces.  Music has a way of relaxing the nerves and creating a sense of well-being and overall feel good mood.  Remember you are creating not just one day of memories but creating a story of your life together and the love that you both have for one another.  It is a glimpse to the beginning of a new life together.

Your engagement photos are meant to celebrate the love of you and your fiancé, so above all have fun and be yourself! If you’re looking for more wedding planning advice or ways to personalize your wedding, check out these helpful posts.

 

 

 

Making your House Feel like a Home this Fall

Life can throw some curve balls, but with a little faith even the wildest adventures can turn into our biggest blessings. One moment you’re making Sunday dinner in the home where you’ve started your family, then neatly packing up memories into moving boxes. Or perhaps you’ve just married your best friend, anxiously gearing up for the bliss of finally sharing a home together. Fall is one of the busiest times for new homeowners. When you embark on this new adventure, it can be difficult to make your abode feel as welcoming as the last. You don’t have to spend a fortune or wait years to make you house feel like a home. Creating comforting ambiances, gracious attitudes, and new memories are sure ways to bring familiarity into your loving space.

Bring coziness into your space

source: Pixabay

As the sweltering sunshine of summer fades, crisp and breezy sweater weather becomes the perfect inspiration for a fall makeover. Bringing warmth into your space helps to convey a welcoming feeling, which can encourage bonding time. The best way to make a house a home is to make it feel lived in. Creating a cozy space that you and your loved ones can’t wait to spend time in will drive that loving, at-home vibe.

 

Coziness doesn’t have to be exclusive to colder weather. Bring Hygge into your home to make cozying up with your loved ones a year round lifestyle! Hygge (pronounced Hoo-gah) is a Danish lifestyle philosophy advocating living in the moment. The Scandinavian practice is used to place emphasis on intimacy, bringing people closer together through spaces and actions that bring about relaxation and mindfulness. Incorporating muted, earthy colors, chunky knit blankets, or textured pillows into your living spaces will create a low-stress environment for bonding. Soft lighting and organic touches like candles in natural scents or succulents will create a comforting ambiance fit for cozy fall nights.

 

Bring Memories into your Space

source: Pixabay

A house that has been lived in is one that feels like a true home. After all, what made your last space so warm were the memories made within those walls. Each room had been blessed by wonderful moments shared with people you love. Those memories no longer have a physical place in your house, but that doesn’t mean they will be replaced as you create new ones!

Once you’ve gotten your home hygge-fied with cozy hues and textures, carve out time in your hectic balancing act of home, life, or parenting to host a well cooked family dinner. Whether it be an intimate gathering of just your household or a buffet spread to feed your entire extended family, filling the rooms with laughter and good conversation will make your home come alive. Even after the commotion has quieted down, the sense of company will linger from the sink full of dishes, fridge of leftovers, and a living room slightly out of place.

A living room should be more than a collection of furniture perfectly unworn and worthy of a Martha Stewart catalog. A living room, apart from the dining area, is a place for loved ones to unite and strengthen their bond. As fall brings around cool nights perfect for snuggling under covers, turn the living room into the perfect family getaway. Designate time for a game night or transform the space into a private movie theater for you and the kids. There are lots of wholesome family movies  to choose from that will truly emphasize the importance of quality family-time. Go ahead, let the room get a little messy with movie night memories.

 

Bring grace into your space

source: Pixabay

A loving home is one founded in positivity. Working to develop a space that prides itself in having respect, admiration, and gratitude for all who enter is one that will surely transform your new house.

Go beyond just the attitude you have when existing within your home by incorporating gratitude into its decor. Splash the walls with framed photos of your loved ones as constant reminders of the life you’ve lived, the memories you’ve made, and the individuals who make your days special. Research inspirational phrases that serve as encouragement to intentionally practice gratitude and show appreciation for family-time. Get crafty and incorporate these words into the room, applying them to walls as decals or getting them as prints to be framed!

For options that are customizable day by day, get a chalkboard or or cork board to display in a part of the home with lots of foot traffic. The kitchen or hallway leading to the front terrace are great options. Utilize this board to post daily messages of gratitude for your family. Display general thoughts of thankfulness or more direct gratitude towards specific members and their actions.

 

Be open, stay patient

It may take time to let go of your last home. The place you created for yourself and your family was not done overnight. However, being intentional of bringing coziness, gratitude, and memories into your new house will certainly do the trick. With repetition, you’ll eventually begin to feel your house turn into a home radiating love and familiarity.

The heartbeat that keeps the home alive and so loved is the “family unit”.  Making time for one another builds a sense of closeness and warmth. Building your home always start and ends with the family unit.  Having a healthy family unit built on Love, Trust, and Faith brings the home to life, bringing forth hospitality to all who enter.  Let no one leave without a smile on their face and a full stomach. A little hospitality goes a long way in making a lasting impression.

What you wear says a lot about you

A $2800 dress from Barneys is quite an investment or just plainly stated, out of the budget for most people.  How then can a person that decides to open up his/her wallet and make this huge purchase justify his/her spending?  Is it for pure pleasure that  they love fashion or is it because they believe that the dress is worth the investment since the fabric is made of the utmost quality and will last and sustain in their closet for years to come?  Which reasoning would you agree on? Well it depends on which social class you belong to that will give you the answer to this question. If looked through the lenses in this perspective, our habits, characters, and actions can do us no wrong in justifying what we deem is true and correct.  

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was something universal that can cross all social class and allow each of us to express our habits, characters and actions in the same way?   There is such a thing.  It does not require us to open up our wallet but we can wear it and it can say a lot about us.  The act of “Smiling” is a universal language and expression that is recognized in many culture and country throughout the world.  Clothing is highly dependent on your culture, social class and biological features which requires change and reinvention every couple of years,  which is why we always feel the need to buy a new outfit/wardrobe.  Smiling is unconditional, and is not dependent on all these factors.   It will always stay the same, in its meaning and expression , which is why “Smiling” is the most important thing you can wear, and best of all it will not break your bank but will be worth a fortune in the long run.

 

It has been known that smiling relaxes the facial muscles and calms the nervous system.  It releases chemicals called neuropeptides that influence our brains, body, and behavior which in turn helps us feel positive by changing our mood, resulting in a decrease level of stress.  Smiling also helps the brain release these “feel good” neurotransmitters like dopamine, endorphins and serotonin that help reduce heart rate and help to calm our nervous system. (D’Arcy Lyness, PhD)

Smiling is a great intrinsic tool we all have that is already built inside of us.  If we learn to wear it well each day, it can increase happiness and joy in us and those we surround ourselves with.  Learning to flex and exercise these facial muscles to form a “Duchenne smile” (sincere smile) can be a trait that is highly valuable. It shows how sincere we are and can be an influential tool in creating trust,and positive reinforcement (wikipedia.org) with others.   Ending a text with a smile emoji is a great way to create positive reinforcement.  When there is trust, happiness and joy will always follow.  By smiling more often, we can start to create wellness in our life and in our communities

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Put a Smile on a loved one’s face this season.   Get a head start on their holiday wish list.