Starting Your Day

They say that the first 10 minutes of your day sets the tone for the rest of your day.

I really started exploring this concept, trying it out for myself. For me, this way of beginning your day has little to do with checklists and tasks, and more to do with positivity and setting the scene.

Below, I’ve compiled a list of ways to start your day, with the hope of a fruitful, joyful, productive day.

1. In the Word

This is of utmost importance. I’ve always remembered my pastor saying, “We need God and we need Him early.” If you are struggling to find joy each day, but aren’t starting it with Jesus, you are setting yourself up for a dreary day. Spending time with the Lord in the morning is like coffee for the soul. The perfect way to awake and refresh. Nourish and uplift. It doesn’t have to take long. Just dedicate a few quiet moments to set your heart on things above.

2. Make Your Bed

A simple task yet so powerful. This minuscule decision sets your scene. Tidying your space helps give you that extra little boost in the morning. You’re awake. You’re up. Your bed is made. It’s go time.

3. Stretch

Perhaps a full blown workout just isn’t in the cards. That’s okay! Simply moving and stretching can alleviate tension and help put an extra pep in your step.

4. Get something done.

Even just one tiny task. Just do one productive thing in the morning, and you will be surprised how much you will accomplish throughout the day. Put away the dishes from last night. Flip the couch cushions. Fold that load of laundry. Small tasks have big effects.

Discipline will be needed in order to have a fruitful morning. Sometimes we need to help motivate ourselves. For example, I made a rule for myself a few months ago: The tv can’t be turned on until I’ve spent my quiet time with the Lord. That simple rule has been monumental in my morning routine. And in my walk with the Lord.

How are you setting yourself up for success each morning?

My Travel Pack-List


My husband and I love traveling. Whether near or far, a little getaway does the soul so much good. 

As much as I love to travel, packing always puts a damper on my pre-travel buzz.

“BABE, I almost forgot to pack my phone charger. Again.” A reacurring statement in the Brown Abode.

That’s why I’ve come up with some ways to make packing easier, quicker, and less stressful. Because who wants to be stressed before a vacation?!

I started keeping a small packing list on a scrap of paper that I would pull out each time I travel. It contains an all inclusive list of everything I need. Just recently, I decided to create a printable pack-list I could print each time I venture to a new place. SO HANDY.

With all that said, I am giving you my free travel pack-list printable! This list is geared towards women, and you can add other specific items on the blank spaces provided. This allows you to personally tailor your list for what you will need in a specific destination. For example, if you’re going skiing, you may want to write in “snow boots.” This list is a general list of what you might need.

Click below to print your copy! (Or maybe a few. 😉)

Travel Pack-List Printable

Where are you traveling to next? Comment below and tell me how you like the printable!

Happy Travels,

Julia

The Beauty of Meal Planning 

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Happy Weekend!

I’m writing to you from a cozy leather chair in this fancy house I babysit for. I like to do little side jobs to earn money for random things I want. Tonight I’m working for this black jumpsuit I want to get for our anniversary trip to New York City. Hehe. The kiddos are in bed, so I thought I’d use this opportunity to write about meal planning.

I remember as a little girl watching my mom meal plan on a piece of lined notebook paper. I’d put in my requests for certain ice cream flavors or more apple juice. I’d always look forward to finding out what meals we’d be having in the upcoming week. Clam sauce, minestrone, and baked ziti were among my favorites. I had quite refined tastebuds for an 8 year old.

Now I’m all grown up, and meal planning just like my momma. On the couch. With a lined piece of notebook paper. 🙂

Why meal plan?

Well, there’s a few reasons.

1. It saves time. I know so many people who scramble after work trying to figure out what’s for dinner. So, they run to the grocery store last minute and throw together a meal when they get home. Then, the next day they repeat the whole process all over again. Hectic and unnecessary.

2. It saves money. If your buying ingredients as you go throughout your week, you will easily go over budget. Planning out your meals for the upcoming week allows you to keep your grocery list down to what you need and can afford.

3. You’ll eat healthier. Probably about 9 times out of 10, if you don’t plan what you’re having for dinner in advance, you’ll probably end up getting fast food somewhere. Meal planning allows you to create a balanced menu for the week. Instead of impulsively buying potato chips on your way out of the grocery store, you can plan to purchase healthy snack items like fresh fruit and nuts.

Allow me to explain how I personally mealplan for my husband and I. First, I write on one side of a piece of paper a grocery list. This list contains items we are out of stock or running low on. On the flip side of the paper, I write each day of the week. I plan my meals according to what works best for our lifestyle. I pull out the recipes for those meals and add the needed ingredients to the grocery list. Then, I post the meal plan on the fridge so my hubby can see what’s for dinner. He likes that. 🙂

Here’s what’s for dinner this week:

Monday: Frozen organic pizza with a salad (We have pizza every Monday, because…Monday.)

Tuesday: Fettuccine Alfredo (homemade, the Olive Garden recipe)

Wednesday: Leftover Alfredo

Thursday: Turkey Chili

Friday: Leftover Chili

Saturday: Date night

Sunday: Grill out at my parents’ house

Notice the flow of my meal plan. Monday-easy. Tuesday-cook. Wednesday-I get a break. Thursday-cook. Friday- I get a break, because I can never bring myself to cook on a Friday night haha. If you are cooking for two, I highly recommend following a similar pattern. I came up with this right when I got married, and it has worked out so well. We are eating a home cooked, healthy meal every night. But I don’t cook every night. Did you get that? I don’t cook every night! That is the beauty of meal planning!

Cook a big meal one night, eat it again the next.

It’s that simple.

I really hope you’re feeling inspired to get your meal planning game on!

~Julia

P.s. I also plan what to pack me and my husband for lunch. No getting unhealthy food at work or wasting money on food we don’t even like!