6 Smart Tips to Keep Your Life Balanced

Busy-MomWe live in a fast-paced world where deadlines and quick production drive businesses to success. If we are not careful, we can get caught up in the frenzy of the job and end up feeling overwhelmed, tired and completely out of energy. In extreme cases, many of which are more common than we might realize, the stresses of everyday labor and life can cause physical health problems, mental health issues, and family breakdowns. What can you do to find the perfect balance?

1. Set Limits and Boundaries

Whether you have a demanding job working as a professional in an office environment, or you work from home, it is important to set boundaries for yourself. Boundaries help define how you take charge of your day, meet the demands or needs of others, and help you get in touch with your own feelings. Setting limits show others what you are willing to accept, both professionally and personally, and help you know when to say “no.” Boundaries are absolutely necessary to have a successful work and life balance.

2. Create Time for Yourself

Whether you want to be a good parent, a good partner, a good employee or all three, setting aside a moment for yourself is essential. Maybe you need to relax for an hour every day doing yoga. Maybe you like to read for 30 uninterrupted minutes before bed. Whatever the case may be, carve out that “me” time and stick to it to relieve tension and minimize daily stresses. You will not only be a better you, but your professional and personal life will benefit, too. After all, you can’t do your best until you take care of yourself first.

3. Set Priorities

Prioritized lists and calendars can help you stay on track and accomplish your daily goals. When you run short on time, you will be able to see what is absolutely necessary and what can wait until tomorrow. This is where your smartphone and computer can operate in tandem. Use of the phone’s/computers “sync” feature will allow both to automatically update when a calendar or reminder feature is changed.

4. Consider a Life Coach

When you do become overwhelmed with juggling too many work and family needs, you may want to consult a life coach for advice on how to find a better balance. These mentors can help you determine priorities both at work and at home and can guide you in the right direction when you feel lost. These types of professionals also offer emotional support when you need it most.

5. Be Flexible

Being flexible may be your greatest asset when you are trying to find the perfect balance between home and family. Anyone who has children knows how important it is to be flexible, because plans can change at a moment’s notice when a child gets sick or needs something that can’t wait. Remind yourself that things won’t always go exactly according to your schedule and that’s OK, as long as you can bounce back quickly and move forward.

6. Plan Quality Family Time

When work becomes demanding and professional pressures seem too big to manage, make sure you plan some quality time with the people you love most. Giving your children and partner full attention helps you all live in the moment and enjoy the time you spend together. Leave your cell phone at home for an hour and listen to your kids or your spouse instead.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by your job, your family obligations or anything else, take action before it begins to affect your physical and mental well being. Try incorporating one or two of these tips into your busy schedule. You just might be amazed at how making a couple small adjustments can have a positive effect on your overall health and happiness.

Writer and retail worker Regi Waters has often bemoaned the lack of time in her daily schedule for social activities. Her beau and many area karaoke clubs have suffered at the neglect, while her career has thrived. A recent illness compounded by stress had her seeking a Noomii life coach to get herself on the right track.

The Case for Febgiving

Dinner-partyAs we enter the latter half of winter, it can be kind of discouraging to know that there’s not much holiday-wise to look forward to. All of the big ones have already passed, and the “fun factor” of Valentine’s Day isn’t quite as universal as we’d like to believe. Thus, it may be good for our collective mental health to consider a new holiday that’s been catching on: Febgiving!

At its core, Febgiving is a holiday for gathering up your friends and family to have a day of warmth and celebration despite the bitter cold. Consider it as a sort of pre-party for the end of winter and a surefire way to combat the season’s blues. Modeled on the luxurious feast that defines Thanksgiving, Febgiving, like most good holidays, is simply an excuse to eat and drink well in the presence of people you care about.

Not sold yet? Though the benefits to Febgiving are literally unending, here are a few choice reasons for you to jump on the bandwagon.

You don’t have to deal with tradition
Am I alone in my hostility toward whole roast turkey? It’s one of my least favorite dishes, but having a Thanksgiving dinner without it would invite endless scoldings and complaints from people who are devoted to it for the sake of tradition. That’s why Febgiving is so great: there aren’t centuries of tradition to deal with, so you can do it up however you want! Cook up a nice porchetta, some brisket, or quiche as your main dish instead — it’s all up to you!

You don’t have to invite everyone
One drawback to the major winter holidays is the feeling that hanging out with not-so-nice family members is mandatory. It’s sort of the price you pay for eating all of that good food. Since no one’s heard of Febgiving, you’re freer to decide who gets to come over and celebrate with you. You can make it a friends-only affair, or dine with a few close cousins instead of the whole clan.

Traveling is easier in February
Anyone who’s flown or driven to relatives’ homes during the winter holidays knows that it can often balloon into a huge expense. You have to budget for inflated airfare, airport snacks to eat during the inevitable delays, and extra gas for bumper-to-bumper traffic. The good thing about February is that it’s one of the slower times for interstate travel: you’ll get where you’re going faster and cheaper than in November.

It makes February a little less lonely
Though Valentine’s Day can be a lot of fun for couples, the flipside of it is that it tends to leave unpartnered people in the lurch. And since Valentine’s is really the only holiday in February, it can make the whole month feel like kind of a bummer. With Febgiving, you can extend the spirit of love to everyone in your social group, regardless of whether they’re coupled or not. Everyone wants to feel loved; especially in February.

Leftovers!
Do I even need to explain this one?

Soleil is a former chef, with an encyclopedia of recipes floating around in her head. Nowadays, she applies her culinary expertise to the wonderful world of fancy picnic baskets.

Home Organization 101

The start of a new year always feels refreshing, and it’s a time we all feel extra motivated to get our lives on track. Organization is one of the keys to a comfortable and successful year, so we’ve got you covered with these great tips to help you get started on a more organized life.

Organize-pegboard

Identify Clutter Culprits

Whether you’re a Feng Shui fan or not, we can all agree that a cluttered home can feel much more cramped and demotivating than an organized one. Start by identifying the areas of your home that are prone to attracting clutter, such as the entryway, the laundry room, your dresser, or the kids’ play area. If you’re low on space, think outside the box a little with hanging organizers, or repurpose items meant for a different part of the house.

Use Magnets For Small Objects

Sure, that fridge of yours might be a bit of an eyesore, with all the random magnets and yellowing receipts you saved so you could return something, but magnets don’t have to be the problem. You can use a magnetic strip in your bathroom to organize small metal items like bobby pins and nail clippers, or as a place on the fridge to organize your spices. (TIP: Use old baby food jars for spice organization by placing the lid-side against the metal fridge.) You can even use a magnetic tin rack in the bathroom to organize these items, which is even better than the strip because the tins will hold non-metal items as well, including hair clips and bands, studded earrings, cotton swabs, lip gloss and more.

Get Cords and Cables Out of Sight

Cords and cables are a huge contributor to a messy home, but luckily people all over the web have come up with hundreds of ways to keep them organized and out of site. You can roll them up nicely and organize them in toilet paper rolls, or clamp an office clip to the edge of a table or nightstand and run your charger cord through the end, letting it rest perfectly in sight without falling to the ground or getting tangled.

Another option when using a surge protector for multiple electronics, such as behind the television or under the desk, is to mount the surge protector in an accessible area, then wrap up the slack cords and secure them with a rubber band. Everything will stay organized and out of sight. Finally, if you have no good way to hide a messy surge protector in furniture, get a decorative cube box with a lid (wooden looks good) and cut a hole in the back. Place the surge protector inside and run all cables through the back hole. This is great for cube storage entertainment systems or standing desks.

Hang More Things

Do you have too many earrings and necklaces to fit in your jewelry box? We all know they’ll just turns into one big metal knot, with you heading to the store to stock up on more necklaces and dangly earrings. Instead, organize them by hanging them individually on a mesh jewelry holder or a large metal rack. You can also use this as a place to store decorative items like photos, as well as useful things like coupons and receipts. Another option for hanging is a pegboard. You can get numerous hooks to organize anything from kitchen utensils, pots, and pans, to outdoor garden tools, power tools, and anything you keep in your garage. They’re also great for hanging brooms and mops, or organizing your laundry room.

Buy More Space

No, this doesn’t mean you need a bigger home, it just means you should be willing to spend a little money on organization sometimes. Sure, if you’re great at DIY projects, you can make most organizers, but those of us who attract clutter also have a tendency to procrastinate on projects (which is where a lot of that clutter comes from). Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and spend a little time online or make a trip to one of those amazing stores with organization ideas for everything. With the right inspiration, you can double your home’s storage space and free up the kitchen table for things like eating together as a family.

Image Source: Brit.co

Lakeside Selection: Our Weekly Favorites

Jewelry adds panache to any outfit, but it often has a deeper symbolic meaning that makes it even more precious. A wedding band’s unbroken circle, the timeless sparkle of a diamond engagement ring or a locket worn close to your heart is more than just jewelry; it’s a declaration of love. This week, take a look at what else you can say with jewelry when you shop the Lakeside Collection.

watch

Clip watches are popular with anyone who needs to keep her hands free. These Stone Inspirational Clip Watches combine the practicality of a clip with the natural beauty of stone. Each stone coordinates with the watch face and has a deeper meaning attached to it. Choose rose quartz to symbolize love, turquoise for protection, purple amethyst for calm or elegant onyx for strength. The back of each watch bears the inspirational message the stone signifies, giving you a psychological or spiritual lift whenever you check the time. Perfect for teachers and nurses, these watches feature a sweeping second hand and a sturdy carabiner clip.Not every message your jewelry sends has to have a deep meaning.

NFL-watch

Wear your NFL team affiliation on your sleeve with Lakeside’s NFL Watch and Wallet Gift Set. These officially licensed watches feature your team’s logo in full color across the watch face and a sporty leather-look strap in stylish black. Handsome silver-tone finishing on the watch bezel and buckle goes with anything from a team jersey to your favorite dress shirt. This set would be a great gift if it were just the watch, but with the bi-fold team logo wallet included, it’s a fantastic present for commemorating a playoff run, celebrating Valentine’s Day or marking a favorite fan’s next birthday.

Birthstone-necklace

Charm jewelry carries many different meanings as unique as the one who wears it. This gorgeous Cupcake Birthstone  Necklace features a lucky birthstone as its focal point, but the other sweet charms make it even more special.The cupcake represents a celebration to honor your birth. The 15-inch chain has a secure clasp and an extender to make it versatile enough to work with any neckline. Whether you wear it with a jewel neck, a turtleneck or your favorite T-shirt, it always makes a beautiful statement.

Family-bracelet

What could be more meaningful than the names of the people closest to you? Lakeside’s Personalized Family Bracelet has room for six linked names to encircle your wrist in sleek stainless steel, gold-tone or black. A generous 8 inches long, the bracelet will drape gracefully on the wrist and complement any ensemble. A genuine one-point diamond accentuates the bracelet’s clasp, adding a touch of sparkle to a deeply meaningful piece of family jewelry.

Whether your jewelry tells a story about yourself, your family or your favorite team, what you wear speaks volumes. With Lakeside’s jewelry collection, you’re never at a loss for something beautiful to say with your accessories.

Tips to Keep Children Safe Around Hot Tubs

Hot-tub-safetySoaking and relaxing in a hot tub with your family can be quite a memorable experience. But safety is one of the most important concerns if there are children in the family. There are several tips to consider which ensure the safety of children in the family.

Some Important Tips:

Hot tub covers
Most people prefer to use hot tub covers to secure the hot tubs. Hot tub covers prevent accidental falls, accumulation of dirt, dust, debris and contaminants from entering the hot tubs. Most of these covers include locks which secure the hot tubs appropriately. Hot tub covers also help to maintain the temperature of water and save energy.

Secure the area
Another effective way to ensure the safety of children is to secure the area by building an enclosure around the hot tub. There are fences with latches which can be used around the hot tubs for extra protection. It will prevent unsupervised entry of children near hot tubs and spas.

Reduce the heat
Children should never enter hot tubs which have a temperature above 95 degree Fahrenheit. Moreover, it is recommended that children should soak for only five to ten minutes in a hot tub. It is also essential to check the temperature of the hot tub before it is used by children and reduce the temperature if it is too hot. Children should also be advised to drink plenty of water before using hot tubs to prevent dehydration.

Supervise children
It is pertinent to supervise children consistently while using hot tubs as accidents can happen anytime. Children should be kept at arm’s length while soaking in hot tubs. There are different types of spas and hot tubs available today.

Most people prefer to choose hot tubs according to the number of users and other features. The h2x swim spas are among the most widely used spas as it offers various features apart from soaking in warm water. Among the different types of exclusive spas made available today, the Twilight spas are renowned for its distinctive appearance and features. No matter what model is chosen, it still can be a danger.

There are various other factors to consider while allowing children to use hot tubs. Children should never be allowed to submerge fully in the water as it could prove to be dangerous. It is also important to avoid swimming or soaking near to drains with loose clothes and long hair. Children should never be allowed to use any type of electronic or electrical appliances near the hot tubs. Children should be advised on proper usage of hot tubs and made aware of the dangers associated with its use.

Today there are many ways to avoid accidents and mishaps while using spas and hot tubs. Install strong rails near to the hot tubs so that it is easy to enter and exit these tubs. Slip resistant mats can also be installed near to the tubs to prevent accidental falls.

This guest post was contributed by Sam who works with Master spa parts.

Image Credit: www.olympichottub.com

Stay Connected This Holiday Season

During the holidays, people crave a deeper sense of connection with those who are most important to them. It’s a time to gather in person around a table or near the tree to exchange presents and enjoy each other’s company. When it isn’t possible to stay connected personally, technology can lend a hand. Smartphones, voice mail, email and social media can keep people close no matter how far they travel.

Lakeside Logo

At the Lakeside Collection, we know that staying in touch is vital. That’s why we have so many ways to connect with you, making it easier than ever to find great holiday deals, track orders and delight everyone on your gift list. Whether you’re ready to place an order, want to comparison-shop or are just looking for great gift ideas, we want you to have an easy time finding everything you need!We got our start as a catalog company, and our print catalogs are still one of the best ways to shop with us.Get your shopping done in comfort and at your own pace when you order directly from the Lakeside catalog. The current Christmas edition has something for every room of the house and everyone on your shopping list. You can also opt to have email notifications of special offers sent to your in-box; with email alerts, you’ll never miss a sale. When you get your catalog, order by phone, by mail or online; if it’s convenient for you, it’s great for us too.

Social media mavens can find us on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and Twitter. With these instant connections, you’ll stay up to date on the latest sales, get notification of new blog posts and discover the Ideas and Inspiration section.If you’re hoping to find a special gift under the tree, make your wishes known when you pin or follow Lakeside. Using social media is also a great way to discover what friends and family might want for the holidays. If your aunt has a favorite sweater pinned, it’s a safe bet she’d love to unwrap it this holiday season.

You’re busy enough keeping up with distant family and friends, so having the freedom to shop online whenever you like lets you fit more into your busy schedule. That’s why we offer an online catalog that includes exclusive items available only from the Lakeside Collection website. When you’re a registered shopper, buying from the online catalog takes just a few clicks. Forget the long lines on Black Friday or the endless traffic to get to the mall when you can find everything you need online.

The days of staying connected with just your local community are long gone; today, social networks can span the globe. No amount of voicemail or Facebook messages can fully replace the connection friends and family feel when they’re together. During this holiday season, Lakeside can help you forge a closer connection with those you love. With Lakeside’s outstanding prices, you can afford to remember everyone with a gift this year.

6 Essentials for an Amazing Family Portrait

Family-PhotoDoing a family photo shoot can add quite a lot of stress to your life. Especially if your children are little! Trying to get a toddler to sit still and look where you want him to is about as possible as finding a unicorn in your backyard. Not to mention getting them to the studio with their hair still combed and clothes still clean is a superhuman feat! Here are some tips for making the family photos something you will love to share – without pulling your hair out first. Remember, kids will be kids. A comfortable kid is a happy kid. If you have your child in some starchy piece of clothing they aren’t allowed to move in, all the photos will be a fight. You will have grumpy looks, tears, and at the very best, a fake smile. Dress them in something nice, but casual and comfortable. Let them play. Some of the best photos will be when your child is not aware a photo is being taken, and you will have genuine smiles and emotions. Don’t force them into a pose. Give them a couple guidelines, and then let them be themselves. Just remember to be patient, be flexible, and have fun. If you have multiple children, let them interact and play off each other. What could be a cuter picture than siblings playing together? Much better than sitting stiffly and awkwardly. Relax. The more stressed your family is, the worse the picture is going to be. A photo shoot will never go how you expect it to, so just go with the flow. If you are at the park and your son picks up a stick to play with, let him play with it! Just think of it as a prop. It will show his personality, keep him happy, and add character to the photo. We are all our own worst critics, but don’t worry about how you look in a photo. The more you worry about it, the harder it will be to look good. Sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s true! Relax, be yourself, laugh, and be happy. Your photo will turn out with you looking natural and great. Be Yourself. What is your family’s personality? Do you like to dress up as superheroes, or would you rather pose with favorite sports equipment? If your family loves board games and not sports, don’t have them pose with baseball bats! Sitting around a board game in the grass outside can make just as fun of a shot as sports equipment can. At the same time, if your family is big into sports, having them pose with books just will not work. Find your family’s personality and work with it. Keep things simple. The more complex your photo shoot is, the more frustrating it will become. Have only a couple props as opposed to 20, a couple changes of clothes rather than 10 each, and only one or two locations rather than 9. Too many things will just make the photo shoot long and arduous, and too many props in a photo makes it look messy and detracts from the people. Clothes It is good to coordinate clothes to get a sense of unity, but your clothes should not be identical; that just detracts from your beautiful faces! An overlapping color scheme works, as well as different shades of one color. Avoid extreme colors or patterns, as well as all having the same style. A Polo shirt might look good on Uncle Joe, but not on cousin Sally, even if they are different colors. Keep a certain color scheme, but let everyone chose their own style. That will help you match as well as show individuality in your photo. Location Your location is just as important as your clothing or props. The location should be interesting, but not messy with lots of distractions. You are the star after all, not the background; it should not detract from you! Pick a background that matches your clothing and mood; a wedding shot in a parking lot full of trash would not be the best pick. Pick a photographer that knows the area as well. You would not want a Cincinnati wedding photographer to photograph a ski trip in Colorado. A local photographer will know the best places to shoot, the weather tendencies of the area, and may even have a couple out of the way locations up his sleeve that an out of town photographer would not know. So there you have the 6 commandments of family photo shoots! Follow these and your pictures will be the amazing works of art you will want to show off and pass down through the generations. Happy photo taking! Melanie Hargrave is a wife and homemaker whose pride and joy is her family. In addition to spending time with her husband and daughters, she loves being outdoors, playing sports, and sharing her experiences with others.

Economical Family Fun

With the holiday season fast approaching, many families are saving every penny toward gift shopping. Couple that fact with colder weather and quality family time tends to suffer. If you are trying to tighten your belt a little but still want to engage the whole family, here are some ideas.

Take a Hike:

The weather in parts of the country is starting to turn brisk, but old man winter has not quite swept in yet. Get outside for a nice hike. No TV, no distractions, just the whole family enjoying quality time together. This time of year is especially wonderful. While autumn weather sometimes requires an extra layer, the gorgeous changing leaves more than make up for the rosy cheeks.

Bon Appétit:

Family cooking allows for quality time that is purpose driven. If you do not like to cook, why not follow the old adage that many hands make light work. Plus you may be surprised what delicious dishes your kids come up with. For younger kids, have them help you with the main course. Older kids and teens can be charged with appetizers/sides or the favorite…dessert! Need ideas, Lakeside.com has a variety of cookbooks perfect for whatever type of chef you are. A personal favorite, Delicious Treats Cookbooks, is full of creative and scrumptious sweets you can make right at home.

Family Game Night

A classic but favorite. For littler kids, the 4-1 Disney board game set is easy-to-learn and fun for ages 3 and up. Older kids will love 5 Second Rule. This game has a simple premise, just name 3 of something. But under the pressure of the clock, drawing a blank when trying to name 3 breeds or dogs, or saying a silly answer like ‘Justin Beiber’ for name 3 famous bald people is bound to happen!

Fourth of July Memories

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Photo by Stuck in Customs

Article by Sherry Alvarez, Accounts and Order Processing Manager

The temperature outside is quickly rising and it is time to break out the sunscreen.  Finally, you, your friends and your family can spend time outside.  Do you enjoy camping, the beach or just being outdoors?  There is so much you can do in the summer.

I enjoy many summertime activities like biking, camping and one of my favorite holidays, The Fourth of July.  As far back as I can remember, The Fourth of July was a time when you had cookouts, you went to the local carnival where you spent your weekly allowance trying to win that stuffed bear while enjoying some cotton candy.  You could barely wait to view the spectacular fireworks.

This is something that I now get to enjoy with my family and friends.  Every year we go to the Great Lakes Naval Base.  We bring our cooler of snacks and drinks, spread out a blanket and a couple of lawn chairs, throw the Frisbee around and then sit back and enjoy the entertainment.  The big moment comes when they start the fireworks.  They are amazing and although I’m not a kid anymore, I still sit there with my family in awe of the beautiful colors.

So whether I’m at the beach, in my backyard or enjoying The Fourth of July, I find all kinds of items at the Lakeside Collection to make these times even more enjoyable.  Check our collection of coolers starting at $3.95 and couple that with our collections of throws and you will be set.  You’ll probably want to sit down and our chairs start at a very low $6.95.

Soon you will be making great memories with your family that they will come to cherish as I do with mine!