Inspiration

Why Doesn’t She Just Leave? Busting 5 Myths About Domestic Violence

Why Doesn’t She Just Leave? Busting 5 Myths About Domestic Violence

5 myths about domestic violence that need to end today. #4 especially.It’s October, which means we’ll soon be swimming in a sea of pink—pink ribbons, pink t-shirts, and even pink football cleats—to raise awareness about breast cancer.

But this month is also dedicated to another women’s issue*, one that, in light of recent news in the NFL, is getting talked about far more than it ever has in the past: domestic violence.

The video of Baltimore Raven Ray Rice knocking his then-fiancee unconscious rocked many of us to our core. Not because we didn’t already know that domestic violence existed, but because the details of it are so unpleasant to think about. We shudder at the thought of a girlfriend covered in bruises or a wife trying to conceal a black eye.

While the video has gotten people talking openly about domestic violence in a way I haven’t seen before—which is a good thing!—it’s also brought to light many of the myths and misconceptions that continue to permeate our society’s collective understanding of this violent crime. 

So today, in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I’m going to do my part to separate fact from fiction.

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9 Simple Steps to Increase Traffic from Pinterest and Gain More Followers

9 Simple Steps to Increase Traffic from Pinterest and Gain More Followers

9 simple steps to increase your traffic from Pinterest and gain more followersWhile blogging about blogging—very meta!—isn’t usually my thing, over the past few months I have been able to learn and capitalize on the power of Pinterest for bloggers, and I can’t help but spread the wealth about how to increase traffic from Pinterest and gain more followers.

Right now almost 70 percent of the traffic to this site comes from pinners, despite the fact that my Pinterest following is still (relatively) small (though it did grow 160% in a matter of weeks, as a direct result of these steps!).

What’s more, I’ve discovered that traffic from Pinterest is far more consistent than that of other social media outlets—a major draw for bloggers who are frustrated by, say, changing Facebook algorithms (ahem). 

The best part is that the steps I’ve been following aren’t complicated; they don’t require you to be a web developer or graphic designer. They just require a willingness to be smart and intentional about your pinning strategy (or to have a strategy in the first place!).

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Co-Hosting the SHINE Blog Hop—Come Link Up!

Co-Hosting the SHINE Blog Hop—Come Link Up!

This week I have the honor of co-hosting the SHINE Blog Hop with Jennifer from The Deliberate Mom. I don’t participate in a lot of link ups, yet I always find myself coming back to this one because 1) the posts people contribute are always insightful, entertaining, and creative; and 2) Jennifer herself is quite the inspiration (her post last week about avoiding blogger burnout is taking the Internet by storm!). 

I hope you consider sharing one or two of your best posts! Here’s Jennifer to tell you how. More →

My Sister-in-Law Died of an Overdose, and My Family Is Refusing To Keep Quiet About It

My Sister-in-Law Died of an Overdose, and My Family Is Refusing To Keep Quiet About It

A family loses 19-year-old daughter to heroin overdose“Don’t keep a secret because secrets will kill you.” 

That’s one of the messages my husband’s parents are trying to spread after my 19-year-old sister-in-law’s death in March from a heroin overdose.

Hannah was a smart, funny, and loving young woman—a woman with her whole life ahead of her, a world of possibilities at her fingertips. 

Except that, unbeknownst to my in-laws until years later, Hannah was robbed of her joy and innocence when she was sexually abused for four years beginning at age 7.

The abuse left her with debilitating emotional pain and a constant barrage of terrible thoughts spinning through her brain. When she discovered opiates, she discovered a way of numbing that pain and quieting those thoughts, but then the addiction took over her entire life.

After 5-6 years of struggling with addiction—which included 20 different rehabs and addiction treatment programs all over the country—she died of a heroin overdose in her bedroom at my in-law’s house. More →

12 Habits of Highly Productive People

12 Habits of Highly Productive People

12 habits of highly productive people #productivity“You know, I used to be a very disciplined person,” my friend mused. 

“Yep, and I used to actually get things done!” I chimed in. “Many, many things!”

We continued to chat about the way our productivity has taken a nose dive since our kids came along. So many people like us—people who used to be experts in planning, scheduling, and getting results—find that becoming a parent turns our brains and our calendars to absolute mush.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m finding I can still catch glimpses of my previously productive self when I focus on intentionally cultivating the productive habits that came naturally to me pre-baby, notably these twelve. More →

How Meaningful Relationships Can Help Us THRIVE

How Meaningful Relationships Can Help Us THRIVE

How Meaningful Relationships Can Help Us ThriveIf I were to ask you what you value most in life, I’d be willing to bet your answer would revolve around your relationships—with your children, your spouse or partner, your family, and your friends.

These connections are the backbone of a life well-lived, and what’s more, research shows that deep, meaningful relationships are essential to our physical and emotional wellbeing. People with strong, supportive relationships have been shown to have lower rates of morbidity and mortality, better mental health, and a more positive outlook on life.

Today I’m teaming up with Wendy from New Moms Talk to explore the topic of meaningful relationships through a Q&A format similar to the Writing Process BlogHop from a few months ago. We’d love if you joined in and wrote your own post reflecting on these questions! More →

Want To Be More Productive? Try Rearranging Your To-Do List

Want To Be More Productive? Try Rearranging Your To-Do List

This is an updated version of a post that appeared on this blog in November 2013. 

try this simple trick to be more productive!

 

Like most busy moms, I’m a list-maker. There is simply no way I could juggle the constant demands of work and family without putting pen to paper multiple times each day.

Write it down, cross it off, repeat.

Most of the time my list-making tendencies serve me well; they keep me calm by ensuring I don’t forget to schedule my son’s doctor appointment or submit that article by the deadline.

But every now and then, during particularly busy days or weeks, my lists become so impossibly long—overflowing with more tasks than any mortal could feasibly complete—that they themselves become a source of stress and anxiety.

I start tossing and turning at night over the fact that I didn’t have time to cross it all off. While that sometimes makes me more productive, other times it makes it impossible to see the forest through the trees and get to the tasks that matter most.

To prevent this from happening, I’ve started building better to-do lists. And by better, I mean prioritized. More →

How to Accept a Compliment Graciously: 4 Best Ways to Respond

How to Accept a Compliment Graciously: 4 Best Ways to Respond

Inside: Exactly how to accept a compliment without clamming up, turning beet red, or undervaluing yourself.

How to accept a compliment. 4 ways to respond graciously.

A few weeks ago, after receiving a compliment on a project I’d been slaving over for weeks, I found myself exhibiting several symptoms of imposter syndrome. 

What’s impostor syndrome, you ask?

It’s when a colleague compliments your work on a report, and you point out the fact that you missed a single typo on page 14.

It’s when the stranger at Starbucks says she likes your outfit, and you say, “Thanks, but look at the terrible hair day I’m having!”

It’s when a fellow mom notes how well-behaved your son is, and you insist that he’s never usually this good (even though he actually is). 

It’s when a friend congratulates you on a recent success, and you blush and chalk it all up to good luck.

A lot of successful women suffer from impostor syndrome in everything from their careers to their clothes to their kids. “I don’t deserve this,” we think. “They’re saying I’m good enough, but I know I’m really not.” 

One way to tell if you’re suffering from impostor syndrome is to question if you really know how to accept a compliment graciously. 

If you clam up, start squirming, and turn beet red when someone compliments you, you’re probably infected. If you immediately redirect the conversation or—even worse—counteract the compliment by insisting you can’t accept credit or that it was all a fluke, get thee to the doctor. You’ve got a bad case of impostor syndrome. 

Thankfully there’s a cure, and the treatment regimen begins with healthier responses to those awesome accolades you get.  More →

What If Freaking Out Isn’t a Bad Thing?

What If Freaking Out Isn’t a Bad Thing?

Here's why freaking out isn't always a bad thing!

This week I’m desperately trying to claw my way out of a pit of deadlines. I know it will be worth it once the work is done and my byline is published, but at this exact moment all I can hear is the clock tick-tocking way faster than I’d like.

Under stressful circumstances like this, I’m sad to say I’m the total opposite of cool as a cucumber (hot as a jalapeño, perhaps?). 

In fact, every nerve-racking situation I’m in generally includes at least one overwhelming moment of panic and hysteria. In this instance, I started listing every upcoming deadline I need to meet, followed by the alarmingly low number of hours I have to meet them—and immediately began to freak out.

My husband, whose middle name is “Composure,” calmly reminded me that panicking is entirely unnecessary, considering that I have been overwhelmed by deadlines many times in my life and somehow it always—always—works out just fine.

The last part of that is certainly true, but I take issue with the rest of it.

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One-Line Affirmations for Moms

One-Line Affirmations for Moms

One-Line Affirmations for MomsIf you’re anything like me, you probably have trouble turning off the voice in your head. From the second your alarm blasts in the morning to the moment you collapse in bed at night, your mind is chattering away faster than preteen girls at a slumber party.

What’s worse is that a shocking amount of that chatter is in the form of negative self-talk—a continuous loop of thoughts about how you’re not smart enough, not pretty enough, not a good enough mom, how you’re screwing it all up, how much therapy your kids will need, and on and on it goes.

Just for today, I’m going to try to bisect that loop. I’m going to intersect the negative self-talk not by turning off my brain—since that will never happen—but rather by replacing each and every defeatist thought with a positive mama-mantra.

Want to join me?

Here are 20 affirmations to get you started. And since you’re undoubtedly pressed for time, they’re each only a single line.

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12 Ways to Love Your Body Starting Right Now

12 Ways to Love Your Body Starting Right Now

12 ways to love your body starting right nowWhen talking about romantic relationships, you’ll often hear quotes about love being more than just a feeling—it’s also an action. Love is a verb more so than a noun, they say. It’s as much about what you do as it is about how you feel.

I think the truth in that philosophy applies beyond our relationship with our partners or spouses; it’s also relevant to the way we think about (and therefore treat) our bodies.

In other words, if we want to love our bodies, we have to start acting like it!

Here are some ideas for how you can do just that, beginning this very second. More →

How to Slash Your Grocery Budget by Changing Your Mindset

How to Slash Your Grocery Budget by Changing Your Mindset

Tips for saving money on groceries by changing your mentality about grocery shoppingDo you ever leave the grocery store feeling deflated and defeated because the trip has left a larger hole in your wallet than you would have liked?

A few months ago, that was happening to me nearly every week.

I knew I needed to cut my grocery bill, but for some reason I just couldn’t make it happen. I was so attached to the way I did my shopping—in terms of the types of products I’d buy and the way I went about the trip—that change was tough. Really tough.

Eventually I realized that I couldn’t just show up at the grocery store and hope this time would be different. That wouldn’t work because the problem had more to do with my overall mentality about grocery shopping than it did with my wallet-related willpower.

Once I changed my way of thinking, I was finally able to exit the grocery store feeling victorious—and holding a significantly smaller receipt in my hand. More →