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5 Things I Want My Oldest Daughter To Know

5 Things I want my oldest Daughter to know

5 Things I Want my Oldest Daughter to Know

She’s smart. She’s silly. She’s full of sass. My daughter is so much of me. From her painful shyness around strangers to her love of drawing and reading. She is so much of what I was at her age.

My oldest daughter. My first baby.

My best friend.

Someday your little sister might be more like us, but for now it’s me and you – twins, 24 years apart. These are all things I’ve learned in my 30 years of life. So much of it I feel you may struggle with as well. These are 5 important things I want you to know:

1. Shyness

Don’t be scared to speak up. Being shy is normal, but it sucks. I feel like I missed out on so much fun by being too shy when I was younger. The more you step outside your comfort zone, the easier it gets.

You don’t believe me now that I used to be just as shy as you, but I was. It took a long time to get where I am today, so I hope you will be able to get there sooner. Take little steps. Ask a question. Give a compliment. Force yourself to speak up around new people until it no longer seems so out of the ordinary.

2. Mom Guilt

Someday you might have kids of your own and suffer from what I call Mom Guilt. That’s where you feel bad over little (or big) mistakes you make concerning your children.

It’s where you think of things you could’ve done better. How you should’ve spent more time paying attention to the kids. How you could’ve been a better mom at that moment. Don’t fall into the mom guilt trap. Feel bad for a few minutes and move on. Chances are, the thing you’re stressing about, the children won’t remember.

On the other hand, savor your kids. Love the little moments. Be present. Be silly. Take pictures. Get messy. Make good memories. Don’t look back and wish you had.

3. Love

Don’t be afraid to love. Sometimes it’s amazing, sometimes it’s full of hurt and pain but someday it will be worth it.

Find someone who makes you happy and make them happy in return. Make sacrifices. Compromise. Love and marriage is not only one of the hardest things we do, it’s also the best.

Love is totally non-sensical. But we have to keep doing it, or else we’re lost, and love is dead, and humanity just packed in. Because love is the best thing we do. ” – Ted Mosby, How I Met Your Mother

4. Money

Use it wisely. Beware of shopping addictions. It runs in your family and I hope it never rubs off on you. Learn to save then reward. Not reward first with plans to save later. It doesn’t work that way. Make good money choices early on and you’ll have so much more money freedom later. Avoid debt wherever you can.

5. Education

Get your high school education. No matter what. Whatever you do afterwards is up to you, but at least go that far.

If you want to go to college or university afterwards, make sure that you feel strongly about what you want to be. It’s hard to know at 18 what you want to spend the rest of your life doing.

As someone who took schooling for jobs I never followed, I would encourage you to take time off before getting a post-secondary education if you’re not sure.

Education isn’t cheap.

5 Things I want my oldest Daughter to know

As my final advice – Be silly, be sweet, be affectionate, be tough. You are so full of spark and creativity. I hope you never lose it. Keep being you.

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Why Aren’t You Reaching Your Goals


5 Questions to ask yourself if you're not reaching your goals

The end of January is coming faster than I’d ever expected. This is usually the time where the gyms slowly start to get less crowded. We start to ditch our salads for burgers. If you’ve held tight to your no spend challenge, I salute you. If your goals are right on track, then that’s fantastic.

This is the time where so many of us fall off the goals and resolutions wagon.

I failed at my no spend. I wanted 100% no spend on anything that wasn’t a necessity in January. Once I made one slip up, I was a slippery slope. I haven’t stopped spending. But I’ve slowed it down a lot.

I find the biggest thing with this time of year is to get back on that wagon.

We strive so much for perfection that as soon as we’re not doing perfect, we’re giving up.

(Or is that just me?)

The following are a few ways to get yourself back on track if you feel yourself slipping. How to re-motivate yourself to reach those goals you once set.

After all, you set them for a reason.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself

if You’re not Reaching Your Goals


Why Did You Set Your Resolutions?

Why do you want to lose 20 pounds? To fit in that dress? To feel better about yourself? Remind yourself what you have to gain by achieving the goal. Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.

Did You Break Them Down Into Baby Steps?

If your goal is to run a marathon and you’ve never run before, you can’t just wake up one day and run that marathon. You need to practice and train. You need the right running shoes. You need a place to run. Make your smaller goal be to be able to run half the length of the marathon in a certain amount of time.

Did You Make Time to Work at Your Goals?

Plain and simple – if you don’t take the time to work at your goals and plan them out, it will be next to impossible to reach them. If your goal is to become more fluent in French but you can’t seem to find the time to learn, maybe you can listen to an audio book on your commute to work. Get some exercise by talking a brisk walk on your lunch break.

Are Your Goals Attainable?

Whether it’s due to time restraints, lack of money or other reasons, you need to make sure your goal is attainable.

If your budget barely allows you to travel, then having a goal to travel to 20 counties this year may be a bit too big. Losing 100 pounds in 3 months might be something you are able to do, but would it be safe?

Don’t set your goals too big unless you set a time frame that makes sense with it. 20 countries in 5 years might be more attainable. Losing 100 pounds in a year may be a safer option for your health.

What’s Holding You Back?

If you’ve done the rest of the steps right, then what else is holding you back? Whether it’s laziness, fear (or fear of failure), procrastination – once you identify the problem you can figure out how to work past it.

If it’s laziness, force yourself to work at this goal before you do something that comes easy – like watching TV or gaming on your phone. This infographic on How to Discipline Yourself is full of great tips.

If it’s because you messed up a perfect goal (like me and my no-spend) start over and this time try to beat the progress you made the time before. If you only did one week of no-spend, try for two.

You want to make sure your goals are:

A) Something you really want

B) Something you can do with time and effort and

C) Something that will bring good into your life


Have you reviewed the progress on your 2018 goals yet?
Let me know how you’re doing in the comments!


5 Questions to ask yourself if you're not reaching your goals

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What is a Brain Dump and How to Make it Work

What is a Brain Dump and How to Make it Work for You

What is a Brain Dump and How to Make it Work For You

A Brain Dump is exactly what it sounds – dumping all the jumbled up thoughts from your brain onto a sheet of paper.

I have a large family, a busy day job and Coffee Brain Plans blog and Etsy shop to juggle on a daily basis. Sometimes holding all the thoughts, ideas and to-dos in my head feels like I’m holding my breath. Once I let that breath out, I feel much more relaxed.

The beauty of a brain dump, is you do it however you like. You don’t need to follow anyone else’s method or follow any rules.

Brain Dump Supplies

The only supplies you need to do a brain dump is paper and a writing utensil.

Some more fun options are:

  • Brain dump printable (Grab my freebie here)
  • Brain dump notepad by Knock Knock pads
  • A set of colorful pens for color coding
  • A planner to organize your list when you’re done
  • A notebook dedicated to only brain dumps

Brain Dump Method

Grab your supplies of choice and just write. Write down everything that needs to be taken care of. Every idea you want to explore further. Everything causing you stress. Write it all down.

No need to be neat or tidy. This is not the time to worry about the details. Just make sure you get it out there. But make sure it’s something you can read and understand afterwards.

Sometimes I find it helpful to write down the different categories of tasks that I usually need to do (kids, cleaning, work, personal, relationship, etc.) That way I am more quickly able to remember what needs to be done.

Stuff to Dump

  • Appointments
  • Things you’ve been putting up
  • Events coming up in the future
  • Ideas you want to explore
  • Whatever might be causing you stress
  • Anything and everything

After the Dump

After you feel like you’ve dumped everything out, there are a couple of different way to proceed.

You can walk away and come back to look at your list refreshed.

I find it helpful to jump right in to getting the thoughts in some sort of order. Often I follow the method mentioned above where I categorize a lot of my ideas as I write. That way it’s a lot less to organize later. Finally, I add them to my planner as needed, or transfer them to a running to-do list.

Another way of getting them organized is by color coding – you can have a color for each category (chores, errands, family, work, etc) or a color based on importance (red for important and urgent things, blue for important but not urgent things etc) then transfer to a planner or an organized printable as needed.

The snippets can be organized by what needs to be done now, soon, and someday.

They can be sorted by ‘must’, ‘should’, ‘could’ and ‘want to’.

Unless your brain dump was just a way to clear your head of negative thoughts, make sure to follow up with it so items aren’t left forgotten.

More Brain Dump Ideas

You can implement a brain dump routine – weekly, monthly etc. I really enjoy the idea I read about on Create and Thrive about having a daily brain dump in the morning to get ready for your day.

You can use a brain dump to pump out ideas for a certain project or for a specific idea, like Janet from Paper and Spark talks about.

Items I Use

Whatever way you choose to do it, a brain dump is a great to get all your thoughts and to-dos in order without worrying about it being perfect. It is whatever you need it to be.

What is a Brain Dump and How t Make it Work for You


Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means I might get a tiny commission if you decide to purchase at no extra charge to you. I will always link to items I have tried and love or brands I fully trust would recommend.

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My 2018 Goals and Why I Need Them

My 2018 Goals and Why I Needed Them

My 2018 Goals and Why I Needed Them

I’ve also been a huge fan of setting goals. I am also one of those people who like their goals to have a specific start date – first day of the year, month, or week.

Therefore, I had most of my 2018 goals laid out before Christmas rolled around.

I’m going to break them down into two categories – personal and business.


Personal Goals for 2018

  1. Exercise

    I would like to do at least a little bit of exercise daily. Even if it’s just simple things like 20 squats. A little exercise is better than no exercise. My health and recent weight gain are depending on it.

  2. Read 2 Books

    I used to love to read, but since having my kids there are just so many other things I find myself doing. I want to start putting my phone away in the evenings sometimes, and pick up a book instead. Last year my goal was 3 books and I failed horribly. I didn’t even read a whole book. So this year my goal is two.

  3. Meal Plan

    No one in my household enjoys cooking much. No one enjoys it less than me. Trying to figure out what’s for supper at the very last minute on a daily basis just isn’t working for me anymore. I want a plan to follow. Both in the kitchen, and in the grocery store. This goes along with our need to budget below.

  4. Build a Stricter Budget

    I’m going to get really candid here and admit that about a year ago, we took out a $15,000 loan. It was to pay off our credit cards, get bunk beds for our girls and to have some security. Through a series of a million bad decisions, we blew through that money in less than a year and the credit card is maxed again. To get ourselves back on track, we’ve started taking some of Dave Ramsey’s advice. We are almost at the $1000 emergency fund, and we’re working on the debt snowball.

  5. Organize & Declutter Our Home

    In September 2016 we added a new member to our family – our youngest daughter. Since then, we have also taken in a surprise child – my 10 year old nephew. We are now squished into our house which is overflowing with too many toys, overstocked closets and mess everywhere. We need


Business Goals for 2018

  1. Have and utilize a business/social media planner. 

    I’ve had a business planner (it’s this Big Happy Planner that I mentioned in my planner lineup for 2018) for awhile but would find myself not using it and doing everything on the fly. I find I’m less overwhelmed when I plan out what I’d like to do. Now I’m trying to keep all my ideas in that planner and actually use the weekly pages to plan out my ideas.

  2. Start and Grow my Email List

    I know that a key way to get in touch with your community is by having an email list. I’m excited about having an more straight-forward and easier way to send out information about sales, freebies etc. I hope you’ll sign up. Just pop your email address in the box.

  3. Batch Days

    I am someone who used to think multi-tasking was fantastic. I heard one person mention having a batch day for their different business tasks and I’m now converted. A batch day is where instead of doing all of this in one day – Make a Facebook page post, post on Twitter, write a blog post, take pictures and edit them for the blog post, comment on other blogs you would batch some of it together. For example, on Wednesday I will plan and schedule my Facebook page posts for the entire week. When I take blog photos, I will take them with a few different blog posts in mind so when I edit, I edit a bunch of photos at once. It helps your brain focus when you’re not switching to a different task every few minutes. True story.

  4. Blog Every Tuesday

    Simple – I want a consistent blogging schedule.

  5. Grow Etsy income monthly

    So far this has been working well. But going from the Christmas rush plus the Boxing day sale in December to many planners having a No Spend January, I think it may be a challenge this month.


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My Planner Lineup for 2018

My 2018 Planner Lineup - The top items I will be using the most for planning in 2018

2017 has been a huge year for the planner community, I think. I feel like planners have exploded in popularity. Instead of a small display, planners have their own aisles and sections. There has been SO much product released in the past year.

It’s overwhelming. It really is. Even I – a Happy Planner addict of a year and a half – have a hard time knowing what will work, what to buy and what to skip.

The latest release of Happy Planner items did not help.

So without further introduction, these are the main planner items that I will be using in 2018.

1. My Happy Planner Trio

The Planners I will be using for 2018" Happy Planner Trio

I have a Happy Planner in each size – mini, classic and big.

My classic is my main planner. The mini is my budget/envelope system. It is the actual budget edition: The Happy Planner Mini Budget Edition. The big is my business/social media planner. It is the Modern Simple design.

I also have a Recollections goals planner (it has like 19 months!) to plan through my biggest goals and be able to track my progress.

2. The Pens

No matter what I try, I always come back to my Staedtler Triplus Fineliners. I found many great deals leading up to Christmas so I have a great collection going now. I also use InkJoy Gel pens from time to time and Pigma Micron pen in 0.25 tip. Insanely fine-tipped.

3. The Accessories

A. I’m in love with my snap-in pen holder.
B. Check it Off half page inserts for my big Happy Planner. I love half page inserts.
C. Snap in Sticky Notes.
D. Social media headers for my big Happy Planner. These are available in my shop.

4. Happy Planner Inserts

These are all Happy Planner inserts I will be using. One I made myself.

A. Budget sheet that comes in the budget planner.
B. To Do list inserts from the original “Home Planner” extension.
C. Meal Planning half sheets.
D. Cash envelopes I made myself to follow Dave Ramsey’s envelope system, and utilize some tips from Fun Cheap or Free.
E & F. The new 6 month undated extension. I added this extension to both my classic and big.


Now I will admit that I’m not the biggest fan of the style of the classic planner that I chose so I’m looking to switch it out, but I will 100% be using a classic vertical Happy Planner as my main planner of 2018.

What are your planning staples for 2018? Share in the comments! My Planner Lineup for 2018