Monday, February 23, 2015

6 Ways to Balance Productivity and Rest

I tend to operate in extremes-either I have a really productive day at work and totally kick ass, or I get almost nothing accomplished yet still feel exhausted at the end of the day. The same goes for my weekends-I either refuse to touch the overflowing basket of dirty laundry and ignore the dog hair collecting in the corners of the hardwood and stay in my pi's all weekend, or I race around running errands, shopping, meeting with friends, and doing house chores that I feel exhausted by Sunday evening. As good as the restful weekend with nothing but a Netflix binge on the agenda sounds, it actually leaves me feeling more stressed and overwhelmed when Monday rolls around and I don't have any food in the house for the week or any clean clothes for work. I am the type of person who doesn't function well in a mess, but I also hate housework which proves to be quite the problem.

Lately I've been trying to find a balance between productivity and rest. A productive weekend does make my week go smoother, but especially now that I am pregnant, I also have to find time to rest and recharge to avoid that end of the week burnout that so frequently hits me. What I have learned though is that while I absolutely cannot do it all, if I do a series of small things, I feel a lot more peace in my home and office.  Here are six ways I balance productivity and rest, especially on the weekends.

1. Set priorities
Each weekend, I make a mental list of what I absolutely have to get done, and a list of what I'd like to get done. Things like grocery shopping and laundry are a must do every weekend, and we always have church Sunday mornings. Those things generally are my priorities, but I also choose a few chores that I'd like to get to, but won't beat myself up if they don't get done. This past weekend, I managed to do most of the chores except the bathrooms, so I will fit those in early this week. As long as I get my must do's done, I give myself grace to rest if I need it and rest easy knowing the other things will still be there tomorrow or the next day for me to do.

2. Don't overbook
Its so easy to want to fill my weekend days with brunch, coffee dates, shopping, cleaning, and blogging. Whenever I do this, I always regret it. One of my goals this year is to be intentional about building my community, so I love getting together with my girlfriends or our couple friends, but I try to actually look at my calendar before committing to something to make sure I am not spending all weekend running from one activity to the next, leaving me less time for rest and less time for those "must do" chores.

3. Set a timer 
This is probably my most used tool for getting things done quickly. I will set the timer for fifteen minutes and de-clutter the downstairs before bed, or on Saturday mornings I will set it for an hour and clean as much as I can in that hour. Its amazing how much one person can get done when they're not distracted by the TV, texting, and social media! I make myself work hard til the timer goes off, and then either give myself a break or sometimes I call it good for the day.

4. Divide and conquer
Ronnie and I both work full time, and he is also in school, and I babysit a few nights a week and want to devote time to my blog so for us, we usually split the chores somewhat in half. I usually grocery shop, he cooks. He does the downstairs floors, I do the laundry. He does the outside chores, I do the vacuuming. It works for us, and sometimes I help with dinner or he does a few loads of laundry to help each other out, but by dividing the chores up, neither of us spends an entire day doing chores but the house doesn't get neglected either.

5. Disconnect
One of the best things I can do for myself (but don't do enough) is to disconnect from social media for a day, or even a few hours! Not only do I have more time to get the things done on my to-do list, I also find myself spending my free time engaging in conversation with my husband, reading a good book, or doing another activity that fills me up instead of leaves me feeling discontent and lacking like an hour of social media scrolling often does. Its embarrassing how much time I waste laying on my couch after work scrolling my social media apps. One day an hour passed and I was just thinking of all the things I could've used that hour for, things that likely would've brought more joy or fulfillment than social media does!

6. Do one small thing each day
Ronnie and I clean the kitchen almost every night after dinner, otherwise it would get out of control real fast with the amount of cooking we do. I also try and do one load of laundry or do a small chore like dusting or cleaning the toilets each day, that way when the weekend comes, we don't have an unmanageable list of to-dos.

I love a good day of pjs and TV binging, but I try and balance them out by getting some of the things on my list done before or immediately after a day like that so I don't have an entire week of trying to play catch up to all the things I neglected. Do you have any tips for balancing productivity and rest on the weekends? I'd love to hear them!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

On My Kitchen Table

 I am so, so excited to share with you guys our new kitchen table! I had been hunting for a new kitchen table for months and months, but was having a really hard time finding a table that I loved that was in our budget. I was really drawn to the farm house table style with the wood top and white legs, and I randomly came across Treasure Valley Table Company on Facebook about a month ago.

They are located outside of Boise and make custom built tables for a really reasonable rate, far less than what I would pay to purchase from a retail store. I decided to send Ronnie a picture of one of their tables and see what he thought and once I got his approval, I contacted the shop owner and asked him if he could paint the legs of the table white and when he said he would, I did a happy dance because I knew I was getting the table of my dreams! For a little more they added on a bench as well.

Please excuse the lack of additional chairs-I actually just picked up four chairs for twenty-five dollars off a Facebook Buy/Sale/Trade group and will be sending them off to the same guys who made the table for refinishing, and then I'll be recovering them with some cute fabric. I'll be sure to show you the finished product in the next few weeks! Luckily, the bench is perfect for Ronnie and I to sit at together, and the only company we have over regularly loves us enough to not mind our fold up chairs in the meantime.

I already am in love with having a table that fits our space and our style of home decor. Our old table was nice, but it was too small and the room didn't feel finished. Ronnie and I found ourselves eating almost every meal on the couch, or sometimes at the bar, but now that we have a table we love, we've sat here almost every day together. Its where we discuss our days, plan out our weeks, and talk about our long term dreams and plans. Its where I blog and sit down with my day designer, planning my week. It creates a space for bible study, journalling, and prayer. I already can imagine sitting around it with our best friends at dinner club, and having our little guy join us once he is old enough to sit in a highchair. 

PS: Treasure Valley Table Company didn't compensate me in anyway for this post. I just love my table so much, I wanted to share! If you're local and looking for a table, I couldn't recommend this locally owned business more! The guys behind the company are the nicest guys who delivered this to us at no cost when we couldn't get a table and have patiently answered my questions about care and maintenance. Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in knowing how much I paid for the table. It feels tacky to announce it on the blog, but I am more than happy to tell you over a private e-mail.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Maternity Fashion with Aro & Company

Being pregnant has meant that I have been on a never ending hunt for clothes that are stylish, affordable, yet fit my growing bump. Although there are a few maternity options out there, I've been trying to invest in pieces that I will want to wear even after the baby is here. I've found a lot of really great non-maternity pieces from Aro & Company that make me feel beautiful and help me embrace my changing body during pregnancy, but I will still be able to rock after I am no longer pregnant. Its easy to want to throw on a baggy, shapeless top and yoga pants, but I always feel the best when I get dressed in cute clothes and put some makeup on.

This dress is so, so comfortable to me, and it is stretchy enough that I can fit into it with a baby bump, but I know I will definitely be wearing it all summer long after baby boy Rasmussen arrives! It also is perfect for work with a little blazer or a cardigan thrown over it.

I also love this gorgeous maxi with the light pink Kimono over top, especially lately because the weather has been absolutely gorgeous here in Boise. It in the upper fifties yesterday, which is so unlike Idaho in February but I am celebrating and enjoying it while we have it! This dress is perfect for a bridal or baby shower, which I have a few of those in my calendar for this spring already. 

This bow tunic is probably my most favorite non-maternity top to wear right now, because its stretchy enough for my baby bump but it has enough shape to hug my curves. The bow detail in the back is just adorable, and this is literally the softest shirt I've ever put on my body. I would live in it if I could!

I just sized up a size in all of these tops and dresses so I could continue to wear them as I grow, but I can't wait to have comfy and cute things to wear after I have the baby as well. Whether you're pregnant and looking for stylish clothes to dress your bump, or you're not pregnant, definitely check out Aro & Company for adorable, affordable fashion. Aro & Company is generous enough to give one of you lucky readers a gift card to their shop, which is full of new arrivals and sale items. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

All entries will be verified. Winner will be chosen randomly via Winner will be selected and notified on Tuesday, February 23rd. Winner will have 48 hours to respond, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The product offered for the giveaway is free of charge, no purchase necessary. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram are in no way associated with this giveaway. By providing your information for the giveaway, you are providing it soley to Brittany Rasmussen and Aro & Company. Your information will not be sold or distributed. If you have any questions, please contact me. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Oh, HEY Friday!

Its the best kind of Friday-one where the weekend ahead is three days long! Not only that, but its going to be an extra sweet weekend because its Valentines Day! <3 Today I am sharing five things that make me really, really excited.

My Valentine <3 

O N E | Our new kitchen table was delivered last night. We had it custom built from a local builder, and it was an absolute steal not only cost wise, but quality as well. I knew it would look good, but when they set it down in my dining room I squealed with joy. I snapped a pic for Karissa and my mom, but it was dark outside and it hardly did the beauty justice, so next week, I will share more about it. I had breakfast sitting at the bench they made us to match it and I just could picture having our friends over for dinner club, and this time next year having a little baby boy sitting in his highchair around the table with us. Ahh!

T W O | This year, Ronnie and I are going out to dinner tonight, and I am putting on a dress and curling my hair and all of that jazz. My mom and I found a super cute black maternity dress on clearance last weekend, so I am breaking that out and a red lipstick and going on a hot date with my hubby. He won't tell me where we're going though, and I also have a mystery place I have to be at 3:30 PM today, so I am really looking forward to seeing what he has up his sleeve. Tomorrow, to carry on our Valentines Day traditions, we will be ordering a heart shaped pizza and relaxing together.

T H R E E | We just found out that our tax return was more than we were expecting this year, and that is a huge blessing to us. Before June will be replacing my two door car and upgrading to a family car and the tax return is really going to help us with that purchase. I am so thankful!

F O U R | I am getting ready to make some big changes to the blog and I am going to be working with the lovely Rachel from Oh Simple Thoughts. We have a virtual date early next week to start putting my dreams and plans into action, and I can't wait to share more with you guys. I have been itching to make some changes and I've finally taken the plunge. Stay tuned!

F I V E | Today I only work til one pm because Ronnie and I get to go to the doctor to see our little baby boy! They asked us to come back for a recheck of his stomach, and instead of being anxious about it, I am just thankful we get to see his sweet self one more time. After my appointment, we're both off the rest of the day and don't come back to the office until Tuesday. PRAISE.

I am signing off now because I have big plans to tackle my to-do list at the office for the five hours I am here! I am knee deep in auditing a project and am trying to get caught up, so I plan on listening to to the Serial podcast to keep me motivated and on task. Have a wonderful weekend, lovelies!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

5 Ways To Avoid A Tax Season Nightmare

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and TurboTax, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #TurboTaxACA

Tax Season is officially upon us, and bloggers all around are frantically gathering receipts and adding up their income from advertisement programs and sponsored posts, while wondering exactly qualifies as a business expense. Or maybe that is just me, maybe most bloggers have all that together and don't feel the stress that tax season brings to so many. My first year of blogging, doing my taxes completely overwhelmed me because I didn't have a clue what I was doing. Luckily, I've learned a few things about how to have a smoother tax season and I am going to share those with you today.

1. Keep ongoing records of your profits and expenses. 
I use a spreadsheet from Northern Belle Diaries to track every penny my blog makes whether its from a sidebar ad, sponsored campaigns, or money from Google Ad-sense. On the same sheet, I write down expenses such as the cost of supplies for a sponsored post, any money I invest into my blog like a new design or business cards, and any fees associated with my blog. Keeping an ongoing record saves me from a huge headache at the end of the year because I don't have to try and remember what I did months ago!

2. Keep receipts for everything.
I believe that if there's no receipt, it didn't happen. I keep any business related receipts in an envelope in my Day Designer planner, and if I buy something online, I save a copy of the receipt in my Google Drive folder specifically dedicated to that tax year.

3. Start gathering all of your documents in one place as they start to come in. 

My husband and I received some documents by mail and some electronically, so I stored everything related to my taxes in my Taxes folder on Google Drive. I scanned all the paper copies in so it was all in one spot, and I was able to see if I was still missing an important form. This year we had three W-2's combined, plus a handful of 1099s and other forms such as our mortgage interest form, school payments, etc. Once I was ready to do my taxes, they were all right in the same place so I didn't have to hunt around for anything.

4. Know how the Affordable Care Act affects you, your finances, and your taxes. 
Whether you have insurance or not, there are changes you need to be aware of. 2014 is the first year everyone in the US is required to have health insurance and you must report your health insurance status on your 2014 taxes filed in 2015. The Affordable Care Act also imposes tax penalties for those who aren't covered by insurance.  Luckily, TurboTax simplifies this process and has already done the work so you don't have to stress. TurboTax just asks you questions regarding your insurance coverage that you're required to answer, so you can be confident your taxes are done correctly. If you're not sure on how the ACA affects your taxes this year, be sure to go to to learn more!

5. Do your taxes early, and let TurboTax make your tax filing process simple and painless. 
The earlier you are done with your taxes, the sooner you can sit back, relax, and enjoy that tax refund! This year, we've already completed ours which is the earliest we've ever done them and it feels SO nice to be done. Usually I procrastinate tasks that I think are going to be challenging, but with TurboTax, it doesn't have to be a nightmare! TurboTax can walk you through the new changes required by the Affordable Care Act, and you are able to file for FREE  before the 16th if you have a simple return (1040A/EZ), and get your maximum refund.

This coming weekend is important – health insurance open enrollment ends on Sunday, February 15. This is the last chance you’ll have to purchase insurance to avoid a penalty on your taxes next year. You can check out to learn more about your health insurance and taxes, including finding out if you’re exempt from the tax penalty. While you’re at it, don’t forget to go to to file today for absolutely free before February 16 if you have a simple return (1040A/EZ).

These five, simple tips have made filing my taxes a painless process and something my organized, type A self actually kind of enjoys. Even with the changes that the Affordable Care Act brought this year, thanks to TurboTax I was able to easily complete my taxes in one sitting and now am just waiting for our tax return to show up in my bank account.

Have you done your taxes yet for the year? Is it something you dread or look forward to each year?