Now that summer is winding down and most kids around the country are back at school, it's time to get back into the swing of things and re-establish routines that may have been interrupted by summer.
Here are some tips for getting over summer:
1. Sleep- Your sleep routine was most likely affected by summer: going to bed later than normal and perhaps waking up a little later too. It is important to try and get 7-8 hours per sleep per night and start your day EARLY. At night put your phone in a different room to charge, so that you won't be tempted to lay in bed scrolling. Set your alarm to get up an hour to thirty minutes earlier than the rest of your household and when the alarm goes off, DON'T SNOOZE! Get up and start your day enthusiastically and full of energy. You'll be surprised at how much you'll get done.
2. Exercise- I am probably one of the few people in the world who doesn't drink coffee. So to get my blood pumping and energized, I get moving. It doesn't have to be a full blown Zumba routine but make sure you move throughout the day. Take the stairs, do 20 jumping jacks, walk to the corner. Do this whenever you feel sluggish and it's guaranteed to get your blood pumping and make your endorphins happy. This will allow you to focus on getting work done instead of daydreaming about the beach (or your bed).
3. Plan- Do not discount the effectiveness of handwritten to-do lists! Get a bright colorful note pad (just for fun, white plain paper will do!) and do a bulleted list of everything you need to do for the day. If this is too old school for you, create a list in your Notes app. The point is just to make sure you have a plan and you prioritize your daily tasks so that you can feel a sense of accomplishment.
4. Establish a routine- Work all three of the above into your daily schedule until they become a routine. This will help keep you from wandering aimlessly through your day. You need a purpose to keep you focused and on task!
5. Keep a positive attitude- Every morning you wake up is a blessing and none of us are promised tomorrow. So stay positive and think of it as a privilege to leave your mark on each day. And don't wish away the days for days of summer past. . . .time is fleeting and summer will be back in nine short months!
This my last post for the Summer Blog Series! I won't be consistently blogging after this post but may pop in from time to time. In the meantime, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter for more information, tips and updates.
I get a lot of compliments about my Instagram feed. And people often ask what kind of camera I use. I actually use my iPhone 6S Plus. The camera isn't even the best camera phone on the market (although the Portrait feature on the iPhone 7 is a game changer!) I've just learned some tricks for taking Instagrammable (yeah, that's a word!) photos:
1. LIGHTING, LIGHTING, LIGHTING- Did I mention lighting? Lighting is everything when it comes to taking good photos. Whether you're taking a selfie or a book photo (my fave) you need to make sure your lighting is good. I usually leave my flash off and take photos near my back door because there is a large window nearby that brings in natural light.
Very Basic Shot to Show My Super Simple Set up!
2. Focus- As a lover of photos my biggest pet peeve is a blurry or grainy picture. Especially if you didn't do it for an artistic reason. Most (if not all) camera phones have a focus feature. You can tap the screen and make sure the focus is on your subject. If you don't have this feature there are several apps that can take over your camera and add this function. My favorite is the Camera+ app. Pictures that are in focus provide more visual interest AND we can actually see what you snapped!
3. Background- If you are doing a prop or product shot or even a selfie be mindful of the background. You don't want something so busy it takes away from your primary subject. I prefer a solid background when I'm taking book photos. I purchased a white foam poster board from the dollar store and I take the majority of my still shots using this background. I also splurged ($7) for a distressed wood plank from Walmart to take photos on as well, mostly food shots.
More basic shots just to show my background example
4. Content- Choose something of interest to take a photo of and provide a clever caption. It might seem cheesy or fake to stage a photo but that is what Instagram is all about (to some degree) taking CREATIVE photos. If you want to take a photo of your cup of coffee, add a muffin or book/magazine that you're reading. Light a candle or put a flower in a vase. . .so many options! Check the #proptoit tag on Instagram for inspiration. Or if you just want to capture sunsets or birds or flowers do it in an interesting way- zoom in, zoom out, take the photo off center, blur the background just make it interesting and visually pleasing! (Bonus tip: to get some different ideas for content try a photo challenge like the Fat Mum Slim Photo A Day Challenge #fmspad. It's a month long challenge (every month) with different fun daily prompts!)
5. Edit- I'm not really a big fan of filters. Not unless you plan on using a special filter for ALL of your photos and creating some sort of uniformity for your feed. I've seen this done before and it's pretty cool. However I just like to edit my photos using the Camera+ app. I'll back light them, add or remove shadows, add some clarity and turn up the saturation. Whatever makes the photo pop without looking overdone.
What are some of your Insta tips? | Follow me on Instagram @traciemomie
During the summer months I admit I don't exercise as nearly as often as I should, which means I have to be more conscientious about what I eat. I eat a lot of salads and fruit during the summer. One of my favorite salads is a simple salad with only three main ingredients: cucumber, tomato and feta cheese.
The thing that's interesting about this salad is that I generally don't like tomatoes but in this light summer salad they are delicious!
I like my salad slightly chilled, so I put the cucumber in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before I use it. I peel the cucumber and cube it; then chop the tomato and crumble the feta over the top. I add cracked pepper and a splash of my favorite salad dressing to finish it off.
To make it more hearty, you can add shrimp or chicken. The great thing about this salad is you can make/mix as little or as much as you want. There is no strict recipe to follow, just toss and enjoy!
What is your favorite summer salad?
Here's an unedited snippet of dialogue from something I've been working on:
“You think you’ll ever get married?” I asked while we were working in his home office.
He turned around in his chair and stared at me. His expression was blank but his eyes expressed shock and a little fear.
“Um, that was out of left field.” He laughed nervously.
“I’m working on an article. I had a conversation with a few female entrepreneurs and many of them are wondering if when they are ready- if they are ever ready- for marriage and children if they will find someone. Given that they’ve achieved some level of success. You know will they be able to find someone in their lane or someone who’s not intimidated by their success.”
“Okay?” he asked still seemingly confused.
"I’m wondering is this just something females are worried about or do men wonder about the future as well? Do you see yourself married with children? And if so, are you looking for a particular female to fill that position? Like does she have to be as successful as you or would you prefer someone who isn’t as ambitious?”
“So are you interviewing me?” he smiled.
I shrugged. “Maybe.”
“Is this just for the article?” he asked softly.
I shrugged again. “Maybe.”
He rolled his chair next to me and sighed. He was quiet for a minute and I was actually afraid of his answer.
“To be honest with you, I never thought about getting married because I never figured it was an option. You know I didn’t grow up with my parents and none of my friends had parents that were married so that wasn’t something I ever even thought of.” He paused and shook his head. “And the kind of girls I used to date. . .” he laughed darkly. “I sure as hell would never wife any of them. So my plan was to just keep trying to build a business, stay out of trouble and just enjoy my life.”
He leaned closer to me and bumped my shoulder.
“And then I met you and for the first time in my life I wanted more.”
I smiled at him. “More what?” I asked wanting him to elaborate.
“More from life. You inspire me. I wanted my business to bigger and better, I wanted to live intentionally and help my community and for the first time- it wasn’t just about sex- I wanted to be with you just to kick it or talk or just sit down and stare up at the sky.” He laughed.
“You sound so whipped.” I teased.
He kissed my lips. “You know I am.”
I kissed him back. “I know. But uh- you still haven’t answered the question.”
He rolled back to his side of the room.
“I’ve thought about it. A woman who has her own thing would be cool and I’d support her in any way that I could as long as I had her support and attention as well. And it would be really cool to one day teach my son or daughter what I know and pass my company to them. I think one of the main issues in our community is the lack of legacy building.”
My heart swelled at his words.
He started typing on his computer before he asked over his shoulder. “What about you? Have you thought about it?”
“I’m not the one being interviewed.” I laughed nervously.
“I’m interviewing you.” He said.
“I don’t know- like you said- I didn’t have an example of what marriage looked like either and over the years I’ve dated some men whose last names I definitely wouldn’t want attached to mine. But I have also been thinking differently since we’ve met.” I said softly.
He turned to look at me.
“I’m just afraid- I’ve heard so many horror stories about expectations and people changing after marriage. I couldn’t be with someone who is going to stifle me and what if you got bored with having sex with one woman for the rest of your life and went out and cheated and-,”
“Whoa- so this is no longer hypothetical?”
“What do you mean?” I frowned.
“You said what if you-,” he said pointing at himself.
“I didn’t mean you- it's hypothetical this entire conversation is hypothetical Michael.” I sighed and went back to work.
He rolled his chair next to me again but this time he turned me around to face him.
“Well let’s get specific for a minute. First of all, I would never cheat on you. And second let’s drop the bullshit. Do you want to get married one day?”
I shrugged. “I want a family. I want stability. I want love. Everything I never had growing up.” I started tearfully.
“I want that too.” He assured me. “Is that something you can see yourself having with me?” he asked.
I shrugged playfully. “I guess you’ll do.” I laughed.
“Okay, you got jokes.” He laughed.
“I’d consider myself extremely lucky to have that with you.” I said sincerely.
“I feel the same. I mean I know it’s only been a year and a half but I’m not going anywhere, I’m here unless you send me away. So let’s just keep learning and growing together and know that we’re on the same page. Okay?”
He kissed me again and turned away before quickly turning back to me.
“Wait- how many kids?”
“No more than two.”
“Good. I thought you’d want a bunch of kids since you were an only child. I draw the line at three.”
I don't know if this will be a part of my next novel or not. . .but it will definitely make an appearance in a future book!
Writer. Reader. Designer. Creative Spirit.
“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.”