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  • I Was Stretched Too Thin and These Are the Steps I Took to Overcome It

    *I received a copy of Stretched Too Thin for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. In addition, this post contains Amazon affiliate links which earn this site a small commission.

    stretched too thin valerie pierre mommyrandr

    Last year this time I was having a difficult time mentally and physically. I had a lot going on between work, the kids, my husband, and our home life. I was constantly aggravated and snappy, stressed to the point where I couldn’t think straight and tired beyond measure. Looking back, I now realize I was stretched too thin and didn’t even realize it.

    What made this time in my life particularly frustrating was no matter how changed my eating and drinking habits and tweaked my night time routine I was still tired. Every day after I dropped the kids off at school I would come home and sleep all day. Mind you, this was supposed to be the time I should have been working uninterrupted. After all, I had waited two years after my first kid started school for my second to begin kindergarten. This should have been an exciting and fruitful time for my business. But instead of it flourishing, it floundered. Shit was bad and I was a minute from snapping.

    In hindsight, I can see how my actions got me in a predicament where I would become stretched beyond my limits. If I hadn’t tried to do too much which ultimately left little time for family, friends or myself I could have avoided feeling like I was on the cusp of having a nervous breakdown.

    What does it mean to be stretched too thin?

    The meaning is simple, you have too much going on but not enough time to accommodate any of it. You know what this looks like, you and your family’s schedule is packed from sunrise to sunset. Most days you don’t know if you’re coming or going. You end up at one place thinking it’s Tuesday when it’s really Thursday and you should be across town. And as a result, you’re in a constant state of frustration and fatigue.

    Now the easy thing to say is, well stop piling on so much shit. And that’s true. But you see, I didn’t realize I had taken on so much. I didn’t stretch myself thin overnight. Nah, son. I was doing it without realizing it. One too many extra projects here, taking the kids there, on top of keeping my house in order as a stay at home mom and trying to be a halfway decent wife. By the time I realized what was happening to me it was too late. Shit had already spiraled out of my control.

    How I regained control of my life

    The first thing I did was say no to every request in my inbox. This was not something that I was used to doing cause if I thought I could do it I would. Which was my number one problem. I needed to realize just because I could it didn’t mean I should. After that, I went into my inbox at all my pending things and told folks it was gonna take longer than promised due to overextending myself. Thankfully, I work with nice people who understood and sympathized with me as they too have been in my shoes.

    With projects completed and my whole schedule clear going forward I needed to make sure that I prioritized my family and myself above all else. Instead of working 7 days a week I cut it down to three – four tops. Friday, Saturday and Sunday were my personal days. Monday too if I could swing it. The impact of this new schedule was a game changer. I no longer felt overwhelmed or exhausted and I had more time for me. It also made my family happy cause I was fully present. Things were looking up and I couldn’t be more excited for lay ahead for me.

    How do you avoid finding yourself in a similar situation?

    I’m telling you right now you don’t wanna end up like me and how I was last year. You don’t want to walk around in a state of heightened stress all the time yelling at your family for every little thing cause you’re tired and can’t think straight. It’s no way to live. So when I knew I had to make a change  this is what I did to pull myself back together:

    Plan shit out

    I have never been a planner but over the last year, I’ve come to realize how important planning is. I used to think it was silly, now I don’t make a move without checking my calendar. This is a great way to keep yourself from having too much going on at once. You can look ahead to see if it makes sense for you to add on another activity or project, and it also shows if you need to remove things. Simply put, planning keeps you balanced.

    It’s okay to say no

    There is no rule that states you have to do everything. You don’t, and you shouldn’t, because you can’t. Don’t put your mental, emotional and physical health on the back-burner for nothing and no one.

    Make time for you and your loved ones

    When you’re being pulled in so many different directions it leaves very little time to enjoy being around those whom you love and care about. Now that you’re planning out your schedule and learning to say no you’ll see how much free time you have. Use that time to reconnect with family and friends, and most importantly, yourself. You’ll notice those around you will appreciate that you’ve not only have taken the initiative to spend time together but that you’re also present enjoying the moment creating meaningful long-lasting memories.

    Get Jessica Turner’s newest book Stretched Too Thin

    I’ve been a fan of Jessica’s since her first book release Fringe Hours. I considered it my favorite self-care book, that is until I read her newest release, Stretched Too Thin. Reading this book following one of the most stressful year’s of my life helped me fully understand the depths of what I put myself through, the negative impact it had on those around me and to see how far I’ve come since then.

    stretched too thin valerie pierre mommyrandr

    What makes this book special is the fact that it doesn’t read like a book at all. It’s more of a manual and in it, Jessica gives you the tools to: work and parent guilt-free, invest in your marriage and friendships, establish home and work boundaries, and home management solutions – just to name a few.

    stretched too thin valerie pierre mommyrandr

    What separates this book from other self-care books is that Jessica isn’t suggesting or sharing shit that she hasn’t done or gone through. You can tell as you read or listen along that she knows and understands the struggle a lot of us moms face and is committed to helping us find solutions that will not only be beneficial to us but to our families as well.

    But my favorite aspect is the journal like reflection section at the end of each chapter. This allows you to dig deep to identify areas of your life that may be stressful or problematic and improve those areas using the tips laid out within the chapter.

    While it took me less than a week to read it’s a book that I will keep handy to refer back to as often as necessary to ensure I don’t end up back in the space I was a year ago. For this reason alone it makes Stretched Too Thin worth the read.

    stretched too thin valerie pierre mommyrandr

    Stretched Too Thin along with Jessica’s previous titles, The Fringe Hours and My Fringe Hours are available at your local bookstore, Amazon, and on Audible.

    Have you ever felt stretched too thin? How did you go about putting yourself back together again?
  • 10 BRANDS I’M DIGGING FROM THE NATIONAL STATIONERY SHOW

    national stationery show mommyrandr valerie pierre

    The National Stationery Show is an annual trade event that takes place in NYC. Stationery store owners from all over the world descend on the Javits Center to showcase and scope out the latest in stationery products.

    This year there were more than 800+ business that were present. That is a lot of paper, my friends. I tried to see as many booths as I could but it was impossible. I spent two days there found a number of brands that I really loved. Some were already favorites and others were new discoveries for me since I’m new to the stationery and planner world. Of all the booths I visited I’m gonna to share 10 with that I really dug and I hope to learn more about them as I navigate my newfound hobby.

    Hadron Epoch

    NATIONAL STATIONERY SHOW Hadron Epoch valerie pierre mommyrandr

    These are the cutest pack of notebooks. I liked them because of their wide range of patterns and colors. The stitch binding and soft cover make it easy enough to go in almost any purse you have. The pages come lined, dotted and plain for various types writing and drawing. There are no limits to what you can use these journals for.

    Set of 3 Patterned Notebooks | BUY

    Free Period Press

    national stationery show mommyrandr valerie pierre free period press

    Not everyone is into planner books. I get it, they can be intimidating and/or just too pretty to even write in for fear of messing it up. Some people like simple. That’s why I liked the Schedule Magic desk pad. It’s small enough to go in a corner on your desk, yet big enough to jot down your entire schedule.

    See what’s hot off the press | BUY

    PleaseNotes

    national stationery show mommyrandr valerie pierre pleasenotes

    These just aren’t your regular run of the mill journals, these are affirmation/inspirational based journals. They are set up so that we have conversations with ourselves. They have questions and activities to help you uncover parts of you that you didn’t know existed. I especially love the quotes on each page. Another fav were the mirror decals. You just stick it on and every day as you do your hair or makeup you can speak your truth.

    Get inspired to create the life you love | BUY

    Webster’s Pages

    national stationery show mommyrandr valerie pierre webster's pages

    I love a good ole fashioned spiral notebook but I just don’t care for the ole fashioned feel. I use notebooks to jot down notes and other important information. Yes, we live in the age of phone memos and Google drive but I just like the idea of pen (or pencil) and paper. Webster’s also has some dope ass travel notebooks as well. The covers come in a number of styles and the small notebook that come with it has lined or plain pages. The inner notebooks don’t have that many pages but not to worry you can buy replacement ones and keep on planning.

    Plan your next adventure | BUY

    Design Loop

    national stationery show mommyrandr valerie pierre design loop

    The Wit & Delight collection by Design Loop is simplicity at its finest. The solid color and block lettering easily stood out in a sea of the trendy hot pink, teal and rose gold. If you follow Wit & Delight online then you know this collection is a true reflection of their clean style aesthetic. In this collection, you’ll find journals (lined and bulleted), notebooks, desktop calendars and other accessories.

    Check out the Wit & Delight collection | BUY

    My Infinite Agenda

    national stationery show mommyrandr valerie pierre my infinite agenda

    I liked these planners cause each color is connected to a different charity. It’s always great to help others while treating yourself. Read more about those charities on their website under the Product with Purpose tab. Be warned this planner is thick and heavy. This is a desk planner, not one to have in your purse every day. I wouldn’t consider it just a planner its a place for you to map your long-term dreams and goals.

    Pre-Order 2019 Agenda | BUY

    Good Juju Ink

    national stationery show mommyrandr valerie pierre good juju ink

    Good Juju literally stopped me in my tracks with their artwork. The prints are apart of their Egypt Collection – which is coming at the end of July. It will have matching prints and planners that feature (from left to right) Cleopatra, Pharaoh Hatshepsut, and Queen Nefertiti. I was lucky enough to snag all three prints from the show. (Thanks again!) They are gorgeous! I sadly, can’t say much about the planner cause I forgot to look inside, doh! That’s okay when this planner drops we’ll learn about it together.

    Get Some Good Juju | BUY

    Rude Love

    national stationery show mommyrandr valerie pierre rude love

    I have a potty mouth and sometimes most times those cutesy Hallmark cards just can’t express how I really feel. Which is why I rarely do cards. But when I saw that big ass ‘Well Fuck’ card I knew I had found my tribe with Rude Love creator Jenn. For the record, these aren’t for everyone I know. My mom will still get those Hallmark cards she loves so much but the man and my friends will totally get one of these.

    Send some Rude Love | BUY

    Of Unusual Kind

    national stationery show mommyrandr valerie pierre of unusual kind

    These are not your childhood paper dolls. These are chic modern paper dolls that can be for play or for decorative purposes. Each doll comes with a name and backstory. I liked Willow (black one on the left) I felt a connection to her, and we kinda look alike so that’s always a plus!

    Paper Doll Kits | BUY

    The Happiness Planner

    Bruh! This is a serious planner right here. The first thing that stood out to me were the color block covers. You can’t tell from this image but the cover looks and feels like cloth. The binding, accessories and framed metal edges give it a nice luxe touch. This is planner is like a brick giving you an entire page for each day to not only fill out your schedule but to also talk about what you’re grateful for and what your hopes are the year. It also gives you tips on how to live your happy life to the fullest. It’s expensive but I think it’s totally worth the price.

    Get some happiness | BUY

    I had such a blast at the National Stationery Show! I wish I could have shown you more but it would have been impossible. Did you see anything you liked from the brands listed? Are you familiar with any of the brands listed? Share in the comments below.
  • 10 Dope Unicorn Crafting & Journal Products

    Happy Unicorn Day!! To celebrate this majestic day I’ve rounded up some dope ass uni products because you can never have too much unicorn shit.

    2018-2019 Planner

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    Get a head start on your 2018 with this Simple yet stylish planner features a condensed full month view, followed by a weekly/daily view which provides lined spaces for you to record tasks, goals, or plans. Amazon $8.99

    Coloring Book

    unicorn

    Unicorns think they’re so great because they’re all mysterious and magical, but they can be real jerks sometimes. This coloring book features eighteen examples of unicorns texting in theaters, farting in elevators, eating your leftovers, and generally acting like jerks. Amazon $7.70

    Spiral Notebook

    unicorn

    Record your thoughts and dreams in all their magic and splendor in this lovely unicorn notebook designed at Paper Source. The unicorn print and words “Embrace your inner unicorn” written in gold will spark your imagination and send you on a writing journey! Paper Source 12.95

    Washi Tape

    unicorn

    Perfect for making unique journal pages and personalized cards. Also great for creating custom creative wrapped gifts for friends and family. Amazon $6.95

    Double Sided Paper

    unicorn
    Your pages and cards will be one-of-a-kind and magical when you use the Unicorn Party 12″ x 12″ Double Sided Paper! The package includes one sheet of paper that is part of the Imagine That Girl Collection by Echo Park. Scrapbook $0.98

    Journal

    unicorn
    How To Be Unicorn Happy is packed with inspirational thoughts, quotes and fun, practical exercises to help you increase the joy and positivity in your life – and live every day like a unicorn! Amazon $4.99

    Golden Stickers

    unicorn

    Set of 5. Handmade. Perfect for card making & stationery, and scrapbooking. Etsy $5.99

    Reversible Sequin Magical Changing Personalised Cushion

    unicorn

    This reversible personalized cushion makes the perfect accessory for your crafting room. It can be personalized too. Etsy $17.52

    Gel Pens
    unicorn

    Perfect for home, school office, stocking stuffers, party favors, teacher’s gifts and more! Buy a single or in a pack. Etsy $2.25

    Canvas Pouch

    unicorn

    This pouch is every girl’s fairy-tale dream come true! Designed by Paper Source, this blue canvas pouch features a unicorn with the words “embrace your inner unicorn” written in gold foil. Paper Source $14.95

    Do you have a favorite unicorn product? Share in the comments with the links so we all buy more uni shit.
  • MAI Box Delivers Self-Care To Stay At Home Moms

    What happens when you run out of ways to take self-care at home? You order a MAI box. This bi-monthly box helps you relax and reflect. Created by Lenora Woods, MAI box caters to stay at home moms and busy on-the-go moms to help them take better care of themselves.

    MAI box
    MAI Box Creator Lenora Woods

    Recently launched in January, MAI Box is a bi-monthly Christian based self-care subscription box that’s filled with everything a mom of any faith would need to welcome peace and relaxation into her hectic life.

    MAI box
    January MAI Box

    This box came with:

    Grace Planners to help you plan your self-care for the year.
    J.K. Rowling’s ‘Very Good Lives‘ a book filled with wisdom for those entering a turning point in their lives.
    Scrubs and Scrubs Lemon Pound Cake Body Scrub.
    A stack of Topsie Ties. Perfect accessories for your shirt, skirts and scarves.
    Nail polish by Lenora.
    Earrings from TYPENU.
    T-Shirt that says Fearfully and Wonderfully Made from Proverbs 139:14.
    Bino & Fino cartoon for the kiddies. This educational DVD teaches children about Nigerian culture.
    And a magazine – this is my favorite part of the box. The magazine features a new mom every month and in it you can read about what she does for a living, how she manages and what she does to get self-care. I was honored to be chosen for the very first issue and I hope that subscribers can take away tips business and life tips, and know mostly importantly they are not alone.

    I really enjoyed this box. The planner was really a great touch because it’s hard to plan time for yourself. You can see I’ve totally fallen off the wagon for my daily self-care challenge. And that’s okay. This will help me get back on track and the religious passages at the top of each week give me the inner peace and the strength to know that I CAN do this!

    I wanted to know more about Lenora and MAI Box so it was my turn to interview her.

    What is MAI box and how did it come to be?

    I caught up with Lenora to chat with her about MAI Box. Here’s how it went down.

    mai boxHey Lenora – it’s so great to chat with you. Congratulations on the launch of MAI box. Tell me about yourself and your family:

    Thank you! I’m originally from Fredericksburg, VA. I’ve lived in Atlanta for 11 years. I moved to ATL after college at East Carolina University in North Carolina. I am married and we have two boys: James (4 years old) and Jasiah (2 years old).

    Where did the idea of starting a self-care subscription box come from?

    When I had my first child (James a.k.a JL) I was trying to figure out another business so that I could stay at home with him and the idea of a subscription box for babies came about but I never moved on it. (LOL) So, I continued working my currently business in PR.

    It wasn’t until after the second child (Jasiah) that the idea resurfaced. This time, I wasn’t necessarily interested in providing moms with items for the baby. I felt like moms need stuff for themselves. At this time, I was acting as a single mom because my husband started driving trucks and was gone for 2-3 weeks at a time. I got a good taste of single motherhood. I had some help from my sisters who live close but it was all on me. Boy was I always tired!! Everything I did was for and centered around my babies.

    My “me time” or my time of rest and relaxation was literally when I was asleep…and that was always cut short! I knew I wasn’t the only mom experiencing this. When you buy something for yourself or want to go out with friends or do something for yourself, you feel guilty. You think, “that money could have paid for diapers and wipes, baby clothes and everything else. I really needed something like MAI Box to  introduce me to new and fun products and to keep me encouraged….and to have something I could be a little selfish about!

    How did you come up with its name?

    I started with The Mom Box. The domains were free, all social handles were free, however I did some extra digging and research and found a small company, based in Chicago, called Mom Box. So I felt it was only right that I changed the name. Your name is everything, when you are starting a business (in my opinion). I did some more research and found that the words “mai” stand for “mom” in Leonese which is a Spanish dialect. It just fit so I ran with it!

    How does the subscription work?

    Right now, we are bi-monthly. When you subscribe you can choose from doing an automatic renewal every two months OR you can choose to pay for the entire year. If you know a mom who can learn to take some time out for herself, you can gift a box also.

    How are the products in the box curated?

    I choose a theme and then source products from there. I’ve found businesses on Instagram, Pintrest and a few Facebook groups that I’ve joined. I love discovering small businesses. It’s a huge plus when they are “mom owned!

    What is your favorite part of the MAI Box?

     My favorite part is curating. I love choosing a theme and discovering products for moms. Each box comes with 5-7 gifts for moms that will help her discover something for herself and have something that is all hers. Great surprises of inspiration, encouragement and love come right to her doorstep. All she has to do is find a quiet place and enjoy!

    What does self-care mean to you?

    To me, self-care is doing whatever it takes to strengthen our mind, body and soul. Each day, we should all do, read, see, think, smell, etc things that helps us grow. Something simple as reading a scripture before you get dressed for the day or before you go to bed; taking a long bubble bath; or reading a book.

    When you’re not providing self-care to others how do you treat yourself to self-care?

    This box is helping me do just that, because I wasn’t doing anything for myself outside of work and kids. I grew up reading and I love to read but I’ve never made the time to do so. Now, I try to read for at least 30 min a day. I start every day with a scripture. I volunteer at church! That is by far one of my favorite things to do because I meet new people each day and I get to serve and make other people feel welcomed.

    When was the last time you took some self-care? What did you do?

    Taking self-care is something I don’t do often. I would love to go to a spa or just stay at a hotel for the weekend.

    Aside from subscribing to the MAI Box what three tips can you offer moms about how to achieve self-care?

    1) Read something positive and uplifting daily  2) try a new lip color 3) Have a cocktail or glass of wine just because

    Are there any plans for a daddy self-care box?

    Let’s see what the future holds!

    Your launch box went out in January what can member expect for the next box in March? Any hints?

    March’s theme is “Go Green” — You can expect all natural and chemical-free products. This box features female-owned small businesses and some items you can enjoy in those long bubbles baths you’re going to start taking more often!

    Speaking of the January box, thank you for featuring me. How can other moms be featured in MAI Box Magazine?

    Each month we like to feature a new mom on our cover. We like to do this so that we can learn about the lives of other moms, how they overcome obstacles and how and if they take time for themselves. To be features, send us an email at hello@themaibox.com.

    Thank you so much Lenora for chatting with me today. If you want to get your own MAIbox order is ASAP as the March box will be shipping out soon.

    FYI: As cover mom for January MAIbox gifted me with a complementary box for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.