memorial day weekend 2018

Ryan is home! He got back super late Saturday night, and we got to spend two of our three-day-weekend days with our favorite soldier, which was such a treat. The boys were so thrilled to have Daddy back - albeit a little confused. When we got them up on Sunday morning, Spencer greeted me and then said, "Oh! Hi Daddy!" After that, it was all cuddles and love for Daddy all weekend, which makes my mama heart so happy. 

We had a busy outdoorsy weekend here in Black River. The weather has been hot - so hot, in fact, that we hooked up the AC units. Fun fact...most of the old homes here still don't have central AC. It just doesn't make sense because summer doesn't last that long. Since our home was built in 1880, we obviously don't have AC, and we purchased portable units that do the trick during the few super-hot days. I digress though. We got to spend time in the sun, playing in the baby pool, doing some household maintenance, barbecuing, and just enjoying one of our final weekends here.

Yesterday, we decided to start a new family Memorial Day tradition. We bought loose flowers, and we went to our local Black River Cemetery. We sought out the graves of our fallen soldiers. Some were from World War I, some World War II, and some were much too recent. We took the time to put flowers on as many of these graves as possible. It's so important to us that we teach our little boys the true cost of freedom, and we show them how important it is to strive to be worthy of their sacrifice.

They were somewhat clueless, but they did listen, and they did their best to participate. Plus, it was our first time actually visiting this cemetery. There are so many old graves there for soldiers long-gone. It was beautiful and humbling, and I'm so glad we took the time to do it.

^^^ don't mind the fallen tree - we lost it in a windstorm, and it's being removed this week :(

After that, we stumbled upon our local Black River Memorial Day Parade. Can you believe we've lived here three and a half years and never saw the parade? Regardless, as we were driving home, we ran into it, so we decided to stop and watch. Ryan and I had to laugh because we totally forgot they throw candy at parades. The boys were already in awe of the fire trucks when lollipops came flying in their direction. Basically, it was heaven for them.

We pulled out the hammock later that afternoon, and while the boys played with the baby pool and water table, we soaked up these last lazy days at Fort Drum. We move next week, so we're down to the wire. I'll miss it, but I'm so ready to get this show on the road (literally).

I hope you all had wonderful weekends! Cheers to a short week :)

5 things I'll miss about fort drum

For those who read my last post, thank you so much for your sweet words and optimism. You have no idea how much I appreciated your positivity in this tumultuous PCS season. As we wrap up our time here, I want to reflect a little on the great things about Fort Drum because, I promise you, there are some great things. In 13 days (yes, you read that right), we'll be on the roadtrip of a lifetime out West. Before we do that though, we're enjoying all the things we love most about life here in Black River  - and things that future Fort Drum residents might just love, too!

1 // The summer months.
This sounds so vague, and maybe it is a little vague, but there is nothing better than summer here at Fort Drum. There's something so amazing about a hard-fought spring and summer since winter lasts so long, and these days of clear blue skies and green grass will be missed by the Moores. While Ryan was deployed, the boys and I ventured far and wide to really soak up the season. We visited the beaches of Lake Ontario, we picked berries, we played at Boldt Castle, and more. Summer is fantastic here, and the options are endless.

2 // Moore's Blizzard Barn.
No, we don't own it, but yes, Moore's Blizzard Barn is right in our little Village of Black River! This local ice cream joint is right on the border of Le Ray Street and 342 - right by the Belvedere Gate of Fort Drum Main. My boys have grown up going there, and there's something about a local mom'n'pop ice cream shot that just screams down-home-charm. We're destined for at least two more indulgent evenings there before we leave.

3 // Southwick Beach State Park.
Despite what you may think, northern NY does actually have beaches. However, they border the larger lakes up here, which makes them a special treat. They're not saltwater! The boys loved the soft, sandy shores, playing at the local playground by the beach, and taking a dip in the surprisingly choppy - and warm - water. We spent many a day there playing ourselves silly and then hitting the hay early. Pro-tip - it costs $1 to get into the park. Too easy.

4 // Tug Hill Vineyards.
This beautiful family-owned joint is nestled in Lowville, and it's home to incredible berry-picking in the summer months (strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries), and the most incredible brunch you'll ever eat. I included Tug Hill Vineyards in my roundup of places to eat around Fort Drum, but let it be known that there's more than brunch here! The boys eat their weight in berries each summer, and they have wine tastings fairly regularly. Their local wines are delicious, and if you're in the mood for a strawberry rhubarb wine, you're in luck! Here's hoping we get out there one last time before we leave!

5 // Kingston, ON.
I know what you're thinking. How can I miss Canada about New York? So, here's the thing. Canada is literally a hop, skip, and a jump from Fort Drum. Rather than going to Syracuse for excitement, we love to head up to Kingston, Ontario. The people are friendly, the weather is (usually) great, and the food options are divine. Plus, if you've got your passport, why not explore the area around you? We'll be close to Vancouver on the opposite side of the country, but Kingston holds a special place in our hearts.

As the clock keeps ticking and as our time here nears to a close, I find myself becoming more and more sentimental about it all. It's the end of an era. I mean, it always is, but this is really the close of a chapter. We're soaking up the good here before we go though, and we're making the best of it.

I'm linking up today with Momfessionals and Smidge of This.

real life vs. #reallife

As we gear up for this upcoming PCS, I feel like this space is becoming more of this sort of biographical journey of our military life. I've thought a lot about what I put into this space and what I want it to be, and the truth is very simple. This blog is my life. It's our life. These moments, these things - they're real, they happen, and we live through them every single day. I never want anything posted here to be anything less than authentic, and that's why I think it's so important for me to be honest about life's realities.

The truth is that this season is hard. It's trying. I shared a little about this on my instagram, but I think it's important to acknowledge something. As bloggers, mamas, influencers, and more, we share what we want to share. Some of it is hard-hitting and raw. Some of it is fun and fluff. Neither is wrong. In fact, both are right. However, I think that, in all things, it's absolutely essential that what we share is authentic and real. 

The reality here is that, though I love to say that we roll with every change thrown our way, this season of life is really hard right now.

We move in 15 days. We're doing a (mostly full) DITY move, and Ryan's not home yet. I've yet to pack a single thing into a box, and I'm pretty much in denial that my boys' time at their preschool, which we love, is coming to an end. Though it's no secret that Fort Drum is far from my favorite duty station, we've built a life here, and that little life is growing legs and moving across the country - again. I love a lot of things about Army life, but this season is not one of them.

The thing is, it's okay to have crappy days, and it's okay to not be one hundred percent okay with it.

That's reality. That's real, raw, honest, and true. And, frankly, I know we're embarking on a great adventure, and under all this stress is a tangible excitement, as well. We have so many exciting things ahead, and we're going to make this roadtrip fun. However, I think that it's in these moments of vulnerability that we see what makes a person strong and resilient. And the bottom line is this...I want to share the good, the bad, the ugly, the hilarious, and everything in between.

Military life isn't easy. It is, however, completely worth it.

So, all that goes to say that I appreciate you bearing with my angst and crazy streams of consciousness lately. I appreciate all your sweet comments, your uplifting advice, your patience as I vent about the fact that we've yet to find a renter for our house. Most of all, I appreciate your authenticity and your voices, as well. Real life is so much more relatable than #reallife.

I'm linking up today with Jersey Girl Texan World & Oh Hey Girl.

one day in kingston, ontario

Is there anything better than grandparents coming to visit? I'd have to argue that there isn't. My mom, my boys' Oma, came to visit this weekend, and it was (as always) the absolute best and most refreshing time. I find that when Ryan is gone, it can be very isolating. Though I love being social and getting time with friends, there aren't a lot of moments of adult interaction while he's gone. This weekend was fun because we completely skipped naptime both days, took a trip to Kingston, Ontario for the last time, and I treated my mom to Bombay Duck Pickle Cafe, which I knew she'd love.

Saturday was a rainy one. Rather than spend the day indoors, I did a quick run in the morning, we walked the dogs, and we drove the hour up to Canada. It was super simple, the boys watched Paw Patrol the whole way there, and we took the chariot stroller to keep them out of the rain. We had a quick lunch of poutine at The Works Gourmet Burger Bistro on Princess Street, then we walked all around Fort Henry and the battlefield in the rain. Nestled high above the Royal Military Academy, it was beautiful to view the St. Lawrence River and let the boys run around and explore as the rain tapered off.

We also took a little time for the boys to play at The Rockinghorse toy store in Kingston. They have a Thomas the Train setup, and the boys can't get enough of it. Since Porter's second birthday is fast-approaching and we needed to buy some gifts anyway, we let them play. They had a blast - and 90% of this activity was free!

Mamas, truly, is there anything better than watching your kiddos venture around and explore?

Travel Tips to Canada from Fort Drum:

1 // Parents, if traveling with minor children, make sure you have their real birth certificates or their passports. If only one parent is traveling across the border, make sure you have certified copies of their birth certificates, their passports, and a signed letter of consent from the other parent. More often than not, the border guard will let you cross with the passport only, but it's better safe than sorry.

2 // Get Travel Pass on your phone. You won't pay roaming or data charges while in Canada, which is extra helpful when looking up directions, or searching on Yelp for great places to eat. 

3 // Do not bring produce over the border, and make certain that you don't have any firearms in your car either. You'll need to declare both, have all measures of security on you, permits, etc. It's more hassle than it's worth, and you'll have to declare and furnish all papers both on the Canadian and US sides of the border.

4 // Make sure that your license and registration are in order and on hand. They can ask for them at any time, and it's important that you know exactly where they are - just in case.

This was my mom's last trip here to Black River prior to our PCS (in 17 days...what?!), so we soaked up all the time we possibly could. She'll be arriving back here on the 6th, and we leave the 7th, so big things are coming. Until then, we're gearing up, we're getting ready, and we're waiting on Daddy to get his butt back home!

I'm linking up today with B Loved Boston for Weekending.

20 days and counting

We officially have less than three weeks until we move to Washington, and you want to know how much I've packed and prepped? Nada. Nothing. Zilch. I mean, I did some clean out for the village-wide cleanup two weeks ago, but beyond that, I've just been in denial. I think every single MILSPO out there can attest to the fact that it's often a hurry-up-and-wait scenario, and right now I'm just in denial. Here's the thing - summer is the most beautiful time of year here at Fort Drum. The trees are finally green, the birds are chirping, the skies are the most incredible Canadian blue...we survived winter, and now we have to pack it all away and move.

Don't get me wrong - I'm excited to move. I actually like moving and seeing new places. I do not, however, enjoy the process of moving. We made a home here, and now we have to start all over again.

So, as I revel in my lovely state of denial, my mom is coming up this weekend to see Black River one last time prior to our move. We're planning to head to Kingston again (assuming they let me cross the border with the boys without Ryan) and, hopefully, pack a few things away. We'll see how much packing actually gets done, but I know my boys are thrilled that Oma is going to come stay a couple days again. And no, they have no idea right now...we're surprising them!

I know I totally vaguebooked you guys the other day with my post about my passion project, and I apologize for all the cryptic talk! The truth is, I'm writing a book, and I'm excited - and nervous - to begin this project. I've started getting the pieces in motion, and I'm really looking forward to jumping in with both feet. So, fingers crossed this starts moving in the right direction. Also, re: blog changes. I'm transitioning my blog to Wordpress in the next couple weeks. I've thought about it for a while now, and as I transition this to more of my happy, positive, writing space, I'm looking forward to the functionality of it, as a whole.

So, revel in this little bitty baby blog while you can, folks, because changes are coming, and I couldn't be more ready for them!

the making of a passion project

You guys.

It's no secret that I've kind of been on this sort of introspective journey of sorts for a few months now. I've been working hard on self-care, taking the time to build up a better self-image identity, and finding my own voice - or brand. These things are hard for anybody in all walks of life. I feel like, at 32 years old, my biggest fear remains being ordinary, and part of being an Army wife or MILSPO brings this sort of conflict of interests if you will. Ever since I found out that I was passed over for a promotion, searched for a new job to no avail, and went through knee surgery, I've been kind of on this tumultuous little ride that I've been worried I'm going to fall off at any given moment.

But here's the thing; in the throes of yet another night of insomnia, stress, and restlessness, I felt myself being prompted to write something down. Now, some of you who've followed my blog (or my old book blog) for some time know that I'm a writer by trade. My singular lifelong career goal has been to write a book, but I've always been at a loss for what to write about.

Last night though, it was made extremely clear to me what to write, and I finally feel like I have some clarity in all of it. I feel like the Lord works in mysterious ways. He doesn't always tell us what he's doing or why He is doing it, but every. single. thing happens for a reason - of that I have no doubt.

I finally understand why I was passed over for a promotion and why this job hunt hasn't been working so well. I have bigger things on my mind. I have bigger goals. The company I work for is great - truly - because they're going to enable me to follow this passion project, and I absolutely cannot wait to share it with you sooner, hopefully, than later.

If there's one thing I'm learning through all of this, it's to listen and acknowledge the little things. Sometimes we don't figure out what we're supposed to be doing all at once. Sometimes it's a series of little events, moments, and sparks of inspiration that all join together to send an overriding message, and with that message, you find your purpose and your meaning.

I'm a big believer that everything happens for a reason, and I truly cannot wait to share more of this super exciting passion project with you going forward. To start though, get ready for some big blog changes in the coming weeks!

I'm linking up today with Jessi's Design for WHW.

spring has sprung

boys sweatshirts: old navy (available here

I hope everyone had the best Mother's Day weekends! Despite initially being sad about Ryan not being here for Mother's Day (again), we had a fantastic weekend here. The weather was perfect, my boys were sweet, and we were busy, busy, busy. And you guys know how I feel about staying busy during a TDY or deployment! On Saturday, we went to Old McDonald's Farm out in Sackets Harbor with one of Spencer's old teachers. She recently changed career paths, and Spencer has really missed her, so seeing her was truly a treat. She brought her little boy, and we had the time of our lives just seeing all the animals and reconnecting.

The boys have been going here for over a year now. When we started going last year, Porter wasn't even walking yet, so there are definitely some feelings, if you will, about this being one of our last trips before we move. That being said, we soaked it up, and we took our sweet time - even doing a hayride this time! Porter was in love with the bunnies, Spencer took his first pony ride, and we overfed the goats, as usual. Does it get better?

On Sunday, we really had no plans. I knew I needed some cleaning supplies for our impending move though, so we did a trip to Target, the boys got cake pops (their absolute favorite), and we bought a new plastic pool for the backyard. What better way to spend a sunny spring afternoon? The boys loved every second of it, and I enjoyed watching my boys soak up the sun and all the happiness that being outdoors brings.

When we moved here back in 2014, we picked this house, in large part, because of the huge backyard. We didn't realize that the boys wouldn't really be old enough to enjoy it until right before we moved again. Hindsight is 20/20, right? But seriously, they're loving it these days. They throw sticks for Danny, they run laps, and we enjoy the serenity and privacy that it brings. You really can't beat it.

While it wasn't a real, dedicated Mother's Day, I wouldn't have had it any other way. Truly. I spent it with my boys, we had a fun, relaxing time, and we stayed busy - all things that mean a lot to me while Ryan is gone. We need to get down to business for our big move to Washington in the next few days, so our time to play is dwindling, and the craziness is about to hit full-force. Until it does though, you'll find me in the backyard, playing with my boys.

I'm linking up today with B Loved Boston for Weekending.

finding your joy

It's no secret that finding your joy in the midst of chaos and disarray can be really difficult. We're in the midst of yet another Army move (and a cross-country one at that), Ryan's still TDY until the end of May, and I'm working, raising the boys, attempting to keep a name it. Chaos. Add in the fact that I've been dissatisfied at my job for a while now, and I've been seeking new options, and there are days (read: weeks) where I just want crawl back in bed and say "nope."

It's not really an option though. Life keeps moving along. So does work, my two fantastic little men, my house, moving, all of it. It keeps moving, and I need to move, too. I've been focusing a lot on self-care and self-improvement lately, and one of the biggest things I've learned about being intentional is that you have to choose joy. Moreso, you have to find your joy - even in the chaos. So, today, I want to reflect on six things bringing me joy this week - even in the midst of all the chaos.

1 // My little men. They're such a handful, but gosh, if they aren't the sweetest, too. Yesterday when I got them up in the morning, Spencer was pretending to serve me ice cream. He was so proud of himself, too. How can you be frustrated with a morning greeting like that?

2 // Freelance opportunities. I know I've mentioned it before, but I'm a copywriter with an emphasis on content marketing. I've been freelancing for a while through Upwork, but I haven't really found my niche until this week. I'm the newest staff writer for Tasteaholics and SoNourished - two amazing keto lifestyle and news outlets. And, as you know, keto is totally my jam.

3 // Friends who get me out. It's easy to focus on the crazy things like the fact that we have to pay $1,000 to remove three trees from the last windstorm, or that we still have a laundry list of household stuff to take care of before we move. I have sweet friends who bring me coffee pick-me-ups, take me on dinner dates even when I'm reluctant, and love on me when I'm less than loveable.

4 // Our home & soon-to-be home. We were so lucky, you guys. We're moving clear across the country, and finding a home unseen is never easy. While I was down for the count from my knee surgery, I stumbled across a listing for a home available at the beginning of June. We spoke with the owners, and within a couple weeks, we had a house lined up. And while we're at it, let me say that as crazy as homeownership is, our current home brings me joy, too - especially when I see spring flowers start to bloom...finally!

5 // Ryan. Honey, I know you'll read this, so yes, you bring me joy, too. Even when I'm really mad at the Army, slightly resentful of your lazy weekend mornings, and sad that you're not home to laugh with me, you keep me going. Love you.

If you made it through all of that, well done! I know I've been waxing nostalgic and sentimental lately, but I'm tired of surface-level posts. I want this place to be a real reflection of myself, my family, my brand, if you will. Bear with me, please, because changes are coming here, and I can't wait to share.

raising boys: 8 things I've learned & love

Perhaps it's because I was raised in a family with two sisters, or perhaps it's because there's really very few boys in my family, but I never imagined myself growing up and raising little boys. I always saw a girl in the picture. That being said, I knew from day one when I found out I was pregnant with our first that he was a boy - even though we didn't find out the gender. I just knew. Fast-forward 4 years, and I'm a mama to two perfectly imperfect little boys, and I wouldn't change a darn thing. 

Boys are (or were) totally out of my wheelhouse when Spencer was born. I had no idea what I was doing. My husband, on the other hand, was raised with two brothers, so it was old hat to him. From the first questions in the recovery room (to circumcise or not to circumcise) to learning to properly clean and diaper a boy, to potty training, playing, and beyond, it's been an adventure thus far, I'm still navigating these boy mama ropes. But I'm loving it...truly. They're messy, they're beautiful, they're perfect, and they're mine. 

Perhaps one day we'll have a girl, but for now, I'm insanely content. So, boy mamas and boy mamas to-be, here are seven things I've learned (and loved) about being a boy mama so far (and things that I absolutely love, too!):

1. There will be noise (and messes).
Raising boys is possibly the most beautiful form of chaos out there. They are loud, noisy, messy, and generally on-the-go, but it's perfect. Each noise they make is backed by so much heart and enthusiasm that I can't help but foster that noise. 

2. They never stop moving.
When my husband was deployed last year, I learned very quickly that I couldn't sit and dwell on my own sadness. Instead, I had to move with these little boys who wanted to keep going. That energy is infectious, and I let it fuel me these days; there's too much life to live to sit still.

3. Boys are sensitive little souls.
I see it all over the news these days about aggressive men and men who simply don't have any regard for others. My little boys have so many feelings. I joke about it a lot, but I mean it. They're sensitive, and sweet, and insightful. It's our duty to foster those feelings and keep them alive.

4. Tickle-fights take the cake.
I challenge you to name anything more magical than a child's laughter. There's nothing better - truly. Not a day goes by that we don't have some semblance of a tickle fight. Making these boys giggle makes my mama heart smile time and again.

5. Burps & farts are funny.
This is probably one of the biggest surprises to me, honestly. I knew boys were messy and dirty, and I never thought their burps and farts would be funny, but they are. They giggle each time the other does something, and they look around with such pride and laugh together. I can't help but join in.

6. They're acutely aware of their bodies.
Okay, but seriously! Our three-year-old is potty trained now, and in the process of teaching him, we became so aware of how much he is aware of. Oh, and with that, nudity is very common. They find nothing funnier than dropping trowel, and they're little - so we let them be naked in the backyard. Why the heck not?

7. They need to be nurtured.
I mentioned something on my instagram this weekend how fun - and how challenging - three is with our sweet Spencer. He has a will that's a million miles wide. He's impulsive, smart, intuitive, and he's such a sponge. He sees and absorbs everything. It's our job to constructively correct, nourish his creativity, and lead him down the correct path.

8. There's no bond like that of a mama & her boys.
I don't think that there's anything out there quite like it - truly. The bond I have with my boys (even when they're driving me crazy) is indescribable. They love their Daddy more than life itself, but there's something about Mama that's always their rock. Mama's there safe place, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Do you have boys of your own? What are some of the things you've learned and loved? Or, do you have a boy on the way? What do you hope for?

I'm linking up today with B Loved Boston for Weekending.

sh*t spencer says

What better way is there to wrap up a week than to focus on the world according to Spencer? This boy, I swear. He is so insanely intuitive, and yet he's absolutely ridiculous, as well. He speaks a mile a minute - a far cry from where we were a year ago - and 90% of what he says cracks us up. Last night, for instance, we were talking to Oma on Facetime over dinner, and he was being particularly naughty. Oma asked if he wanted an ear flick, to which he replied, "No, I'm okay."

Three is such a funny year for us. He is so fun, and he is so challenging. He's turning into this tiny little human, and he's literally a sponge. He hears everything, and he just absorbs it all. It's fantastic and terrifying, and it makes for some of the funniest conversations. I've also learned that arguing with Spencer is like arguing with a tiny version of myself.

So, without further ado, here are some of our latest gems when conversing with Spencer...because I literally can't, and these need to be immortalized.

 // Regarding dinner: "It smells like cat food."
First off, what? Second, we don't even talk about cat food, so I'm not sure where he came up with this assertion.

// Also regarding dinner: "This is yummy cat food."
Hmmmm...thanks, I think? Also, how do you know what cat food tastes like?

// Picking him up from daycare: "Mommy! You came back for me!"
Of course I did, bud! I didn't realize there was another option.

// Unbuckling him from his car seat first: "Mommy! You picked me!"
When he says stuff like this, it makes me think I'm putting my kids through the Hunger Games or something. Like I've picked my tribute. 

// While Oma helps him use the bathroom: "Oma, Daddy's got a big weenie!"
If you could have seen my mother's face when he said this, you would have died. This isn't the first time he's discussed Daddy's bits either. Ask us about the time we were boarding our plane in London.

// Looking at my scars: "Mommy, you got four boo-boos? *Counts to fourteen*"
Exactly - I mean, minus 10 of those, but exactly.

// Picking songs at night: "I freeeeelyyyy want Mickey Mouse Craphouse."
One day we'll learn how to say Clubhouse properly. Until that day, we'll all sing about the craphouse together.

// Looking at the frog on the driveway: "Look! A f*cky!"
Personally, I hope this never stops. 

// Getting them up in the morning: "Hi Mommy! Happy to see you again!"
There's a funnier story behind this. When we went to South Africa for Christmas, we all shared a room, and Ryan and I did our best to sleep right up until 7. Each morning, I'd peek out of the corner of my eye to see Spencer watching me, waiting to see me open my eyes. The second he did, he'd say "Hi! Happy to see you again!" Again, I don't know where he learned this, but it's the best.

Honestly, these moments make mothering a three-year-old SO worth it. His funny, he's sweet, he's hilarious, and he's witty without even trying. Does it get better than that?!

5 self-improvement techniques I use daily

I've been working really hard lately to focus on myself and how I'm building my business and my career potential. I had a few weeks there to sulk about work opportunities (or lack thereof), and I decided recently that it's time to stop moping and start moving. We have so many big changes happening in our life right now. What better time is there than now to get up and take control of my future? I've mentioned more than once on this blog that I do my best to be intentional in all that I do. Sometimes it's easy to forget that in terms of self-improvement though, and it's time to change that, too. Since it's finally May (yay!!!), I'm diving in headfirst and taking the plunge into self-improvement, self-awareness, and self-love. Here are five techniques I'm using every single day.

1 // Tune out the noise - try a podcast.
So, this might seem like a weird one to start with, but let me explain. I'm very quick to tell people I have no time to do certain things. But here's the thing...I do. Each day, I walk Danny twice for about 30 minutes. Historically, I spend that combined hour blasting music in my headphones. Now, I'm taking that time to listen to podcasts. I don't have a set channel that I listen to, and I don't pick the same topic every day. For example, today I listened to one of my absolute favorite channels, "The Influencer Podcast," with Julie Solomon. I love that it's so multifaceted and applies to so many people from so many walks of life. Am I building a brand? Maybe. We'll see. Is there a ton of valuable information in there about the marketing I do? Heck yes. Instead of listening to the chatter and noise, I'm focusing my energy and honing in on self-improvement and self-help with the right tools. Podcasts are the perfect place to start.

2 // Build your skills.
This sounds super generic, and that's probably because it'll look different for everyone. For me, it's honing in on little things I've let slide. For example, I grew up speaking French. Having not used it for several years now though, it's rusty at best. I'm no longer confident speaking or writing it. So, I downloaded an app for my phone call Duolingo. It's free, easy to use, and super interactive. I set a goal to use it 15 minutes every day. Instead of mindlessly scrolling instagram or photos, I take 15 minutes to hone this skill. I can feel it coming back ever so slightly, and it's a great feeling.

3 // Practice great habits.
This is a no-brainer, right? Actually, wrong. We tend to think of things in the short-term. A few little tiny bad habits don't make huge changes overall - at least not in the immediate future. However, little bad habits compound upon one another over time and actually weigh us down. Let's be real though...this isn't always just about bad habits. For example, I have a history of putting my boys to bed, curling up on the couch and binge-watching shows with my husband. Or, if Ryan's TDY like now, I binge-watch by myself. I get lost in my little show hole, and before I know it, it's 10 PM. One of the biggest things I've been working to practice lately is cutting that down time and, instead, making a conscious effort to get off my butt and get in bed at an appropriate hour. I get in bed at 9, read for 20-30 minutes, then I go to sleep. It's the tiny habits that actually make a huge difference over time.

 4 // Promote self-worth.
If there's one thing I've noticed in my adult life thus far, it's how easily I become overwhelmed and overburdened. It's easy to settle for feeling inadequate. However, the second I settle for those feelings of inadequacy, I diminish my self-worth and my potential for success. Self-worth and self-improvement are so multi-faceted. You need to have both in all areas of life to truly succeed. But here's the thing. You can't chase success. You have to attract it, and you do that by exuding positivity, good vibes, and self-worth. For example, I work in marketing writing. If I don't exude confidence, value, and worth, my work will show that.  If I take the time to build myself (and others) up, however, my work sings.

5 // The why, what & how.
Above all else, I'm a goal-getter. I love setting goals and tackling them head-on. However, I've learned how very intentional and specific I have to be about those goals though. Think of it this way; if you have a goal to be rich, that's great, but what does that mean? Why do you want to be rich? What will being rich do for you? How will being rich transform your life? Only once you answer those three questions can you actually set about tackling those goals. For me, that means dreaming big and diving deeper into what I know and believe I can do and accomplish. It means serving others in order to serve myself. It's such a tiny self-improvement step that makes an enormous impact.

One of the biggest things that I love about where I am right now is that there is so much room for growth and potential. I would have loved to have that job that I interviewed for, but I'm not sure it would have been the best thing for me in the end. Instead, I'm working hard to focus on what I can do to learn and grow in my craft - and in life - and take everything to the next level. Success starts with me every. single. day.

Do you practice any self-improvement techniques? What works for you? I'd love to know!