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Monday, January 30

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I may be compensated for sales made via these links; thank you for your support of my blog.

It's been a little while since I've celebrated the love of coffee here on the blog. With the weather having turned colder this week and Valentine's Day right around the corner, this seems like a perfect opportunity to change that.

Don't forget that for some of us, sharing a cup of coffee is speaking a love language. Here are my top handmade picks of Valentine's Day gifts for the coffee lover in your life.

I hope these gift ideas provide you with plenty of inspiration to spoil the coffee lover in your life for Valentine's Day. Please feel free to share with me any gift ideas that I've missed.

If you enjoyed this post, check out these Valentine's Day workout items:

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Friday, January 27

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, I may be compensated for purchases made via these links; thank you for your support of my blog.

Good morning, lovelies!

It's time for the Friday Confessional party. Confession is good for the soul, so stop by to share all your dirty, little secrets. You'll feel better when you're finished, and we promise not to judge.

This year, I'm trying something new by recording my Friday Confessions on Facebook Live. Please stop by the High-Heeled Love Facebook page at 1p.m. EST each week to join the conversation in real time.

Some things mentioned in the video:

Want to play along? Grab the button and link your Friday Confessional below. Please comment after linking.

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Monday, January 23

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I may be compensated for your purchases made via these links; thank you for your support of my blog.

I talked earlier this afternoon on Facebook Live about my goals for 2017, and one of those goals is about to lose about 40 pounds. I have joined Weight Watchers as a tool to help me with this, but there are many other day-to-day healthy choices that I plan to make in order to establish new habits.

I think sometimes we put off making healthier choices in our day-to-day lives because we get overwhelmed with how many changes we want to make. And sometimes, we put off leading a healthier lifestyle because we think that we need to spend a lot of money on new foods, new exercise equipment, a new gym, a new fitness program or a new training coach.

I'm here to tell you that doesn't have to be the case. You can start making changes today without getting overwhelmed and without spending a lot of money.

Here are seven healthy choices you can make today without spending a dime.

1. Get Enough Sleep

I think that I mention sleep habits almost every time I write about making healthy choices. I think it's something that we ladies don't place enough importance on.

And we should.

Seriously, getting enough sleep reduces our stress levels, allows us to think more clearly, and make better choices. Being sleep deprived makes us more likely to crave sugar or sweets, reduces our energy levels, and affects our body's ability to lose weight.

Want to learn some way to improve your sleep quality?
Check out my blog post: Why You Need More Sleep & How to Get It.

2. Drink Plenty of Water

Much like getting enough sleep, staying well hydrated can improve your brain function. In fact, it can help your body compensate when you are sleep deprived.

Drinking plenty of fluids also helps flushes our bodies of toxins, helps regulate hunger and improves skin quality. Swapping water for sugary drinks or soda will help with weight loss, which is a great bonus.

I also find that there's a huge difference in my ability to perform and keep myself safe in jujitsu class when I've had plenty to drink. I aim for drinking half my body weight in ounces (80 ounces if you weigh 160 pounds), but you should speak with your medical professional about how much water (or other non-caffeinated beverages) will be the right amount of hydration for you.

3. Floss Your Teeth Daily

Okay, this is a little geeky, but my dentist will be happy. Seriously, taking care of our teeth and gums can help prevent serious health concerns like heart disease.

Having pretty pearly whites is also going to increase your confidence levels, and smiling at someone as you walk down the street is a great way to boost your mood and probably make their day.

4. Go Outside

This goes beyond getting some daily movement in. I mean, going for a 10-minute walk can be a great way to start integrating exercise into your life. Since I am a dedicated Fitbit user, I do advocate setting and tracking a daily step goal.

But I also want to advocate the benefits of fresh air and sunshine. Spending some time outside is a great way to let your mind recharge, and sunshine is one of best natural sources of vitamin D. I'm willing to bet if you take a stroll around the block every day for a week, you'll feel more energized and more at peace.

Fitbit Zip Activity Tracker

5. Stretch

Even if you aren't regularly exercising. Stretching for a few minutes at the start of each can be beneficial. It will help you maintain your body's mobility and will help "wake up" your body for the day ahead.

If you are regularly exercising, properly stretching can help prevent injury and help increase performance. You can also use stretching as a measure of physical capability; I really surprised myself when working on the 30-day stretch project in 2015. My endurance and flexibility were markedly different from day 1 to day 30.

6. Meditate

Establishing a meditation practice was something that my massage instructor really emphasized when I took the class.

Even just 10 minutes each day will help you bring more focus and clarity to your day. I'll admit that I don't meditate daily, but on the days that I do, I find that my mind is calmer, I'm more productive at work, and I feel better overall.

And learning to control your breath can help you lower your heart rate when you find yourself in a stressful situation.

7. Establish a Gratitude Practice

Taking some time each day to review what we're thankful for can help reduce stress levels, which definitively has physical and mental health benefits.

I believe that have a gratitude practice will improve our relationships with those around us and that focusing on positivity will attract more positivity in our live.

This is actually the habit that I'm working on this month. I have a journal where I'm recording 3 things each day that I'm grateful for.

Get Started Today

Choose any one of these changes to establish a new healthy habit. Focus on it for about 30 days to be sure it's well-established. Then choose another healthy choice. No money required unless you choose to spend it.

Also, sign up for my email list to get more healthy and frugal living tips as well as ideas to feel more balanced in our busy lives.

What's healthy habit will you choose to focus on? What other ways can you make healthy choices that cost nothing?

Fitbit One Activity + Sleep Tracker
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Friday, January 20

Good morning, lovelies!

It's time for the Friday Confessional party. Confession is good for the soul, so stop by to share all your dirty, little secrets. You'll feel better when you're finished, and we promise not to judge.

I thought it would be fun to handle my confessions a little differently this year, by doing a video confessional so please watch below...or catch me live on Facebook next week at 1p.m. EST.

Here are links to the things that I mentioned:

Want to play along? Grab the button and link your Friday Confessional below. Please comment after linking.

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Monday, January 16

I want to talk about money and our debt.

When we started our Financial Peace journey, I was too embarrassed to share our numbers on the blog, but a year of listening to Dave Ramsey podcasts has helped me to get over that.

So I want to share more detail about where we're at because we have a big goal for 2017.
We're knocking out the rest of our debt snowball this year.
To do that, we'll need support from our entire community...including my awesome blogging friends. And I think we'll have better support if we share more about where our debt is and what we need to do to accomplish our goal.

The 2016 goal

After graduating from Financial Peace University just before Christmas, one of our household goals for 2016 was to pay down half of our debt snowball.

Here is where we started the year:
4 credit cards: $16,836
1 bank loan: $3,106
1 auto loan: $10,925
Total snowball: $30,867
Here is where we're ended the year:
2 credit cards: $11,084
2 bank loans: $10,162
Total snowball:  $21,246

Even though we didn't hit our number, I'm calling last year a success. Here's why. We overcame the following obstacles last year:
  • A $7000+ tax bill that exceeded our savings for taxes; thus the bank loan because we determined we'd rather owe a bank than the IRS.
  • Our hot water heater died in July; we had money in the emergency fund to replace it without money drama.
  • The Mister lost his job in August; we stayed on budget until he found a new one and didn't have to touch our emergency fund.
  • The Mister's car was totaled in an accident in November, and we purchased a replacement with cash from the settlement without going into our emergency fund.
  • Both our cars needed major repairs in November and December, and we were able to cash flow the repairs without touching the emergency fund.
In spite of all the challenges life threw at us in 2016, we reduced our debt snowball by 30 percent. We also celebrated the following wins in last year:

  • I sold my car, which means we'll never have a car payment again.
  • The Mister has proven some serious hustle with his side work and now has enough weekend gigs lined up to easily take us into the spring.
  • Having money goals gave me the push to open my Etsy shop Chasing Blue Jays.

We had no money drama, no money stress, no money fights because we had a written plan to tackle the challenges. We controlled the money; it didn't control us.

Money Goal 2017

And this year is going to be our year; we're coming after that remaining $21,000 with a vengeance. We have a plan:

  • Tighten the budget to squeeze even more dollars to throw at the debt
  • Create more income via side hustles
  • Grow my full-time business, my blog income, and my Etsy shop
  • Have faith that more opportunities and blessings will come our way

And I'm asking for your help. Please send prayer and/or positive energy our way. Cheer us on and help us stay accountable.

Do you have financial goals for 2017? What can you do to take control of your finances?

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Tuesday, January 10

Disclosure: I am an influencer with Grove Collaborate and will be compensated for sales made my referral links. Thank you for your support of my blog.

With all the holiday entertaining I’ve been up to (read: dishwashing), my hands have been feeling drier and more cracked than usual. As you know if you've been hanging around here, I’ve been a long-time fan of Mrs. Meyer’s dish soap and hand soap. I've always wished they had a matching lotion for a post-dishwashing treat. Well guess what — now they do!

Of course it’s made with plant-derived ingredients and no parabens or phthalates. But the real reason I love it is that it makes my hands feel heavenly. After I do the dishes, I squirt one pump of this into my palm and rub it in (a little goes a long way). It sinks in right away, which means I can jump on my computer or pull my latest crochet project right out without getting grease everywhere.

Thanks to the essential oils, it smells amazing too. You can choose from from your favorite Mrs. Meyer’s scents and after months of cinnamon spice, these fresh scents make me want to clear out all the clutter in our house and get ready for spring.

Only at Grove

I’m so excited about this product that I had to share this offer from Grove. When you sign up using my link, you’ll get a free Mrs. Meyer’s lotion + kitchen set to help you get a fresh start on the new year. Even sweeter? The lotion is only available at Grove right now, so you’ll be the first to try it! It’s the perfect opportunity to treat yourself to a little pick-me-up for you and your home.

Here’s what new Grove Collaborative customers get with their first purchase of $20:
  • Free Mrs. Meyer’s hand soap
  • Free Mrs. Meyer’s dish soap
  • Free Mrs. Meyer’s lotion
  • Free Grove Collaborative Enamel Cleaning Caddy
  • Free Grove Collaborative Walnut Scrubber Sponges
  • Free shipping

Of course, nothing says “I’ve got it together” like a matching trio of dish soap, hand soap, and lotion sitting neatly by the sink.

Toss the kids’ art supplies or homework stuff in this chic Grove Collaborative enamel caddy and, voila, you’re ready for last-minute visitors without breaking a sweat

Make Life Easy

Here’s one more thing that will make life easy: your subscription to Grove Collaborative. After all the holiday madness, I have zero desire to run to the store for a tube of toothpaste. Grove hand-selects the best natural products (like this Mrs. Meyer’s lotion) and delivers them to my door, on my schedule — for less than what I used to pay at the grocery store. I can choose the products in my shipment and order at any time, but Grove also recommends a shipment schedule to keep me on-budget and stocked up on essentials.

Saving money and going green? That’s two resolutions checked off right there!

This Mrs. Meyer’s lotion is only available at Grove Collaborative and supplies are limited, so don’t wait! I’m excited for you to try it and see why I’m such a fan of Grove. Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign up for Grove Collaborative HERE. You will receive the Fresh Start Kit for free when you sign up! If you’re already a Grove customer, you’ll receive a Mrs. Meyer’s hand soap for free with your next order.
  2. Answer 4 quick questions about your home that Grove Collaborative will then use to customize your Once you’ve answered the questions, you can finalize your basket of products to suit your household needs by adding or removing items.
  3. To receive this offer, your order needs to be a minimum of $20. Choose the combination of products and scents you love and receive in your first box.
  4. You made it! Click Finish & Pay and place your order.

Tip to Save

Once you’ve submitted your Grove order, you’ll be signed up for the free 60 day VIP trial. For 60 days, save even more with free shipping, free gifts, price matching, exclusive sales and personal service.

Already Subscribe?

No worries. If you're an existing a Grove Collaborative subscriber, click HERE to have a free Mrs. Meyer's lotion added to your basket this month.

What is your favorite Mrs. Meyer's scent? What are products from Grove Collaborative are you excited to try?

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Wednesday, January 4

I have to say that last year was good to me, and I think that some of it had to do with using a word to help me stay focused during the year - ACHIEVE. Keeping this word in mind, I set four major goals for, and I'm counting 3 of them as successfully completed.

Looking forward to 2017, I realized that what I want to accomplish were things that had been on my someday list for years. I had just put them off because I was either afraid or wasn't staying consistent.

I proved to myself over and over last year that I could accomplish big things if I just decided not to give up.

So for 2017, my word of the year is START.

I want this year to be the year that I do things even if I'm afraid, even if I don't want to, even when it's hard.

And I don't want fear to get in my way anymore. Nor will I allow complacency get in the way of establishing the new habits that will allow me to be more successful in my businesses or aspects of life. And I don't have to have the entire plan to get moving.

So the plan for this year is to identify the goal, figure out the first action step and START. If I have to adjust my direction later, I'll deal with that then.

Commit30 Planner - Commit to your dreams and goals.
Stop wishing, start doing in 2017. The Commit30 Planner, Notebook, Journal - Order Now.
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Tuesday, January 3

Happy New Year, friends!

I find it hard to believe that today is the first work day in 2017. Where did the last year go?

I spent a little time over the weekend digging into my analytics as part of my blog planning for the year, and I thought it would be fun to recap the year by looking back at the posts with most views.

It definitely appears that y'all enjoyed posts related to my relationship with Gove Collaborative as an influencer, which is cool since I'll have another special offer from them next week. Stay tuned, and let's see what 2017 brings us.

What were your favorite posts from 2016? Is there something special from the year that didn't make this list?

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Monday, January 2

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, I may be paid a small commission from sales via these links. Thank you for your support of my blog.

If you are new around these parts, the Mister and I took the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University course through our church last year. We have a goal to pay off half of our consumer debt this year. You can catch up on our journey by checking out our previous recaps:

December Budget

Sticking with the December budget went better than it did in November, though I'll admit that we still re-allocated quite a bit of our grocery budget to going out to eat. Both the Mister and I and got sick in December, so there were a lot a evenings where we just went to bed early, which helps when you're trying not to spend money.

I expected us to have a struggle with Christmas gifts, but honestly, it wasn't that difficult. I had been setting aside the extra from grocery and a few other cash envelopes at the end of the month since about August, so we a few hundred already set aside, and we decided to keep the gift list very pared down this year. I also made a lot of gifts.

December Victories & Blessings

As you can see, we rocked the extra income this month. We're really fortunate to have friends that need extra work done in their homes and who want to support us during this journey so the Mister keeps lining up side work such as painting and installing new light fixtures and fans.

Also, I was pleasantly surprised that quite a few friends reached out to me about custom orders through the Etsy shop for Christmas gifts and such. I have sold about a dozen messy bun hats, and the orders are continuing to come in.

Between all the extra income and some generous Christmas gifts, we cash-flowed some car repairs on the Mister's new rider and made an extra $1000 payment on our debt snowball in December.

If you want to take control of your finances, I'd suggest reading The Total Money Makeover. Or go online to to find a Financial Peace University course starting near you.

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