Backlinks

Here I will list websites /web-pages that have articles I have written. They will either be published articles or listed as portfolio fillers.

  1. Published piece on a well respected Counseling website – Heart Centered Counseling. https://heartcenteredcounselors.com/self-respect-doesnt-have-to-be-hard-read-these-5-tips/
  2. Published piece on a well responected Counseling website- Heart Centered Counseling. https://carlscounseling.com/three-reasons-you-should-not-deal-with-depression-alone/
  3. https://www.upwork.com/fl/michelleanderson72 —> This is my Upwork profile portfolio section, which will have articles I have written for clients.

7 Vital Tools You Need to Efficiently Work From Home

I am currently in the process of transitioning from working an 8-5 in an office setting, to working from home and being able to spend more time with my babies.

I never really pictured myself as a stay home mom or even a mom that would work from home; but after watching my daughter grow up and feel as if I’ve missed so much time with her and now preparing for a newborn, I believe it is finally my time.

We often hear about the perks and freedoms around working from home. I know some of you may think it’s a joke, and no work actually gets done, especially with children, but I am here to tell you that it is possible. More people, not only mothers, are quitting their office jobs to stay home and pursue their careers.

I wanted to share with you 7 vital tools that I have utilized to efficiently work from home as I start my Freelance writing business.

source: amazon

1. Computer/Laptop

Okay, don’t make that face. Yes this may be an obvious tip, but many people make a mistake and try to maintain their entire business from their iPads or cellphones; while these are great additional tools to have, it does not give you the same selections as you would have using a laptop or computer.

I primarily use an Apple MacBook 2010; yes it may be time for an upgrade, but it gets the job done all the same!

My laptop provides with the ability to roam, meaning I can work from other locations outside of my houses if needed. I feel I can get more work done with that openness. I also use a DELL 1607 when I am stationary and primarily kid free. Although the devices are very different, it does not hinder getting any work completed.

Source: Amazon

2. Work Space

Although, I started my business by whipping out my laptop on Saturday Mornings while in my pajamas and still in the bed, I quickly learned that is not the most productive environment to get work accomplished.

I am not in the position to dedicate an entire room to become my office space, but I have a central location in my home where I like to work and feel I am the most focused – and no it is not my bed.

Currently, I use the dining room table to work. I am not lounging about on the couch; there is plenty of space, and the sitting is comfortable. I also face fewer distractions, because it is sort of an isolated area in my home.


3. A Task Management System

This step is relatively new to me, and I actually took a step out of another Freelance expert’s playbook, in order to choose the best system that works for me.

Originally my task system consisted of a large calendar that I hung in my closet. This method worked fine when I was just writing for my personal interest, but once I started taking on clients, I quickly discovered I could not continue with the calendar method.

I’ve branched out and started using Trello; since it’s working so well for my needs, and I have added a dashboard for School and Home as well. I place everything I need to accomplish for the week on to the correct dashboard and check things off as I get them done.

It is a lot easier than running to my closet to double check due date on the calendar.

4. A Website

I don’t know about you, but I am not software and technical savvy. I know the basics of computer use. However, I am clueless when it comes down to constructing a website.

After I did a ton of research, I decided to use WordPress, since I already had a familiar knowledge of the tool.

WordPress is an open source that has plenty of free content; however, I wanted to have my own Domain name and OWN my site.  To do this I did have to pay an annual fee, but the price wasn’t ridiculous.

There are plenty of other tools and applications available to build websites such as Squarespace or Wix, but I personally found that:

  • WordPress is used more than these other avenues
  • Relatively easy to customize with hundreds of different themes and plugins
  • There is a pretty large community of fellow “Wordpressers.”

In fact, I received an email, and a phone call from WordPress support a few days after setting up my website, without reaching out first. They just wanted to check in and see if they could help me in any way.

If you are like me and started from scratch, I would suggest at least starting with a blog 1st and then branching out to a website once you have a better idea of what it is you want exactly.

5. A Service

How are you going to earn an income while working from home? What service(s) can you provide to make good money and still have your independence?

Initially, I thought I wanted to be a virtual assistant. I was pretty familiar with the line of work, just not in a virtual setting so I thought I would be qualified. As I started researching and trying to brand myself, I realized that wasn’t really the route I wanted to take. I wanted to be more independent in my career!

And I didn’t really enjoy assisting someone.

So next, I started by thinking about what I enjoy doing, such as –  working out, reading, writing and then I asked my self – how can I make money based off of my interest?

That’s when I stumbled into the Freelance writing world.

I spend weeks researching the INS and OUTS of freelance writing, and I have barely scratched the service.

However, within 2 weeks of stepping into this new world, I landed my 1st client, and about 1 week later a landed my second client!

How?

  • Advertising myself
  • Building my portfolio
  • Taking Chances

Currently, the services I offer are copywriting, blogging, content writing, SEO writing, Case Studies, and editing. I provide these services in a wide area of subjects although my primary interest is Mental Health and wellness.

Once I have a bit more experience I plan to narrow down the services I offer as well as the subjects I write in.

6. Self-Motivation

To be successful while you work from home, you have to be able to encourage yourself to actually work. It is almost always unavoidable to get caught up in being home and enjoying the opportunity to relax when you want and work when you want. However, many people run into situations where they may be relaxing more than they are working, which will lead to problems with your business being successful.

7. Superb Communication skills

When working from home a lot of the communication you will have with your clients will be through email or skype; although there may be a phone call here or there, you will primarily communicate through your computer.

It is just the preferred method these days.

You have to be sure to communicate clearly and effectively when communicating through these avenues. You don’t have the option to recognize facial and body cues; you can also misinterpret the tone of the message being sent to you. Be sure to ask questions, make suggestions and don’t make any assumptions.

It possible to be successful while working from home

It does not take a lot to get started on this journey. If you take a moment to invest in the essential and crucial steps, you will find yourself the success part starts to come easy.

Although I am still relatively new on this journey, I can say I have had promising results and only plan to perfect my business as I learn and time progresses.

So how about it – are you considering working from home? If so, which tool do you think is most important? Any tools that you would like to add?

Night Time Horrors

Why is Night time so tricky in my house? I seriously can’t be the only one asking myself this question!

Here I am 4 almost 5 years into being a mom, and I still can’t win the epic bedtime battle with my sassy little munchkin.

Source Psychology Today

How did we get here?

I believe we have a reasonably loose bedtime schedule. I know you’re going to tell me that’s my 1st mistake!

Here’s the thing, for the longest time I worked Mon-Fri from 7 or 8am until about 5 or 6pm. Some nights, after work, I would go to Night class; if I didn’t have a night class, I would come home for about an hour and then head to a gym class.

This caused us to be home and sort of settled in around 9pm or later most nights.

Now that I have been out of school for a year, I still work until about 5-6pm and 2-3 nights out of the week my daughter has Dance or Gymnastics. So depending on the day of the week we may not get home and settled in until about 10pm.

Maybe some of you can relate?

I personally don’t like getting home and directly starting the bedtime process; I want to unwind, talk with my daughter about her practice, her day or just in general, before we get to the nitty gritty sleep time mess.

Most Nights

Once dinner has been eaten, and showers have been completed, I am pooped and I honestly just want to kick my feet up and enjoy maybe 30 minutes of my TV shows before falling asleep. To do that I need my kid to hit the hay.

The only problem is……. she still sleeps in the bed with me!

Let me go back a bit

When my daughter was born, I was deathly afraid to co-sleep; I mean you hear so many sad stories about families and their co-sleeping experiences; it completely terrifies you out of the idea.

But I did also read some positive experiences as well.

After about 7 weeks of sleeping with one open eye one and on the edge of my bed or couch, while my daughter peacefully dreamt in her bassinet, swing or crib, I thought it was time to relax and loosen the reigns just a tad bit.

Then I went back to work, and I missed my little baby like crazy; I missed holding her and smelling her and even watching her sleep (because I did that a lot).

So in my mind, sleeping with her was time for us to be close because we were away from each other so much during the day. I tried to make our sleeping arrangements as safe as possible because I was still nervous about the co-sleeping thing.

And I’m sure I will get a judgment or two on this, but hey we all parent how we want to parent and just hope and pray we are doing it right!

So anyhow, now my little one has been introduced to mommy and daddy’s bed!

As time progressed

Fast forward about 2 years, we started trying to get little lady in her own bed. Well, I was trying; her dad was perfectly fine with our sleeping arrangements.

But this step proved itself as a hard one.

We would try reading a book; stretching, night music even 20 minutes of TV here & there but absolutely nothing prepared her for sleeping in her own bed. So I would hold her and rock her until she fell asleep; which took anywhere from one to two hours!

So here I am totally worn out from getting my toddler to bed; its 12am and I still have to study or clean or do laundry. Hell or all three!

Needless to say, I became discouraged with this plan and welcomed Missy back to my bed within about 2 weeks.

Wait, don’t let me forget the nights I was successful in getting her to sleep (if you want to call it a success) she never slept in her room the entire night, and I regularly set alarms to wake up and go check on her throughout the night.

Ha, Ha, I know – I am shaking my head too!

The Other Night

So what prompted me to break out my laptop and write about this longtime struggle? What made me say enough is enough after 4 years of co-sleeping?

The other night!

There was nothing relatively different about this evening; we did our thing, ate dinner, talked, played, cleaned; it was a regular weekday night for us.

As 9pm approached I start talking the steps to prepare my kiddo for bed; by 10pm we are in bed, and I am turning off all devices, except the iPad which plays the “night music.”

First I ask my daughter to lie on her pillow, and I would pat her back while she falls asleep; she immediately jumped into freak out mode and demanded that she was held.

Okay that’s fine I hold her just about every night so what is the big deal with holding her again.

As I am holding her and patting her back, I swear about every 2-3 minutes she whines, tells me she is not comfortable and wiggles around in my arms, sometimes flopping from one side to another; after about 15 mins of moving and whining I just place her next to me and tell her to go to sleep.

Ohh, but why did I do that?

She broke out the waterworks and experienced a complete meltdown.

Absolutely nothing I said would comfort her; she didn’t want me to touch her, yet she didn’t want to lay by herself. My halfcocked threats didn’t work either.

I felt so defeated and over the entire night! I just wanted to sleep!

After about an hour of crying, flopping around and more crying she was off to sleep, in my arms!

What’s next?

I kept telling myself that after that night I was changing things up. My daughter was going to sleep in her perfectly comfortable queen size bed with her plush pillows and comfy comforter; after all, we had to prepare for her little brother arriving in a couple months.

What am I going to do with a child that still wants to be rocked to sleep and a newborn that is going to expect/want the same things?

Should have, Could have, Would have

These types of thoughts lead you to think of things you should have done differently or could have done differently. And then you tell yourself that you’re going to do so many things different with your next child to avoid not such positive experiences.

I specifically said to myself that I will not cosleep with my son at all; I came to this conclusion because of the difficulty I am having with my daughter now.

But if I choose to eliminate the cosleeping idea with my son, will I miss out on the same benefits of cosleeping that I have enjoyed with my daughter over the years?

Which leads me into next week’s subject – Is it fair to change your parenting styles/approaches with each child?

Pregnancy: The real

Let’s be honest pregnancy is not always this beautiful, blissful experience that everyone wishes it was.

It is okay to acknowledge its truths, no matter how ugly they may seem.

Social media

The thing is social media has put this distorted view in our minds regarding pregnancy, parenting, fitness and so much more. We see perfection everywhere that we feel it’s a requirement; we feel like what we see on Instagram and Facebook must be what real life looks like or what real life should be.

The reality is, that perception and that image you see on Instagram isn’t everyone’s life – and that’s okay!

Reality

Although I would love to be a fitness guru at 8 months pregnant, while running my business, tending after my  4-year old, keeping a spotless house, cooking healthy meals daily and having plenty of energy left to hang out with my girlfriends…. the reality is that isn’t my life!

Big props to the women that can do just that; whoever they are! I am not speaking anything negative on their lives; but I am stressing the fact being that image, that lifestyle isn’t for everyone – and that’s okay!

Hey lady you are still winning!

The reality is your probably 30 pounds heavier than before you were pregnant. You are either going to have a clean house or have dinner cooked by 8pm. Energy these days seem to be non-existent, and you can’t remember the last time you took a moment out for yourself!

The reality is you probably hide from the camera because you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin. You smile when people joke about how big your belly has gotten, but in the inside, you just want to slap them. (No, just me?)

The reality is you may act as if you are 100% prepared and have it all figured out, but secretly you are probably scared out of your mind and hope you are doing everything right; whether this is your 1st or your 5th pregnancy, we still have fears and concerns at some point.

Be Real Be Happy

Ladies we have to understand that everything we see isn’t right; it isn’t real.

Our want or need to be perfect, the perfect mother or just the ideal human, makes it so much easier to take these things that we see and allow them to imprint on us and ultimately drive us crazy because we strive for the impossible.

One photo, one post, one video does not tell the entire story. It is only a piece of someone’s life. Most of the times it is the piece that they want us to see or that they create to promote the idea that they that have it all together!

And maybe she does!

But you don’t have to; you don’t need to!

Don’t break yourself trying to be perfect when all you have to do is live life and take in the experiences you are meant to have.

You are still great! You are still winning.

Your Journey just looks different than mine and hers!

5 Things you need to know about Beachbody

I know what you are thinking, “Not another Beachbody post?”

Am I right?

Believe me, I know, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to let you in on a few secrets!

So keep reading.

Yesterday while trolling Facebook I saw quite a few status updates about being “summertime fine,” and it made me realize that summer is right around the corner.

Yes, yes, it is already that time!

If you have not already started to work on your summer bodies, you might want to get started!

Now, with all the workout, nutrition and general health fads available right now, I figured I would talk about one I know reasonably well- Beachbody

What is Beachbody?

I am glad you asked!

If you are not familiar with Beachbody, it’s a program that offers work out plans like 21day fix, P90X, Insanity, and many others. Beachbody has over 30 workout plans, and they all vary by intensity and your overall goal.

However, Beachbody is not just a program full of workouts; it also provides supplements, such as Shakeology, BeachBar, and other nutrition programs.

Wait, that’s not all. Beachbody also has an enormous community of coaches that are around to help push you towards your goal.

All this sounds pretty amazing, huh?

Everything you need wrapped in one program?

Too good to be true?

Not at all – let me explain.

  1. Everyone can be Successful

Whether you are looking to sculpt your booty, with the Brazilin Butt Lift program, seriously shred, with the P90X Plus program or maybe you looking for some laid back fun that will still get you moving, with the County Heat program; there is something for everyone. You don’t have to be a 5-star athlete to complete these workouts. You just have to complete them!

Some of these workouts are coupled with specific eating plans to help maximize your results.

The best example I can think of is 21-day Fix. 21-day Fix is a relatively popular Beachbody program that yours truly completed a few years ago.

We will come back to that.

21-day Fix offers a detailed workout plan and portion controlled eating plan. This program can be used whether you are looking to lose weight or build muscle.

The workout has six 30 minute programs and a 10-minute ab program.

  • Upper Fix – targeting upper body training
  • Lower Fix – targeting lower body training
  • Cardio Fix – targeting your burning more calories
  • Pilates Fix – targeting your abs and thighs
  • Yoga fix – targeting relaxation and stretching through Yoga
  • Total Body Cardio Fix – targeting burning more calories
  • 10 minute Abs – targets your abs for 10 mins

The eating plan provides 6 colored containers that are different sizes. The number of containers you use will vary, depending on the targeted calorie intake in you want.

  • Green container: Vegetables
  • Purple container: Fruit
  • Red container: Protein sources
  • Yellow container: Carbs
  • Blue container: Healthy Fats
  • Orange container: Seeds and dressing

Now back to me – I started this program in 2015; about 6 months after I gave birth to my daughter.  I was at the heaviest weight I had been my entire life, so I knew I needed to do something – and fast. I heard about the 21-day fix, and honestly, I took a chance.

My primary reason for choosing this plan was to be able to work it around my schedule. Being a first time mom to an infant is much work on its own, but not only was I a full-time mom, but I was also working full time and attending night school to obtain my Associate’s degree. I needed something that didn’t have restrictions on workout times, didn’t require two-plus hours in the gym and didn’t involve me having to chug a shake six times a day for X amount of weeks.

So it is safe to say when I started this program, I was completely out of shape, low on time and determined to be successful.

And I did just that!

Just wait, you’ll see!

So, are you wondering about Shakeology?

Yes, Shakeology was one of the BIG recommendations when completing this program; which leads me to my next point.

2. There is no Magic Shake.

While I cannot sit here and provide you with every nutritional fact about Shakeology, I will say, it is not the enchanted weight loss device that you are looking for.

Cinderella, it is not your Glass slipper, girl!

However, with that being said, I personally enjoyed Shakeology. I order the chocolate flavor. I would usually blend it with a banana and sprinkle in a bit of cinnamon and have it for breakfast.

Keep in mind there are plenty of recipes out there for all the flavors of Shakeology; that was just my preference.

The thing about Shakeology is, that it was just that, a shake – which I used to supplement a meal now and then. It did not miraculously cause me to lose inches or shed pounds. It did not remove every ounce of hunger from my body. However, my consistency with the workouts and dedication to the meal plans helped me do that!

This leads me to the next thing you must know….

3. You have to put in the work.

Most of us just want to lose the weight; we don’t really want to make any significant lifestyle changes that will lead us to our dream bodies. Alternatively, we do want to make these changes, but we don’t want to do the work required, to see those changes unfold.

I am entirely guilty of this!

However, that’s the problem, these programs, not just Beachbody, provide you with tools and you have utilized those tools to achieve our goal. No one and nothing can do it for you.

So skipping on the Monday and Wednesday workouts and sneaking that Juicy Burger has consequences that Shakeology can NOT fix.

There is no sugarcoating it here – you have to put in the work!

Also, no, I’m not saying you will be working to your death; as we discussed earlier, the plan is flexible and completely obtainable, but it requires you to come out of your comfort zone and stay consistent.

With that being said I want to discuss the next secret.

4. You can make tweaks and still be successful.

Much, later on, I learned that I can make some alternations and still get to where I wanted to be or maintain where I was at the time.

As I mentioned in 2015, I had very positive results.

Yes, I am getting to the phots – patience, please.

However, I was getting bored with the same six workouts every week for months. I personally prefer to do different types of exercises here and there. I was scared that if I didn’t follow the plan, I would get out of the groove and lose progress.

However, I took a chance, and I started replacing my cardio workouts with nature hikes and other outdoor activities that would provide a good cardio work out. I also stopped with the Shakeology drinks; they were delicious, but my bank account did not enjoy dishing out roughly $130 every month. I also increased my protein intake (red container) even though that changed my calorie goal.

But you know what? It all worked out fine because I was consistent!

5. It really is a lifestyle change.

Do you know how I mentioned those handy tools that we have to utilize?

Well, I was successful in this program because I learned how to take those tools and fit them into my life! Yes, at first I followed the program to the T, but after learning what worked best for me and discovering what I actually liked, I didn’t need to follow the plan step by step. I just needed to stick to the foundation that was provided for me – active living and clean eating!

Okay now for my results:

My results in 2015 after completing 1 round of 21 day fix!


Have you used any Beachbody products? If so leave a comment about the product you used and your outcome. If not are you considering trying any of the Beachbody products? Which one? I’d love to hear from you.