The Top 5 Apps for Fun, Relaxation and Organisation

I know the media is hell bent on pointing out that devices are a time and attention span sucker and I can definitely relate to that idea.

But what about the positive aspects of devices?

They provide fun via games and social media, there are stacks of apps to help you keep organised and you can even relax via the many self-development apps out there.

So what are my favourite apps?

Snapchat

Tagline: Snapchat lets you easily talk with friends, view Live Stories from around the world, and explore news in Discover. Life's more fun when you live in the moment!

Reasons I love it

1. The filters appeal to my completely immature side (go try them!)

2. It’s fun to peek into other people’s days

3. It challenges you to be more creative via video

Feedly

Tagline: Organise, read and share what matters to you.

Reasons I love it

1. It aggregates content from all the blogs and websites I follow

2. It saves me time going to each individual site

3. It helps me find great articles to share with you readers!

Stop, Breathe & Think

Tagline: A free meditation app to help you be more mindful and compassionate.

Reasons I love it

1. It’s kept me accountable to meditation longer than any other app

2. The interface is super cute and easy to use

3. It motivates you with rewards and tracks the total time you’ve meditated (hello 9 hours + 36 mins for me so far!)

Kindle

Tagline: Read Kindle books on your computer, tablet, or mobile phone with Kindle reading apps.

Reasons I love it

1. Again the interface is super easy - you can bookmark, highlight favourite quotes and look up words in the dictionary as you read

2. I can sync it across devices so it always knows what page I’m up to

3. 1-click ebook purchases are amazingly easy (not sure if this is a pro or a con actually...)

Google Drive

Tagline: Get access to files anywhere through secure cloud storage and file backup for your photos, videos, files and more with Google Drive.

Reasons I love it

1. It’s replaced the Notes app for me as a place I can track any lists I’m using

2. I can put personal and work documents in the same place.

3. I can share docs with my husband so we can both update them

Let me know if you download any of the above apps. And, tell me, what are your favourites?

Where I'm At with vlogger Elle Lindquist

I’m very excited to be interviewing Elle Lindquist from Canada this month for Where I’m At. I discovered Elle through the Tone It Up online community a couple of years back. She was often posting inspiring content on social media and YouTube.

Elle now vlogs 3 times a week with her husband Dan and son Forde and there’s an extra video each week at the moment, as she’s pregnant with her second child – congrats Elle!

Elle's YouTube videos are often about fitness, health, organisation and other areas of self-improvement, or capture her daily life. I hope you enjoy the interview and go check out her YouTube videos. Enjoy!

What is your usual wake up time?

7am sharp!

What is your morning ritual?

I always start my day with a hot herbal tea to go. I steep the tea and then take my golden retriever Ellen for a 1.5 mile walk.

It’s a great way to peacefully and gradually greet the day, I get a lot of good thinking done, and it’s a peaceful source of “me time” which is hard to come by as a mum!

Tell us about your commute (if you have one...)

I work from home as a YouTuber so I don’t have a commute, but I always use my son’s afternoon naps to film/edit videos.

Do you like to plan your day ahead or allow some spontaneity?

I can’t function without scheduling…well ok I can but my day functions much smoother when I follow a schedule.

I like to plan out my week on Sundays so I feel prepared and excited about the week ahead. There are always changes to the schedule, but I find having a blueprint greatly reduces stress and feelings of being overwhelmed.

If I don’t write appointments or meetings in my agenda I only have a 5% chance I’ll remember! Haha.

How do you spend your ideal lunch break to recharge for the afternoon?

I take my lunch break at noon sharp.

I put on some light jazz, sit down at the table and just spend quality time with my son. It’s my time to sit down with my son, take a housework break, or play break and I find it sets the tone for what follows.

Right after lunch my son goes down for a nap which is when I put my YouTuber hat on and edit and upload videos, answer work emails and take conference calls.

What kind of workout schedule do you try to adhere to?

I work out 5–6 days a week on average.

I work out first thing in the morning or else it won’t get done.

The only other window of opportunity I’d have would be after my son’s nap at 3:30 and to be honest by that time I’m pretty done with productivity so a workout wouldn’t happen!

After I’ve taken Ellen for her walk, my husband leaves for work and Forde wakes up so we have breakfast together and then I head straight to the gym! My gym has a fabulous day care as well so Forde loves that time in his day too (plus as a single child it’s often the only interaction he gets with other kids throughout the week).

How do you like to end your day?

My son goes to bed at 8pm and I take my night time routine very seriously, haha!

I like to wind down with a cup of tea alongside either a TV show, Netflix or a book depending on the mood. By 9pm I like to run myself a hot bubble bath with a side of ice cold water to drink whilst in the tub.

This is often when my husband and I will catch up on our day. He’ll pull a chair up beside the bath and we connect. We like to call it a “meeting in my office.” I’ll often say “Dan, meeting in my office in 10?” and he knows what it means!

What time do you doze off?

Ideally by 9:30–9:45 but lately it’s been more like 10:30.

Truth be told inside me is the soul of a 90 year old woman. I like herbal tea, knitting and early nights and I’m PROUD OF IT!

What do you aspire to every day but rarely actually do? (you can tell me, we all have them!)

Shower…ugh….the struggle is real. Seriously, I don’t shower in the morning because I hit the gym first thing, but as a germaphobe I can’t bring myself to use their shower.

So that leaves me with the choice of either having a shower when I get home with a toddler throwing toys at me and crying because he’s bored in the bathroom, or try to sneak it in during his afternoon nap which doesn’t always happen between housework and YouTube.

Don’t think I’m gross…I still bathe at the end of the day!!

Any advice for women trying to find ease in their every day?

I would say carve out “you time!”

As women, we’re always giving ourselves to our partners, friends, work, children etc. and as a result we can be stretched quite thinly.

I had a friend tell me decades ago, “Elle there’s a reason they tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting others in a plane crash…if you don’t have enough, everyone else suffers too.” It’s really stuck with me.

I have a very hard time saying no to things/people especially when I technically am available but know that I’m burnt out/stretched thin and just need some down time.

The best advice I can give to you (and myself) is to be a warrior for yourself and give yourself the down time you require…and don’t apologise for it!

Even if it’s just an hour to yourself at the beginning or end of the day, find time where you’re responsible for no one but yourself and where you can just rest and recharge.

Can you give my readers your quick go-to recipe after a busy day?

My best healthy lazy girl’s meal

  • Mixed green salad (from the bag….I said this was lazy girl’s version)
  • Grill or fry up some onion and red pepper
  • Add some pre-baked chicken slices (I bake 2 breasts on Sundays to use throughout the week)
  • Toss with some apple cider vinegar dressing (apple cider vinegar [1 part], EVOO [2 parts], Dijon mustard [1 part])

Honestly takes 5 minutes, is healthy and tastes like you put a lot of time and effort in! Sometimes I’ll also pre-grill peppers and onion for the week ahead of time if I’m feeling super lazy, but I prefer doing those fresh because the warmth adds decadence to the meal.

-

Thanks Elle, it was great to gain some insight into your days as a YouTuber and mum. You can find Elle at:

YouTube - www.YouTube.com/TheLindquists

Twitter - @ellelindquist

Instagram - @elle.lindquist

Where I'm At: Interview Series - Kristyn from Creative with Kristyn

Welcome to the next interview in the series, 'Where I'm At'. It's a voyeuristic, yet helpful look into the lives of women who are finding where the light plays within them.

kristyn-fedich-dog-yoga-tone-it-up.JPG

Their daily rituals, ways of managing stress and advice to you, the readers, are captured in these interviews.

In May, we have the lovely Kristyn Fedich from Creative With Kristyn. Kristyn is a teacher, author, blogger, Tone It Up lover and yogi who lives on the east coast of America.

One of the best things about these interviews is I get to reach out to inspiring women, who I know will help you ladies with your day to day lives.

Kristyn is super positive, full of great quotes, relaxing lifestyle ideas and hilarious recommendations for yoga-related fiction books (I am very tempted to unwind with the Downward Dog Mysteries series…). Kristyn was very pregnant when I interviewed her and she gave birth to a little girl just a few days ago. Congrats Kristyn! 

What is your usual wake up time?

My usual wake up time is 5:15am. Being on spring break and maternity leave has left lots more wiggle room for me, so now I’m trying to get more sleep and usually get out of bed around 6:15/6:30am.

What is your morning ritual?

Mornings are my favourite. I love starting my mornings with hot water with lemon. I do enjoy my coffee in the morning (right now I’m doing decaf with being pregnant), but starting out with hot water with lemon really makes my insides feel good! While I am waking up, I sip my water and get some reading in.

Afterwards, I also like to check in on my Stop, Breathe, Think meditation app (Ed: I recently started using this and it's my favourite meditation app thus far!) and see what the Spirit Junkie app message is for the day. I get a morning workout in as well!

Tell us about your commute.

My commute is super short. :) It’s only 25 minutes to work on back roads. I like to listen to Spotify playlists on the way to work or call my mum on her way to work too.

Do you like to plan your day ahead or allow some spontaneity?

I do like to know what is going on that day (I’m very type A) but don’t mind spontaneity and adventure either. It’s the spice of life.

yoga-boat-lake-kristyn-fedich.jpg

How do you spend your ideal lunch break to recharge for the afternoon?

Being a teacher, you don’t really go out for lunch or do anything different. You usually have lunch in the teachers’ room with other staff members. It’s nice to chat with them.

Being on spring break and maternity leave now, I like to enjoy my lunch outside on the deck when the weather is nice and just eat slowly and take in life before our new arrival comes!

What kind of workout schedule do you adhere to?

I am a huge yogi. I miss my heated vinyasa practice so much and cannot wait to get back into it after my pregnancy. I follow the Tone It Up lifestyle and plan, so I do get a morning workout in to rev up my system, and also an afternoon workout. My workouts aren’t as intense as they usually are, but once I am cleared to work out after baby arrives, it will be back to the grind! I love a good sweat!

dog-kristyn-yoga

How do you like to end your day?

I like to end the day with reading and tea. My husband and I like to relax on the couch with some TV programs we’ve recorded. I like to read in bed and that helps get me more tired if I’m not already there.

What time do you doze off?

Right now, I’m dozing off between 9/9:30pm. If I’m really wired, it may take until 10/10:30. I’m not going to sugar coat the fact that I like to get crawling into bed between 8:30 and 9 right now to read. I love sleeping and it is so important! I have to get my sleep in now while I can before our baby arrives. :)

kristyn-pregnant-tone-it-up-beach

What do you aspire to every day but never / rarely actually do? (you can tell me, we all have them!)

Not gossip! I tell myself I won’t do it, and then inevitably it happens and I get sucked into a conversation that includes gossiping. I’m working on it. :)

Any advice for women trying to find ease in their every day?

Breathe. Just breathe. Breathe in the positive, exhale the negative. Breathe in peace and love, exhale fear and hate. Take time for yourself. It’s so important. A consistent yoga practice changed my life and view of the world. Breathe and try some yoga.

Finally, can you give my readers your quick go-to recipe after a busy day?

I love having a coffee shop treat after a busy day! It really brings a smile to my face (not as much so when I’m doing decaf, but still!).

This is my recipe for an iced mocha with almond milk…much cheaper than grabbing one at the local coffee place. Put that extra cash in a special “just for you” jar!

Thanks Kristyn, and good luck with the new baby!

You can find her at:

Website - www.creativewithkristyn.com

Pinterest - www.pinterest.com/kristynjoruns

Instagram - www.instagram.com/kristynjoruns

Twitter - www.twitter.com/kristynjoruns

The Top 3 Workouts To Try At Home

 
Can't face the outside world today? I know the feeling...

Can't face the outside world today? I know the feeling...

Did you wake up today with grand plans to go for a run? Did you promise yourself you’d get to that gym class straight after work today? Or did you decide to stay off the booze Friday night and finally get up for that 8am yoga class on Saturday?

Did your mind then start to play tricks on you?

It’s too cold, it’s too hot, I’m too tired, I worked hard today and deserve a night on the couch, I’ve earned a sleep-in.

You are not alone! I have danced this dance with myself numerous times and guess what? I have never regretted exercising. Ever. Really. I always feel better and almost always end up with more energy than I started with (unless I’m hungover - then I just need a lie down).

But, I have a secret. On the days when I really can’t drag myself out of the house, I depend on my trusty friend YouTube. Pulling on my ugliest, most comfortable gym wear and sluggishly crawling into the study is much easier than facing the world sometimes. And there is so much material to draw on...

Below are my three favourite YouTube options for you to try out. You can grunt, cry or lie down in the middle of the workout and the instructor will not judge you. Go forth and exercise!

Tone It Up

I found Karena and Katrina from Tone It Up about two years ago now. I was a little dubious to start with as they seemed very attractive and a little too chirpy (not always what you need on a lazy day). They also exercise in bikinis quite frequently.

I’ve come around now though. They have a huge amount of free resources online, and provide stacks of videos focusing on different body parts (arms/abs, legs, booty) and also have yoga, HIIT and foam rolling routines. The beach setting and their aspirational bodies also help.

Some of the earlier TIU videos are a bit hit and miss with timing and reps, but most of the recent ones are great. My current favourite is the KettleToning workout, combining kettlebells, yoga and toning. So good and so sweaty. Plus, they have formed a huge online community of women through their website, with many Instagram and Twitter accounts out there to keep you motivated.

Jillian Michaels

jillian-michaels-youtube-workout.JPG

“I want you to feel like you’re going to die”. My dear husband is all too familiar with Jillian yelling at me from the computer screen.

If you want a major workout, always go to Jillian. A heap of her videos are on YouTube on the BeFit channel. She is really tough and her abs will keep you persisting when you feel like face planting into the carpet. Luckily, she does provide different options for fitness levels in most of her workouts.

And, again, if you’re not listening to her podcast, do so immediately. She is informative, clever, hilarious and very different to how the media portrays her.

Yoga with Adriene

Yes, I’m cheating on Tara Stiles with Adriene. I love her! She has a relaxed, soothing approach to yoga poses, but also has a great sense of humour and likes making fun of herself.

I’ve only scratched the surface of her workouts, but she’s currently doing a 30 day challenge - great if you’re keen to spend January detoxing with yoga. And they aren’t basic or beginner workouts either, so good if you are a bit further along with your yogi skills.

Side note: I have also just discovered there are numerous Beyonce dance video workouts on YouTube. I’ll leave it to your discretion to participate, and look forward to your reviews…

Do you workout with exercise DVDs or YouTube at home? If so, what are your favourites?