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I never thought I’d be writing a post praising the benefits of a television service.  For the amount of times I actually sit down and watch TV, it’s amazing I even know how to turn it on by myself.  Second, I never thought that the television would actually motivate me to work out.  And then we got Verizon Fios.

I’ll confess, I’m a cable girl through and through.  I wasn’t a huge fan of the satellite TV we had, and would have given anything to get Cablevision. However, as previously noted, considering I hardly ever turn the thing on, Jared is the TV service decision maker.  I’m officially a convert.

Fios, like many other services, offers a Free On Demand service that includes a plethora of workout videos from Exercise TV.  Not only that, but now that we actually have reliable, fast internet through Fios, I’m able to watch movies instantly through Netflix, including a ton of workout videos.  My life is officially better as a result.

For me, the number one thing that stops me from working out some nights is boredom-I’m tired of doing the same things.  My greatest motivator is having a new video that I’ve bought or rented from Netflix.  Now, with tons of these at my fingertips, I never have the excuse anymore that I’m bored with my workouts.

Although I’ve been a bit too busy with work and moving to try these yet, this week I’m hoping to get back on the workout bandwagon.  From time to time, I’ll be reviewing the OnDemand workouts to let you know which ones to use, and which ones to avoid.

Whoever thought that TV could be the one thing that actually makes you get off the couch and get moving?  A big old salute to technology is now in order….

So you survived the moving day-the worst is over, right?  Not necessarily.  It’s daunting to be surrounded by boxes and boxes of your things, especially after you might be exhausted from an all day move.  Below are some strategies I’ve used to ensure we don’t spend an entire month staring down the box piles.

1.) Prioritize which rooms need to be done first. Given how overwhelming it can be to move into a new house with more rooms than you might be used to, you’ll need to prioritize which rooms should come first.  For me, our bedroom is always first priority.  After all, at the end of the day, you don’t want to be climbing over boxes just to get in bed.  If you followed my advice regarding labeling your boxes (and if you didn’t, right now you’ll be wishing you did), it should be easy to tell which boxes belong in the bedroom.  If you do nothing else that first night, set up your bedroom and move those boxes out!

2.)  Go room by room, not box by box. This is another area where if you didn’t follow Tip #1, you’ll be wishing you had.  It’s a lot easier to go room by room than to just start opening random boxes and taking things into each room.  Not only does it waste time and energy taking things from place to place, it also leads to a lot of reorganizing when, say, you find that giant box of kitchen items after you’ve already set everything up.  If you followed Tip #1, all of your boxes should be in each room, allowing you to unpack each room in full before moving on.  Finally, even finishing one room can give you a sense of accomplishment and keep your spirits up as you continue to plow through.

3.)  Don’t be afraid of storage. Every time I’ve moved, I’ve always “traded up” so to speak for more space.  You’d think this would mean I could have everything out on display, right?  Not the case.  I’m not a fan of cluttered spaces, and for this reason, I’m not afraid of storing things, whether it’s in the basement or in a storage center.  We all have things that we don’t use every day.  Why stress yourself out trying to make it fit when it could easily be stored?  As you go room to room, start a box for things that don’t need to be out on a day to day basis and work to find a solution to store these things if space does not allow.

4.)  Set a goal for yourself. I know people that moved months ago who still haven’t finished unpacking.  I understand it takes some time to get to know your space and figure out what you want.  However, for me, I wanted everything unpacked within one week of moving in.  Keeping to this goal helped me to prioritize rooms and other weekly activities.  Unpacking within one week is NOT an unreasonable time frame.  In fact, I even logged some extra hours at work during this time and still managed to meet this goal.

5.)  Save the decorating for last. I’ve made this mistake dozens of times.  You come upon your box with all of your pictures/curtains and want to start hanging things up.  However, if you’re not totally unpacked, you run the risk of having to take things down as you continue to rearrange.  Once I cleared all the boxes out of each room, I was able to really step back and see if the furniture made sense where we had it and also assess where we needed pictures aas well as what curtains to use.  I know decorating makes everything feel more homey, however, save this for last if you value your walls and don’t want to put in nails unnecessarily.  🙂

6.)  Share the burden. When it comes to unpacking, I tend to be pretty territorial.  However, it’s unreasonable to think that I could unpack Jared’s office boxes and put things where he wants them.  Have an honest talk with your spouse/roommates about who is responsible for what.  If there’s something they want to be involved in, like setting up the kitchen, find out first before you start.  Also, be honest about your expectations as far as when you expect things to be unpacked.  It’ s not overbearing at all to say that you are hoping to have all boxes out by Sunday, for instance.  Setting goals together helps everyone stay on track.

To be honest, I secretly enjoy the unpacking process.  Take the time to realize how much fun it is to set up your things in a new space.  If you’re organized and stay on track, unpacking can happen quickly and efficiently, while still leaving you time to have a life!

As most of you know, over the weekend I completed my 8th and final move into our new home.  8 times is a lot of times to move, whether it’s been via the DC Metro or through a professional moving company, and I’ve learned a few things along the way.  Whether you’ve moving soon or in a few years, here are some tips to keep in mind!

1.)  Maintain an organized packing system. Hands down, this is the #1 thing that kept me sane during these crazy 4 years.  Knowing what’s in each box saves precious time and effort, ensuring you’re not opening every single box to find that bottle opener.  😉

As I’m packing boxes, I maintain a list of what I’m putting into each one.  Each box then gets a number that matches my list of what’s in it.  For instance, the first box I pack is #1, and on my list, I have a list of everything in Box #1.  It’s ok to be vague and put “Kitchen” next to Box #1, but if you know you’re going to want certain items, the more detail the better.

This really came in handy this past weekend.  We had the movers put all the boxes in the living room so we wouldn’t have to clutter up other spaces with our 70+ boxes.  Obviously, this created quite the pile.  Once the movers were out, Jared, my sister and I went in, list in hand, and were able to move each box to it’s appropriate room, clearing up the living area and allowing us to assess what rooms needed the most work.

If you follow no other tip on this list, FOLLOW THIS ONE!  It’s seriously a life saver.

2.)  Be realistic about what should come with you. I’m not a very sentimental person.  Nor am I a pack rat.  In my opinion, it doesn’t matter how much storage space you’ll have on the other end of your move-if you aren’t going to use something, it shouldn’t come with you.

My general rule of thumb has bee if I’ve moved a box from place to place and only taken it out when it was time to move again, it’s not coming again.  Take this time to weed through old documents, receipts, college memories, etc.  Donate what you’re not using, and move on!  I promise you won’t miss anything too much…I never have!

3.)  Don’t save everything for the last minute. There are definitely items that need to be saved for the last minute, such as things you use every day.  However, don’t wait too long to take care of these random items.  Doing so wastes a lot of time on moving day that could be spent loading up the truck.

Start in the rooms you spend the least time in.  For me, this was our office and guest bedroom.  Take the time to assess what you’re really going to use between now and your moving day.  Sure, it doesn’t look pretty, but it will save you some precious moments the day of your move.

Seaking of precious moments…

4.)  Don’t start packing at the last minute! Everyone’s busy, I get it.  In fact, our recent move came at the worst time professionally and personally for me.  The fact that I started packing even before we closed on the house saved me a lot of stress later.  If I had waited, things would have gotten ugly very quickly.  As I mentioned in #3, start as soon as you can!

5.)  Give yourself plenty of time. I know sometimes it’s hard to plan exactly when your move will take place.  Leases and other factors certainly can be inflexible at times.  However, if you know you’re not going to renew your lease, regardless of whether you have signed the dotted line for a new place, START PACKING.  I started packing up random things and clearing out crawl spaces long before our closing day.  Once again, it saves time and helps you chip away at the small stuff so you can focus on the big stuff.

As the day approaches, keep in mind it’s perfectly fine to give yourself some time to move in.  My preference has always been to start a lease mid-month, but not move in until the end of the month.  This gives you time to clean both places and start taking things over yourself.  Sure, there’s a reason why you’re hiring movers/getting a truck, but it doesn’t hurt to take little things over yourself, such as plants and other valuables.  For me, I wanted to take over all of our wedding things myself, just in case.  Saves valuable box space too!

6.)  Enlist help. This is something that I’m very bad at.  I like doing everything myself, but I’ve learned over the past 8 move times that help can be invaluable, whether its help with cleaning out your old place, or help the day of.  Enlist a close family member or two to be with you the day of to help you handle last minute things.  I say a family member or two, because there is such a thing as too  much help.  When you’re moving, sometimes it’s hard to figure out what you need to be doing next, let alone what other people can be doing.  Limiting the amount of people around on the day of will create a stress-free environment and help you focus on what you actually need to be doing!

Coming up next….some helpful unpacking tips!  Happy Moving!

As if we needed another excuse to dine out!  Share Our Strength, along with several sponsors, will be running the Great American Dine Out this week to support “No Kid Hungry”, their campaign to end childhood hunger in America by 2015.

You can help Share Our Strength in their mission to provide at risk children and their families with nutritious food in the following ways:

1.)  Join the Tweet-a-thon today until 9 p.m. EST using hashtags #DineOut and #NoKidHungry

2.)  Host a Great American Dine Out event

3.)  Find a participating restaurant and DINE OUT!

Dine out and make it count!

Let’s ignore the fact that I’ve been MIA again, shall we?  🙂  Between late nights at work and prepping for our move tomorrow, life has kind of gotten away from me.

With everything packed for our move, I’ve had to relegate myself yet again for looking at what I refer to as my food fantasies.  For lack of a better PG term, lol.  For me, this is anything I’d really love to eat or bake but can’t due to diet restrictions or, in this case, the beautiful, pink, KitchenAid mixer being boxed up and hidden from me.

Want to know the best site for this?  Bakerella.  Hands down, some of the most lovely sweets I’ve ever laid eyes on.  With great contests and wonderful baking ideas, this site is a shoe-in for all of your fantastical needs.

Have I mentioned how awesome the visuals are?  From the step by step baking instructions to the lovely photos of events and other matters, this girl’s got it going ON.  Hence the fantasizing….

Try not to lick your screens…..

If you know anything about the changing social landscape, it will come as no surprise to you that the 55+ demographic on Facebook has become one of the fastest growing segments, followed closely by the 35-54 audience.  While Facebook originally began as a way for college students to connect and was only open to these users, the growth and expansion of Facebook has served as a blessing and a curse to those in their late teens and twenties.

Countless news articles have run stories focused on the fact that many teenagers are leaving Facebook because their parents are now joining and “embarrassing” them with comments and photos.  Teenagers have been up in arms about parents being able to join, as they feel it causes a loss of privacy and doesn’t allow them to interact with friends in the way they’d like to without being “policed” by over eager parents.

In my opinion, the teenagers can leave.  I personally am friends with both my parents as well as countless aunts and uncles and have never felt as if my privacy was being invaded.  Now, I’m about 10 or more years older than any teenager these articles have interviewed, but for me, the opening of Facebook to varying demographics has been a godsend.

I’m not much of a phone person.  I would certainly never call relatives just to see how they were doing.  It’s just not my style.  In fact, I have a hard time calling close friends just to chat.  Facebook allows me to connect with family members I previously lost touch with and stay involved in their lives.  This has been such a blessing to me, that I can’t imagine not having them in my life.  If it wasn’t for their presence on Facebook, I’m embarrassed to say these connections never would have taken place.  Imagine everything I would have missed out on!

Additionally, I’ve found as I get a bit older, I reflect often on friendships that carried me through my younger days.  In college, it’s easy to keep in touch with the people around you, but as people move, get married, have children, etc., it’s so easy to lose touch.  Without Facebook, I never would have been able to reconnect easily with some very dear high school friends, or college friends, for that matter.  Being able to stay in touch virtually has allowed me to foster so many more relationships than simply emailing or picking up the phone.  If the doors to Facebook had closed to me after college, I can’t imagine the types of relationships I would be missing out on.

The argument made about people like me is that Facebook and other social networks hinder our ability to make in person connections.  I completely disagree with this, and believe Facebook is the mechanism that brings us together in person.  The connections I’ve re-established virtually have allowed me to take these connections offline through lunch/dinner dates as well as invitations to my wedding.  Without the means to get in touch, these in person meetings never would have happened.

In turn, many are leaving Facebook over privacy issues.  In my opinion, if you’re smart about the way you set up your profile, this is a non-issue.  If you don’t have the “geotracking” feature enabled, who cares if it’s really there?  If you’re smart, privacy isn’t really an issue at all, and is certainly no reason to miss out on connecting with friends and family.

Does the older demographic sometimes post messages that would be better suited as novels all over our walls?  Yes, there is no question about that.  However, in turn, teenagers certainly could use a lesson in appropriate online posting from time to time.  I’d rather have long, mushy messages from my relatives than curse filled diatribes about how awful a teenagers life is for no reason at all.

If the teenagers want to leave, let them leave. They can go back to MySpace, or some other spammy, teen focused site.  Leave Facebook for those of us that truly want to connect with family and friends of all ages.  We’re getting way more out of this than you’ll ever appreciate.  Until you become our age.  😉

What am I Tweeting?