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Six things to do before you start your new job

July 17
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So today I am starting a new job at a new location. I will be working will an entire new staff who have only met me during the interview process and know nothing of the former work Amber. Part of me is extremely scared; new jobs are scary. The other part of me is excited. How often do we get a do-over, a fresh start? Think of starting a new job as the first day at a new school. You are a new person and you can be whoever you want to be. Were you the office gossip at your old job? The person everyone always asked for the latest news? Now is your chance for a fresh slate; a chance to become a better person.

Today I am sharing a list of six ways you can change your office self to make the most of the new job. the first are habit based and the rest are personality based. Please note: I am not saying change who you are. Please never change who you are. However, we all have bad habits and lifestyle choices we would like to change. This is my and your change.
1. Change your morning routine.
I am one of those people that seem to always leave for work just in the nick of time. I’m not late, but I’m not early either. I’d like to take this new opportunity to change my mornings. I am getting up earlier and doing 20 minutes of yoga in the morning to help stretch and relax myself. Although I am not new to yoga, I am exited to use this change in my life to set a time to practice it more. Do you wish your mornings went differently? Now is your chance to mold them to your liking. Maybe you’d like to read or work out in the morning, or maybe just have time to check your email. Use your new job to reset your mornings into what you want them to be.
2.Change your morning beverage.
Coffee person? Tea person? Chances are you are somewhat identified by your A.M. drink choice. Use the new job to force a change if needed. When I started my last job I decided I was going to drink 40 ounces of water during the work day. Other staff noticed and this became part of my work identity which made it easy to keep up. If they didn’t see me drinking water throughout the day the sometimes even asked why.
3. What about food?
Now is a great time to switch it up and start bringing your own healthy lunch to work. Become known as the person who always has great lunches and is a regular in the breakroom. Your coworkers will notice this and may even ask you for ideas. Once they know you’re a brown bagger they will hopefully skip you when they go out for fast food.
4. Refresh your wardrobe
Surprisingly, one of the hardest things to change is our appearance. Often times when you start changing how you dress or wear your hair or makeup, people start to talk. Why is Amber suddenly wearing a skirt and makeup? Everyone wants to know. However, at your new job you could be the person who always looks her best. (Pro tip: Wait until a day or two on the job to purchase new clothes. This gives you a minute to get a better idea of the workplace culture and dress.

5. Go to happy hour
As we have already kind of mentioned, you coworkers remember you and what you do or don’t do. If you say no to Happy Hour or other after work events enough times they stop asking. Maybe this is your chance to join the group. Of course on the other hand, if you need to skip Happy Hour tell your new coworkers that you cannot hang out after hours and they will stop asking.

6. Be organized
Wether or not you were organized and used a planner at your old job, now is the chance to jump on that bandwagon. Depending on your job, you may or may not need a daily planner to help you with your work. I have been using a daily planner for the last few years at work and it has made me so much more productive, prepared, and responsible. Check back in a few weeks for an update on my work planner.

 

I know I am super excited about my first day and I hope that these tips are useful to you. Have any other great ideas for starting a new job? Share then in the comments.

 

Other posts you may enjoy:

What I keep in my work bag.

Six simple things I do on Sunday for a successful week

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Prime Day 2017

July 10
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It is here friends, Amazon Prime day 2017.  This is the day when Amazon gives deep discounts on some of their most popular products. and services.

 

Don’t have a prime account yet? See why you need one here and sign up over here.

Already a Prime member? Get $10  to use on Prime Day when you stream Prime Video for the first time on your TV.

 

My favorite deals:

Amazon Echo Regular $179.99 on sale for $89.99. HALF OFF!!

Kindle Fire 8″ Regular $79.99 on sale for $49.99

Kindle Fire 7″  Regular $49.99 on sale for $29.99

Ninja Coffee Bar: Regular $179.99 on sale for $104.99 (Add it to your cart to get the deal.)

Promo code: $5 off a $15 books purchase with code PRIMEBOOKS17

Check out these beauty deals at 40% off here.

Favorite longwear lip products

July 7
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Let me tell you, the day I discovered long wear lip products was the day my life was changed. I am one of those people who just look and feel 100x better with a little bit of lip color. I have a fairly pale complexion so just a little bit of color really does go a long way. Sadly, most of the products I have tried in the past wore off during the day and I just don’t have time for touch ups every two hours.

Today I am sharing a few of my favorite long wear lip products both from department store and drugstore brands. I use all of these products regularly and have been impressed by their results.

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Maybelline Super Stay Matte Lip 

This is the newest Maybelline lip product right now. I was lucky to have two colors sent to me to test out and let me tell you, I LOVE it. I was unsure at first as it goes on a little sticky, but it dries within a minute and really does last all day.  My favorite is Lover.  I put this on at 8pm one night and forgot to wash it off when I went to bed. It was still on the next morning at 11am.  Amazing. FYI you will want to use a stronger makeup remover to take this off. I suggest this to remove it. Oh, and I love that this is on Amazon Prime.

 

Kat Von D Liquid Lip

I love Kat Von D products for their longwear ability. Her foundation is one of my favorites and this lip product has been added to my list.

 

Lancome

I was recently sent a bottle of this lip product and was super confused when I opened the package. The whole thing is only like two inches tall. They call this a shaker product so instead of the traditional long tube with a wand you have a bottle that you shake and then the applicator is in the lid. You can then use this tip first to line the lips and then fill in with color. The dry time on this one is a little longer but it is worth it. I am loving this in pink.

 

CoverGirl Outlast All-Day Lip Color

This was the first long wear lip product I had ever used. I purchased it at CVS but was unaware of its power until I tried it out. After using it I was in love. I had always been the person who was either reapplying lipstick all day or with colorless lips after 10am. (It was usually the latter.) This product is actually a two step system. The liquid color is applied and then after it dries there is a clear gloss cover to lock it in and add moisture. I got tons of compliments and told anyone who asked about it how awesome it was.

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Disclosure: Some of the items shared today were provided free of charge for review. All opinions are my own. Also, This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item via a link from the page I will receive a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for the item. In fact, I research the best prices for my site. 

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Happy 4th!

July 4
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Happy 4th of July

 

Happy Independence Day friends. I may be home alone sick, but I wanted to take a second and share a few favorite recipes just in case you are still looking for something to bring to a gathering.

Love cookies and sprinkles? These festive red white and blue cookies are perfect and so easy to make. (Actually, I may go make some right now….)

Check your fridge, you may have everything you need for this simple, healthy, fruit salad. 

Thirsty? Check out this 10 minute sangria recipe that looks like something from Martha Stewart.

Still looking for more ideas? See this cute pool party I hosted a little bit ago, complete with a DIY mimosa bar.

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Six tips for your next yard sale

May 31
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six tips for your next yard sale

1. Have change, and lots of it.
Go to the bank a few days before your sale get some change. I suggest $50 in small and medium bills along with several dollars of change. Inevitably your first buyer will need to break a twenty-dollar bill for a two-dollar purchase. Many yard sale regulars will come with small bills, but you never know. Have a plan for what you will do if you cannot make change along with a rule for the highest bill you will take. I suggest never accepting anything other than cash at your sale unless you’re equipped to take card.

2.  Group like items together.
For my sale I had one table with all the “girly” stuff, another with home decor, one for nerdy toys, and another for misc home goods. This way buyers could gravitate to tables that had the types of items they were interested in and not become overwhelmed by number and variety of the items. Feel free to mention tables to buyers who you think may enjoy their contents. They may have overlooked them.

4. Make your sale welcoming.
Think about how you feel walking into a well designed and organized store versus how you feel when you enter a messy thrift shop or discount store. Pull items out of boxes and display in an appealing manner. Hang clothing when possible or place on tables. Items off the ground are easier to see for most buyers. Look around your home and garage to find ways to make tables. We used plastic totes and the top of a broken coffee table.

3. Price it out
Place prices on as many items as you can. This will save you time in the future when you have five customers needing help at the same time and can also attract customers that don’t love the item but love the price. While we are talking about prices…

4. Give your prices wiggle room
Finding the perfect yard sale price is hard. You want your prices to be inviting, but you don’t want t give your items away. Also remember that many customers will want to bargain with you for a better deal. I always suggest pricing 25% higher than you think is a good deal for an item so you have wiggle room but the price is also enticing to a non-bargaining shopper.  Don’t have a clue how to price your items? Stop by a few sales the weekend before to see what going rates in your area are.

5. Be firm with your price and stipulations.
This may seem to go against my previous tip, but please be firm with your shoppers. I have been to so many sales were a seller has a customer that was low-balling and the seller does not know what to do. Let the buyer offer lower as mentioned about but be firm with your lowest price. I had a set of curtains at my sale that I was asking $10 for. The customer offered $5 and I said $8. Shen then kept trying to get me lower even though I told her it was my lowest price. Stick to your guts and be firm. Yes, you want to make some money, but its not worth it to just give your stuff away. (Yet.)

6. Have a plan for when it’s over
Have a plan for your stuff after the sale. You may make a make a decent amount of money but I am sure you will still have boxes of stuff to deal with. I suggest using this time to call a local charitable organization or thrift shop and having them come pick up whatever it left. If you have the room you may want to save some of the better items for a sale the following year, but if you think it will be over a year before your next sale I suggest you just donate the items. Exceptions to this rule are items for sale over $30. These items can be listed and sold on craigslist, Facebook, Offerup, or Poshmark (clothing).

I hope these tips helped you get an idea of how to set up and run your sale. Good luck!

Summer 2017 favorites part 1

May 21
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Hey all, I know its been pretty quiet around here but I wanted to jump in and share a few of my favorite things so far this summer. Now yes, I know technically it is not summer yet but if you were in Florida right now with me you’d totally feel like we’ve been in summer for several weeks now.

 

The first is this baked salmon recipe. I haven’t cooked very much fish in my adult life due to being cheap and the fact that until recently my husband wasn’t a fan. Several months ago I started cooking it again and slowing working it into our diet. My husband has been super sweet and has tried and almost enjoyed the fish so we’re making it a weekly thing now. Also, do you shop at Aldi? Their prices on frozen vacuum sealed fish cannot be beat. And they’re good!  Anyways, I’ve made this salmon recipe twice now for family and friends and it was enjoyed by all. I love how simple it is to make in the oven on a sheet pan with tin foil; the cleanup is a breeze and the house does not smell like fish like it does when we pan fry.  WIN

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Hey, did you know Charlie and I run a board game blog? Well now you do. It is boardgamingcouple.com and we talk all about old and new board games from the perspective of a board game veteran and a novice. It is a great place to find ideas for games that everyone can enjoy both as a couple and with friends. Recently, a company reached out to us to try out their new game Manicdotes and we really enjoyed it. You can read about it here.

 

Spending some time in the 🍻 tent at @orlandofringe. #orlando #orlandofringe #ofringe26 #orlandofringefestival #beer

A post shared by 📒 Amberdowns.net 📒 (@_amberdowns) on


Charlie and I have spent the last few days at the Orlando Fringe Festival and have been having a blast seeing tons of shows, friends, food, and of course spending time in the beer tent. I’ve been drinking Kona Hanalei Island IPA and loving it. It has what I am looking for in a simple, fruity, drinkable IPA. It has some light fruity hints (I am loving fruity and citrus beers this summer.) and only a 4.5 ABV which is perfect for the summer. I’ve seen this beer is in stores but always passed it up for something more “craft,” but honestly, I am going to have to grab a 6-pack to drink by the pool.

 

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Last month Lancôme sent me a gift of several products to try out. I loved them all, but I wanted to share with you my new lipstick favorite Lancôme Matte Shaker Liquid Lipstick. Lancôme sent me the Pink Power color and at first I was kinda bummed because I don’t wear bright pink lipstick but then I said “screw it” and wore it anyways. Guess what friends, I loved it. I wore it to a girls night with my sister and it was fun just doing something different. It does really last, like so much that you’d better have some makeup remover at then end of the night or else you will have day two pink lips. It was great for something fun and different and I can’t wait to pick up another shade as I love a lipstick that really does last all day.

That’s all I have to share for now but keep an eye out for some summer clothing favorites in the near future. ❤

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item via a link from the page I will receive a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for the item. In fact, I research the best prices for my site. All printables are free. Enjoy!

Mother’s day ideas

May 7
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I wanted to take a few minutes and share some great last minute gift ideas. These are all found on Amazon and are prime shipping eligible so  it will arrive well before the 14th.

 

Up first is this adorable planner. Does mom plan? If not get her one of these just in case she’s interested. BONUS: This one is super cute for summer!

I am loving these matching Mother and Daughter Alex and Ani bracelets! (They come in gold and silver!)

 

Does she like to read? Where’d you go Bernadette is a great summer read.

 

Looking for something for a new mom or a mom who is trying to juggle everything? Get her Grace not Perfection by Emily Ley. I love this strong woman and this book.

Nothing looks good yet? Get her a coffee gift set. Its cute, and its coffee!

 

I hope one of these works for you! Have a great week friends.  <3
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item via a link from the page I will receive a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for the item. In fact, I research the best prices for my site. All printables are free. Enjoy!Easy last minute mother's day gift ideas that will arrive by the 14th!

My new favorite kitchen tool

May 6
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Fun fact: although I love coffee I’ve never owned a automatic drip coffee maker. I used a Keurig for several years and also have used a french press and pour over methods sporadically.

Anyways, I loved my Keurig but I always feel like its expensive and wasteful. I felt like I had to shop around to get the best deals on the k-cups because they are so expensive and I hated throwing the plastic away.

So I stated experimenting with the french press and pour over and and I although the pour over was fun, I didn’t enjoy the time consuming aspect of standing there pouring the water over the coffee. Also, I tended to pout too much water and make a mess. Anyways, I ended up loving the french press but I tried several and none of them were amazing. I wanted to purchase an item that was a “buy it for life” type thing so that I don’t have to go buy another one or worry about it breaking.

 

So, fast forward a few years and at least three presses and I finally got fed up and started researching what the best press would be. From what I read it seemed that the best way to go was a stainless steel press. At first I was against the idea of a the stainless because I wanted to be able to see the contents of the pot, but after more research and breaking ANOTHER glass press I gave in. (Yes, I broke another one while deliberating over my purchase.)

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So, I went to amazon and found this moderately priced press.  Now the $35 price tag totally scared me away at first, especially when I usually went for the $10 models. BUT LET ME TELL YOU. This thing is totally worth the money. The quality level of all the parts are 110%. The filter is a perfect tight fit and the press comes and an extra on just in case you need to replace yours. The cheaper presses I’ve owned all had filters that were subpar and did not fit as tight in the pot.

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I had been using the smaller single serve french presses but I went ahead and ordered the larger one for my “buy it for life” item. This worked out well as I was expecting several overnight guests so I wanted  something versatile for larger groups. This press makes four servings of coffee if you don’t use huge mugs. Perfect for my guests!  Anyways, I can still do a smaller batch in the press for just a 20oz mug but I also regularly make a full batch so that I can use the extra to make ice cubes or just stick it in the fridge for iced coffee the next day.

 

Anyways, I haven’t tried every french press on the planet but I have been using this one for a few months and I am pretty sure its a solid win.

 

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item via a link from the page I will receive a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for the item. In fact, I research the best prices for my site. All printables are free. Enjoy!

Bullet journal paper

May 2
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So if you have been following along you might be aware that I have been experimenting with bullet journaling in my mini happy planner.  Well, I am going to be honest, it has not been going great, but that is my fault.

Anyways, I have been looking to buy some dot paper like you find in bullet journals but it turns out it is a little hard to find and cost prohibitive. I see people selling it precut for the Happy Planner online but it was too expensive for what it was and I knew there had to be a better way. So I of course turned to google and typed in one simple search and came across THE BEST website. Basically the you can just plug in what you want and the page generates a PDF of the dot page for you.

 

I suggest using a slightly heavier paper such as this HP presentation paper so that your ink does not bleed though.  Also, don’t forget to print on BOTH sides of the paper!

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These are the settings that I found to work for me. Print it out and then cut down to the correct size for your planner.

Make your paper here!

Classic Happy Planner: 9.25” x 7”
Mini Happy Planner:   7” x 4.63”
Big Happy Planner: 8.5” x 11”
A5 planner: 8.5” x 5.5”
Personal/A6 planner: 3.7″ x 6.7″
Now grab your punch and you’re good to go!

Looking for more printables? Be sure to check my printable library!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item via a link from the page I will receive a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for the item. In fact, I research the best prices for my site. All printables are free. Enjoy

Six simple things to do Sunday for a successful week

April 6
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The last few months I have started getting into a great Sunday habit that I feel has really led to better weeks. I am calling it one habit, but my Sunday habit really is a set of six goals that I try to have met each Sunday before I go to bed. Sundays are generally my day off to myself as my husband works them so it is a great time to me to knock out some important errands. Depending on your schedule, you may have another day you do these tasks. Do it when it is best for you. For most of us Sunday is the day before the start of our workweek.

Meal Plan

One of the first things I do Sundays is meal plan. For me, meal planning is picking out dinners for the week as well as ensuring my husband and I have leftovers or other meals for lunches. I like to be realistic so I plan easy meals for busy nights and more elaborate dinners for nights when I am off or actually have time. I also take my husband’s schedule into account so if I know he is working late Thursday night I may make that a leftovers night instead of trying to cook a full meal just for myself. You know you and your family. Make a plan that works for you, but also be flexible with it. Want to grab tacos on Tuesday? Go for it, just make Tuesday’s meal on Wednesday! 

Shopping

After I have my meals I put together my grocery list. I add items for meals as well as check the staples in the pantry and fridge. I also text my husband and get any ideas from him. This is a great time to check the bathrooms and storage as well to ensure you are stocked up on toiletries and paper products. My goal is to have everything for the week purchased so I don’t have to make extra trips to the store during the week. After the list is made I do my shopping and put away my purchases.

Clothing

Next I walk into my closet and plan my outfits for the week. When I tell people I plan my outfits they are usually a little shocked at first, but after I explain my process a little more they get it. Yes, I do plan my work outfits, but I am not super strict about it. I will hang them in an area of my closet in order Monday, Tuesday, ect, but I am very flexible on when I wear what. I also look at my planner to see if I have any important meetings I need to dress up for or any other plans that might affect my wardrobe choices. I also like to glance at the weather as well. This really makes getting ready in the dark in the morning easy. Just grab a set and go.

As I mentioned, these outfits are hung in order in the front of my closet. If camisoles are needed I grab them and put them on the hangers. Going through my drawers looking for the hot pink camisole at 6:30 am is not fun.

Generally my laundry is already done by this point, but if there is an item I need for the week now is the time I’d toss it in the wash and do a load.

Lunches

Back to food again. I know it sounds silly, but having all the meals thought out really does set me up for a better week. I like to pick up my snacks for the week at this time. Granola bars, fruit, and hard-boiled eggs are my current favorites. Usually I eat a small snack in the afternoon at work to tie me over until dinner.  Now is the time I cook any rice, quinoa, or beans my husband or I need for lunches.

The Car

One my last to dos is to check my car. I clean out anything left from the week before and ensure it is gassed up for the next week. Getting gas Monday morning is just not fun.

Straightening

The last thing I do is more of just a generally habit. I like to take a few minutes in the afternoon and just pick up anything around the house or the kitchen. It is great to go into the workweek with a clean house; it really helps me mentally prepare for the week.

I like to have all this done by dinnertime so I can make dinner and enjoy the evening before the workweek. Keep in mind, this system works well for me but please optimize it for your own use. Maybe you don’t pack a lunch or you wear a uniform. Skip those steps and feel free to add anything else you need. Also don’t feel like you need to spend an entire day getting ready for the week. You of course do need to grocery shop every once in a while, but the rest of this is easy stuff that does not take a lot of time. Enjoy your day and plan to have a great week!

 

Six Simple Things

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