Relaxing when there’s too much to do.

No matter what season of life we are in, I think it’s safe to say that at some point in our lives, we feel like relaxing is a luxury that we can’t afford.

If you’re a full time career woman, you are probably working long hours, sitting in traffic, waiting to get home while trying not to let the stress of crazy drives get to you. If you’re a stay at home mom, trying to find a second to get a shower is a miracle some days! And to those of you who are full time stay at home moms who are also trying to grow or run a business… well I am giving you all the virtual hugs possible.

I didn’t mention every possible life scenario, but the truth is, we could all use a minute to breathe and I’m here to tell you that it can be done with a little creativity!

1. Use a shower speaker.

This was an incredibly thoughtful Christmas gift from Scott this last year. I really struggled towards the end of last year to find time to listen to audio books and podcasts for both my business and personal growth. I started to get discouraged, because no matter how well I organized my day, I was struggling to find time to really make learning a priority. I generally take pretty short showers, but listening to podcasts and audio books for 10-15 minutes a day really adds up!

 

2. Soak in the tub while listening to said shower speaker.

So I realize that this tip is a little more out of the way than just using a speaker in a shower you are already taking anyway, but this is something I have recently had to make time for. I’ve never struggled with insomnia in my life till this last month and a half. No matter how much I tried to relax, not worry, or pray, I would toss and turn. It was like the harder I tried to let go of everything that was going on, the more my body would tense up.

I found that soaking in a tub with epsom salts and a few drops of relaxing lavender essential oils really put me to sleep. Listening to some soothing music or a good book was definitely an added bonus!

 

3. Find a candle you enjoy.

This lavender candle is my new favorite. FYI, sometimes Kroger has them on sale at a really great price. I think I paid somewhere between $5-6 for the small one? I love burning it while I’m doing my devotions in the morning or even putting it on the kitchen counter while I’m cleaning. Who said you had to have a special occasion? ?

 

4. Make time for tea… or whatever you prefer in your mug.

 

tokyo blossom boutique heart coasters
Heart coasters in the shop!

I have a very distinct memory of being served tea as a child. Everywhere we went, we were sitting and drinking tea. Even when we went to my grandparents house, my grandmother would keep the pot of green tea full and we would sit and sip on that tea and nibble on whatever snacks she had served before running off to play.

I realize that is definitely a cultural thing, and as a child, aside from the snacks, it was kind of tough to sit there on the floor as my legs went numb, but now as an adult I really wish I made time to do that more often. I’ll be the first to admit that this is not a regular part of my life… I mean honestly… I have to reheat my coffee at least 2 times before I finish it.

I’m just putting this here because I want to remember to take the time to do this, even if it’s only once in a while. I have found that when I do, my kiddo usually wants to join me. He usually takes 2 sips and runs off to play, but during those few short minutes, I’m not in a hurry and I take the time to listen to what he wants to tell me. It ends up being a win win. So tea, coffee, or cocoa… it might help you to bond with your loved ones.

 

5. Write down what you are grateful for.

brilliant life planner

I love to blog and write about things that are going on through social media, but I have never been big on journaling. I do however, find that taking the time to write down a couple of things that I am thankful for really helps me change the outlook on my day or month. I love using the gratitude page in my Brilliant Life Planner , but your could use something as simple as a small notebook to write down things to be grateful for.

When I first started doing this, I was concerned that I might run out of things to write about. But I was wrong… The more I think about what to write, the more I realize that there are so many things that I forget about or take for granted.

 

Do you have any ideas, tips, or tricks on relaxing that work for you? I would love to hear about them!

 

This post contains affiliate links. You can read about them here. ?

 

Planner charms going live tomorrow!

The planner charms are going live in the shop, tomorrow at 12pm EST, and I can hardly wait!! I’m always excited when I get to launch a new product and get to share it with you. I feel like I’m getting to share a piece of my own personal journey every time that I do. The ‘It Is Well’, ‘Be Still’, and ‘Grace’ that you see on these planner tassel charms are three things that God is constantly reminding me of in my daily walk with Him.

planner tassel charm

When I hear the words ‘It Is Well’ I think of the life of Horatio Spafford and the tragic loss of his children during two separate, tragic events. And through all of that tragedy, he wrote that beautiful hymn, and went on to help children and families in Israel.

When I think of the words ‘Be Still’, I think of the verse in Psalms that says, “Be still, and know that I am God” and Psalm 91:1, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty”, which are both reminders that I desperately need over and over again.

And ‘Grace’… it’s both a beautiful and powerful word. A word that reminds me of how good God is, and how that grace should reflect off of my life out to others.  Colossians 4:6, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”

planner charms
How about you? Do you have a favorite song or verse that helps you remember His promises? ?

Love,
Julie

 

P.S. How amazing is this pen pouch that holds all of your planner supplies?? Isn’t it the cutest thing ever?! ?

***This post contains affiliate links. You can read about them here.

Why you need intentional self care

We got some snow over the weekend, and everything got cancelled, so my family and I spent a little extra quiet time together and time catching up around the house. Aside from a few shop things and catching up on laundry I really spent some intentional quality time in with the family and time to do some deep thinking about 2017.

Brilliant life planner tokyo blossom boutique intentional self care
I mentioned before that my word for 2017 is ‘Intentional’, and there is an awesome quote by Crystal Paine on one of the first pages of my planner that goes along with my word:

“Time doesn’t expand limitlessly. When I say yes to one thing, I must say no to something else.”

It’s so easy to want to do it ALL! And usually it’s a lot of really good things which is usually my problem. I want to be a nutritional expert so I read article after article trying to come up with the perfect menu plan for my husband’s diet change, I want to never get behind on the laundry, I want to send Christmas cards out to our extended family’s extended family (’cause I just love people ?), I want to make sure I’m spending quality time with my family, I just want to do it all…

But this week I hit a wall. I broke.

Because the reality is, nobody can do it all. We all have gifts and strengths in certain areas, and while we should always be growing and striving to improve, we can’t do it all at once. Yes, there will always be laundry to do, people to contact, and errands that need to be run… but don’t forget to take care of you.

When they go through the emergency protocol for flying on a commercial flight, they always tell you to secure your own air mask first before attempting to help anyone else. There is a reason for that. If you are running on fumes, eventually you will pass out before being able to help the people around you. The same is true in life.

Take care of yourself this week. Those dishes can wait just a little bit. ?

Love,
Julie

New goals, new year, new words.

Am I the only one that struggles all of January to not write in the previous year’s number??

I’ll go to date a letter, check, or get ready to journal about my new goals, and I can guarantee you that I’ll still be writing in ‘2016’ for the first little bit! ?Despite my yearly mixup, I really am excited every time we see a new year. New dreams, new goals, new victories… Last year I tried something new. Before I ever started writing down my goals, I picked a word or phrase to focus on, as a overall theme of sorts.

Tokyo Blossom Boutique Brilliant life planner 2017

My words for 2016 were ‘Dream Bigger’. I got to thinking about how often I limit myself and even what I think God can do. I knew in my heart of hearts that God can do more than we can ever imagine, but I would so often freeze up and not take a leap of faith just before things were about to get really good. So with that theme, I focused on asking God to help me let go of my fears and insecurities and help me to trust him when He brought an opportunity along that I was supposed to take.

So with that, I started moving forward, doing things while I was still scared, pushing past my insecurities, and trusting God to grow my faith in the process. I’m so grateful for the growth and opportunities I saw in 2016. It really helped me to realize how often I sell myself short and reaffirmed just how amazing the Lord really is. But with this new energy and confidence, I wanted 2017 to be a new chapter, so this year I chose ‘Intentional’.

I want this year to be a year where I take that confidence, energy, and time, and be intentional about how I apply it to things that God has put on my heart. It’s so easy to get distracted by all the good things we can be doing with our time, that often take away from the great things we are supposed to be doing. Not to say we can’t do other things, but having a theme going into the new year really helps to focus my squirrelly brain!

I hope your new year is full of faith growing experiences, answered prayers, and blessings. If you decide to have a theme, word, or phrase for the year I would love to hear about it! ✨

Love,
Julie

P.S. This beautiful planner is the Brilliant Life Planner! I had the privilege of being on the launch team that get to help pick out the cover options! They gave me a coupon to share with you and you can find it here! 

*This post contains affiliate links. You can read more about it here!

The hardest letter I had to read…

I have so much to tell you about!! I had an amazing time at the Business Boutique conference I went to this week. It encouraged and inspired me to use the gifts and talents that God has given us to bring Him honor and glory. Everything that was said made me want to do more than make my business better. It made me do some soul searching and want to be a better Christian, wife, mother, and friend…

But through all of this amazingness, I got something that was hard… unexpected and difficult for me to receive.

Business Boutique Letter

I was given a letter… Now you’re probably reading this sweet and encouraging letter and wondering why on earth I would have trouble with it, but here’s what happened. Towards the end of the conference, we were told to write a short letter to exchange with another person at the conference. We were told to share our hearts and write words to encourage and bless them… so we did. But at the end of the event, rather than actually exchanging them, we were told to put our own names at the top of the letter.

I cried.

I want to bless and encourage others, but when it comes to my own struggles and accomplishments, that’s a whole different story. While I tell others that they are doing amazing, I look at my own growth and think it’s not enough. While I tell others to rest and take care of themselves, I tell myself that I’m lazy, when I take off from my work when I’m sick. I tell other moms to take it one day at a time, but in my mind I will never be a good enough housekeeper.

And what’s really hard is that none of these harsh words come from my friends or family… it’s all said silently to myself, in my heart and mind.

I don’t know if you struggle with this like I do, but I want you to know that you really are fearfully and wonderfully made. God doesn’t make accidents, He knew your every strength and quirk before you even existed, and He loves you with all of those details in mind. You were made in His image for the purpose of bringing Him honor and glory, so he made you unique.

This letter has my name at the top of it, but I wanted to send it to you, because it’s really meant for both of us. Remember that you are so amazingly made, by an incredible God that loved you enough to die for you! I hope that resting in that thought will breathe life into you like it did for me.

Love,
Julie

P.S. If you have been following along on Instagram or Facebook, my entry fee to have a pop up shop at the Business Boutique event next April got 100% funded this week!! Thank you so much for the support and encouragement. That meant the world to me!

P.S.S. If this post encouraged you, you can join my email club, and get similar, uplifting emails delivered to your inbox once a week!

3.11.11 Has it really been 5 years?

3.11.11… I’ll never forget that day.

I know this is a day early, but in Japan it was already 3/11, so I decided to go ahead and share this today. It’s humbling to think that so much could have changed in my life on 3.11.11, but God protected my family through it all. ❤️

3.11.11 never forget pray for Japan

I will be getting back to ‘The Ice Cream Maker’ book tomorrow!

My 2016 February Birchbox Review

Remember that system I put in place to reward myself? My February Birchbox came in on Saturday and I did a little review. ❤️

My 2016 February Birchbox Review tokyo blossom boutique makeup skincare

By the way, I am not a Birchbox affiliate. The link is just a referral link to where I get a few points to put towards things in their shop. I’m endorsing the box because I was genuinely impressed with them!!


I have to say that out of everything I got, I think my favorite items were the Pop Beauty matte lipstick and the Mally Girl stick eyeshadow that they threw in the box as a bonus!!

Stick with your goals for good!

goal setting tokyo blossom boutique mompreneur

I don’t know about you, but I always start the year out strong with all kinds of good intentions only to struggle mid February and the beginning of March. There are so many reasons why we can get sidetracked, but with these five tips, it will make it so much easier to stay on track!

Figure out what threw you off.

Instead of saying ‘oh well’ and ignoring the fact that you haven’t worked out in a couple of weeks, or whatever your goals for this year are, stop and think about where you got of track. Did you have some unexpected circumstances? Are you letting distractions get in the way? Whatever the reason, recognizing where you hit a bump in the road will help you to evaluate what changes you need to make to stay on course.

Are your goals still relevant?

Our lives can change so quickly! Sometimes unexpected things can happen that cause us to have to change our goals. Facing an unexpected job loss, a transfer or a great number of other things can affect wether or not our original goals are still realistic, or a good idea to pursue. As with everything, do some praying and soul searching before making any changes.

Is your family on board?

Have you talked to your family about your goals? As with any family, everyone has to work together to make the day to day go smoothly. We can make big plans, but if we don’t make sure our family is on board before we do them, it could cause tension and resentment. Talk to your family. Be open and honest about why you want to pursue these goals, but also be willing to hear them out on why or why not they think they are a good idea. Sometimes they have insight that we might have not thought about.

Find accountability.

Anybody can say that they are going to do ‘X,Y,Z’ but sticking with it, is a different story. Even the most determined person is going to struggle at some point. Having a friend, spouse, or loved one who will be 100% honest with you and wants to see you succeed, will make it so much easier to stay on track.

Reward yourself.

Out of all of these steps, I am the worst about this one! I consider myself a pretty self motivated person, but then I never reward myself for accomplishing the tasks that I did. I would think about rewarding myself and then say things like ‘That’s a waste of money’, ‘I could be doing something for someone else’, ‘Or I could be using that money towards groceries’ and the list of excuses goes on and on. Those reasons sound good in theory, but eventually they cause total burn out. So for me, I found that getting a subscription box was a great way for me to automatically reward myself each month without giving myself an opportunity to make excuses. Obviously if you are not a self motivated person, this approach might be a little counter productive, but find something that works for your personality type!

You can watch the replay right here!

Catch the show live on Periscope weekdays at 3pm EST!

 

By the way, I am not a Birchbox affiliate. The link is just a referral link to where I get a few points to put towards things in their shop. I’m endorsing the box because I was genuinely impressed with them!!

So many blessings…

so many blessings tokyo blossom boutique

Have you counted your blessings today?

Have you ever met someone whose whole world seems to be falling apart, yet they always seem to have a smile on their face and their heart is full of gratitude? Or maybe you know someone who is just the opposite and always seems to have a problem with every little thing that is happening to them?

I’ve met plenty of both, and most of the time, the thankful people I have met have a little secret. You know what it is? They are consciously looking for God’s goodness and things to be thankful for.

I have a dear friend who is currently going through things that I honestly don’t know if I could handle, but every time I see her, she is concerned about me, and wants to know how I am. When her situation comes up, she continues to praise God for the good times and the bad.

What would our lives look like if we practiced ‘in everything give thanks’? We have a heavenly Father who loves us through the good and bad, and while we won’t always understand why certain things happen, think about Job. Through all of his trials, God was still there, Job remained faithful, and when it was all done, God blessed him more than ever. Or look at Joshua and Caleb. Out of all the spies who went to Canaan, they were the only two who were able to see all of the amazing things that God wanted them to claim in the promised land.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Some days it may take more effort than others, but look around you… God is good and His blessings are everywhere. He’s so good to us!

 

Did you miss today’s Periscope show episode of Stand Up and Sparkle? You can watch the replay here!
Catch the show live on Periscope weekdays at 3pm EST!