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Category Archives: My Listy Lists

My Listy List: 5 Ways to Get and Stay Motivated

I am a procrastinator, I lose motivation easily, and I give up quickly: these are just some of my vast and reoccurring faults which haunt my daily life.  Sound familiar to anyone else?

I would not say that I am lazy, however I would much rather lounge on a couch than exercise, surf the net than start homework, and forfeit my obligations just because I have an hour long train ride.  OK, yes I am lazy.

However, over the years I have found that little things can really help me get motivated and stay focused on the task at hand.  So, if you are like me, or even just relate to one of the things mentioned above, then my list of 5 ways to get and stay motivated could possibly give you the inspiration you need.


  •  Clean Disco-Style.  Ugh, housework.  It seems like the randomly appearing dust bunnies, the piles of unwashed dishes, and the un-made beds just never go away.  Cleaning is a daily task, which most women (my sister excluded), feel needs to be completed before relaxing with a drink-in-hand can occur.  Yet, it is just so damn tedious!  One thing that I have found works for me is jammin’ it up while doing the housework.  Whether you blast those tunes (Bob Marley is my housework hubby), replace the sound of running water with your favorite TV show (The Ghost Whisperer works for me), or create a jig with your vacuum (mine actually has some moves!), it helps you to stay entertained and speed up the cleaning process. 
  •  Disconnect.  Anyone who is attending school, such as myself, or who remembers the long study hours, can agree that one can be easily distracted while doing homework.  We live in the digital age, and whether it’s our vibrating phone, a new Facebook status, or an updated blog post, the virtual world just seems to get in the way.  Try disconnecting.  Before starting homework, unplug the internet router (Gasp!, I know) and retreat to a room far away from that box we call our social lives.  If your homework needs to be done on the computer – such as taking notes on Word – then being far away from the router will spike up that lazy mentality we all secretly suppress and you will rather finish your homework than trek to turn on the router.  If you need to utilize the internet for your homework, then set a time limit goal that if you finish a certain amount of homework, you will then allow yourself 5 minutes to surf the web.  If you’re still tempted with such things as Facebook, there’s always an option to deactivate your account, which won’t erase it, until you go back and reactivate it – and don’t worry, your Facebook page will still be the same!  

Internet Disconnect

  • Commute Step-by-Step (or Wheel-by-Wheel) .  One thing I have a problem with is thinking about the travel time required to get to a place.  I live in Madrid, a city ran by its public transportation system, and just getting to my university takes an hour of a train and a metro.  Oh, how I wish to had the ability to teleport!  But since that’s impossible, I needed to find a way to distract myself from the fact that my commute was both long and tiresome, and shouldn’t stop me from going places.  One thing that worked for me, and has also worked in other aspects of my life, is taking the commute “step-by-step” by focusing on one aspect of the commute at a time.  While I walk to the train station, I count how many cars pass me that are blue; while I wait for the train, I make a bet with myself on whether or not it will be on time or late; while I ride on the train, I either read or people watch; while I switch from the train to the metro, I guess where each person I pass is going; and while I walk from the metro stop to my destination, I go over – in my head of course – what needs to be done or said when I reach that destination.  And before I know it, I’m there!  You can also entertain yourself during a long car commute by listening to the radio, playing driving games with yourself, or fist pumping out the window for semi-trucks to blare their horn.  These things can all distract you from thinking of how much time you have left in your commute, and get you motivated to actually go places without the nagging thought of the long transportation ahead.

  • Remember Your Goals.  One easy and efficient reminder that gets and keeps me motivated is remembering my goals and what I am working towards.  Why am I going to school?  To obtain my dream career.  Why am I going to work?  Because it’s my dream job and I need to support my family.  Why am I cleaning?  To keep a healthy and happy home.  Just reminding yourself of why you need to do what you have to do can greatly motivate you, and also allow yourself to remember just how important living life really is.
  • Think of the Dead.  This last one may be a little morbid, however it works.  Thinking of your loved ones who have died, and wondering if they completed everything they set out to achieve, can really help keep yourself motivated.  I have lost some very close friends whom were so young – 19 and 20 years old – and just knowing that their whole life was ahead of them is definitely a wake-up call for me.  I too have my whole life ahead of me, the only difference is I can still experience it, and with this motivation, it reminds me that TV shows will always have re-runs, my friends are much more interesting in person, and I can sleep when I die.  So, just LIVE!


*Note: The pictures on this post were taken from Google Images.  The words and ideas of the list however, are my own: © Kalie Lyn, 2011*

My Listy List: 5 Ways to Enhance Night Time and Morning Wake Up

I hate waking up, I hate mornings, and I hate leaving the comfort and warmth of my bed.  Simply put, I love sleeping.

Yes, yes, I know that you can “sleep when you’re dead”, but for me, sleeping is also about relaxing from a stressful day and dreaming up new story ideas.  I absolutely love it!  Which makes it that much harder to wake up in the morning, especially mornings that are becoming colder and more dreary.

However, while I do love sleeping, I also have trouble falling asleep.  It takes me at least 30 minutes to finally fall asleep, sometimes even a few hours to doze off into dreaming land.  I toss, I turn, and I get extremely frustrated, the boyfriend yelling at me to “lay still!”.  And yet, as hard as I try, I just can’t seem to easily doze off.

So, I changed up my routine a bit and I have tried a few things, and they have seemed to work!  So, here is a list of my 5 things that could help you fall asleep faster and wake up better.


  •  Turn that Technology Off.  I actually got this idea from The Happiness Project.  When you are surfing the net, watching your favorite TV show, or playing Angry Birds on your phone, your brain is continuously in hyper mode.  It doesn’t want to, and quite frankly cannot, shut off.  One thing that has worked for me is turning off ALL technology one hour before bed.  No television, no computer, no phone, no iPod, iPad, or whatever else Apple has created.  Instead, I talk face-to-face with someone I love, I read a book (for pleasure) or I just lay in bed and think.  One hour is enough time to give your brain a rest and allow your body to slowly feel the exhaustion that it needs to go into a deep sleep.

  •   Wake Up the Natural Way.  This is something that I have found works quite well for me.  Here in Spain, we have these robber/storm/light proof blinds.  They are heavy, they are quite unsafe if there was to be a fire, and they let NO light in what so ever.  So, when morning comes and your alarm goes off, the entire room is so dark that you think it is still night time until you open those bad boys up.  What I have found that works, is simply to wake up to light.  Leave your blinds open and let the sun come in.  Maybe keep the window cracked open throughout the night and let the chirps of the birds be your alarm clock.  It really does help – at least for me it does – to wake up when the room is not completely dark and stuffy.


  •   Plan Out Tomorrow.  Many of us cannot fall asleep because we are thinking about what needs to be done the next day, worried that so-and-so will not make it to so-and-so practice tomorrow, and frustrated that we did not get this-or-that done.  Our brain is in constant thinking mode and we just Can’t. Fall. Asleep.  It’s quite annoying isn’t it?  Well, instead of going over tomorrow’s to-do-list in your head while you’re trying to fall asleep, write it down before you fall asleep – maybe even during the hour that you are without your technology.  Write down places you need to go, things you need do, people you need to see, and items you need to buy.  Not only will it leave you less stressed throughout the night, but it will also help the next day when you wake up and see everything that needs to be done.


  • Wake Up Like You’re Ripping Off a Band-Aid.  Simply put, just do it.  Don’t hit that snooze alarm – you will end up hitting it more and more -, don’t groan and whine, and definitely don’t wake up with a frown and curse whatever day of the week it is – that will make you loathe waking up even more.  Just wake up on that first buzz, sit up and stretch a bit, and then jump out of bed, a smile on your face and a body and brain that is ready to start the day!  But trust me, it will be hard the first couple of days (very hard) but you will get used to it eventually.

  • Never Go to Bed Mad.  I will end on the old saying “Never go to bed mad”.  And it’s true.  If you go to bed angry, you will just silently stew, thinking about what he/she did, how angry you are at whatever, and you will never fall asleep.  And when you do eventually fall asleep, you will probably have nightmares involving your anger and then wake up grouchy and even more mad.  So just don’t do it.  Resolve all your problems and fights BEFORE you hit the sheets, that way you can actually get a good night’s sleep and wake up healthy and happy!  🙂


*Note: the pictures on this post were taken from Google Images.  The list, words, and thoughts however, are my own: © Kalie Lyn, 2011*

My Listy List: 5 Ways to Give a Book a Second Life

Ah, books.  Nothing is better than to curl up on the couch, hot tea cooling on the coffee table, and a book in hand.  Many love to escape reality by diving into a new and undiscovered world through the different literature we read.  I am one of those people; always have been, always will be.

However, everything eventually comes to an end and whether the journey was good or not, what should be done once the book is read and finished?

I picture my dream house containing an entire wall that is a book shelf with every single book I’ve read – my favorites mixed in with the so-and-so’s – packed together, bindings facing out for all whom visit to see my vast collection of reads.  But what life is that for a book?  A book is to be read, explored, and loved, not collecting dust.  As many times as we may say, “oh, that was a great book!  I’m going to save it so I can re-read it again”, how many times do we actually re-read a book?  I have done it a couple times but not as many times as I’ve said I would.

Because my collection of books is growing rapidly, and soon I may just have to get a whole other house to store all of them, I have come up with a list of 5 creative things to do with already read books.  Yes, some of them may be hard to actually do – especially with your favorite reads – but books have many lives and deserve to live them all.  And if you can’t do these to your favorite books, then do them to books that weren’t the best!


  •  Use the Pages for a Decoupage Project.  Have a favorite book that is just sitting on a shelf, abandoned by you, its reader?  Instead of letting it collect dust, turn it into a unique art project that will let you enjoy the book’s words forever.  Transform a cheap garage sale picture frame into a border of words by cutting out some of the book’s best quotes and lines, and decoupaging them onto the frame.  Turn an empty glass jar into a wordy flower vase by ripping out some of the book’s pages and decoupaging them onto the jar.  Whatever you decide to decoupage, and there are some great ideas out there, it will give your book a new and creative life!  On how to decoupage, visit here.

  •   Wrap Some Presents.  This one may be hard for readers whom cherish all books, but instead of using your favorite books, take the books you did not quite enjoy or were just downright terrible, and turn their pages into fun and recycled wrapping paper!  Why spend money, and waste paper, by buying new wrapping paper every year when you can just use the pages of not-so-good books and wrap presents of friends and family members in a unique way!


  • Donate.  You’ve had your fun with exploring and reading the book so now it’s time to pass it on!  Promote literacy while you share a special book (or even one you didn’t like) by donating your already read books to charities or establishments.  Here is a site that lists where to donate your books and here is a charity that is always in need of books.


  • Create a Clock.  In Holland, MI my mother and I found this cute store that had unique art and crafts.  One that caught both our eyes was a “Book Clock”.  The second we got home, we ordered the supplies and got to working on our own “Book Clock”.  We made about 5 of them out of hard covered books we picked up from garage sales and they all looked absolutely wonderful!  They can be given as great presents or used to decorate your house with your favorite book on display as a clock.  Plus, you don’t even need to ruin any of the pages so it is still readable!  Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of the ones my mom and I did, however, it is similar to my record clock I made (I got a little crazy with making everything into clocks!).  Here is a site on how to make your very own “Book Clock”!

  • Doodle.  Do you have the talent of being able to draw and/or paint well?  Give your drawings more meaning and substance by doodling on the pages of your favorite book.  Maybe draw something that relates to what the words read on the page.  Afterward, make sure you frame your art and hang it on the wall for all to admire!


*Note: the pictures on this post were taken from Google Images.  The list however, is my own: © Kalie Lyn, 2011*

My Listy List: 5 Things to do on a Fall Weekend

Fall is here – it’s been here for a while actually – and it’s time to enjoy the last weekends we have left that are warm and decent outside.

This weekend, at least in Michigan, it is extremely nice and beautiful out.  The leaves are changing so the landscape is full of colors and it is nice enough weather to still wear tank tops!

This is also officially my last weekend in the States.  On Monday I leave for Spain and I will be there for an entire year, which is the longest I have been there for a period of time since I moved there 3 years ago; I usually go home at least twice a year.

Since this is my last weekend in the States, let alone in my home state of Michigan, I am going to enjoy this wonderful Fall weather!  Here is my list of 5 things to do on a warm Fall weekend!




  • Go to the Cider Mill.  Nothing welcomes Fall like picking pumpkins, drinking apple cider and eating a warm doughnut.   Not only are you spending time outdoors, but there are a list of activities to do at Cider Mills including going on hayrides, running through a corn maze and even wine tasting at those Cider Mills that offer that.  Plus, going to a Cider Mill is a great family outing and will be a wonderful childhood memory for young kids; I still remember my yearly Cider Mill visits from when I was a child!

  •   Go for a Bike Ride.  Strap on those helmets and go for a family bike ride!  Whether it’s around the block or through the park, riding bikes is a great source of exercise, a good dose of Mother Nature and a healthy family excursion.


  • Have a BBQ.  Whether it’s a BBQ with friends or just family, there’s nothing better than eating food cooked off the grill and drinking cold beers.  Sitting at a picnic table outside, you can catch up with the lives of those you care about.  To burn off the calories that were just eaten, a fun game of baseball, kickball, volleyball…etc. can be played with all the guests!


  Have a Bonfire.  During the Fall, the nights become colder and nothing is better than bundling up in a light coat and sitting in front of an outside fire.  Roasting marshmallows, making s’mores and telling ghost stories, having a bonfire is a great social and outdoor activity!

  • Go for a drive.  Simply, get in the car and take off.  With the trees a beautiful red/orange color and the sun not too bright, going for a drive with the family is a great way to sightsee all the beauty that Fall has to offer.  So buckle up because we’re going cruisin’!

*Note: the pictures on this post were taken from Google Images.  The list however, is my own: © Kalie Lyn, 2011*

My Listy List: 5 Ways to Boost Your Mood

Everyone gets anxiety, everyone feels nervous and everyone just wants to scream at some point during a normal day.  While, at the moment, there may not seem like too many options to make yourself feel better, there are a few things you can do to boost your mood.

Lately, I have been practicing these regularly.  I have just quit smoking a little over a week ago and it has been a living hell.  My mood fluctuates from feeling good that I have quit a nasty habit to sobbing on the floor because I feel sad, anxious and nervous.

Here is my list of 5 ways that I have found can help boost your mood.




  • Talk it out.  Just the simple act of communicating with another being can make you feel so much better.  Whether it’s your mom, spouse, sibling or even a pet, telling them exactly how you are feeling, why you feel that way and what you think can make you feel better will bring a world of difference.  Having a loved one listening intently to you will make you feel cared for and will take your mind off of your current anxiety and fear.

  • Exercise.  Whether it’s running, doing yoga, or playing a sport, participating in something active sends happy endorphins to your brain.  It will boost your mood and staying fit not only makes your mind happy, but also your body.


  • Soak up Mother Nature.  Getting outside is essential to your health.  Not only does the sun provide you with Vitamin D, but being outside – hearing the birds chirp, seeing the trees sway and feeling a nice breeze – can boost your mood and make you feel so much better.  Whether you’re just sitting out on a sunny day – wearing sunscreen of course! – or playing in the rain, you will go back inside feeling much happier.


  • Just Dance.  Put on your favorite song, turn up the volume, close the blinds and turn off the lights if you must, and just dance!  Go crazy and don’t give a crap if you look silly, that’s what dancing is!  You’ll feel more energized and it’ll give a huge boost to your mood.  Plus it’s good exercise!


  • Go for a drive.  I know they say that you shouldn’t drive when you’re upset, but this seems to help me.  Leaving the house and getting on the road with nowhere in particular to go is so thrilling.  You can either get farther from your bad mood, leaving it all behind for a while, or you can think about everything that is going on that is making you sad, nervous or anxious.  Taking a friend along is also helpful as you can kill two birds with one stone by “talking it out” and “go for a drive”!

*Note: the pictures on this post were taken from Google Images.  The list however, is my own: © Kalie Lyn, 2011*

My Listy List: 5 Ways to Fight Writer’s Block

Millions of people everywhere suffer from one annoying setback – Writer’s Block.  I had it this morning and it lasted for a good couple of hours.  My mind just went blank and everything that I wrote looked like gibberish and made no sense.  

Everyone has their own solution and method of getting past their brain freezing, word jumbling writers block and here is my list of 5 ways to get around this irritating hurdle.




  • Stop thinking.  Literally. Just stop thinking.  Get up from the computer, notepad or whatever else you were working on and just leave.  Go as far away from your writing as possible and sit on the floor, taking the phrase “down to earth” as literal as possible.  Close your eyes and focus on the blackness.  Think of nothing else and do a sort of meditation.  I know it sounds hard, especially for someone like me whom is always thinking, but if you do this for 5-10 minutes, or until you can’t take it anymore, your mind will be refreshed and ready to think again.  It’s kind of like a detoxing for your brain.


  • Exercise.  Exercise stimulates the body and the brain.  Whether you’re jogging, doing push-ups or sit-ups or just taking a walk, exercise will give your mind a rest or give your brain that extra boost to think of your next words.


  • Play with your kids, siblings or pets.  Being with other people or beings will take your mind off your work and keep you “in the moment”.  You will totally forget about your writing until you are ready to go back or when your brain sparks that great idea.


  • Light some incense/candle, put on a sad song and cry.  I try to do this at least once a month.  It not only cleanses your tear ducts but also your mind.  You’ll feel exhausted afterword but extremely relieved.  Your body will feel like it’s floating and you will be able to sit down with nothing on your mind and start new.


  • Have sex.  Not only do you burn calories when you have sex, but it also relieves headaches and stress.  Your mind will be rejuvenated afterword and plus you’ll walk away feeling good!
*Note: the pictures on this post were taken from Google Images.  The list however, is my own: © Kalie Lyn, 2011*

My Listy List: 5 Things to Do on a Chilly September Day.

Well, summer is officially ending.  It has been raining for the past few nights here in Michigan.  It’s becoming darker earlier and lighter later, plus, the temperatures have dropped dramatically and I am NO fan of the cold.

However, there are a few things I like to do when it’s too cold to be outside yet not too cold to turn on the heat.  Here is a list of 5 things to do indoors on a chilly September day.


  • Drink a hot cup of tea/coffee or hot chocolate while curled up on the couch reading a book.  I’m a tea fan so I love a cup of hot caffeinated tea in the morning/day and a cup of hot decaffeinated tea at night.  Currently, I am reading “Unlikely Friendships” (see my book review below).


  • Clean.  Nothing beats cleaning on a cold day.  It works up a sweat (especially if you’re lugging a vacuum cleaner up and down stairs) and you feel accomplished after.  I’m a freak and get my kicks out of cleaning.  If I’m stressed, I clean.  If I’m depressed, I clean.  If I have way too much energy, I clean.


  • Do Arts and Crafts.  I love creating and making original art work so this is perfect for me.  Make anything you want or feel the need to!  If you need ideas, see my very first post “Create, Reuse, Reduce” and I’m currently working on something right now, so once that is done, I will post that also.


  • Watch a movie or TV show.  I’m OBSESSED with many different TV shows ranging from “The Big Bang Theory”, “The Office”, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and even some ended ones like “Friends” and “Scrubs”.  I love nothing more than watching my favorite shows, especially on a day when I don’t/can’t go outside.


  • Make a pie.  I love nothing better than smelling and eating a fresh baked pie.  Enough said.
*Note: the pictures on this post were taken from Google Images*