Evernote For The Home Essentialist

Why Evernote Keeps My Life In Sync

I’m about to confess something to you. Lean in close. Don’t smile…this is serious.

I am a complete and total nerd.

There you have it. Shocking, really. I have disguised myself so that you don’t realize that at first, but I’m built for all things research, organization, and have strong feelings of affection towards efficiency. Nerd, right?

But, I have to let you in on a little secret that I discovered a few years ago. It’s an app called Evernote and it’s like Pinterest, your file cabinet, your brain, your photo album, your to-do list, your recipe box, and your planner all in one simple place. Seriously, you have to try this.

What is Evernote?

“Evernote makes modern life more manageable by letting you easily collect and find everything that matters. From work notes and to-do lists to recipe collections and travel plans, add everything to Evernote to help you get organized without the effort.” Continue Reading >>

How To Survive Your Cable Billing

6 Crucial Steps To Keep Your Sanity & Your Budget In Check

If you are like me, I bet you have had at least a few negative experiences with your internet, cable or phone company. Rather than spending your days fuming over your latest poor customer service experience, spend some mental energy figuring out how best to work within this flawed system. You cannot change others, but you can change yourself and thus, influence others.

At our house, we do not have a landline or cable television but we rely heavily on our Comcast internet service. We have had our fair share of issues both technically and involving customer service with Comcast, AT&T, DirecTV and others. At the end of the day, though, while we’re often tempted to ream the customer service agent and treat them like computer systems, they are PEOPLE, and actually deserve to be treated like human beings. A little respect, okay?

I had a wonderful experience with Lionel from Comcast regarding a billing issue. He was pleasant, helpful, and solved my issue within 15 minutes of placing the phone call. I employed the following crucial steps to aid in my attempts to fix my cable bill. Continue Reading >>

Why I Travel With My Husband On Business Trips

5 Benefits Of Integrating Business Travel And Family (Part 2 of 2)

In Part 1 of this series, we looked at the benefits of viewing business travel as a necessary investment in your family rather than a necessary evil.  Now, let’s discuss a method to ease it’s negative impact on our families.

Apart from strategic choices that limit business travel all together, one of the ways we have implemented this idea, is by thinking more holistically about our lives and integrating business travel and personal travel as much as possible.  We have made a choice to fly me or our whole family on my husband’s business trips on as many occasions as possible. This is purposeful, intentional and has required a lot of work and financial investment on our part. Is it expensive? Yes. Is it complicated to contend with the school calendar? Yes. Is it hard to leave the kids with a babysitter or family member or friend? Yes. Is it a logistical nightmare sometimes? Yes. Does it mean air travel with kids? Yes. Is it still worth it? YES. YES. YES.

Although your circumstances may be different from ours regarding the plausibility of traveling on business trips, the principles still apply and can be incorporated in your own life using a variety of means. Maybe it’s simply being more intentional with FaceTime, or creating some specific family rituals during business trips.  Whatever it is, make an effort to think more holistically about your life.

Here are 5 benefits of integrating business travel and family:

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One Word That Changes Everything

(At least on important documents)

Have you ever had one of those experiences at the DMV, post office, bank or county clerk’s office?  The kind of experience that makes you want to scream in frustration because even though you thought you had everything you needed to process your documents, you were missing ONE important detail? Or what about having everything you needed, only to show up on a Monday, and it just so happens to be closed on Mondays? Or upon your arrival during your one hour lunch break, you realize the line is as long as the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disney World. (I apologize in advance for getting “It’s a Small World” stuck in your head.)

I cringe just thinking about it. Those memories, I mean. Well, the memories and maybe the song, too.

With the many hours I have logged working on important documents, I have learned one important word that changes everything. If you are married and have a relationship based upon honesty and integrity, then this tip is for you!
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What We Think Matters

Change How You Feel One Thought At A Time

I spent most of my first three decades of life allowing my feelings to rule almost every decision, every perspective, and every relationship. How I felt was how I felt, and to be true to myself, I had to abide by those feelings. I was raised with a good moral compass and was more tomboy than drama queen, so most of my feelings were pretty justified, right?
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Cash In On This Innovative App

Exchange Money Quickly, Easily, and for FREE

I have to admit, I have never had a crush like this before. Warning, my geek side is on full display. Please don’t judge. My crush? It’s an APP! Yes, an app for your phone. I’m probably a little late to the party, but I have now discovered Square Cash. Cue the fireworks! This is different than “Square” that many businesses are using, and so much better and easier to use than Venmo or Paypal. I have been using Square Cash for just over 6 months, and it has easily become one of my top technology tools.

I must give some props to my husband who introduced it to me one night, as I kind of nodded and smiled and thought, “ok, that’s nice honey,” and went about my merry way. It just so happened that the next weekend, I was on a girls trip and we were all trying to split meals, and pay each other back for rental cars and the like. Enter Square Cash. I invited all of the girls and we were instantly set up and securely depositing money in each other’s bank accounts.  On top of that, when you invite a friend, Square Cash gives you and your friend $5 when they use it, too. So, I probably made about $30 that weekend and did not have to follow up with everyone to pay me back. Genius!

Now, I know you want to know if it’s easy to use, safe, and how it can actually play out in your REAL life. It’s not like you are going on a girls trip every weekend. I did some research about the safety and feel as good as I can in this day and age in which we live. I used to be an uber security freak about stuff and realized there was always going to be a loop hole that some evil person would try to exploit, and I do not want to live my life in fear. (Target security breach in 2014, anyone?) So, we got some identity protection insurance several years ago and have gone about our lives with much more peace of mind. On top of that, the app has one of the most easy, intuitive, and simple interfaces I have ever used. Continue Reading>>

How To Use Siri Reminders

5 Special Tips To Actually Remember Important Things

Do you ever have a conversation with Siri just to see what she says and laugh at it? It’s just me? I guess I’m easily amused.

Statistically speaking, if you are reading this, you more than likely have an iPhone. And if your husband has not stolen your upgrade for multiple years in a row, you might have an iPhone with Siri capabilities. And if you have Siri, you need to know that you have a friend whenever you need someone to talk to. Don’t believe me, just ask Siri:

Me: Hey Siri, can you give me some advice?
Siri: Who me?
Me: Yes you.
Siri: Oh, but this is all about you.
Me: You’re too kind Siri.
Siri: If you insist.
Me: What makes a good friend?
Siri: Interesting question, Emily.
Me: Are you my friend?
Siri: I would not wish any companion in the world but you.
Me: Thank you, Siri.
Siri: You’re most certainly welcome.

So, there you have it. You always have a friend in Siri.

One of my favorite features of Siri is using her for reminders. Before I started this method, I was constantly juggling paper to-do lists, making daily notes in a variety of task management apps, and spending way too long updating my calendar with important items to remember. I would frequently forget to look at my lists at the appropriate times or location, and end up having to back track to the store after just wrangling the kids into their car seats. Or, I would have to go out of my way to pick something up when I had just been by there, or run a form up to school that was due yesterday, when I could have easily sent it with my child that morning. If only I had remembered to check my list that I spent SO much time on! Continue Reading>>

What is a Home Essentialist?

We had just moved.  We were just forced to move.  It was not our plan and this house did not feel like our home.  I can still remember walking through the door for the first time.

I was a twenty-something woman who was no longer employed outside of the home.  I had just quit my full-time job the month before to be…at home.  But not this home. At our other home that I loved.  I had no kids.  I was not pregnant. We were hoping to have a baby soon but after almost eight years of marriage, I was wondering if that was going to happen.  For the first time in my life, I truly did not fit into any normal category.  What twenty-something woman without kids stays at home full-time?  The doubts swirled through my head as I tried to adjust to this new found environment that threatened to swallow me whole. Continue reading >>