31 July 2014

Want to Win Some California Ranch Olive Oil? [Giveaway ends 8/20]

Over on my review blog, Fancy That! I am reviewing California Olive Oil and I want to invite all my readers to hop on over and see what I think of this tasty olive oil and enter to win a bottle of your own!

For anyone just quickly stopping by, enter via Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received a complimentary bottle of olive oil in exchange for my honest review (linked above).

18 July 2014

The Point by G. Nykanen [Book Blast] (And Win a $25 Gift Card) #AmReading

dark journey through madness...

Publication Date: May 30, 2014
Genre: Psychological Thriller

Befuddled by her current relationship woes, Nora Reynolds leaves college at semester’s end to drive north of nowhere to her hometown of Iron Bay. Vulnerable and on the rebound, she is the perfect prey for fledgling felon Dane Buchman. Dane takes advantage of the unaware young woman, feeding his appetite for mischief until a rather violent shift in their relationship reveals to him what he’s really been craving. Driven by his new found hunger, Dane feels unstoppable, until former high school rival and town deputy, Doug Sanders, navigates the trail of Dane’s destruction.

The Point is a dark thriller that will allow you to witness a truly dangerous sociopath wander through madness guided by a treasured family heirloom, and a pensive young woman find her way after discovering, that which doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. With echoes of the Coen brothers’ Fargo, the folksy town of Iron Bay and the nearby north-woods community of Deer Lake are the destinations for Mr. Buchman’s many misdeeds.

G. Nykanen was born and raised in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This small, rural land mass seems to cultivate a wide variety of colorful characters who provide a plethora of inspiration. The Point, Nykanen’s first novel, is filled with nuances of these local characters and the landscapes one might find in the north woods. 

Well traveled thanks to her husband’s government career, she has lived in Europe and many of our United States over the last twenty years. She has recently returned home, moving back to her beloved Upper Peninsula where she resides with her husband and three children.

With The Point now completed, she will continue working on her next novel, Accumulation, along with continuing to develop other stories in the works.

16 July 2014

Five Things Going Through My Head During My Commute Home

So I'm on my bus right now going home and a few things popped into my head that I was going vent about to my personal Facebook page, but I decided to share with you instead.

So here's five observations and thoughts rolling through my head on my way home today -

1) I wish the guy sitting next to me on my bus home would stop falling asleep. He leans on my arm occasionally and it's getting very irritating.

2) I spilled hot sauce in my bag (brought it to work cause of lunch) and I hope no one smells it.

3) I spotted a cop nearby in his car texting while we were at red light.

4) I also have coffee spilled on my pants earlier and have a desperate need to put on clean clothes.

5) I have that song "Work" by Iggy Azalea in my head and it's serving up weird motivation to write when I get home.

What's on your mind?

5 Best Tips on Getting Productive with #WhatMatters

The past few weeks I have been talking about getting productive in your life (as well as how important organization is to the overall goal of productivity!). I wanted to end my four part series with looking back at some of the best advice I've discovered on productivity and how a great new product may just help you with that.

1) Set small attainable goals for each project.

It's the little things you do that make a big difference. Sometimes I go after the biggest projects first because I assume that I will get more done if I conquer those. In reality, if I can complete small tasks first, and get the little things done, I will feel really good about myself.

When you have a big project ahead of you, is there any way you can break it down into smaller portions? Are there also little things you have in the way that you may "wait until later" (and we know how that goes - later usually means never, right?).

2) Don't multi-task.

This is the best tip I've learned. When you "multi-task" you are simply interrupting progress to start on something else. It's like when you turn off a car and turn it back on, you are using the most gas. The same idea goes with projects. If you are turning off your momentum for a project to start on something new, you are using too much gas.

Stay with one thing - and this is when small goals help - and once you are done with that particular task, then move onto something new.

3) Use technology to your advantage.

Whether it's using products that help your organization or email reminders (and this is where the newest tool I discovered GoBoxi comes in!), technology can help you get things done. I'm a huge fan of creating folders in my personal email and re-directing any (usually unread) emails to folders so I can just look over them later. It unclogs my inbox and helps me figure out what is important.

Find out ways technology can reduce distractions (like turn off that wi-fi to work on that novel), help you organize (using tools like GoBoxi), or set reminders and deadlines for you (which Goboxi can also help with!).

4) Set up scheduled "work" sessions.

I found this to be a great tip if you have a lot going on and are having a hard time prioritizing. Set a buzzer to go off in 45 minutes if you are starting on a project. If you are like me, once you get started on something, it can be hard to stop. But breaking up the day like this can do wonders.

5) Learn to say "no."

I've had to let go of a lot of projects this past year and it's been very healthy to the things that I want to work on the most. Learning to say no is a fantastic skill to have - you don't always have to take on a new project or task.

So everyone, this ends my productivity series. I had an awesome time talking about this with you and I hope this has helped you. So, with that said, like Larry the Cable Guy, "Git'r done!"

This four-part series was sponsored by GoBoxi, an amazing service that helps you organize, prioritize, and even help you set reminders for what needs to get done based off the emails you get each day. Sign up for information by visiting their website!

07 July 2014

Share Your Favorite Productivity Tips! [Part 3] #WhatMatters

We're onto week three of my productivity posts, and I am amazed by how many of us are struggling day to day with getting productive and how much of it has to do with the level of organization involved.

So I want to compile some of the advice I've received in the comments and feedback over the last couple of weeks and see what you think is the best advice!

"Too many things to commit to only slows you down." - William Kendall

You know, I find this is a big issue for me. Do you have trouble saying 'no'?  I know I do. I tend to overextend myself and take on too much than NOTHING really gets done. This is what I want to work on the rest of this year - cutting back on the crap.

"I prioritize things. The things lower on the list just don't have to be done." - Charity Lyman

I agree with this one to a point, but you know there are some easy quick things I like to make a priority first point in the day because when I get SOME things done, no matter how small, they tend to push me forward to do the bigger projects.

"I try to get my must haves done and then step away from my desk at a reasonable time."
 - Kristen

Taking breaks is SO important. I find when I take little breaks throughout a project I get way more done and I come back clearer headed. If I try to work straight through nothing gets done and that's not good for anyone, is it?

"My calendar is a great friend, espeially combined with my tasks-to-do. Also, keeping everything tidy and organized saves tons of time - my inbox, my desk, my notes. Not cleaning up every once in a while, but keeping it that way all the time (sometimes difficult, but worth it)." - Judit

I am a big to do list girl. I keep my reminder list on my iPhone pretty packed full. Also, like Judit said, keeping my inbox organized regularly can do me wonders for getting things done.

"A list, a timer and no clocks. One hour to finish each task, and if it doesn't get finished, too bad, onto the next one. Ice coffee on hand and all times for the inevitable energy crashes, but never once slow down until everything on the list has had an hour out of the day. Manic fuels manic. It's the only way to feel productive." - NJMagas

Wow, I loved this because it really spoke to my method (especially the coffee part!). But setting a time limit on projects can get you speedy and get you faster to that deadline. The only concern would be increasing number of errors but I tend to get pretty good at avoiding that stuff.

"I've been cutting back on my email notifications (searching out that heartbreaking 'unsubscribe' button) -- too easy to get sucked into checking to make sure I'm not missing anything! I'm better off not knowing. Then I sit down, absolutely FORBID myself to open up the Solitaire, not even to "warm up" (a favorite lie of mine). And start writing. I then find that when I'm called for dinner, I'm right in the middle of something productive and hate to leave. Such a great feeling, but it only happens when I open Word and NOTHING ELSE."  - Eugenia Parrish 

I think that cutting back on distractions (like social media, or books, or cat videos, or...the list could go on) and disciplining myself not to go to those distractions really helps me stay productive. I think this is excellent advice.

I'd love to know what your favorite productivity tip you've ever been told. Make sure to leave a comment below and I might feature you in part 4 of the productivity series!

Also, Goboxi is a brand new service to help you get your email inbox organized and also sets reminders for you based on software that will learn which emails and tasks are most important to you. Subscribe to their site via email to get updates and more info on when you can sign up!

This is a sponsored post and I will receive compensation. All opinions are my own.
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