Monday Motivation: Transitioning Back to Reality

It’s Monday! This is likely one of the most difficult Mondays of the year, as we get over the long Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend. Our bellies full and our wallets empty, it’s time to get back to work, and back to the daily grind.

drink coffee

Image via Pinterest

I personally have thrown routine out the window lately, and after a long-weekend vacation in Montreal followed by the long holiday weekend, I am ready to reintroduce things like the gym, smoothies, and a normal sleep schedule back into my life.

Here are some links from around the web that are helping motivate me – from jumping back on the treadmill to getting the ball rolling on my holiday shopping:

healthy oatmeal smoothie

Image via

  • I had this healthy smoothie for breakfast this morning. Did you know that yogurt plus oatmeal equals a complete protein? Mine was a little too thick, but still oh so good.
  • Looking for creative ways to finish up those turkey day leftovers? The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond has you covered with some inspiring leftover turkey recipes 
  • Self magazine always has my back when I’m feeling less than motivated at the gym. I think they read my mind when they pinned these 10 boredom-busting treadmill workouts on Pinterest yesterday
skinny cranberry bliss bars

Image via

  • And JUST in time for the holidays, Gina Homolka of has a recipe for Skinny Cranberry Bliss Bars that I must try. These were my favorite holiday treat back when I worked at Starbucks, many eons ago

In conclusion, this Cyber Monday I am keeping the coffee flowing, and I have my gym bag packed and ready for tonight. I am motivated! How about you?

Anticipation is the Enemy

Waiting, waiting, WAITING. I am a very patient person on the regular day-to-day things, like dealing with difficult people, slow public transportation, etc. But, when it comes to waiting for something new, I am admittedly the worst. I find that anticipation is most jarring when you know that something is right around the corner, just about to happen. It can be agonizing.

Today that “something” is a UPS truck, and on it is my shiny new Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GX1 Digital Camera.

Image courtesy of B&H

I have been researching compact mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras (MILC), along with DSLRs for a couple of weeks now, and I finally landed on this guy. I’ve wanted to upgrade to something more professional than my iPhone or a point and shoot camera, and MILCs sit right in between point and shoots and DSLRs. Opinions on this vary with each person you talk to, and some pro photographers may scoff if they read this, but the GXL is just what I need. It is compact, and has all of the capabilities of a DSLR, it even takes the same lenses.

I am so excited to have this camera for my upcoming trip to Europe. At first I felt guilty buying myself such an expensive Christmas gift, but now I am just excited that I will be able to share my memories in a higher resolution…if only it would get here!

Did you buy yourself anything for the holidays? Leave me comments, I need  distractions while I wait for the man in brown! 

Ebates: Cash Back for Shopping Online

As shoppers everywhere prepare for battle, a.k.a. Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I feel a public service announcement is in order.

If you shop online, and you do not use Ebates, you are committing an enormous disservice to yourself!

No joke, Ebates is amazing. I know I’ve written about this gem before, but if you’re not familiar, allow me to explain. Ebates is a referrer website, where you can receive cash back for your online shopping.

Here is what you do:

  1. Go to the Ebates website
  2.  Log in and go to the search box in the top right part of the screen; type in the online retailer you would like to shop. I searched Sephora.
  3. Ebates will show you how much cash back you can receive, and will also share any deals and discount codes that are available. Eight percent is pretty high, so it looks like it’s time to shop!
  4. Click the orange button that says “Shop Now,” and Ebates will bring you to the retailer’s site, tracking what you buy so that they can award you cash back.

Ebates send you a check every quarter with the cash back you’ve earned. You can also receive the money via Paypal, or you can designate the money to a friend or charity. I have earned $170 cash back since joining Ebates in 2010, and this number would be much higher if I could remember to use Ebates every time I shop online. Cash back is even available for sites like, Ebay and Groupon.

For sitting through my soapbox speech, here is a little reward from Ebates and Smashbox:


After you sign up for Ebates, search for Smashbox and use code EBATES2012 to receive six percent cash back and an extra 25 percent off. Happy shopping!