Lifestyle

10 tips to get you prepared for your summer vacation

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As the weather heats up, you’re likely beach dreaming. But before you can put your toes in the sand, you have to prepare for your trip. Forgetting to do something as little as taking out the trash could dampen your vacation.

With all the excitement of exploring somewhere new or returning to your favorite place, you can often forget some essential tasks before you board your jet plane. From packing to preventing a moldy fridge, LifeSquire is sharing some tips on how to get you ready for your summer trip.

 

  • Check your passport. If you have summer travel plans, don’t forget to check the expiration date on your passport. Don’t wait until you’re about to board the plan to renew. It often takes longer during summer months to receive your updated passport in the mail.

  • Book your pet sitter. Don’t forget about your furbabies! Make sure you schedule a pet sitter in advance to care for your pets. LifeSquire offers pet and home sitting, contact us (https://www.lifesquire.com/contact) to schedule.

  • Call your bank. When traveling, make sure you call your bank and let them know when you are traveling and where you are going. Don’t get locked out of your funds because you didn’t make the call.

  • Stop your mail. While you’re away, have USPS (https://holdmail.usps.com/holdmail/) stop delivering your mail to your house. Alternatively, you can have your LifeSquire bring in your mail when we check on your house.

  • Skin protection. Your skin doesn’t want to go to war with the sun. Now is the time to stock up on sunscreen before you spend your time soaking up the Vitamin D.

  • The great purge. Before you put the luggage in the car, make sure you won’t come home to refrigerator mold. Check expiration dates and remove everything that will go bad before you get home. You won’t want to clean up right after your trip.

  • Copies, copies, copies. Even if you don’t like paper, you should make copies of important documents before traveling. Consider making copies of your confirmation numbers, itineraries, passports, credit card information, insurance cards, and emergency medical information. These can come in handy if you happen to run into any problems.

  • Make a list. When packing right before your trip, it is easy to forget essential items. Before you pack, make a checklist so that you don’t forget your most important items. Don’t forget your phone charger and portable battery!

  • Roll your clothes. Roll all of your clothes for maximum luggage capacity and minimal wrinkles. If you don’t like to roll, you can also use compression bags and roll the air out by hand.

  • Prepare your house.  Close the curtains and blinds, set the automatic lights, leave a radio playing, unplug appliances, and set the alarm before you leave.

 

Not having to worry about forgotten items or coming home to horrid smells will help you enjoy your time away from home. If you need help planning and preparing for your vacation, LifeSquire is here.

 

Post written by Deaven Cavnar, Content Marketing Manager

8 ways to put the fun in summer break

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As the school doors close for summer, you’ll be the main component for entertainment for the next few months. As the days go by, you might hear the words, “I’m bored,” come out of your kid’s mouths. Keep the boredom away by preparing for a fun summer break. Here are some tips on how to get ready:

 

  • Annual passes. From the local zoo to amusement parks, several places offer annual passes. Consider purchasing some passes for fun activities throughout the summer.  Also, check to see what summer events those places have and put them in your calendar.

  • Summer camp.  There are a ton of different summer camps available, but they usually fill up fast. If you’re sending your children to summer camp, get them enrolled as soon as possible. Once enrolled, make sure they have all of the necessary supplies to have a good time at camp. Also, get your children any identification they may need for the travel.

  • Keep track of get-togethers. Summer is the perfect time for families and friends to plan get-togethers, reunions, and parties. When the invites come in, make sure you mark your calendar. You don’t want to miss out on the fun. Get your kids excited for the parties by having them help prepare food and other party favors.

  • Book challenge. Explore distant lands in your own living room. Inspire your children to read this summer by creating your own book challenge. Take a weekly trip to the library to check out a new book. Once they read a pre-set amount of books, reward them.

  • Swim like a fish. With warmer weather comes water activities. Make sure your children know proper pool safety and how to swim before summer is in full swing. Enroll your children in swim lessons, so that pool parties are more fun than terrifying.

  • Travel local. Take short road trips to state parks and local hotspots. Pack a picnic for even more excitement on the road. Before you go, also prepare an emergency kit, bring extra clothes, and don’t forget the water.

  • Learn something new. Consider enrolling your children in some classes this summer to learn something new. Art classes, cooking classes, or music lessons can keep your children entertained and still keeps them learning.

  • Activity books. If you’re worried about the long summer break, consider getting some age-appropriate school activity books to keep their school content fresh. Set aside some time daily to work on these books.

 

Summer is a great time for your kids to keep learning and try new things. If you find yourself struggling to create activities or get them from one place to the other, LifeSquire can help. We offer children transportation services and creativity.

 

Post written by Deaven Cavnar, Content Marketing Manager

9 ways to get your home ready for the summer heat

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While it may seem like the most important thing you need to do to prepare for summer is to pick out the best sunscreen, there is more. As the temperature heats up, your home should be ready to beat the heat. No one wants to come home to a scorching home, an algae-filled pool, or a cracked foundation. Besides getting a standard A/C tune-up and the regular home things you do, here are some other ways to make sure you stay cool this summer:

 

  • Gutter gleam. Your gutters are clogged from all of the leaves that fell during the fall. Keep your gutters from overflowing by having the debris removed.

  • Shingled out. Cold winter temperatures and spring storms can take a toll on your shingles. Avoid finding leaky spots by having your roof inspected. Get any repairs completed as soon as possible to keep your home in tip-top shape.

  • The white stuff. When your windows let in air, your air conditioner has to work harder to keep your home cool. Have the LifeSquire handyman add a fresh coat of caulking around your windows to beat the leaky window heat.

  • Water more than the plants. When the ground under your home dries out from summer heat, it can mess up your home’s foundation. During dry summer days, make sure to water your home’s foundation at least once a week. When in drought, water the foundation several times a week.

  • Fix your tools. During the summer months, you break out a lot of tools and equipment. Have the tune-up on your lawnmower taken care of. Clean your grill before your next meal. Have your pool inspected so that you can spend the summer in the cool water. Whatever tools you use, give them a check before they are regularly used.

  • Waterworks. Freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on your plumbing. It is always a good idea to have a plumber come out for a pipe inspection to stop and prevent any leaks.

  • Trim around the bushes. Your trees will bloom and grow all season. Have them trimmed to avoid problems with power lines and other objects that don’t need to be consumed by branches.

  • Streak-free. After the winter weather and spring pollen, your windows aren’t exactly spotless. Book window cleaners to come out and put the shine back in your glass.

  • The cool down. Your attic holds a lot of heat. Before the temperature gets too bad, have your insulation checked. Add extra insulation to your attic to help beat the heat.

 

When you get all of the maintenance and chores out of the way, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the summer months. If you don’t have time to complete them all, LifeSquire can help. 

Post written by Deaven Cavnar, Content Marketing Manager

10 quick and easy ways to practice self-care every day

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With the everyday hustle and bustle of life, it’s easy to neglect yourself. After spending extra hours in the office, your nights end up looking like a whirlwind of activity from cooking to wrangling children into bed by bedtime. And after all that, your bed and Netflix look more and more attractive.

While it is extremely important to get those tasks done on a daily basis, it is even more important to make time for some self-care. Now you’re probably thinking, I don’t have the time to spend days at the spa or going on regular shopping sprees, but self-care is more than just an outing.  Here are some self-care ideas to add to your daily to-do list:

Write about it

No matter how bad your day has been, there will always be something that makes you feel grateful.  So whether it is the fact that you are still breathing or you won the lottery, grab a journal and write down five positive things in your life each day. When you write down positive things in your life, it puts more emphasis on the things you are grateful for instead of the stressors in your life. Focus on the good.

A positive morning

Start every day with something positive. Whether you read inspirational quotes, stories or you indulge in your favorite coffee drink, try to start each morning with something that makes you feel good. You can do this while sipping your morning coffee and not have to add any extra time to your already busy morning.

Give back

If you want a quick positivity boost, do something for someone else. Volunteer once a month or help a friend or loved one out with a project they can’t do alone. Sharing your talents and giving back to the community is good for your soul.

Go on a technology detox

In most situations, you can’t imagine turning your cellphone off and taking a break from social media, but sometimes one way to make the craziness of the world stop turning is to take a break from the center of it. As much as you love social media, it can play a real role in your mood. Don’t be afraid to take a break, even if it is just for one hour.

Just say no

To all of the overachievers out there, it is okay to say no when someone asks to make plans with you. We often find ourselves wanting to do more than we are actually capable of doing. So while you don’t have to give a solid no, don’t be afraid to ask for that night out for a later date.

Playtime with pets

Pets have this furry covered way of soothing the soul. When you spend time petting and playing with your pets, you’ll easily forget the stresses of the day. If you don’t have a pet, visit your local rescue for all the playtime you can handle.

Have a self-date

It may sound a little weird, but you should always date yourself. Spend an hour alone doing something that feeds your soul. Maybe it is taking the time to read that new book you’ve been dying to start or relaxing in a bubble bath with a glass of wine. Do something that is for you and only you.

Just dance

Turn on your favorite song, and dance like no one is watching. Not only is music good for your soul, but dancing can put a little bounce in your step. Never deny yourself a mini dance party.

Take a road trip

There are likely some beautiful places within a short drive of you. Do some research for local sites to see and plan a short day trip over the weekend. So when the weather is nice, load up the car with your family or some close friends and hit the road.

Get in the right mindset

Download a meditation app on your phone and start your mornings with some peaceful relaxation before hitting the stress-filled traffic on your way to work.  Better yet, get to work a little early and listen to your meditation app before heading into the office. You’ll be a lot calmer, and it will be easier to start tackling your day.

A little goes a long way

Self-care is vital to your well-being. It doesn’t have to be an all-day affair to be considered self-care.   Just do a little something every day of the week, and you’ll quickly feel that stress fog lift. Make sure you add self-care to your to-do list daily and make it a priority in your life. 

 

Post written by Deaven Cavnar, Content Marketing Manager

Why an organized house will make you happier, reduce stress

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Imagine this. You’ve spent a long, hard day at work and you’re ready to come home to relax and kick off your shoes.  You walk in the door of your home and see piles of mail, books in disarray, dirty dishes, and a pile of laundry on the bed. It gets even worse, you’re looking for your newest book and can’t find it. You also can’t find your favorite house slippers. Your home is an unorganized mess, and nothing has a proper home.

We all know that you suffer from stress from finances, your job, and other things happening in your life. When you come home, you want to relax, but when you live in a poorly decorated, extremely cluttered, and disorganized house, it is nearly impossible to relax. Disorganization can lead to reduced happiness levels and increased stress. This article tells why living this way only adds to your stress.

Clutter brings on the stress

It’s hard to imagine that a cluttered house can bring on stress, but it can. When home, you will likely remain in a state of overwhelm as your brain takes in all of the information around you. Once your brain has processed the clutter, you’ll quickly realize how much work you have to do on your home. The more mess you see, the higher the stress levels. When your home is organized, and each item has a home, you will save time looking for items, but also you will feel a sense of peace in your nice calming home.

The social butterfly

Do you like to host social gatherings but avoid them because of a cluttered house? When you take the time to organize, you’ll be more excited about having friends and family over. Those Sunday family dinners and wine down Wednesday social settings will be more exciting than dreadful.

The last-minute visitor

Not everyone sticks by the ‘contact first before showing up at your house’ rule, and you may have an unexpected doorbell ringer. Other times your kids beg to have friends over after school without notice. The last-minute visitor is a real obstacle when your home is an unorganized mess. Once you’re aware of your visitor, you’ll begin to feel your stress levels increase. You’ll likely see things you find so horribly placed and wonder if your guest notices them as well. While they probably don’t care about what kind of condition your house is in, you will feel like they do.

Increased exercise

What? An organized house can increase your exercise? The answer is, yes. How? The biggest barrier to living a healthy lifestyle is a lack of time. As adults, we have a lot on our plates and gym time often gets put on the back burner. When you are living an organized life, you will have more free time to take that spin class or yoga class you’ve had your eye on. You won’t be coming home to cleaning and organization projects instead.

Fewer family conflicts

Have you ever gotten into an argument over the location of an item that seems lost? You have one place in mind for that object and your spouse or other family member has another. When that item is needed and cannot be found, this may create and amplify a family conflict. When everything has a place, the chance of arguments happening because  you can’t find your keys, your favorite pair of shoes, or even your tax documents will significantly decrease.

How do you fix it?

Now that you know why you need to organize your house, you may not know where to start. You’ll start with going through your items and donating what you don’t need. From there, you find containers and places to put items that are left.

You can spend your evenings and weekends taking trips to The Container Store and embark on a mission to organize your house, but what if you don’t have time? This is where LifeSquire steps in. We are professional organizers and can take your house from mess to success. If you’d like information about our organization services, email info@lifesquire.com.

 

Post written by Deaven Cavnar, Content Marketing Manager

Back-to-school tips to start this school year right

Back-to-school tips

As summer comes to an end, it’s time to start planning for the back-to-school season.  We know, we know, it isn’t easy to end your summer fun, and you may want to deny that it’s ending until the very last moment, but we’re here to say you shouldn’t.

Coming up with a plan and marking tasks off of your to-do list will ensure you and your kids will start the school year off right. But how do you get started? You follow our tips, of course!

Get into a routine

Getting back into a routine isn’t easy when you’ve had a summer full of fun and late nights. It’s hard to convince yourself and your kids that they need to go to sleep earlier and get up sometimes before the sun rises. And while a proper bedtime is important, preparing for school is much more than just your sleep schedule. Here are some ways you can easily get back into your routine:

  • Start your sleep schedule early. Get your children on a bedtime and wake-up schedule at least two weeks before school starts.

  • Establish a designated homework time and make sure your children give all of their attention to their assignments. Until school starts, have your children start reading books.

  • Create a family calendar and have your children help. Put all of your activities on the calendar and continue to do so all year.

  • Talk to your kids about their screen time rules and start to reduce their screen time before school starts. Also, make sure they know what is allowed during school days.

  • For more tips on getting back into your school routine, read our post: Tips to get your kids back into their routine.

Before the first day

As the big day approaches, you need to do more than just get into a new routine. You need to make a to-do list. Don’t be overwhelmed because your to-do list may overflow, but conquering that list will be well worth it when the first bell rings. So get your paper and pen ready, and start making your list, but don’t forget these things:

  • Visit the school and help your children get a feel for their new environment.

  • Share some stories about your school days with your children, and tell them about what they can expect on their first day.

  • Get the school supplies list and go shopping or pass it along to your LifeSquire if you don’t have time to shop.

  • Create a dedicated homework area that is free from distractions and has all the supplies your child will need.

  • Determine what you need for after-school care. LifeSquire provides school transports so that you won’t have to leave work. If you need a babysitter or after school program, you should research and get that scheduled quickly.

  • Establish rules and locations for their school items. Have them put their lunchboxes, backpacks, sports equipment, shoes, and other items in designated areas.

  • Hire a tutor to help your child navigate through homework time and strengthen weak areas. We recommend Matchless Learning for all of your tutoring needs.

  • Go through their closets and donate items they have outgrown. Replace the discarded articles of clothing with new ones that they may need for the year. Once you get the new items, make sure their closet is color coordinated.

  • Create a budget for back-to-school shopping and make sure you stick to it when you shop.

Making days easier

The day to day will often be a struggle. Each morning, you will never know how you will start your day, your kids will have days that they won’t want to go to school, they will get sick, or they may be so tired they take extra-long to get ready. It’s easier to make it through these unexpected situations by planning. Here are some ways you can make the school days easier:

  • Teach your kids how to prioritize their homework assignments by making to-do lists with deadlines. Forgotten assignments will be a thing of the past.

  • Have your children pick out their outfits for the next day before bed.

  • Get copies of the school lunch menu and decide what days you will be packing lunches.

  • Prepare school lunches and snacks the night before. If you need tips on how to do this efficiently, read Lunch Bites: Tips and Tricks to Make School Lunches Simple.

  • Go through old homework assignments once a month and discard unneeded work.

  • Talk openly with your kids about school. Let them express things they love and their worries without judgment.

  • Keep night lights, white noise machines, and fans in your children’s rooms for those sleepless nights.

  • Encourage school involvement in after-school activities such as clubs and sports.

If you’d rather spend the last few weeks soaking up your free time with your kiddos, (we totally understand) LifeSquire can run your errands and pick up the supplies you need.  We can also handle a lot of your projects so that you have more time to focus on your family. For more information on personal assistant service, email us at info@lifesquire.com.

 

Post written by Deaven Cavnar, Digital Media Specialis

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School Tips

10 tips to make this school year easier for you and the kids.

8 ways to make moving a breeze

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Now that you have found your new place, it’s time to start packing for the big move. Overwhelming right? Even though it sounds like a daunting task, you can get your house packed one box at a time.

Not sure where to start? This is where we come in. Packing isn’t just about throwing your stuff into a box to get it from one place to another. Instead, there are a lot of tricks out there to make your move easier. We thought we would share some of our favorites with you.

We need you, first

Don’t lose your important, need right now, items in a sea of boxes. Consider using clear plastic bins to pack your immediate need items. Using the bins will separate the important stuff from the decorations so that you don’t spend hours hunting for your toilet paper. Pack these bins with items like phone chargers, eating and cooking utensils, important cookware, toilet paper, tools, and other items you will need right after the move. 

Mostly shatterproof

Save money on newspaper and bubble wrap by using your clothes to wrap all of your breakables. You can also use clean socks to wrap to wrap your glasses and stemware.  Also, for added safety, stack your plates vertically like you do in the dishwasher. It helps keep them from breaking.

Who? What? Where?

When packing your boxes, you want to make sure you label them with the items in the box, who the box belongs to, and what room the box goes in. Consider purchasing different colored tape to help make the rooms more distinguishable when unloading. Correct labeling will help the unpacking and organizing be a breeze.  

Unpack by room

All of your boxes will be stacked up and in your way, and this may cause you a bit of anxiety.  But when it comes to unpacking, make sure you unpack by room. Doing this will make the unpacking process much easier and give you a greater feeling of satisfaction than just randomly unpacking boxes.

Saran wrap to the rescue

Avoid the dreaded leakage by using a little saran wrap. Open up your toiletries and liquid items. Take a piece of saran wrap and place it over the opening of the bottle. Replace the lid on the product, and it will help keep the liquids where they belong.

Think outside the bag

Don’t spend time taking your clothes off of the hanger, folding them, and then putting them into a box. Instead, grab some trash bags and slide them over a bundle of clothes hanging on the rod. Tie the bag at the top, and it will make your clothes easy to transport.

Luggage is your friend

We all have those heavy items or items that are an awkward shape making them almost impossible to pack. This is where your luggage comes in handy. If you need to pack something that just won’t fit in a box or would be easier to transport on wheels, put it in your luggage.  Your items will stay safe, and they will be easier to move.

Pack an overnight bag

Don’t get stuck without a toothbrush or a pair of pajamas. When you get into your new home, your stuff will be spread all over the house. Instead of spending hours trying to find your necessities, pack an overnight bag. Also, try to get in the house and clean your kitchen and bathroom before the move. That way you can have a nice long shower after all of the hard work

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If you need an extra hand when it comes to packing and unpacking,  our LifeSquires have the tape and sharpies ready to help. Contact us for more information on moving services.

Post written by Deaven Cavnar, Digital Media Specialist

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Moving Tip Sheet

Don't get stuck in a pile of half packed boxed. Download our handy moving tip sheet below to help keep your sane during the moving process.

Why technology can’t replace your assistant

Assistant vs Smart Assistants

As technology advances, offices are constantly changing. It’s no lie that smart assistants are rapidly joining the workplace, and they are quite attractive. They offer the freedom to talk to your phone, they will place orders for you, they will research topics for you, they will set-up conference calls without much effort, and they even offer help without having to pay a salary.

And while this all sounds very nice, the reality is that this technology just can’t do it all. Your assistant does way more for you than the Alexas, Siris, and Google Homes of the world. So before you start thinking about cutting that salary, we want to explain why your assistant is more beneficial to you than you think.

The right connection

Building a strong connection with your assistant is important.  With a strong connection comes good communication and mind reading. Ok, so not really mind reading, but instead anticipating your needs. How would it make you feel to have someone that knew exactly what you needed before you even knew it?

For example, your assistant will see on your calendar that you have a meeting with XYZ client and can pull all of the files and history you may need about the client and the topic for the meeting. Instead of having to go to your assistant’s desk and ask for those materials, the materials will be there waiting. This is the kind of connection that is important in the assistant/boss relationship.

With a smart assistant, you have to tell it everything you want and sometimes more. And even after you ask, there is a chance the information it provides will still be inaccurate. Questions have to be said in short, extremely clear sentences instead of in the language you are accustomed to. Your smart assistant can’t read your mind, and it will never shave time off of your day by anticipating your needs.

?=MC2

Smart assistants just aren’t that smart. There, we said it. How many times have you pulled out your phone and asked Siri a question and she gave you the most random answer? No Siri, I didn’t ask for computer reliability, I asked for company resilience. While Siri does her best, she just can’t keep up.

You can spend your time arguing with your phone about what subject you really need, or you can hand it over to your assistant. Your assistant won’t be holding a magic wand that convinces Siri to look up the right information, but he/she could easily find the information or more for you while you get back to other tasks and forget about your phone.

Until technology gets smart enough to distinguish accents and other speech barriers, you can’t rely on a smart assistant to always find the answers you seek.

Calendar control

When running your own business, your calendar quickly becomes the life source of your job.  Without a proper calendar you could lose track of your meetings, overbook, or constantly stay in a state of confusion. So why not have your smart assistant handle it?

That sounds good in theory, but your smart assistant won’t truly have control of your calendar. Sure it can add and remove tasks off of your schedule, and send reminders, but that is about the extent of it. A good assistant can maintain your schedule, prepare you for meetings, rearrange your schedule when needed, can reschedule canceled appointments, book travel arrangements for upcoming trips, and anticipate all of your needs with calendar access.

Task matters

We don’t have to tell you that your smart assistant abilities are very limited, but we are going to tell you anyway. Having a real assistant provides more benefits to you than an Alexa.

Your assistant will come with a varied background, and with the LifeSquire Academy training program they will know how to help you in both your office and your home.  This type of work can range from making copies, working on projects, doing errands, and so much more.

Since your smart assistant is a piece of technology and it cannot help you with all of your needs. This means that you will be putting in more hours to fulfill them. More work means less family and personal time. That leads to higher stress levels and unhappiness. It’s a spiral that can easily be stopped with support from the right person.   

In the end

You have a lot on your plate, and while a smart assistant is an asset that will benefit your company, it isn’t one that can replace your assistant.  Your assistant is the support system that helps give you your time back, so don’t be lured by the hype of a smart assistant. Until we enter the IRobot era, you need your assistant more than your phone.

If you need help finding the perfect assistant or if you need help training your current assistant, contact LifeSquire, your resource for all things assistant.

 

Post written by Deaven Cavnar, Digital Media Specialist