Finding the Balance: Home

When I was 16, I had this great idea to maximize my day. Back then I was running on the track team, lawyering up in Mock Trial club, studying for the SATs, taking three college-level courses, and tutoring or babysitting in my “spare time.” I thought that if I could just sleep for 6 hours, I’d have 18 left to FIT IT ALL IN. What a dreamer I was.

It was hard to juggle school and extracurricular activities with work and still manage to have a social life. But I was 16. I always came home to a hot meal on the table, folded laundry in my room, and had someone to schlep me around to every activity before I got my license and a car.


This book is everything I’m feeling.

Twelve years later I’m still trying to find the time to fit it all in. And the thing I hate to admit is that there will never be enough time.

Most days I’m overwhelmed by the piles of dirty dishes and clothes – and don’t even get me started on dog hair. How is it possible to sweep up a full-length fur coat every other day?

It’s the little things

While this topic could go on for pages, I decided to stick two of the things that I struggle with daily: household chores and cooking.

Bring on those chores

Divvy em’ up

I don’t have kids, but if I did, this post wouldn’t even exist – I’d have a wheel of doom…I mean chores…to take care of that. Boom!


Hard at work. Look at those muscles!

My husband and I do a good enough job of dividing up the chores. He does maintenance on the cars, outside work, takes out the trash, and is the main caregiver to the two pups. I prefer all things related to the kitchen, laundry, and being inside. If I had to write up instructions on what items get cold washed, ironed, no dryer, etc., I’d have a full-color manual in a 2″ binder.

It’s definitely important to find a healthy balance if you don’t already have one. When one person does more or feels like they do more, the resentment can be HIGH.

Make em’ fun

I don’t usually mind cleaning. But I’m often tired after work and doing something as trivial as the dishes, let’s say, feels daunting. There could be only ten things to wash, but it always feels like hundreds.


Some of my current listens.

I usually put my headphones on and listen to an audio book, Netflix, or Spotify while I’m working. Anything to take my mind off the task at hand. It takes about 15 minutes to wash a sink full of dishes, and when you think about it, that’s really no time at all. I actually find it mindless and relaxing.

There’s always the dishwasher, but I try to save that for meal prep days.

Break em’ up

I like to get all of my grocery shopping done on Saturday. I also clean out the fridge and cabinets, then meal prep for the following week. If I have a lot going on, I’ll split this between two days. After all, it does take a few hours.


One of the hairy fur children.

Little things like sweeping, picking up, dusting, etc. can be done with ease during the week. 15-30 minutes here and there can make a BIG difference. Sometimes I’ll run the dishwasher (if I have a lot) or throw a load of laundry in while watching a movie. Chores that can be done in the background are the best ones.

It’s not gonna cook itself

Some people love to cook. I am not one of them, believe it or not. I find cooking to be annoying, which is why I always look for shortcuts. And let me tell you, there are some pretty good ones.

Meal Prep

Setting aside a few hours to make a slew of meals for the week helps immensely. It also makes me feel like I have my shit together. I usually throw together one or two  breakfasts, alternate lunches, and portion out some snacks so I’m set for the week. Doing this has saved me a lot of time and tears. If you’re interested in a deeper dive of this topic, check out my #mealprep blog post.


I can get a little prep crazy. This is like 1/4 of what I do each weekend.

Meal Delivery

I love subscription boxes, and one of my favorites is Plated, a meal delivery that has so much variety and many great-tasting dinners. You do have to cook the food, but all of the ingredients are pre-portioned and the recipes are very easy to follow. And, I mean so easy that [insert the friend you know can’t cook a can of soup] can do it!

I recommend Plated to everyone I know, but it happens to be one of the pricier companies. The box I get is $72 and includes 3 days of meals for two people. It’s worth it because it’s more cost-effective than eating out, there is no waste, you can add more meals or servings, there are always two dessert options (for an extra fee), and their customer service is STELLAR.


One of the dinners from this week’s Plated box. Delicious.

There are many other services that offer meals from around $9-15 a dish. Some are even catered to vegetarian, gluten free, or Paleo lifestyles. They make dinners after work a breeze and take the guesswork out of what to have. Plus, the whole family can easily get involved. Win, win, and win.

Pre-Made Meals

Now, I’m not one for “TV dinners” or anything that’s frozen in a plastic black tray. In all honesty, it would probably be healthier to eat the packaging. But I can attest that having some pre-packaged food hanging around can help in a pinch.

I accidentally found a few frozen meals from beetnik and Tastefully Plated Paleo Meals while I was perusing the aisles in Walmart. When I was sick a couple of weeks ago, and could barely leave the couch, it helped to just pop one of these babies in the microwave.


This chicken chimichurri dish from Tastefully Plated was to die for.

There will be times when you just don’t have the energy. There will be days when all you have in the fridge are ice cubes and something green and wrinkled in the produce bin. There will be moments when the only other option is digging a spoon into a jar of chunky PB for breakfast, lunch, and dinner or ordering everything on the dollar menu.

Do yourself a favor and get some emergency food in that fridge of yours.

I don’t know about you…

…but I’m absolutely loving this series of posts. While we might not ever find a good balance between anything, there are many things we can do to make the best of EVERYTHING.

Check out last week’s post and stay tuned next week to learn about finding the balance with relationships.

Peace, Love, Zen


Finding the Balance: Work

Work. This is one topic I repeatedly struggle with. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve found the right fit yet, and at this point in my life, there have been over 10 jobs, ranging from a nanny of an undiapered toddler (yes, you read that right), to Data Specialist at a swanky drug rehab. Good times, friends, good times.

A little over two years ago I was praying that I’d land a position with one of the top companies in my area. I was so ready to ditch my 90-minute commute to Connecticut that I left without a solid plan and took a job at my old college answering phones for the executive vice president. I was bored out of my freaking mind, just biding my time until I could land something…well, real.


My go-to interview outfit.

I did all things short of voodoo and offering up my first (un)born child to get my dream job. I can’t stress to you just how much I wanted to work at my current company and become a professional marketer. Then, the most miraculous thing happened – I got the job, and it was seriously one of my happiest moments.

Flash forward two years and I have to constantly remind myself that this is what I wanted so many moons ago. I think, sometimes, we just get stuck in a rut wondering if there’s more to life than sitting behind a computer for 8 hours a day and having a timed lunch break.

Most people have these fleeting thoughts. We spend time with our families on holidays and extended breaks and think how wonderful it would be if we could just do this every day. We’re able to go to the DMV or the doctors or even to a $3 matinee at the local cinema, and it would be amazing if this were everyday life.


Cooking with my mom and nanny.

How do you balance your want-to-be work life with your actual work life?

Let’s face it – work-life balance doesn’t exist. There’s never going to be a 50-50 split on the time because most of your awake hours are spent at work, getting ready for work, or traveling to and from…you guessed it – WORK! So if you don’t have a job you’re crazy about – either find a way to get crazy about it or find a way to get out.

In the meantime, here are a few of the things you can do to keep your sanity during the work week. It’s by no means a complete list, but it will get your gears moving. It’s time to make work great again!

Make Time for YOU

A coworker once told me that his life begins at 5:00 pm. That statement was so powerful. Work is literally that, work. It doesn’t have to be fun. You go, devote 8 hours to make someone else’s dream come true, you go home, and you work on your dream.

I do cherish every moment I’m away from my cubicle – whether lunch, evening, or weekend. I try to fill my days with wonderful people and things that I love.


Can’t wait until spring! This girl needs some TLC and a good wash!

When I’m not at my 8-5, I can be found reading PD, blogging, whipping up some new recipes, working out in my home gym, or sprucing up my Murphy girl (my FIAT) – basically just trying to be a better person.

Be Grateful

We ALWAYS tend to ruminate on the bad, but I bet if you put your mind to it, you can think of a few good things in any job situation.


One of many gratitude journals.

  1. I’m fortunate to live less than 3 miles from my job. I can literally leave the house 10 minutes before “the bell rings.” I can go home for lunch and let the dogs out – or more realistically, take a power nap. I can even come home at a decent time to cook dinner before the street lights come on. This is the second closest I’ve ever been to a job (literally, one of them was on the same block as my house), and I can definitely appreciate it.
  2. I’m getting PAID, which is more than I can say about my last position answering phones for breadcrumbs. At this point, it doesn’t matter if I think I deserve more, I still have enough to pay the bills, go on vacation, and manage the day-to-day. There are so many people who don’t have that luxury.
  3. I’m building some kick-ass marketing and people skills. These last few months have been all about structure and responsibility changes in my department. I’m throwing around the words Business Case Analyses, Marketing Analytics, and Product Playbooks, and all of that sounds pretty damn good. Whether I stay at my current job for 10 more years or decide to leave tomorrow, this should give me some ammo with the Big Leagues (as they say).

Take Breaks

Psychology Today suggests that breaks at work can improve performance.

I cannot sit still for my life. After 30 minutes (especially if I’m in a boring meeting) I’m ready to go run a mile and exercise my legs. I end up fidgeting, bouncing my leg, changing positions. I can be really distracting to myself and others. And I know it!

A lot of research shows that we should take breaks every 60-90 minutes. I usually do this by refilling my water bottle, going to someone’s office instead of sending an email, or walking to the farthest bathroom. Sometimes I even take the 10 minute round trip walk to the library down the block and back.


I love tea time!

It’s unhealthy to get into a habit of skipping breaks or lunch because you’re in the zone. If nothing else, your eyes – and bladder – could use the break!

Find a Passion

I was called to serve, and I’m sure there are many others who feel the same. I want to help people -especially women – and do something with my life that matters both now and after I’m gone.

In my early 20s, I was in an abusive relationship. It took a while for me to leave, and when I did, I was fully stripped of any self-love, self-worth, and power that once made me proud to be me. It took years to get over it, and I’m finally at a place where I can help others escape the same nightmare.

The mission of Diary of a Snacker is to empower women to be fit, healthy, and happy. It was fitness and self-care, along with the support of loved ones, that help me bounce back from the darkness that almost consumed me.


Proud to be me.

Today, I wake up pray, meditate, and workout, spending an hour or more with myself in my basement gym, where I feel like Wonder Woman. It’s where I set the intentions for the day and vow never to be weak again.

What are you passionate about?

Don’t let work consume you

There’s no immediate fix for job dissatisfaction, and unless you can survive on 3 hours of sleep, you’ll never have a good work-life balance. But if you dig deep, I’m sure you can think of ways to turn a not-so-good situation into a tolerable one. I have faith in you!


Last year we celebrated Ice Cream Soda Day with this spread. There’s always a way to make work enjoyable.

Do you love your job? How do you cope if you don’t? I want to know!

Check out last week’s post and stay tuned next week to learn about finding the balance at home.

Peace, Love, Zen


Finding the Balance: Self Care

To be honest, I wasn’t sure how I wanted to start out this series. There are so many great topics on finding the balance that they almost compete with each other. Then it hit me. Like a ton of bricks in my intestines.

This morning I woke up at 5 am, changed into my gym clothes, got some water, and headed down to the basement to bust out my 61-minute workout. Everything was going great until about 10 minutes in when I started to feel queasy. I pressed pause. Tried again. Tapped out at 16 minutes.


This. Never. Happens. This is how I know I’m sick. So, after much internal debate, I called out for the first time in almost two years at my job. Time for a little self-care.

Feeling Stressed

I’ve been feeling very stressed lately – at home and work. Its never ending – there is ALWAYS something to be worried or uneasy about. Even when I’m having a good time on the weekend, I’m reminded of what’s to come on Monday.

If you’ve read any of my Sugar Detox posts, you know that I haven’t been feeling well since I started cutting the crap out of my diet – ironic, right? Even after two months, nothing has leveled out. I went through extensive allergy and blood testing that cost over $800 and I’m no closer to finding out the cause of my discomfort. Talk about frustration.

Last week I talked about not having the time to fit it all in. Well, I think I peaked yesterday. It got to a point where I just couldn’t manage – it was like someone dropped all my marbles and I couldn’t pick them up fast enough before they rolled off into the unknown. Before bed, my mind was dissecting the day, and I went to sleep pretty sick to my stomach about all of my tasks, deadlines, and responsibilities. Not good.

Fun Ways to Self-Care

How often do you stop and do things for yourself? I think the only two things I consistently do for myself are read, work out, and pray/meditate each morning. And oddly enough, working out stresses my body out more.

Here are a few ideas – they are by no means a complete list – but they can help get you started finding the balance in your everyday.


Adult coloring books are so fun! I thought it was great when they first became popular because here I was finishing up my old Disney or Barbie books, when I could have been fancying up a page of curse words. Bull shit, am I right? If that’s not your cup of tea, there are mild versions of flowers, landscapes, houses, cats – you name it. Just get yourself a pack of crayons, markers, or colored pencils and have at it. You don’t even have to stay in the lines 😉



Okay, so maybe reading isn’t fun for everyone, but I read over 50 books last year, so it’s definitely entertaining for me. The thing is, you could read about ANYTHING. If you can think it, someone has probably written about it. I’m a crime fiction or PD girl, usually, but I also enjoy a little chick lit – Sophie Kinsella, Jodi Picoult, and Liane Moriarty. Curl up with a book, a cuppa, (I read a lot of Aussie lit!), a blanket, and get lost in another world. Somehow Sophie’s books always make me feel better about myself. Win!


This is a must-read for EVERYONE.


Now, I don’t expect everyone to wake up before the sun and bang out an hour-long workout. I won’t impose my antics on you. Exercise comes in many forms – long walks on the beach, chasing a toddler on a mission, trip to the dog park, line dancing, club dancing, watching dirty dancing (kidding) – you get the idea. It doesn’t have to feel like work, but exercise is shown to make people happy, so why wouldn’t you at least try? Don’t believe me? Take a lesson from Elle Woods.


Do you crochet? Bake? Needlepoint? Arrange flowers? Sew buttons? If it relaxes you, find time to do it every day. If you get upset that your version doesn’t look like the Pinterest version, this one might not be for you. Shop on Etsy instead.


My happy place is in the kitchen. These are Pinterest inspired.


Hot tub. Pool. Beach. Bathtub. Pick the one that interests you and take a trip – even if it’s just ten paces away to the next room. Nothing beats a good soak, especially if there are BUBBLES! Pour yourself a glass of wine (or sparkling juice!), play some soothing tunes, and light a candle. As an added bonus, throw in some Epsom salts, essential oils, or a fun bath bomb. Ahhh the relaxation.


Halloween Special bubble bar from LUSH. So many suds!

Uh, note: I wouldn’t recommend any of the above for anything but a tub 😉

Take a Happiness Challenge

I’m on day 99 of my second #100HappyDays Challenge. The main idea is to post a picture on social media of something that makes you happy each day for 100 days. Is it possible? Well, I can attest that all days won’t be happy. In fact, some will be downright miserable. But, if you can find something good – just one little thing – in each day, your life will be a little bit brighter. I’d recommend you at least try it. Its fun to look for a piece of happiness each day and it’s nice to look back on those moments after the challenge has ended.


My inspiration.

Do Yoga / Meditate / Pray

This really could be its own topic. Matter of fact, it might be (Gucci Mane voice). I’ll leave the good stuff for another day, but if you’re into quiet time, you might want to investigate the power of prayer, meditation, and yoga. They do wonders for the body and soul.


Don’t lose sight of you

You can still take care of others and do things for yourself. It doesn’t make you selfish. Quite the opposite, actually. It helps you do everything a little bit better because you’re you at your best. I feel like I should start reciting a Dr. Seuss poem right now!

How do you relax? How do you take care of yourself? I want to know!

Check out the first post and stay tuned next week to learn about finding the balance at work.

Peace, Love, Zen


Finding the Balance

To me, peace is sitting in the dim light with a cup of tea, a book, and a nice fuzzy blanket. I enjoy silence above many things. It’s so calming to sit with oneself and read, meditate, or pray. In fact, I’ve worked this quiet time into my daily routine each morning. After I rise and before I press play on my workout, I spend a little time on my yoga mat praying, journaling, and setting my intentions for the day. The only noise I hear is the rumbling of the furnace when it kicks on and off. I am at complete peace.


A rare lunch break reading sesh.

Lately, though, I’ve been having trouble finding the balance between many things outside of this brief morning routine. Typically the topic of balance comes into focus when talking about work-life balance. Everyone wants more weekend, vacation time, PTO. I think I just need more day.

I struggle with the fact that five days a week I work a 9-hour day (with a lunch in between, sometimes) and come home with a depleted energy supply. It leaves little time to spend with my husband (why can’t we both work from home?), crochet (I’m working on an Etsy shop), write (one day I’ll finish a book), cook (do we really have to eat dinner every night?), read (there are so many books on my list), study Spanish (I want to be fluent by December), as well as the countless other things I want to do.

You may be thinking, “Wow, that’s a lot!” Yes, I have a very FULL life. It’s full of many wonderful people, things, hobbies – you name it. But it’s also overflowing with stress and anxiety when I can’t fit in ALL THE THINGS. Most days I overextend myself until around 11 pm when I can barely keep my eyes open. Then I wake up at 5 am the next day to do it all again.

What ends up happening is that I crave vacations to escape my everyday life. Everything is blissful while I’m away – no qualms about waking up just before noon, no deadlines to meet, and the biggest worry is whether to order a Pina Colada or Angry Orchard at the poolside bar. Then, when I come back to reality, it’s almost as if a deep depression settles in. I feel worse than before I left. The peace I sometimes feel melts into a despair that’s hard to break out of.


Isn’t this heavenly?

I just experienced the cycle this week after I came back from a long weekend in Canada. I realized that I end up surviving – not living – until my next break. I can tell you that there are exactly 57 days until I board the plane for California – a place I have been dying to visit for about two decades. After that, there are two months until we drive to Florida for our annual vacation.

This is clearly not a healthy way to think, live, or rationalize. And I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling this way. So, I’ve decided to create a six-week Finding the Balance series, where I’ll share ideas to combat stress, live in the moment, and find a little zen in every day. We only get one life, so why not choose to be happy?


A friend sent me this beautiful card. It inspired me to complete a second 100 Happy Days challenge.

Check back every Friday for the next six weeks. Let’s make this year our happiest yet!

Peace, Love, Zen