Why You Need To Start A Herb Garden This Summer

With the beginning of planting season just around the corner I have been thinking about expanding the herb section of my garden. Herb plants can be a beautiful addition to your garden, but there are so many other reasons you should be planting some this year.

In my last post, Everything I Learned My First Year Growing Vegetables , we went over some great advice for starting up your first vegetable garden. Herbs are wonderful because if you do not have the space to grow plants outdoors all you need is a little bit of room on the counter (or table, shelf, ect.) in a spot that gets adequate sunlight. I grew a potted basil plant last spring in my dining room, amongst other herbs that I planted outdoors (sage, chives, and mint).

Herbs are often a lot simpler to grow than vegetables. This makes them a better choice for a beginner gardener who isn’t quite sure how green their thumb is. Vegetables can be big commitment, so if you’re not quite ready for them herbs are better option to begin with. 

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Whether you are a beginner or a gardening expert, starting a herb garden (or even just a herb plant) should be something that’s on your spring/summer to-do list. Today I am going to go over some of the reasons why you need one. 
Better Meals
If you haven’t been cooking with fresh herbs you are in for a treat. They add so much flavour and a little really goes a long way. Improve the taste of your dips, marinades, salads, sandwiches, potatoes, sauces ect. with fresh spices. I mean, why add dehydrated oregano to your pizza when you could be grabbing the fresh stuff from your backyard (or kitchen window…wherever your herbs are growing!)
Save Money  
Ok, I understand not cooking with fresh herbs because of the price at the supermarket. Since a little goes a long way, the ones bought from the supermarket often start to go bad before they can be used up. The price of seeds is much less money, and you get way more herb for your dollar. With herb plants you just cut what you need so they stay fresh for longer. Even the pre-started herb plants at the local garden center are quite affordable as well. Do your research on which herbs you choose because many of them are perennial plants, which means they will come back every year. Who wouldn’t want fresh herbs to come back every summer? 
Health Benefits 
These little babies are packed full of vitamins and antioxidants. (Each herb has it’s own benefits that varies from the next) Tasty and healthy, sign me up!

Simplicity

I mentioned earlier that herbs are much easier to grow than vegetables. They are low maintenance which makes them a breeze for newbies and people who have had bad luck with growing things in the past. If you’re looking for an educational activity or experiment for your children this summer than growing a herb plant might be a good place to start.

If you don’t have space to grow a garden outside, herbs can be grown indoors as long as you have a spot where they can catch a bit of sunlight. Make sure they are planted in a pot that is big enough for their roots to grow so the plant can grow to it’s full potential. It is also important to make sure the pot drains properly. 
Perennials
Perennial plants are the best kind of plants because you put in the hard work one summer and then they continue to come back every year afterwards with very little work involved. I love a low maintenance plant! The following herbs are what you should plant if you’re looking for perennial plants:
  • French tarragon 
  • Sage
  • Mint
  • Chives
  • Thyme
  • Oregano 
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender 
Now that I have you convinced, which herbs do you plan on planting this season? Let me know in the comments below! 

Morning Habits For a Productive Day

I love sleeping almost as much as I loathe the sound of my alarm clock. The temptation to hit snooze and go back to sleep until it’s time to leave for work is all too real. Why is it that my bed always feels a million times better first thing in the morning than it does at night?

I could easily lay around in bed until the last possible second. It’s way too easy, but giving myself the bare minimal amount of time to get prepared for the day is just going to stress me out. If you start the day off on the wrong foot there’s a good chance the rest of the day will follow in those footsteps.

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How you start your day off can affect your mood, attitude, and productivity for the day. So why would you want to risk starting a day off the wrong way? There are a few things you can do with in the first hour of rising that will set your day off in the right lane. 

1. Time:
It is very important that you give yourself enough time to get prepared in the morning without having to rush. The night before it’s best to plan out everything you will have to do before leaving and estimate how long it will take you to get ready. Now add an extra 20 minutes on top of that, and that is how much time you should give yourself. You never know what issue could come up so it’s always best to give yourself plenty of time so your day can start off as stress free as possible. 

2. Stretch:
This is something you want to do as soon as you get out of bed, unless you have to run to the washroom asap. Give your arms, legs and back a good stretching and get that blood flowing. 

3: Take a Break:
Yes, you just woke up and haven’t had a chance to do anything yet. You still need to take a 10-15 minute break with your go-to morning beverage and do some reading. Whether you’re catching up on some local news or one of your favourite blogs, it doesn’t matter the material as long as you’re reading something. Let yourself focus, and allow your mind to wake up before you start getting ready. 

4: Make Your Bed:
I saw a post on Facebook a while ago that talked about the importance of making your bed in the morning. The theory behind this is that it is one small task, but completing this task first thing in the morning sets you on the path for completing bigger tasks. At first I thought it sounded cheesy, but I put it to the test and it turns out to be true. The days I made my bed I was more motivated to get up and finish things and the days I skipped out I was more content to hang out on the couch and binge Netflix. 

5: Nutrition:
Your diet has such a large impact on your lifestyle. In a previous post No Sleep? No Problem. How to Stay Awake at Work I mentioned needing food choices that were rich in fiber and protein to help fuel you throughout the day. The same goes for your breakfast. Many people complain about not being hungry in the morning, yet you don’t have to eat a whole lot to get the nutrients you need to start off right. Something small like a granola bar or yogurt cup will treat your body better than nothing at all. I prefer to have a bigger breakfast and bring a small lunch with me, but it’s okay if you do the opposite as long as you get some breakfast nutrients in you before you leave. 

6: That Alarm:
So maybe this one should have been first, but I like to save the best for last. Your alarm is going to be the first sound you hear in the morning (unless you have kids or hungry pets). If you were having that dream again where you’re on a tropical island, drinking from a coconut, while Chris Hemsworth rubs suntan lotion on your back…well this is that sound that’s going to take you away from that place. To put it blankly, choose a sound that doesn’t completely piss you off. Think of a tune that is energetic, but also pleasant. I am currently waking up to The Addams Family theme song. I was worried picking out a theme song to movies I love would ruin it for me, but so far I haven’t had any issues. (I have been using this alarm for 6 months now)

These are 6 steps that don’t take up very much time, but adding them into to your daily morning routine will set you on the right path for a more productive day. I am curious what song/sound you guys use as your alarm in the morning? Let me know in the comments below!

No Sleep? No problem. How to Stay Awake at Work.

Last night was awful. My partner came down with a fever and chest infection so he was tossing and turning all night and my cats decided to get into a fight right outside the bedroom door. Needless to say I didn’t get any sleep and to top it off I already knew I had a busy morning ahead of me at work.

Sometimes there are situations out of our control that keep us up all night. This is never a good thing when you need to be fully focused for work the next morning. Chances are you can’t miss a day of work due to exhaustion because the bills are going to keep coming. (I like to save my vacations days for when I can have fun.)

I work in an office, so I spend 90% of my time in a comfy chair which can make it a lot harder to stay awake. I am going to share some tips with you on how I manage to keep myself awake and focused at work after a sleepless night. I will be recommending some fantastic products from Yves Rocher and if you purchase any of them I earn a small commission to help keep this blog running.

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1. Wash your face with cold water and an energizing soap. I would recommend Yves Rocher Energizing Soap in Mango Coriander Yves Rocher US $4.50 USD or Yves Rocher Canada $4.50 CAD.
If your eyes look slightly swollen hold a cold compress on them for a few minutes. I would reccomend either a cold wash cloth or spoon that has been refrigerated.

2. Your first instinct might be to go straight for a coffee or energy drink. That’s fine, drink one or two but leave it at that. Don’t rely on caffeinated beverages to keep you going throughout the day, you will feel more alert if you keep yourself hydrated instead. Try herbal teas or water infused with citrus fruit slices or mint leaves.

3. Bring healthy snacks. On a day like today you will want to make sure your food choices are rich in fiber and protein. Fill that lunch bag with fruit and veggies, yogurt with granola, beef jerky, nuts, and seeds. A tortilla wrap filled with veggies and lean meat would be an excellent choice for lunch. These types of foods will keep you full and give you the energy you need to keep going.

4. Engage in conversation. The more you talk the less likely you will be to fall asleep.  Even mention to your coworkers that you didn’t get any sleep so they are aware of why you might not be doing your best work.

5. If you are able to get to your workplace with in 30 minutes by foot than leave your car behind. Exercise will keep you feeling alert. If you have a job where you are sitting down most of the day make sure to get up every 20 minutes or so to stretch and walk around your desk.

6. Citrusy scents are known for helping you feel energized. Now you probably can’t burn a lemon scented candle at your desk so if you have any citrus scented lotions keep one at your desk to apply to your hands. Peppermint and ginger are also energizing scents if you do not like citrus. If you enjoy peppermint I would highly recommend this  Yves Rocher US: Energizing Hand Lotion $4 USD or Yves Rocher Canada: Energizing Hand Lotion $4 CAD in Raspberry Peppermint.

7. Keep a hydrating mist at your desk as well. Every now and again spritz your face to wake yourself back up. Try Yves Rocher Hydrating Micellar Water $19 CAD or Yves Rocher Hydrating Micellar Water $19 USD

8. If you’re allowed to listen to music at work put your earbuds in and pick out the same playlist you would for working out. It’s always hard to sleep when you have upbeat music blasting.

9. Keep a well lit work area. A bright space will keep your mind alert. Make sure all the curtains are open and lights are turned on.

I really hope these tips help you make it through the work day. What do you do to keep yourself awake when your exhausted? Comment below and let me know.