AirBNB life

Flight Plan for a new Airbnb: bathroom necessities

The bathroom must be squeaky clean…literally. This is where people get grossed out the most by a single stray hair or water spots on the shower head. The details really do matter. Remove water spots from faucets, glass and mirrors. Fill all soap and shampoo dispensers, and have a ready supply of toilet paper (definitely do not want to run out of this!)

Make sure you have a minimum of 2 towel sets per guest….one can be drying while the other is being used. And don’t forget that tile floors are cold, so non slip rugs are a great way to warm them up. (Rugs should be machine washable for easy care.) In the winter time a small space heater is a nice touch.

The following items could be considered optional, but again, we’re going for wow factor, so they’re included at The Bunk House: Kleenex, hairdryer, air freshener, and full sizes of lotion, shower gel, shampoo, & conditioner.

And these “extras” are not necessary items, but travel sizes in these go a long way toward getting a good review: toothbrush, toothpaste, mouth wash, razors and shave cream, pain relievers, bug spray, sunscreen.

What other “extras” have you found to be helpful while traveling?

For more info on our Airbnb listing (Mount Juliet, TN) or to book your stay, visit The Bunk House (

Hair Tricks & Trinkets

7 ways you’re damaging your hair

We’ve heard a lot of these before, but we still need reminders! Hair is my business, but I still find myself guilty of these from time to time, too. It’s always good to refresh our memory on ways to keep our tresses healthy and beautiful.

The top seven ways you are harming your hair are:

#7 Brushing wet hair or vigorously brushing dry hair… When your hair is wet, it has more stretch to it, but it also has more friction and grabs the bristles of your brush. This means it is much easier to stretch that hair to the breaking point. Likewise, vigorously brushing dry hair can break or rip hair out when that brush finds a tangle that hasn’t been worked out. TIPS: If your hair is wet, use a leave in conditioner and gently work through your hair in sections with a wide tooth comb. If your hair is dry, you can still use a leave in conditioner spray and gently brush, beginning at the ends and working your way up a little at a time. You can find my fave leave in conditioner HERE:

#6 Neglecting a regular trip to your stylist to remove split ends… It may be tempting to stretch that appointment out, but don’t do it! Split ends DO NOT heal themselves and the longer you let them go, the more damage they can create. The only way to stop the split from traveling up the hair shaft is to cut it off!

#5 Using hair elastics… There’s a thing called “ponytail fringe” for a reason. Wear your hair in a ponytail elastic and your hair is sure to pay the price. Elastic is popular because it “grabs” the hair and thus holds in place well. The problem is that the same beautiful hold also breaks and pulls out hair no matter how carefully you try to remove that elastic. For a pretty alternative that won’t damage your hair, try a FLEXI CLIP.

#4 Using no conditioner at all… I mentioned leave in conditioner above, but especially in the winter time, you will want to use a conditioner after shampooing. A good conditioner helps smooth the hair cuticle, aids in preventing tangles, and preserves the ph and moisture balance in your hair. For this last reason, it’s a good idea to use when your is freshly rinsed (after shampooing).

#3 Washing too often… even if you don’t use a hair dryer to dry your hair, water itself is drying. (this is why our hands also dry out when we wash them often) By washing your hair every other day or even twice a week instead of every day, your hair will be able to retain more of it’s natural ph and moisture.

#2 Too many chemicals…color and/or perm, chlorine, ocean water. I am the first one to admit, I do in fact color my hair. This means I have to be mindful and treat it with a little more care. Make sure you use hair shampoos and other products specifically designed for color treated hair. If you’re going swimming, chlorine and salt are very hard on hair that is already dealing with chemicals. Be sure to wet your hair in pure water (unsalted & untreated) first before you dive in. This allows the hair to absorb the pure water and greatly reduces the amount of salt and chemicals it can take in. The sun can also be hard on chemically treated hair…when possible use a sun hat to keep your hair happy and healthy.

And the #1 way you are harming your hair is by using hair dryers and styling tools that are too hot. Remember that your hair is not a living thing and cannot repair itself. Once the damage is done, the only way to “fix” it is to cut it off or grow it out. Avoid using heated styling tools every day when at all possible or at the very least, use a low heat setting!

Do you have any other tips for maintaining a healthy head of hair? I’d love to hear them!

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Open space

Open space…it is rare these days, especially if you open your calendar or dayplanner.

I left my last job because it demanded that I give all of my open space to the company…that I basically was on call all the time for whatever “emergency” the company deemed necessary to do immediately. There was no regard for family time, self care, or just plain old breathing room. If you weren’t in the hospital or in jail, there was no other reason important enough to decline an invitation to resolve their latest crisis.

I landed in the hospital a few years back and I firmly believe it was due 100% to the fact that I had zero breathing room. There was never a moment in my day where I felt like I could just sit still and “be.” There was always something I could be, should be, needed to be doing which meant there was no time for being still, reflecting, resting, recharging, or filling my tank. Everything on my to do list became “necessary” and there was “nothing I could possibly cut out.”

We all know that “life happens” which meant, with a cram packed schedule already, there was no wiggle room to fit in the unexpected. This caused anxiety to skyrocket and the stress was beyond what I could handle. My body protested and my immune system went on strike causing me to get an infection in my throat called epiglotitus. It is life threatening in that it causes your throat to swell, closing off your airway. It is the closest I have ever been to dying and it still causes me great anxiety just thinking about the incident. I spent 3 days in the hospital on heavy duty antibiotics and I obviously survived but it was a major wake up call to me that I needed to take a very hard look at my lifestyle.

I didn’t make changes overnight and I struggled with my health and the same insane schedule for several more years until my life took an enormous shift. I married a man who recognized my problem and, when I became paralyzed with the belief that I didn’t have a choice in how my day played out, he was willing to step in and do something about it. He gently forced me to take a hard look at why I thought I couldn’t say no when someone “needed” me and then helped me actually say “no” when I needed to. This was a whole new territory for me and it was through his support that I was able to do it at all.

About the same time I started a bible study by Priscilla Shirer called “Breathe.” I met with a friend of mine every week and we worked our way through the book together, sharing our hearts and ideas. I began to declutter my day planner until I had it pared down to the most important things (my priorities)… that was the plan anyway. I didn’t quite make it to that ultimate goal until much later, but that part of the story brings in a whole other topic and will have to be told another day. God was working on my heart, preparing me to make more big changes later.

The best things that came out of that study were things that I could immediately start working on. I began to build some new healthy habits and those are still working for me today. Here are a few..

On Sunday, make a list of all the things you need and want to do for the week.

Review your priorities and fill in your schedule with those most important things first.

Each night, before you go to bed, make a schedule for tomorrow.

Leave open space in your dayplanner every single day for the unexpected…even if nothing unexpected pops up, sometimes what we have planned takes longer than we anticipate and if not, use that time to rest, reflect, recharge…do NOT cram something else into that empty space.

Put self care on your schedule EVERY SINGLE DAY. This does not have to be anything major…a bubble bath, a cup of coffee out on the porch, a walk around the neighborhood…self care means you do something all by yourself to refresh your spirit. And don’t be like me and tell yourself you don’t have time! MAKE THE TIME to keep your mind and body healthy!

Do you have breathing room in your daily schedule? Do you see it as a necessity or simply a luxury?


Week 5: Something Someone Gave You

I like getting gifts but they are not my love language and I have an open hand when it comes to things. However, there are a few things that are treasures to me…my great grandmother’s crazy quilt, my great grandfather’s violin, my grandmother’s dishes, and a few more things.

What really gets to me, though, goes straight to the heart of my love language (words of affirmation)…hand written cards and notes. I keep files of these beautiful nuggets of kindness from a friend or loved one. They are an amazing help to me on days when I’m struggling with difficult people or circumstances or feelings. They make me smile and remind me that my heart and deeds do not go unnoticed.

My most treasured of these scribed gifts are the scraps of paper from my children. They represent days gone by when I was their world and they were mine.

They bring back a flood of memories…

of giggles and hugs and snuggling up on the couch together…

of reading and baking and crafting together…

of hiking and playing and biking together…

of laughing and crying and learning together…

Yep, here they come…the tears, but they are sweet and beautiful and happy ones.

What gift has continued to touch your heart over the years?


Happiness is a choice

Choosing happiness is not something I ever even thought about until recently. I have spent most of my life blown along and deeply affected by the circumstances around me. I allowed those people and events influence my emotions and in turn my actions without even realizing that it didn’t have to be this way. I was a much more reactive person that was easily hurt instead of a proactive person in charge of my own thoughts and feelings. I still have light years to go in mastering this concept, but awareness is the first step and I absolutely have that one covered.

The Bible talks about our mind and our ability to take control of our own thoughts, but it’s a skill that few of us try to improve upon and fewer still ever even think about. If it were an impossible task, God would not tell us to do it. He definitely is aware of our limitations and yet He tells us to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Romans 12:2 2Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.

So clearly it is something we can do, should do, and as I have found, NEED to do. Once I discovered that I don’t have to just accept every thought that pops into my head as absolute truth, I began to realize just how often I had been believing lies about myself and others… Lies about my worth, my influence, my purpose, my significance and lies about what other people were thinking about me.

I am here to tell you that once you start paying attention to what you’re thinking and actually challenging the truth of that thought, your entire outlook on your life will change… in a good way! But it doesn’t stop there! The next step is REPLACING the lies with what is true. This is sometimes the hard part (especially if we’ve been believing the lies for quite sometime) but what is especially powerful is replacing my untruthful thoughts with the truth about how God views me.

2 Corinthians 10:5 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

When we take captive those lies and turn them into truth, the weight and burden of all those negative thoughts is lifted and the freedom that emerges is what gives birth to a beautiful, vibrant joy. Is this an easy process? Absolutely not! But so worth the effort! Some days I don’t feel like choosing happiness (challenging my thoughts) because it does take energy and focus but if I don’t do it, it always ends up hurting me, rendering me ineffective in the tasks of the day and beat down by the negative thoughts about myself.

I now have a new way to start my day and it centers around focusing my mind and attention on this verse…

Philippians 4:8 8Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.

I CHOOSE to think about such things and happiness is always hovering right around these thoughts….

Have you ever questioned your own stream of consciousness? What did you learn about yourself?

**I am not a therapist or doctor, if you have thoughts of suicide or harming yourself, please call this number 1-800-273-8255 or visit You matter!

**I am also not a scholar, a pastor, or church leader of any kind…I’m just a regular lady who happens to have a sweet relationship with Jesus. If you have questions about how you can get to know Him too, feel free to email me any time.

Family Favorite Recipes

family favorite recipe: pimiento cheese

cheesy goodness with a slight kick

Oh my goodness, cheese balls stand back! On the appetizer table, this pimiento cheese is about to replace you for good! I had never even heard of pimiento cheese until we moved to Kentucky and I was exposed to some southern hospitality and cuisine. And now that I know about it, pimiento cheese has become a regular feature on our table no matter who is coming over or what the occasion may be.

This spread provides bright color and just the right blend of flavors to make it a favorite in our house and everywhere else we share it. Leftovers? Never heard of ’em!

Pimiento Cheese

1 lb. extra sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated

1 (7 oz.) jar chopped pimientos

2 Tbsp. grated onion (Vidalia is my favorite)

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Cayenne pepper, to taste

2/3 cup mayonaise

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients until evenly mixed. Cover and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to meld.

Makes 3 cups. Serve with your choice of crackers or pita chips. It is also lovely in a grilled sandwich, as a garnish on a serving of grits, or as a fabulous accompaniment to any steak.

This batch was just made and hadn’t sat in the fridge overnight, so you can still see the texture of the grated cheese. Once it has rested for 24 hours, it gets a beautiful smooth, spreadable consistency.

What else do you think would be a good use for this amazing goodness?

weight loss buddy

Weight Loss Buddy: Circle driving

This is one of my favorite exercises on the ground. Once you and your horse get good at it, it’s truly beautiful to watch as it becomes almost a dance as the partners weave around each other. It’s also a great one for a little cardio action because you are moving the entire time.

My Bright Line Eating has not been as consistent this time around. When I did it last year, I steadily lost for the entire month in which I diligently followed the weight loss portion of the program. This time, I’ve not been as determined to stick 100% to the plan and the results are very telling. I’ve only lost a few pounds. So I’m here to tell you…a) stick to the plan for best results, and b) you can get back on track at any moment, including this one right this second. When I finish writing this…I’m headed for the kitchen to plan and measure to make sure I’m golden the rest of today and tomorrow! And I’m not beating myself up about it either!

Wishing you the best if you’re on a similar journey! Tell me what you struggle with and we can work on it together!

AirBNB life

Flight Plan for an Airbnb: Rules for Bedding

Bedding makes a huge difference in the overall experience of your guests. Make sure your linens are crisp and clean and replace any that are frayed, worn, or faded.

For the comfort of your guests and for easy turn over between bookings, each bedroom should have a minimum of the following linens: 2 sets of sheets, 2 blankets, one quilt/coverlet (for summer), one comforter (for winter), and 4 pillows.

Everything you have in your Airbnb can be exposed to spills (even if you don’t allow kids) so using linens that are easy to launder and maintain is extremely helpful. Coverlets, comforters, and blankets should all be machine washable. To protect the investment of your mattress and pillows, be sure you use pillow covers and mattress covers. These should all be water proof and bed bug proof. The mattress cover should completely encase the entire mattress for best results.

And finally, a couple of tips for those extra touches…

*Sheets should have extra deep pockets and extra elastic, if possible…nothing is more irritating than waking up with a corner popped off the mattress!

*Extra blankets should be near the bed…guests will appreciate the convenience if they wake up and are feeling slightly chilly.

*Use a variety of textures for your pillows…everyone likes a different firmness in their favorite pillow and they will appreciate having a choice.

What else impresses you when you stay at a hotel or Airbnb?

To check out our AirBNB info or to book your stay in Mount Juliet, TN, visit The Bunk House

Hair Tricks & Trinkets

Is your hair too thin for a bun?

Think again! This hair hack will give you the illusion of a full, thick head of hair twisted into a beautiful bun… (and don’t worry, if you have medium or thick hair…this hairstyle works well for you, too!)

Here’s what you’ll need…

an oblong scarf, 2 hair elastics, and pins to secure your bun

When you get to the end of your hair, let the scarf ends dangle and secure the end of your braid with the other hair elastic.

This style was secured with just 2 U-pins! For more info on U-pins and how to use them, you can visit my web site or check out the tutorials on my YouTube channel

If you try this style, let me know and tell me what you think…I would love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to share this post and subscribe to this blog!


words of affirmation

My post yesterday prompted this one. If you’ve ever read the book “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, you’ll understand when I say this is my love language…words of affirmation. Quality time is a very close second, but words are extremely powerful for me. After years of feeling like I never measured up (as a daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend) nothing says I love you to me like a word of affirmation. This translates to me as “you have worth and you are treasured and you are important to me.” describes how powerful words of affirmation can be… “Positive affirmations release you from anxiety, negativity, guilt, fear, and pain.” So they actually free us up to enjoy the moment without worrying about what others think about us and without dwelling on our own negative perception of ourselves.

There are so many positive affirmations of us in the Bible, I couldn’t possibly list them all here. When God sees us, He sees the good that He created not the failures of our past. As His child, I have been forgiven and redeemed which means God sees a pure and beautiful version of me, not a disappointing failure.

Look around you today…who looks like they could use a word of affirmation? I bet you’ll see a lot more people than you thought! Make a difference in someone’s day by giving them a word of affirmation and comment below to tell us how it went. I can’t wait to hear about the lifted spirits you are sure to see!