Author: kristina

#NewRelease: Window Over the Sink by Liz Flaherty

Hi, there, readers! I am so excited today because my good friend, Liz Flaherty, is here to share an excerpt with you from her new book! Liz’s books are some of my favorite because of her amazing character building, but just before the holidays she took on a new endeavor: a book of essays. You see, one of Liz’s first publishing forays was as a columnist – and her essays are so good! Here’s a peek: 

GOALS AND SOMETIMES

by Liz Flaherty
I don’t do resolutions, although I start each new year with some goals that sometimes I make (finish at least one book) and sometimes I don’t (lose fill-in-the-blank pounds). I hope each year will be an improvement over the last one, which sometimes works out and sometimes not.

I used “sometimes” a little too often in that first paragraph, didn’t I? But to tell the truth, it’s an important word. If you say “always” or “never,” you’re committed to something whether you want to be or not.


Like “I would never say that.” Sure, you would, if you were mad enough.
Or “I always wash the sheets every Monday.” Unless I forget.


Or “I would never wear yoga pants to the grocery store.” Yeah, you would. And hair curlers back in the day. And, if your nose is running and you’re about to cough up a lung and you’d rather just stay in bed, maybe you’d wear your pajamas, too. (Lots of people do, even though they really shouldn’t and I wish they really wouldn’t.)

Or, my kids never did that. Okay. You go ahead thinking that.

Or, things were always better in my day. No. They weren’t. They were different and some things were better. Some things were awful.
Unless you say you’ve never done something that might be fun or exciting or mind-enhancing. Then you should add it to your list.

Or unless you say you’re always glad to see someone or to help someone or to have a great conversation with them. Then you should hang onto those things and do them more often.

You can say you’ve never done or said something as long as you tack “yet” onto the end of the sentence.

You can say you always do or say something as long as you add “almost” in front of the always.

Often, though, you’re better off with “sometimes,” instead of committing to something you might not be able to accomplish. Or with “I’ll try” instead of “I promise,” because broken promises are much harder on both sides of any equation than trying and failing.

I need to interject here that I am kind of big on clichés and quotes—you may have noticed—and one of my favorites is the only failure is in not trying. Robert Kennedy said, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” Even if greatness isn’t your goal, daring to fail is an important part of any success.

There, do I sound pompous enough for you?

So, although I don’t do resolutions, I have goals—finish another book, lose…a few pounds, laugh a lot, see good movies, cry some, read, see my family and friends every chance I get, stay healthy, volunteer.
I’ll achieve all of them. Sometimes. And I’ll keep trying.

Readers, click these links to get your copy of Window Over the Sink: Amazon  Books2Read

Hack Your Planner to Balance Your Life

Everyone talks about using planners to boost productivity. Productivity is a good thing, I’m not going to lie, but I think the most powerful thing a planner can be used for is to boost our life balance, not productivity, especially in 2020 when all of our schedules and plans have been thrown into chaos.

I was talking to a good friend, complaining about how little I was getting done and how overwhelming everything was, and she gave me a little tough love. She reminded me that 2020 isn’t like other years. We have more on our plates and to compensate we’re leaving one very important thing off of our to-do lists: ourselves. She reminded me that taking care of ME is just as important as making sure RadioMan has a clean mask for work, that bebe has all of her supplies for a day of virtual schooling, and that I have answered all those blasted emails that keep coming in.

That’s when I decided to change how I used my planner. I took 2 weeks to track how I was using my time – from the biggest to the smallest things. I figured out how long it takes me to clean the kitchen, to answer eleventy emails, to write 1,000 words, to prep bebe’s virtual school supplies and schedule, and countless other tasks using highlighters. In doing this I also found out how much time I was wasting (narrator voice: she wasn’t wasting time she was literally exhausted and zoned out for small bits of the day) but I also saw a huge gap in my planner. I wasn’t working out, I wasn’t reading, I wasn’t taking any time for myself at all. From the time I woke up until I exhausted myself, I was doing for other people. Those two weeks were eye opening, and with all of those to-dos in my I created a new, block schedule.

I’ve been a block schedule fan for a while but…well, pandemic. I got off track, and honestly, my old block schedule needed a bit of an update, anyway. If you aren’t familiar with a block schedule it is literally a block of time dedicated to a specific task for set of tasks. After the allotted time is done, even if there is a task left, you stop and move on to the next set of tasks. That way you don’t get bogged down in emails for a full day or get sucked into Pinterest creating a mood board for your new book for a week (I’ve been there, not gonna lie).

Instead of writing endless to-do lists that never seemed to end and that overwhelmed me at the beginning of the day, I created a block schedule for different types of tasks. I also stopped making to-do lists completely for days when I go into the office (2 days each week), and on weekends I leave ample space for free time. Here’s how my 5 step system works: 

First, I completely blocked out my work/dayjob days. For my schedule, I work out of the home on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and a half-day on Fridays. Now, Fridays are a bit different because being a half day I will create home lists or if I’m nearing a book deadline, I’ll work toward that goal. For the most part, however, days that I work out of the home I only schedule in work and ‘me’ time – journaling, playing in my planners (my favorite form of stress relief), reading, watching a movie, or sewing.

Next, I created boxes for the other areas of my life: author box, kid box, husband box, home box, me box, and a host of other boxes. In those boxes I made a master list of things to do: write toward my deadlines, to-dos for virtual school, date night ideas, cleaning schedules.

Next, I created an ideal daily schedule that is more an order that seems to work for me with ample time to wake up (I am not a morning person), workout and get bebe going on school, ample time for admin tasks, home tasks, and writing tasks, but with time built in between all of those to give my brain a break. Sometimes I use those moments to read or play a game on my tablet, but if it’s nice out, I’ll take time out on our deck or even sit down with bebe and talk about 12 year old things.

Next, I created a Saturday/Sunday (whichever feels right that week) planning routine. I look at author deadlines, work deadlines, master cleaning lists (I hate cleaning, if there was no master list I’d never remember to do certain things like moving the furniture to clean behind it) and start filling tasks into my blocked off time zones for admin, author, home, etc., including my ME box. The ME box is a block of time, about 90 minutes, that is just for me – I read, I journal, watch TV, sew, play in my planners. This is time to refill my Kristina well.

Finally, I stick to my blocks of time. If I don’t get an admin task done, it moves to the next day I’m doing admin. If I don’t reach a wordcount goal, the missing words are added to another day, etc. The only box I don’t do that with is the ME box. That box is mine and I hoard it. This is time to be off my phone and computer, not working (or worrying) about the next day, and it has changed how I approach every day. I’m more energized in the morning. I’m less stressed – even when my to-do list is long. I’m more me than I’ve been in a long time. I also created a DONE LIST that is specific to writing. When I meet certain milestones I reward myself, but also when it’s just be a day (you know what I mean!), that DONE LIST reminds me of what I accomplished. 

That’s it. That’s how I’m using my planner to not be productive and yet to still get things done…while also feeling more balanced than I have in a long time.

#NewRelease: Jase by @AuthorKristina Knight

Hi, readers! I’m excited to tell you it’s RELEASE DAY! Today is the day that Jase, book 3 in my Nevada Cowboys trilogy, releases to the wild! This book – and the series! – was so much fun to write. Three hard-headed brothers, three feisty women, lots of banter and just the right amount of smolder made Gage, Connor and Jase three of my all-time-favorite heroes. 

Here is just a little bit about the book and then we’ll get right to the good stuff – the excerpt!

Jase Reeves lives his life by rules: never get emotional at the poker table and never get emotional with women. But when he meets self-help author Sabrina York all bets are off. Sabrina enjoys fame and fortune writing her female-empowerment books, but she could do without the reputation – that of the Oldest Living (Supposed) Virgin in Vegas. Blowing up her entire life because sexy gambler Jase Reeves has shown an interest in her? Sabrina has already written the book on that, but staying away from Jase isn’t as simple as closing the cover of her favorite book. And for Jase, melting the heart of the Vegas Virgin might be his greatest gamble yet…

Buy Jase: Amazon  B&N  iBooks  Kobo

Available Now!

And the Excerpt:

“Getting lucky is exactly what gambling is all about. Despite me almost losing my shirt to you, I’ll still buy you that drink.” He didn’t want her to leave, didn’t want the night to be over, and that was odd. It was usually a simple thing to walk away from a hand of poker or a woman. But, apparently, not this woman.
She smiled at him, and he thought it was the first real smile she’d offered since she sat down with him at the table. They crossed into a better lit area of the casino floor. Her eyes were green. A crisp, clear emerald that reminded him of Ireland and a tournament he’d played there when he first hit the poker circuit.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“Getting a drink is always a good idea. Especially when the drink includes a few more minutes with the beautiful woman who beat me at my favorite game.”
“You need a new hobby.”
“But you still want that drink,” he said.
She shook her head. “No, I’m good.”
“We’ve passed three chip-cashing stations, and we’re coming back up on the tables. You want that drink.”
She stopped, and her cheeks pinkened in the casino lighting. “You’re a distraction.”
“I could say the same about you. I don’t usually lose.”
“Everybody loses.”
“I lose less than most.” His shoulders straightened. Jase couldn’t help it. Playing cards was one thing in his life that remained the same. Didn’t matter what was happening with his family or the ranch or his business. A flush was a flush, a straight a straight, and a full house would always beat two pair.
She started walking again, and this time turned toward the bank of elevators. “How do you lose less than most?”
“I don’t gamble.”
The woman rolled her eyes. “We just spent the better part of two hours gambling.” She stopped before the elevators and hit the penthouse button.
“I spent the better part of two hours studying you and playing cards. There’s a difference.”
“So when does gambling become gambling, then, instead of just playing cards?”
“When you lose sight of your goal. My goal was a drink with you.”
She pressed the up arrow again. “Then you not only gambled.” She stepped into the car and pressed a button. The doors began to close. “You lost.”

Buy Jase: Amazon  B&N  iBooks  Kobo

#NewRelease: Connor by @AuthorKristina Knight

Hiya, readers! My second Nebraska Cowboys book, Connor, is live starting TODAY! Gage, book 1, released February 17. That makes two cowboys who can be at your beck-and-call this weekend – perfect way to spend your indoor time, don’t you think?

The trilogy is set in Las Vegas (naturally), and the characters split time fairly equally between the Rocking R (the brothers’ family ranch) and their on-the-strip Las Vegas businesses.

Here’s a little peek inside Connor: 

Connor tilted his head to the side. “Ground rules like?”
“No public displays of affection. When we’re at work, we work. There is a lot to do with the new magazine launch, and we’re still not out of the woods with the existing publications.”
“So you won’t be coming into my office at odd moments with empty file folders and a desperate need for my body?” His beautiful mouth twisted in a wicked smile.
“As the male form goes, yours is quite good. But I think I can control myself between the hours of nine and five.”
“So no nooners. Bummer. Any other rules we should abide by?”
“No nicknames.”
Connor blinked. “I shouldn’t call you Love Muffin within earshot of anyone in the office. Got it.”
“You shouldn’t call me Love Muffin anywhere.”
“No love muffins?”
Miranda wrinkled her nose. “Definitely not.”
“No nooners. No love muffins. So far, so good. Rule number three?”
“We shouldn’t advertise the fact that we had dinner tonight, or any other night. And we shouldn’t mention the kisses from before, either.”
“Damn it, I was planning on talking about that with the pressmen tomorrow.”
Miranda pursed her lips. “I’m serious. This doesn’t have to be a state secret, but we don’t need to advertise the fact that we’ve been on a date, either. At least, not until we know where this is or isn’t going.”

Release Date: March 20, 2020

Blurb for Connor:

Vegas Nightly publisher Connor Reeves is close to meeting a big-time career goal: making his magazine a state-wide must-read. The only problem? His biggest competition, a larger publisher based in Colorado seems to know his every move. Miranda Clayton is tired of society parties and shopping, but her tycoon father refuses to take her seriously. Her solution? Beat him at his own game by going to work for his top competitor, Connor Reeves. Connor isn’t fooled by Miranda’s act for a second. He knows exactly who she is; the question is what does the lady want?

Buy the Book: Amazon B&N iBooks KOBO

#CoverReveal: Nevada Cowboys by Kristina Knight

Publishing is a weird thing. We write our books and send them off to our editors and a few rounds of edits later we send our little book babies out into the world. And they are out there. We don’t really have the opportunity to make changes or adjust little bits or bobs that maybe our readers caught but we didn’t.

That, I think, is as it should be. Because, I don’t know about you, but I could pick a book to death changing this comma or that incomplete sentence (used for emphasis, of course) or that spelling oops (seriously, how did we miss that oh-so-obvious misspelling?).

When I turn that final edit in, though, it’s like a release for me. That book is still mine, but it’s a signal to my writer brain (and heart) that it isn’t just mine now. It’s my editors and my readers and, yeah, even the haters.

But every now and then, authors get the chance to do something a little different. We get to re-release books. And that’s what I’ve been working on for the last month or so.

A couple of years ago I had a cowboy trilogy out: three brothers, their ranch outside Las Vegas, their stories. I loved that series but my publisher (Crimson Romance) was bought out by a bigger publisher (Simon & Schuster) and they allowed us (not just me, all the authors) to request rights back on our books at a certain time.

The time for my cowboys – it’s now! And I’m finding that digging back into their stories is so much fun. I’ve fallen in love with Gage and Connor and Jase all over again…and with Callie, Miranda and Sabrina, too. I’m so grateful to my editors Jess Verdi and Julie Sturgeon who helped me get these books ready for the world back in 2016 and I’m so glad I’ve had the chance to re-read their stories and clean up those last few typos (that I swear some word processing gremlins had to put in there because the three of us couldn’t have just missed them!) and develop new covers for them.

Today I’m sharing those new covers – and blurbs – with y’all! Book 1 of the trilogy releases this month, but you can order book one now and pre-order books two and three!

Here’s a bit about the series: Hot Las Vegas nights get even steamier for these three powerful, wealthy businessmen with cowboy roots and the strong, independent women who fall for them. What happens in Vegas certainly won’t stay there as these successful tycoons win at love.

Gage, Nevada Cowboys Book 1:

Hot shot property developer Gage Reeves is taking Vegas by storm – that is, until his brother makes him the face of desperate bachelors everywhere. Enter Callie Holliday, who is trying to get a new, upscale spa off the ground. Callie’s connections in Vegas run just as deep as Gage’s, but unlike Gage’s family past Callie’s is pristine. They make a deal: her business venture, his building but what starts off strictly professional turned decidedly personal. Will Gage and Callie risk their professional success for a shot at love?

Buy Gage today: Amazon BN.com iBooks KOBO

Connor, Nevada Cowboys Book 2:

Vegas Nightly publisher Connor Reeves is close to meeting a big-time career goal: making his magazine a state-wide must-read. The only problem? His biggest competition, a larger publisher based in Colorado seems to know his every move. Miranda Clayton is tired of society parties and shopping, but her tycoon father refuses to take her seriously. Her solution? Beat him at his own game by going to work for his top competitor, Connor Reeves. Connor isn’t fooled by Miranda’s act for a second. He knows exactly who she is; the question is what does the lady want?

Pre-order Connor today: Amazon BN.com iBooks KOBO

Jase, Nevada Cowboys Book 3:

Jase Reeves lives his life by rules: never get emotional at the poker table and never get emotional with women. But when he meets self-help author Sabrina York all bets are off. Sabrina enjoys fame and fortune writing her female-empowerment books, but she could do without the reputation – that of the Oldest Living (Supposed) Virgin in Vegas. Blowing up her entire life because sexy gambler Jase Reeves has shown an interest in her? Sabrina has already written the book on that, but staying away from Jase isn’t as simple as closing the cover of her favorite book. And for Jase, melting the heart of the Vegas Virgin might be his greatest gamble yet…

Pre-order Jase today: Amazon BN.com iBooks KOBO

99¢ Sale for Resort to Romance Series

We’re having a party to celebrate the 1 year anniversary of a really fun, sweet romance series! Resort to Romance was the brainchild of authors Jill Kemerer and Jessica Patch – and I am honored to be part of it! ⁠

For Valentine’s Day, we’re each offering our books from the series for only 99¢ – that’s a whole series (10 books) from less than $10! What a deal!⁠

Resort to Romance
Ten delightful—and standalone—novellas linked by one matchmaking week. You’ll want to devour each one!

It’s Matchmaking Week at an all-inclusive resort on a private island in the Bahamas. Each guest has been expertly paired and is here to enjoy one full week with their match. While there’s no money-back guarantee on the paid trip, the participants are guaranteed to find love!

Moonlight Match
Get ready for ten weeks of romance in the Bahamas with a new series brought to you by some of the best authors in the inspirational and sweet romance genres…
Aster Harrington believes in love but love doesn’t seem to believe in her. She’s hoping Goldie and Ginny, the matchmakers who’ve matched on two generations of Harringtons, can work a little love magic for her…

Some call Ethan Talbot rigid, but he prefers to think of himself as prepared. Unfortunately, when he’s matched with Aster Harrington at Joy Island’s Matchmaking Week, all those carefully prepared plans go out the window. He can get back to finding a suitable wife once he’s home in New York. After all, how much damage can one week in the Bahamas do to his plans?

Genre Information: Moonlight Match is a SWEET romance, meaning it’s clean and wholesome with no sex or cussing.

You’ll find all the books at Amazon and you can join our party at the Coffee, Cupcakes & Contemporaries Facebook group

The full Resort to Romance Series listing:

A Meddled Match by Jill Kemerer
A Messed-Up Match by Jessica R. Patch
Met Her Match by Susan L. Tuttle
Moonlight Match by Kristina Knight
Unexpected Match by Constance Phillips
Match Me If You Can by Krista Phillips
Mismatched Melody by Jodie Bailey
A Match for Mr. Write by Jennifer Shirk
Rematched by Julie Jarnagin
Match You Like Crazy by Johnnie Alexander

#NewRelease: Be My Heartwarming Valentine

It’s a magical place, is Christmas Town, Maine, and the writers of its stories can’t wait to go back each year. They start planning the next roster of stories as soon as the current one is finished. They exchange names of characters and businesses and keep a bible of what’s been done so far. Even the writers change from year to year. No one leaves Christmas Town because she wants to, but sometimes other responsibilities require a trip out of town.

Every now and then, we change things up. One year, we covered Thanksgiving and New Year’s as well as Christmas. For Christmas of 2019, we released our 2018 stories as an anthology. And now, as the new roaring 20s are putting on their fresh clothes, we have eight new stories in the Be My Heartwarming Valentine: A Heartwarming Christmas Town Box Set.

Stop by and sign up for our newsletter. You’ll find free reads and other fun stuff there.  New information will be showing up as we wind down to release day on February 11.

Here to give you the Cliff’s Notes synopses of our stories are this year’s authors. Click on their links to find out more about us—we love visitors!—or to sign up for our newsletters.


Table for Six by Anna J. Stewart

When overwhelmed widowed single mother of three Cora Leonidis’s mother-in-law “buys” her a personal chef at Christmas Town’s bachelor auction, she doesn’t know whether to be relieved or horrified. But from the moment Giovanni Renzo appears on her doorstep, Cora feels an immediate connection to this wanderer. She’s not the only one who’s loved and lost. While Giovanni is there to make her life easier, Cora hopes to heal his heart…and prove it’s okay to love again.

Sign up for Anna’s newsletter

A Tale of Two Rings by Beth Carpenter

Two years ago, Alden Moretti ended his engagement with Mindy Rose and left Christmas Town. Now his grandmother has volunteered him to participate in the Christmas Town bachelor auction as an excuse to return. His assignment: convince Mindy to give back his grandmother’s diamond engagement ring. But after a few trips down memory lane with Mindy, Alden is having second thoughts. Can he leave Mindy behind once again?

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The Apple of My Eye by Melinda Curtis

Young Lizzie Lincoln buys Steve Haepner at the auction for one hundred schmeckels and wants to keep him, much to single mom Abigail’s horror. Apple farmer Abigail doesn’t date. However, she needs an electrician and since Steve claims he’s not interested in dating her, it’s too good of a deal to pass up. But soon, Abigail is thinking she may have spoken too soon…

Sign up for Melinda’s newsletter 

Romancing her Valentine by Cari Lynn Webb

When Tessa Collier places the highest bid on the last bachelor at Christmas Town’s Valentine’s Day auction, she only wants one thing – a fake date to accompany her to her ex-husband’s gender reveal baby shower. But there’s nothing pretend about Tessa’s reaction to her bachelor – professional skier, Ryan Reeves. When Ryan offers his terms for their arrangement, Tessa must decide if one impulsive decision might lead to heartache worse than attending that baby shower alone or to her forever Valentine. 

Visit Cari Lynn’s website

A Place to Hang Her Heart by Liz Flaherty

Although he was the instigator to the end of their long marriage, Rob Rahilly still needs to know Christy is happy after her solo move to Christmas Town, Maine. When his job ends in early retirement, he goes to New England to see how she’s doing, and ends up in a bachelor auction. Will the only woman he’s ever really loved take another chance on him, or do some hurts go too deep for the wounds to heal?

Join Liz’s Facebook author page 

Knock Down My Heart by Anna Adams

Georgia Bardill’s daughters decide Sven Dante, their mom’s handyman, is the perfect prince for her. Naturally, they volunteer him for the town’s bachelor auction on the condition he takes out their mom and then makes them a snowman. A single mom, a slightly reluctant do-gooding “prince” bachelor, and sweetly manipulative little girls make Knock Down My Heart a heartwarming Christmas Town romance!

Follow Anna on Facebook

Love Fixes Everything by Claire McEwan

When Carrie Porter’s friends bid on handyman Gage Flanagan in the Christmas Town bachelor auction, and then gift his services to her, the single mom is embarrassed to accept their charity. But Carrie sets her pride aside to learn all she can about home repair from the surly bachelor. Only Gage isn’t quite as grumpy as he seems. As they work together to repair her historic home, Carrie and Gage realize that the love they feel might just repair their hearts as well.

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Head Over Heels by LeAnne Bristow

High school English teacher and former college gymnast, Karen McFadden, wants nothing more than to open her own gymnastics facility, but a math learning disability makes completing the paperwork for a business loan almost impossible. The last thing Daniel Lassiter wants to do is get stuck with an attention-seeking diva who wants to relive her college glory days, but when his accounting services put him in the library’s bachelor auction, he has little choice but to help her. He doesn’t believe that she wants to open the gym so she can help underprivileged teens. She doesn’t think he’ll stick around long enough to find out. Will they realize what’s right in front of them before it’s too late?

Visit LeAnne’s website

Buy Links   Amazon    Barnes and Noble

#BookRec: Kristan Higgins’ Good Luck With That

I think I’m probably the last reader in the universe to pick up Kristan Higgins’ Good Luck with That, which landed on a slew of “best of” lists for 2018 and even won Fresh Fiction’s Best Book of 2018. But I did finally pick up the book. Not only did I pick it up, but I loved it. Seriously. L-O-V-E-D. I brought the book along on our 20th (gah, 20!!) anniversary cruise a few weeks ago and couldn’t put it down. It visited a couple of beaches (and still has some St. Maarten sand in it’s binding!), and the pool deck, and had several people asking me what I was reading (I told them all to get a copy), and came close to finding a new home in the ship’s library, but at the last minute I couldn’t part with it. So no instead of sailing the high seas, Georgia, Marley, and Emerson are living on my keeper shelf. 

The book follows three friends who meet at a “fat camp” as teenagers, and walks the line between women’s fiction and romance. Here’s the blurb: Emerson, Georgia, and Marley have been best friends ever since they met at a weight-loss camp as teens. When Emerson tragically passes away, she leaves one final wish for her best friends: to conquer the fears they still carry as adults.
For each of them, that means something different. For Marley, it’s coming to terms with the survivor’s guilt she’s carried around since her twin sister’s death, which has left her blind to the real chance for romance in her life. For Georgia, it’s about learning to stop trying to live up to her mother’s and brother’s ridiculous standards, and learning to accept the love her ex-husband has tried to give her.
But as Marley and Georgia grow stronger, the real meaning of Emerson’s dying wish becomes truly clear: more than anything, she wanted her friends to love themselves. 

What I loved about the book: Kristan writes some of the best “friendships” out there. Seriously. I have the same conversations with my friends, have the same thoughts, wonder about the same issues…Her book-people are like real-people, which really invests me in the book overall. Marley was hysterical her moment-in-the-mirror was so empowering. Emerson was..heartbreaking (and my one issue is that I wanted more of her). Georgia was frustrating and strong and so, so…lovable, especially when she just couldn’t love herself.

If you’re in the mood for a heartwarming, friends-girl-power read, definitely pick this one up. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

By the way, what are you reading right now? 

We All Need #SelfCare

It’s been a hectic start to 2019, gang, and I can’t quite believe we’re staring down June already. I kind of thought we were still in March last week (and not just because of the weather!) and then I realized we *couldn’t* be in March still because we’re back from our anniversary cruise (which was wonderful!) and state testing just finished up for bebe.

Over the weekend bebe and I had a little craft-a-thon. She’s been wanting to make surgeon masks (I dunno, she hates doctors…maybe she’s planning a heist?), but didn’t want “regular surgeon masks, Mom”. So, a little You-Tubing and a little craft-stash stalking and we were ready to go. I (of course) did the bulk of the sewing because the actual sewing machine scares her ( she lives in fear of running over her fingers with the needle… *whatever*). The point isn’t that we sewed a surgeon mask, the point is that it reminded me – I haven’t been sewing lately. For, like, nearly a year.

I like sewing/quilting. It’s sometime creative that is outside the realm of writing, so I use a different part of my brain…and yet, I get writing (plotting, character ideas, scene thoughts) done while I’m taking time away from the computer.

bebe & her mask

Sewing has been part of my self-care routine for…well, since before bebe. But as she’s grown up and needed more (and sometimes less) of my time, as my writing career has grown to the 20 book mark, as RadioMan and I have tried to carve out dating time while also raising a kiddo and having careers…the list goes on, but self-care has kind of fallen to the wayside. And that isn’t a great thing, I don’t think.

Self-care is time that I spend just on (and for) me. It’s reading a book just for fun, it’s taking a walk at

a nature preserve, it’s brainstorming with a writer friend, it’s a date with RadioMan, it’s movie time with bebe. It’s all the things that remind me that as much as I take care of RadioMan and bebe and my career, I also need to make time to take care of me – and sewing should definitely come back into that part of my life.

Because the hour or so we spent on the project? Was filled with laughter and silliness. It reminded me how much I enjoy making “things”, and how much I get out of the process. Things like a calmer mind, a new scene idea, a memory of bebe laughing so hard she fell off the chair…So, I’ve resolved to add sewing in to my routine a little more. I mean, I do have about 3 UFO (unfinished objects) in the crafting stash….

Oh! And if you find yourself in need of a “reason” to take some time for self-care, give this (5 Reasons to Love Yourself) a read. I read this a few weeks ago and loved it. For the past year or so I’ve been trying to give myself a break/give myself permission to focus on me – at least a little bit of the time – because self-care is really important. And self-care doesn’t mean you don’t love your DH or kids, it just means you recognize the need to refill your own well, to give yourself a break.

How to Create a #BlockSchedule

Earlier this year – and by this year, I’m technically talking about December of last year! – I decided I needed a planner change. Y’all know I’m a Happy Planner fan and have been for a long time. That hasn’t changed. But I was finding that having the three dividers just wasn’t working for me. I was getting lost in my day, skipping over things that needed to be done…It was time for a planner change. I’d been looking at the Teacher Planners for quite a while and decided to pick one up and customize it to what I wanted it to be. You can read more about why I chose a Teacher (and created a Writing Notebook and incorporated a Mini-Happy-Planner, too, here). 

What I like about blocking out my days is that everything is in order. When I was dividing my days into three “areas” – Home, Writing, Family – I was forever skipping over the things I didn’t want to do (hello, unfolded laundry!) in favor of what I wanted to do (why, there you are project I’m not set to start for another 3 weeks!) and missing a LOT of stuff. And not just the “mom” stuff of dusting or carpooling, but sometimes even writing stuff. I needed a better solution and after Googling a lot and reading a few “plan a better life” type books, I thought block scheduling would be a huge help. Only, when I first started, I was simply setting up the blocks in my Teacher Planner like I had my old planners – a box for house stuff, a box for writing…and it was the same vicious cycle of skipping over X in favor of Y. So I adjusted and created a time-blocked schedule where each time-block of the day has specific tasks. So far, it’s working. Here’s how I set it up. 

Step One: Figure out how many time blocks you need. I like having five blocks, some people like four, some six. Whatever works for you, try it. Five made sense to be because there are five basic “parts” to nearly every day in our house: getting up/getting bebe off to school, morning, lunch/early afternoon, after school run/homework/practices, and dinner/evening.

Step Two: Make a list of all the things you do daily: working out, meal prep and eating, house chores, grocery shopping, writing/editing, post office and school runs. Everything you do should be on this list. Don’t worry about prioritizing the list, just get everything down so you can see all the things you do in a week. Feeling a little overwhelmed? Don’t worry, that’s what the next step is all about.

Step Three: Figure out what Key Activities fit the best in each block. A “key activity” is a most-important: you should have a “most important task” for each of your blocks. If you have five blocks, choose your five most important activities and think about where it makes the most sense to put those activities. Create a new list, with the number of blocks you’ll be using, and fill those in. My five are: Working Out, Writing, Business (which includes graphics/websites and additional writing), Family, Me Time. Once I’d figured out my focus for each block, it was time to fill in the other activities. 

Step Four: Fill in the “extras”. For me, working out fits best when I first get up, but during that block I’m also getting the kiddo off to school, having breakfast, showering, and even doing a quickie email and social media check. I’m also most productive, writing-wise, in the mornings. So I set up my second block as a strictly Writing block. No social media, no email, just me and the pages. BUT. I can fit in a few loads of laundry while I’m writing (because no one should be stuck in a chair for 3+ hours!) or unload the dishwasher. Next comes lunch and my Business block: a check in with email and social media and a little outside time, maybe 20 or 30 minutes. Then back to writing if I haven’t met my daily goal, or time with graphics, editing, website updating and that kind of thing. My third block is the Family block – it’s the school run, homework, karate practice. Then comes the Kristina block – it’s me time, time to read or watch a favorite show or maybe sew or do something else creative.

It may sound weird that separating my blocks out by time works better than separating out by task, but it does work for me. If you find you’re struggling to get things done or that your planner feels like a jumble of “stuff” that you can’t keep up with, consider changing up how you plot your days – you may just need a change in your planner scenery! 

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