Category Archives: Life

Does Your Insurance Really Have Your Back?

Your car and home are important purchases that you need to protect. I could not imagine getting into an car accident or coming home to find my house burglarized and not have insurance coverage.

My daughter was in a car accident 2 weeks ago. A truck hit her and her car was wrecked.

car accident

I am so thankful that my daughter and granddaughter were both ok. Jazz has some neck and arms problems and has to go to physical therapy. Both Jazz and the other driver have car insurance. She was able to file a claim right away and get a car rental with no problem. She has received a check for the damage done to car and has already bought a replacement.

Last year we had some pretty bad wind storms and a lot of our roof shingles blew off. I called my insurance company and within 7 days someone was out to our house to assess the damage. We received a check to make repairs that same day.

Both of these incidents have proved that our insurance companies had our back. Contacting them and filing claims was easy. Our agents were helpful. We have had the same home insurance for over 22 years and are very happy with them.

Sadly, this was not the case with Todd Kozikowski’s family. An unexpected home renovation error ended up costing his family their health, home, and resulted in long legal battles—all because the insurance carrier didn’t provide the coverage the family thought it did.

Today, Todd has made it his mission to spare others from the same nightmare his family experienced. He and his team recently launched Clearsurance ,the world’s first company to level the playing field between big insurance and consumers.

I recently partnered with Clearsurance to help bring transparency to a traditionally secretive industry. Powered by 10,000+ customer reviews and industry-leading financial ratings, Clearsurance is the first ever ‘Yelp’ for auto, home, and renter’s insurance.

It was easy to sign up and post my review of my insurance company on the Clearsurance website. All I had to do was go to and fill out a short form. By providing my personal insight, I could help someone with choose an insurance company that is helpful and meets their needs.

I’d love to hear your experience dealing with an insurance company while filing a claim. Was the process smooth? Agonizing? Shocking? Head over to, and leave a review on your insurance company. Your experience may save someone lots of trouble down the line.


My Favorite Ways To Recharge

Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Five. It is no secret that I suffer from social anxiety and severe depression. I talk about it openly. One of the things I have learned in dealing with these issues is to pay close attention to how I am feeling. When I am overwhelmed and stressed I tend to get migraines. This is a sign I need to step back and relax. I wanted to share some of my favorite ways to recharge.

weekly friday five post

  1. Take A Nap: When a lot of things are going on I tend to stay up late and get up early.  I also have insomnia so that means not a lot of sleep for me. I hate to admit sometimes I am running on fumes. I know, not a good thing to do. This is when I just try to block everything out and take a nap. Fortunately my kids are older and I am able to do this with few interruptions.
  2. Watch a Movie: Curling up with a movie has always been my go to when I need to a break from everything. Usually I pick something from the Fast and Furious franchise because those are my favorite movies. Other times I take suggestions from the kids and we all just watch something together. I love our impromptu movie nights.
  3. Go Fishing: My husband loves to fish so he does a lot of it when weather permits. I have started to go with him.  I don’t fish but I go along to relax. It is nice uninterrupted time for the two of us. We visit some of his favorite spots while discovering a few new ones. I take in the beautiful sunsets and remember to breathe. We try food at new places and sometimes even catch a fireworks show.
  4. Read a Book: This is one of my favorite things to do. On a good week I read two or three books. I love my Kindle Unlimited. I read a lot of different genres but Urban Fiction is my favorite. When I find a good book that happens to be a series, I will just keep on reading until the end. I love losing myself in a good story.
  5. Play a Game: I love all types of games so I have a lot to choose from. I taught my youngest daughter Kayla how to play Gin Rummy and she has gotten really good. For the last few months we have been playing Battleship which is a game I thought I would never play. It turned out to be pretty fun. When I am feeling nostalgic I pull out my original Nintendo and play some Super Mario 3. I still have not made it through all the levels.

All the things I mentioned work great for me. They help me clear my mind and are a wonderful distraction when I need to recharge. How do  you recharge?


Tips To Start Your Day Off Right

There’s nothing worse than waking up on the wrong side of the bed. If you are constantly waking up feeling as if you are drowning in this world and want nothing more than to crawl back in bed, hide under the covers and not come out for another five hours, then you need to learn how to start your day off right. Today I am sharing 7 tips to start your day off right so that you can be certain each day is a new day full of inspiration and energy galore.

7 tips to start you day

  1. Don’t Hit Snooze – Whatever you do, do not hit that snooze button. This little button is to be thought of as the enemy from now on and not an option. When you choose to wake up upon immediate ring of your alarm clock, your body starts to develop a routine of learning to be awake at the same time every morning without much effort. 
  2. Prepare The Night Before – Choose your outfit for the next day, right down to the shoes. You don’t want to waste time looking for accessories or a piece of clothing in the morning. The less you have to worry about, the less hectic it will be.
  3. Reflect Upon Grateful Moments – Take time each morning to jot down a few things that you are grateful for. Learn to immediately start your day off right by focusing on positive areas in your life. We can all find something to be grateful for, even if you are simply grateful for waking up to carry on another day.
  4. Set Daily Goals – Much like creating a to-do list, you should set daily goals to meet each day. This helps your mind focus on forward progression and on solutions versus problems. Learn to create a list of things that must be accomplished, finished or purchase for each day as the day arrives.
  5. Eat a Good Breakfast – Every good day starts best when you nourish your body and mind. Think about making some diet changes to incorporate some fruits into your morning breakfast routine. Fruits will give you natural energy to hold you through most of the morning hours into lunch time. If it helps, get your breakfast together a night.
  6. Listen To Music – Create a morning playlist. Something that will get you pumped up and motivated to start your day. I have playlists for different times of day, even carpool.
  7. Shower and Get Dressed – The longer you wait to get showered and dressed, the less chance you have of enjoying your day. If you truly want to start your day off right, then you need to be certain to get showered and dressed within an hour of wake up to make the most of your morning hours.

There are a lot of little changes you can make to your morning routine that will help ensure you start your day off right. If you start to implement just a few of these tips I shared today, you will find that every passing day gets better as you continually focus on starting your day off right.

What habits do you have that help you start you day off on the right foot?


5 Tips To Meet Your 2017 Goals

This post contains affiliate links.

Most New Year’s resolutions are primarily focused centering on physical health-related goals, dreams and desires. There are many other ways to better yourself in 2017. By focusing on different parts of your life, you can become a more well-rounded person thanks to a few simple tips, tricks and products.

Incorporate more than just health goals into your 2017 plans by spending time and resources to improve your organization, balance your budget, invigorate your mind, increase time with loved ones and boost your body’s well-being.

5 Ways To Meet And Exceed Your 2017 Goals

Get Organized with Flair

If getting organized is on your to-do list, you might as well have fun doing it. Creative planners add flair to everything from calendars and lists to thank-you notes and files with colorful gel pens. Gel Bee pens use only the highest quality inks and tips for a bold, smooth and luxurious writing experience, and are available in Classic, Glitter, Pastel and Neon. Find more colorful options to optimize your organization at

Better Budgeting
Paying off debt and saving money in 2017 is easier with a budget that is simple to create and follow. EveryDollar, a free budget tool that syncs across devices such as your computer, iPhone or Android, helps you stay up-to-date on your finances by viewing what’s planned, spent and remaining, any time, any place. Your first budget takes an average of just 10 minutes to create, so it’s easy to get started. Find more information at

Add to Your Arsenal
For many people looking to better their health in the coming year, the thought is much easier than the action. Prepare yourself for all of the fruits and vegetables you plan to add to your diet with the right tools to turn ingredients into delicious recipes, such as a good blender. A blender can give you the ability to turn an ordinary breakfast into a standout smoothie. My recipe for a Blueberry Pineapple Smoothie is delicious and filling.

blueberry pineapple oatmeal smoothie

Fun Family Time
While so many New Year’s resolutions are centered around individual goals, there are ways to better both yourself and those most important to you – family members. One way to increase family time with fun, engaging activity is with classic board games, card games or jigsaw puzzles that can serve as the main event for a designated weekly night together. Monopoly is a favorite in our house, a game can go one for a few days.

1stopmom family game night

Text Twist is lots of fun too, we played it on New Year’s Eve with friends. With varying options for different age groups and interests, there’s a board game or puzzle out there for every family.

Yearn to Learn
With all the attention paid to physical health goals around the New Year, don’t forget about your mental health. By investing in an Kindle or tablet, you’ll give yourself a tool to stay up-to-date on current events plus a handy device that allows you to keep many of your favorite books right at your fingertips. I got a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas in 2015 and I love it. I subscribe to Kindle Unlimited through Amazon and could not be happier. I have found books on blogging, self help, cookbooks and more!

What are your goals for the new year?


I Am A Suicide Survivor

I think a lot about suicide. I know it is not a pretty subject.  My first suicide attempt was back in 2003. I remember it as clear as day. I was feeling overwhelmed and defeated. Like a burden to everyone I knew. Especially my husband and children. Every horrible thing ever said to me by family and friends kept bouncing around in my head.

Overly dramatic. Stupid. Looking for attention. Worthless. Yeah these were the things said to me by the people who were supposed to love me. My childhood was full of abuse and I never felt like I mattered. Even as a adult the pain was still there. I was so afraid I would mess up my own kids.  I never truly felt love except from my Husband, Aunt, Grandmother and Grandfather but was that enough? On this particular day it wasn’t.

I have had severe depression since around 2000 but did not get officially diagnosed until 2002. I was also diagnosed with social anxiety and had horrible insomnia. On that sunny day in 2003 I hopped in my car with a plan. I was going to take all of my sleeping pills and end it all. I pulled into a local grocery store parking lot and swallowed about 25 pills. I just wanted it all to end. The pain. In my head. In my heart. I wanted it to be over.

I started to doze off. The pills were doing their job. Then I got a phone call from my Aunt. She wanted to know where I was and what I was doing. She was very calm while talking to me. I’m not sure why I remember that. I told her where I was and that was the last thing I remember. I woke up a few hours later.

She literally saved my life. 

Those pills put me to sleep in a running car in a shopping lot. If she would not have called, I would not be here today.

That was not the last time I have attempted to take my life. Living with severe depression is very hard. Some days are better than others. Everything is not always rainbows and sunshine. I take it one day at a time. Sometimes one minute at a time. I have a wonderful therapist and psychiatrist in my life to help me deal with my depression and anxiety.  I have learned how to recognize my triggers.

When have suicidal thoughts reaching out for help is very important. My Aunt passed away a few years ago so I can no longer reach out to her.  I do have a few people I know I can contact if the thoughts won’t go away. This does not work always. I have reached out before  when I was feeling like I could not go on. The person brushed me off. But I did not give up and I am glad I didn’t. I know I need multiple people in my corner and I kept on trying. Sometimes through the fog I can see just a shimmer of light.

I used to feel so much shame because of what I have done and been through.  It is not an easy subject to talk about.

But this is me and part of my story. Suicide is serious and not a joke.

If you feel suicidal please reach out for help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number 1-800-273-8255 or 911

If you know someone who is struggling with life be a friend and reach out. Check in on them. Listen and offer a shoulder to cry on. It can make a difference.



Get A Head Start On Your Holiday Cards With Minted!

1StopMom was compensated for this post. As always, my opinions are 100% my own.

You don’t even have to say it. I know Halloween is not even here yet so why am I mentioning holiday cards. Every year I hear about someone who did not plan ahead and their card were not sent out. Or they waited until the last-minute and didn’t like their cards. Since the holidays will be here in a blink of an eye, why not start prepping now?

Minted has released their 2014 Christmas Card Collection and there are a lot of wonderful choices.

minted holiday cardsHow cute is this Wreck The Halls card? Add a great picture of the kids with that font and it works. If the square shape is not unique enough for you, there are other options.

minted holiday cards

Give a holiday card and ornament all in one. The Sparkling Be Merry holiday card can be used again and again each year. I really like this one because it so unique and comes in three colors;  gold, cherry and teal.

minted holiday cards

This Insta-book Holiday Minibook Card is my favorite. It is 5″x7″ and has 7 pages. Just think of all the great photos you have captured with your phone over the year. This card definitely stands out!

Minted offers so many ways to customize your holiday cards that you can’t go wrong!

minted holiday cards

minted holiday cards

When do you start ordering your holiday cards?



Amber from Teen Mom

Every week I tune in to Teen Mom on MTV.  The most recent episode has been on my mind all week. There has been quite a few times where there was  going on between Amber and her on again, off again boyfriend/fiance Gary. This week it escalated. Amber became very upset that Gary told his Mom that their daughter, Leah, did not have any sheets for her bed. This started a  argument. Later Leah was crying and Amber put her in her crib and closed the door. Gary came home and a another argument started. Gary threatened to call Child Protective Services and left the house with Leah. Amber decided she did not want Gary to live there anymore and put all his belongings in the hall. When he returned to the house there another argument. Amber began punching and slapping Gary. When he started walking down the stairs, she kicked him in the back. Fortunately he did not fall.

Putting your hand on another person is not acceptable. It does not matter if you are male or female. ABUSE is wrong!

I am very disappointed that MTV decided not to step in and continued to film this situation. It does not matter to me that this is a reality show. Physical abuse should not be tolerated and I do not think this is entertainment! It is obvious to me that Amber needs help and I pray that she gets it. For the well being of herself and her daughter.

If you are in an abusive relationship please get help. You have the right to be safe! Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE (7233)