Lessons Learned from Hurricane Beryl

lessons learned from hurricane beryl


Houston, we have a problem. It’s been a three-month series of weather surprises. The biggest blow to our community happened a little over a week ago. Houstonians faced another weather challenge that being Hurricane Beryl. We felt prepared but there are always some surprises. We had little over 24 hours to prepare for the last-minute change of direction of the hurricane.  Here is what we did during that time, through the storm, and during our week-long loss of electricity.

24-Hour Hurricane Preparedness

When you have less than 24 hours to prepare, here are essential items and actions. For a more complete list, check Ready.gov.

  • Get gas in your car and for your generator. Gas was in short supply immediately after the hurricane. Many of us have generators that run on gasoline. Fill up all the tanks ahead of time.
  • Stock up on water. When there is no power, many sewer plants stop working. Be sure to fill bathtubs and water bottles. Stock up on water in large jugs and small bottles.
  • Non-perishables are essential while power is out. These include canned meats and veggies. Have extra loaves of bread for peanut butter and jelly. You will be able to feed yourself, and your family and help others.
  • No need to wash dishes with paper products. Be sure you have plenty.
  • Stock a first aid kit for cuts, bruises, and sprains.
  • Charge all your devices to full power to be ready when power goes off.
  • Set up your portable radio and connections for charging after the power goes off.
  • Move outdoor furniture inside or tie it together for safety.

Be smart about storage with bins and organization to keep from being stressed with clutter.

Life during the storm

Scary things happen during a storm. Being vigilant is key to safety. Be prepared to shelter in a large inside closet in case of a tornado or wind gusts. Be aware of your surroundings if a tree comes down or glass breaks. Listen to the radio for information about the storm. Surprisingly, cell service does not work. Cell towers are affected by wind and power. Be in contact with your family as much as possible given cell service. Remain calm, which is easier said than done.


After the hurricane

After the hurricane, there are many emotions. There is a sense of relief but a sense of urgency with many things to take care of. Stay safe by staying indoors for the first 24 – 48 hours. It is tempting to drive around to see the situation. Take out the manual or consult with an expert for your generator for everyday maintenance. If you have damage, call your trusted roofer or construction person as soon as possible. You want to be sure to use the people you trust to work on your home.


Community comes together in tough times. We found the most up-to-date information on Facebook groups. Our local community banded together for updates about electrical power and other situations. True leaders are both in these times as they contact our government officials. Our neighborhoods came together with help on service providers, yard work, and food. Many neighborhoods help barbeques together with meat from freezers. It is a time of sharing and giving.


For those long days with partial power, be smart about your self-care. It can be depressing and frustrating when you are in the middle of the aftermath. Take walks, head to bed early, and eat healthy.  Self-care is the most important foundation for resilience as you weather the aftermath.


Now is the time to start preparing. It is going to be a newsworthy weather season. You may be partially prepared and want to boost your preparedness. You may have just experienced Hurricane Beryl and want to make some changes to your systems. There is always more to learn on how to be best prepared. Check here to get prepared today.




Get Organized for Your Vacation Rental


get organized for your vacation rental


More and more families are using vacation rentals rather than other accommodations this summer.  Many of us have found that vacation rentals are the best accommodations with multiple bedrooms and lots of space for you and your family. Most homes are thoughtfully equipped. What do you need to bring to be organized for your vacation? I surveyed families to see what they bring and I added a list of the items that I bring. Check out how to be more organized for your vacation rental.

Get organized first

Like all travel, be sure you have all the details for travel.

  • Print or save your booking confirmation details.
  • Save the contact information of the property owner/manager.
  • Note the check-in and check-out times to plan your arrival and departure accordingly.

Connect with the host

Your host wants you to enjoy your vacation and leave a wonderful review.

  • Read the reviews. People mention what they loved and what was missing.
  • Carefully read the description of the property. Amenities and local stores are typically listed for your convenience.
  • Ask the host what they provide, even before you book your trip. Most places I’ve stayed have provided all the basics like that & I’ve packed like I would for a hotel, but it really depends on the Airbnb or VRBO host.

Bring the basics

The basics are typically included. However, there are always special items that you use that you especially like.

  • I bring ziplocs, extra paper towel, paper plates, and our own kitchen towels and washcloths. If it is a more rustic rental, I also bring my own frying pan and coffee maker…they always have them, but they can be scratched up or not well-cleaned.
  • With an easy-access washer, I always bring laundry pods. And I always take extra containers of hand soap.
  • Eating in saves you money. You will usually need something for leftovers like plastic containers, ziploc bags and aluminum foil to wrap up.
  • There are never enough outlets for charging the multiple electronic devices that we bring so bring extra extension cords and plugs.


Add those specialty and unique items you love.

  • It’s good to take your own seasonings and a small bottle of mayo, ketchup, mustard, salad dressing, cooking spray and cooking oil.
  • Always take your favorite throw blanket last time because you are likely to be cold. Your personal pillow makes your rest extra comfy.
  • If you love a certain brand of coffee and your Keurig, be sure you pack it.


Hacks that will help you along the way

  • Get organized over a two-week time frame. Place boxes to drop items in as you purchase or prep so that you have everything together before the last day.
  • Order groceries to be delivered to your vacation rental.
  • Look into beach gear or golf cart rental for the time you are at the rental.
  • Stop by the Dollar Store to prep with disposables. If you have a short stay, extra cleaning supplies and paper goods can keep you from those extra chores of washing and cleaning.
  • Vacation rentals can offer all kinds of benefits without paying extra such as bicycles, kayaks, surfboards, a trampoline, playsets, or strollers.


Start your checklist today for your vacation this summer!


Happy July 4th!


Happy July 4th!


One of the best parts of a holiday is the time together with family and friends. It is a remarkable time to connect about our values and what we hold dear. Take a moment today to reflect on the importance of freedom, democracy, and unity. Spend time today sharing stories about family traditions or what Independence Day means. What events did you attend as a young person? What celebrations meant the most over the years to you? Connect to the time frame, what global situations occurred, and how that shaped the country at the time.


This holiday gives us an opportunity to reflect on gratitude. Express gratitude for the freedoms and opportunities enjoyed as a family and as Americans. What are you most grateful for today and always?


Wishing you a day together with friends and family celebrating the joys of being an American. Enjoy a hot dog, ice cream sundae, and fireworks!


Organizing Your Finances: Practical Financial Strategies for People with ADHD

organizing your finances practical solutions


Throughout this month we have focused on money management. Today we are focusing on the practical, simple, and effective quick tools for managing finances without being overwhelmed.  If you are just beginning your finance and money management journey or in the middle of it, here are some ADHD – friendly simple tools and tips that will help you meet your financial goals. Choose one strategy to help you move forward with your goals.

Use automation and technology

There are many easy tools to set up for your income, expenses, and budgeting.  Take time to set these up and review them monthly. Using automation and technology frees up your time and sets in motion your plans. One of the most important steps is to pay yourself first with an automated savings account.

  • Automatic Payments: Set up automatic payments for bills to avoid missing due dates.
  • Automatic Savings: Use automated transfers to save regularly without having to remember to do it manually.
  • Budgeting Apps: Apps like Mint, YNAB (You Need a Budget), or PocketGuard can help track spending and stay within budget.
  • Reminder Apps: Use reminder apps or calendar alerts for bill due dates and financial tasks.

Simplify and Streamline

It is easy to be drawn into complicated accounts and single-line budgeting. Keep your system as simple as possible. Know what numbers matter most in your accounting and your taxes. Make your system easy to subdivide into manageable chunks of information. Make your accounting sheets as visual as possible with color coding to track your plans.

  • Consolidate Accounts: Reduce the number of accounts to manage by consolidating them when possible.
  • Minimalist Budgeting: Focus on a few key categories to make budgeting simpler and easier to follow.
  • Consolidated Information: Create a consolidated sheet of all your accounts to access these at any time.

Visual Tools

Money can seem invisible. Make it easy to “see” your monthly and annual income, as well as your savings.

  • Visual Budgets: Use charts, graphs, or color-coded systems to make financial information more engaging and easier to understand.
  • Spending Journals: Keep a visual spending journal to track where money goes and identify patterns.
  • Color-coded spending: Keep a log of what you spend with colors to match your feelings about the funds, such as green for income and red for expense.


Seek Support

Finding trusted advisors will help you with your financial goals. Your advisor can coach you through setting up your system, help you be accountable, and help you learn new strategies.

  • Financial Advisor: Work with a financial advisor who understands ADHD and can provide personalized guidance.
  • Accountability Partner: Have a trusted friend or family member help keep you accountable.
  • Support Groups: Others who struggle with finances and keep you accountable to your goals.

Find your path to organizing your finances with a system that works for you and routines that help you manage your resources.

Organizing Your Finances: How to Create and Maintain a Budget with ADHD

organizing finances how to create and maintain a budget


Managing finances is challenging, but if you have ADHD, staying on top of budgeting can feel especially difficult. With the right strategies and tools, you can create and maintain a budget that works for you. Here are some practical tips to help you get started and stay on track.


Break down your project

There are many overwhelming parts to setting up a budget. First, you need to know how you are spending your funds now. A project like this can be intimidating, leading to procrastination. Break down your budgeting process into smaller, manageable steps.

  • Day 1: Gather all financial documents.
  • Day 2: List all income sources.
  • Day 3: List all monthly expenses.
  • Day 4: Categorize expenses into needs, wants, and savings.

Taking small steps each day can make the process feel more achievable. If you choose to do all these steps on one day, set aside 4 hours to accomplish this.

Use ADHD-Friendly Tools

There are numerous apps designed to help you manage your finances easily. Apps like Quicken, YNAB (You Need a Budget), and PocketGuard can help you track spending, set goals, and receive reminders. Choose an app with a clean, intuitive interface to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Use reports to synthesize information for you. Set this up on your devices to use every day. Set a time to check in daily to keep this top of mind.

Keep It Simple

Simplicity is key when creating a budget that you can stick to. Choose a straightforward budgeting method that doesn’t overwhelm you with details. One effective approach is the 50/30/20 rule:

  • 50% of your income goes to needs (rent, groceries, utilities).
  • 30% goes to wants (dining out, entertainment).
  • 20% goes to savings and debt repayment.

This method helps you categorize your expenses without getting bogged down in details.

Set Up Automatic Payments

Automate as many payments as possible to reduce the number of tasks you need to remember. Set up automatic payments for bills like rent, utilities, and credit cards. This ensures you won’t miss due dates, helping you avoid late fees and maintain a good credit score. If you have insufficient funds, set up the least expensive recurring payments like gas and electricity, and set a reminder to pay bills twice a month on the same day, such as a Saturday or Sunday.


Use Visual Aids

Visual aids can be incredibly helpful for people with ADHD. Here are some options.

  • Charts and graphs: Many budgeting apps provide visual representations of your spending habits.
  • Post-it notes: Write down key financial tasks and stick them where you’ll see them.
  • Calendars: Mark bill due dates and financial goals on a physical or digital calendar.

Seeing your progress visually can be motivating and help keep you on track.

Start a routine 

Schedule regular check-ins to review your budget. Set a daily, weekly, or monthly appointment with yourself to update your expenses and adjust your budget if needed. Consistent reviews help you stay aware of your financial situation and make you accountable to your intentions.

Build a team for support

Share your goals with a friend or family member to be your accountability partner. Sit with a body double while you are checking your accounts. It takes only one other to support you as you work toward your financial goals.


Be aware of obstacles

Staying on track with a budget can be the biggest challenge despite strong motivation.  If impulsivity interferes, implement a pause for purchases with a 24-hour rule before you purchase. If you get distracted or disinterested, reward yourself for following through with money management or choose a new location to check your apps. Identify triggers for emotional spending and find alternative coping mechanisms, such as exercise, hobbies, or talking to a friend. Consider setting aside a small, discretionary fund for occasional treats to prevent feeling deprived of fun or spontaneity. Feel less overwhelmed by money by breaking your money management into smaller steps. Being aware of obstacles and using strategies to combat these help you keep on top of your money management.


Creating and maintaining a budget with ADHD is entirely possible. By keeping your budget simple, using helpful tools, breaking tasks into smaller steps, and setting regular check-ins, you can take control of your finances. Remember to be kind to yourself and celebrate your successes, no matter how small. With persistence and the right strategies, you can achieve financial stability and peace of mind.



Organizing Your Finances: Strategies to Combat Overspending and Over-purchasing

organizing finances


Shop like you mean it! It is easy to succumb to overspending due to Instagram clicks. Impulse spending can become a habit with “56% of consumers saying they are more influenced by social media images and videos when online shopping now than before the pandemic.” If you are concerned about your spending habits, understanding your spending patterns and creating a system for tracking purchases can help. Here are some practical tips to regain control of your budget and create financial stability.


Becoming aware of overspending

How do you know that overspending is becoming a problem? Are you having trouble paying your monthly credit card? Have you not been able to save for emergencies or financial goals? Are you feeling uncomfortable with the number of packages arriving at your home?  Is your home filled to the brim with no space to organize? These are all ways to become more aware of your overspending and overpurchasing. Financial apps make it easy to track your spending and share data on where you are spending too much.



Understanding Your Spending Patterns

The first step in addressing overspending is to understand your spending patterns. Download your expenses into a spreadsheet from your debit card, credit card, and bank statement. Review your expenses over the past few months by categorizing your spending into essential and non-essential categories.  This data is most valuable in learning what you have been purchasing. This will help you identify areas where you may be overspending unnecessarily.


Setting Spending Limits

Now that you are aware of your purchases, it could be time to set limits on your spending in specific areas. Consider setting spending limits for certain categories of expenses such as clothes, personal care, or beauty. One way to set spending limits is to set a specific amount to spend on a category over a time frame. You can carry a limited amount of cash for these purchases or track your expenses with apps such as Every Dollar and Spendee.


Avoiding Impulse Purchases

Impulse purchases are a common culprit of overspending. Before making a purchase, implement a waiting period. That waiting period could be a pause before purchasing such as a rule to wait 24 hours or even a week before making a non-essential purchase. This delay can help determine if the purchase is truly necessary or just an impulse.


Keeping out of the cookie jar

It is easier to follow a diet without cookies at home. Remove social media that prompts you to impulse purchase online. When it is more difficult to purchase, it creates a pause to think more about that purchase.


Making a game of saving

If you find yourself consistently overspending in certain areas, explore alternative ways to save money. This could include only shopping sales, using coupons, and buying generic brands. Small changes in your spending habits and rules about purchases can add up to significant savings over time.


Tracking your finances and combating overspending requires discipline and diligence, but the rewards are well worth it.  Like any change, it takes time to gain momentum. By understanding your spending patterns and implementing rules for purchases, you can regain control of your finances and work towards a more secure financial future. Remember, it’s always important to manage your resources more effectively.


Organizing Your Money and Finances: Money Management

financial organizing


The times we live in are rough financially.  One of our biggest worries is money.  We are more aware of the personal power of using our resources wisely. Those resources start with your finances and your time. Financial organizing is as important as organizing your home.  It starts with setting intentions, establishing priorities, and creating goals for your funds. You want to know where you spend money and how much you spend.  All of this happens with money management and financial organizing. Try one of these five tips to get started organizing your finances.


Creating a money mindset

Perhaps as an adult with ADHD, disconnected utilities, insufficient funds, late payments, and unpaid bills even with enough money in the bank may be constant struggles for you. Fear and overwhelm might create a roadblock in working on or organizing your finances. Getting organized is the first step to realizing your financial goals. These goals can be attained by a working knowledge of your finances. You can set short and long-term goals by writing these down and analyzing how to achieve these.  Set aside time each week to be aware and learn about your finances. Be specific about your goals and use these as your “why” to get organized. Share your responsibilities with a partner to work as a team.  A money mindset gives you a sense of accomplishment and command over your fears.


The Power of One

Keep a list of all your accounts. That includes bank accounts, credit cards, lines of credit, and credit unions. Many of us are unaware of just how many places have our money. From this list you can pare down to single accounts to work with and use.

As in all organizing, you want to be able to find what you have! Having just one checking account is the way to know how and where you are spending it! Having one credit card not only simplifies paying the bill during the month, it also makes you most aware of where your money is going. If you are a small business owner, you should also have one credit card and one checking account for your company. Simplifying our connection to money can make all the difference. There is a lot less paper coming in as a result too!


Capture the details

Writing down how and where you spend money is an enlightening experience! Just like those food logs that scare us into a lifestyle change, we can do the same for money. Keep a log of EACH item you purchase in a month. Not only will you realistically know what things cost to create a realistic budget, you will also know just how many times you are using money for “wants” rather than “needs”.


Ledgers can make a difference for us in keeping track of and being accountable for our funds. Use your check register all the time to record checks and debit card transactions as these occur. For bill paying, keep a ledger to record your payments to utilities, credit cards, and other monthly expenses. This way you see what each bill is each month, compare the expenses of the bill each month, and be sure you paid it each month. Seeing it on paper makes money not only a currency traded but also an effective way to track your financial goals. You can also use Quicken and budgeting apps to record the payments to see annually what your expenses are and to help balance your checking account each month.


Apps like Quicken, You Need A Budget (YNAB), and Simplifi help you automate the process of gathering information. Track your spending by assigning categories and tags to transactions, and then generate reports to show where your money is going. This can help you identify areas where you might be overspending, and prioritize your spending to cut back on unnecessary expenses. It can also help you stay on track with your budget and financial goals. Set up the system and then set a monthly time to review the reports. 


Automate your money management to accomplish your goals

Good routines reinforce your plan. You hear it all the time: “Pay yourself first!” Set up an automatic payment from you to your savings account. It is the most painless way to get ahead on your savings. Having trouble paying your bills on time? Set up automated payments to get this done timely. You can use auto debit from your bank account or a credit card. You will still need to keep up to date on what is being paid and to whom, but the process can make a difference in getting the job done. Finish bill paying by filing all receipts into an easy access file or notebook. Automation can give you visual tools to help you see your finances.  Charts for bill paying, categorized payments, debt tracking and financial goals help you see where your money is going and where you can change your behaviors.


Routines reinforce your priorities

Even with automation, you need solid routines to be sure you stay on track. A monthly money meeting with yourself and your partner insures your bills are being paid and you further strategize on how you are spending money. Set this date and make it fun by meeting at a coffee house, having a special treat, and keeping the meeting short.  At that meeting review your bills and see what goals you are accomplishing. Set goals for the next quarter and the year. These meetings give you knowledge and opportunity to drive your success.


Get started where you have the most questions about your money. Wondering where you spend your money all month? You can start with an expense tracker app like Mint.com to automate and then review your spending. Want to be able to pay your bills on time online? Set up your bank account app for automatic bill pay. Looking ahead to save more? Automate your savings plan.  If you are struggling in this area, meet with a money manager or certified financial planner to help as your guide. Once you start, you will feel comfortable spending more time on your finances.

Natural Disaster Guide: Be Prepared and Organized After a Natural Disaster

disaster guide


Houston had a terrifying natural disaster last week, on a day that seemed like a regular day with lots of weather. That followed an emergency just 2 weeks before from another weather alert. Emergency preparedness is no joke all year long, not only during Hurricane Season. We have lots of lists of how to be prepared for an emergency. What do we do after that emergency happens?

Preparing a disaster kit

A disaster kit can be useful no matter what situation occurs. The kit contents can be stored in a water-tight bin. Being organized with your kit gives you peace of mind in the event of a difficult situation.  The best case is to gather the supplies this week and review the contents once a year. The American Red Cross recommends you have the following basic supplies in your kit however you may want to add more items depending on your home and your situation.


Contacting others

We are all in contact with our families. However, during an emergency, keep in contact as much as possible. Gather your neighbors’ contact information and keep everyone’s information on your cell phone. Group text streams and social media are reliable, although family members are eager to hear your voice with a phone call. You can share on a family text thread on text to share news and updates. Staying in contact keeps everyone aware of what’s happening.


Contacting the appropriate agencies and insurance people after a natural disaster

Be organized with the insurance company app on your devices. It lists important numbers, ways to connect online, and details of your coverage. Get in touch with your own insurance company right away to make a claim. Inspect your home for structural damage, gas leaks, water damage, or electrical issues. Be sure it is safe to re-enter if you have evacuated. Document the damage with photos, videos, and detailed notes for insurance claims. Save all insurance information digitally for documentation and follow-up. You can seek disaster assistance from local, state, and federal agencies such as FEMA. Visit the FEMA website or call the FEMA helpline at 1-800-621-3362 (TTY 1-800-462-7585). Complete the online application form with details about the damage incurred. It is going to take time. The disaster recovery process involves a series of coordinated steps to help individuals and communities return to normalcy after a disaster.

Supporting others during a disaster

Houston is a major city where sections of the city may not be equally affected by a natural disaster. There are ways you can support others during a natural disaster. Offer your home as temporary shelter if it’s safe and you have the space. Share resources like food, water, blankets, and first aid supplies with those in need. Ensure your neighbors, especially the elderly, are safe and have what they need. Maintain a calm and positive outlook to help reduce anxiety and panic among those around you. Equally important is support for your mental health during a crisis.


Stay informed

Be prepared with the necessary items to stay informed from local television and radio stations. A battery-operated or hand-crank radio is invaluable in an emergency. Keep portable power banks charged and ready to recharge your mobile devices. Solar chargers are another option for keeping devices charged when conventional power sources are unavailable. Portable generators can keep your refrigerator running for days. Disasters unfold over days. Be alert and continue listening to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay updated. Ongoing information about the situation will help you stay on track in your response.


Take care of yourself

Stressful times require extra self-care. Be sure to keep your routines of meals and bedtimes as rituals as much as possible. Accept help as it is offered with the idea of paying things forward later. With more rest, nutrition, and hydration, you will be more resilient.


We are here to support each other during emergencies. Keep this list where you can find it for reference if needed. A plan is priceless when emergencies happen.


How to End the School Year Strong

end the school year


The end of the school year is a whirlwind of activities, fun, and stuff. With more activities going on, more fun being had, and more stuff coming in from school, we feel overwhelmed with organizing.  It takes a new mindset for transition and new strategies to reset your space. Check out these three tips to end the school year strong.

Create a mindset focusing on transition and reset

The month of May is just like the month of December with so much to do. Summer activity has already started with the swim team, holidays, and kids at home. Have a mindset of resetting between the busy school year and the upcoming summer fun. Set aside 2 or 3 days to transition between school ending and summer officially starting. That is when you have several days to reset with relaxation. Return to your regular bedtime and regain your momentum. Your energy will return after a few days to have the brain power to reset your home.


Wrap up end of the school year or spring projects

The last 10% of any project is the hardest part. That includes wrapping up the school year or spring projects you have started. Returning items to Amazon or other retailers, pulling together or discarding remnants of a project, or reviewing paperwork might be the last 10% of the project. During this time focus on straightening up the space and letting go of extra stuff that has accumulated through the spring.


Take time for gratitude and reflection

In busy times we often forget that time spent in gratitude and reflection yields big learning moments. During the last week of school, set aside time to write a note to those who have been a part of the school year and share what has been most valuable. Others are grateful for your sharing what meant the most to you. In a week or so after school ends, sit together during a family dinner and talk about the year.

  • What hard things did you do or learn?
  • What motivated you the most?
  • What was the best thing that happened?

These times of reflection will build positivity, resilience, and strength for you and your family.

Create an end-of-spring ritual for yourself

If you are beyond school years, it is also a time to reflect on goals. Too often time and seasons pass quickly. A quarterly time for reflection uplifts you and resets where you are in accomplishing your personal and professional goals.