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At Messy Middle Road Trip, we’re always looking for ways to make our day-to-day lives more manageable. Every once in a while, we’ll send you a few ideas and products we love as our own public service announcement. Some of these links are affiliate links, which means we’ll make a small chunk of change if you click through and make a purchase. However, none of the fees of these resources are increased to compensate us, and we only recommend items we like and believe in.

We don’t have any raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens, but here are a few of our favorite things, part one.

Endless Entertainment – Audible Audiobooks

For years, I’d visit the library before long, solo car rides and rent audiobooks on CD to play on the road. The selection was limited and changing CDs while driving dangerous, so I was thrilled when Amazon launched Audible.

Audible has a seemingly endless selection of audio books from your favorite authors and performed by (mostly) fantastic voice artists. Sometimes, I listen while cleaning and the story is so good I keep on cleaning. Now that’s a real endorsement.

How does it work?  Users sign up and buy book credits each month. The number of credits determines the number of books you purchase. When the new credits arrive, pick a book, download it onto your phone or another mp3 player, throw in some earbuds, and enjoy.

I’ve listened to dozens of books on Audible, and most are excellent. Here’s the cool thing, if you start listening and you don’t like the book, or the narrator sounds like a tortured cat, Audible issues a full-credit return, no questions asked.

So, if reading more books is on your 2019 resolution list try Audible (and no, listening to a book isn’t “cheating” according to the Messy Middle Road Trip guide to life). Plus bonus, you get a free book with a one-month trial subscription when you sign up through this link.

All News You Need to Know – theSkimm

Sometimes you find something clearly created for a younger audience, but it’s good, so you say what the heck and sign up anyway. That’s how I feel about theSkimm.

Written in quick, easy snippets, theSkimm daily email newsletter gives you just enough news to know what’s going on, plus a few fun bits to remove the sting from all that bad news. Want to know more about a particular story? theSkimm links to longer content with all the details. It’s free to sign up, and you won’t receive annoying sales emails or other junk.

Tamer of Lions, Tigers, and Frenzy – Taming Frenzy

Not long ago, our friend Shelly Merchant from Taming Frenzy took a spin in the convertible with tips about how to live better with less frenzy. Check out her podcast episode here. Shelley’s like a combination of Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman (a red-headed Texan with a Southern drawl like sweet tea on your front porch) and a more laid-back Marie Kondo (she means business when it comes to organizing, but not so hung up on the “does it give you joy” bit).

She believes once we stop, take a breath, and adopt some of her tips, we’ll have better relationships, more joy in our lives, and time for ourselves. You’ll find a ton of helpful information on her website Taming Frenzy and during her fun live events on Facebook. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and frenzied, Shelley’s got your back.

Downward Dog Do It – Yoga International

Many of our podcast episodes talk about self-care and include ideas to incorporate clean eating and exercise into your life. Recent guest and Holistic Health Coach Karen Bobinski told us, “Motion is lotion to the joints,” and we agree. One great way to include more exercise in your life is yoga.

Even after 5,000 years, yoga continues to find fans because it works. Research shows yoga improves balance, flexibility, strength, pain management, menopausal symptoms, and energy level. Bottom line, yoga might be the cure for what ails you.

Finding a great local studio and attending a live class is best, but sometimes it’s hard to find the time. Yoga International to the rescue. With more than 500 expert teachers and 1,000 yoga classes, you’ll find a teacher and style of yoga to suit your needs and expand your home practice. Classes range from 15 to 120 minutes and are available anywhere you have a mobile device.

Interested in yoga therapy, the anatomy of yoga, Ayurveda, meditation, yin, or restorative yoga? Yoga International has a class to feed your curious mind. The monthly cost is less than most individual yoga class, and they offer a 14-day free trial. Are you ready to get your bend on and add some lotion to your motion?  Start your free trial now.

Who Runs the World? – A Better Social Media Platform – MixR

We came across something new and intriguing out on the webs, and it could be the future of social networks. MixR is the first social network of live communities created and driven by women. Their mission is to empower, “female leadership within local communities to stand up, pursue their passions, drive social change and create a more balanced world.”

Hmmm…interesting.

MixR allows you to create local MixR gatherings easily and use the platform as a way to communicate and engage with your community. Similar to MeetUp, but exclusively for women and free, MixR allows organizers and users to create/find their tribe in the real world, not just online.  

Social media is great, but more of us are looking for real connection in the real world and not just words on a screen. Plus, the online world has created and encouraged the worst kind of ugly, and it’s time for something new. The platform is new and only in the U.S., but the mission is worthwhile and something to keep an eye on.

Eating Healthy Without Having to Sell a Kidney  – Thrive Market

The quality of the food we eat is so important to our health and the health of the planet, but the current system of food production makes unhealthy food cheap and accessible and organic, healthy food expensive and out of reach for many families.

Thrive Market is a membership community that sells healthy food and natural products. How does it work?  Thrive Market takes out the middle-(wo)man and the retail mark up to sell at wholesale prices.  Plus, none of the products sold by Thrive Market have known GMO ingredients, it’s packaging is 100% recyclable, shipping facilities are zero waste, the company seeks out women-owned and carbon neutral companies, AND they sponsor a free membership for a low-income American family for every new membership. Sounds good to us. In fact, Nicole has been using this service for about a year now and the variety of gluten-free, dairy free, grain free products is amazing. Not only do they get delivered to your door but they taste great!

There is a yearly membership cost, but according to Thrive their products are 25-50% below retail, so the average person saves $30 on every order. If you don’t make back your whole membership in savings, Thrive will refund the difference, no questions asked.

Try Thrive Market free for 30 days AND get 25% off your first purchase using this link.

Save the World One Tip at a Time  – Greenily – Your Family Only Greener

The fabulous Pam Mercer from Greenily – Your Family Only Greener hopped in the convertible to help us go green without going extreme. Check out her podcast episode here.

The earth needs help, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the things we SHOULD do to make it better. Pam believes a small shift in perception, a little bit of knowledge, and a few actionable steps will make a big difference in helping the planet. Check out “Do These 5 Simple Things To Be A Green Traveler.” Find her on Facebook for lots of easy green tips for families. Small actions might seem like just a drop in the bucket, but they add up and collectively we a difference.

The Land of Self-Helpery – Books We Love 

Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Alfred a Knopf

Like many women, I faced the uncertainty of midlife with a pile of questions about what to do next. Reading this book changed my thinking about goals and helped me see a path for the future free of mental self-sabotage.

To be honest, I would never have picked this book without a recommendation. The idea of planning my life like a “designer” by “prototyping” different ideas sounded stiff and a little boring. I was wrong.

The book’s most valuable lesson especially for women and our inner perfectionist: Making the “wrong” choices in our life is part of the process, not a failure or even wrong. Your happiness and future prospects aren’t tied to one decision, so lighten up. Try a bunch of different things, abandon what doesn’t work, and try something new. Looking at our lives like designers gives us freedom and the power to plot our course and decide our future. Give it a try.

The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins

A life-changing book for many, this book teaches a simple tactic, the 5-second rule, to better our lives. How many times have you wanted to say or do something and your brain got involved and talked you right out of doing it?  Maybe you wanted to strike up a conversation with a new mom at the playground, or you wanted to share an idea at work but bit your tongue instead. Have you ever made a promise to begin a new diet or exercise plan…tomorrow?

Mel Robbins digs into the brain chemistry involved in moving from thinking of an idea to taking action and how many times we allow ourselves to be sabotaged by self-doubt or excuses. If you are tired of living below your potential or you just need a kick in the butt to do the things you want to accomplish, this book will provide the inspiration to transform your life with courage and confidence. Ms. Robbins helps prove we each have greatness inside of us.

What do you think of our list? Do you have blogs, apps, or products you love and make your life easier? We’d love to hear about it. Tell us in the comments below. Thanks.