Sunday, January 31, 2016

Book Club: January 2016

Hello Loves,

First month of the year!! I'm looking forward to it being an amazing year. I really wanted to keep reading and hopefully finishing my reading list for the 101 in 1001. I have less than 30 books left on my list so with a little extra push I will be able to finish it this year!! I'll need to do a little extra reading these months so I'll definitely have to schedule in more reading time.

The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton
I really liked this book. It is a classic and for a very god reason. The story is really fun to read and I found myself becoming apart of the story. It is really great. I would recommend reading it to anyone that is interested!

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
This book reminded Amy Poehler's Yes Please that I read last month. It was really funny and a great, easy read. She makes the whole story very conversational, peppered with anecdotes. I wasn't entirely sure if I was going to like it, I was pleasantly surprised with the whole book. I guess she's not as overrated as I thought.

What are you reading?

Monday, January 25, 2016

How To Get A Better Night's Sleep

Hello Loves!

I don't know about you but all the excitement and business of the holidays leaves me more tired that when I first started break. College is exhausting and getting the proper amount of restful sleep is super important. Its so important to go into the new semester not feeling "burned out" from the holidays. While it's necessary to carve out those 8 hours for proper rest, what we do before best is just as important (if not more) to ensure a restful night sleep.

As a college girl it is important that week keep our sleep as top priority. Good sleep means good health, happier mood, better immune system, more productivity, more alert, and even better grades! I wanted to share some tips that will help you get into a healthy routine and allow you to experience a better night's sleep in the new year.

one// Cut off caffeine
Caffeine is a great things to turn for a pick me up in the morning. The trick is to get the pick me up earlier in the day then cut yourself off around 3 pm. I have a strict no coffee after 4pm rule, if not I'm all night and I won't get restful sleep. If you are more sensitive to caffeine you may want to limit yourself to one cup of coffee a day or even limit the time line. Be aware of other foods and drinks that contain caffeine. 

two// Limit liquids before bed
Staying properly hydrated throughout the day is essential! 8-10 eight ounce glasses of water ware what you want to aim for. However, if you tend to eat and drink late at night there's a greater chance you'll be woken up in the middle of the night with a full bladder or have a hard time falling asleep. You want to aim for finishing your last glass of water/beverage 2 hours before heading to bed.

three// Take a relaxing bath
This is probably the most obvious and time tested suggestion. Hot water relaxes our muscles and provides a more drowsy state. To maximize this time in the tub opt for epsom salts. A good soak for 20-30 mins coupled with a book in bed for 15 minutes afterward always does the trick.

four// Read a book
In an age where everything is digital even our books are on our electronic devices. I am a huge fan of turning the page and smelling a real book. Its important to take a break from the EMF radiation and bright, blue screens and allow our eyes to rest. As you know. I have my monthly book club so this is a great time to read and relax. It's one of my favorite ways to end my day. 

five//Clean sheets
Fresh, warm sheets are my absolute favorite. They are just so cozy!! I know that I normally sleep my best after my sheets have been recently cleaned. Not only do I sleep better but my skin is clearer. You want to try to clean and switch out your sheets about every other week or more if you sweat more. Cotton sheets are best for breathability.

six// Daily exercise
This seems to be a constant piece of advice. Clearly, it must be important! There are many reasons that exercise actually helps you sleep better: the exertion of energy, stretching helps with muscle tightness and stiffness. All of this can make a noticeable difference in how you feel at night. That's why it is recommended to stretch every morning and every night getting in and out of bed. 

seven// Sleepy time tea
Earlier I mentioned not drinking 2 hours before bed, however if you have a hard time getting to bed you can always switch out that last drink for some non-caffeinated herbal tea designated to help you relax. Chamomile is a go-to for many. There are many different teas to choose from: night night tea, relax tea, night time tea, and bedtime tea.

eight//The dark side
The primary reason people don't get good sleep is the light. It disturbs the body's natural biological clock and circadian rhythms as well as affect our melatonin levels. To fix this issue try to get blackout curtains. If you cannot get those try to get an eye mask. Unplug or cover the display of any devices that emit light. Some people also opt for some ear plugs if they are particularly light sleepers.
nine// Right temperature
This one is different for everyone. Some people (like me) get really cold in their sleep and need to keep the room on the warmer side, other people like it much much colder. Normally, they say to keep your room cold and invest in a warm duvet. Having warm blankets, allows you to control your warmth.

Sleep Well

Friday, January 22, 2016

How to Break Your Digital Addiction

Hello Loves!!

Since its the new year and its time for resolutions I wanted to touch on something that affects all our lives: TECHNOLOGY!!! I know I'm not the only one that finds themselves constantly checking their phone and all the social media. I feel like I NEED to be constantly connected to people, ignoring the people that are sitting right in front of me. For the past couple of months, I have noticed this more and more and I have decided to more deliberately put down my phone and be in the moment. It is probably one of the harder things that I've had to do.

Its insane to think that we have all become those people that text and scroll aimlessly through their phones even while hanging out with friends. Sometimes I feel like I just need a break from the constant updates, texts, snaps, messages, and likes. I feel pulled in a million directions and incredibly distracted. I think especially with the new year its a great time to kick our addiction!

No phones with family and friends
This is probably the most important one to me. I hate that I scroll through Facebook while a friend is telling me a story or that I am not completely present in a situation because I'm looking at a screen. I think its so important to be in the moment. These are the memories you don't want to forget! For starters I'd say no phones during meals. I'm stealing that rule from my mom. We were never allowed to use our phones during dinner and it always made family dinners more fun and memorable. So put that phone down and enjoy!

"do not disturb mode"
I'm a huge advocate for keeping my phone on do not disturb. I always put it in that mode while in class then I just translated that to keeping it on do not disturb for the rest of the day and I was on my phone so much less! There's something about the fact that my phone screen doesn't light up that sort of makes me forget I even have a phone. It has been great.

Have a digital detox day
Choose a day, afternoon, weekend, whatever you want and power down. Turn it off and walk away. Its such a relief to read a book, go for a walk, or anything else without your phone or laptop. Its great to not have a schedule to look at or to follow, you can just slow down and enjoy the world around you. You may even see and experience brand new things. Don't get me wrong completely shutting down like this is not easy, but it is so worth it! So pick up that book and enjoy!

What other tricks do you have?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Coconut Oil {Dry Elbows}

Hello Loves,

There are many uses for Coconut Oil and this one is probably the most important one for me! My elbows are always soooo dry. I don't really know why they're always dry or if its a normal thing that occurs, but it happens to me so when I found out that coconut oil could be used to alleviate my "condition" I had to try it out. So far I must say, I am not disappointed in anything that coconut oil has to offer! It has delivered in everything and more. It really is a multipurpose, solution to everything!

Elbows are the hardest places to keep soft. By rubbing some coconut oil onto them each morning and night it helps them stay soft. For a while in the beginning-- and I do mean a couple of weeks-- your elbows will feel a little slippery until your skin softens enough to actually start absorbing the moisture from the oil. You'll need to find your happy medium for absorption and no slipperiness (this is the weirdest sentence I've ever written!)

How do you use coconut oil?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Sticking To A Morning Routine

Hello Loves!

The way you start your day sets the tone for the entire day. Think about your days from snoozing seventy times to rushing around like a mad person, or laying in bed scrolling through facebook, instagram, emails, snaps, and even countless texts. That's basically me every morning and it's time for a change.

Many different people have been coming up with more ideas on how to fix morning routines so that they are more conducive to a happier day. I've been trying a couple of new things for the mornings. I am trying to up my morning game in 2016!

I am trying to cut out my phone all together. No emails. No social media. No texts. No calls. No Surfing. No Snapchatting,  It is incredibly hard. Its almost a full hour digital detox every morning. This way I can have breakfast, mediate, and get reading before diving into the digital, fasted paced day.

It is HARD. It's tremendously hard to turn off my alarm and see all the notifications pile up on my homescreen. Its so tempting to check Facebook and answer all the other things. I occasionally wonder if there's something urgent that needs my attention. But its slow and peaceful and its my time. Because there is never something that important. Not a single problem has arisen that cannot be taken care of at a later time.

If all of this sounds like (which it does to me), here are some ideas to get your routine started:

Ask yourself how you want to feel
In order to find the right ritual for you, you need to ask yourself  "how do I want my morning to feel?" It its currently crazed and stressful and you want to feel calm, add one thing into your morning that is soft and slow like hot tea on the couch or a stretch sequence by your bed. I personally love doing yoga in the morning. If you need to pump some strong energy into your day; try a 10 minute workout plan before hopping into the shower. Your morning sets your tone so figure out what you need each day.

Move your phone
I have been doing this for years and it has saved my sleep! Move it so that you're not scrolling until way too late. I put my phone on "do nut disturb" and forget it even exists. The great thing is that since its far I need to get out of bed in order to turn off the alarm I have to get out of bed so that I don't fall asleep again by accident.

Start small
It is really difficult to start making your routine, so don't expect it to come together magically in one go. For me it started by moving my phone away from me and I'm slowly trying to shape my routine from there. Some days are a bit speedier than other depending on whats going on which makes my routine feel a lot more fluid. When it comes to your golden morning routine that you can keep up, start small and build onto it.

What does your routine look like?

Friday, January 15, 2016

Easy Way To Keep Up With The News

Hello Loves!!

I have the hardest time keeping up with the news! Sometimes I don't like keeping up because it seems like everything is horrible and there is just so much thrown at you at one time. But I do realize how important it is to stay up to date with major events happening around me. That is why for New Years I decided that I wanted to keep up with the news.

It is increasingly important to stay up to date with the things that are happening around you, especially since it is an election year this year!! It is particularly difficult as a college student since you are being pulled in every which direction and have very little time for everything, but like all important things we must make time for them.

I've talked to several friends to see how they keep up with the news. My sister subscribes to the Skimm so do a bunch of my other friends. I know a couple of people that subscribe to different news channels or like me have different apps that have the notifications with breaking news.

theSkimm// a lot of my friends are signed up for this one. Its really great because it sends you an email summary at 6am. This is a great option to quickly catch up on your daily news. They always have the funniest subject lines.

Quartz// This one is pretty similar to Skimm except it's more serious. It gives you the summary of what's going on by email. It focuses more on finance and money related current events. It also has some great links to other articles.

Need 2 Know// Similar to Skimm this one mixes humor with current events. Its great because it numbers off the current events with a small explanation underneath. Its also great because it covers a wide variety of current events from sports to technology to politics.

Tweetbot// This one is great for your phone. It is a customizable twitter. You can follow all sorts of news handles on your twitter and have them all in one tab that you can read when you want. This is helpful because they don't clog up your feed and they are updated regularly.

How do you keep up?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Last Spring Recruitment

Hello Loves,

This past week my sorority underwent recruitment. It was a crazy week from Sunday to Bid day. We had such a fun time. I really loved being involved in my last year of recruitment and leaving my legacy in terms of new members. I think they will be an amazing new class. Now my glittle is on the hunt for her own little so our little family can get a little bigger and more perfect. I'm so excited for what this semester will bring and all the fun times with my new sisters!!

Day 1: Kate Spade themed!! Picture yourself in Chi Omega

Day 2: Philanthropy. Make-A-Wish and all the other amazing things my sisters do

Day 3: Garden Party or family night. The whole room was an amazing flower garden

Pref night <3 p="">

Bid Day with my GLittle <3 p="">
Look at all these beautiful new Hooties

My two rush crushes went ChiO so you could say it was an amazing recruitment. I can't wait for Big Little week to see who joins my family. This was an amazing last recruitment and I know I couldn't have done it without my sisters and all their supporting words of encouragement especially on 3 hours of sleep most night.

Did you recruit?

Monday, January 11, 2016

Coconut Oil {Bags-Be-Gone}

Hello Loves,
So far we have explored many different uses for Coconut Oil. I am really loving trying these out. This next one is one that I'm a huge fan of because I have those worst under eye bags. I have been trying this one out for a while! Try them out with me.

Every night, rub a little bit of coconut oil under your eyes to reduce puffiness and dark bags in the morning. This one was a G-d send during finals time!!! It actually helps reduce the puffiness so much. Some nights I feel like I woke up from a fight or something and it hasn't happened with this coconut oil remedy.
How do you use coconut oil?

Friday, January 8, 2016

Can Knot Knit Enough

Hello Loves,

I love to knit!! It is a great old lady habit of mine. Apparently I'm not the only one that likes to knit! My sorority is making a knitting group. I so appreciate that I'm not alone in this. I recently finished a blanket. Then I knit and unknit a blanket and scarf about a million times (just call me Penelope). Since the scarf wasn't working out, I will be attempting a sweater next.

This is the blanket that I just finished. I turned out so cool! I'm very proud of it. It turned out so warm and soft. My grandma has a million different balls of yarn and all sorts of knitting supplies. So I used her supplies and a bunch of different colors to make the blanket. I lucked out and had enough to actually make a pattern. Later on I will definitely be knitting a mermaid tail!

What should I knit next?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Coconut Oil {Bath Oil}

Hello Loves,

Coconut Oil uses are so many!! There are so many different things that we have already talked about. This one is a personal favorite of mine because I love baths. I love being able to soak and let all my troubles melt away and also read a book or just enjoy relaxing music after a long, hard day.

Fill your bathtub with hot (or warm) water to your liking then add a spoonful of coconut oil to your bath. Swish the water around gently and swirl it until it gets dissolved in the water. It has a lovely aroma and it will naturally coat your skin, leaving it smooth and healthy. It will soften your bath water and skin, its pretty awesome!

What do you use coconut oil for?

Monday, January 4, 2016

How To Be More Productive

Hello Loves,

As the new year gets started, I think its a perfect time to really dig into our resolutions. It always happens, we make all these resolutions then three days later we forget everything and continue doing what we were before. I think we make resolutions because they are important to us. Its not just about changing who we are but making our lives better. Its hard because usually they are very broad subjects. One of my resolutions is to be more productive. I hope you all join me in attempting to make this year a very productive one!!

Cut out distractions//
Don't need your laptop or phone to study for something? Then don't bring them, put them away and do not touch them. Sometimes it is crucial to have them so put your phone on airplane mode and get an app to shut down the distracting websites so you don't accidentally end up on Facebook. Be aware of yourself and remove anything that deters from your studying.

Workout then study//
Studying after a long day of school or work is the last thing you want to do, it's exhausting and not usually fun. Working out is a great way to clear your head before diving into study mode. It also helps re-energize you so you don't need to be chugging coffee just to get through an assignment.

Make a prioritized To-do list and follow it//
 I LOOOOVE to do lists. They make me feel accomplished. Listing off your assignments in order of importance helps you allocate more energy and time to the higher priority assignments. This also allows you to mix in less important or time consuming tasks if you are feeling worn out after a particularly tasking assignment. Its nice to have them all in front of you.

Quit multitasking//
Not all together, just when you are trying to be productive. It is not possible to focus all your energy on being productive if you are being torn in a bunch of directions, and it will inevitable take longer. Limit yourself to one thing at a time so you feel like you're getting more done and you will actually accomplish more in less time.

Have a study snack//
People usually turn to coffee to help them power through the tedious schoolwork and while I do that too there are other ways that don't make us completely reliant on coffee. Healthy brain food can actually be more helpful to studying and being productive than just coffee.

Change your scenery//
While we all have our favorite study spots, it can sometimes bog us down. Just moving seats or going to a different place can completely change your outlook and help you refocus. I know during finals I was overwhelmed and just moving from my favorite seat to the patio outside I was able to relax and refocus.

Listen to classical music//
I hate studying in the quiet. Something about absolute silence agitates me more than it helps me study. Having quiet background music is so helpful! Not having words means you can tune it out no matter what you are studying or doing. I personally love the Pandora Ena station.

Time yourself//
Have you noticed that you are much more productive on a time schedule? So have I! Whenever I have a lot of things to do or I'm on a time schedule I am much more productive. Use this same tactic to your studying. Set a goal and time yourself. Then take a little break and start over!

Ready for a new, productive semester?
How are you more productive?

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!!

Hello Loves,

Another year, time for new resolutions and new outlook on life. New years always bring out the want for a blank slate, a new page, and trying to get better. We are looking forward to get a great new year under way. It is not always easy to keep these in mind when you are trying to get through the year. After some careful consideration I finally decided what I wanted to make my resolutions.

Its really hard to keep up with resolutions like "lose weight" and eventually we all stop even remembering what we made as our resolutions. I wanted to go more abstract in what my resolutions are without a specific "end goal" but more of a lifestyle change. I have many things on my 101 in 1001 days that are aligned with my lifestyle changes so I thought I'd take some of those as my resolutions. It was particularly difficult to choose resolutions this year because as a graduating college senior this year will bring a lot of changes in my life, with that being said here are my resolutions!

- To smile more
- To adventure more
- To share and give more
- Take more photos
- Send more letter
- Become more involved in my church
- Be more grateful
- Acknowledge and accept change
- Be more decisive
- Reach out to friends more regularly
- Be more productive
- Keep up with the news

These are all things that I want to work on for myself and for my life. This year will (hopefully) bring a lot of positive changes into my life and I want to grow along with them. Here's to graduating college, finding a job, traveling and adventuring more, and having a healthy and happy New Year!

Bring on 2016!!
What are you looking forward to this year?