Saturday, February 25, 2017

3 Little Ways to Live a (Slightly) Minimalist Lifestyle

Minimalism is very attractive to me. Living a life with less stuff to take care of and clean and more time and money to go out and do things sounds amazing. While my mom and grandma complain that I don't have enough decorations and stuff in my apartment, I would love to live a much more minimalist lifestyle, because really I hoard stationary and have a bunch of "memory boxes" filled with random things I should just get rid of. But that's why we need to just start small! So here are a few tips (for you and me) to be a bit more minimalist.

3 little tips to help you live happily with less stuff


Get rid of things you don't use.

I'm pretty sure we're all guilty of having boxes upon boxes of things we just don't use. That's why sometimes it's a good idea to just have a good clear out! You can do your whole apartment in a weekend if you're feeling ambitious, otherwise just do it one area or room at a time. I have my 2 storage closets at the top of my list and then I'll work my way through the rest of my place slowly, but surely.

"Your home is living space, not storage space." - Francine Jay


When getting rid of things, it's a good idea to ask yourself when you last used the item, how useful it is, and if you could live without it. With clothes I also check to make sure it looks good on me and that I feel comfortable in it. If it doesn't fit right and I don't like wearing it, there's no point keeping it in my closet.

Also think about what you'll do with the stuff that's still in good condition. Will you donate it, give it to a friend, or sell it? There's lots of options!

Be picky about what you buy.

It's easy to just go to the store and put everything in your cart (or at least it can be for me!), so you need to switch your mindset a bit when shopping. Have a shopping list in mind or written out on paper or your phone. If you don't have a list or find something that you wasn't on the list, ask yourself if you need it, what you'll use it for, and where you'll keep it. If you don't need it, don't have a realistic answer for when you'll use it, or don't have a spot where you'll keep it, pass on getting it. It can seem heartbreaking in the moment, but you'll probably have completely forgotten about it by the end of the day.

"It's not a good deal if you don't need it."


By being picky about what you buy, you don't have to get rid of stuff as often and you'll only have things you love in your home and closet. It does make life much easier and happier.


Use what you have.

When you have something you want or need, see if there's a way you can make it yourself or use what you have to create something similar. Whether it's a DIY art print to hang on the walls using a canvas you've had sitting around for months or creating an outfit similar to one you found on Instagram with clothes you already have in your closet, using what you have prevents you from spending more money and utilizes what you've already purchased.

"Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Theodore Roosevelt


This requires a little bit of creativity, but if you're like me you'll be amazed at all the things you have hidden away - even after getting rid of stuff.


If you're looking for more ideas I have a whole board on Pinterest dedicated to minimalism and I'm adding to it all the time. You can check out my minimalism board here.

Do you do these little things? Do you live or try to live a minimalist lifestyle? Let me know in the comments!




Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Must Have Bullet Journal Lists

I love making lists and I write the majority of my lists in my bullet journal. I always love hearing what people keep track of in their bullet journals, so I thought I'd share what I keep track of in my bullet journal, and maybe even give you some ideas of how to use your bullet journal.


5 lists I have to have in my bullet journal

Books to Read

If you're a book lover like I am, this is an absolute must. I have a list of all the books I want to read and add to it whenever I read a good book review or see an interesting looking book at the store. I also add the date I finished reading the book next to the title so I can look back at what books I read and when.


Usernames and Passwords

I forget my passwords all the time. I probably wouldn't be able to log into anything without keeping this list in my bullet journal. I refer to it all the time and I know when I switch over to a new journal it's time to update my passwords.


Habit Tracker

I come and go with these, but they are SO helpful! I add these to my monthly spreads from time to time and pick 5-10 habits I want to do every day or every other day like drinking 4+ glasses of water, going for a walk, reading for 30 minutes, taking vitamins, making the bed, or watering plants. Having a place to keep track of if you're doing these tasks and how often is a great way to see how well you're doing with your goals and habits.


Yearly Memories

I tried doing monthly memories for a while, but it always failed as I only had one or two big things that I really wanted to remember. So last year I started a 2016 memories page and I loved adding to it each month and being able to look back on it. I'm doing it again this year and I can't wait to be able to see all the amazing things that will happen this year!


Brain Dumps

This is probably the most helpful list for me to make. It helps me to not feel so stressed or overwhelmed when life gets crazy or I just have a lot to do over the weekend. You can simply list out every single thing you need/want to do or break it into categories (which is what I tend to do). When you write these out though, remember that you will not be able to get everything crossed off in one day. I just add them to my daily to do list throughout the week and tick off extra items when I have time.


Those are my must have lists for my bullet journal. Let me know in the comments if you keep the same lists or if you're going to add it to your bullet journal.





Saturday, February 18, 2017

My Top Tips for Writing Blog Posts

With running a blog one of your main jobs is to write blog posts. Contrary to what some people may think, blog posts do not just write themselves and most bloggers put a lot of time and effort into writing their posts. From coming up with post ideas, thinking of ways to make the post you're writing unique to other posts on your blog and on the internet, actually writing the post, and editing - here are a few of my top tips for writing blog posts.


7 tips to help you write your best blog post ever


Brainstorm post ideas often.

It's much easier to put out new posts regularly when you have a lot of different post ideas to choose from. I keep a running list of post ideas on my phone that I add to whenever an idea pops into my head and about once a month I try to sit down with my notebook and brainstorm as many post ideas as I can. Whenever I'm not sure what to write, I check my list for ideas and choose whichever post idea I'm most interested in writing. 


Keep a content calendar.

I like planning my posts out, although at the moment I pretty much plan a week in advance as I do most of my writing over the weekend. However whether your planning 2 months in advance or adding them to your calendar after you post, having a content calendar helps you to see if you're repeating the same topics too often and how often you're posting. It also helps if you want to write seasonal content as you can see when holidays are coming up!


Write posts that you would want to read.

If I was to choose the BEST advice I've ever been given for blogging it would be this: write about what you would want to read. If you're not interested in it, why are you writing about it? If you wouldn't read it, why do you expect others to? If you're interested in and excited about what you're writing it will show and chances are other people will be interested in it, too. If nothing else, you'll be creating content you can be proud of.


Outline your posts before writing.

This is something that's often overlooked when writing, but it's so important. It doesn't have to be an elaborate outline by any means. For this post I wrote my intro and then outlined the posts by putting in the headings. This keeps the post organized, and prevents me from just repeating myself over and over again.


Add a piece of yourself.

Whether it be your sense of humor, stories of your personal experiences, or even just those random words you like to use it's so important to include a piece of yourself in your writing. Doing this ensures that your post will be different from other bloggers'. I know sometimes it seems like we're all writing the same things, but the reason why I'll click on just about anyone's blogging tips, room tour, or bullet journal post is because I want to see what their take on it is, what they've learned, and what they've done differently. Include a bit of yourself in each post and it's guaranteed to be unique.


Don't copy other blogs.

Hopefully this seems like an obvious point, but do NOT copy other people's blogs! It's totally fine to get inspiration from other blogs or sources. Use that inspiration to create your own content and improve your current abilities. It is not cool to copy a whole post from another writer. It will only hurt you, especially when people catch on to what you're doing. If you want to use something from them - maybe a quote or give them credit for your post idea - be sure to let them know (or better yet, ask them if it's okay) via Twitter or email. 


Read through your post before publishing.

I don't stringently edit my posts - this is not my job and generally speaking I'm a decent writer and speller. For me, editing is mostly reading through my posts before publishing. I usually read (and re-read) each paragraph as I write - taking out this sentence, adding in this, deleting a word here or there. Once I'm done I always read through the whole post one time to make sure it flows well, everything goes together, and there's no glaring mistakes.


There you have it, my top tips for writing blog posts from brainstorming to publishing. I hope this helps you. There are times when I struggle with writing and other times where I feel like I could write 10 posts in a day, so don't feel alone if you're having a hard time with it. 

Let me know if these tips are helpful and if you have any other tips for writing in the comments!





Tuesday, February 14, 2017

40 Things To Do When You're Stuck Inside

It seems like we're always stuck inside in winter and on all those rainy days that come with spring. Since I'm super busy with work at the moment, I don't get too bored, but I still end up finding myself doing the same things. So I thought I'd make a list of 40 things to do when stuck inside.

Bored? Here's 40 Things You Can Do Inside

  1. Read a book.
  2. Try a new recipe.
  3. Bake cookies or brownies.
  4. Watch a new movie.
  5. Re-watch a movie you haven't seen in awhile. 
  6. See what's new on YouTube.
  7. Make your own video.
  8. Draw.
  9. Paint or watercolor.
  10. Color an adult coloring page or two.
  11. Decorate/design pages in your bullet journal or planner.
  12. Try a Pinterest DIY.
  13. Paint your nails.
  14. Try a new hairstyle.
  15. Experiment with makeup looks.
  16. Give yourself an at-home facial.
  17. Put together new outfits from what's in your closet.
  18. Make the perfect playlist.
  19. Listen to old bands/throwback music.
  20. Give your place a good cleaning.
  21. Organize that closet you've been meaning to organize forever.
  22. Edit your wardrobe.
  23. Research a topic that interests you.
  24. Catch up on the news.
  25. Learn a new language.
  26. Call a friend just to chat.
  27. Call a family member you haven't talked to in a while.
  28. Write a short story or poem.
  29. Practice yoga.
  30. Find a workout video on YouTube to do. I like blogilates.
  31. Catch up on your favorite blogs.
  32. Discover new blogs through hashtags, recommendations, or exploring on Bloglovin.
  33. Schedule social media posts.
  34. Update old blog posts.
  35. Promote old blog posts on social media.
  36. Learn a new skill to improve your blog.
  37. Respond to comments.
  38. Experiment with photography.
  39. Take stock photos for your blog.
  40. If you don't have a blog, start one. I have a step by step guide to starting your own blog here.


Hopefully this list helps you do a few different things to break up the monotony of winter. Let me know in the comments what you like to do when you're stuck inside.




Saturday, February 11, 2017

Albuquerque Photo Diary

When my family went to the Grand Canyon in December, we drove all the way there! We made a stop in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We visited Albuquerque Old Town which has a lot of buildings from the original Spanish settlers who moved there. It is a really cool area with lots of shops. Of course I had to take a billion pictures so I thought I'd share a few of them here!


Photo diary of Old Town Albuquerque in Albuquerque, New Mexico


A lot of the buildings are adobe with blue accents, like this building. I love the colors together.




In the center of the plaza is the San Felipe de Neri church. It's the oldest church in Albuquerque and has been in use since 1706. It's gorgeous both outside and inside.



This was one of my favorite shops. The peppers hanging, the pottery and Dia de los Muertos stuff in the windows - it was perfect. I loved it.



I also loved all the cactuses.



I hope you enjoyed this post. It's the last of my photos from the trip so now I'll have to find other ways to relive it. Tell me, have you ever been to Albuquerque? Is it on your list of places to visit? Let me know in the comments!





Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Day in my Life

I know we all love being nosy, so I thought I'd share a day in my life. I didn't edit the photos, so don't be surprised by the less than Pinterest-worthy photos - buy hey, that's real life!


Take a look at a day in my life and get a glimpse at what it's like to be a teacher!


5 am  

My alarm goes off. I usually turn it off and then go back to sleep until the lights in my room turn on a few minutes later. I have them on a timer and it makes it so much easier to wake up.




5:13 am 

I get up and start my day. I turn the TV on in my living room so I can listen/watch the news as I get ready. I brush my teeth, get dressed, and then do my hair and make-up.

5:47 am

I pack my lunch and fill up a mug with ice and water for the day.

5:51 am

Time for breakfast! I almost always eat a bowl of cereal while watching the news and scrolling through Twitter or Instagram.




6:25 am

Leave for work. I have an hour long commute at the moment. I usually listen to the radio on my drive, but sometimes I listen to one of my playlists on Spotify or an audiobook on Audible.

7:20 am

Arrive at work. I head to my classroom and get my class set up for the day. This usually involves turning on my computer and projector, pulling up the tabs I'll need open on my laptop, and doing a little organizing.

8 am

Students start coming in and my first class starts at 8:10 am.

9 am

It's my plan so I usually grading, making materials for upcoming lessons, or making copies.




9:50 am

Back to teaching. I have 2 periods back to back of Spanish II and then I have an exploratory Spanish class with 8th graders (basically a quarter long introduction of Spanish).

11:54 am

Time for lunch! I eat with a few other teachers in one of the lounges.

12:21 pm

I go back to my classroom and teach another exploratory Spanish class, a study hall, and one more Spanish II class.

3:17 pm

Students leave for the day. I get my class ready for the next day by going over my plan for the next day, writing up the schedule and date on the white board, organize the papers and supplies I'll need for the next day and doing any other little bits to have as much set up for the next day as possible. Today I hung up some conversation hearts I had my students make while studying holidays in Spanish speaking countries.

4:21 pm

I head back home. I try to leave work at 4 pm, but it doesn't always happen!

5:25 pm

I stop at the grocery store for a few things on the way home.

5:41 pm

Finally back home! I put my stuff down and then my best friend always calls at 5:45 while she's on break at work (she works nights).




6 pm

Shower and change into pajamas.

6:20 pm

Turn on Netflix - lately I've been watching Criminal Minds - cook dinner, and eat.

7 pm

I get on my laptop and either work or blog. Since it's my first semester teaching, there's a lot of things I need to work on. I try not to let it take over my life though! Usually I edit photos, draft posts, or read other blogs while watching Netflix in the evenings.

8:17 pm

Bed time! One last scroll through social media before I close my eyes and go to sleep.


That's one day in my life! Nothing too exciting, but these are always interesting to read since you get a look at what other people's schedules look like. What does your day look like? Is it totally different or similar to mine? Let me know in the comments!



Saturday, February 4, 2017

January Favorites No. 2

The first month of 2017 has come and gone! I can't believe it's already February. 

This month has been pretty crazy, but a good kind of crazy! I graduated from college in December and this month I started my first post-grad job! It was crazy how fast it all happened and I had only a week to get familiar with what I would be teaching and start planning for my first semester as a teacher. Luckily it's been a pretty easy transition and I'm loving it. Hopefully this job works out and I'll be able to stay on next year - fingers crossed! 

I've also been thinking a lot about how much better I feel mentally. If you've been reading for a while you might have noticed that I was feeling overwhelmed all fall and my depression was getting the best of me. It was not a good time for me. In December I finally went to the doctor to talk about my medication and I'm not sure if it's the change in medication, finally being done with classwork, or feeling like I have my life together now that I have a job but I am feeling a thousand times better! It's probably a combination of all those things and I'm so happy that I finally went to the doctor after months of putting it off and that the rest was able to happen. 


A few of my favorite things from January


Netflix

I have been all about the historical dramas this month. I watched two - Versailles and The Last Kingdom. I started The Last Kingdom since I really like History channel's Vikings series and this show was also about Vikings. This show is quite different though since (spoiler alert) it's about an English boy who is taken captive by Vikings and lives with them until his adoptive family is murdered. He then goes on a journey to achieve power with the English, using his knowledge of Vikings to his advantage. Pretty interesting! 

Versailles is how I filled my life with French court after I finished Reign (can't wait for the new season to start soon!). I was interested in the show anyway since it's about one of the most famous kings of France (Louis XIV) and it didn't hurt that George Blagden - who was one of my favorite characters on Vikings - plays him in this series. I really liked the series and thought the characters were really good. 


DVD/TV Series

In addition to those historical dramas on Netflix, I got hooked on another - Downton Abbey! My mom got into the series earlier this month and I ended up watching a few episodes with her. I was quickly addicted to the show! I had heard a lot about Downton Abbey (who hasn't?) but never watched it since I didn't get the channel it was on. Now I know what I was missing! Luckily my mom bought the whole series on DVD so I'm working my way through the series. I'm on season 2 now and have to restrict myself to only watching it on the weekends since I cannot stop myself from watching the next episode!


Food

No bake cookies. My great aunt used to make these so my family has a really good recipe for these. Even better - my mom has been making them and then giving me a container of them each time she makes them (twice in January - I'm so spoiled) so I can enjoy them, too. They're so good and chocolaty!


Memories

- Starting my first post-grad job. Last month I was thinking I would probably take a job as a para or substituting which I wasn't all that excited about. I cannot tell you how happy I am that it worked out for me to get a job teaching what I love in my own classroom each day.
- Getting a new phone. Since I now have a full time job I could finally afford to buy a new phone. I upgraded from an iPhone 4 (yes, I still had one) to a Galaxy S7. I LOVE my new phone! I have so much storage and the photos I take on it are amazing.


This month's favorites are a bit short, but I'm wanting to get back into this series. We'll have to see what favorites come in February!