Have I told you that we got rid of cable? We tried (and failed) to do this before, but 15 months cable-less, I think we’re over that hiccup. Most days I don’t miss it, but here and there I feel a longing for HGTV. So last time I was at my dad’s I spent a little bit of time on the couch catching up on what I’ve been missing.
Tiny Houses? Cool!
New Property Brothers? Love!
Good Bones? How do I become these women!
No, really. I want to be Mina and Karen. They’re super cool and cute and their designs are awesome. Basically I think their lives look pretty fun and I’m jealous. In fact I was so inspired that I double checked my bank account (still not enough for house flipping) and then settled on creating a mood board on Polyvore.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m available for hire should you need a professional mood board for your next reno. (I’m also available for house flipping, should you have the funds to spare.)
So my neighbors started composting and lucky for me they created a VERY large composting box..which means it’s time to take my recycling and earth-friendly habits to the next level.
To be honest, when they first told me that this box was being created, I didn’t know much about composting. I mean, I knew it cut down on garbage/waste and helped with growing a garden, but that’s kind of sad, basic information, right? After a quick google search I can formally share that “Composting is the transformation of organic material (plant matter) through decomposition into a soil-like material called compost”.
Okay, so how do you do it?
You start by getting yourself a composting bin. My neighbors took care of this for us by making one out of pallets. You can also choose to follow the DIY route, or you can buy one. Then you just start filling it up!
Different websites take different approaches. Some are very methodical (think layering different kind of organic material and putting leaves through a paper shredder), others are a little more natural. We’re heading down that second road, throwing in various items as they become available and taking care of the pile as we go. The big thing to remember of course, is that the point is for this organic material to break down and create this nutrient-rich soil or compost. As we all know, all waste is not created equal and therefore all waste can not just be tossed in your bin.
Here is a quick list of organic materials you can add:
Fruit and veggies
Newspaper (with no color print)
Herbivorous animal waste (no meat eaters, please!)
Things you can NOT add:
Anything with dairy
I also learned that it’s a good idea to keep a healthy mix of the “yes” items above. Most things that I read split this list up into two categories: Green and Brown materials. They break down in different ways and produce different materials. It’s a good idea to water and turn your pile regularly, to keep air flow and discourage any foul odors.
To be honest I’m a little nervous about this endeavor. South Florida is known for an early summer and I’m just going to guess that heat and humidity probably play a rather smelly part in decomposition… sooo wish us luck! If you have tips, please leave them in the comments.. I’m sure I’m going to need them.
A good night’s sleep is sometimes all you need to get your energy levels out of the red zone. Getting enough quality sleep throughout your life is essential for your health. In fact, sleep is so important for your well-being that Amnesty International marked sleep deprivation as a form of torture.
To reach the optimal amount of sleep, you should aim to get around 8 hours of shut-eye per night. Sounds easy, right? What happens when you simply cannot shut your eyes and it is already 3 a.m. and your alarm clock is set to 7 a.m.? Or when you wake up every two or three hours?
There are some ways to fall asleep easier and to sleep better.
Know What to Avoid:
Some things are simply bad for your sleep. Remember when your parents forbade you to eat candies before bedtime? Well, that ban still stands. Also, steer away from caffeine (found in coffee, cola, chocolate and some pain relievers…).
Though it is true that a glass of beer (or any other alcohol) will help you fall asleep faster, it will also work as a stimulant a few hours later and increase the number of awakenings and decrease the overall amount of sleep. Do not eat heavy meals before sleep.
Find Your Peace:
When you go to bed, when everything is quiet and peaceful, your thoughts seem to be the loudest. All of your plans, worries and fears gather together in a single mission to sabotage you. In such moments it would be helpful to find your inner peace so you could shut your eyes and get the necessary rest.
According to many studies, mindfulness meditation focused on breathing can help people who have trouble sleeping. So, before going to bed, take a moment to relax. Choose a calming focus (a sound, your breath, positive word) and let go and relax. Keeping stress at bay on a daily basis will also help you. If you cannot achieve it by yourself, try counseling at a spiritual retreat.
Adapt Your Bedroom:
Your bedroom should be a sleep-inducing environment – dark, quiet and cool. First, you will need to minimize the outside noise. Do that with earplugs or relaxing music. Use heavy curtains to reduce the amount of light or block it with an eye mask. The temperature should be comfortably cool and your bedroom as comfortable as it can be.
Do not go to bed right after a set of stressful and exhausting activities. Instead, take some time to do something to help you ease the transition between wake time and sleep time. Read a few pages of a book, or take a warm bubbly bath. Pour a few drops of lavender oil into your bath and let lavender essential oil permeate the air before going to bed and you will sleep more soundly and wake up more energized, asresearch shows.
Use Tricks and Hacks:
Sometimes no routine helps and you simply need some trick to help you sleep faster. Keep a “worry journal” by your bed and write down whatever is bugging you. Once you unwind, it will be easier to relax.
You can also try to visualize some ideal, calm and sleep-inducing place. Relaxing the muscles throughout the body (progressive muscle relaxation) can help you fall asleep faster, improve sleep quality and reduce fatigue. Have a cup of caffeine-free herbal tea before going to bed or take a calming evening walk. If you aresharing a bed with your partner, cuddle up – it can be more effective than sleeping pills!
As you sleep, your body restores and repairs itself to provide sufficient amount of energy for all the challenges ahead of you. Do your best to enable it the optimal conditions for quality sleep and it will pay you back tenfold.
Sophia Smith is Australian based fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogger. She is also very passionate about organic beauty products and healthy lifestyle.Sophia writes mostly in beauty related topics, mainly through blogs and articles. She is regular contributor at High Style Life on topics related to beauty and fashion.
I know I said I’m not good at annual resolutions, but if you’ve been following along you know that my monthly goal idea didn’t really stick either.
…So back to the yearly resolutions it is! My idea this time is to go BIGGER. Basically, I figured that if my goal is positive and covers a bunch of different things, than I can move it in whatever direction I need to over the next 12 months. I think this kind of goal will be much more effective for me, as it can reflect more of the positive direction I’d like to take myself instead of a strict goal I either hit or miss.
While I was reflecting on 2015 I thought of a ton of great things: getting a new job, finding a great apartment, making new friends, exploring a new city. But I also continued to come back to one major issue: my health. I can’t even lie, I didn’t even try to take care of myself well.
I barely went to the gym, bought a too-expensive groupon for a yoga studio I never went to, ate a lot of (delicious but) unhealthy food, and only went to the doctor once after being sick for 8+ days. I hit my highest weight ever, I don’t feel comfortable in my clothing, and to be honest, I don’t really feel like I’m in my own body anymore. The funny thing is that even though that felt so dramatic to type, it happened so slowly that I didn’t even notice it happening!
I think it makes sense that my goal of 2016 is to concentrate more on preventative health. I want to get my weight on track, yes, but I also really need to take better care of myself in general. Silly things, you know? Set up a healthy doctor visit, work out a few times a week, start taking vitamins, stop going out to eat so much.. in general I need to make more body- conscious habits that could really help me down the road.
On the flip side, I wasn’t totally terrible to my body. I did start taking better care of my skin and found an awesome, life changing face wash. I cut my coffee down to 1 (max 2) cups of coffee a day. I started paying a lot more attention to the ingredients in my soaps and hair products and I even started making some of my own! I let myself find more fun and found new ways to cope with stress. These are all things I’m excited to build on over the next 12 months.
I’m starting strong in January by setting myself up with my first doctor appointment in months, buying a FitBit and tracking my food. I’ve even been researching new hot yoga studios and I drank extra water all week to prepare for my 90 minute sweat session tomorrow. So I think this could work for me. What will you be concentrating on in 2016?
If you’re anything like me, you’re still knee-deep in holiday shopping. I have a small pile of random items that haven’t been wrapped yet, but beyond that, I still have a lot of work to do. I just don’t feel like shopping this year- wait let me rephrase that- I don’t feel like going to the mall down here. The closest mall to me is HUGE and awesome, but also super crowded and not so much fun when you have a list to get through. It’s perfect for wandering around, but the idea of going there for Christmas shopping gives me hives.
So with that in mind, I turn to online shopping. And what better way to online shop than by working with companies with positive missions! It makes me feel a little bit better about the money I’m spending. Here are some of my favorite last minute (but still thoughtful) gift ideas:
For your BFF through thick and thin
The last time we talked about FashionAble they only had scarves. Today they have beautiful, buttery leather goods and jewelry to match! They’ve also expanded the women they work with across the globe, offering skills to women overcoming particularly difficult life challenges including addiction, trafficking, and a lack of opportunity. My favorite item is the bucket bag and I’m going to go out on a limb and say your best friend needs one. *Order by 12/18 to receive before Christmas
For your sister (or brother) on the move
We all want to travel the world, Serengetee lets you keep that goal in mind at all times while supporting global artisans and causes. Pick a city or print that you think will resonate the most with your sibling and get them a great baseball tee, or makeup case, or headband, or v-neck, or sweatshirt, or backpack or a hat….
*Order today 12/15 for a Christmas delivery
**30% off your order using the code LASTCALL
For your brother (or sister) with stinky shoes Listen- we’re not all perfect- but you can help your favorite sibling get a little closer with a new pair of socks from Bombas – a company that donates a pair of socks for every pair sold. *Buy today 12/15 for standard shipping by Christmas Eve!
For your mom that’s always on trend My mom taught me the value in simple jewelry. It matches everything, can be dressed up or down, and never goes out of style. I love these options from The Good Trade and a portion of all proceeds is donated to child victims of sex slavery.
For your caffeine drinking, dog loving dad
Is my dad the only dad that mentions something once and then goes to buy it for himself? My mom is the queen at leaving hints for gifts, but my dad? No way. If he wants something, he buys it. So I’ll just supply a socially aware morning coffee instead. Grounds and Hounds Coffee Co. sells 100% fair trade coffee and donates 20% of all proceeds to dog rescue organizations around the states.
For your favorite weekend getaway partner
When Dean and I go away I have a few different bags to choose from and Dean has exactly two: his gym bag or an old backpack. Give your guy an upgrade with a beautiful leather weekend bag offering community support in Ethiopia from Parker Clay.