So my neighbors started composting

So I guess I'm a composting now? Here's what I've learned

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:

  • Leaves/grass
  • Fruit and veggies
  • Coffee grinds/filters
  • Tea bags
  • Egg shells
  • Garden soil
  • Newspaper (with no color print)
  • Saw dust
  • Soil
  • Herbivorous animal waste (no meat eaters, please!)

Things you can NOT add:

  • Pet waste
  • Meat scraps/bones
  • Disposable diapers
  • Plastic
  • Synthetic fibers
  • Dead plants
  • 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.

 

Photo via ManMade

Guest Post: Surprising Tips for Better Sleep

surprising tips for a better sleepvia

 

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…).

surprising tips for a better sleep
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.

surprising tips for a better sleep

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.

 

Relax:

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, as research 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.

surprising tips for a better sleep

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 are sharing 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.

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2016 Resolution

wellness goals are more than just fitness goals

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?

 

via

Happiness Check-In

finding happiness at home

About a month ago I wrote a post about finding more happiness in life. I felt like I was stressed out about general day-to-day things and I needed to regroup…so I did! My short-term goals for the month were to:

  • Go to at least 1 yoga class
  • Spend at least 5 hours a week reading
  • Take Allegra on longer walks
  • Buy a bottle of wine

While I didn’t make it to the yoga class, I did read for at least 5 hours a week, take Allegra on some great walks, and a bought a bottle of wine… each week. It’s crazy how much little things can make a difference in your overall attitude. While I wouldn’t say I have things under control yet, I would say that I’ve been a lot happier. More than anything my little goals reminded me to take time for myself and do things that I enjoy. This month I decided to make a few new goals that help me to remember to take care of myself and my surroundings:

  • Spend 20 minutes a day cleaning
  • Find something fun and free to take part in each weekend
  • Go to bed earlier on week days (11pm LATEST!)
  • Start my commute by 7am

I’m hoping that this month I can continue to take some time for myself while still carving out time to keep the house clean and get to work on time. I’ve noticed that when things are in order and my home is tidy, my stress levels go way down. What things are you working on this month?

Finding Happiness

finding happy

Sometimes a little stress is healthy. A stressful situation can force you to run around, test your skills, and push yourself further than ever before. It can be a great motivator and a little stress is necessary sometimes.

But stress is also sneaky.

I’ve noticed some changes in myself lately. I’m slower and sleepier. I get less enjoyment out of the gym so I don’t really go. I’ve found myself giving negative responses faster and speaking up about things that are better left unsaid. Basically I haven’t been my best self. So I started thinking about why this could be happening and after a little reflection exercise I realized that I’ve slowly become stressed without even realizing it. I’m sure you can relate. One thing happens, than another, a few days later it’s something else.

You have a late night.
Then you hit snooze too many times and end up rushed in the morning.
Almost late to work, but you made it just in time!
…Just in time for a surprise meeting you’re unprepared for.
Pull out of the parking lot and straight into traffic.

I think you get the picture. Lately the timeline above seems normal not stressful- but the truth is that my normal has become stressful. I’ve never really thought about how quickly small stressors can add up over time. So to combat my hectic days I’ve decided to create a little goal list for this month to help me find a little more happiness.

  • Go to at least 1 yoga class
  • Spend at least 5 hours a week reading
  • Take Allegra on longer walks
  • Buy a bottle of wine

When I first started blogging I started to do monthly goals based off of the chapters in The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I’m not good at goal lists so this fizzled out pretty quickly, but I purposefully made this one more fun and very simple to give myself the opportunity to complete it.

I’ll report back next month. In the meantime, stress-relieving tips are always welcomed!