Beat the Winter Blues

Starbucks hands
Rings: Forever 21
Sweater: Madewell (old)
Since I was lucky to live on the warm West Coast for six years, moving back to the Midwest and Midwestern winters has been brutal. November and December aren’t bad with holidays to distract me, but by the time January and February roll around, I am counting the days until spring. The 4PM sunsets, frigid temps and never-ending sweat pants are straight agonizing.
I don’t have any immediate plans to move back to warmer temps, so I’ve come up with a few ways to beat the winter blues. Most of these are free, convenient and sure to make the torturous months of January and February pass by a little quicker.


1. Plan a trip or staycation
Right now  my two biggest motivators for getting through winter are trips planned to Vegas and Coachella in the winter. There’s nothing like a vacation (and the thought of being in a bikini in a few months) to motivate me to save money, work out and be healthy. Staying in is fine by me when I have a jam packed spring to yearn for. If you don’t want to spring on a huge trip, plan a mini staycation in your own town. Rent an Air BnB, visit a museum, and explore and embrace your city.

2. Drink hot chocolate or a winter cocktail
Embrace the frigid weather with a cozy winter warmer drink. Make like Martha Stewart and make legit hot chocolate with milk on the stove top and even add a dash of Baileys or Peppermint Schnapps. Or if you’re a Harry Potter nerd like me, you can imitate Harry and Ron and brew your own alcoholic butterbeer. I won’t tell McGonagall if you won’t.

3. Have a movie marathon
Sometimes, all I need is a good rom-com to lift my mood. That’s just the effect Hugh Grant has on me. We all have those “comfort” movies that make us nostalgic and happy, so pop them in, get under a blanket, and have a movie marathon. Invite your friends and make a night of it. Besides, its too cold to go to a bar, and movie nights cost less than vodka red bulls. Some of my favorites include Bridget Jones’ Diary, Love Actually, Pretty Woman and Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

4.  Make it bright!
It sounds simple, but with the shorter days, make sure you’re getting enough light in your life. Ever since introducing a neutral, white palette of furniture to my room with lots of lamps, I seriously feel more peaceful and clearheaded. Maybe I’m nuts, but I think having an open, clean and bright interior can really improve your mood – especially when sunlight may be lacking. These firefly lights will add a fanciful touch.


6. Get Cozy
If you’re going to be hibernating and watching Netflix all day, you might as well like cute and cozy while doing it! Invest in warm and whimsical pajamas to lounge in for your Hugh Grant marathons. I’ve picked out a few instagram-worthy options below.


7. Write down your goals

Take your time shut indoors to focus on your goals for the year and get inspired. Write down both your personal and professional goals and display them. Winter, and the beginning of the year in general ,is a great time to introspect and figure out what’s important to you this year. I even suggest creating a vision board out of old magazines to help you visualize your dreams and keep them literally in your sight. Once you iron out your goals, you’ll feel motivated and driven with a since of purpose to power through the colder months.


8. Go outside!
This main seem counter-intuitive, but force yourself to get outside at least once a day! It may be insanely cold, and you may feel like you live in a godforsaken tundra, but getting some fresh air and natural light will do wonders for your mood. Besides, there’s nothing like a little cold snap to, well, snap you out of any chronic laziness.

Thanks for stopping by, friends, and may your winter’s be mild, bearable and above all, brief!


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5 Ways to Save Money for Travel

I’m a big dreamer and planner, but often I can fall short of execution. Oh, I want to backpack across Europe, returning to the Amalfi Coast is at the top of my list, and I wouldn’t mind exploring the intense high-energy of Tokyo. Not to mention all of the weekend US trips on my list: Chicago, Austin, New York, LA – the destinations are neverending. Unfortunately, all of these trips take a lot of money. While you’d certainly have plenty of extra travel cashola if you won last week’s $1.3 billion Powerball, something tells me we all won’t be that lucky. Us peasants need to rely on your traditional grit, frugality and craftiness to save the big bucks.

 

Two of my favorite things in life are money and travel. Today, I aim to tell you a few ways to help save the former so you can do much more of the latter. Below find a few of my csheeky tip to help cure your wanderlust and make your travel wishlist a reality.

1. BECOME A HERMIT!

Well not really, but seriously take a hard look at your social life and how you spend your cash. Are you knocking back multiple $15 vodka red bulls every weekend? Do you spend $10 every Saturday night on Uber to the club or bars? Like me, do you dole out $30 on weekly meals out with friends without a second thought? Now, imagine you had instead taking all that cash and put it toward an AirBnB in Croatia, a boat ride in Italy or a flight to France or England.

It sounds simple, but if you want to save money to travel, you have to make travel a priority. Maybe I should do a nice dinner out once a month instead of once a week. I could also probably live without cable and rely on Netflix. I don’t even like partying that much anyway, and trust me, I’d rather have the money to take shots in Ibiza than shots in St. Louis, MO. While I suffer from a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out) on weekends, I know that these momentarily difficult adjustments are supporting bigger goals and dreams. A lame weekend in St. Louis will mean an unforgettable time exploring our world, and to me, travel experiences are simply more important.

2. SELL YO SHIT!

Will you have room in your suticase for all of those overly trendy Forever 21 tops you only wore once? I think not! Minimalism is in, and it’s time to detox and downsize. Go through your closet, and anything that is not a staple, hasn’t been worn in a year, or is not sentimental is going to be sold.

I have a bad habit of impulse online shopping, so at least these past money mistakes can earn me a little cash back now. The easy selling route is through second hand stores like Plato’s Closet. You may not make the greatest profit, but it’s very convenient. If you have more time on your hands, try selling things on eBay. I’ve heard with a little merchandising skill and knowing what items are hot – you can make a killing.

Clothing is an easy starting point, but by all means, sell your other belongings too. Furniture, handbags, books, you name it, put it on Craiglist, hold a garage sale, whatever works. Better yet, you’ll save even more money by avoiding the cost of storing all that stuff while you’re galavanting abroad.

All you really need is a passport, a great carry on, and an adventurous spirit.
3. EARN CASH THROUGH ADVERTISING PROGRAMS

Thanks to my mom, I’ve learned of several online advertising programs that are free to use and earn you points toward rewards. My favorite is Swagbucks. You simply watch videos with ads, answer surveys or earn cash back on your online shopping by using their site. It’s free and you can earn gift cards including Pay Pal. That’s right, straight cash homie. It’s time consuming, but you can play the videos on your phone  or laptop while you’re doing something around the house or watching TV. Plus, if you’re going to cut back on going out and spending money, why not occupy your new found time at home earning even more savings?


4. WORK HARD AND WORK HARDER

This one is kind of a drag, but consider taking on a side hustle. Do you like to write? Start freelancing! Have a way with kids? Sign up to nanny at www.care.com! You could also prowl Craiglist for part time work like waiting tables, bartending or retail roles. I earn a little money through blogging, but if I was really dedicated, I should start submitting my writing to other sites to earn a more decent side income. I get so caught up on my “real” job, so it can be tough to add in another responsibility. If you become great at your side hustle, however, it could eventually turn into your full-time job and one you can continue while traveling. Now that would be an ideal situation. If you’re interested in freelancing as a career or side job, check out this thorough article on Fast Company.

 
5. HIDE THE MONEY

So now you’ve Swagbucked your life away, pawned your belongings off in a garage sale and nannied every weekend for the past six moths. Congrats, you’ve saved all this extra cash – phew now you can count your money! Well, pump the breaks because your work is not finished, my dear. You need to hide that money! Open a new savings account and get your hard earned savings away from your spendy hands. Put your money out of sight and away from your easy to access checking account, so you aren’t tempted to spend it on an impulse buy. You may be annoyed when you don’t have the extra $200 lying around to spend on a baller night out, but you’ll thank yourself in the long run for playing it smart and thinking of your future travel goals.

 

Good luck with your saving and travel planning, my internet friends. Always keep your end goal and dream destination in mind. Hang a map, print out a photo, or write out your goals – do whatever it takes to stay focused and motivated. It sounds cheesy, but when we’re older, we’re going to remember all of the amazing experiences we had and places we saw – not all the random shit we bought. Those experiences will be even more cherished when you’ve worked so hard for them. *end flowery soapbox* Thank you for stopping by, and please leave a comment if you know of any other great side income sources or ways to maximize savings!
Taking in the Colosseum last summer. A roundtrip ticket to Rome will easily set you back $1000, but it is entirely worth the extra work and saving to experience world wonders like this.

Love traveling? Grab $35 in Air BnB credit when you create an account through THIS LINK! It’s free to you, and I’ll receive a credit when you sign up. Thanks and happy traveling!

DISCLAIMER:
This is not a sponsored post and all products were purchased with my money. Affiliate links are occasionally used when linking products. This gives me a small percentage of a purchase total through these links. This does not affect the price you pay for items through these links. All ShopStyle & AirBnB links are affiliate links.

Not So Slutty Halloween: Legends of the Hidden Temple

While it is surely no substitute for donning a real Blue Barracudas journey and facing off against Olmec and the temple guards, the Legends of the Hidden Temple is still a sick costume for any 90s kid. Who wouldn’t love a game show that’s a hybrid of Indiana Jones and Jeopardy?
Thankfully, one genius Amazon seller has decided to monetize the 90s nostalgia and sell Legends team t-shirts. I’m partial to purple, so I went with Purple Parrots, but choose your favorite team, grab your bestie or main squeeze, throw on some helmets and kneepads, and you’re good to go! Definitely not a sexy costume, but certainly one that will let you live out your 90s fantasies.

 

 

Check out some other not so slutty costume ideas here:
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