5 Habits Improving my Life

I love hearing about the little habits improving people’s lives. I’m all about small, daily actions that make a big difference over time. Here are 5 habits that have been improving my life lately.

  • Podcasts

I have loved listening to podcasts lately. This habit makes my commute to and from work so much more enjoyable. My favorites right now are the 5am Miracle with Jeff Sanders, Life Chats with Liv B, The Rise and Conquer Podcast, and The Real Life Podcast with Jeff and Alyssa Bethke.

  • Learning a new Language

I am planning a trip to Italy (!!!) next year and when I’m there I would love to not be totally lost because of the language barrier. So, I am learning a new language for the first time since high school and loving it. I looked into several language learning apps and Duolingo seemed to be the best fit. I genuinely look forward to working on my Italian and learning new words and phrases. If you’re interested in learning a new language, I would definitely recommend Duolingo.

  • Full Body Workouts

Previously, I had a workout split that included separate Upper Body and Lower Body days and that worked for me for a long time. However, lately I have found myself gravitating toward full body workouts. I have been loving this change in my routine. I find it to be more beneficial in increasing the frequency that I hit each muscle group weekly. (Side note: I am sure to place a rest day in between full body workouts, as to not overwork the muscles and give them proper recovery time).

  • Reading During Lunch Breaks

I have started incorporating reading into my lunch breaks each working day. Not only does this allow me to get intentional about working on my reading goal for the year, but it gives me a little refresh in the middle of my day. I can spend 30 minutes doing something productive and enjoyable, as opposed to worrying about what needs to be done the rest of the day or staring at my phone screen (more on that below). I’m currently reading (and loving!) An Edited Life by Anna Newton.

  • No Phone When Waking Up

Y’all. I know everyone is talking about this right now, but it is for good reason. I have started turning off my alarm in the morning, immediately turning my phone over, and not looking at it for a good 30 minutes after waking up. This has made all the difference. It makes for a much more peaceful start to my day. I’m not giving other people control of how I feel in the morning and saving all the texts, emails, and social media for later in the day.

Have you tried any of these habits? What has been improving your life lately?

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What to do in Edinburgh, Scotland

As I mentioned in my What to do in Glasgow, Scotland post, there is so much to do in Scotland! We could have explored for days on end. Here is what we got up to in Edinburgh.

  • The Elephant House- The place where J.K. Rolling wrote Harry Potter! So cool to see. I didn’t get anything there but my boyfriend got a coffee. There were pictures of her in the back and the bathrooms are covered in Harry Potter quotes.
  • The Graveyard- The place where J.K. Rolling apparently got some of the names for the characters in her book. We didn’t actually find any of the names (there are articles online that give you step by step instructions) but just seeing it and being able to say we were there was enough for us.
  • Calton Hill- This place has great views and its just a short climb. It is basically a mini Parthenon.
  • Arthur’s Seat- This place has even better views. But it is a long and hard climb. Don’t try to wear any shoes other than hiking boots or quality, sturdy tennis shoes. Also, if you’re afraid of heights, definitely go to the first trail, not the second. I learned the hard way.
  • Royal Mile- The first time walking through this is so magical. You really feel like you’re in a European city. The architecture is amazing. The pubs are endless. There is so much to see.
  • Edinburgh Castle- A must-do. Lots and lots of people but a good experience. The castle is also beautiful from a distance, but it is cool to go inside. We bought explorer passes and got to skip the line and go straight in.
  • The Boy Wizard Store- This is very much a tourist thing but I’m very much okay with it. It was so worth going in and taking a look around. I’m a huge fan of the books so it was great to check out all the memorabilia.

This last place isn’t in Edinburgh but just a short train ride away in Stirling.

  • Stirling Castle- Our absolute favorite stop in the trip! This castle is so underrated. AMAZING views. We lucked out and even got to see a rainbow. We were told a lot more about the history at this castle, which was super interesting. We also had a nice worker give us some pub recommendations. We used our explorer passes for this castle as well. There were less people in line than Edinburgh castle but we still got to go straight in. (Believe it or not, we got our money worth just going to the two castles. Highly recommend).

Have you been to Edinburgh? What else would you recommend?

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Everyday Skincare Products

My skincare routine is a very simple one. I’ve finally found a few products that seem to work for me and I wanted to share. I try to complete these steps both morning and night. On those particularly sleepy nights when I do end up choosing to go to sleep earlier and skip these steps, I can definitely see and feel it in my skin the next morning. That reminds me just how important skincare is. 🙂

Here are my favorite products:

  • Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil

I know everyone is obsessed with coconut oil right now, but it really is that good and that useful. I use this for taking off my makeup, before going in with my cleanser. It does the job and takes off my makeup thoroughly. It even gets waterproof mascara off without a hitch.  It also feels so good on the skin!

  • Burt’s Bees Natural Acne Solutions Cleanser

I was searching for a cleanser for the longest time that was both gentle and acne fighting. I found the solution with this one! It does a pretty good job of keeping my skin clear without the harshness that comes with a lot of cleansers made for acne prone skin.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar Toner

This is a little DIY I found on Pinterest. I simply mix 1 part Apple Cider Vinegar to 2 parts water. (Yes, I know I should be more environmentally friendly and find a glass bottle to use instead of a plastic one. Working on that!).

  • CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion

There is nothing special about this moisturizer. But it does what it is supposed to do and isn’t too thick, so it works for me!

What skincare products are essential for your everyday?

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How to Make a Budget

When I first set up a monthly budget, it was a game-changer. Before taking that step, my spending was frivolous. Now, I have a financial structure, a plan to follow, and an idea of where I’m headed. I love being able to clearly see where my money is actually going.

Of course there are a million ways to set up a budget but below are the steps I would recommend taking to get the process started.

I break my monthly budget spread into three main categories: income, essentials, and non-essentials. This can be done on a computer in excel, but I like to use my bullet journal!

  1. Income

First, get really clear about what you actually make. Write down your monthly income. This can be from one or more sources. Try to be realistic, and don’t overestimate! You want to give yourself some breathing room.

2. Essentials

Second, write down your monthly spending that is essential. This could include gas or public transportation fees, car insurance, phone bill, groceries, utilities, loan payments etc. Then, go through and write an amount that you are expecting to spend for each category that month.

3. Non-essentials

Third, write down your monthly spending that is non-essential. This could include eating out, clothes, beauty products, “fun money” (grabbing drinks, going to the movies, etc.). Again, write an amount that you are expecting to spend in each category.

Sometimes I add a fourth section for any extras that may be going on that month (a special trip, someone’s birthday, a holiday, etc). This allows me to continue to stick to a budget even when something out of the ordinary is going on.

After all your sections are complete, add it all together so you are able to see your total projected monthly spending. Take that amount and subtract it from your projected income. This leaves you with a number that is left over. Any left over money can be used for saving (trips, a down payment, retirement, etc.)!

Happy budgeting! 🙂

Do you stick to a monthly budget? What tips would you give?

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What to do in Glasgow, Scotland

Let me begin by saying there is A LOT to do in Scotland. We were there a week and only visited three cities because that’s all we had time for. There is so much more that we would have loved to see and do (#1 being to see more of the countryside and the beautiful Highlands. Also, riding on that Harry Potter train? Yes please.). I could have easily stayed two more weeks and not run out of things to do. However, what we did have time to see and do, we absolutely loved.

University of Glasgow- This is a beautiful, old gothic-style university. Some parts of it looked like it could have come straight out of Hogwarts. One of my best friends (and the reason we went to Scotland in the first place) is completing her doctorate there so it made it even more interesting to me to see the amazing place she got to do her studying!

Kelvingrove Park- This is a beautiful park we walked through on the way to the University. It almost had a Central Park feel. And So. Many. Dogs.

Mar Hall- I don’t know if this could actually be like a place to just stop by and see but it happened to be where the wedding reception we attended was held and it was gorgeous. If you are able to check it out I would definitely recommend. It has a beautiful interior and even more beautiful exterior. The views were amazing.

Buchanan Street- This street definitely has that New York City feel. It reminded me a little of Fifth Avenue. If you want to go shopping, this is the place. I loved getting to see the U.K.-only stores.

If you’ve been to Glasgow before, are there any other places you would recommend?

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