Category Archives: Life Hacks

Self Care Sunday: What Helps You Relax?

The-Greebrier-West-Virginia-Pool

By the time the weekend rolls around, I’m exhausted. Like, nap on the couch past dinner exhausted. Perhaps I’m just “getting old”, but chances are there’s a little more to it. In order to embrace relaxation and get in good habits, I’ve tried / am planning to try the following:

  • Apps
  • At-Home Treatments
  • Exercise
  • Spa Treatments & Alternative Medicine
  • Travel

Apps
1. Calm App
I’m pretty sure this app was advertised to me on Instagram, and I happened upon it at a time when I literally needed to calm down (seriously though, how did they know?). Since then I’ve been playing around with it, and have been very pleasantly surprised. I’ve also heard great things about the Headspace app (tagline, “Meditation Made Simple”), but I have yet to try it myself. If you have a review of it, please let me know in the comments below!

Calm provides meditation, sleep stories, and music, all focused on helping you get to a calm, serene place.

Calm-App-Review

 

2. Beautyrest Sleeptracker
Tagline: “Monitor your sleep. Understand your sleep. Improve your sleep.”

In our experience, The Beautyrest Sleeptracker does exactly that! You can monitor up to 2 sleepers with each kit – just pair the smartphone app with your device over WiFi and you’re set! The entire setup process takes about 10 minutes.

Sleep Reports
The amount of data it collects with every single sleep is pretty incredible. Each morning, you’ll get an email with your Sleep Report. You can also pull up “Sleep Analysis” stats within the app, such as your week-in-review or month-in-review metrics.

Sleeptracker-App-Data

Sleeptracker-App-Daily-Email Ok, this is a screenshot of the highest sleep score I’ve received since using the Beautyrest Sleeptracker system. I’m really not a great sleeper, typically going to bed pretty late and needing to wake up early for work. But, this data can be used for good, and those “under 65-point” scores can only improve by being armed with this data!

I received this Sleeptracker product complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes : )


At-Home Treatments
I’ve been lucky to be able to test-drive spa-like products in the comfort of my own home, like:

Colleen-Rothschild-Radiant-Cleansing-Balm This Colleen Rothschild Radiant Cleansing Balm is such a treat! It comes with a white muslin cloth you dampen with warm-to-hot water and then place over your face for a mini-facial. Leaves your skin soft and glowy!


Erno-Lazlo-White-Marble-Peel-Review

I only recently started using this Erno Laslzo White Marble Peel, and I’m already hooked! It’s packed with Vitamin C and works quickly to scrub and polish your skin. It’s a 2-step process that only takes a few minutes, but the results are noticeable right away. Find Erno Laszlo at Sephora.

And when all else fails (or you’re just in the mood to stay in and do nothing), the old scented candle + blanket + red wine trick works, too. On that note, my favorite candle is Baies by Diptyque. I also love a good Frasier Fir, when in season, or Volcano by Capri Blue in the summer.

Exercise
I’ve been a long-time runner and biker. But, it gets darker and chillier here in the Midwest, I find it difficult to exercise outdoors. So, I’m going to try a series of new workouts this winter, including:

1. Orange Theory
2. Corepower Yoga
3. FlyFeet
4. Barre
5. Spin
(we don’t have a SoulCycle in MN though. …maybe that’s a good thing?)

…Anything else you’d recommend? I’ll be writing a full-length post on this soon : )

Spa Treatments & Alternative Medicine

1. Floating
2. Massage
3. Facial
4. Pedicure
5. Up NextI’m going to try Acupuncture, Salt Room Therapy, and pay a visit to the Aire Ancient Baths NYC. I’ll create a supplemental blog post reviewing spa treatments & alternative medicine  after experiencing all of the above!

Elements-Massage-Minnesota
My most recent massage was at Elements Massage – Saint Louis Park, as part of their grand opening week!

Elements-Massage-SLP-MN
I enjoyed their welcoming lobby, and the ability to choose from these 4 aromatherapy scents to be used throughout my massage. I went with Radiance (although it was a tough call!). More details on the experience coming soon as part of the full Spa Treatments & Alternative Medicine post : )

Travel
Last but not least, travel. When I get out of my routine and outside of standard scenery, my mind opens up. And on that note… we’re headed to NYC this Thursday and can’t wait for plenty of exploring ahead. But, it’s never too early to plan another trip. Suggestions welcome!

No Spend October: Month Without Spending Challenge

Surely you’ve heard of No-Shave November (support this great cause if you can!). But today, we’re talking about something a bit different. No-Spend November. Scratch that. October.

Month-Without-Spending-Challenge

While No Spend November has a much better ring to it (not to mention tons more Google results, it must be a “thing”), I’m adapting my No Spend November a month early, selecting October because, well… November has two key shopping holidays that I just can’t avoid (holiday gift shopping for others included!). This year, Black Friday falls on November 24 and Cyber Monday on November 27 and I will be partaking. Chances are, if you read this blog, you will also be partaking… more on that later!

Why Commit to a Month of No Spending?

For me, August + September were full of “just because” purchases. At times I felt “I’ve worked so hard, I deserve it.” In some cases it was justified by “it was a really good deal, hard to pass up.”

-I bought a designer purse (used) and another one (also used). Considered a third…

-I couldn’t pass up the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale (but in my defense, I only bought one thing).

-Then Nordstrom had Triple Points…

$750 dollars later… I finally started asking myself, “Why?” and “What’s next?”

While I do have disposable income available, it feels silly to “dispose” of it in this way. So while there’s not a huge push to save more / spend less, per se, I want to be more intentional about how I’m spending my money. “Just because” just doesn’t cut it anymore. These funds could be channeled to provide more meaningful experiences vs. things. More trips, more entertainment, more memories made. Hopefully, it will shape my long-term outlook on such things.

Experiences-Over-Things

The Minimalist vs. Maximalist Dilemma

It’s not just the spending I want to curb, it’s the STUFF. If you know me, I’m quite the bargain hunter. Purchasing a high volume of goods at a low price point is a unique skill of mine. I love a good bargain, especially when the item can be “flipped” for profit (not that I put in the effort anymore, but it’s the prospect of it that counts, for me at least).

When I see something I want at a consignment shop, vintage store, thrift store, or discount online retailer, it’s hard to pass it up. But, the accumulation of stuff is real. How can 2 people living in a 4 bedroom house feel cramped? Stuff. Let me tell you, it’s because of stuff.

No-Spend-Monthly-Challenge

The Rules
I’ll be the first to admit it will not be easy. 31 days of no clothing, shoes, accessories, home goods, beauty products, etc. (just essentials like food and toothpaste and whatnot).

Searching Pinterest, there are some hardcore people trimming their spending on food, social activities, you name it. And I salute you. My rules skew much more simple:

  1. No spending money on clothing. Not online. Not in-store. Not full price. Not half price. Not $1.00. Includes athleisure, pajamas… yep, every article of clothing.
  2. No spending money on accessories. No jewelry. No handbags. No phone cases. No sunglasses, wallets, or perfume.
  3. No spending money on beauty products. No makeup. No Instagrammable apothocary finds. No chapstick just because you can’t find your other 6 sticks. No facial wipe travel packs even if they’re only $4.
  4. No spending money on footwear. No running shoes. No loafers. No riding boots. No chunky knit socks. No leopard print ballet flats no matter how seasonally appropriate.
  5. No home decor. This one is kind of tough. I’ve been on a decor kick. Plus with the change of seasons… No throw pillows. No blankets. No art. No plants. No flowers. No candles. No more fake succulents, alright?

I used to be really good at “No,” especially in college and just after, when I literally needed to prioritize my car payment and keep a careful eye on gas and groceries. But since growing up I’ve gotten caught up in  “treat yourself, you deserve it” mode. In an effort to break this, I’m starting with these 5 rules. I’m hoping one month is more than doable. I still plan on eating out, engaging in some travel, and not depriving myself of a manicure or facial. But, those are experiences and not things that take up space in my house.

The-Sunrise-Is-Free

What’s your take? Am I being strict enough? What are your tips to curbing spending on unnecessary items?