8 for 2018- 4 to drop, 4 to pick up

        I hope you enjoyed my last post on my top 17 obsessions of 2017.  Now that 2017 is officially going to be in our rear view mirror, it’s time to put all of our focus in 2018.  I’m usually one of those people who rolls their eyes ((HARD)) at people who use the term “New Year, New Me”, but now I think every day, every moment is a chance to turn oneself into their newest and best version.  You don’t have to wait until January 1st and if you do make January 1st your redo day and you “mess up” on January 3rd, than you have another moment to try to make it right.
          2018 is a very important year for me and a year that I am really focused on making a great one.  I want to get my crap eating under control, get my migraines at bay, get rid of my rosacea, tame my anxiety, improve my relationship with money and get in amazing shape for my wedding.
   In order to help me with all of these lofty goals for the next year, there are 4 “habits” I plan on dropping, and 4 “habits” I plan on picking up.  Think of these as my New Year’s Resolutions.

4 to drop

* My reliance on packaged snacks*

I was raised on junk food and continue to be a huge junk food eater.  It’s not good!  I have never met a Twinkie, a Reeses or a Keebler Elf product I didn’t like.  Even to this day when I get hungry at school I’m knocking on the snack closet  looking for Twinkies.  Even when I choose what I deem a healthy snack, it’s packaged.  Now granted, a Larabar is WAY healthier than a Twinkie,  but there’s no reason I can’t pack a baggie of berries with some cream to dip it in or some veggies and hummus.  I always lean towards convenience and ease, even though I have the time to do more and treat myself better.  This year I will not be relying on packaged snacks and instead only use it as a treat.

* Starting something and not seeing it through*

I can’t tell you how many exercise programs I’ve began or how many times I’ve started a posting schedule for my Younique business page and I do good for about a week and then totally slack off.  Since consistency is my word of 2018, there’s no more of this!  If I don’t think I can fully see something through, I’m not going to dive into it.  And if I do begin something,  I will do everything in my power to complete it to the best of my ability. 

* My Diet Coke habit once and for all!*

This is a hard one, a super tough one!  I love Diet Coke.  It is a total vice of mine.  I’ve definitely cut back in recent years.  I only have it at home if someone purchases it for me (which is rarely) and I usually only have it at work for lunch.  Being at one can a day for 4-5 days out of the week is a HUGE decrease.  Since I have been on Christmas vacation I have only had it once while I was out to lunch with a friend.  People have told me to have seltzer water as a replacement, but I don’t like seltzer, it just has to be a willpower thing to finally kick this bad habit.  

* Getting anxious over what I think people mean*

I never really thought of myself as an anxious person until the last 10 years or so.  Unfortunately, my anxiety has only gotten worse.  Usually it is only limited to typical high stress situations, air travel or large crowds, but sometimes I give myself anxiety by overanalyzing and overthinking situations about what people say to me.  No more of that.  If someone is going to say something, they will say it to me and I can deal with it then.  If not, I will not work myself into thinking something terrible.  

4 to pick up

*Green smoothies with healthy add ins*

I think green smoothies are a great way for me to get in a serving or two of fruits and vegetables.  Considering I am not a huge fruit and veggie eater, but am a big snacker I think this will help kill 2 birds, with 1 stone.  Also, thanks to my girl The Skinny Confidential, I now have a list of healthy add-ins to try in my smoothies including collagen, pearl powder, matcha, etc.

* Fresh and clean snacking*

Image from dreamstime.com

As mentioned above, my reliance on packaged snacks is going to be SO 2017.  2018 will be all about clean, unprocessed snacks.  It might mean a Larabar or 2 every now and then, but I am going to try to keep my snacking very Whole 30-like.  

* Time blocking post work hours*

There have been so many evenings where Nick and I are like , “where did the time go?”,  on a work night.  I find myself being so mentally exhausted after work that I give myself permission to just crash on the couch and surf Youtube for hours.  I want to use my time when I get home a lot more efficiently.  This will include making a lot more dinners ahead of time, blocking out time for blogging, school work and things I enjoy. 

* Reading more for pleasure*

Some of the books on my reading list

I love reading.  There is nothing better than diving into a good book.  However, I find myself wasting so much time after work that I don’t give myself the proper reading time I should and truly want to.  Just today I cancelled a few magazines that I just let pile up and no longer enjoy reading so I could dedicate more time to checking books off of my very long reading list.
So these are pretty much my 2018 resolutions.  
Do you have any resolutions this year??

Top 17 of 2017

    It’s about that time!  The ending of 2017 calls for my 17 favorites of the year!  I was going to incorporate moments and items, but if I did moments I think it would turn into way too personal of a blog post since I had a lot of amazing moments this year, so I limited it to just products/items.  Here are the products or personalities that helped form my year!

17. Keurig

I have had a Keurig for quite a few years and I love it.  However, my single serve Keurig was starting to act up a bit and when Nick and I moved in together we began to think about purchasing a new one.  My dad ended up buying a new one, a Keurig 2.0, as a housewarming gift, and it’s been the best!  It has it’s own filter so the water is always crisp and clean and it heats up SO fast!  There are cup size options to fit a variety of different sized mugs so if you need a little caffeine or a lot, there’s a setting to meet it.  It has definitely become one of the most used items in my apartment!

My trusty Keurig 2.0 and reusable K-cups

16. Reusable K-Cups

Along with my new Keurig, I have been using refillable K-cups for almost 7 months now and I will not switch back to regular K-cups unless it’s for work.  I get a half pound bag of ground coffee from my favorite coffee shop, store it in an airtight container, and put a few scoops in one of these guys every morning.  A half pound bag will easily last me a month if it is just me having it.  I was buying (and throwing out) a new box of K-cups every other week when I was using traditional K-cups so I’m very happy I switched to these!

15. Epic Mascara

As you guys know I’m a Younique representative and while I do use it as my side hustle, it is something I have truly grown to enjoy and love.  It has helped me to learn a lot about business, organization and inspired me to engage in a lot of personal development.  Other than a lot of growth, I love the makeup!  There are a few products that I reach for every day and Epic Mascara is one of them!  It is now my holy grail eye product and since my customers and friends began using it- they feel the same way!

14. Podcasts

Podcasts have literally changed my mornings and my mindset!  I used to start every morning by watching the morning news and would find myself getting emotional or upset by a lot of the disturbing stories.  When my favorite morning newscaster was fired, I didn’t want to watch the news anymore and remembered a lot of my Younique groups mentioned podcasts.  I did some research and began starting my morning with a Podcast, instead of the morning news.  By starting the morning with an uplifting and/or informative Podcast I am starting my day with a more positive mindset and not being bogged down by the negativity of the world.

13. The Champagne Diet

The Champagne Diet quickly became one of my favorite Podcasts and and Cara, the mastermind behind it, quickly became one of my favorite people.  The Champagne Diet is a podcast and blog that really just wants to help women become their best selves.  She is very empowering and I just ordered one of her books that I can’t wait to get and dive into!  If you are looking to really empower yourself and make 2018 your best year yet, I think she could definitely help to get you in the mindset to do so!

12. The Skinny Confidential

Another Podcast and blog that I am equally obsessed with is The Skinny Confidential.  I have added so many wellness products to my Amazon wishlist thanks to Lauryn (the author) of The Skinny Confidential.  She is always writing about really cool health and beauty trends that I have never heard of and I ordered quite a few products to add to my routine because of her.  She writes like I imagine hanging out with her would be and I just love it.

11. Lululemon Leggings

I am someone who never thought I would be spending $100 on anything clothing related, let alone a pair of leggings.  After becoming an avid legging wearer I had a conversation with one of my best friends about finding winter weight leggings and she said she invested in a pair of Lulus and they even have a lifetime guarantee.  I braced myself to walk into the bright and overpriced store and told the salesperson what I wanted.  She put me in a dressing room with a super flattering black pair of leggings and told me the price included alterations and a lifetime guarantee (for $100 it better).  When I picked them up and put them on I completely understood the hype.  My butt had never looked better and I wear them at least twice a week.  Nick even got me a gift card for our anniversary to buy an olive pair for the fall.  If you are on the fence about the price, just do yourself a favor and give them a whirl!

10. I Love Kickboxing

If you have a local ilovekickboxing.com do yourself a favor and go check out their introductory package.  I totally have a love/hate relationship with them as I love the workouts, but when my intro deal is over  I won’t be able to afford to maintain my membership since we are saving for the wedding.  For now though, I am so obsessed with the workouts.  The hour literally flies by and the instructors are so adorable and so helpful.

9. Happy Planner

I have just become so obsessed with my Happy Planner.  It is the key to any sense of organization I may have.  My planner is cute and little and just screams me.  I’ve bought a couple of different covers for it from it Etsy- including a Minnie Mouse cover and a Harry Potter cover.  If you are in need of a simple and effective (and affordable) planner, check out your local Michaels and grab you a Happy Planner.

8. Scentsy Cubes

I have become a fan of these little wax cubes from Scentsy and Scentsy like brands.  I have a couple of different “burners” that I use all over my home and I love to use them to make my house and classroom smell yummy.  There is literally a scent for everyone!

7. Hard Boiled Eggs

This is a random one I know, but it’s a favorite!  Most mornings Monday-Friday you can find me having 2 hard boiled eggs for breakfast.  For me, they are just the perfect breakfast.  They are quick, easy, keep me full and healthy!  To make it even easier, I have been using this hard boiled egg cooker that my mom got me! I was never able to really perfect hard boiled eggs stove top and this little guy makes it so easy.

6. Sweet Potatoes

Another random one, sweet potatoes have become a super easy and cheap food staple for me.  My friend at work got me hooked on a lunch of sweet potatoes, chick peas, feta and balsamic.  It’s healthy and inexpensive.  If you are looking for an easy lunch, I definitely recommend trying this recipe or looking into other ways to utilize sweet poatoes.

5. Sleepy Tea/Well Rested Tea

Oh My Gaaaa! This stuff is everything!  I drink a mug of this every school night.  I’m not sure if it really does help me to fall asleep or if it is just such a part of my routine that I can’t fall asleep with out it.  My favorite is the Well Rested Tea from Trader Joes, but I have also tried the Sleepy Time Tea.

4. Mantras

After I started listening to The Champagne Diet I really got into using mantras.  I have what I call a “positive living” notebook that I basically turn into a real life Pinterest Page with mantras, uplifting quotes, tips on turning a bad day around, just ways to live a super positive life.  I have been using mantras for a few months now and usually switch them up weekly.  I will post one in my planner for the week and try to recite it to myself a couple times daily, especially while getting ready in the morning.  It sounds a little hippie dippy, I totally get it.  However, if saying one little statement can help to put me in a better mood, why not be a little hippie dippy?

3. Facebook Groups

I have been loving Facebook groups for ideas, inspiration and for making new internet friends.  I’m in a variety of groups ranging from healthy eating, to Happy Planners, to Younique, to the Champagne Diet group!  If you have a hobby or an interest, I guarantee you there is one (or 100) Facebook groups dedicated to it!

2.  My new Apartment

I loved my old apartment, it reminded me of growing up in the Bronx.  My old apartment was for my single Melissa chapter, my new apartment is the beginning of the new book of my life.  This place is just gorgeous and it’s so fun to make a home with someone else.  The apartment is gorgeous, but the building is even better!  There’s a gym, an indoor pool, a lounge with a fireplace and INDOOR PARKING.  As I’m writing this and it’s only 14 degrees out, the indoor parking is a huge plus. A full photo tour coming soon!

1. My Engagement Ring

Is there any doubt that this number one?  Getting engaged was my number one moment of life so far! My ring is so perfect and every time I look at it I see a ring that symbolizes my future life with Nick and finding my perfect balance in someone else.  I never wanted a typical engagement ring and always wanted a sapphire ring.  I can’t believe Nick got the ring so perfect as it’s literally me in engagement ring form. Unique, classic and just a little bit too much.

Consistency and why I consistently suck at it

      Consistency.  It’s a word that as a network marketer and constant health seeker I hear and read about constantly.  As frequently as I read about it and as frequently as I tell myself I am going to stick with something, most of the time it falls to the way side.
      Take this blog for example.  I was so excited to be back in the world of blogging and was even getting good feedback from some friends.  Then I let the constant excuse of “life”, “anxiety”, “craziness” and I lost my consistency with posting and lost a lot of my readership (which I was so excited about!) as well.
    Everyone has their own shit going on and their own level of craziness in their lives.  It’s how someone chooses to spend their non-crazy moments that really shows who they are.
      For the new year I am choosing to have my word of the year be “consistency”.  2018 is a big year for me!  I’ll be starting my 5th year of teaching, I’ll be fully balancing work/life/relationship OH and I’ll be getting married!  So consistency will be of the utmost important for me to keep my life, my anxiety and my health in control.

What is going to be your word of 2018?

Quick Tip Tuesday: The Easiest Way To Save Money Christmas Shopping

    If you don’t feel like giving your credit card a workout and letting Earny price check for you (check here to see what I’m talking about) try purchasing a discount gift card for the store or stores you plan on doing a lot of shopping at.
       I regularly use the site Cardpool.com to purchase gift cards at a discount to stores that I regularly shop at anyway.  The savings isn’t usually more than $5-$12 stores, but overtime that can really add up! They come in the form of a digital gift card so they aren’t the best to gift, but for BUYING gifts they are perfect!!!

5 Things To Do Before 2018

   Late last week, I watched a video from one of my favorite Youtubers, Miss Trenchcoat.  She is a productivity and organizational expert and she really helped me get into the organizational planner realm.
    The video I watched last week was, 10 Productive Things To Do Before 2018.  You can watch it here!   It really got me thinking to some things I would like to do prior to the New Year.

Here are my top 5 tasks I plan on tackling or implementing before 2018!

1.  Organize my clothes and sell what I’m not wearing on Poshmark

I have so much clothes and I really only wear about 30% of my wardrobe.  I got rid of a lot of my clothes prior to my move, I still want to get rid of a lot of the trendier pieces I bought on a whim or because they were on sale.  I have had great luck selling a few things on Poshmark and will continue to use it to sell my unwanted goods.

2.  Begin and get into the habit of gratitude of journaling

I have done so much reading about manifestation lately and a lot of begins with being grateful for what one has at the moment.  Gratitude journaling is writing down things you are grateful for and reflecting on them.  I think it’s a great practice to start to lead a more positive life by showing we are thankful for what we already have.

3.  Incorporate daily smoothies into my diet

There are days where I know that I don’t even come close to meeting my fruit and vegetable intake goals.  A smoothie is a great way to do so!  I’m thinking of trying strawberries, mango, spinach and water to keep it lower calorie.

4.  Meal plan

Over the summer I bought a fitness planner and I never used it!  Over Thanksgiving break I purchased a wellness plan from one of my favorite Instagram fitness girls and it definitely inspired me to break out my fitness planner.  For the next week I planned out 3 days worth of breakfasts, lunches and dinners and mid-week will plan out the rest of the week.  It’s super motivating to see it written down and planned out.

5.  Start my must read book list and finish 2 books a month

Lately I have been reading a lot of network marketing books and found myself craving just a good story.  Prior to reading those network marketing books I hadn’t finished a book in months.  Reading is something I genuinely enjoy and I need to carve out time for it.  I want to make a must read list and alternate between non-fiction and fiction books.

Those are a few of the important habits that I am going to begin implementing now so I won’t have to worry about them being fad resolutions come 2018.

What are some tasks that you would like to accomplish or make habit before the Ne Year?

Playing House Series: Pre-Move in Talks

    You’ve decided to move in together! You picked the perfect spot! So you should just start packing right? Wrong!!
    There’s a lot of conversations to have before you move in together.  It’s important to work these things out prior to the move as it will definitely help to prevent a lot of stress and possibly even a lot of fights later on.

   Here are some of the pre-move in convos I recommend having:

  • Paying the bills- How is it going to work?  Is it going to be an even split?  Are you going to pay the rent, while he covers the rest of the utilities?  These are important decisions to make prior to the first bills rolling in.  Also, be honest about what you can afford!
  • What you’re bringing, what he’s bringing- Imagine moving in together and you both brought a couch or you move in and see he packed that leather chair that you just hate.  Prior to moving in it’s important to discuss what you’re bringing and also what you plan on getting rid of.  Prior to moving in with my fiancee I had to get rid of SO much stuff that I couldn’t believe I accumulated over the years.  It may be difficult, but also probably necessary.
  • The new items you plan on buying- There might be a few new large items that you guys need to purchase.  This is your chance to start crafting your living style as a couple.  Do some shopping around and don’t break the budget
  • Chores- This may sound like a ridiculous conversation for 2 adults to have, but a necessary one I think.  One person cannot and should not clean an entire house or apartment all of the time.  I’m not saying make a chore chart like from back in the day, but have a discussion.
  • Routines- I’m sure you’ve had a lot of sleepovers, but sleepovers and living together are 2 totally different ideas.  If you’re someone who falls asleep early or needs to make their own morning coffee or have 10 minutes to themselves after getting home let your significant other know ahead of time.
  • “House rules”- Boys night in on a Thursday when you have work the next day? Having your sister over for Real Housewives every night?  Your usual routine of having friends over all of the time or having your parents come over whenever they want is going to have to change.  You have someone else to think about now.
What other conversations did you have before moving in with someone?  Or did you skip the convos altogether? 

Quick Tip Tuesday: Makeup Storage

I have quite a makeup collection.  Not nearly as excessive as a lot of girls I see on Instagram and Youtube, but I do have quite a lot.  It’s a love and a hobby of mine and actually what inspired me to write my first blog.
   If you have an extensive makeup collection or if you have just a few products, it’s important to store them properly.
    Please, please, please do not store your makeup in the bathroom, especially the bathroom counter. The best temperature to store your makeup and/or skin care is actually at room temperature.  Steamy showers and fluctuating temperatures in the bathroom make it a less than ideal place to store your favorite foundation or eyeshadow.  The fluctuating temperatures and moisture in the air can shorten the life span of your makeup or even harbor bacteria growth.
   The best place to store your makeup and skin care is in a cool, dry spot away from direct sunlight.    

Money Matters: Earny

    If you are anything like me, your credit card got quite a workout this weekend.  I put quite a huge dent in my holiday shopping this weekend all from the comfort of my own living room!
    Normally, I would use my debit card for 95% of my purchases because I hate having any kind of credit card debt and I am still in the process of paying off my wedding dress on my credit card.  However, for most of my purchases I ended up using my credit card for one specific reason: Earny.
    A large majority of retailers and major credit card companies have a policy where if a price drops on an item purchased within 90 days you are entitled to the difference.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time to stalk prices every day and quite honestly, I would forget after a few days anyway.  That’s where Earny comes in!

     Earny connects to both your inbox and credit cards and collects your electronic receipts.  “He” monitors the prices of the items you purchased and if he sees a cheaper price he files a claim for the difference on your behalf!
    You will be notified if Earny is able to receive a refund for you and it will be debited right back to the card used to make the purchase, although some companies choose to mail out checks.  Earny takes 25% of any refund issued to you, which considering I don’t usually track items to get any refunds, is not a bad deal.
   Currently Earny works with the following retailers:
Amazon, Best Buy, Bloomingdales, Carters, Costco, Gap Group Stores, J.Crew, Jet, Kohls, Macy’s, New Egg, Nordstroms, Overstock, Sears, Staples, Target, Walmart and Zappos.

That’s a lot of stores!!

If getting some cash back in your pocket seems appealing, definitely give Earny a try by clicking here! 

Tip Tuesday: Just Say No

    The other day I was having a discussion at work with a friend of mine about how busy her schedule was.  While I have never had a super busy social schedule I came to a realization a few years ago that has been very important to me.  The power of saying no.
    Saying no could be very liberating and very empowering.  It could also be very freeing.  Saying no to people or situations that would bring you stress, agitation or that you just don’t have time for is ok! In fact, I feel it is the ultimate act of self-care!  So release the guilt of agreeing and just say no.

     Don’t get me wrong- it’s not easy to just start saying no to people you would normally say yes to.  At the beginning, the guilt of saying no is sometimes worse than what you were actually saying no to!  However, with practice and time you will begin to feel the freedom of saying no and you will be more open to saying yes to experiences and people you actually want to give your time to!