birchbox

6 New Things I Tried this Year that You Should Try Too (List-cember #4)

Alongside my list of goals this year, I really tried to let my curious eyes wander. Over the last few years there have been things that I thought, “I’ll try that one of these days” but never did, and so I decided this year was as good as any to finally change that.

They are mostly small things. I didn’t jump out of any planes or shave my head or anything. But I made small little discoveries that made my day to day a little brighter and I’m hoping they can do the same for you! 🙂

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1) E-Library Card

Are you one of those people who can drop money on books even though you’re pinching pennies to make rent and pay other bills? I know you can’t see it, but my hand is raised—HIGH. Thankfully, the library is here to help. I mean, it’s always been here, but I had no idea there was an online library that will lend you books straight to your Kindle.  It’s so easy! It’s so wonderful! It’s so free! I highly recommend looking into it.

If you’re in the LA area, you can get your own e-library card here!

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2) Audiobooks

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I never thought I’d be someone who could listen to a book rather than read it, but this year I decided to try them. Turns out, they’re the perfect driving companion, and getting ready in the morning companion, and during the slow hours of the work day companion. All I’m saying is, audiobooks are your friend and you should give them a shot. If you’re into classics, I recommend To Kill a Mockingbird read by Sissy Spacek, and if you’re into memoirs, I recommend Drew Barrymore’s Wildflower.

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3) Spiffing up my Inbox

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My email inbox goes through phases of being organized and a complete disaster, but this year I noticed how unexciting it was regardless. I was never excited to get any emails because they were always work related, bill related, or complete spam. SO, this year I decided to spiff it up a bit.

I subscribed to newsletters:

  • The Skimm: A daily newsletter that gives you the bullet points of important events happening around the world.
  • Goodnewsletter: A weekly newsletter full of only good news, and you know I’m all about good news!
  • The Rise Newsletter: Another weekly newsletter run by Rachel Hollis (author of Girl, Wash Your Face) that gives you little doses of inspiration to help you to take on the week!

And some weekly devotionals:

  •  The Monday Club: Probably my favorite find of this year. It arrives every Monday morning with some encouraging words to help start your week off right.
  • The Cathe Laurie Devotional: A weekly Bible study that gives you a specific goal to focus on for the week.

I would recommend any and all of these. They brightened up my inbox throughout the year with doses of inspiration and positivity.

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4) Birchbox

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I would definitely consider myself to be an amateur in the makeup department, but like any other department of my life, I’m curious and anxious to be better. So, I enlisted Birchbox to help me level up. I was probably subscribed for about six months, and while it was very exciting to get a package—that only cost me $10!—every month with new things to try, I just couldn’t keep up. I ended up having a big pile of samples sitting on my bathroom counter that made me anxious and sad and annoyed whenever I looked at it. I might pop back in once in a while to get a few more things to try—or just to get another one of their incredible boxes, which I plan on using to wrap gifts this holiday season—but for now I’m on pause.

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5) Imperfect Produce

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This is probably my favorite thing that I found this year. I’ll be honest, I was definitely a victim of consistent marketing on this one. THE FACEBOOK ADS GOT TO ME. But hey, it’s a super easy (and cheap) way to get fresh produce, and I’ve used each box I’ve gotten to inspire to look up new recipes with food I might not otherwise have tried. I highly recommend giving it a shot if they deliver in your area!

If you are interested in trying it, you can sign up here and get $10 of your first box—which is amazing because an average box for me costs about $12.

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6) Rev Captioning

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With student loan payments, bills, rent, and my failure to win the lottery this year, there were definitely times when I was sweating my finances. I thought about getting a second job, but was struggling with having to give up my free time. When I get home from my current job, I like to relax, but I also like to exercise, write and work on my goals for the year. So, I started looking around for options that could fit in to my schedule, which led me to Rev. It is a captioning service that pays you to either transcribe or caption videos. The application process is a little tough (I went through it twice before being hired) but once you’re in, you get to make your own schedule and work as much or as little as you like. You don’t necessarily rake in the money, but if you are consistent about it, you can give your bank account at least a little buffer.

Check it out here

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Overall, I’d definitely say that my curiosity paid off this year and I’m excited to see where it takes me next year! Do you have anything you tried this year that you loved?

 

March/April 2018 Favorites

It’s beginning to feel a lot like…spring? Summer? Winter again? Honestly I have no idea with the highs and lows going on in Southern California right now. Last week my thermometer read both 49 and 96. This is why we Californians have trust issues, and why we never acclimate to anything. Anyways, let’s jump right into the favorites, shall we?

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Getting Curious w/ Jonathan Van Ness

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As if watching Queer Eye on Netflix wasn’t enough to make me fall in love with Jonathan Van Ness & Co. his podcast is equally as wonderful. Not only does it feature his trademark charm and sass, it covers genuinely interesting topics that I love hearing about and am quite honestly very curious about. For example, one episode talked all about bees. And while I’ve never considered myself to be much of a bee enthusiast, after listening I found myself completely fascinated by them and totally equipped to inform others of ways they can help save the dwindling population. (find it here)

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Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle

I’ve never considered myself any sort of expert in the makeup/beauty world, but a couple months ago I signed up for Birchbox to add some new products in my life and have been loving it so far! In my first box, I received this detangling spray that you put in your hair before brushing when you get out of the show and WOW. It completely detangled my hair, it made it smell good, and it left it super smooth. I just recently ran out so I will definitely be ordering the full size version! (find it here)

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Quinoa Fried Rice

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As you may have read in my cooking series, Strain then Stir, I’ve been making a conscious effort to better my cooking skills over the last year. In doing so, I’ve forced myself to branch out and try things I’ve long convinced myself I don’t like, one example being quinoa. I have always assumed I wouldn’t like the texture of quinoa and would always hold a grudge against it because, well, it’s just not rice. But then I found this recipe and everything changed. Not only is it easy, but it’s absolutely delicious and healthy and OH MY GOSH I’M A COOK. (find recipe here) (image credit: Gimme Some Oven blog)

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Caramel Cookie Fix

Speaking of delicious. I picked up a pint of this ice cream at Target while my sister and I were stress packing for Stagecoach last month and WOW. Just wow. I’m still proud of myself for not eating the entire pint in one sitting even though 1) I definitely could have and 2) it’s lower in calories thus lower in guilt. If you are in the market for a new ice cream flavor, this is the winner.

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You’re Not that Great

I’m not going to lie, I initially only bought this book because it popped up in the sale section of the Kindle store. That being said however, since I finished it I’ve been recommending it to everyone and would gladly go back in time and pay full price for it. It’s such a new take on self-help books, essentially asking you to embrace all the reasons you suck. And as much as that sounds insulting, it’s actually strangely inspirational. I laughed through the entire book and could not recommend it more. (find it here)

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The Office

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After years of receiving the “what do you mean you HAVEN’T see The Office” looks, I decided it was about time I joined society, and let me tell you, I’M SO GLAD I DID! I totally get it now. Every look I’ve received in the past is totally validated because yes, my life was worse before I started watching this show and continues to get better as I make my way though it. (I’m currently on Season 5!) So thank you, judgy people, really, truly, thank you. (find it on Netflix)

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Sons of Anarchy

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On a completely different end of the Netflix spectrum, I’ve also gotten into Sons of Anarchy, making my brain a very chaotic place. Not to mention my heart is now torn between two incredibly different men in Jim Halpert and Jax Teller. I think if there is a human out there that is a combination of the two he might be my soulmate. So if you find him, let me know. (find it on Netflix)

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A Quiet Place

If you are among the few that have heard all the hype about this movie but haven’t seen it, let me be the one to tell you that you need to go see it. I have never been a fan of horror movies, nor have I ever seen one in theaters, but the talk around this movie (and my new love for John Krasinski) convinced me to face my fears and I’m so glad I did! This movie is so fantastic and different than anything I’ve seen before. I felt every emotion on the spectrum and would easily say it is the best movie I’ve seen all year. Go see it! In theaters if you can. It adds to the whole experience.

 

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Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know! My Amazon cart is always open…

See my previous favorites post here.