The Morning Routine that Changed My Life

Okay, I know that title is a little dramatic. But it’s true. I finally figured out a morning routine that has stuck with me for more than a few weeks. In fact, I’ve been following this routine for about 6 months now, and I love it!

What I’ve struggled with in the past was I tried to fit so much into my morning and make it as productive as possible. I found that I could only stick with it for a couple of weeks, or even days. It would quickly get overwhelming or I’d just be too tired to do it.

Now I’ve found the perfect balance between being productive and also easing into my day slowly! So, let me show you what it is!

7:00

I start my day off by waking up at 7. I begin my work around 9 for my internship or 10 on days I have classes! Waking up at 7 is the perfect amount of time to wake up and have some “me time” before I get started on my day.

7:00-7:15

In the first fifteen minutes of waking up, I go to the bathroom, wash my face, and drink some water. The time it takes obviously varies a little day by day, but about 15 minutes is the average.

7:15-7:45

Then, I crawl back into bed and spend about 30 minutes reading! The reason I love this routine so much is because I feel productive for starting my day with reading, but it’s slow and relaxing. It doesn’t require too much mental energy, and it makes me feel good!

7:45-8:10

After that, I go to make my breakfast! I usually make oatmeal or the occasional avocado toast, which takes me about 15 minutes to make. The time that I get up to do this varies depending on how hungry I am. I tend to get hungry pretty early because I eat my dinner early the night before, so it’s been at least 12 hours since I last ate.

8:10-8:30

Finally, I get dressed, do my skincare routine, and make my bed! Now I’m ready to begin my day.

Are you a morning or a night person? What are some of your morning habits? Tell me all about it in the comments below :)

10 Things I Can’t Live Without

For the last few months, I have been adopting various minimalist habits in order to live a simpler, clutter-free life. The new documentary from The Minimalists was just released this month on Netflix, so I thought it was a good time to share 10 items that I CAN’T live without!

These are all things that I brought to my life with intention, and that are purchases I am very happy to have made! Everyone’s list will obviously look different, but I thought this would be interested to create and read :) I hope you enjoy it!

My Kindle Paperwhite

The very first thing that popped into my head when I thought of this idea was my kindle. I obviously can’t put a bunch of books on this list, so my Kindle is the next best thing! It is one of the best purchases I made in 2020 (and just my life in general). I’ve gotten a lot of e-ARCs from publishers over the 5 years I’ve been blogging. How did I read all of them? On my phone. It was not a fun time. My eyes would always hurt and I would get distracted by notifications, and it was just uncomfortable.

Not only does my Kindle solve all of those issues, but it also means I don’t have to own as many books. I have been unhauling lots of books over the last few months because all I want in my collection is books I absolutely adore. If someone were to look at my shelves, I want them to see an accurate representation of my reading tastes, which means I no longer want to keep books I think are just mediocre. The Kindle allows me to read a lot of books while also making sure I don’t accumulate too many in my physical space.

Scrivener

As a writer, my greatest investment so far has been this program. Scrivener is an amazing tool that allows you to organize your novel into different files, allowing you to easily switch between chapters, notes, character outlines, and more. It really ensures that none of your writing gets lost, and everything is easy to locate when you need it.

There are tons of YouTube videos online about how it works, so if this interests you, I highly recommend looking into it. You can even get a discount if you win NaNoWriMo!

Spotify

I have to admit, I’m not a huge music fan. I have a few favorite artists who I play on repeat, and I listen to music in the shower and while doing work. But what I love about Spotify is just how much it offers! With my student plan, I get Spotify and Hulu every month for the equivalent of a cup of coffee from Starbucks.

Not only can I play music, I can also listen to podcasts and audiobooks from this one application! It is amazing. I also love that you can create playlists with friends. Sorry to any Apple Music users, Spotify is just the superior choice!

Macbook Pro

I’ve owned a Macbook since 2014. Before that, I used various Windows computers, but none of them even compared to this Apple product. That laptop lasted me SEVEN YEARS! Unfortunately, it finally died on my over the summer, and I had to purchase a new one. But that laptop survived iced-tea spills, a couple of falls, and hundreds of travels.

This computer has just never failed me, and I don’t see myself ever switching to another brand again.

Journal

I’m not too picky about this, but I can’t live without a journal of some kind. I need to have one with me almost at all times, and I usually have multiple ones for different things. As I began a minimalist lifestyle, I really narrowed down my collection of notebooks, but I still own more than an average human. I will never tire of pen and paper. I think it’s so great for getting your thoughts sorted out, and there’s something so comforting about writing in a journal.

Candles

I’m pretty surprised that this has made it onto my list, if I’m being honest. It wasn’t until a few months ago that I began really loving candles. I’ve always owned them, I’ve always used them, but it was more of a sporadic thing for me. But around October, I began lighting one every single day, and it became a soothing way to end my day. When I light a candle, it signals to my body that it’s time to rewind and get ready for bed. I’ll light one and then read a book or watch a movie for a couple of hours, and it makes me so happy.

Moisturizer

I have very oily skin, but moisturizer is still so so important. I can’t believe that I didn’t have a set skincare routine in high school, and then wondered why my skin was always really off balance. I can’t go a single day without doing my skincare routine, and the moisturizer is by far my favorite part. My skin is happy, and therefore I’m happy!

Carmex

This is the best chapstick I’ve ever used. I discovered it about 4 or 5 years ago, but since then, I’ve never used anything else. I’ve gone through at least 15 tubes of this thing because it’s just that good!

Bananas

I thought long and hard about what food I would not be able to live without, and I have finally come to the conclusion that I need bananas in my life more than any other fruit, vegetable, grain, or other food. I put bananas in my oatmeal, on my toast, in my smoothies and protein shakes. I make pancakes out of them, and the most phenomenal bread, and I eat them just as they are for a snack or pre-run meal.

I always have way too many bananas in my house, and I don’t see that ever changing.

Iced Coffee

The final item that I can’t live without is iced coffee. Are you surprised? This is an addiction that started surprisingly late for me. It wasn’t until my freshman year of college that I started drinking it, and even then it wasn’t regular for me until sophomore year. But now I have at least one cup a day, if not more. I don’t even drink it for the caffeine, I just really love the taste.

I’ve tried cutting back on my consumption quite a few times, but I always come back to it at the end of the day. It’s just so dang good.

What’s the number one item you can’t live without? Is there anything on my list that you would put on your list, too? I’d love to hear what it is!

Instagram Controls My Day

Social media is a huge part of most people’s everyday lives. It’s definitely a big part of mine. I have been thinking about my social media use a lot of the last 6 months or so, which I’ve talked about every now and then on here!

I thought it would be fun to let Instagram control my day as a bit of an experiment. I know this is not a new concept & many people have made Youtube videos about this before. It was a bit hard to translate into blog form, but I still hope you enjoy reading it!

Now, let’s see what my life looked like when Instagram controlled it!

To prep, the night before I asked what I should have for breakfast, as well as what book I should read in the morning! I always read as soon as I wake up, so I didn’t want to have to wait before getting my results.

I was very happy with the book that was chosen in the morning because I was already in the middle of reading it! But, I was really hoping that oatmeal would win for the breakfast! Don’t get me wrong, I love eggs and toast, but I’ve been having oatmeal for breakfast almost every day for months now. I actually thought that it would win, too, because I post about it so often! I guess everyone was getting sick of seeing me eat it ahaha!

Next I asked you to choose my nail polish color! This one was really close for a pretty long time—between 1 and 3! Ultimately, 1 was chosen as the winner!

Afterward, it was time for my daily coffee! This one was so close for a really long time, I wasn’t sure if you guys were going to vote for me to buy it or make it, but as soon as I saw that one was in the lead, I went with it!

I also asked if I should watch a movie or play chess when I got back, and chess was the winner! After spending about an hour doing that, I was hungry and wanted to move onto something else. You guys voted for me to have an apple with peanut butter, and to work on my novel!

Then, it was time for me to do a workout! You voted for me to do yoga, which I was hoping for! After that, I asked what book I should read when facetiming my friend Angela (I accidentally voted for one, but I didn’t count that into the vote). It was tied for a really long time, so when I was facetiming Angela, I just ended up choosing The Dreamers because no one was breaking the time.

Then, before bed, I always light a candle. The scent that won was marshmallow fireside, so I lit it while I did some more reading before bed. That was the end of my day!

Overall, this was a fun experiment to do. With almost each post, I had an idea in my mind of the answer I wanted to win, so it was fun to have another option win instead!

Quarterly Favorites #4 / October-December 2020

Hello and Merry Christmas Eve to those who celebrate!!

Today we have my last quarterly favorites post of the year! I feel like it’s also a bit of a shorter one, but not much has changed in my life over the last three months because I was so busy with school and work.

But, I still have a few things I’m excited to share, so let’s take a look!

Food:

  • Chunky almond butter: I have never tried a chunky nut butter. I always buy the creamy option. But one day I was at a grocery store, and I bought the chunky one accidentally. But it was phenomenal! I am so glad that I bought that one because it has become my new obsession.
  • Toasted white chocolate mocha: I tried this Starbucks drink just a few days ago, but now it is my favorite drink they sell! It is the perfect holiday drink, and I know I will be buying it over and over for the rest of this year.

Entertainment:

  • The Queen’s Gambit: This is not a show I thought I was going to like, but with EVERYONE talking about it, I gave it a try. And it proved me wrong because I absolutely adored it. If you haven’t heard of it, it is a Netflix show about a young orphan who learns to play chess and becomes a prodigy. The story follows her as she grows up, and it was so fascinating and made me want to learn how to play!
  • Evermore: I became a TS fan a little over a year ago, when Lover came out. Since then, I have grown to love her music more and more. Evermore is incredible! My top 3 right now are tolerate it, no body no crime, and ’tis the damn season!

Health:

  • Kickboxing: My dad bought a punching bag a few weeks ago, and I have been loving it. It is such a great form of exercise, and it makes me feel so strong. I haven’t had a chance to try it out for too long because I was away at school, but now that I’m home for winter break, I am going to be getting a ton of use out of it!

Other:

  • iPhone tripod: This is a purchase I have been meaning to make for quite some time! I am so glad that I finally got it because it has made taking pictures for instagram so much easier! I used to use my camera to take all of my photos, but it has become much easier to just use my phone recently, so having a tripod is essential, especially because I take most of my photos on my own.
  • Kindle: I bought a Kindle Paperwhite! It’s probably my favorite purchase of the year, if I’m being honest. I love physical books, but over the years, I’ve started to care less and less about owning a ton of them. I’m in the process of weeding out my shelves now and only keeping books I really love. I want my collection to be curated to my tastes, so that is what I’m working on! Plus, the Kindle is great for reading all of my ARCs instead of using my phone.

I’d love to know if you’ve tried any of these, watched/listened to them, etc.! And what are your thoughts if you have?

I hope you all have an incredible holiday season and I’ll see you next week!

2020 Goals Update & New Goals for 2021!

In June, I did a 2020 goals update, but since then, things have changed quite a bit. Let’s take a look at how I did with my reading, blogging, and personal goals.

My goals have definitely changed since January, and my goal-setting plan is a little bit different for next year as well, so be sure to read to the end to see some of my updates!

2020 Goals

Personal:

Mindfulness: This was the pillar I was probably most intentional about because my word of the year was “present.” I wanted to focus more on the current moment and stop worrying about the future/past so much!

  • meditate more frequently ✅
  • set to-do lists the night before ✅
  • limit screen time ✅

Health/Fitness: I definitely started working out more, I eat much less sugar, and I drink a lot of water every single day (I didn’t track if it was 64 oz though, so I didn’t give myself a full check).

  • eat less processed sugar ✅❌
  • workout 3-5 days per week (at least 15 times per month) ✅
  • drink 64 oz of water per day ✅❌

Finances: I added a lot more to my savings account than I anticipated, but it was very sporadic. My $10 a week system was working at first, but once I got an actual job, I put more money towards it monthly instead of weekly.

  • attempt a “low buy year” ❌
  • add $5-10 per week into savings account ❌
  • pay off credit card ✅

School:

  • join a new club ✅
  • start thesis research ✅
  • land a summer internship or job (slightly school-related) ✅

Miscellaneous:

  • write more frequently ✅
  • watch all movies on AFI’s Best 100 Movies list ❌
  • learn to bake/cook better ✅

BlogGing:

  • Post at least once a week (but aim for 2) ✅
  • write one book review per month ✅
  • utilize Pinterest more ❌
  • hit 1000 followers ✅

Reading:

  • Read 52 books ✅
  • Read 1 ARC a month ✅
  • Read 1 e-book a month ✅
  • Get owned TBR under 50 books ❌ (I got it down from 99 to 60, so I’m pretty happy with this considering I added a ton of books to this list throughout the year, too)
  • Buy under 10 books ❌ (we’re not going to talk about this one)

2021 Goals

I’m not goals as specific as the ones I did for 2020. I found it exhausting to keep track of numbers and pay attention to these things that don’t really matter to me? Who cares if I read one ARC a month or not? I don’t! It just honestly felt so constraining. Even with my blogging goals, I set myself a schedule of posting 2 blog posts per week (which I did!), but some of my content felt rushed or not as valuable simply because I didn’t always have time to write them.

This year, my goals might not seem very specific, but that’s because I didn’t want to feel as much pressure. I’m going with the flow. Plus, I set quarterly goals for myself, too, so I want to use those for smaller, more specific goals to help me achieve these larger goals!

I divided them up into similar categories to last year’s, but I eliminated/merged a few of them.

Also, my word of the year is balance. I’m someone who tends to do a lot of work, especially when it comes to school, and I don’t leave a lot of time for anything else. I want to introduce balance into my life this year & make better use of my time so that my life feels full and well rounded!

Health & Fitness

✨ Get into a consistent healthy lifestyle that is realistic

✨ Enjoy all of your workouts, even if they’re hard

School & Career

✨ Land another internship

✨ Graduate with honors

✨ Figure out post-grad plans

Personal Growth

✨ Learn more yoga poses

✨ Read 52 books, but slow down with them

✨ Take a class to learn something new

Creative

✨ Be proud of every post you share

✨ Finish first draft of novel

Life

✨ Watch 24 movies

✨Save at least $5k

✨Do more things outside of your comfort zone

So, some changes in 2021- I will be going back to one post per week. But, I also have a fun new project I’m launching in the new year, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

I would love to hear what some of your goals are for the new year! Feel free to share them in the comments :)

How I Reset, Refresh, and Realign for a New Year!

The new year is right around the corner, and I while I wholeheartedly believe that you should not wait for the clock to strike midnight to start changing your habits and working towards your goals, I do like to tie up some loose ends at this time.

I really like to take the end of each year to re-evaluate how my current systems and plans are going so that I can adjust them if I need to going forward.

I thought that I would share what this process looks like for me in case some of your were interested!

Declutter and Deep Clean

The first step before I can get started on goal setting is to do a very thorough decluttering of the things I already own. I go through each of my drawers and get rid of the things I no longer need (and either sell, donate, or trash them).

This is vital to me because it helps to clear my mind. I 100% agree with the concept that a messy space leads to a messy mind. I need to be organized before I can get started on defining my goals.

I also go through my digital space as well—I delete files I no longer need, change my wallpapers, clear out apps from my phone, and delete pictures.

I can’t stress enough how important this first step is!

Reflect

After I’ve gone through and cleared my space, I then spend a day reviewing the past year. 2020 gave me a lot to reflect on, that’s for sure!

I like to first spend 15-30 minutes journaling about the previous year: my overall thoughts, how I’m feeling, what went wrong. what went well, etc.

Then, I pull out my goals from that year and I look over them to see how I did. If I’m being honest, my goals from the beginning of the year aren’t always that relevant to my life anymore. It’s okay for goals to change! I think that’s important to note! But I do still like to see where I thought I was at the beginning of the year and where I ended up. It helps me think about what goals I’m going to set for the New Year!

Visualize and Set Goals

Now we’re moving onto the fun stuff! Before I start setting my goals, I write out a list of my priorities. Everyone’s pillars are going to be different, but this year mine are health/fitness, school/career, personal growth, creative, and “life.”

For each of these, I created 3 main goals that I want to work towards over the year. Then, I create my goals for the first quarter of the year (January, February, March) and I create one smaller goal for each of the categories to help me move towards the main goals!

I also create a vision board for the year—sometimes physically in my journal, sometimes I create a wallpaper for my computer!

This is just a way to be more creative and allow myself to really visualize these goals. They feel more concrete this way.

Content Planning

The last step to my new year planning is thinking of my content! I take a really deep look at what sort of content I’m currently making and I decide whether I’m happy with it or not. Does it provide value? Did I enjoy making it? Do other people connect to it?

Then, I create a calendar for the entire year & write out what blog posts I’m going to write! This is one of my favorite parts of my planning because I get to brainstorm and think about what I want to talk about here!

That being said, I would love to know what you all want to see from me on here! Do you really like tags? Or book recommendations? Or reviews? Let me know!

Do you plan and make goals for the new year? What are some of your resolutions for 2021? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to tell me what type of content you want to see more of from me in the new year :)

How I Use My Physical Notebooks – Ways to Use Your Unfilled Notebooks!

Happy Thursday and if you’re in the US, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you are having a lovely and safe holiday :)

Today I want to share how I use my notebooks with you all because I know that I personally used to look up “ways to fill my notebooks” online all the time! This was mainly due to my impulsive notebook buying habits which meant that I had way more than I knew what to do with.

I’ve finally been able to narrow it done to just four notebooks (which may still be a lot to some people, but this works for me). I hope you find this at least a little bit useful & maybe get a new idea from it!

Planner

The first “notebook” I use is my planner. In September, I got a Passion Planner, which I already went over in more detail on here before. BUT, it is truly one of the most important items I own. Basically, the weekly layout I have lets you time block your day, which is the same spread I was making in my bullet journal. It just made more sense for me to switch into a pre-made version in order to save about an hour of time a week.

This is…technically a notebook, right? I just sort of think of it as a new bullet journal, so in a way it is a notebook.

At the end of everyday, I sit down and create my schedule for the following day, and I add/check off any tasks on the to-do list at the bottom. Also, one of the features of the planner is a “today’s focus” box at the top, and I turned that into a daily gratitude prompt. This one notebook just does so much for me, and I would be so lost without it.

Journal

In addition to my planner, another notebook I *try* to use everyday is my journal (big emphasis on try here). I think having a journal of some sort to write out your thoughts at least once a week is so beneficial, not only for your mental health, but for your creativity as a whole. I have found that I’ll start writing about my life and suddenly get an idea for a blog post. Or I’ll be venting and have some sort of life epiphany.

My goal is to write in it daily, though I’d say I usually write in it every two or three days. It’s definitely going to be one of the habits I try to improve on in the new year.

I write anything from some life updates to funny stories I’ve heard recently, as well as any worries I have, things I’m feeling down about, etc. There’s no rhyme or reason to it, it’s really just a way of letting my mind bleed out onto paper.

Commonplace Book

Another notebook I have is a commonplace book. This is where I store my favorite quotes, or I stick in tickets, pictures, or receipts I want to keep. I jot down overheard conversations, and I write in recipes to try. I also have various lists in it, like movies I want to watch and character name ideas.

Basically, I use this as a way to collect anything that inspires me. It is very messy, but that’s sort of the point! I tend to carry this with me when I leave the house so that I can jot down any spur of the moment thoughts. If I don’t have it on me, I will write a note in my phone and later transfer it to here!

Writing Ideas

The final notebook I have contains all of my story ideas. This is where I do a lot of my initial outlining for a new project, and by that I mean writing down a few plot points (or just random bullet points of scene ideas), some character names, or anything else that first comes to mind for that particular story.

This I keep separate from my commonplace book because it is a lot cleaner and easier to navigate. Sometimes I will look through my commonplace book and transfer over any solid ideas from it into this notebook. Usually, though, the commonplace book is just for hints of inspiration, while this notebook has the actual seeds for stories I want to write one day.

I hope that makes sense. I feel like it works in my mind, so I hope the message comes across here, too!

Those are all of the notebooks I use! This system has been working well for a few weeks for me now, after I simplified some of the other notebooks I had.

I would love to know what types of notebooks you have and use, though! And if you have any other tips or comments, leave those in the comments as well :)

I Turned 21?! A Birthday Reflection.

On Sunday, I turned 21.

In the days leading up to my birthday, I always like to reflect on the past year of my life. My good friend Angela asked me to share my goal setting process for my birthday, so I talked a bit about it on my Instagram already, but I wanted to share it here as well!

I always start by journaling about where I’m at currently, what I did/didn’t do over the last year, and just my thoughts in general. This really helps me to reflect and check in with myself. I journal on a fairly regular basis, and I highly recommend giving it a try!

Twenty was a weird age. More than half of it was spent trying to survive a pandemic, and the other half was pretty uneventful. I felt pretty isolated for a majority of it, and I felt like I didn’t accomplish much. I also feel like I shut myself in a bit, and I turned down a lot of experiences that I wish I had taken up.

Those are some of the things I wrote about in my journal. Then, using my journal as a guide, I created a page in Notion with my intentions for the year ahead.

Here are my affirmations/intentions:

  1. I have a positive attitude and enjoy the simple moments.
  2. I free myself of expectations and I am more creative.
  3. I make new connections and I am more adventurous.

I don’t really set “goals” in the traditional sense on my birthday because I create quarterly goals instead every year. But, I do like to create somewhat of a “to-do list” instead. Here is what that looks like for the next 12 months!

I will…

  • finish writing a book
  • give myself more breaks & stress less about school
  • start a new hobby or reinvest in an old one
  • travel somewhere new (city, state, country? whatever’s possible)
  • take a fun class (yoga? pottery? photography?)
  • start a book club with friends
  • eat more vegetables and learn to cook 5 new meals
  • start a new long-term creative project (podcast? poetry collection? e-book?)
  • pay off a big chunk of student loans
  • make 5 new friends!

That is all in terms of how I look back on my years as well as how I think about the future! It’s really strange to me that I’m already 21. I feel like I’m still in high school sometimes, if I’m being honest.

But I’m really excited about this next year of my life, and I’m pretty optimistic about it.

Do you have any planning systems surrounding your birthday?

College Day in My Life // Online Junior Year Edition

I can’t believe I’m already a junior in college. Not only that, but I’ll be graduating two semesters from now*. Absurd.

I thought that I would give you a look at one of my days while taking classes online! Obviously everyday is a bit different, but this is what my day looked like yesterday.

*I’m graduating a semester early woohoo!

6:30 am

I wake up between 5:15 and 6:30 every single day because I have to be up by 5:30 for work on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I try to keep my sleeping schedule as consistent as possible on the rest of the days.

I actually wanted to sleep in until 7 today, but my body woke me up at 6:30, and I just stayed in bed for a bit.

After going to the bathroom, washing my face, and stretching a little, I read a few chapters of The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang.

8:00 am

Around 8 is usually when I’ll go make myself breakfast! Today I made a bowl of oatmeal topped with bananas, blueberries, and chopped pecans. I ate it in bed (because my housemates were still asleep and I didn’t want to be loud), while I looked over some of my assignments.

Then, I did some more reading of The Poppy War because I really want to finish it over the next couple of days. I normally would do some kind of workout in the morning, but it was a stormy day and I just wasn’t feeling it, so I let myself take a rest day!

Then, I eventually got dressed, made my bed, and listened to a podcast for a bit.

11:00 am

My sister Facetimed me around 11 while I went to make an iced coffee for myself before class. I honestly talk to my sister or my parents on the phone a few times throughout the day.

11:40 am

Then, I had class my first and only class of the day at 11:40: Foundations of British Literature. It was a pretty easy class because we were starting a new unit, so we basically just went over some of the historical context of the time period.

1:00 pm

The class ended at 1, at which time I went to make myself some lunch. I made a spinach & berry smoothie with some avocado toast. It was phenomenal.

2:00 pm

At 2, I got started on my thesis, which is what I spent the majority of my day working on.

I am currently in the development stage of my thesis, which basically means this semester I focus more on research, while next semester I’ll be doing the actual execution/writing of the thesis. But I still need to submit a proposal this semester which is going to be around 15-20 pages long (possibly longer??). On top of this, I’m taking 5 other classes, so it’s overwhelming at times!

I’m somehow powering through, though, and I know it’ll all be worth it in the end!

My housemates all joined me in the dining room while I worked, and it was nice to get some social interaction for the day (considering we’re taking our classes online, and, you know, COVID means I don’t see too many other people).

5:00 pm

At 5, I made myself some dinner which was a turkey wrap and some steamed veggies on the side! I continued working while I ate. I actually got a lot done during this day of working, so I was feeling great.

6:00 pm

I stopped working on it at 6 because I was exhausted at this point. I made myself a little yogurt bowl for dessert and ate that while talking to my dad for a bit.

7:00 pm

At 7, I took my (minimal) makeup off, washed my face, and changed into pajamas because that honestly is the best feeling ever.

I then started writing this blog post!

8:00 pm

At 8, I did some reading for the class I had today just to get it out of the way, and then I watched an episode of The Haunting of Bly Manor (which I will share my full thoughts on soon!).

10:00 pm

Finally, I read a bit more of The Poppy War to just prepare myself for bed, and then I went to sleep around 10:30. I usually try to go to sleep by 10:30/11 because I do wake up so early and sleep is important!

That’s it for my day! If you guys want to see a more detailed morning or night routine, I would definitely be able to do that soon!

Are your days structured or do you have a more loose schedule everyday?

Quarterly Favorites #3 / July-Sept 2020

We are already entering the final quarter of 2020. It’s definitely not how any of us expected the year to go, but I’m taking things one day at a time and just focusing on taking care of myself.

Anyway, let’s talk about some of my favorites for the last 3 months! Some of these you may have seen if you follow me on social media, but I wanted to be sure to talk about them here, too!

Writing

  • Scrivener: At the start of July, I focused A LOT on writing, which you guys saw a little bit of. I have been using Scrivener for about 2 years now, but I recently started using it even more and I have been loving it! If you don’t know, it is a word processing system that allows you to create multiple folders, rearrange chapters, outline, take notes, etc. There are tons of videos online that go into more detail with how it works, but it truly is my favorite writing tool.
  • Writer group chats: July was Camp NaNo, which is why I was doing so much writing! Finding a few friends to make group chats with was so motivating. I joined a few Discord servers where people were constantly sharing their updates, planning long writing days, and giving advice. Having this support system is really what kept me going, and it’s how I managed to win Camp!
  • Writing vlogs & livestreams: I have been following a lot more writers/authors on Youtube and social media platforms recently, and it has been so inspiring. I love watching writing vlogs so so much, as I feel like I get to learn so much from other writers’ processes. And livestreams helped me get SO MUCH writing in! I highly recommend them if you are looking to get motivated.

TV Shows & Movies

  • Normal People: I read and watched Normal People during quarter 3, and let me tell you- I liked the tv show more than the book. Personally, I just didn’t connect with the book as much as I thought I would, but the tv show really brought everything to life for me in a way that was more fascinating. I think it was really well done, and Hulu adaptations just really have my heart at the moment!
  • Criminal Minds: I am currently in the process of watching this show from start to finish, which is something I’ve never actually done before. I basically grew up watching random episodes of it that were on TV with my dad, but now I’m actually following the storyline. I love this show and these characters with my whole heart.
  • Katherine Ryan Glitter Room: One thing that I want to start watching more of is comedians/stand up shows. I recently watched Katherine Ryan’s Glitter Room on Netflix, and it was so funny! It was also super empowering and discussed a lot of women’s issues. I highly recommend it! If you have any favorite stand up shows or comedians, please recommend them to me!

Podcasts

Podcasts have been a huge part of the last few months for me, as I didn’t have as much time to dedicate to reading. If you guys want a whole post of Podcast recs, that is definitely something I can do! Here are a few that I really loved, though!

  • Sakara Life: I have been really invested in my health recently, mainly after a few personal things had started happening to me. I am currently also dealing with some digestion issues (which I think is related to my recent soy allergy discovery), as well a knee injury that I am still recovering from. The hosts of this podcast bring in a lot of guests to speak about different aspects of health—from healing your gut, eating whole foods, sleep, and more—which have all been super fascinating. I am excited to keep learning more.
  • Millennial Minimalists: One thing that I have been working on over the last few months is adopting a more minimalistic lifestyle. These two best friends chat about their journey to minimalism, and they share lots of tips/advice for how to go about it. But they’re also just so fun to listen to! I have really been enjoying this podcast, and if you are looking to get started with minimalism, this might be for you!
  • The Michelle Obama Podcast: I miss the Obama’s so much, as I’m sure many of you do. This podcast feels like I’m chatting with a friend. It’s full of so much wisdom and insight, and I just trust Michelle Obama with everything. If you haven’t listened yet, I definitely think it is a must.

Food

  • Pineapple coconut water: During quarantine, I was running a lot. And it was hot for the majority of those months, so I would come back from my runs super sweat and dehydrated. Coconut water contains a lot of electrolytes and is supposed to replenish all that you lost after sweating! But, regular coconut water is not my favorite thing in the world. I was sort of forcing it down my throat. When I tried the pineapple flavor, though, I fell in love. I drink after any long workout and just when I’m feeling very dehydrated! It tastes amazing.
  • Watermelon: At one point during the summer, I was eating full watermelons by myself every single week. My parents even decided that next year they are going to plant watermelon seeds in our garden because I was spending so much money on buying them. Watermelon is definitely one of my favorite fruits, and it was the perfect snack on hot summer days!
  • Avocado: Confession—I never tried avocado until a few months ago. I have been a very picky eater my entire life (not by choice!!), so trying new foods is really hard for me. But recently, I’ve really been pushing myself to try new things, and avocado was one of them! I love it now and I eat avocado toast w/ eggs at least once a week! I’m finally on board that train.
  • HU Chocolate: I recently became an ambassador for the HU brand, and they sent me a few of their products to try out. I am completely in love with their products. They make crackers, chocolate covered nuts, baking chocolate, and chocolate bars. Their bars are my absolute favorite chocolate I’ve ever tried, and it’s so much healthier for you than most other brands! Their crackers are also phenomenal! If you want to try out any of their products, you can use the code “JessicaEats” for 15% off! I promise I’m not just trying to sell this to you (though I do get a commission if you use my code), I actually really do love it (and I ate my chocolate much faster than I’d like to admit).

Other

  • Passion planner: I recently received a passion planner as a giveaway, and it is truly my favorite thing ever. You guys know how much I love organization, so this is an item that I have been wanting for a really long time, but didn’t want to spend so much money on. Now that I have it, I know I won’t be going back to any other type of planner system for a while. I actually ditched my bullet journal for this because I was basically doing this same layout in my bujo anyway, so now it’s just pre-made for me!
  • Lap desk: I have shared pictures of my lap desk on quite a few spaces since I got it. It is truly one of my best purchases ever, especially now that I’m in school and don’t have a desk in my room. I linked one that is super similar to the one I bought, but it seems like mine is no longer being sold. I use this thing all the time. I love that it has a drink holder and it’s big enough to fit my laptop plus a book if I need. It has just helped me out a lot.
  • Sound machine: I recently bought a white noise/sound machine because I moved into a house with 6 other girls for the school year, and it can get pretty loud. I have already been having a lot of trouble sleeping as it is, so the addition of noise was not helping. I wanted to try out a sound machine, and this thing has been life changing. I’m finally falling asleep at a fairly fast rate, opposed to the 2-3 hours it was taking me to fall asleep before this. If you are struggling with your sleep, this may help!
  • Social media breaks & utilizing screen time settings: The last thing I want to talk about is screen time. My screen time was upwards of 7 hours during the summer, and I hated that. I didn’t want to be spending so much of my time behind a screen, as it was really damaging to my mental health. I talked about how I took a week long social media break a few months back, but since then, I have been incorporating more limits to my phone usage. I now have downtime set up on my phone so that between 9:30 pm and 8 am, the only apps I can use are ones for reading (kindle, libby, libro.fm). I also have an hour limit each day for Instagram and Twitter, though I haven’t even been crossing that limit much. My screen time has gone down to 4 hours or less each day! I would still love to get that down to 2 hours, but I’m really happy with all of my progress so far. It has helped me out immensely, and I feel so much better when I step away from the internet.

That is all for today’s post. I hope that you were able to find something new from it that maybe you’ll incorporate into your own life!

Let me know what some of your favorites from the past few months have been, I’d love to check them out :)