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#NoSpendNovember: Fun + Free Ideas!

Photo by Drew Geraets on Unsplash

One of the biggest challenges for me during #NoSpendNovember is to find things to do that are free – and fun!

I work mainly from home, and it’s important to find things to do outside the house. I enjoy being able to work in my pajamas, but it does get old after a bit. Most of the time, I leave my weekly shopping trips to during the week, and use that as an excuse to get out. When the weather’s nice, I make a trip to my local park for a hike. It’s tempting to hit Target on the way home, though!

We’re almost halfway through the challenge right now, and I’m sure some of you are struggling to find things to do like me! Today I wanted to share a few things I’m doing that are fun, free ideas to keep busy!

#NoSpendNovember: Fun + Free Ideas

Idea #1: Get outside!

Instead of spending time walking through the mall, get out and enjoy some fresh air! Go on a walk through your neighborhood and enjoy all the fall colors and home decor. If you’re lucky to live somewhere with a great parks system (like me!), take advantage of all they have to offer! Part of my #NoSpendNovember challenge is to unplug more often, and getting outside helps. It’s also a great way to get some free exercise!

Idea #2: Get sweaty for free!

If you typically spend money to work out, whether it’s a gym membership or online streaming program, consider the free options out there! Instead of paying for group yoga classes this month, try out Yoga With Adriene on YouTube. She has 30-day programs, beginner lessons, meditation practices, and more advanced stuff too! I’m also a big fan of Blogilates, Popsugar, and Tone It Up on YouTube as well!

Idea #3: Curl up with a good book!

Now that it’s getting cold outside, there is nothing quite like curling up under a blanket with a book and a cup of tea. Check out my earlier post on how to read for free, grab a book or ebook, and get reading!

Idea #4: Clean & declutter your space!

Part of the reason many of us do #NoSpendNovember is to deal with just how much stuff we really need in our lives. Instead of spending your Saturday morning thrift shopping (like I often do), work on cleaning up your space. Give the bathroom a good scrub down, shred old paperwork you no longer need, and reorganize your sock drawer. A clean, simplified space can be calming and soothing – something we all could use more of these days!

Idea #5: Give back!

In addition to donating old clothes or home goods, consider giving away some of your time as well! Volunteering is a great way to spend some time making new friends, staying busy, and having a positive impact on your community. There are so many ways to volunteer, from tutoring students, cooking for the homeless, cleaning up your local park, or even cuddling puppies at your local shelter!

I hope everyone is having a great time with their #NoSpendNovember challenges! If you have any other great ideas for fun + free ideas, leave a comment below!

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

I am definitely glad this week is over! I had a nasty cold and spent most of the week stuck working from bed, or bundled up on the couch. The week also started with a snowstorm that took me (and a few others around here) by surprise!

Tuesday was election day! It was encouraging to see several elections won (many for the first time ever) by women, people of color, and transgender candidates! Voting is something I take very seriously, and encourage everyone around me to do their part. Change begins by electing people at the local and state levels – not just federal! I can only hope the momentum keeps up in 2018!

Anyway, aside from elections and destroying boxes of tissues, here are a few things I’ve been digging:

  • My husband and I just finished the Netflix show Mindhunter, and I really liked it. It follows an FBI program dedicated to understanding the psychology of serial killers, taking place in the 1970s. I didn’t think this would be a show I’d get into, but I totally did. It’s perfect to watch late at night, lights off…but maybe not alone! Oh, and it’s total wardrobe inspiration if you’re craving a bit of a 70s vibe in your closet!
  • Ever wonder what kind of houseplant you should have, based on your zodiac sign? Wonder no more! It’s no surprise to me that I already have the plant suggested for Geminis – a philodendron!
  • If you love vintage and subscription boxes, consider giving Divine Trash Vintage a try! It’s only $30 each month, and you get a “trash bag” of vintage to pick from! I’m really tempted to give this one a try, since buying vintage here in Seattle can get stupidly expensive!
  • With all the news lately centered around sexual assault in the entertainment industry, I’m starting to wonder: what we do next? Enter Gretchen Carlson. After her public battle with sexual harassment policies at her old network, she is gathering up legislators to start making change. Her focus is on anti-arbitration laws, which allow companies to turn a blind eye to sexual harassment and assault, leaving the victims with no real legal recourse. The only job I ever had where I was viciously harassed and demeaned on a regular basis also happened to be the only company that has ever made me sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) and anti-arbitration clause – go figure!
  • I’m currently making my way through Kristin Newman’s memoir, What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding, and it’s giving me a serious traveling bug! I plan on finishing it up tonight, while sipping a warm cup of tea and covered in blankets! Gotta kick that cold to the curb!

I hope everyone has a great weekend! My plans this weekend are pretty up in the air, as usual, and totally dependent on how I feel. I predict a lot of books, pajamas, and vegan hot cocoa!

#NoSpendNovember: Reading Tips

#NoSpendNovember Reading Tips

Reading is one part of my life that’s easy to adjust to the #NoSpendNovember challenge. I don’t buy books very often, and have given up reading magazines for the most part. Plus, there are so many ways to get your reading fix for free!

I’ll admit that it might be easier for me to do this because I don’t re-read books. It doesn’t make sense for me to buy a book I’m only going to read once. The only time I prefer to buy a book is when I go on vacation – no stress over leaving it in an airport/hotel, or destroying it while reading on the beach.

If you’re a bookworm on a budget like me, here are some ways you can read for little to no cost!

#NoSpendNovember: Reading Tips!

Tip #1: Use your local library!

If you haven’t been to your local library lately (or ever), they’re worth checking out! Most public libraries now have a lot more than books. My library system has print books, electronic books, magazine subscriptions, along with digital movies, television shows, and more! If you have a tablet, your library probably as access to apps like OverDrive for digital books, or Zinio for magazines. I prefer to read magazines this way (they subscribe to pretty much anything I would already buy), and I’m currently in the middle of reading What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding on my iPad.

Tip #2: Use your stash!

Many of us buy books with the intention of reading them, only to put them on the bookshelf and forget they exist. Instead of buying a new book, see if you have any books at home you haven’t read yet! I own fewer than 20 books, but I know there are at least 2 on my shelf I haven’t gotten to yet. So at least for November, I can work on those before buying something new next month!

Tip #3: Host a book swap!

I don’t know why more people don’t do this, to be honest! Many of us have friends or family who also read a lot, and why not give your old books a new home? In exchange, you’ll also go home with a stack of new reads for free! Tell your friends to bring a few books they no longer need, and have a swap meet!

Tip #4: Download a free book app!

If you’re a fan of reading classical literature, definitely check out the Free Books app on iTunes. I’ve had this app for several years, and though it’s not perfect, they do have hundreds of public-domain classics you can read for free! You can also check out other free reading apps for just about any device – your phone, tablet, or reading device like Nook or Kindle will even have free books to download.

 

#NoSpendNovember Challenge

#nospendnovember challenge

#NoSpendNovember Challenge

Why am I doing this?

Because I’m a glutton for punishment.

I’m just kidding – sort of.

Looking forward to the holidays, I always end up feeling a bit overwhelmed. There is so much do to, bake, see, and BUY. Between gifts, baking extra goodies, sending out holiday cards, parties, buying an extra pair of gloves (I lose mine all the time), and all the extra coffees while I’m out shopping, it adds up. There is also so much pressure to “keep up” with everyone else during the holidays.

I doubt I’m alone in this. Many of us feel financial fatigue come January, which is a terrible way to start off the new year. This year, I’m trying to cut out at least some of the holiday spending – especially in November. I find that if I only give myself a short window to holiday shop, I can’t go overboard.

What are the ground rules?

While it would be ideal to go fully no-waste, 100% no-spending this month, that’s not realistic for me. I need to eat, after all! So instead of saying “don’t spend any money at all,” I’ve set some ground rules for myself this month:

Stay off of my Amazon account

Amazon is the devil for impulse spending. It’s so easy to go on there to order more moisturizer, and end up with a $100 order of god-only-knows-what. I have to use Amazon for my job, but I’m determined not to log into my actual account, so it’s less tempting to shop while I should be working.

Unsubscribe From Marketing Emails

Another project I have set for this month is to clear out my inboxes of marketing-heavy emails. I’ve signed up for way too many newsletters and product affiliate email chains over the past year. Now my inbox is flooded with ads, coupons, and other super-tempting marketing messages. Instead of hopping on Nasty Gal to dream of clothes I’m 10 years too old to pull off, I gotta hit the unsubscribe button.

no Beauty-Related Purchases

You have enough of that shit, Heather. Use what you’ve got.

I know I’m not alone in this one, either. I don’t need a dozen different lipsticks – I barely wear it anyway. So for this month, I’m determined to use what I have and hopefully fall back in love with some old favorites. I also got some new samples this month to try out, and I’ll save those for days when I’m dying to go to Ulta!

Do More DIY Projects

I have a few sitting around the house I haven’t started yet. Instead of shopping online for the perfect pair of loafers, I plan to spend the month on getting things done around the house. This should be easy to pull off without spending any extra!

Sell Some of Your Shit

I signed up with ThredUp recently, and hope to donate/sell some of my summer clothes I didn’t wear this year. My hope is to use that money to update my winter wardrobe without spending a dime this month!

There are exceptions

There is no way I can survive November without spending any money. So to make things more manageable and realistic, I’m allowing myself a few exceptions:

  • One day each week, I get to have a coffee at my local cafe during my “work out of the house day.” Working at home every day is not good for my sanity, so I consider this a “work necessity.”
  • Limit “extra” grocery trips to once a week. Instead of going every other day for extra ingredients for dinner or whatever, I need to plan better so I don’t have to do this.
  • Black Friday / Cyber Monday is going to be a “cheat day” for me. I do plan to get a holiday gift list ready to go, so all I have to do is pop online and buy whatever I need to. No extra spending on myself – only for others!

What are my goals for #NoSpendNovember?

Taking on a no-spending challenge sounds daunting for me, but I hope it’ll feel worth it at the end! There are a few things I’m hoping to take away from this experience:

More Money at the end of the month (duh)

Of course, the idea behind this is to have a little extra money at the end of the month that I can put towards bills, holiday stuff, or just to toss in my savings account and leave it be. The idea is to be able to enjoy the holidays without worrying about my bank account so much.

Combatting boredom spending

Yeah…I go shopping when I’m bored. Sue me. This month I’m hoping to break the cycle of going out shopping when I’m bored or need a break. Working from home is great, but sometimes being cooped up at home for too long drives me nuts. So for this month, I will try to find no-cost alternatives to shopping when I’m dying for something to do. Look out for a post on that soon!

Make use of what I already have

I’m super guilty of wanting to buy things instead of looking to see if I already have them. Do I need another throw blanket? Candles? Another pretty notebook? No…I have plenty of that shit. I also have things in my closet that I don’t wear because I need to fix them, home decor projects I just need to get done, and more bottles of shampoo than is reasonable. Instead of going through a de-cluttering rampage in January, I want to use up what I have so there is less to deal with in the first place.

Whew! That’s a lot to take in for the coming month!

Come back here every Monday this month for some #NoSpendNovember challenge ideas! I’ll also be sharing my ideas on Instagram (check out for the hashtag #NoSpendNovember!)

Friday Favorites

friday_favorites_november_2_2017

Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash

Welcome to another Friday Favorites!

First of all, don’t forget that Daylight Savings Time ends this weekend! Check out yesterday’s post on ways to help make the change go as smoothly as possible!

As always, I plan to spend the weekend relaxing and reading. Of course, this rarely happens. I’m pretty sure I’ll be out watching the new Thor movie at some point, grocery shopping, and there will be laundry (there is always laundry). Hopefully I can shut myself away somewhere on Sunday to finish the book I’m currently so close to finishing!

Anyway, here are some things I’ve been loving online this week!

  • If you are a total beauty nerd like me, you do some serious research before trying new products. I recently discovered Reviews.com, a site that thoroughly reviews just about anything from makeup to kitchen tools. Their foundation review is extremely detailed and gave me a few ideas to try! I highly recommend their site, especially if you’re starting to think about buying Christmas gifts for friends and family!
  • After seeing this outfit on Man Repeller’s own Harling Ross, I am now on the hunt for the perfect wide-leg pants and vintage tee to re-create this look! MR gave readers some serious inspiration with their list of favorites. I’m definitely adding these to my post-#NoSpendNovember list!
  • I’m getting bored with my bedroom furniture. It’s all Ikea, and all kinda…meh. Thankfully, the Ikea Hackers have a solution that only involves some paint, marble contact paper, and door handles. I really want to elevate my beige Malm dresser into something more…grown up. Now, to find the perfect grayish navy blue paint…
  • Goop is at it again with the easy and super healthy recipes! I am dying to try their Turkey Meatballs recipe, which looks like the perfect dinner on a cold, rainy evening!
  • I’m giving thredUP a try this fall, and I can’t wait to get my first seasonal box order! They also sent me a bag to send in clothes to sell/donate, and I’m looking forward to getting rid of summer clothes I didn’t wear this year. I’ll let you know how it goes, of course!
  • Giving up dairy has been a process for me over the past month. Finding a coffee creamer that’s fully non-dairy took forever (and, no surprise…it costs a ton). Another recipe I’m dying to try is this gluten-free, dairy-free cream of chicken soup from Iowa Girl Eats. I use cream of chicken soup in a lot of fall/winter recipes, so having a non-dairy option will make this transition even easier. Once I find a non-dairy cheese I like, the transition will be complete!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s Friday Favorites! I’m off to try to get all my “household chores” done before the weekend, so I can relax and finish that damn book already!

5 Tips To Survive Daylight Savings Time!

Tips to Survive Daylight Savings TimePhoto by Camila Damásio on Unsplash

5 Tips to Survive Daylight Savings Time!

This weekend, we set our clocks back an hour and gain that extra hour of sleep! However, it’s not always easy for some of us.

While this is generally considered the “easier” time change to deal with, it can still be difficult for many. It is nice to wake up in the morning a little later, but it also means we have to go to bed an hour later than we’re used to. For some, that can seriously screw up everyday habits like eating, exercising, and sleep rhythm.

I decided to talk about this today because, well, I have a hard time with both DST changes every year. To help myself get through it, I found a few tips and tricks for that first week or so. If you have children, this can be a very tough disruption for them. Many of these tips work well for them too!

Tip #1: Start adjusting early

Instead of waiting until Sunday to make the switch over, start getting ready TODAY! Making small changes over a few days can make life so much easier. You won’t have to deal with feeling a whole hour “off,” and it won’t take as long to get used to.

For the end of DST, start going to bed 15 minutes later each night to adjust to your new bedtime. If possible, also try to wake up 15 minutes later each morning. It’s also a good idea to start pushing back your dinner time a little later each day, too!

Tip #2: Keep your routines.

You probably already have a solid bedtime routine, right? Keep it up! Now is not the time to change your nighttime patterns – wait until you’re used to the new clock. Consistency is important to getting a good night’s sleep.

If you don’t already have a set routine, consider starting one about a week or two after DST ends. It will not only help you sleep better, but it can help combat some of the “winter blues” as the days get shorter.

Tip #3: Use exercise to your benefit.

If you find yourself struggling to stay awake a little later each night, consider adding light exercise in the evening to give you some extra energy. Instead of grabbing that extra cup of coffee or tea, do a light yoga flow or take a nice evening walk. Staying idle will only remind you of how tired you are, so get up and move around. Don’t do a full-on workout session, though – working out intensely too close to bedtime can make it harder to fall asleep.

Tip #4: Consider a vitamin D supplement.

As the days get shorter and we cover up more from the cooler temperatures, our necessary daily amount of sunlight exposure drops. Since sunlight is one of the best ways for our bodies to produce vitamin D, many of us end up severely deficient this time of year. This can be especially bad in places like Seattle, where our sunlight exposure is crap already.

I found that taking a vitamin D supplement every day helps with the energy dips I get when it’s cloudy for days on end. Taking my vitamin D later in the day also helps give me a little energy boost in the afternoon, instead of using caffeine or sugary snacks.

Tip #5: You’ll get used to it – don’t worry!

We go through these changes every year, and every year we adjust to them eventually. Be kind to yourself and to others, and know that it’s normal to feel off balance. If you have children, keep reminding yourself that this is even harder for them. They may be too young to know what is going on, or they will feel a bit off-kilter this week too.

Even though we gain an hour of sleep on Saturday night, it’s not generally enough to completely change our lives. So stick to your routines, take things slow, and things will get back to normal soon! Let me know if you try some of my tips to survive Daylight Savings Time!

Welcome to November!

welcome to november

Photo by Alex Geerts on Unsplash

Welcome to November!

As we race ahead to the holiday season, I’m excited to bring you some fun posts this month! In addition to some Thanksgiving-themed posts, I’m also challenging myself to a #NoSpendNovember. Look for posts every Monday that will (hopefully) motivate us all to spend a little less, ideas for fun and free things to do, and budget DIYs to spruce up your life without spending anything…or at least not so much! December always ends up being such a budget blowout for many of us. Taking a month off of spending on frivolous stuff will help us clear our minds, closets, and maybe even beef up our bank accounts!

This month, I’ll also be working with a few brands to help promote products I’ve been loving lately that also won’t break the bank (when you get back to spending up a storm in December). Black Friday and Cyber Monday are also coming up this month, and I’ll be sharing my favorite online deals that you can take advantage of – don’t worry…I’ll probably break my “no spending” rule that day too. Gotta get those gifts early and super on sale, right?

Today is also #WorldVeganDay! While eating all that discounted Halloween candy, here are a few of my favorite vegan recipes to whip up for dinner tonight!

Acorn Squash and Black Bean Empanandas (from Veganomicon)

Superfood Vegan Mac ‘n’ Cheese (from Goop)

Homemade Falafel + Cucumber Dressing (from A Beautiful Mess
*The dressing isn’t vegan, but you could easily substitute vegan sour cream!

The Best Vegan Apple Crisp (from Minimalist Baker)

Happy Halloween!

happy halloween 2017

(Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash)

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Whether you’re all dressed up at work, handing out treats at home, or just eating your weight in candy while watching scary movies, I hope you have a Happy Halloween!

Make sure to check out my post on my favorite Halloween movies if you need some suggestions!

I’ll probably be out trick-or-treating with my nephews, as I do every year. Thankfully they’re pretty cool kids, and usually end up sharing some candy with me after the night’s over – and not just the gross stuff, either!

What I look forward to the most every year is actually tomorrow – all that candy goes on clearance! Time to stock up on candy corn, mini candy bars, and my all-time favorite peanut butter cups!

I hope everyone has a spooky (and safe) Halloween!

Friday Favorites: Halloween Movies!

favorite_halloween_movies

Happy Friday!

Can you believe October’s almost over?! This past month flew by so fast for me. Between work, getting outside as much as possible, and chugging homemade Pumpkin Spiced Lattes, it was a busy month! I’m looking forward November this year, and brainstorming what I want to make for Thanksgiving this year (and maybe doing some test runs…yum).

Instead of sharing my favorites from the web this week, I thought I’d get into the Halloween spirit and share my favorite spooky movies! I don’t like traditional “horror” movies, but I do enjoy a lot of the funnier ones out there. Here are just a few to get you in the Halloween mood – and get a good laugh in, too!

Nosferatu (1922)

Screw Twilight – if you want a truly terrifying vampire movie, turn out all the lights, bundle up under the blankets, and put this one on. It’s old, dark, and super creepy. Bram Stoker’s Dracula was one of my favorite books as a kid, and this is a pretty close remake of it (in fact, Stoker’s family won a lawsuit over it).

Watch Nosferatu on Amazon or YouTube

Beetlejuice (1988)

I grew up watching the cartoon version of Beetlejuice, so it’s not surprise I enjoy the movie too! Michael Keaton is cheesy AF, but in the best way possible. You also get to see Alec Baldwin when he was, as Tina Fey puts it in 30 Rock, “in the bubble.” My nephew watched it when he was 4 and loved it, so I’d say it’s pretty safe to put this one on after trick or treating with the kids!

Watch Beetlejuice on Amazon

Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963)

It wouldn’t be a Halloween movie list without at least one Hitchcock movie, right? I once showed it as part of a Halloween-themed teaching unit at a high school, and my students loved it. If you’re looking for something scary, but not gory, I’d go with this one!

Watch The Birds on Amazon

Young Frankenstein (1974)

If you’re looking to laugh, definitely throw this movie on! You can’t go wrong with a Mel Brooks movie if you want a fun take on a classic story! You’ll be quoting this movie long after it’s over!

Watch Young Frankenstein on Netflix

The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

My husband recently insisted I watch this movie, and I think it’s a totally underrated scary movie! If you’re anywhere near my age, and enjoyed “self-aware” horror movies like Scream, Scary Movie, and I Know What You Did Last Summer, this is right up your alley. It’s your typical “teens go to a cabin in the woods, and scary shit ensues,” but with a fun twist. I can’t tell you much more about it – just go watch it!

Watch The Cabin in the Woods on Amazon 

What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

The guys behind Flight of the Concords made a vampire mock-umentary. I really can’t say much more about it without ruining all the fun. It’s hilarious, weird and kinda heartwarming. A great movie to watch with friends, while chomping on some Halloween candy (or weed candy, if you’re into that sort of thing).

Watch What We Do in the Shadows on Amazon 

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Welcome to another Friday Favorites!

Another week down!

Work is busy as usual. D worked from home a couple days this week, so I feel like I’m itching for some alone time. The crummy weather isn’t helping, either. All I want to do is lock myself in a room and read a book – which I might end up doing!

I am also itching to chop off all my hair again. Maybe I should add that to my “to do” list this weekend?

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been digging online this week:

    • Goop is my go-to lately for fall outfit inspiration. This turtleneck + wide-leg pants + sneakers combo has been on my mind (and shopping list) lately. I can’t wait to track down the perfect turtleneck sweater!
    • I’ve been into delicate jewelry lately, and I ordered these tiny rose gold hoops from Amazon! I can’t wait for them to arrive, and I have a feeling I’ll be wearing them everywhere!
    • I also ordered this dainty THC molecule necklace too – a cute nod to my favorite way to wind down after a long day. It’s a more grown up alternative to wearing pot leaves on everything, and I can’t wait to wear it everywhere.
    • The graphic tee in today’s blog photo is from Chic Wish List, and you can get it for 70% off + free shipping with the code SaveOnWishList! I wore it to my local coffee joint this week, and the baristas all loved it! It’s thin, slightly baggy, and absolutely perfect for a relaxed fall outfit!

I know it’s a short list this week, but I honestly haven’t spent too much time online shopping or reading blogs this week! I hope you enjoyed another week of Friday Favorites! Have a great weekend!