Just Your Average 20-Year-Old Trying To Figure It Out



Hello Friends.
I hope you're ready for a brain dump because that's all I've got for you lately. I was writing in my journal the other day trying to organize my week, figure out where my head is at, figure out where your heads are at, and doodle all at the same time. It wasn't working so I thought I'd just share where I'm at in life.


Try It, Make It, Love It: Vegetarian Cheesy Taco Pasta



Vegetarian friends do I have a treat for you. Literally. Well, literally if you make it yourself. I'm not handing out freebies... yet. ;)

Navigating New York On A Budget

The other day I saw a kick ass travel package on Travelocity that would get me to New York (and back) WITH a two-night stay at a Hilton in Central park  for like $350. I'm embarrassed to admit I didn't take the deal, but I'm going to go to Disneyland with my mom instead. Anyways, the Big Apple is a dream destination to visit for a lot of tourists, including me, just not when Disneyland is in the works. 


New York the most expensive city in the US, but there is so much that you can see and do there that are cheap and cheerful it kind of makes up for it. There is free sightseeing, museums and affordable accommodations are out there with a little searching. 

Affording a trip to New York in the first place can cost some cash, especially flying there. Getting a little help with a personal loan no credit check can help make your New York vacation a little more of a reality, as the getting there is usually the biggest expense. So, how can you be thrifty with a trip to the most expensive city in the country? Here's what I've found out. 

Traveling in New York

Those iconic yellow taxis are not the cheapest way to travel  and not all that impressive. You could get around New York way easier on foot or with subway passes. The Staten Island Ferry is free, which gives you extra cash in your pocket for food and other knickknacks you absolutely need. Get yourself a New York map and walk the blocks. You've seen the traffic in movies, four wheels is not a mode of transportation  You can see so much more off the beaten track on foot, than by taxi which will cost you your first born. 

Sleeping In New York

Accommodation is a big expense in any city, and New York is no exception. Being a tourist doesn’t mean you have to rock up at The Plaza! Although, I can be tempted with a good time. Properties on Airbnb can slash your budget dramatically, as can looking at any of the many hostels that New York has to offer you.

Walking In New York

New York has a grid system, making it very easy to navigate where you need to go. If you are on a stroll to see the sights, get yourself to Central Park. It’s got a reservoir, boating lake, sports field and even a zoo in the heart of it. You can get from one side of the city to another simply by going for a stroll in the park. Not bad when you consider the costs of a taxi. I'm not going to live this taxi stuff down. Them cabbers are expensive. 


History in New York

Museums, art galleries, open air theaters; you name it, the city has it. The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History are very popular with tourists and the Upper East-siders (xoxo) for obvious reasons. The architecture that the city has to offer and even the site of Ground Zero draw in the people to learn about the biggest historical events that have impacted the city.

Learning a lot during your trip is an inevitability. Travel smart and be a tourist with a difference.






A Morning Person's Guide To Starting Your Day Off Right

Not everyone is a morning person - and for those who aren’t, it can be extremely frustrating when those morning people say ‘you just get up’. I am one of those people that says ‘you just get up.” A lot of morning people just don’t get it, and, unfortunately, it’s the non-morning people that need to change if they want to have a nicer start to the day. So, how do you do it? You can’t. Honestly, it is your internal clock that allows you or doesn’t allow you to be a morning person. If you don’t like mornings, then you’re never going to. You might become accustomed to getting up early, sleeping properly at night, and getting up without hitting snooze fifty times, but that doesn’t mean that you’re going to like mornings. All you can do is make sure that you start your day right. 


The Night Before

It’s so, so, so important to pay attention to what you’re eating and drinking the night before to ensure that you get a good night’s sleep. Your body naturally drops in temperature by a few degrees so that you can sleep comfortably, but if you’re still digesting food, your temperature is naturally raised. Try and not eat anything in the three hours leading up to bedtime to make sure that you rest properly. The same can be said of caffeine and alcohol before bed. Anyone who has ever been on a night out knows how badly you sleep when you have just been drinking. It makes you dehydrated, causing your body to try and wake you up so that you can drink water. Chug some Gatorade before bed and pop an Advil for a quick fix. Drinks before bed should not contain sugar sugared, caffeine, or alcohol. So, ideally, a glass of water.

Breakfast

People who don’t eat breakfast, are not my people. How can you turn down sunny side up?! It really is the most important meal of the day. And there really isn’t any substitute for the energy you can get from a decent breakfast. Unfortunately, a lot of people eat breakfast on the go, choosing breakfast bars or even replacing the meal with a coffee. There is also the common misconception for people trying to lose weight that less it best - that having little or nothing to eat first thing in the morning is a good idea. WRONG! Your metabolism kicks in when you have your morning meal - the sooner you have it, the more your body is going to work through it.

Your breakfast should be a decent sized meal; it is literally you ‘breaking your fast’ and it is setting you up for the first half of your day. You need to refill the energy lost through the hours of not eating, and add more to see you through the morning. So your breakfast needs to be full of all the right things. Overnight oats, with a side of grapefruit or homemade granola and coconut yogurt, with a cup of fresh berries, are easy peazy options for a first-time breakfast eater. I can’t believe it’s 2018 and people are still confused on this concept! Scrambled egg and smoked salmon on toast, with a smoothie to go, is a decent option for the bougie breakfast eater. I think the first meal of the day is something to look forward. Hell, its been at least 8 hours since my last meal… I’m hungry.

Rehydrate
Most people will need their caffeine fix through coffee, tea, or caffeinated water - but you also need to add in something none caffeinated. A glass of water or fresh juice is a perfect accompaniment. If you are making a smoothie, substitute the fruit juice for water, green tea, or coconut water. Your body has been parched for like 8 hours now. Treat it with some cool refreshing cucumber water. YUM.


Meditate
I am a firm believer in morning meditation. It is really hard to sit down and dedicate 10 minutes in the morning to just breathing. I get it. I said the same thing before I started meditating. I even have a little zen zone in my room now because I am such a strong believer in the practice. Apps like Calm and Headspace are really good for beginners. They start you off with 3-5 minute meditations. In the scope of 24 hours, dedicating four minutes to you doesn’t seem like a whole lot of effort. Try it for a week, and let me know how well your day goes after.

Get Going

While getting dressed, pop on a playlist or the radio. It’s up to you whether your music choice is calm or upbeat, but choose something very different to what you would listen to when you’re trying to relax. Use a ready-made wake up playlist, create one of your own, or use one of mine, but get moving with some great tunes. This is crucial to the morning routine because it’s basically the best part, besides breakfast, and water, and meditation. Why aren’t you a morning person again?

Tell me about your morning ritual.






How To Afford Your Big Travel Plans With A Small Paycheck

So you want to travel? OF COURSE YOU DO! It’s a new year, with new goals and my personal favorite, a new set of vacation days just waiting to be used. The prospect of traveling the world, with your friends or on our own as an intrepid solo traveller, is incredibly exciting, but affording it sometimes isn’t so much.



"SAVE DAT MONEY"- LIL DICKY

In addition to courage, the most important resource you’re going to need in your pursuit of a phenomenal travel adventure is having some money behind you.  Some people are lucky enough to have parents who are happy to fund their gap year - but theres a hint of satisfaction having to work your guts off then when you sit back on that long-haul flight as the plane takes off and you embark on your very own adventure; it feels more magical because you earned it.  You put your own blood, sweat and tears into making this happen - and that sense of pride will be worth all the hard work.

The first thing you’ll need to do is to start saving for your trip. There’s a couple ways you can go about this.

You can start saving the money you currently spend (e.g. if you get an allowance from your parents, or a consistent paycheck, you can spend less on day-to-day living and syphon some of that cash into a savings account). Cha-Ching!

Another approach is to increase your income; which would appear to be a much more enriching strategy.  Whether you do odd jobs such as mow lawns, get a small part-time job, or even take up an e-bates account… this will propel you into a position of feeling more personal power and independence.

You can also look into the best cash back credit cards that you can put certain expenses such as flights on - and earn rewards in the form of cash back, air miles and so on. This may not seem like the most sensible idea in the long-term but is certainly the easiest and path of least resistance.

You can always try to do all three if you’re feeling super ambitious.

BE LIKE A BIRD AND FIND CHEAP, CHEAP, CHEAP FLIGHTS

If you’re looking to travel internationally, then flights can take a large chunk of money from your travel fund. Spending $1,000 on a plane ride seems a little absurd if you ask me. However, if you can be flexible with your flight dates then searching for cheap flights via comparison engines such as skyscanner or momondo that compare hundreds of flights by almost every airline in the world to present you with the cheapest deals for the dates and destinations you are looking for can save you a heap of cash. That was a long sentence but I just got so excited and had so many thoughts.

Being flexible with your departure and arrival airports can be a huge contender in price points as well. For example if you were flying into London (England) - it might be worth searching for flights to the whole of the UK, as, let’s say there is a flight to Manchester (just two hours from London by train) which is $200 cheaper - it would make financial sense to book that flight and travel to London on a cheap train ticket. Sight seeing and money saving! The more flexible you can be in terms of time and location, the cheaper the flights you will be able to find.

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD FOR YOUR ACCOMMODATIONS

Yet, ANOTHER huge expense when traveling is accommodation; hotels, AirBnB, hell, even countries known for being cheap such as Thailand, a basic room can be around $10 a day - which adds up to $300 per month.  But what if you could stay somewhere for FREE. There are sites such as workaway that essentially allow you to volunteer for four hours a day, and in return you get free accommodation and food.  This is not just a cheap way to travel, it’s a great way to be part of a community and meet other people while making a difference. Think of the good it will do for your cheap soul.

Real talk, all you want to do is save up some money and then keep your costs as low as possible - particularly in terms of the big expenses of flights and accommodation. Granted, this is easier said than done but you’ll have more disposable income to spend on bangles and baguettes or whatever fits your fancy. OR just say YOLO and put it on the credit card. Eventually you'll pick up the tab, right?






January Blues? Travel Plans Are The Ultimate Tonic

Honestly, January can feel like a bit of a drag at times. Once the whole excitement of New Year's resolutions and goals has calmed down, you’re left with the prospect of gloomy weather and a daily routine you just can’t get back into. It’s the middle of January and I’m still fuddling with my regular routine. It’s tough. However, the motivation is still there and often we just need a little pick me up to get us all back on track. One thing I find that is really useful is to have some things to look forward to, and a trip away can be the ultimate tonic. So instead of feeling all blue, use your newfound motivation to get planning your next trip away. I wanted to share with you some of the things you could be thinking about right now, that will set you on your way for booking and counting down those days until you step on that plane.


 Eenie, meenie, minie moe, this is where we’re going to go


Step 1. Decide on where you might like to go on vacation. This is when getting you a nice warm drink (preferably with a kick of something else), sitting comfortably and taking a look online at some of the leading trip providers. My favorite tool is looking at online at travel blogs, or hint hint some of the articles I have shared on travel. Even Googling search terms like ‘the best beaches in such and such a place’ could highlight a destination you haven’t thought of before. It’s a great way to change your thought process to something more positive, and also helps you to decipher budgets and timescales for when you want to take that trip.

Brrrr! Cold weather? Daydream about the summer wardrobe by shopping online


Yes, you have my permission to shop online. Not like I was going to stop you anyways right? The cold weather and winter months often means we are stifled in turtleneck tops, thick sweaters, jeans and boots. This sort of style is very comfortable, but I think many of us long for the warmth on our skin and the chance to wear a pretty dress without the big winter coat and tights. So once you know where you are going and when, hit the online shops and browse the bikini sections. Even though we are in full flow of winter, many stores and brands are beginning to release some items for spring. Target sells swim suits starting in January. Looks like they’re caught with the blues as well. So you could snap up some of the latest trends before anyone else.

Think about some of the things you want to do while you are away


Plan your schedule and itinerary for your trip. Some like to take things as they come, but if you want to take advantage of trips and any sightseeing, then often booking ahead can save you money. You might also want to think about methods of money. Sometimes using a credit card abroad can be a little safer, so if you think you may want to apply, you might want to look into ways on how to raise credit score fast so you can be prepared in advance. Using an ATM abroad is also easier these days, so you could also consider ways to save your vacation funds and then draw out as and when you need to pay for things. Just be weary of those pesky ATM fees. Those suckers are sneaky.

If you are lucky enough, you may have the chance to go on more than one vacay this year so seeking inspiration from the mental bucket list could provide you with a worthy opportunity. Either way, I hope that planning for your next travel excursion has lifted your spirits this month.