Monday, August 29, 2016

5 Daily Routines to Increase Happiness

It's almost September! I can't get over how fast this year is moving or how many obstacles this year has thrown my way (more on that later). Since we'll be hosting the awesome Project Build Happiness program in September, I wanted to give you a few things you can do daily to increase your happiness!!

Are you ready to make everyday a little happier? Check out these five things you can do every day to boost your happiness!

Brain Dump
It may not sound pretty, but a brain dump can really help free your mind. A brain dump is the chance to get everything that’s bothering you out of your head and onto paper. This can take many different forms but I’m going to focus on my favorite way of doing it today. You’ll need paper, pen, and possibly a timer for this activity. Sit down for five minutes and simply write down everything that you have to do. No task is too small or too big to be added to the list. Need to call your mom? Put it on the list. Need to do the dishes? On the list. Need to write a blog post? On the list. That’s it – that’s all you have to do for a brain dump! (The next step would be to organize these items into an actionable to do list, but that’s a post for another day.)

I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who said they regretted a workout. I have met several people who regretted not working out though. There’s something about working out that has the ability to put a smile on your face. Some people say it releases endorphins but I personally think the true power behind exercise is that it gives you a block of time to focus on yourself rather than the world around you. It’s also a great way to get out your frustrations. Boxing practice anyone?

Be Creative
I love being creative. I probably wouldn’t be a blogger and a teacher if I didn’t have a crazy pull for all things creative. I don’t really care what creative measure you choose to take in a day – all of them are going to lead you somewhere happier. For me, crafts, writing, and creating things on the computer all put a smile on my phase. For my husband, it’s drawing and playing his guitar that truly make his smile shine. Take some time to experiment (which can be loads of fun by the way!) and figure out which creative endeavor has a crazy pull over you.

There is so much I can say about journaling and many different forms that journals can take. You can choose to write about your day, show gratitude, or even doodle daily. You can buy a fancy journal with prompts or you can freewrite each day on whatever you find laying around. It doesn’t really matter how you choose to journal, it matters that you do. Journaling and writing things down is a great way to work through our problems and frustrations. Just like the brain dump from above, journaling allows us to get our thoughts down on paper and out of our head. Some thoughts may be stubborn and linger in our heads but others will happily jump onto the paper and disappear into the past. Want to start journaling and being creative but don’t want to spend a lot of money? We’ve combined creativity and journaling into our exclusive Happiness Journal! By clicking the link below, this journal will find its way into your email inbox where you can then print it out and boost your happiness. (Oh and did we mention that we’re giving it away free as a part of Project Build Happiness? - You can get the journal by signing up for the email list or by joining the Facebook group.)

I’m not going to lie. This is not my favorite of the daily routines I’ve shared with you. It is however one that can be very effective which is why I’m including it on the list. I have several friends who use meditation regularly and they’ve had fantastic results with it. Meditation is all about focusing on oneself and blocking out the world around you. Even if you just set aside five minutes a day to focus on your inner self, I’m sure you’ll see a spike in your happiness as you get in touch with that inner smile of yours.

What is your favorite daily routine for promoting happiness?

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Bloggy Brunch #34

It's the last Sunday of August! I can't believe it - where has summer gone? If you join us for the #bloggybrunch chat today at 2pm on Twitter, you'll get to finish out the summer with your best blogging buddies. (Or you could make some best blogging buddies...either way, we'll be socializing and chatting again this week!)

I want to start a new tradition here at the Bloggy Brunch link up. The last Sunday of every month is going to be known as the "Best of" celebration. This means that I'll be sharing ALL of my favorites from the month with you. It's the perfect time to catch up on posts you may have missed. It's also a second opportunity to feature great posts, which is one of my favorite parts about Bloggy Brunch!

So, here we go, it's the Best of August! (If your post is featured below, feel free to snag the best of badge to share with your followers!) Since August is the eighth month of the year, I'm going to pick my favorite eight posts from the past few weeks!

1. Keeping a Clean House When You Don't Have Time from Country Mouse City Spouse

2. 6 Ways to Improve Your Marriage from Wonder Riot

3. Three Ways to Treat Yourself & Why It's Important from Burke Does

4. Recipe: A&W Root Beer Floats from Western New Yorker

5. 7 Minute Floor Cleaning Hack from Sincerely, Jacqueline

6. Strawberry and Lemon Lime Icey from Annie's Home

7. How To: Build Your Own Kitchen Sink Base from Grandma's House DIY

8. How to Be Productive from A Life in Practice

What was your favorite post from the month?

Oh and a few reminders before you go! Link up a recent favorite below and join us at 2pm EST on Twitter for our #bloggybrunch chat!

Friday, August 26, 2016

7 Tips for Maximizing Your Suitcase Space

I have spent a lot of time in the past three years travelling. In the process, I have learned a lot about navigating airports, packing suitcases, and saving money. Over the next few months, I'm hoping to share some of my tips with you so that you can benefit from the many trips I've made and will be making in the future. We're going to start those tips off today with a little insight on how you can maximize your packing space.

*This is a sponsored post on behalf of All opinions and tips are my own. I only work with brands that I respect and would use myself.*

Now that we've got the background and disclaimer out of the way, let's jump into those packing tips that you're going to love! Remember, these tips come from several years of travelling all over the United States.

Pick the right luggage.
Your luggage can help make your trip run smoothly or it can create more stress than you ever thought imaginable. Not all suitcases are made the same and not all suitcases work for every trip. This is why it can be helpful to have a luggage set that contains several pieces and can be used for different types of trips. I own a small luggage set and I rarely use all of the pieces at the same time. However, I do use all of the pieces that came with the set. When picking out best luggage set for yourself, I always recommend looking for the best deal. One place you can look for awesome deals is Groupon Goods. (Seriously check out their awesome deals!)

Identify your method of travel.
Will you be traveling by car, plane, train, bus, or boat? Believe it or not, your method of transportation impacts your packing the most. It’s important that you figure out how you’re getting from point A to point B and what the rules are for packing. Unless you’re traveling by car, there is probably going to be a size and bag limit for your method of transportation. This will help determine which suitcase will work best for you. Don’t have one that’s perfect? Check out these awesome deals on Groupon Goods that could help you pack more without spending a fortune.

Determine how long you’ll be staying.
This one is probably obvious. The longer your trip, the more clothes you’ll need – especially if you won’t have access to laundry facilities. (If you do have access, keep that in mind when packing. A little laundry never hurt anyone!) Utilize basic pieces that can be mixed and matched to create new outfits. This will help save a little space in your suitcase without compromising your wardrobe options. Pinterest is filled with ideas for picking the right pieces to pack.

Consider the nature of the trip.
Why are you travelling? Will your trip be filled with only business? Is it a social trip? Will there be any downtime? The purpose of your trip is important to keep in mind because it can affect your packing on the return trip. Consider any items that you might acquire during your travels (souvenirs, gifts, business items) and allow room for them in your suitcase. Otherwise, you’ll wind up with a new packing dilemma when you get ready to leave.

Look up the average temperatures for your destination.
Unless you’re travelling nearby, I highly recommend looking up the average temperatures for your destination. Just because it’s summer, that doesn’t mean that your destination will have scorching heat. Keep in mind any unusual weather that you might encounter including heat waves, rain, snow, and more. Educating yourself can help you when you’re packing and after you’ve arrived at your destination. No one wants to show up to a cold day in a sundress.

Identify your needs and wants.
What are the items you can’t travel without? For me, my laptop ranks towards the top of the list. However, I can leave my make up behind and it won’t upset me one bit. Things like medicine, toiletries, etc should be considered when making your need list. When you’re making your list, consider items that you might be able to buy or borrow upon arrival. For example, when I travel to see my family, I don’t bring any toiletries with me because I have a set to use there. Leaving unnecessary items off your packing list can free up a lot of suitcase space.

Use a few of these quick space saving (and money saving) tips.
  • Organize all of your belongings.
  • Roll your clothes instead of folding them.
  • Use mini bottles of shampoo instead of full sized bottles.
  • Wear your chunkiest clothing and shoes.
  • Invest in ebooks to save space.
  • Shop around for the best deal on luggage and other things to pack. (You could start by browsing online at Groupon Goods.)
  • Don’t pack the kitchen sink. (In other words, don't pack everything - be selective!)

What was the last trip you took? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!