Monday, September 25, 2017

My Love for the Road | Saving Money on Trips

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CambialoConQS #CollectiveBias




Road trips hold a special place in my heart.

Growing up, my family's sole mode of transportation for vacations was our car. We lived in Phoenix, from where it was easy to travel to California, Mexico and Nevada. I began to associate car tides with beach trips, Disneyland memories and quality time with family I didn't get to see regularly. I even remember the day my family moved from Mexico to Phoenix when I was 5 years old on a four-hour road trip through the desert. The drive has always been beautiful and special to me, and we did it often as a child to visit family. This instilled in me a love for the road that still lives on. I don't mind road trips at all as an adult because I had so much practice as a child.

When I became an adult, the urge to explore beyond the Southwest hit me hard. I wanted (and still do want) to see more of the country (and the world), something my family could not afford when I was a child. My little family now -- Graham, Victoria and me -- continues that tradition I learned as a child. Our first road trip with her was when she was baby and we took her to Rocky Point, Mexico, to meet some family members. But I want us to go beyond the places I have been to and to keep exploring new locations. That's why we packed our bags and took our toddler on a road trip to Clearwater, Orlando and the Florida Keys this year. It's why we planned a 9-hour road trip to Canada to see Niagara Falls and Toronto this summer. And it's why we are planning another major road trip this winter. Victoria will grow up being comfortable and safe in our family car, at least that's the goal!

With so much time spent on the road, I follow certain tips to save money during trips:
  • Avoid toll roads, but if you must take them, buy a pass ahead of time if it saves on the cost of tolls. 
We recently drove to Canada, crossing on toll bridges.
  • Use an app that tells you where to find the most affordable gas in your location.
  • Plan your trip times to avoid rush hour traffic as much as possible.
  • Research free or low-cost attractions along the route and choose those over more expensive options.
  • Shop for snacks and drinks (or a refillable water bottle) while you get your oil change at the Walmart Auto Care Center. Meal prep as you might for any other week and pack the meals in a cooler. A camping stove is great for rest-area or park picnics.
We like to make quesadillas (sometimes with black beans) as an easy on-the-go snack.
  • When buying gas, use a rewards credit card and pay it immediately. You can do the same for hotels, which you can usually book with a cash-back site to save more.
  • Camp along the way if possible!
We stopped at a park in Michigan recently.


As a one-car family that loves to travel, we need to make sure our car is well taken care of, and that means regular car care, including oil changes with a quality motor oil.  It also means being mindful about how we spend our money so we can have more left over for fun. That's why we get our oil changes at Walmart's Auto Care Center. Saving on oil changes helps me put money away toward exploring new places with my family. We are currently saving for our big cross-country drive as well as some international travel, and I am putting away every penny I can toward those trips.



To do so, I rely on the convenience of being able to shop for affordable groceries and other necessities while getting our oil change with Quaker State® Ultimate Durability™ Full Synthetic Motor Oil at a low price. Walmart's Auto Care Center offers a $19.88 Pit Crew Oil Change service that includes 5 quarts of Quaker State® conventional motor oil (5W-20, 5W-30 or 10W-30), a new oil filter, chassis lubrication (where applicable), battery performance check and tire pressure adjustment as needed. (All of this meets industry standards, but see your vehicle's owner's manual for requirements.) Quaker State is a motor oil name I have grown up with: Its the top-selling brand in Latin America and with Latinos in the U.S. Those who prefer to change their own oil could easily pick up Quaker State EDLP 5 QT Conventional for the everyday low price of $20.24, along with other Quaker State options at the Walmart Auto Care Center.



DIYers can find the 5 quart Quaker State® Ultimate Durability™ Full Synthetic Motor Oil and other Quaker State motor oils next to the Auto Care Center.


Do you have any road trips planned? Leave your money-saving tips in the comments and check out the Quaker State video linked below!


Connect with Quaker State:

Friday, September 22, 2017

Fitness Favorites and Ways to Find Low-Cost Workouts

Lately I've been all about finding ways to sweat at home, whether it's trying a workout I found on YouTube or practicing yoga on my own when I can't make it to class. Life has been crazy lately, which means running has taken a backseat. My most recent long run was almost 12 miles a couple of weeks ago, and it will likely be my last major distance for a while. My plan is to instead focus strength training and yoga, and to be kinder to my body.

My current fitness favorites:

Whitney Simmons' YouTube channel: I like that her videos are short and sweet, and she often shares workouts that can be done at home. I appreciate at-home workouts for days when I can't make it to the gym during child care hours or days when I just don't feel like running but want to sweat a bit.



Resistance bands: I bought these because I've been doing the workouts on Whitney Simmons' channel. She often incorporates these into her training. I bought the red and purple bands, but I have been mostly using the red. I underestimated the resistance and probably didn't need the purple yet. I like that they enhance simple movements such as squats and lunges.

90 Degree by Reflex clothing: I recently became an ambassador for 90 Degree by Reflex, which means I was provided complimentary outfits. I already owned some yoga leggings, but I was excited to try more of their athletic clothing. It came at a perfect time, because I want to transition into focusing on yoga over running in the months ahead.



Carb Boom! Energy Gels: I first used these energy gels to train for the Chicago Marathon in 2016. I loved that they taste so much better than other gels I used to purchase. They never upset my stomach, a major win! They don't contain artificial sweeteners or flavors and are made from real fruit purees/concentrates. My favorite flavors: Grape Pomegranate, Raspberry and Strawberry Kiwi. I stay away from the Banana Peach, Vanilla Orange and Apple Cinnamon because those flavors tend to gross me out during runs. I prefer fruity flavors. I typically order a sampler pack; you can select your flavors. While I won't be running long distances much, I wanted to mention these because they have helped me through multiple rounds of half-marathon and marathon training.



Sources of free or low-cost workouts:

I love finding workouts for free or at a lower cost, especially now that I often have to pay for child care to work out. I find that in a city like Chicago it's easy to find free classes or events.

Some methods I've used to find free/affordable workouts:

  • Many fitness YouTubers include their workouts in the description bar or on their Instagram captions. I screenshot them and see if I can do any of them at home. 
  • Search for free community yoga classes in your area. Many studios offer at least a free class per month or week. Other studios offer a pay-what-you-can class each week. I recently bought a Groupon for a yoga package at a nice discount.
  • Other fitness studios also offer a free first class. Search EventBrite or Facebook events for free fitness classes. On EventBrite, enter your location and fitness (or bootcamp, running, yoga, etc.) in the description and then narrow results by Price (Free vs. Paid).
  • Search Pinterest for at-home workout ideas.
  • Join a running group for meetups or track workouts.

What's your favorite workout right now?

Monday, September 18, 2017

My Go-To All-Levels Yoga Session




One of the top goals right now is to reconnect with my yoga practice. At one point yoga was a key part of my life. I made it a priority: I enrolled in a 200-hour yoga-teacher training in 2013 and I taught for the following year. But once we once to Chicago in 2015, my practice became inconsistent. It was partly because I didn't connect with my local studios as much as I did with the one I went to in Phoenix, and it was partly because my life changed immensely with the move. Right now I need yoga more than ever, though, so my priority is to practice as much as I can. I began bullet journaling in September to track such habits as practicing yoga and meditating, and I hope this will continue to hold me accountable. So far I've been successful at squeezing in my practice, though it's only been a few weeks.

Note: Yoga Journal and Yoga International are great resources for learning to do the poses.

My typical yoga session*:

Supta Baddha Konasana
Rock back and forth
Tabletop and cat/cow
Downward-facing dog
Forward fold, sway
Rag doll to stand
2 half sun salutations
2 full sun salutations
Forward fold
Downward-facing dog
Downdog split (right leg), hip circles
Runner’s lunge
Anjaneyasana B, one arm up, switch arms
Half split
Downdog split
Chaturanga, upward-facing dog, downward-facing dog
repeat on other side (left)
Child’s pose
Downward-facing dog
Downdog split, hip circles
Warrior A
Warrior B
Side Angle
Triangle
Reverse Triangle
Reverse Warrior B
Runner’s lunge (windmill hands down)
Downdog split
Flip dog
Downward-facing dog
Chaturanga, upward-facing dog, downward-facing dog
Repeat on other side
Downward-facing dog
Malasana
Crow (optional)
Child’s pose
Chaturanga, upward-facing dog, downward-facing dog
Walk up to standing fold
Inhale and roll up
Tree pose
Dancer
Runner’s lunge
Chaturanga, upward-facing dog, downward-facing dog
Repeat on other side (left)
Downward-facing dog, split
Runner’s lunge
Pigeon/king pigeon, downward-facing dog split
Repeat on other side

Cooldown:

Child’s pose
Table to seated
Baddha konasana
Twist
Boat
Bridge/Wheel
Plow
Shoulder stand
Happy baby
Twist
Savasana

*Some poses listed in Sanskrit; others are not.



Child's pose

Tree pose

Pigeon (folded forward)

Half-split

Supta Baddha Konasana
Savasana


Pin this yoga session:



Related post:






** The yoga pants in this post were courtesy of 90 Degree By Reflex as part of its ambassador program.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Chicago Eats: Oyster Bah, The Hampton Social and Firecakes Donuts




It's been too long since I shared some of the delicious meals I've had lately in Chicago. My friend's visit for the Lady Gaga concert at Wrigley Field gave me the opportunity to try a couple of new (to me) places, and I recently met up with Jessie (of Just Jessie blog) to catch up at another great place.

Oyster Bah, Lincoln Park

I was drawn to Oyster Bah by an Instagram photo. Yep. While the restaurant is known for oysters, hence the name, I chose the Maryland crab cake sandwich (blue crab, romaine, roma tomato, avocado, old bay mayonnaise) with one tweak: I asked for chipotle mayo instead of the old bay mayonnaise. (It came with fries.) Amazing! I ate every single bite. I was completely satisfied and I have craved it several times since then. We sipped Rosé with our entrees.







The Hampton Social, River North

Hampton Social is one of the most Instagrammed restaurants in Chicago. The Hamptons/East Coast-themed restaurant is adorable, often known for its "Rosé all day" sign in one of the dining rooms. It featured a live band that was actually pretty decent when we visited for an afternoon brunch recently. While the restaurant was packed, it was easy to get a reservation for the same day (for two people). We, of course, tried the Frosé, which had a peachy flavor. Peach isn't my favorite so I thought it was just OK. I drank it all, though! My friend enjoyed the mojito as well, while I also had a mimosa. For my entree I almost picked the lobster roll, but for some reason the fish tacos were calling my name (again that weekend). I went with the beer batter fish vs. the grilled, and they had chipotle mayo. Can you see a pattern here? I will order anything with chipotle mayo/aioli on it. The fish tacos don't come with a side, but I found them to be filling on their own.








Firecakes Donuts, River North

We stumbled across Firecakes while walking to brunch, so we picked up a couple of doughnuts to try as appetizers. haha Firecakes is home to the giant birthday cake doughnut that I'm dying to purchase for someone's birthday. I tried the peanut butter cup doughnut, which I loved, and my friend chose another (that I can't remember now). I really want to go back and try more!







What awesome restaurants have you tried recently? Have you been to any of these?




Monday, September 11, 2017

Decluttering Process/Update & Items I Regret Buying

**This post contains affiliate links. I make a small commission on purchases made through these links. Thanks for supporting Floradise!



I recently had the urge to reexamine my entire wardrobe as part of my end-of-summer cleaning and decluttering list, which I shared in July.  I began with about 50 items hanging in my closet, not counting my winter jackets and exercise clothes. While that number is not astronomical, I still felt like I was holding onto items that were no longer working for me. I wanted to see if I cut that down even more. 

Steps I took to declutter my closet:
  • I first looked at the clothing my closet and took note of the items I am definitely not decluttering. These are the clothes I absolutely love.
  • I grabbed everything I was on the fence about or haven't worn this season or year (since January) and put them on my bed. 

  • I tried on every single piece I was unsure about. I examined how I looked and felt (aka the spark Joy method) but mostly checked that it fit and flattered my body.
  • If I decided I wanted to keep the item, I asked myself what other items I would pair it with for a complete outfit. I found that this gave me ideas for outfits for the fall and winter, which made me excited to wear the items again. 
  • I threw the items I felt frumpy in or that no longer fit in the donation pile or listed them online. I had kept some clothes in hopes of fitting into them again at some point after gaining weight in the past year. But I realized that holding onto them was weighing me down and making me feel disappointed in myself when I saw them. They were daily reminders that I am not at my ideal stage. I'm instead choosing to accept where I am and not pressure myself to look a certain way. 
  • Purses: I held them and asked myself how often I use them. I didn't have many to start with, just four. But I realized I could get rid of at least one. I also realized I need a black small to midsize crossbody bag because it would go with most of my outfits and sometimes I don't want to carry a large purse.
  • I don't have much space in our closet, so I hang my scarves on a hanger. I went through and touched each one. I asked myself how many outfits each scarf matched and how many times I wore it last winter. If none, I donated it. I moved my scarves next to my long-sleeve tees so that I will see them when I grab a top this fall and so I will hopefully be inspired to wear one.
  • I went through my race shirts and workout tops and asked myself what I wear most often and why. I typically wear the same tops: tanks or comfortable, soft tees. I had been hanging onto tees from my training groups because I felt like I had to, but I decided to let them go because I simply don't like them and never wear them. No one seems to mind that I don't run in our training shirts when I do group training anyway. I arranged my shirts by color so I can easily find them. (The purple fabric in the corner is the packaging for sheets I bought a long time ago. I use it to store my extra hair ties, running gels, reflective vest, headlamp and lip balm.)

  • I don't own many shoes, but I took a look at them anyway. I decided I didn't need an extra pair of running shoes. I am donating these because they are still in good shape.

  • I can fit my makeup collection into a three-drawer storage organizer**, but I still went through it. I decided to give a few items to family who I know would use them, and my goal is to only have one of each makeup item, except blushes, eyeshadow palettes and lip products. I also set a goal to use up some products this fall, including one I was particularly disappointed with. (More on that below.)
null
Three-drawer organizer**
The outcome:


My winter and fall jackets, a couple pairs of shorts, a work blazer, my nightgowns/lingerie (which I hang) and a vest are not pictured. I kept the perfect amount for me: A casual winter jacket, a peacoat, a lighter coat for fall special occasions (weddings), a casual rain jacket, a more formal rain jacket, and a poncho that I pretty much live in during the summer. Also not shown is an army green jacket and a mustard top I recently purchased for the fall. On my shopping list: One or two long-sleeve tops.

Products I wish I didn't buy:

As I've gone through my decluttering list, I've come items I have changed my mind about and wish I didn't buy in the first place. I will admit that at times I've been influenced to purchase items because of hype on blogs and YouTube. I now realize that I need to get back to being more mindful about my purchases and only buying items I really need. Not all of these items have been disappointing; one was simply something I did not need and don't use.
  • Jaclyn Hill/Becca Face Palette: This was one of the first purchases I made when I wanted to get into highlighters. I was influenced to buy this palette by all the hype around it. I had heard so much about Champagne Pop, and Prosecco Pop swatches looked beautiful online. I also liked that the palette came with three blushes, so I figured I would get a lot of use out of it. So what happened? I featured this in my favorites when I first purchased it, but soon after that it broke. I was able to repress Prosecco Pop, but Champagne Pop was mixed with one of the blush colors. After owning this for more than a year, I can say that I only really reach for this for the Amaretto blush color. I use the little bit of Prosecco Pop that didn't shatter, but I was not able to really use Champagne Pop. I don't really think the other two blush colors look good on me, so this palette overall has not been worth the money I paid. My goal is to use the rest of the blush and highlighter this fall.
  • Nikki Blackketter x Gymshark top and leggings: This purchase was another instance of hype getting the best of me. I love Nikki's YouTube channel and I credit it for motivating me when I had lost interest in fitness this year. When she posted about her collection, I loved everything. At least, everything looked great on her. It did not look so great on me, however. I had not purchased much from Gymshark so I was unfamiliar with its sizing. I ended up ordering the wrong size in leggings. I sold them on eBay to get my money back, but I kept the top. I featured it in my favorites a couple of months ago, too. But then I washed it and the logos came off. Call me crazy, but a $60 top workout top should not lose its labeling/logo that quickly. I still plan to wear it, but I was disappointed about that.
  • Milani Even Touch Powder Foundation: I am not saying this is a bad product; I just don't ever use powder foundation, so I am not sure what I was thinking when I purchased this. To be fair, I was on vacation and ran out of foundation. I could not find the Milani liquid foundation at any drugstore I went to, so I gave this a shot in a pinch. The shade matched me perfectly, but I just never use this. I have loved most other Milani products I've tried, though.


Checking in on my cleaning and decluttering list:


I've crossed off many of the to-dos on the list I shared this summer, but I still have some pending. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever accomplish a couple of these, especially the one about decluttering DVDs. 
  • Dust above cabinets and shelves. 
  • Donate DVDs.
  • Get rid of old stroller and other baby items.
  • Store air-conditioning units (when weather eventually changes) and clean off heaters.
  • Donate extra umbrellas.
I have donated about two bags of items, including clothes and toys.

Is there a category that you find difficult to declutter? Share it with me in the comments! 


Thursday, September 7, 2017

34 Date Ideas (Besides Going Out to Eat)




Graham and I don't get many date nights, but when we do, we try to make them as memorable as possible. While there's nothing wrong with simply going out to dinner (it's one of my favorite things to do in life), I wanted to share ideas for fun things to do that might not be the usual date activities to you. I tried to not make these Chicago specific so that you can hopefully find these wherever you live.
  1. Embark on a dinner cruise on a lake, river or in the ocean, if you live near one.
  2. Attend a murder mystery dinner show. We recently experienced one in Chicago.
  3. See a musical or play.
  4. Picnic on the beach or park.
  5. Browse a bookstore and pick out books for each other to read. Follow it up with frozen yogurt because yum.
  6. Try a Dabble class. Knife-throwing, anyone? ** I am an ambassador, but I am not compensated for promoting Dabble. I just love them!
  7. Attempt standup paddleboarding.
  8. Yoga in the park or on the beach. Maybe even beer yoga? 
  9. Volunteering and brunch.
  10. Spend a day at the racetrack or casino.
  11. Run a 5K together. Followed by brunch, obviously.
  12. Sample the goodies at a food truck festival.
  13. Shop at a farmers market and cook a meal with your haul.
  14. Go to an open mic night or a comedy show.
  15. Painting and BYOB night.
  16. Play miniature golf or go to TopGolf.
  17. Play laser tag.
  18. Find a cooking class.
  19. Try rock-climbing.
  20. Go to a baseball game. (Or insert your favorite in-season sport.)
  21. Bowling.
  22. Road trip to an amusement park.
  23. Check out an arcade bar.
  24. Go to a concert or music festival.
  25. Browse an art or history museum.
  26. Watch a movie or concert in the park.
  27. Work up a sweat at a kickboxing class.
  28. Drink fancy beverages on a rooftop.
  29. Stroll through a botanical garden or conservatory.
  30. Go kayaking or canoeing.
  31. Get a couples massage and have a pool day.
  32. Double date for an escape room adventure.
  33. Attend adult night at your local zoo or aquarium. (Many facilities do this!)
  34. Go hiking! (With plenty of snacks.)
What would you add to this list? What has been your most memorable data recently?






Monday, September 4, 2017

Let's Dabble: DIY Terrarium Class in Chicago

** I received a Dabble credit as part of the Super Dabbler ambassador program. I was a fan of Dabble before joining the program.



As a self-proclaimed crazy plant lady, I find myself drawn to any Dabble.co class that involves plants. I've recently taken an air plant class with LeeLee's Gardens and loved my creation, so I wanted to try my hand at terrarium making. I selected the Black Thumb: A DIY Terrarium Workshop last week, and I was not disappointed!

The class cost $40 and was held in Sideshow Gallery's backyard in Chicago. Sideshow carries little trinkets that you can purchase for your terrarium, along with art, antiques, crystals, and many other items. In the backyard was a work station setup with all the materials we would need to build our terrariums: soil, activated charcoal, rocks, sand and more. We did, however, have to bring our own vessel, but we had the option of purchasing one there if we needed one. (I picked up a glass vase at Target for about $5 before class. Fellow class members suggested JoAnne Fabric stores for vessels.)

The instructor, Chantal Johnson, who can be found on Instagram at @iplanthomes, greeted us and offered us beer while we waited for class to begin. She began class with about an hourlong discussion of succulents and how to care for them, and I learned a ton of things I am doing wrong with my own plant babies, as she called them. Her passion for succulents and plants in general was contagious. A nice touch was that she offered paper and pens to take notes on during the lecture. I filled up almost a full page with my notes.

After sharing all the information we needed to know, she demonstrated how to create a terrarium using all the materials we had available. By this time it was starting to become dark as the sun had set (I'm not ready for fall!), but we used lights and candles so we could see. I was eager to get started, and we had about 45 minutes to build our terrariums. I found that it was quite a quick process to make one.

After the demo we walked over to a table with the succulents to pick our new plants. For my terrarium Ichose three adorable succulents (included in the class fee), moss, sand and green pebbles to go along with the other materials. I was unsure about the correct amount of rocks and soil to include, but the instructor walks around and helps you out when needed. She also checks that your succulents are planted well.

I was happy with the way it came out and can't wait to make another terrarium again soon!



Among some of the tips we learned:

  • Keep a watering log and notes on your plants.
  • Check your soil to see if watering is necessary.
  • Succulents prefer indirect light.
  • Water succulents one or two days before planting.

Considering this terrarium class or another Dabble class? Remember that you can use code MARETTE10 at checkout to save some cash. I do not make any money from your use of this link, but I want to offer you a discount! Dabble classes are available in Chicago, Austin, St. Louis, Seattle and many other cities. (The list is growing!) Also, if you have ever considered teaching your skill to others, you can sign up to host your own classes.

Have you ever made a terrarium? Watch my short video below!


Previous Dabble classes:


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Life Updates and Seeking Balance


I'm sharing a compilation of life updates and thoughts with the hopes of being helpful in some way and maybe even offering inspiration. Most of my focus this month has been on rebalancing my life and being kind to myself. Perhaps you've been struggling with the same and I hope this will be beneficial or give you something to consider.

Something I want to cut back on is the frantic way I've been living recently. I tend to fill my planner to the brim and constantly search for ways to be productive when I could  and should  be relaxing. As fun as this summer has been, it's time to slow down for the sake of my mental well-being. I know I am not alone in feeling this way simply judging by the number of people who regularly post about how busy they are. Call me crazy, but I don't want to be busy. This month I've been trying to do less and focus more on self-care, but it can be challenging. Being busy is difficult habit to break.

How do I balance working from home, blogging, my fitness goals, marriage, plans with friends, self-care and being home with my daughter every weekday? The honest answer: I don't. There are few days in which everything is perfectly in balance. On some days I cross off everything on my to-do list, but that leaves me with little energy left for my family or self-care. I realize now that I would rather let go of certain expectations in order to be more relaxed and present as a parent, friend, wife and human.

Balancing it all at every moment is impossible. It's unfair to expect people to have all of these aspects of their lives be perfect. We need not be too hard on ourselves when we can't have a perfectly tidy house or we have to push a task off until tomorrow in order to spend time with family. My priorities are becoming more and more clear in all areas of my life. And even though I don't have everything entirely figured out, reaffirming my priorities is something to celebrate.

I used to thrive on deadline pressure when I worked at a newspaper. Now I don't relish that same intensity or busyness I once loved. This gives me something to think about when it comes to my career and where I want it to go. It mostly reiterates the desire to work for myself.


Do you feel like your life is balanced? Is self-care a focus for you?


Other updates:
  • I was over the moon about going to the Lady Gaga concert at Wrigley Field last week, and it was just the mom's night out I needed. She was the first woman to headline a concert at the ballpark, and she put on an emotional, entertaining show. My only complaint was that it didn't last longer! I rarely go to concerts anymore, so I allowed myself to splurge on floor seats, and I do not regret it at all.
  • My renewed desire to be more present was partly sparked by the book "Present Over Perfect," which was recommended by Kait (of Communikait) on Instagram recently. I fully believe that you receive what you need from the universe, and I needed a reminder to take a step back and reprioritize thanks to this book. Shauna Niequist writes about her own frantic way of living and the changes she made to make her life more simple, happy and fulfilling. The book is a series of essays about being more connected to yourself, your family and God.
  • My heart breaks for Houston and everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey. I feel so powerless and sad when I read stories about what's happening. The New York Times has a list of ways to help and avoid scams if you, too, are looking for ways to give. 


Shop "Present Over Perfect"**:

** This is an affiliate link. I make a small commission on purchases made through these links at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Floradise!

null


Note: This post was briefly published last week but taken down so I could focus on self-care and time with friends and family. It has since been edited.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

My Favorite Self-Care Apps

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #SummerIsForSavings #CollectiveBias #WFM4



I recently shared how I take and post photos on the go while crossing off items from my Chicago summer bucket list. When I am not exploring the city or traveling, I've been focusing on self-care this summer.  As fun as it is to make nonstop plans to do, see and eat as much as I can with friends and family this season, I find myself also needing a healthy dose of me time. This helps me recharge so I am ready for more adventures. One of my August goals was to meditate five minutes a day, and while some weeks have been better than others, I've gained a lot more clarity about what I want and don't want in life lately. What I do what in my life is to be more present in my time with family this summer (and beyond) as well as more time for self-care.

My LG L59 Grace phone's homepage is organized in folders related to topics that are important to me, including Self-Care, Social Media, Photography, and Travel. I am considering making one solely for meditation as well. I can access these apps whenever I need them thanks to the $49.88 TRULY Unlimited Talk, Text, & Data◊ plan from Walmart Family Mobile, powered by T-Mobile's nationwide 4G LTE network. I continued to use the no-contract, monthly service plan in August because it has a low price tag (plus never any hidden, activation or late fees).



In hopes of inspiring others to consider self-care along with these summer plans, I'm sharing my favorite apps I use for self-care. They keep me focused and help me relax when I need time for myself.

One of my favorite self-care methods is listening to self-improvement or entertaining books on Audible. I love "reading" the books when I need to unwind or simply sitting on my patio relaxing. One of my favorite times to listen is when I am taking an Epsom salt bath to relieve sore muscles. (Also, less money spent on a phone service plan means more to spend on motivational books!

Self-improvement books to consider:
  • "You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth" by Jen Sincero
  • "Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living" by Shauna Niequist
  • "Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear" by Elizabeth Gilbert.
  • "Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person" by Shonda Rhimes.



I use Pinterest for inspiration on self-care and healthy living. While some may associate the app with unrealistic expectations, I think it's a place to gather inspiration and lots of helpful tips! I like to search for motivational quotes and save them to a board called Vision Board. I also save blog posts that offer tips for making life easier and happier.

I use My Fitness Pal for tracking meals and Map My Run to track workouts, including yoga sessions and training runs for my upcoming half-marathon. I also use Garmin Connect to help me analyze my sleep and walking patterns. Exercise and sleep greatly impact your mood and well-being, so it's important to track how much of each you are getting and make adjustments as needed.

When I am feeling overwhelmed or down, I often will open up my Notes (or Memo) app and write down what I am feeling, kind of like a journal. I have been known to write lists of things I am grateful for that day or simply what I am thinking when I'm on-the-go. It's cathartic to get these thoughts out! I look back on these to see whether I've been more positive or negative lately and assess my mental state. Being aware of whether your thoughts are loving or fearful helps you make more of an effort to be kind to yourself and others and change your outlook.

Spotify is what I use to make meditation, yoga or running playlists. Feel free to borrow songs from my playlists or create your own! If you're not into meditation, yoga or running, make a happy playlist that puts you in a good mood when you're down. (I also suggest a playlist for when you need to get pumped up for a big presentation, day or event.)




An app I just recently downloaded is Headspace, which is free for the basics but may be worth the investment if you really need guidance. You can enroll in a monthly or yearly subscription for guided or unguided meditation. The free basics package starts you off with short sessions. (Many other meditation apps are also available!)

Not only does Walmart Family Mobile's TRULY Unlimited Data, powered by T-Mobile, save time and money, but it can be used for whatever I need at the moment, whether it's to hear some soothing sounds like I'm stressed, uploading a photo to social media or getting directions to a new restaurant.

Plus, customers on the $49.88 TRULY Unlimited plan◊ will receive a free VUDU** movie rental credit valued at $7.00 each time they renew their service, so you can watch a movie to decompress as well.

Disclaimer: All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to this page or your local Walmart for current pricing.

How have you taken care of yourself this summer in addition to having fun?



◊Does not include tethering. Video typically streams at DVD quality. During congestion, top 3% of users (>32GB/mo.) may notice reduced speeds due to deprioritization. Please always refer to the latest terms and conditions at myfamilymobile.com.

**Limited time offer. Available for lines active with the PLUS $49.88 plan only. VUDU enabled device and account required for digital viewing. Customers must be 18 years or older to open a VUDU account. Movie rental only available in the USA. Free movie rental provided in the form of a movie rental code to the value of a $7.00 VUDU credit. Movie rental code allows for selection from available movies for rent. May not be readily redeemable on all new releases. Code will be delivered within up to 24 hours of the effective account renewal date. Must be used within 30 days of receiving code. Offer is non-transferable. Limit 1 per customer. Additional terms and conditions on VUDU's website: http://www.vudu.com/termsofservice.html

Connect with Walmart Family Mobile: