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I Journaled Every Day in the Month of July: Here’s What Happened

On the first day of July, I watched a video from Morgan Yates about how she journaled every day for an entire month. I, someone who uses their journal mainly for lists, got inspired and decided that it was time for me to take the challenge. 

What does that mean? Well, from July 1-31, I would have to write at least one journal entry about my day, how I’m feeling that day, or recording a memory such as my birthday. I would typically journal in the morning right before I go to work, and then occasionally, I would go and write another journal entry at night. 

Surprisingly, I did not find it stressful for me to make time to write my posts. I already use my Five Minute Journal in the morning, and all this did was add an extra five to ten minutes to my routine. 

What I did not expect was how much I enjoyed it and how much this has now become a habit. I am a writer at heart, so it was a great way to practice making writing a larger part of my daily routine. But, what I did not expect was the fact that my journal became my safe space. Whenever I was having a bad day or feeling a certain way, I would journal and I would instantly feel better. When I was stressed out, I would write out why I was stressed out and I would feel significantly less stressed out post-journaling. 

And, there are so many scientific benefits to journaling, according to an article on Positive Psychology entitled 83 Benefits of Journaling for Depression, Anxiety, and Stress. Some of them include: boost your mood/affect, enhance your sense of well-being, reduce symptoms of depression before an important event, and improve your working memory. The article goes onto say that it can do many other things, such as giving us the ability to put things in perspective, shift a mindset from the negative to a positive one, and help us become aware of unhealthy patterns. Journaling also has some benefits to your physical health as well. The article states that journaling lowers blood pressure, strengthen immune system, and helps with sleeping habits. 

Over the month, I managed to fill out an entire notebook and a half. As I mentioned early, I have noticed that my stress levels have gone down, and I have just been in a better mood overall.  

Now, that the month is over, I do see myself continuing this a habit since it’s already become so ingrained into my morning routine. I hope to work on getting more detailed in my journal entries by using some prompts throughout the month of August. 

If you’re struggling to get into journaling, I highly recommend doing this challenge because it keeps you accountable. I found that it made it easy to get motivated to do, and then overtime, it became a habit that I didn’t even have to think about.

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Friday Faves: July 30, 2021

Happy Friday everyone! It has been such a long week for me, so I am really looking forward to the weekend. I am not sure what I am doing yet, but I am looking forward to getting some relaxing in.

That said, I do have a few favorites that I would like to share with you, so without further a due, here they are:

Schitt’s Creek: Yes, I finally have started watching this show, and I am borderline obsessed. My boyfriend and I have binge watched most of season one already, and it’s safe to say that we get the hype.

SV Decker Snake Chain: I’ve had this for a while, and for the past few days, this have become one of my favorite necklaces to wear. I have both the 16 and the 18 inch one, and I am absolutely obsessed with them. I have been layering it with her good luck necklace, which is no longer available. You can layer it with many other necklaces, and I have a few of them in my collection. It’s such a versatile jewelry piece, and I am so happy I’m getting back into using it.

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Harris: I finished this book in three days and I have been so obsessed with it. It tells the story of our main character Nella, who has been the only Black girl at Wagner publishing. That is, until Hazel comes into the picture. Soon, Nella gets a mysterious note telling her to leave Wagner now. Was that from Hazel? This book was a thriller version of The Devil Wears Prada, and I loved it.

Julia K Crist videos: I’m purchasing a new iPad soon and I have been obsessed with her videos because she shows you what you can do with the iPad. Because of her videos, I am leaning towards the pro, but have learned so much about how to use so many different apps. If you’re looking to get a new iPad, I highly recommend checking out her videos.

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July Amazon Favorites

July is my birthday month, and I was fortunate enough to receive some Amazon gift cards to spend, as well as found a few great items to treat myself to.

Hairbrush/Hairband holder: I have a lot of scrunchies and hair ties as I wear my hair up all of the time. After a while, my hairties seemed to have taken over the bathroom sink. I purchased this, and ever since I set it up, I have not only cleared up so much counter space, but have also been able to find my hair ties so much easier. If you are looking for a way to organize your hair ties, then this is a great option. 

Water Bottle: This was featured in one of my Friday Faves, and it is still one of my favorites. I love this water bottle because it fits in my car cup holder, and it motivates me to drink water. Since buying this, I have about two of those a day, which equals 32 ounces of water. I highly recommend this to anyone who is looking to drink much more water, but has no idea where to begin. 

Laptop Stand: I have been using this a lot during my meetings and daily laptop use, and I am really enjoying it. The stand helps me stand straight, which has been helping me with my posture and reduces back pain when I’m using my laptop for longer periods of time. 

Ring Fit Adventure: I purchased this game with a giftcard, and I am obsessed. This is a fitness game, and I love this because it helps me get my steps in in a way that is more fun. The game has a bunch of different exercises, including crunches and squats. I do this unwind after work a few times a week, and I can already feel myself getting stronger. 

Cordless Jump Rope: I do a lot of Sydney Cummings workouts, and I love using this. Not only is it a great way to burn calories, but it makes it possible for me to do them indoors. 

And those are this month’s Amazon favorites. I hope to do another one in August with the remainder of the items that I didn’t have a chance to use.

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Eating My Way Around CT: Tea With Tracy — the Perfect Brunch Spot

Tea parties is something that is often associated with childhood, however Tea With Tracey has made it possible for adults to join into the fun. With two locations in Seymour and Oxford, it is the perfect place to go with your girls, take your mom and grandma out to lunch, and so much more. Plus, it’s a great place that is aesthically pleasing for the perfect Instagram shot.

I recently went to the Oxford location for the first time, and I was blown away. They have a tea menu that is two pages, ranging in seasonal flavors to traditional. Furthermore, they also have a selection of teas that were inspired by authors. When you get your tea, it is served in a little tea pot, which has enough for two or three cups if you choose the smaller option. The tea is already seeped, so it is ready to drink as soon as you get it. 

Not only is their tea menu extensive – their food menu has so many different options to choose from as well. Breakfast is served at their Oxford location only, which includes eggs, French Toast, waffles and pancakes. Lunch is served at both of their Seymour and their Oxford locations, and have a ton of sandwich, soup and salad options. They also offer desserts, and scones as well – all of which are perfect to pair with a cup of tea.

What I love about Tea With Tracey is the aesthetic and the overall vibe. A pot of tea will last you a while, which is great to sit with someone and just catch up. While it may be a fancier place, it is still a great go-to place for brunch, celebrations, and more. It is also a great place to just go to, because it’s so unique and definitely worth the trip. 

Interested in Tea With Tracey? Check out their website here. And if you do end up going, I would definitely make a reservation as the tea room fills up quickly.

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Friday Faves: July 23, 2021

Happy Friday everyone! I don’t know about you, but it has been a week. I am so happy that it is the weekend, because I am looking forward to getting some relaxation time in, as well as the fact that I have really fun plans scheduled this weekend.

That said, here are this week’s favorites:

Target Glass Mug: I tried to find a link to this, but I was not successful. I found this mug randomly in the Target dollar section. I have been using it everyday ever since. I really love the clear glass look when making my Nespresso lattes. It is so aesthically pleasing. I’ve been to a few other Targets since then, and have found a few there. And, for $3, you can’t go wrong.

Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade: Continuing my romance reading binge from last week, I picked up this book. And, I am loving it so far. It tells the story of our main characters April and Marcus. April is a fangirl of the fantasy show (similar to Game of Thrones) that Marcus is the leading heartthrob of. April tweets a photo of her costume, and it soon goes viral. Marcus asks her out on a date, and the rest is history. I am only 80 pages in, but I am already enjoying it. The book is more than a romance. It discusses fat-shaming, and celebrity issues. I am excited for the weekend, since I will have a chance to read more of this book.

Ring Fit Adventure: As many of you know, I have a Nitendo Switch. I have been wanting this game since I got my Switch. I got this with my birthday Amazon giftcard, and I am really excited that I did. The game is really fun, even though it is a workout. I love it because it doesn’t feel like I am working out. It basically is a quest-based game, that requires you to run, do presses, squats and more. What I love about this game is that it really helps me reach my 10,000 step goal without feeling as if it was a chore.

Madewell Necklace Set: It’s been a while since I’ve talked about the brand Madewell. I’ve purchased these a while ago, and they sat ever since. This is a set of three: a chain necklace and two disc ones of different lengths. I have been wearing the longer one, and have been loving it. They are so great for layering, and I love the vintage gold look to it.

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Mid-Year Reading Check-In

Hey everyone! I saw this post on Books with Anjali, and decided that I wanted to participate in the mid-year reading check-in. So far, I have read 52 books this year (at the time of writing this post). My Goodreads reading goal is 100 books, so I am definitely well on my way to complete it. I still have a few books that I want to get to, but I hope to read a lot during the summer since I will have a lot of time off.

Best Book I Read So Far in 2021:

It is definitely hard to choose just one, so I’ll give you three: Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson, Know Yourself Know Your Money by Rachel Cruze, and Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah.

Best Sequel you’ve read so far in 2021:

Either Fly Away by Kristin Hannah or Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

A New Release you want to read but haven’t yet:

The Stranger in the Mirror by Liv Constatine, The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Harris, and Pumpkin by Julie Murphy.

Biggest Disappointment so far this year:

Definitely Crave by Tracey Wolff. I thought it would be this addicting novel that I couldn’t put down, but I definitely had to force myself to read this one.

Biggest Surprise So Far This Year:

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah and Love Your Life Not Theirs by Rachel Cruze. With these, I wasn’t sure how they would be, since Firefly Lane has mixed reviews, and Love Your Life Not Theirs is just different than all of the other books that I have read.

Favorite Debut Author or new to you author:

Definitely Lyssa Kay Adams. I am hoping to finish the Bromance series this year.

Newest Fictional Crush:

Gavin from the Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams. I love how he is working to improve himself and his marriage.

Newest Favorite Character:

Tanner from Autoboyography by Christina Lauren. I loved reading about his struggles living in a conservative town as a gay teen, and the struggles that he faced with his relationship with Sebastian.

A Book That Made You Happy:

Can books be used for this one? I really enjoyed the Modern Love romance series by Alisha Rai.

The Most Beautiful Book that you’ve bought so far this year:

Honestly, it was books that my boyfriend gave me, which was a copy of Beauty and the Beast and the complete Sherlock Holmes series.

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

I definitely want to read more romances, including Brigterton, Pumpkin’, and the Stranger in the Mirror. I also want to try to attack more of my backlog of books, which is way too long to name.

Favorite book to screen adaption you’ve seen so far this year:

I didn’t read the book (yet), but I really loved Moxie the movie.

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Eating My Way Around CT: Sugar Rush

Nitrogen ice cream shops have been popping up more and more in recent years. As a person who is dairy free though, it is safe to say that I have been missing out of the trend. Shelton’s Sugar Rush changed that for me with the dairy free options.

Located in Shelton, Sugar Rush has an extensive menu of desserts. Their dairy free menu has three flavors — dark chocolate, vanilla, and red raspberry sorbet. Oh yeah, and they also have dairy options as well. Their menu has a huge variety of flavors from cookies dough, cotton candy, strawberry, and more. The website says the nitrogen ice cream is made “using a premium cream base which is then flash frozen with food-grade liquid nitrogen to instantly create a perfect scoop, every single time.” They make the ice cream in front of you, as well. All of their ice cream is served in a warm, delicious bubble cone. But, we’ll talk more about that later.

Their options don’t end just there. According to the site, they have 33 topping options, including ice cream regulars such as sprinkles, hot fudge, and M&Ms. But, they are more options that that, including marshmallows, cereal flavors, brownie bits, and cookie dough pieces. And you know that bubble cone that I mentioned earlier? Well, you can also get toppings infused into your cone for an added burst of flavor.

However, if the thought of making decisions give you anxiety, they do have ready made concoctions, such as s’mores, Cookie Monster, and the sugar rush sundae.

Their menu does offer more than ice cream. They also offer cookies, infused donuts and milkshakes as well.

I have been to Sugar Rush twice in the last few weeks, and I am obsessed. I was skeptical at first, but I was blown away. The vibe is so fun, and in the attempt to keep the line moving, they offer a QR code before you go inside to access their menu and make decisions.

What I love about this place is that the vibe is so fun. There is a bright wall with a fun design — perfect for snapping a photo for the ‘gram (do people still say that anymore?). There is fun music playing from their speakers as well. Furthermore, the menu prices are relatively inexpensive, so you’re able to get a sweet treat without breaking the bank.

Sugar Rush has definitely become one of my new favorite spots this summer. Be sure to check out Sugar Rush on their website, Instagram, and Facebook if you’re interested in checking them out.

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Friday Faves: July 16, 2021

Happy Friday everyone! I have had a great birthday week, and have been using it as an excuse to treat myself. I know that in the coming weeks, I will need to reel it in, but until then, I have been enjoying spending birthday money, and gift cards. I am sure that many of these will be on my favorites lists for the next few weeks.

That being said, here are my favorites for this week: 

Amazon Water Bottle: I love this bottle because it has a lot of built-in reminders of what I need to drink by what time. I have a hard time staying motivated to drink water, so this definitely helps. What is great about this water bottle versus others, is that since it’s only 32 ounces, I can fit it in my cupholder and purse with ease.

Madewell Pouch Clutch: I am a Madewell Insider, and I used my birthday coupon to get this pouch. This pouch is perfect for whenever I need to grab and go somewhere. It holds my keys, my wallet, and even my phone. So far, I’ve used it a few times as a little pouch to carry whenever I go to nighttime meetings and when I take my laptop to work. I can see myself using this whenever I am grabbing brunch with a friend, going to get coffee, or just as a pouch in a larger bag. I am debating on purchasing a wristlet strap to go with it as well. 

2006-2010s Emo Playlist: This playlist is essentially a mix of all of the punk/alternative songs that made my middle and high school years. I am talking about music from My Chemical Romance, Boys Like Girls, and Fall Out Boy. It is a great thing to listen to when you’re feeling nostalgic, and just want to jam. 

Girl Gone Viral and Love at First Like by Alisha Rai: I have been on such a romance kick lately, and have been enjoying these books from the Modern Love series. They have such a modern take on love, and I have been enjoying it. The first, Girl Gone Viral, tells the story of a meet-cute that has gone viral. However, it is not a meet cute. The second is a story about catfishing. I haven’t gotten too far in that one, but I am so excited to dive in.

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Today’s My 27th Birthday! Here’s what I Learned in 27 Years

Today is my 27th birthday, and I am realizing that I only have three years left of my twenties. A part of me is having those mid-twenties crisis, where I realize that I am not young, and time truly flies by.

That said, I wanted to take the time to reflect on some of the things that I have learned over the last 27 years of my life. I know that I am still relatively young, but I feel like I have learned so much, especially over the last few years of my life. I still have a lot to learn, but this is still something that I want to share.

It’s Important to Feel Respected in Relationship: 

This is something that I want to begin with, since this is something that I learned this earlier in my twenties. In my early 20s, I dated someone who was very one-sided and always had to do things their way. I was always the one that had to give, without give back. Looking back, I was blinded by this person. However, that made me realize that I wanted to share my life with a person who respected me and my choices and boundaries. I think back then I was more focused on being able to say that I was in a relationship versus the quality of said relationship, which is something that I think is more important.

The Importance of Saving Money Versus Instant Gratification: 

I never really learned about money and how to save it. However, this year, I really began to dig deep into personal finance. I began listening to the Dave Ramsey show, and working towards selling items that I am no longer using. Currently, I am working on paying off debt, and building savings. One of the things that I also want to focus on is the fact that saving is no fun. We live in an instant gratification society. However, as I want to prepare for some of the bigger purchases in life – i.e. a wedding if my boyfriend and I choose to do so, a down-payment on a newer house, I want to increase my savings so I can have the funds to back me up. So that means buckling down on saving it, contributing to retirement, and just learning to have a better money balance. 

Balance Is Everything: 

This past year has really taught me the importance of a healthy work life balance. I recently fell into this pattern of doing nothing but work, dog care, and going home. Sure, my boyfriend and I go out on weekends. However, I realized that there is no balance in any of that. No one should be doing nothing but just work. It’s unhealthy. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you make the Happy Hour or plans on Saturday.

You Don’t Need to Feel Guilty About Being Happy: 

This is something that I am learning and doing my best to remind myself. I have a habit of feeling guilty about feeling happy or doing something for myself. This can be as simple as sleeping in later on a day off, or having a good time on a Sunday afternoon in the pool. Something that I am working on lately is trying to remind myself that it’s okay to have fun and I don’t need to feel guilty about it.

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2021 Nordstrom Sale Wishlist

Ahh, it’s that time of year. The Nordstrom sale. The sale that all bloggers, YouTubes and influencers can not stop talking about. It’s here. Cardholders can shop on the following dates: Icons on July 12, Ambassadors on July 14, and Influencers/All Card Holders on July 16. If you are not a Nordy Card member, you can start shopping the sale on July 28th.

Last year, it is safe to say that I went into the sale without a plan and spent way more than I needed too. Oops. It happens. I do use most of these things, and use the sale as a way to get some of my Christmas shopping done as well, so I am not too upset about it. 

This year, I didn’t find too much that I wanted, but I still plan to pick up a few things. So, here’s what I put on my Nordstrom sale wishlist for 2021 that will not be gifts. I will not share any gifts those, as these are all meant for myself. 

Longchamp Le Pliage Large Backpack in Black: I have been wanting a Longchamp backpack for a long time. I love the Le Pliage line because they are so durable and great for storing. I am opting for the larger one, because I already have a smaller one, and this one will be great for traveling with my camera, Kindle or hiking with a water bottle.

True and Co. V Neck Bralette:  I am such a huge fan of the True and Co. Brand, so I am naturally going to pick out some bras because they are so comfortable.

Nike Indy Mesh Inset Sports Bra: I have been using a lot of sports bras as of late, and this one looks like it will stand the hard HIIT workouts that I do on a regular basis. Having a few more in this collection will definitely help with keeping a solid rotation in my collection.

Bracha Initial Pendent Necklace: I have been wanting this for a while now, but couldn’t justify the price. That said, for the price of $29, I can handle that. I definitely am thinking about getting this as a gift for a few people as well.

So, those are my Nordstrom sale picks for this year’s sale. I have a few others on my wishlist, but as I mentioned earlier, those are Christmas gifts for this year.

While the sale is something that everyone is talking about, I want to advise those reading this – myself included – to not get carried away. Make sure you keep your financial goals in mind when shopping, and just because these items are on sale, doesn’t mean you need to spend your money on it. Just saying. Make sure the items that you pick out are ones that you know you’ll love and use, not what others want or use.