Strategies for Staying Warm β™₯


It has finally gotten cold here in Chicago and being the forever-freezing human being that I am, I've developed quite a few strategies for surviving the colder Midwestern months. While I'm still hoping to move to a warmer climate in the (hopefully) near future, I thought I'd share some of my staying warm strategies while I'm still using them in chilly Chicago!

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Warm beverages

Mmmm - this makes me warmer just thinking about it! Coffee, tea, hot chocolate - any kind of warm beverage your heart desires. I've found that warm beverages are really the best way to start warming up because they warm you from the inside out! My favorites are Starbucks' hot chocolate (the powdered make-it-yourself kind, of course, because when it's truly cold outside there is no way I'm driving to a Starbucks, even if it's a drive through) and Teavana's White Chocolate Peppermint Tea.

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Space heaters are your best friend

I cannot emphasize this one enough! I was resistant to the idea of space heaters foryears (who knows why) and boy was I missing out. These little suckers are amazing at heating a room if you aren't looking to heat your entire house/apartment. They come in a variety of different sizes and prices so it's really all about finding one that works best for the space you're heating and your budget. My favorite ones are this ceramic one  (it heats up a room so quickly!) and this adorable little purple one - both from Lasko. While the little one doesn't put out as much heat, it's perfect for my office space because it doesn't affect the people around me yet still manages to keep me sufficiently warm.

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Trick yourself with candles

Yeeeeesss candles! This may or may not be my mind tricking my body but I swear I always feel warmer after lighting a couple of candles in my apartment. Something about the lighting that candles create makes me think that I'm warmer than I actually am. Plus, they always come in these amazing homey smells that make it so you can't help but think about warm places.

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Fluffy scarves

Fleece scarves are the easiest way to warm up quickly via a clothing choice! For me, keeping my neck and chest area warm is a huge priority because if this area gets cold, it's much more uncomfortable than if say my toes or knees were to get cold. Fleece scarves are my absolute favorite because they're not to itchy and so warm! I love the blanket scarf trend, too, because you can easily fold out a blanket scarf and wrap it around yourself instead!

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Take your showers wisely

I know this sounds like a weird one but hear me out! Showers are the absolute best way to warm up quickly and when the weather gets really cold, I try to plan my showers according to when I'm going to need a body heat recharge! As soon as I get out of bed, I'm already warm from being under the covers for so long so I'll often try to wait until later in the day to shower when I know I'll need a little pick me up.

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Lastly, Exercise (if necessary)

This is a last resort - I swear! I'm just as lazy as the next person when it comes to exercising when it's cold out but I can't deny the fact that exercise really warms up the body from the inside out. Even if it's just a couple of zumba videos off of YouTube, after 10 minutes, I'm warm enough that I even have to take off a layer!

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Bonus Tip: Accepting the Heat Bill

Back in the day, I used to try my best to save as much money as possible by not running my heat and suffering as long as I could in the cold until it was unbearable! As I've gotten older and more mature, however, I've come to the point where I simply accept the fact that my bill will be higher in the winter months and acknowledge that since I'm lucky enough to have a heating system, I should use it for its intended purpose - keeping me warm! I still make an effort to lower the temperature overnight and when I'm out of the house during the day, but mentally accepting the heat bill that is to come helps me fret less during the winter months.

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What are you doing to keep warm this winter? If you have any other staying warm strategies - please share! God knows I need them! 

4 Favorite Organizing Apps!


organizing apps

With a new job, a new apartment, and a new city, life has been insanely hectic for me during the past couple of months! This had made me appreciate just how much technology has changed my life. While I still have a physical planner to write down my daily to-do's and assignments, I really try to limit my planner to more current to-do's and use my virtual apps as the place where I store anything else that comes to mind. 

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Trello

I have no idea what I did to organize my life before Trello. Being the nerd that I am, I used to google phrases like "best organizing apps" and stumbled upon Trello as a result. Trello is a website and app that allows you to organize all of your projects and to do lists in a board format. Within each board, you can make lists, and within each list, you can make cards of to do's. Trello is great for anything that is project-based because you can organize it however you'd like, attach files to the corresponding cards, and even share projects with other people so that you can assign tasks to different people. For my personal use, I have two boards - one for work and one for home. From there on, I have lists of anything from shopping lists to blogging projects all under the same board. Since I have the Trello app downloaded on both my iPad and iPhone as well, everything syncs seamlessly. 

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Evernote

Evernote is a cloud-based note taking website and appthat allows users to make notes, organize them into notebooks, and then even into stacks of notebooks. You can share notes with others and clip pages off the web easily. My favorite part of Evernote, however, is how easily photos integrate into your notes. You can drag and drop photos from your computer into a noteand make comments right next to any photo. The only downside of Evernote is that in the free version, you can only upload 60 mb worth of notes per month. For me, this isn't too much of a problem since I use Evernote mostly as a place for lists (i.e. gift lists, wish lists, vacation places), but for users like my mom, who uses it as a place to store photos, these 60 mb can go very quickly. 

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OneNote  

OneNote is an application from Microsoft that is exactly what it sounds like - a virtual notebook. While at first, OneNote wasn't accessible to Mac users, it is now a free download that Mac users can easily add as an app on any Macbook. What I love about OneNote is that it allows you to organize things as if it were a real notebook! You can put tabs within each notebook and then pages within each tab. 

Note: When I initially started using both OneNote and Evernote, I was trying to decide between the two applications because I wanted to keep everything on one system instead of being spread too thin. After using both, however, I discovered that I really like both systems but felt that they were best used for different functions. I tend to use OneNote for more intensive note-taking because it has more options for highlighting and labeling notes. I use Evernote as a place to keep lists, save inspiring articles, and recipes.

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Siri

There are a millions of Apple users out there but I doubt most of them use Siri to the extent that I use her. I am a loyal Apple fan all around - I own an iPhone and iPad and two Macbooks so I feel that since there's really no turning back at this point I may as well utilize all of the features available! On a daily basis, I'm asking Siri about the weather, telling her to wake me up the next morning, giving her notes to jot down and asking her to give me directions. While these are all things I could physically type into my phone, having the ability to speak the commands without unlocking my phone saves me a ton of time in the long run. If you're not too familiar with Siri commands,  just ask her "What can you do?" and she'll give you a nice little list of commands to start you off. My favorite command is the "Remind me" command because I can let Siri know to remind me of tasks I need to do when I get to a certain location or at a certain time - and being the forgetful person that I am, she has saved me on multiple occasions! 

What are your favorite strategies for organizing life? Technology has made organizing so much easier for me and I'm so grateful for it!

The Holidays in Pictures

I really feel that a picture speaks a thousand words, especially when it comes to the holidays. There are so many things going on during the holidays and so many emotions happening at the same time that it can often be difficult to describe that time in words. For my family, the holidays are always a time full of chaos, laughter, bickering, and fun. We are a family of documenters - my brother is a filmmaker, my dad loves photography, and I'm over here blogging - so sometimes it can get chaotic when we're all trying to snap pictures/videos of the amazing food my mom makes. Through it all, however, we always find time to sit down and live in the moment - after we've taken the perfect food picture! Enjoy (: 

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I hope your holidays with friends and family were just as wonderful. Cherish every moment you have because this life truly is spectacular β™₯