Tag Archives: lifestyle

How to start life planning

What is Life Planning?  

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash 

To me, life planning is using a planner to organize all aspects of your life, from academic to social to fitness and more! Anything can be tracked in a planner. I got my first life planner my freshman year of high school and have been life planning every day since. As someone who is always busy, and joins way too many extracurriculars, I have found life planning to be a way to calm the chaos in my life and keep track of everything.  

Different Types of Planners

There are many different types of planners to choose from. My favorite planner brand is Erin Condren. Her stationary company is based here in Austin, Texas, and her store is located at The Domain. I love Erin Condren planners for their beautiful covers and their simple, yet colorful layouts on the inside. The planners are also customizable, so you can change colors, add your name, initials, pictures or whatever you’d like! A basic Erin Condren planner goes for about $60, but every year on Black Friday they have a flash sale where all planners are 50% off! Another popular brand is The Happy Planner. Their planners are similar to Erin Condren but are easier to find, as they can be ordered online or bought at Walmart. But really any planner can work for life planning as long as it fits your needs!

There are many things to think about before purchasing your life planner, especially since it’s something you’ll be writing in for an entire year. Spiral or no spiral? As a leftie, a spiral can get really annoying sometimes. How do you want your planner’s layout to be — Daily? Weekly? Monthly? These are all things to consider. My favorite layout is a weekly vertical layout, where each day of the week is divided into 3 sections. I like to think of the sections as morning, afternoon and night.  

Pens, Stickers, Accessories and More!

I like to use planning as a creative outlet by using a variety of different pen colors, handwriting styles, stickers, highlighting and doodles. What I like most about using a physical planner instead of a digital one, is that paper gives you the freedom to write and design whatever you want all over it. My favorite pens for planning are the Paper Mate Flair felt tip pens. These work well with my Erin Condren planner because the paper is thick, like an index card, so I get consistent lines when I use them. For thinner paper, I would recommend ink pens. I like Paper Mate InkJoy pens because of their vibrant colors.

When planning, having different-colored pens is important so you can color code. At the start of each semester, I match each of my classes to a color, and write down all things pertaining to that class in its assigned color. Not only does color coding make your planner look pretty, but it’s proven to make you recall things faster as well.

According to Kwik Learning, “When we color code things we need to remember, it makes it easier for our brain to associate with it. Our brain reads and interprets colors faster than text. Multiple studies have shown that our brain will recognize a shade of color to an assigned task faster than text alone. This means we have a better chance of remembering an appointment if we color code that information.”  

Besides color coding, I like using stickers to add an extra flair to fun events in my planner, or make important events look more eye-catching. For example, I’ll add a little cake sticker to birthdays in my planner or add a sticker that says “important” on a test date. Even though I am in love with Erin Condren’s brand, I think The Happy Planner actually has better stickers, and they are cheaper too. I like to buy The Happy Planner sticker packs that contain over a thousand stickers. My favorite pack is the Essential Planning pack, which includes stickers like “remember to water your plants!” stickers, birthday stickers, bill reminder stickers and habit tracking stickers.  

Lastly, I would say a planning essential is to have some sort of bookmark to keep track of what week you are on. Nothing is more annoying than flipping through your planner trying to find what page you were last on. Personally, I like bookmarks that attach to the spiral in your planner so they don’t fall out.  

So, Why Should I Plan?

Photo by STIL on Unsplash 

I like to think of planning as something more than just keeping track of things you have to do. It’s relaxing, rewarding, calming — it’s what I believe has gotten me to where I am today. When you have everything you need to do written down, you can avoid that feeling of; “Am I missing something?” I like to use my planner as sort of a guide. I can see what I have coming up for however many weeks I am able to plan ahead. 

My favorite time to plan is at night or right before I go to bed. At night, I tend to scramble in my head and worry about all the things I have to do the next day, and the next day, and the day after that, and next week, and next month, and next year and… it gets to be a lot. Especially when I am trying to fall asleep. Planning at night gives me a way to dump all of those due dates and to-do lists out of my head, and when I’m done, I feel so at peace, totally free of that feeling that I am going to forget something.  

With midterms coming up and as the semester starts to get busier, planning can be a tool for you to stay on top of your work and manage your stress!  

My Method of Planning

Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash  

Step 1: The first thing I do when planning each week is put down my base schedule. What I mean by this is putting down your weekly schedule of things that are consistent and are not going to change, like my class schedule. 

Photo by Morgan Severson

Step 2: Once I’ve done that, I have a basic outline for my week, and I start to add in due dates, events and stickers.

Photo by Morgan Severson

Step 3: I like to write a little overview of my week on the left side to-do list, listing things by priority of what I need to get done first. If there is something going on for the entire week, I like to write it above the dates at the top of the page, making the words span across the page. 

 Photo by Morgan Severson

Step 4: From there, I use the empty spaces to get an idea of when I am free throughout the week. The empty spaces leave me room to plan things that come up on short notice, so I will write them in the day before or day of, like a trip to the gym!

Photo by Morgan Severson

VOILA! You are all done planning and ready to conquer your week ahead!

Featured Image by Alyssa Lindblom

Long Time No See! 5 Creative Ways to Stay in Touch with Long Distance Friends

Let’s face it. When you came to college, you promised all of your besties that you would keep in touch with them no matter what. You made this promise despite the fact that you’re going to be 858.9 miles away, homework and exams and meetings are going to consume your day, and you’re going to want to spend as much time as possible with that new girl you just met on your hall.

It’s a lot harder to keep in touch with old friends than we initially think, and turns out we’re really good at forgetting to text people back (like really good). And that’s okay! It’s natural, maybe even expected, for friends to go through periods of limited communication. Even if y’all survived freshman year talking weekly, sophomore year presents a whole new set of unforeseen challenges. 

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

But no need to fear! In the age of technology, there are so many ways to stay together even when you’re apart. 

So without further ado, here are 5 creative ways to stay in touch with that long-distance friend.

1. Host a Houseparty 

No, not an actual house party. Houseparty is an app that allows you to video-call multiple people at once. This idea is perfect for keeping up with your friend group that ended up scattered across the country. Trust me, I know how hard it is to coordinate a group Facetime with more than 3 people, but the app offers a loophole. You and your friends just need to download the app, add each other as friends, and you’re set! Whenever you have a spare moment, maybe while getting ready to go out, just open the app and it will notify your friends that you’re free to chat! If they get the notification that you’re “In the house”, they can just click on it and join you for an impromptu catch-up session.

2. Snail Mail

While it can make you feel like you’re stuck in the 19th century, snail mail can actually be a great way to stay in-the-know without being updated in real-time. Writing an old-fashioned letter to a friend, telling them about the past couple of weeks and the boy you’ve been talking to, is not only effective but also therapeutic. Plus, think about all the cute letters you’ll get back from your bestie! Put them in a shoe-box for keepsakes and you can look back on them later (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before energy, amiright).

3. Forgetful? Set Reminders!

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

I am the most forgetful person I know. It’s honestly shocking that I’ve made it this far in life, so when it comes to remembering to check in on that one friend, I struggle hard. One of the simplest solutions is to set a reminder on your phone! Just go into the reminders app on your phone (this is assuming you have an iPhone… if you don’t, I’m sure there’s an app to download and also I’m judging you), set a reminder to “TEXT LINDSEY”, and tell it to repeat every two weeks!

4. Lists on lists on lists

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

If you’re anything like me, you love making to do lists and grocery lists and wishlists. But one of my favorite lists is the one where I write down all of the stories I want to tell my best friend on our next skype call. Although we don’t get to talk too frequently, when we do have an opportunity to Skype, I remember to tell her about that time when I lost my phone in the middle of campus at midnight riding home on a Lime scooter. 

5. Slideshow Presentation

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

This is something I saw on twitter and honestly I am dying to try it. Basically the idea is, if you don’t have the chance to stay in touch during the semester, when you’re home for break you make a slideshow to recap the past few months away from each other! You can put all of the crazy snapchats you took during the semester on there and then host a sleepover where all of your besties show off their slides. It’s like a review session but for each other’s lives!

These are just a couple of my favorite ways to stay in touch with my closest friends from high school. If you’re reading this and realize you haven’t talked to your friend in months, just remember it’s never too late to shoot off a quick text and reach across the distance once again.

Featured image courtesy of Unsplash

How to be Cute and Cruelty-Free In College

As college students, we tend to lose sight of shopping ethically in favor of buying what’s cheap and convenient – especially in terms of fashion. However, as much as we love saving money, it’s important to remember those affected by our purchases, and that’s not always limited to people. The animals we love can be hurt by major fashion brands, too. According to PETA, many animals that we hold dear to our hearts are being exploited by the international fur trade. This ranges from birds, cows, and rabbits, to snakes, cats, and dogs.

So, how does a broke college student go about buying clothes, makeup, and accessories even Bevo would approve of? By shopping vegan, of course! While the word vegan scares some people, it’s important to note that vegan just means something free of animal products.  However, not everyone has the time to research what they’re buying – so here’s a list of affordable brands to amp up your look while you’re here at the Forty Acres.

H&M

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

H&M has made its mark as one of the few retailers to move towards sustainable fashion and beauty. None of their cosmetics are tested on animals, and they refuse to sell real fur. While the company does sell some leather products, they also have many faux leather alternatives that are just as cute. There isn’t an H&M near campus, but they offer free shipping for purchases over $40, and only charge $3.99 for anything below.

If you’re not interested in online shopping, the nearest H&M is located in The Domain at 11410 Century Oaks Terrace, Austin, TX 78758.

Forever 21

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Like H&M, Forever 21 is another brand that has promised never to sell real fur. They offer an extensive variety of faux leather products; from jackets and skirts, to shoes, belts, and handbags. Forever 21 is one of the more affordable clothing brands on this list, but prices depend upon on the quality and complexity of the materials being purchased from this store.

Forever 21 is great for online shopping and offers delivery services, but it is also located in The Domain at 3409 Esperanza Crossing #110, Austin, TX 78758.

Target

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Unlike H&M and Forever 21, Target can be found on campus off of Guadalupe – also known as “the drag” in the longhorn community. They offer many leather and wool-alternatives, though the selection may be limited due to the small size of this location. Vegan fashions would be easily accessible here due to the proximity of this store to campus, eliminating extra shipping costs you might be met with during online shopping.

This Target is located at 2025 Guadalupe St. Ste 01-100, Austin, TX 78705.

Patagonia

Photo courtesy of Patagonia

There’s not a Patagonia store near campus, but Patagonia merchandise is sold in the Tyler’s store off of Guadalupe Street. This brand uses more conventional materials to create their products, such as hemp and recycled cotton, but they also have wool-alternatives such as PrimaLoft® to insulate their parkas.  They also reduce their consumption of wool materials by using recycled wool in many of their products. This is a great brand to help you keep warm this winter, but it is more costly than the other brands.

Patagonia products can be found at the Tyler’s store at 2338 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705.

Pacifica

Photo courtesy of Pacifica

Pacifica is a brand that specializes in skincare and makeup that prides itself on being 100% vegan and cruelty-free. Their products are formulated around natural ingredients and fragrances, as opposed to harsh chemicals, and the same can be said for their makeup. However, because of their ingredient choices and product formulation, some of their makeup is not as full-coverage as conventional brands.

Pacifica products can be purchased online, or in person at the Target on Guadalupe.

e.l.f. Cosmetics

Photo courtesy of e.l.f. Cosmetics

e.l.f.  specializes in makeup, and beyond that, they ensure their makeup brushes and tools are vegan. A lot of their makeup products not only benefit your look, but your skin, too; most formulations include vitamins meant to restore and refresh your skin, unlike other beauty products. Also, e.l.f. is a very affordable  for the college student on a budget.

e.l.f. products, like Pacifica, can also be purchased at Target on Guadalupe.

Photo courtesy of Helena Lopes from Pexels