How was your week, friends? I had tons of coffee dates with tons of friends and Kenny and I celebrated Valentine’s Day with a long lunch at Caffe Biaggio. I extremely recommend the Valentine’s Day lunch! Cheaper, calmer, and so much easier!
This time next week, I’ll be back in Costa Rica again – leading another retreat for Fit & Fly Girl. So I’m doing my monthly No Grocery Challenge to use up all ‘my’ food before I head out. I don’t want all that cauliflower to go bad while I’m gone! You can follow along and see what I make here.
Links for you
Want to protest Trump’s emergency declaration? Here’s a script for calling your elected officials.
A great resource if you’d like to share more diverse books with the kids in your life!
Is less scheduling the secret to happiness? We schedule activities back-to-back for fear of not accomplishing them all. Malkoc — who has an expertise in how people perceive and consume their time — links the over-scheduling of free time to the value that we place on achievement over contentment.
“The focus on productivity is so widespread that people even strive to make leisure productive and brag about being busy,” reads the paper.
So we do more and enjoy less.
“When scheduled, leisure tasks feel less free-flowing and more forced — which is what robs them of their utility.”
You don’t build a new brain–or a new life–just by giving it time. Time is not enough. You also need action.
Action. Movement. Forward momentum. Even the smallest step–taking a breath, opening the window to let in some fresh air, trying on a new shirt, checking out a new book from the library–begins to reshape the architecture of your mind.
Action is the medicine that brings you back to life.
I agree! This $2.75 was one of my best travel purchases!
How educational debt shapes our lives and choices Debt forms us just as radically as a university curriculum does. As bills mount, debt becomes a guiding force in our lives, directing our decisions about where to live, where to work, how to save and spend, and what we imagine possible. The anxiety, regret, and shame over one’s inability to determine one’s own life shapes our souls as well.
Related: did you know I host a free, private Facebook group called Money & Happy where we talk about stuff like this? Join me an 4,400+ smart, kind humans having honest conversations about money!
Can you make it a habit to be a good partner? Are there such things as “good relationship habits”? (I can hear you being skeptical from all the way over here.) You might be sick of hearing me talk about habits by now (not stopping anytime soon!), but I truly believe that they’re one of the secrets to a life well-lived. Studies vary, but psychologists and neurologists estimate that between 40 and 95% of what we do every day is habitualized – including how we interact with our partners. So it stands to reason that building even one good relationship habit (or breaking a bad one), could have a big impact on your relationship. If you’re not sure where to start, read on!
What’d you get up to last week, friends? We hosted friends for brunch yesterday, but – honestly – it’s been pretty much just de-icing and shoveling and rescheduling plans due to ice and snow all week. Ooof!
Links for you:
Are we improving ourselves to death? Many are psychologists with impressive academic pedigrees and a commitment to scientific methodologies, or tech entrepreneurs with enviable records of success in life and business. What they’re selling is metrics. It’s no longer enough to imagine our way to a better state of body or mind. We must now chart our progress, count our steps, log our sleep rhythms, tweak our diets, record our negative thoughts—then analyze the data, recalibrate, and repeat.
“I definitely feel like I’m spending more than I should on things I probably don’t need,” Melissa says. “I feel like I come up with excuses to buy things when I could just as easily do something more productive, like creative writing, working out. I used to indulge a lot more before I had to pay rent and before my credit cards had to be canceled (by me, voluntarily). But I’m still living beyond my means.”
Though she has a decent enough salary to make her rent, rent is a huge chunk of her income, and her Amazon habit means she still turns to her parents for money. Because they never come to collect, they inadvertently end up footing the bill. That leads to arguments, and she sometimes hides purchases from them.
“Zero waste travel? That sounds … joyless,” my friend teases as we pick at a pile of nachos.
“It really does, doesn’t it?” I laugh. When I first started thinking about my carbon footprint and how much waste I produce while traveling I pictured myself eating lentils out of a mason jar, while waiting for the subway.
Not relaxing, not lovely, not very, uh, vacation-y.
But as I started to tweak and test and I discovered that – counter-intuitive and unlikely as it sounds – I actually enjoyed my trips more when I did these things.
I got through security at the airport faster, I had more conversations with locals + more picnics in the park, and I was less likely to spill coffee or leftovers all over my bag. (A surprisingly and frustratingly common occurrence.)
9 Zero Waste Travel Tips That Won’t Suck The Joy Out Of Your Trip
A giant asterisk: None of us are perfect and most things we do have SOME impact on the environment. I don’t want your trip to be a hard, boring slog of eating sandwiches while walking in the rain and denying yourself any joy or convenience.
Try one or two of these things! Do what’s easiest for you. And if you try something and it sucks the joy right out of your trip, don’t do it again. Try something else. Eat the fish and spit out the bones. (Ya know, like metaphorically.)
I’m not suggesting we give up flying completely – that’s simply not an option for a lot of people. But when we’re thinking about travel in general (rather than a trip to a specific place, for a specific reason), what if we at least considered a road trip? What if we at least opened the Amtrak tab and scrolled around for five minutes?
As a side note, I like road trips a million times better than air travel. I like being able to pull over whenever I want, explore anything I see, and take the scenic route.
Also: road trips down require me to take off my shoes, belt, scarf, and jewelry while a stranger pats me down.
Some of my favorite travel memories involve public transport in other countries – watching people climb on top of the buses in southern Nepal, sharing snacks with my train-car mates in India, making conversation in my terrible Spanish on the bus in Costa Rica.
Public transport gives you insights into ‘real life’ at your travel destination. It also happens to be cheaper and better for the environment than taking taxis everywhere.
Most major western cities have bike sharing programs and it wouldn’t be a visit to the Netherlands if you didn’t take part in their bike culture.
And, of course, walking creates zero emissions, is good exercise, and allows you to explore a city slowly enough that you discover hidden gems. When I was in Costa Rica a few weeks ago, my friend and I stumbled across this cemetery as we were poking around San Jose. It’s one of my favorite memories of the whole trip!
Download the City Bike app to see where you can pick up and drop off bikes or check out these apps that help you find walking tours of cities all over the world.
Airbnb and vacation rentals aren’t perfect – nothing is. But from an environmental impact standpoint, they’re a jillion times better than hotels. Think of all those empty hotel rooms being heated and cooled, those hallways with the lights on all night, and the constant washing of sheets and towels, often after one use.
Besides, you get more for your tourism dollar in a vacation rental, it’s easier to stay in a ‘real’ neighborhood, and you often have a kitchen so you can make a few meals in-house and save $$$. If you’ve never used Airbnb before, here’s $40 towards your first booking!
And if you’re thinking, “That sure seems like an annoying hassle, Sarah,” I get it!
You know what I hate more than the hassle of packing this extra stuff? I hate carrying my delicious restaurant leftovers in my hands for an hour because the Styrofoam clamshell they gave me isn’t watertight, so if I put it in my bag it’ll leak pasta all over.
I don’t like drinking coffee out of little paper cups that burn my hand and don’t keep my coffee warm. I hate eating takeout with a tiny plastic fork that breaks when I use it on a piece of apple.
So, yes, bringing these things is better for the environment but, selfishly, they’re better for me. They keep my coffee warm longer. They let me put my leftovers in my bag and forget about them. They make my picnic nicer and my trip to the picturesque street market more enjoyable.
9. Forget about that dang 3 ounce rule!
Three ounces of shampoo and conditioner is not going to get you through your two week trip. Shampoo and conditioner bars create less waste, last much longer than their liquid counterparts, and don’t count towards that three-once rule. More space in your one-gallon ziplock for other awesome, liquid things!
What’d you get up to this week, friends? Unsurprisingly, I stayed inside for 99% of it – Minneapolis is NOT screwing around with these temperatures. I’m working through Bank Boost alongside my students and as part of my Earning Spree took on tonnnnns of work. Which is exciting! And means I’m working all the time!
When Jen’s email pings into my inbox, my first reaction is to lean back and squint. I’ve asked Jen for feedback on the course she just took and I’m expecting/hoping for a few kind words, some constructive criticism, and maybe some hard numbers if she’s willing to share them. Some numbers in the low four figures. That’s what I was expecting. Instead, Jen told me that my course had given her the courage to negotiate a €12,000 raise. That’s almost $14,000 for us Yanks! Whaaaaaaaat?! And while I am, of course, happy that Bank Boost nudged Jen to negotiate for a bigger salary, the truth is this: Jen got what she wanted because she asked for it. There are a million blog posts bouncing around the internet that tell us how to reach goals, manifest our dreams, and change our habits. (I know this because I write a lot of those blog posts.) Many of these blog posts walk us through the art of getting clear on what we want, breaking our goals into teeny, tiny steps, and working towards what we want on a consistent basis. And these are all important parts of getting what we want. But. None of that means anything if we’re not willing to ask for it. Let's say you want to get into an amazing party. Breaking goals into little pieces is walking up the sidewalk, asking for what you want is knocking on the door. Click To Tweet