I love to plan. I usually buy a new planner every January, but this year I decided to buy a new one in November. The planner I previously owned did not have adequate space for my daily scheduling and I know I’ll need more writing space once I head into a new internship in January.
What planner did I buy?
I bought a large, spacious planner from my local bookstore. This one originates from a brand called ban.do. It features a 17-month spread (August 2017-December 2018), color-coded tabs and yearly/monthly/weekly calendar pageviews. To satisfy my inner organized nerd, it even contains a coil-bound closure and internal pockets.
So, why did I buy a new one before the year ended?
This new planner serves two purposes:
- It tracks all my reminders – Important dates, reminders, and schedules popped up throughout this semester. I already used up a lot of space in my previous planner, and required more writing space to track everything. (Grad photos, party reminders, group work, etc.)
- I can schedule activities in advance – I already have a few important dates scheduled for 2018. This new planner allows me to write those dates and times without waiting until January.
Tips to set up a new planner
Setting up a new planner doesn’t need to be time-consuming. Here are three tips I use whenever I buy a new one:
- Transfer all important dates into your new planner before throwing the old one away
- Determine how you will colour-code your planner to organize it
How do you organize a new planner?
I blog about self-care and relaxation often. I’ve begun to view self-care through a lens that it involves activities beyond the bubble-bath, but I do enjoy spending time creating my own spa-like environment at home. My routine does not include a bubble bath, but I do focus on skincare. Today I share my own spa-night routine.
The first step in my routine involves silencing my phone and other electronics. I like to ensure my environment is quiet, peaceful, and free from distractions. (Unless my cat decides to perch on the edge of the tub, of course!)
Focus on skin care
I always apply a face mask after removing my makeup on Friday nights. I tend to minimize my skincare routine during the week, and my top priority is to rebalance my skin once the weekend arrives. I cycle each mask in my collection, but two masks in heavy rotation each week are GlamGlow Super Mud Clearing Treatment and Origins Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay.
While I wait for my mask to set, I indulge in a glass of wine. I select a wine that is light, crisp, and refreshing. This portion of my spa night routine relaxes me after a long week. I enjoy curling up in fluffy blankets to settle in for a night of movies or reading.
eSalon, a California-based hair colour company offering custom colour services and haircare products, provided a list of additional ideas to implement into your own relaxing spa night!
How do you pamper yourself after a long week?
There’s no single way to blog, but there are common mistakes that new bloggers can make. I started my blog over a year ago and learned a lot of these mistakes myself. With a few tweaks and tips, I overcame these mistakes to improve my blogging. These are 3 common mistakes:
Publishing a new blog post on your personal Facebook page is one way to increase page views, but your content is likely to only be seen by your Facebook friends list. Posting to Facebook is not enough. Share your content on other social media websites, or groups dedicated to blog promotion to increase your reach and page views. A helpful hint is to tell your audience about the blog post, instead of simply leaving the link on the page.
NO OR LOW QUALITY PHOTOS
Blogs are largely about visuals. I like to include one main photo that captures the essence of my blog post. If I am writing a product review, I will often also include swatches of the product to demonstrate the colour/texture. Multiple editing tools exist to enhance and refine your photos to make them more appealing. Practice makes perfect, and keep practicing your photography until you’re happy.
I publish new blog posts 3 times a week. I publish on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday while devoting each day to a specific topic. I plan my posts extensively before I begin to write them, and this actually speeds up the writing process. Consistency is key to maintain an active following. Try using a calendar to schedule content and keep your blogging on track.
What are common mistakes you made as a new blogger? Do you have any tips to share to avoid common mistakes?
I love my FitBit. This wearable fitness tracker became my favourite accessory within a few days of buying it. It has various features for tracking sleep, nutrition, and exercise. The feature I am most interested is the Auto Sleep Tracking. I decided to intricately track my sleep for one week to answer this question: Just how much sleep am I getting per week?
I set my tracker to record my sleep. It automatically detects when I fall asleep and when I wake. This function is surprisingly accurate. The tracker records your sleep data and sends it to the FitBit App on your phone using Bluetooth technology. The graph created displays your Sleep Pattern – including time spent asleep, the time you went to sleep + woke up, and the number of times you were awake/restless.
My Sleep Patterns
Below is the graph FitBit generated of my sleep patterns from the past week.
I gained important insights from tracking my sleep. I sleep for shorter periods of time throughout the week, but I catch-up on this on the weekend. My lifestyle patterns affect the length of time I sleep and the time it takes to fall asleep:
- Any alcohol I drink before bed impacts my sleep quality. My total hours of time sleep decreases if I drink a glass of wine in the evening. Just one glass causes restlessness throughout the night. I sleep less, and feel fatigued the next morning.
- I sleep for longer periods on weekends. I catch-up on my sleep on Saturday and Sunday. I sleep longer into the morning to reset my sleep schedule. Without an alarm clock to wake in the morning, I sleep for a longer period of time.
- My sleep is restless when there are interruptions at night. My tracker detects higher periods of ‘restless sleep’ on nights I sleep with a television left on, or am woken by my beloved pet. According to FitBit, I sleep best on nights when my room is quiet and dark.
What is your favourite feature to use if you have a FitBit? Do you track your sleep at night using the device?
I enjoyed a busy, productive summer. I worked, travelled and added new accessories to my wardrobe. To commemorate the season’s end, I decided to feature highlights of my summer!
My trip to Toronto was the highlight of my summer. I spent a glorious weekend exploring the city with Grant, and finally saw Ed Sheeran in concert. This weekend away from home gave me an opportunity to unwind and indulge in my self-care routine. The trip was exciting and relaxing. (Minus the subway exploration, of course!)
My summer job provided me opportunity to further my social work skills. I refined my social work skills while providing advocacy support to clients with disabilities. I completed this term of employment at Empower, a local disability resource centre here in St. John’s.
NEW FASHION ACCESSORIES
While I did not buy many new clothing pieces, I expanded my handbag collection. I added two new Kate Spade handbags into my accessory rotation. I received the first handbag as an early birthday present from my parents. This handbag is a gorgeous salmon-colored Cedar Street Harmony tote. It is lightweight and practical. To my complete surprise, I received another Kate Spade handbag as a birthday present. This second handbag is a Penn Place Keisha black-and-white patterned cross-body. I favour cross-body handbags while I am running errands or need a lighter handbag to use for a certain day. It’s an ideal accessory for the summertime.
I celebrated two milestones in August: my 22nd birthday and my 6-month anniversary with Grant. I also enjoyed birthdays and anniversaries of family and friends. My summer involved a lot of balloons and cake.
Face acne is surprisingly common. Many of us have dealt with it, and continue to. Acne affects teenagers and adults alike. I continue to battle against acne, into my 20s. For today’s post, I wrote a guide I refer to often to determine each type of acne.
Type #1: All-Over Facial Acne
This acne appears in clusters on the face. Is it prevalant along your t-zone (your chin, nose and forehead). I combat this acne by washing my face twice a day with a gentle cleanser. My current favourite cleanser is Fresh Beauty Soy Face Cleanser. It gently treats acne without causing further irritation. Applying toner and lotion to the face after cleansing reduces inflammation. This balances oil production.
Type #2: Deep + Inflamed Acne
It is important to avoid touching the face when you have this type of acne. Touching the face attributes to further irritation. This type of acne responds well to acne treatments, especially those containing Salicylic Acid. It is important to be patient with this acne. It takes time for it to heal.
Type #3: Chin-Area Acne
I experience this type of acne often. Chin-area acne is caused by hormonal imbalances, and elevated stress levels. This acne responds well to spot treatments. Applying cold to the affected area also reduces redness.
Type #4: Forehead Acne
Dehydration attributes to increased oil production. Staying hydrated will reduce this type of acne. It is often caused by stress, but increased oil production from the scalp will also cause it.
Type #5: Nose Acne
Acne on the nose and surrounding areas results from excess salt intake. This acne is reduced with gentle exfoliation.
Do you experience breakouts? If so, what are your favourite remedies to use?
Finding the right planner for you can take time. Picture this: After finding the perfect planner at your local stationary store, you stare at the blank pages, unsure of exactly where to start. Today I’ll share tips to help you use those pages!
1) Use a single planner, if possible
It can be cumbersome to manage both a personal and work planner. Find a planner you can use to record business and personal tasks. This will streamline your tasks, due dates, and appointments. A bonus tip: It is a good idea to consistently check your planner to review the day ahead.
2) Create a list within your planner
I make lists often. I list each task to be accomplished by the end of the day, and check them off as I complete them. I enjoy the motion of marking a check-mark next to my list during the day. It provides both a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
3) Slow down in order to speed up
Set aside time each week to plan ahead. Inputing tasks and reminders for the week ahead offers you time to organize thoughts, de-stress, and provides a clear view of what you plan to accomplish. The act of physically writing out your to-dos is an effective tool for cognitive recognition.
4) Use a color-coding system
My favourite method of colour-coding is using different pens or post-it notes. Use a different colour for each specific task you need to remember. For example, reserve a pink pen for exam dates, a blue pen for reminders, a red pen for appointments, etc.
Do you use a planner? If you do, is it an effective tool to keep you organized?