Before we left on our honeymoon in September, I purchased an e-book to read on the many flights we had over the course of the trip. It’s called The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed To Transform Your Life… (Before 8AM). I didn’t end up reading it on the trip, instead choosing to read a non-fiction paperback about the hey day of antique wines in the 1980s. Fascinating stuff!
In October and November, I was reading on and off, a bit at a time. I finally made my way through The Miracle Morning. The general gist of the book is to take some time right after waking up in the morning to devote oneself to self-development. The author lists six activities to do during this time: silence/meditation, exercise, affirmations, visualization, reading, and journaling.
I was not terribly impressed with the book itself, and found it gimmicky and lame how the author refers to his own ‘level 10’ success. His simple idea of making time for self-improvement in the morning is a good one though. I used to get up with only 45 minutes or so to get ready. After I started giving myself an hour and fifteen minutes, I felt much calmer and more prepared for the day. I didn’t need to rush through my routines, could eat breakfast and spend some time with the cats.
Perhaps the new year is a good time to again read the book Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are. I started reading its short entries (one per day) for a few months in 2016, and writing brief responses to them in my journal. Perhaps reflecting on topics such as life, love, and grief could help me live a more appreciative life. The entries in the book are super short, so reading and writing about them for 5 minutes as I enjoy my toast in the morning is doable.
Are you a morning person? Are there things you do when you wake up that make sure the day is a good one?
My boyfriend of 2 1/2 years, Michael, proposed to me last Christmas morning. I said yes, accepted a beautiful engagement ring, and started planning in late January.
People ask us questions about the wedding all the time these days: What are your wedding colors? Are you having a bachelorette party? Are you going to have an emcee, DJ, or band? What will your song be?
These are questions that have nothing to do with our wedding. I don’t blame people for asking us these things though; the wedding industry has shaped how Americans think a wedding should be. People have their own expectations.
Questions that do relate to our wedding include: How many cities are you visiting during your trip? Is it ok if I come to more than one celebration? What is your actual wedding date?
We’re going to have a small, private ceremony somewhere on the beach with just our parents, and going out to dinner later that evening. The following day, we’re throwing a big picnic for family, friends, and coworkers in a large park on scenic windward Oahu, complete with a tent if the weather shouldn’t cooperate and caterers serving a big buffet. Later that week, Michael and I depart on a month-long trip that includes ten days in South Africa (that’s our honeymoon), as well as stops in 4 cities in the mainland US and London to see friends and family and take them out for fancy dinners.
We decided early on in our process to focus on what we value for our wedding. We are only including what we want– a focus on delicious food! We will not need a fancy DJ or things in certain ‘colors’. Saving in some areas will enable us to celebrate in many more cities during our epic trip. Keeping it simple for us has meant drawing a line and making sure we stick to our guns.
Stay tuned for future blog posts about:
Selecting an affordable venue in Hawaii
Budgeting and matching your budget to your priorities
Managing others’ expectations for your wedding
If you have specific questions about our wedding planning process, leave a comment down below!
I used to take pride in not being dependent on any substance. I never smoked at all, or drank alcohol or caffeine regularly. I pitied those who became dependent on alcohol to have a good time, or caffeine to be productive.
Fast forward past college, living abroad for a number of years, grad school and nearly 5 years working in my field as a professional. Since starting my full-time job, I drink a cup of coffee more or less every morning. The days when I don’t drink coffee are few and far between, and when I don’t drink it, I miss it.
In part, it’s my routine when I arrive at the office and prepare a cup of hot, fragrant coffee. I enjoy it as I sort my emails and get my papers in order to tackle my to-do list for the day. Or I step out after checking my email and get some Starbucks coffee from down the street. I enjoy walking with coworkers and catching up during this short excursion.
I like how the caffeine in coffee boosts both my productivity and seemingly, my optimism early in the morning. After my cup of coffee, I can do anything. I can do everything. And I can do it well, early, and under budget. I am invincible and amazing. At least, that’s how I feel with the drug flowing through my veins.
And let’s be real: caffeine is a drug. It is not harmless. Wikipedia has the following to say about it:
Despite its wide usage and popularity, caffeine is still a drug that people use to support their productivity and lifestyles. For me, it’s now a big part of my morning routine both at work and at home.
Do you drink coffee? Does it make you more productive? Are you addicted?
Ever since the presidential election in America picked up steam, many people have joked about moving to Canada if the ‘wrong’ person gets elected.
But seriously, have you thought about living in another country?
For many Americans, a brief vacation overseas or a semester abroad during college is the extent of their time spent outside their native country. As a thirty-something who has lived abroad in Europe and Asia for a total of 6 years, I know what’s necessary to successfully work, study, make friends, and learn to live in a foreign country. The benefits of living abroad are many and far-reaching, and I want to help others explore the idea of living abroad. We can act as informal ambassadors of our country, building bridges across languages, religions, and cultures.
Last week I published my Guide to LivingAbroad on Amazon, which helps you approach living abroad in a holistic way, preparing you to reach your goals and have an enriching time. The e-book takes you from when you first have the idea, all the way through your return home with useful worksheets and flowcharts as well as anecdotes from my own time abroad. Some of the ideas covered in the book include:
Is moving abroad the right idea for you? What can you do to prepare?
What should you take care of before departing?
What things will help ease the transition to your new home?
What can you do to align your daily life abroad to your bigger picture goals?
How can you ease your transition when you head home?
My e-book is available both for purchase and as a loan through Kindle Unlimited.
Are you a fan of the simplicity/minimalism movement?
Are you successful in all your minimalist habits? I know I still struggle to know what’s worth adding to my closet or home, and what’s not worth purchasing. But I’m working on keeping my wardrobe to a small, but effective, size. I’ve been trying to do so for the past few years. Right now, I believe I have around 35 items in my work wardrobe.
As we celebrate Halloween and don our costumes that we probably won’t wear again, I think this is the perfect time to address the clothing that I have in my normal closet. Wouldn’t it be great to wear everything I own before re-wearing anything? This would make my closet an equal opportunity employer.
So my idea is to document each day, starting tomorrow, what I wear and keep track in my closet of what I haven’t worn yet. As I wear each item, I can make a note of what I think works and what doesn’t anymore, and brainstorm ideas for future item purchases that might be versatile and work with many of the items I already own.
Do you have a capsule wardrobe? Or do you struggle to find something to wear even though your closet is overflowing? Maybe a simplified closet would help you to keep only your best clothing and get rid of the rest!
Check out this YouTube video that inspired me to tackle this challenge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Foqfxo7nMLE She’s got a different ‘Shop Your Closet’ challenge than me for November, but I think her idea is a great one– use and be grateful for what we already have!
It was our European vacation in August/September that gave us the itch to move abroad. No sooner had we returned home after our 3 week trip that we started talking about our next trip, or rather, the idea of moving abroad for a few years.
Being financially able to move abroad is a big consideration before we’re ready. Some of the things we’d need to pay for include: savings to cover our transition abroad, an emergency fund in case we need to get home fast at any time during our stay, expenses to cover the time we’re finding a job abroad, which should enable us to afford our basic expenses as well as ‘extras’ like regional travel, language classes, covering storage of things we leave at home, or other expenses in our home country. These are all things that must be accounted for before it makes financial sense to move abroad.
Besides the less fun financial planning and saving, there are the questions of what you’ll do abroad, where, and for how long. Once you have the main game plan sketched out, you will know how much you need to save up.
These are details that might be easy to figure out, or you might need a lot of discussion and research to iron out the details. Since it will be both my boyfriend and I moving abroad, along with our two cats, we both need to be included in the decision making and financial preparations.
Have you ever thought about moving abroad? How did you decide where to go, for how long, and how did you afford it? Let me know in the comments below!