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    August 2021 Monthly Favorites

    August 2021 Monthly Favorites

    Hello and welcome to the August 2021 monthly favorites! 

    Although it is still incredibly hot and humid here in Pittsburgh, summer is coming to an end.

    I am looking forward to cooler weather and of course, I am ecstatic for the spooky season!

    This past month I tried to fit in all the summer activities I didn’t get to do yet this year.

    Alas, I wasn’t able to fit in mini-golf or a trip to the forest but I can try for that in September.

    Keep reading to discover my August 2021 monthly favorites. Click here to read the monthly favorites archive.

    Movies/ TV Shows:

    The Tudors – This is one of my all-time favorite shows and the show that got me into Tudor and English history in the first place!

    I was feeling the urge for some good old Henry VIII and started watching the series for possibly the 10th time through. I’ve watched it too many times to count.

    Wolf Hall – Another rewatch! Clearly, I was in the mood for Tudor England this month between my show and book choices.

    I had previously watched Wolf Hall before but decided to give it another try and enjoyed it much more the second time.

    Book: 

    Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies by Hayley Nolan – Continuing on with my month of Tudor England I decided to read a book on Anne Boleyn. This book came out a few years ago and has been on my to be read for a while.

    It was defiantly not what I expected from a history book.

    Nolan wrote her book in an expose style which I found really refreshing compared to other history books that can lull you to sleep. I specifically enjoyed her frequent use of British slang.

    Food/Drinks:

    Peach Panzanella Salad

    Cinnamon in Coffee – I started putting cinnamon in my coffee to get some of the health benefits from the spice and found it was the perfect pre pumpkin spice drink

    La Prima Coffee – La Prima has been a Pittsburgh coffee staple for a long time but I just recently decided to give them a try and am so glad I did because their coffee is fantastic!

    End of Summer Peaches – We have been getting peaches in our CSA and they have been so juicy, delicious, and full of flavor! I like adding them to salads and just eating them plain with a good slice of cheese!

    Ginger Cookie and Red Velvet Cake

    Summer Activities:

    County Fair – At the beginning of the month my boyfriend and our friend Matt went to the Washington County fair. We walked through the barns looking at all the show animals the locals brought and watched some of the demolition derby. It was a nice way to spend a cool summer evening.

    Getting Ice Cream – I’ve been living in Pittsburgh for 13 years now and just now found the best ice cream! We went to Antneys which has homemade ice cream with flavors that rotate daily. Hands down some of the best ice cream I have ever had in my life!

    Going for Walks – This has been an incredibly hot and humid summer which has made it very unpleasant to go outside. Recently it’s been getting cooler in the evenings so the boyfriend and I have been able to get back to our evening walks.

    Thanks for Reading My August 2021 Monthly Favorites!

    If you enjoyed this post don’t forget to check out the monthly favorites archive. Make sure to check back next month for my September favorites!

    Until next time,

    Rachel

    Week of Outfits 8/15/21 – 8/21/21

    Hello and welcome to another week of outfits 8/15/21 – 8/21/21!

    This is my third post in this series and so far I am really enjoying it. Being able to chronicle my outfits has definitely helped me get more rarely worn items out of my closet. It has also helped me stay creative with my outfits by coming up with new ways to wear the item.

    I have to say that after the very hot and humid summer we are having I am ready for sweater weather!

    I already am scanning Poshmark and other sites for fall arrivals and am looking forward to switching to the new season.

    Without further ado, here is the week of outfits 8/15/21 – 8/21/21!

    Sunday

    Week of Outfits 8/15/21 - 8/21/21
    Cool day

    Cropped Top – thrifted American Eagle

    Jeans – J. Crew curvy slim straight jean

    Shoes – Slip-On Vans

    Monday

    Week of Outfits 8/15/21 - 8/21/21
    Casual Monday at home

    Cropped Tank Top – thrifted American Eagle

    Pants – Everlane

    Sandals – Sanuk

    Tuesday

    Week of Outfits 8/15/21 - 8/21/21
    Tired and feeling off kinda day

    Long Sleeve T-shirt – old Vans

    Shorts – Aerie

    Fuzzy Slippers – Simmi London Asos

    Wednesday

    Week of Outfits 8/15/21 - 8/21/21
    Heading out to a dentist appointment

    Striped Sweater Top – old Loft

    Skirt – thrifted Cabin Creek

    Belt – old Faded Glory

    Loafers – old Enzo Angliolini

    Friday

    Out to dinner

    Top – thrifted

    Belt – thrifted no brand

    Skirt – thrifted Cabin Creek

    Huaraches – Nisolo

    Saturday

    Grocery store and errands

    Top – thrifted Eddie Bauer

    Skirt – thrifted Cabin Creek

    Huaraches – Nisolo

    Necklace – Austin Down to Earth on Etsy

    Thanks for Checking Out My Week of Outfits 8/15/21 – 8/21/21

    I hope you enjoyed this week of outfits! If you did please check out my other weekly outfits and fashion-related posts!

    Until next time,

    Rachel

    Week of Outfits 8/8/21 – 8/14/21

    Welcome back to another week of outfits 8/8/21 – 8/14/21 post! I went out quite a bit this past week so I was able to wear some items that I don’t get out of my closet very often.

    I was super excited to be able to wear this handmade, vintage, mosaic bracelet I picked up from an artist at the Pittsburgh Art Festival this year on Friday when we went out to dinner with a friend. I have a close-up of it below.

    If you would like to see another week of outfits post click here.

    Week of Outfits 8/8/21 – 8/14/21

    Sunday

    week-of-outfits-8-8-21-8-14-21
    Kevin (bf) and I went to walk around Pittsburgh Strip District

    Dress – thrifted Old Navy

    Shows – Vans

    Necklace – Ana Luisa

    Monday

    Starting off the work week super casual

    Tank Top – old no brand

    Shorts – EVERLANE

    Fuzzy Slippers – Simmi London ASOS

    Tuesday

    Comfy for another day of work

    Ombré T-Shirt – old Universal Thread

    Shorts – Old Navy

    Sandals – Sanuk

    Wednesday

    week-of-outfits-8-8-21-8-14-21
    Meetings and farmers market

    Cardigan – Old Universal Thread

    Dress – thrifted Good Luck Gem

    Belt – thrifted no label

    Fuzzy Slippers – Simmi London ASOS

    Thursday

    Very casual work from home day

    Tank Top – old

    Shorts – Old Navy

    Fuzzy Slippers – Simmi London ASOS

    Friday

    Top – thrifted Weavers Girl

    Skirt – thrifted no label

    Belt – thrifted no label

    Shoes – Nisolo

    Bracelet – Vintage Vamp Jewelry

    Saturday

    week-of-outfits-8-8-21-8-14-21
    Comfy casual for a night at the Washington county fair

    Tank Top – thrifted Anthropologie

    Skirt – thrifted Cabin Creek

    Belt – old Faded Glory

    Shoes – Vans

    Thanks For Checking Out My Week of Outfits 8/8/21 – 8/14/21

    If you enjoyed this post don’t forget to check out my other week of outfits and fashion-related content.

    Until next time,

    Rachel

    Week of Outfits 8/1/21 – 8/7/21

    Hello! I had this idea last week to do a week of outfits post.

    Back when I had Instagram I would do an out-of-the-day post. This was really helpful in knowing what items I wore often and what styles worked for me and what didn’t.

    I am curious to see how this transitions over to my blog! Especially now that I no longer go into an office and work from home. My outfits are much more casual (as you will see), so when I do go out I tend to dress up.

    I am going to try my hardest to do this every week so wish me luck!

    Week of Outfits 8/1/21 – 8/7/21

    This week I mostly worked at home but we did go out for dinner and ice cream and had our usual Friday night grocery store outing.

    Keep scrolling to see everything I wore this week.

    Sunday

    Week of Outfits 8/1/21 - 8/7/21
    My crazy cat lady dress!

    Dress – Thrifted

    Belt – Thrifted

    Shows – Old Payless

    Necklace – Etsy

    Tuesday

    Week of Outfits 8/1/21 - 8/7/21
    Cool day so I got to wear my new Everlane pants!

    Tank top – old

    Sports Bra – Aerie

    Pants – Everlane Easy Chino in Ochre

    Shoes – Sanuks

    Thursday

    Daytime Look

    Crop Top – Aerie

    Pants – Everlane (same pants as previously worn)

    Sandals – Sanuk

    Evening Look

    Dress – Loft

    Shoes – Converse

    Necklace – Ana Luisa

    Friday

    Daytime Look

    Tank top – old

    Shorts – Old Navy High Waisted Performance Shorts

    Shoes – stolen from my mom

    Grocery Store Look

    Top – thrifted

    Skirt – thrifted

    Belt – thrifted

    Shoes – Nisolo Huarache Sandal

    Saturday

    Week of Outfits 8/1/21 - 8/7/21
    Getting stuff done at home day!

    T-shirt – Old Target

    Shorts – Everlane The Easy Short in Fern

    Sandals – Sanuk

    Until Next Week…

    Thank you for checking out my week of outfits 8/1/21 – 8/7/21!

    If you enjoyed this post you can check out some of my other fashion-related posts here.

    Check back next week for another outfits of the week post!

    Rachel

    July 2021 Favorites!

    Wow, I can’t believe it is August already! Of course, the first day of August is cool, windy, and rainy and feels a bit autumnal. 

    To wrap up the month, I thought it would be fun to try something new on my blog and do a July 2021 favorites post.

    July 2021 Favorties

    July 2021 Favorites

    TV/Movies:

    Although I haven’t been watching a lot of films lately, I was watching Once Upon a Time on Disney+

    Once Upon a time is an older TV show that I can remember watching when I was in college but I never finished all 7 seasons. 

    I decided to rewatch them in June and am making my way through all the seasons. 

    July 2021 Favorites

    Clothing:

    I have been wearing this thrifted chambray skirt so much lately! To be honest, I have worn this a ton of times this summer. 

    It is super comfy and lightweight. Plus it has the cute, vintage, cottagecore vibe I was going for!

    Food:

    We signed up for a CSA from a local farm this year and it was a FANTASTIC decision! We have gotten so many yummy vegetables and fruits.

    Since we get lettuce every week from the CSA, we have been having salads every night with dinner. Whoever said salads were boring has no idea what they are talking about. We add all sorts of things to our salads but feta cheese, olive oil, vinegar, and a variety of seeds always get tossed in.

    Another food item that I have been obsessed with is grilled zucchini. I slice it lengthwise, toss it in olive oil with salt pepper and homegrown lemon thyme, and oregano. Then I throw it on the grill for a couple of minutes and each side and it’s AMAZING!

    Apps:

    I just downloaded this app about two weeks ago but I am really loving it so far. I downloaded the Aura meditation and sleep app to see if it could help me with my sleep and anxiety problems. 

    Since using it I have noticed my sleeping patterns are getting a bit better. 

    However, what really helped me is the 3-6 minute mini life coaching and cognitive behavioral therapy sessions. Not all of them have been geared to my life situations but the more general ones have helped me with negative thoughts and being more mindful.

    July 2021 Favorites

    That wraps up my July 2021 favorites! 

    I hope everyone enjoys the last warmth of summer in this upcoming month.

    Until next time,

    Rachel

    PS

    If you enjoyed this post check out the books I read in Spring 2021!

    What I Read in Spring 2021

    Welcome back to another book review with what I read during spring of 2021!

    April was a slow reading month for me because I felt a little burnt out from so much reading in March.

    Then in May I ramped it up again and finished 6 books!

    I am currently at 17/30 on my Goodreads challenge and have no doubts I will exceed my reading goal for this year.

    Keep reading to find out what I have been reading lately!

    If you want to check out other monthly what I read posts click here!

    March

    Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

    Rating: 5 out of 5.

    I saw the 1997 film version of Little Women at a sleepover when I was a girl and it has been my favorite movie ever since.

    I even visited the Louisa May Alcott home in Concord, MA but I never read the book until this year!

    I am glad I did because it was amazing! It was so charming and had tons of good vibes. Highly recommend this one!

    Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

    Rating: 5 out of 5.

    LOVE THIS!

    I picked this book because I wanted to read something that talked about nature for spring and it did not disappoint.

    Like Little Women, it had plenty of feel good vibes.

    This is also a perfect choice if you want to read a cottagecore aesthetic book.

    The Kingmaker’s Daughter by Philippa Gregory

    Rating: 3 out of 5.

    This is the last book I needed to read in the Philippa Gregory Tudor and Plantagenet series.

    I was already aware of the storyline of this book since I watched the ShowTime series the White Queen a handful of times and that show followed a bit of Anne Nevilles story.

    I really enjoyed the entire series and although this one wasn’t my least favorite, it wasn’t one of the best either.

    The Neanderthals Rediscovered by Dimitra Papagianni

    Rating: 3 out of 5.

    I wanted to learn more about the Neanderthals after reading Sapiens by Yuval Harari.

    This book was short but I found it a bit hard to follow along.

    Additionally, early modern humans and other homo species were discussed fairly often.

    If you want a brief history on our ancient ancestors this would be a good book to start with.

    The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

    Rating: 3 out of 5.

    This is a wildly popular book that I have seen all over Goodreads but I was disappointed by all the hype.

    The story was interesting enough but the moral undertone wasn’t my cup of tea and nothing I haven’t heard before.

    April

    Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen by Alison Weir

    Rating: 4 out of 5.

    This is the first book in Alison Weir’s historical fiction series covering the lives of Henry VIII’s six wives. 

    I previously read the novels about Anne Boylen and Jane Seymour and really enjoyed them. 

    This one was not as good as those two, but still a good novel. 

    The story line is very similar to Phillipa Gregory’s The Constant Princess novel so I was already very familiar with Katherines story. 

    Change Your Schedule, Change Your life by Suhas Kshirsagar

    Rating: 5 out of 5.

    I really enjoyed this book and took pages of notes! 

    This book focuses on the ancient Indian health and wellness system of Ayrevada. The author explains how to use Ayrevada wellness to change your schedule and optimize your health.

    This book was straight to the point and gave very specific routines for your Ayrevada type.

    May

    The Burning Land: Book 4 of The Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell

    Rating: 5 out of 5.

    Another fantastic historical fiction novel from Cornwell!

    The Last Kingdom series has not disappointed at all as I have loved all 4 books so far.

    I enjoy the Netflix series based on the books, but the books are so much better and I highly recommend them if you are a fan of the show.

    The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller

    Rating: 5 out of 5.

    I heard about this book through a Gilmore Girls reading challenge on YouTube and was pleasantly surprised.

    Normally romance books aren’t my cup of tea but this book has so much small town charm with a hint of rebellion that I didn’t once feel like gagging!

    In fact, I loved this book and plan on buying this one to read again!

    It definitely had the Gilmore Girls vibe as well.

    Royal Witches: Witchcraft and the Nobility in the Fifteenth Century by Gemma Hollman

    Rating: 3 out of 5.

    I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. I thought maybe it will discuss the possibility of these infamous women actually being witches with evidence supporting the claims.

    It turns out that this book covers how these women were accused as witches for political reasons with a heavy focus on their biographies.

    I found the book interesting but I was already aware of the biographies of Jacquetta of Luxemburg and Elizabeth Woodville.

    It is worth a read if you enjoy English history and the roles women played in historical times.

    The Little Book of Hygge: the Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking

    Rating: 3 out of 5.

    I read this book to find out what all the hype is around hygge.

    I found the Danish culture and tradition of hygge interesting but after reading I don’t feel like you can really experience hygge unless you actually are a Dane or live amongst them for a longer period of time.

    Many of the traditions are similar to the American versions of I guess what we would call cozy; candles (lots and lots of candles), dim lights, sweets and pastries, fuzzy blankets, etc.

    I listened to an audio version of this book but I think it would be a good reread in the fall or winter to give me some inspiration on brining warmth into my home during the cooler months.

    Hadrian’s Wall by Adrian Goldsworthy

    Rating: 3 out of 5.

    A brief and thorough history of Hadrians Wall.

    The author gives background to the wall as far as where, why and how it was built. The book goes over how the wall was used during the Roman occupation.

    The book was full of information but I found it a bit dry and not engaging. I did listen to this as an audiobook so maybe I would feel more engaged if I read it.

    My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

    Rating: 5 out of 5.

    This has been one of my favorite books since I was a child! This is probably the fourth time I have read it and I love it everytime.

    Although the story focuses on a boy who runs away from home to live in the woods, as a 30 year old woman, I still want to run away to the woods and live off the land.

    This is a great book if you like foraging, the forest and nature.

    There is also two more books in the series but they are not as good as the first one in my opinion.

    Currently Reading

    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling 

    Getting Things Done: the Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen 

    The Princes in the Tower by Alison Weir

    Home Sweet Maison: The French Art of Making a Home by Danielle Postel-Viney

    The Bookshop of the Corner by Jenny Colgan

    Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Style Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris by Jennifer L. Scott

    Until Next Time,

    Rachel

    16 Things I Learned in my 20’s

    The most valuable life lessons I learned before turning 30

    In October of 2020 I turned 30. 

    When I was younger I always imagined a glamorous party to celebrate being what I thought was old. 

    I swore I would cry the day I turned 30…but I didn’t. 

    Instead, the day passed just like any other day, but inside I was glad to no longer be part of the 20 something crowd. 

    Strangely, I felt like I was finally a real adult, and perhaps now I will be taken seriously by the rest of the adult population. I somehow doubt that though.

    While my twenties were full of fun and carelessness, I learned many hard lessons. Lessons that I still think back to on a regular basis and try not to cringe.

    I firmly believe in the “learn from your mistakes” mantra and am grateful I have these valuable life lessons. 

    These lessons are so important to me that I want to share them with you all. 

    Without further ado, here are 16 Things I learned in my 20s.

    16 Things I Learned in my 20's

    Things I Learned in my 20’s

    Friends come and go and there is nothing wrong with that

    When I was younger I thought that my circle of friends would stay together well after college. The reality is that as I got older, I naturally grew apart from almost all my friends. 

    This seems to be a common trend within the small amount of people I socialize with now. 

    People change, move away, have different schedules, get married, have kids, etc making friendships forged in high school and college difficult to maintain. I have come to accept that some people aren’t meant to be in your life forever. 

    Do not invest all your time into a romantic relationship

    This is a hard lesson to learn and something I struggled with for a long time from one relationship to the next. 

    Ultimately, I learned that it’s not worth giving up my health, jobs, vacations, nights out with friends and opportunities because of your partner. 

    It wasn’t worth my time sitting around waiting for them.

    Focusing on myself, doing things on my own and making my own decisions has given me far more happiness.

    Personal finance is way more important than you think

    Personal finance should be a required course in high school (it might be in some, but wasn’t in my school). I wish I would have discovered Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and other finance books out there before I got myself in $40k worth of debt. 

    To be honest, most of the financial advice you hear from people (including your parents) is bullshit and horrible advice. 

    I wish I would have known this in my 20s so I could have started my 30s debt free with more money in savings and investments.

    black envelope with cash dollars on marble table
    Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

    People will always tell you to get married, have kids, and buy a house — don’t listen to them!

    Unless that is what you truly want. 

    No seriously…not what your partner wants or your parents want or what society wants but what YOU want.

    Marriage, kids and housing require a lot of time, money and energy. This trilogy should not be taken lightly. 

    Personally, I’ve known since I was in high school that I didn’t want to get married or have kids and my whole life I have been told I’ll change my mind. 

    Guess what?! I haven’t. 

    And as far as home owning goes…I cannot imagine adding more debt to my students loans plus the purchasing and upkeep costs. No thanks.

    Nothing good comes from social media and you are better without it

    In the past, I had an array of social media accounts. Now I don’t have a single social account (I don’t consider Pinterest social media by the way).

    Social media has taken over our whole lives and I don’t think that is a good thing.

    Now there are influencers, Tik Tok, and more and more studies making correlations between social media use and mental health issues.

    Since deleting all of my accounts, I don’t miss social media and have noticed I am more productive and happier without it.

    Being alone with yourself is extremely important to your growth

    After college, I lived with my friend who worked an opposite schedule from me and my ex-boyfriend was hardly ever around. This resulted in a lot of free time which I never really had before.

    This was probably one of the most creative periods of my life. I got back into art and became more knowledgeable in cooking and baking. I also can credit this time for discovering my love for history from binge-watching The Tudors.

    Eventually, I moved into my current apartment and lived totally alone for a while, and was able to make all the decorating and home decisions.

    I am so grateful I had that time alone to figure out my hobbies.

    creative female artisan drawing in workshop
    Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

    Be yourself

    I spent so much time in college trying to dress trendy or dress how other girls at my school were dressing. 

    Or I would wear makeup because that is what everyone else does even though I hated the way it felt on my skin. 

    Now I don’t even own makeup and wear whatever makes me feel comfortable. 

    Being myself goes a lot further than just appearances.

    I realised I can’t live for other people’s expectations.

    I have accepted that I like what I like, I hate what I hate, and I am who I am without shame or guilt.

    Learn to say no

    This is such a vital lesson. 

    I believe that as humans we try to please everyone and we agree to all sorts of things we don’t want to do or have time to do. 

    Saying no is so powerful and freeing. 

    Learning to say no has led me to focusing on what really matters and what is going to make me happy.

    Don’t be on time…be early and definitely don’t be late

    In my early 20s I was never on time to anything. Looking back I shake my head at the flaky and unreliable person I was.

    I found it’s better to be early to appointments, meetings and the like because it shows that you have got it together. 

    Plus, you never know what unforeseen circumstances may arise to make you unintentionally late. 

    Let go!

    Letting go of anger, jealousy, guilt, the past and so many other things has led me to so much happiness. 

    I remember being young and so angry at the world for reasons that I don’t even know. 

    I’ve realized that arguing with people on the internet or in person is never going to solve anything or do anything for the greater good.

    Get rid of toxic relationships

    Dr Lillian Glass defines toxic relationships in her book Toxic People as “any relationship [between people who] don’t support each other, where there’s conflict and one seeks to undermine the other, where there’s competition, where there’s disrespect and a lack of cohesiveness.”

    I have experienced a couple of these relationships in my 20’s and I walked away. Some people were always against me, always negative, and made me feel like shit even though we were supposedly good friends. 

    You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone

    I don’t have to explain who I am, why I do the things I do, think the way I think or live the way I live. 

    In the past, I felt like any sort of critique or inquiry into what or why I was doing something in my life needed an explanation. Now I realize I certainly don’t need to explain myself or give any justification. 

    16 Things I Learned in my 20's
    Photo by Ekrulila on Pexels.com

    Having a career isn’t everything

    Throughout college I thought success was having a fancy job title, climbing the corporate ladder and making lots of money and working. 

    I couldn’t have been further from the truth!

    I have come to realize that a career is the least important thing in my life.

    My friends, family, health and happiness are worth more than any career can ever give me. 

    You don’t need a college degree to be successful

    For some reason, I thought having a college degree as part of the key to a successful career and future. Maybe that is because that is what we are told by our teachers, parents, and community leaders during our childhoods.

    From the previous lesson, you can see that I realized a career isn’t everything and neither is a degree.

    Truth be told, if I could start over again I don’t know if I would go to college and get a degree because I am not sure if it is worth it.

    Your health should be your #1 priority

    In my 20’s I felt invincible. 

    Death, disease or the consequences of all the junk food never crossed my mind. 

    How was I to know that smoking could possibly give me wrinkles by the time I turned 30. 

    Of course I knew all of this stuff wasn’t good for me but it wasn’t affecting me then.

    Now I wish I had never smoked and ate whole, healthy foods my entire life.

    On top of that, my mental health was so poor in my youth.

    I never practiced self-care or paid attention to my body. I was unhappy and angry all the time.

    I am so glad I took myself seriously and started a healthy lifestyle and mindset journey that has been life-changing!

    PS. IF YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SELF-CARE CHECK OUT MY POST HERE!

    Don’t take too much on at once

    So many times I have made this mistake. 

    I had tons of goals and things I want to accomplish. I would get excited about them and load all of them onto my plate at once. Then I became burnt out, overwhelmed, and guess what? I didn’t complete my goals. 

    Through trial and error, I have learned that taking one step at a time and breaking down goals into mini-goals is the best way to achieve success without overwhelming myself.

    16 Things I learned in my 20’s #1 Takeaway

    Now that you know the 16 things I learned in my 20’s I wanted to share what my #1 takeaway is from all these lessons.

    Out of all these important life lessons the most important thing is making my health my #1 priority.

    I can’t help but wondering if I had taken care of my body and mind earlier instead of abusing it if I would feel better and look better now.

    Of course we can’t change our past so I am doing the best I can now to make up for it.

    What lesson resounded with you the most? What lessons did you learn in your 20’s?

    Thanks for reading!

    -Rachel

    Books I Read in February 2021

    A mini-review of all the books I read in February 2021

    Greetings! It has been awhile since I have wrote about what I have been reading so I thought I would share the books I read in February 2021.

    For my 2021 Goodreads challenge I set a goal of reading 30 books this year which is lower then the 44 books I read in 2020. I wanted to read a bit less this year because I am planning on reading some longer books.

    As of today, March 15, I am ahead of schedule and have read 8 books so far!

    I will likely finish another two this month from my currently reading list below.

    Here is what I read in February….

    Click here for my previous books I read.

    dried plants in opened book on cozy bed
    Photo by Ena Marinkovic on Pexels.com

    Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

    Rating: 5 out of 5.

    This was such a good read!
    I’ve seen this book floating around the internet for a few years now as it has been on multiple bestseller lists.
    This book covers the history of humans from the origin until the present day.
    The thing I liked the most about this book was that the author made you question everything we assume about life and the works we live in.
    If you like history and books that make you think deeply I highly recommend this one.

    Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Hector Garcia Puigcerver

    Rating: 4 out of 5.

    A very interesting book that I plan on reading again. This book uncovers the secrets behind Japanese longevity and happiness.
    I am hoping to incorporate some of these ideas into my life and see how it turns out.

    Sword Song by Bernard Cornwall

    Rating: 5 out of 5.

    Sword Song is the 4th book in the Saxon Stories series that the hit Netflix show, The Last Kingdom, is based on.
    I absolutely love this series! I find the books to be far better than the Netflix show.
    It is so well written that I can’t put the books down once I start them.

    Currently Reading…

    Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
    Stardust by Neil Gaiman
    Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity by David Allen

    Until Next Time

    Have you read any good books lately? Let me know in the comments below!

    Farewell until then,

    Rachel

    10 Delightful Ways to Celebrate the Return of Spring

    10 Delightful Ways to Celebrate the Return of Spring

    The cold, dark days of winter are behind us. Here are 10 ways to celebrate the return of spring.

    10 Delightful Ways to Celebrate the Return of Spring

    Hello and welcome! Today I wanted to share with you some of my favorite ways to celebrate spring!

    Spring is my second favorite season of the year (Autumn is #1).

    I find it so magical to watch the nature be reborn. It is so exciting to go outside and see the animals and plants come out to welcome the return of the sun.

    Take a Spring Hike or Walk

    Head out to your local forest or park to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.

    While you are out don’t forget to look for signs of spring:

    • Birds are chirping and flying around.
    • Robins are a sure sign spring is upon us.
    • Woodpeckers will be drumming away.
    • Migratory birds, like ducks and geese, are beginning to return.
    • Early spring flowers include crocuses, daffodils, snowdrops, and bluebells are blooming.
    • Trees and bushes will start to grow buds.
    • The smell of spring. Early spring smells of wet, musty earth; decaying leaves, and the muddy top layer of soil that has start thawing.

    Do Some Spring Cleaning

    Cleaning is not fun to everyone and it can become quite a chore. However, once it finally starts to get warm it can be good to get all of the winter grime cleaned up.

    Some spring cleaning ideas:

    • Wash your car to get road dirt and rock salt off
    • Wash your house windows
    • Take rugs and doormats outside and beat them to get the dirt off
    • Do a thorough mopping to clean up any leftover rock salt off your floors
    • Dust furniture

    Plan this Years Gardening

    Once March rolls around I start researching and planning any flowers or crops I am going to plant for the upcoming year.

    Since I live in a suburban apartment, my planting options are limited to container gardening so I typically grow tomatoes and peppers.

    Additonally, I like to do some container flower arrangements for the front porch.

    I great resource to learn more about planting seasonally is the farmers’ almanac. The farmers’ almanac has many guides on what you should be doing each week.

    Cook with Seasonal Foods

    One of my favorite parts about the return of spring is that farmers markets will be opening soon!

    For anyone else who lives in Pennsylvania, early spring means nettles, mint, morels and other mushrooms are coming in season.

    I try to buy local, in season foods because they taste so much better then anything you can get in a grocery store.

    You can also forage foods, but more on that later.

    If you don’t know what foods are season in your area and you live in the USA you can go to this website, select your state, month and it will give you a list of items in season.

    Bake a Seasonal Treat

    Food is a common way humans have celebrated the changing of seasons for thousands of years.

    This year I hope to bake hot cross buns as it has been on my spring bucket list for two years now!

    Some other spring treats you can bake:

    • Lemon Pound Cake or Quick Bread
    • Carrot Cake
    • Berry Scones
    • Custard Pie
    10 Delightful Ways to Celebrate the Return of Spring

    Go Foraging

    During your spring forest walk you can also forage for wild plants.

    Edible and medicinal plants vary by region, but in Pennsylvania spring plants for foraging can include:

    • Dandelions. Yes, that is right! The common weed is edible!
    • Fiddlehead ferns
    • Nettles (Dead/Purple Nettle and Stinging Nettle)
    • Wild garlic
    • Chickweed
    • Wild Violets
    • Garlic Mustard
    • Plantain
    • Red Clover

    I do want to err on the side of caution when it comes to foraging. It is extremely important that you correctly identify plants, ethically collect plants, collect plants in an area without pollution, and collect in an area that you have permission to collect in. I HIGHLY recommend that you do research on foraging before going out to pick plants. There are many resources online.

    Enjoy the warmth of the sun

    If there is one only thing you do to celebrate the return of spring, this is it!

    Get out there and feel the warmth of the sun on your bare skin, listen to the birds’ chirp and smell the season!

    Even just taking 5 minutes of your day to step outside and take a moment to recognize the change in the earth is a magical way to celebrate the return of spring.

    Read a Spring Themed Book or Poetry

    This spring, I decided to start reading the Anne of Green Gables series.

    This classic novel is whimsical, dreamy, and felt like a perfect spring read!

    The story is set on a farm on Prince Edward Island, Canada, and the author perfectly captures the seasons within the personality of Anne.

    Two other books that I considered and may still read this spring are The Botanists Daughter by Kayte Nunn and The Language of Spring: Poems for the Season of Renewal.

    “Everything is made new in the spring. Springs themselves are always so new, too. No spring is ever just like any other spring. It always has something of its own to be its peculiar sweetness.” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island

    Create a Spring Capsule Wardrobe

    Don’t get me wrong, I love sweaters but once the spring comes around I am ready to trade in sweaters and coats for skirts and dresses.

    I go over my wardrobe seasonally to make any changes or updates.

    This year the number 1 item I want to thrift is a denim/chambray button-down flowy skirt.

    I am leaning toward vintage, cottagecore vibes lately and I think this one item can make tons of different outfits.

    Bring Fresh Flowers Into Your Home

    As soon as tulips and daffodils are available at my local grocery store or florist I make sure to get some!

    The best thing about daffodils and tulips is that after they bloom in the pots you store the bulbs over the summer and replant the bulbs outside. With the right care, they will return year after year!

    Final Thoughts on Ways to Celebrate Spring

    Thank you for reading the 10 ways to celebrate the return of spring!

    I hope you are able to take advantage of this wondrous time of the year and live in the season and the moment.

    Let me know in the comments below how you celebrate.

    Until next time,

    Rachel

    PS. IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST CLICK HERE TO READ MY OTHER SEASONAL LIVING POSTS.

    27 Things I Stopped Buying as a Minimalist

    These were the first things I stopped buying as a beginner minimalist and low waster!

    In today’s post, I wanted to share with you the first things I stopped buying after taking a step towards minimalism and low waste.

    You are probably familiar with minimalism and zero-waste lifestyle trends that are all over social media and the web. 

    These terms probably give you images of a year’s worth of trash in a mason jar, people selling all of their belongings, and living in an empty apartment.

    That’s what I thought too.

    I assumed these lifestyle choices were a ridiculous, trendy, attention-seeking scam on Instagram and YouTube. However, I was still curious about all the hype and decided to research further.

    Although I did find people who I believe are touting these terms for internet fame, I did find a couple of YouTubers who were sincere about their lifestyle. These true minimalists helped to open my eyes to what these lifestyle choices really mean. 

    A minimalist lifestyle is about getting rid of all the stuff that clutters our life and as Marie Konda put it…doesn’t bring us joy.

    It’s about living a simpler and intentional life.

    Zero or low waste is about protecting the planet and making the world a healthier place for us now and for humans in the future. 

    Embracing Minimalism…

    Surprisingly, I really connected with the overall purpose and concept of minimalism.

    I started embracing the idea of owning less, decluttering my space, and my mind.

    Additionally, I realized that taking on some of the zero waste principles could significantly reduce my current spending and help towards achieving financial goals. 

    I am only a year into my journey, but I have gotten rid of so much stuff I have no use for, started making more conscious spending and purchasing habits, and overall feel much happier with my home environment and my life.

    In the next few paragraphs, I created a list of everything I have stopped buying and the items I still own, but would not buy again. 

    Some of these items are a bit of a no brainer, but I found keeping a list helps when you run out of one-time use items so you can find a long term alternative.

    Things I Stopped Buying:

    • Paper Products (plates, napkins, paper towels, dryer sheets & plastic utensils) 
    • Multiple and Excessive Amounts of Makeup, Beauty & Skincare Products
    • Subscription Boxes (Excluding the Misfit Market box)
    • Fast Fashion 
    • Processed Foods (Salad Dressing, Pasta Sauce, Pizza Sauce, etc.)
    • Plastic Razors
    • Jewelry 
    • Plastic Lint Rollers
    • Most One Use Items
    • Limiting Brand New Purchases and Shopping Second Hand First
    • Uncomfortable Shoes & Clothing
    • Special Occasion Clothing
    • Specialty Kitchen Gadgets (Toaster Oven, Air Fryer, Instant Pot, Keurig )
    • Plastic Water Bottles
    • Buying Things Because They are on Sale
    • Paid Apps
    • Fast Food
    • Most Items Made from Plastic
    • Multiples and Duplicates of the Same Things
    • Shaving Cream
    • Nail Polish
    • Face Wipes
    • Cooking Spray
    • Swiffer Dusters and Mops
    • Plastic Food Storage Containers
    • Holiday Decorations

    Things I Still Have, But Will Not Buy Again:

    • Candles
    • Nonstick Pans
    • Plastic Kitchen Items & Cookware
    • Most OTC Medicines
    • Perfume
    • Wrapping Paper/Gift Bags/Etc
    • Microwave
    • Coffee Maker

    So there you have it! All the things I stopped buying within my first year of transitioning to a minimalist and low waste lifestyle. 

    Is there anything that didn’t make the list that you don’t buy as a minimalist or zero waster? Let me know in the comments below.

    Until next time,

    Rachel

    Things I Stopped Buying
    Things I Stopped Buying