How to Fight the Winter Blues

How to Fight the Winter Blues

February is the coldest month and I don’t know about you, but it’s a difficult one. You know spring is near, but yet THERE IS STILL SNOW. I think this year it is even harder because you never really know if Finland is going to be warm (if ever). So while the days are still cold I have found some ways to stay warm and have a sunny state of mind during these long dark days. If you feel the winter blues hitting you, here are some things to try:

Take Vitamin D

Before I moved to Finland I bought a lot of vitamin D. I heard it was darker for longer and it would help my body deal with this. When I started looking into vitamin D more, I realized that most people should be taking vitamin D. Unless you are spending endless amounts of time outside you might have a vitamin D deficiency and not even know it. Start taking some vitamin D and see what it does for you!

Hygge

You may have never heard of this before, but hygge is a Danish way of life. It is the feeling of togetherness and also coziness. If you want to read more about it and how you can add Danish hygge into your life, you can read my post HERE.

Get Outside

Trust me, I understand that this sounds horrible. Why would I want to go outside when the air hurts my face? While this may be true, going outside and getting fresh air is good for you. If you can go for a walk or maybe hike through a park. Put your phone away and enjoy nature.

Get Some Exercise

Another one where you may be saying “no way,” but working out has been proven to improve your state of mind and relieve stress. Maybe try a yoga class or if you are not a fan of working out try the indoor bike. I find it does better on my joints and easy on days when I’m just not feeling it.

Call a Friend

Or even a family member. Catch up with your family or friends and share some laughs to brighten your day.

Play Happy Music

I know when I’m feeling down, turning on some happy music makes me feel better.

 

Sunny days will be here before we know it and then we will be complaining about it being too hot 😉 So let’s enjoy this cozy weather for just a little bit longer

What is your favorite thing to do to beat the winter blues?

 

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4 Ways to Add Danish Hygge into Your Life

4 Ways to Add Danish Hygge into Your Life

After reading the title of this post you may be thinking, “what is hygge?” Well “hygge” (pronounced “hooga”) is a Danish way of life. It is more of a feeling or sensation than an act. It is creating a warm atmosphere and just really enjoying life. Who doesn’t want to have that feeling?

Danes are known as some of the happiest people on the planet and their practice of “hygge” plays a part in that! We are finally in February and if you are anything like me, you start to get into a “winter rut.” The snow isn’t appealing anymore, you’re tired of coats, and feeling cold. Well what better way to kick those feelings aside by adding Danish hygge into our life! Here are four ways to add Danish hygge into your life:

Soft Lighting

Turn off the bright lights and opt for candles or maybe string lights instead. These helps create a warm and cozy feeling. And it also helps you feel relaxed.

Warm Drinks

Get your favorite warm drink and cozy up in your favorite lounge wear. This combined with your soft lighting will help you relax even more!

Be Present

Turn off the phones are any electronic. Be present with yourself or with your company. The Danish hygge values being present and building your relationships with others. This really helps if you are not glued to your phone the whole time. If you are spending time with friends, you will feel more connected to them than if you were on your phone.

Positive Mindset

If you are with friends, no drama or gossiping. Keep your conversations positive and uplifting. If you are alone, practice being grateful.

 

4 Ways to Add Danish Hygge into Your Life

 

Even though hygge is more popular in the winter, you can do these things all year round! Here is a list of activities that promote hygge that you can do anytime.

  • Spa night
  • Game night
  • Potluck dinner
  • Go hiking
  • Go to a sauna
  • Read a book
  • Enjoy a fire
  • Garden
  • Go to a cafe

What is your favorite way to get cozy?

 

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How I’m Able to Travel

How I'm Able to Travel

Everyday we see the blogs and Instagram accounts of people who give up everything and travel the world. They make money blogging and are able to see the world because of it. While I do have a blog, that’s not how I travel. There is really one big reason why I am able to travel and another factor that helps a lot in being able to afford it. So if you are wanting to travel more, I’m sharing how I travel and more ideas on how you can see the world!

Au Pairing

This is basically the number one reason why I am able to travel as much as I do currently. I live in Europe so it’s much easier to travel to another country over the weekend. While the daily life of an au pair is not glamorous or necessarily fun, you get to live in another country for free. If you want to know more about au pairing I have a whole tab dedicated to this topic. You can read more HERE!

Teaching English Online

This is a major factor that enables me to travel. While I do live for free, at 25 I do have bills and au pairing doesn’t pay that much per month. So I decided that if I wanted to travel I needed to do something more to make that happen. Teaching online has been awesome and I love the company. It’s pretty flexible and the hours work for my schedule. If you want to know more I also have a tab dedicated to this, you can read more HERE!

Other Ideas

The two things listed above are basically the two major reasons why I am able to travel. But I do realize that a majority of people can’t do them for numerous reasons. So below I’ve listed more ideas on how you can travel based on things I’ve seen or heard of people doing based on their life.

College Students

In college I know that it is hard to travel because of time and also money. I think one of the best ways to travel and probably the easiest is to study abroad. You take classes that can count toward your major and also live in another country! I didn’t study abroad but I did go to Europe twice while in college. Both times I saved up money to go. The first time I went with EF Ultimate Break and was able to pay for the trip with monthly payments. The second time I went to Ireland for a week and the ticket was pretty cheap! Search for deals and start saving!

Families

Having a family might make it hard to travel. Not only do you have more schedules to work around, but it also costs more because you have more people. I don’t think this should stop you though! If you and your partner value traveling and want your children to experience the world then you should! I think paying off all debts or most is important so that you can focus on saving money to travel. Sell things you don’t need, downsize, and maybe pick up a second income.

Living paycheck to paycheck

I think this is pretty common for a lot of people. With student loans and maybe even just things that have happened in life, you can’t seem to save to travel. Like I said above, try to get your debt down first. Sell things you don’t need, downsize, get a second job. Take small trips or weekend trips for a while during this time. Once you are able to save enough, then you can start traveling more!

If you are anything like me, travel is a big part of my life and I want to keep it that way.

What do you do to be able to travel?

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Questions You Should Ask Before Signing Your Au Pair Contract

Questions You Should Ask Before Signing Your Au Pair Contract

By now you’ve probably found a couple families that you might be interested in. But the problem is you don’t really know what to ask or what you should be asking. If you have never been an au pair before it’s hard to know what you need to ask. You should ask a lot of questions before signing your au pair contract.

Haven’t found a family yet?

I would suggest starting your search with Au Pair World. There are many different sights you can go through, but I liked this one the best.

You found a family

If you think you have found your family, congratulations! Before signing your au pair contract I suggest you start video chatting and emailing with your family to go over all questions and details. Not sure what to ask? Today I am sharing with you a downloadable sheet with questions to ask your family! Print it out and keep notes to help you make your decision.

Questions You Should Ask Before Signing Your Au Pair Contract

Before signing your contract

Make sure that you ask all the questions you want! Research your countries laws on being an au pair. In some countries you can’t work over a certain amount of hours or you are required to make a certain amount. Make sure these match on your contract. If you don’t feel comfortable about something, then don’t do it. I would also ask for a rough draft of the contract before so you can go over everything that will be on it. That way there will be no surprises.

 

Interested in downloading the questions sheet?

Click HERE to download (subscribers only)

I wish you the best of luck with finding your perfect family!

 

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My New Year’s Resolutions!

My New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year Everyone!

The ending to 2017 is kind of bitter-sweet. So much happened in 2017, good and bad. It’s easy to focus on the bad that is happening all around us in the world and our lives so I’ll just mention some of the positives. I graduated college, I moved to Europe, and have grown so much! 2018 is bringing great things for me, you, and the world! We as a community are stepping up to say what is not right and trying to make a change in the world. I believe we can do this!

As I have been thinking about this past year I decided I want to create a list of New Year’s Resolutions. I honestly have never done them before because I think it’s something people do and never follow through with. I decided to think of them as goals instead so I don’t have that negative thought in my mind about them. So, here are my New Year’s Resolutions!

Drink More Water

I believe I have said it before, but I am just really not a thirsty person. I usually have to consciously think about needing to drink something! Luckily, I don’t drink soda or juice so I don’t have to cut anything like that out. I just literally need to drink more in general lol.

Get Serious About Blogging

Not that I haven’t been taking it seriously, but more just invest more time to get better. I also need to think about the direction of my blog since I will be teaching next year. (plz send advice!)

Get to Country Number 20

After Christmas I will be at country number 13 and will be going to Sweden in January so I will only need 6 more countries! Most of my travels have been in Europe so hopefully I can branch out more so I can learn more about other cultures.

Be the Best First Year Teacher I Can Be

When I return to Indiana I will start my journey as a teacher. I have a K-6th license so it will be in one of those grades. Currently I have no idea where I want to teach or what grade, but I think I’m open for any experience. I want to be the best first year teacher I can be and learn and grow during that year. Being an au pair has taught me a lot so far and I can’t wait to bring my experience to the classroom.

Develop a Healthy Self-Image

With social media filled with “perfection” I have to remind myself I make my own definition of perfect. That I need to stop comparing and have a “good for them” attitude.

Find a Cause I Love

I’m pretty sure that my cause will be with something to do with children, but who knows. I really want to start donating money or my time (or both) regularly. This is important because I think it keeps us grounded, humble, and thankful and I want 2018 to be filled with this!

Since these are all things I really want to do I think I am more likely to follow through with them!

What are your New Year’s Resolutions?

 

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How to Stay in Shape While Living Abroad (or try to)

How to Stay in Shape When Living Abroad (or try to)

To me, living in Finland is like living in a candy land. Most likely because it is a new environment all they food and especially the deserts sound exciting. Meaning I have to try them! Also since I travel I need to try other countries local food and deserts too, right?! And then that’s how you get into trouble.

So how do you stay in shape while living abroad?!

Walking

I don’t really have a choice on this most of the time. I have to walk or take the bus places I need to go. When I take or pick up the kids from school I have to walk also (and up and down stairs). This helps me burn an extra 100-200 calories depending where I’m walking. I think walking has really saved me from gaining weight since I’ve been here.

Join a Gym

If you’re like me and only staying in a country for a certain amount of time go to a local gym and talk to them about what they can do for you! I went in to the local gym and was able to get a shortened contract and found out more about the packages they have. This gym has a discounted rate if you only come in before 3pm, which is perfect for my schedule. The trick though about joining a gym is to actually go 😉

Balanced Eating

I love food and deserts so I don’t see a point in not enjoying them. But I do know that I need balance. I can’t only eat junk all the time because I won’t feel good or look good. If I know I’m going on a trip I try and eat extra well before and also try and eat some healthy things while traveling.

Water

This is probably one of the hardest things for me. I really only drink water, coffee, tea, and wine but I’m not a thirsty person. I really don’t know why but I rarely feel thirsty or like I need to drink something. So I usually have to actually think about drinking water.

Find a Hobby

If you don’t like going to the gym find a hobby or sport you like! This will keep you moving and also help you meet new people.

Staying in shape can be hard at times when living abroad, but remember to enjoy your time abroad and that it is more important to be healthy!

What’s your favorite way to stay in shape?

 

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Gift Ideas for the Person Who is Always Traveling

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Gift Ideas for the Person Who is Always Traveling

Not sure what to get that person in your life that is always traveling?

I’m sharing a list of items that are perfect for that person who is always going on an adventure!

Luggage Tags

 

These cute luggage tags are the perfect gift for any traveler!

 

 

 

 

 

Travel Adapter

 

 

An adapter that is comparable for multiple countries is a great gift for the new traveler!

 

 

 

 

Anything from Jet Set Candy

 

 

 

Jet Set Candy is travel jewelry heaven! They have destination baggage tag necklaces, rings, and so many other things!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekender Bag

 

 

Weekender bags are perfect because they fit in the over-head compartments and are also super easy to carry!

 

 

 

 

 

Water Bottle

 

While traveling a water bottle is a life saver! You don’t have to spend money on buying water and you help lessen plastic waste. I like this water bottle with a filter because you never know where you will have to get your water from!

 

 

 

 

Pay for Their Hostel or Train

If this person is traveling soon offer to pay for their hostel or maybe train ticket if they are taking one! Hostel and trains or metros are cheap, but they do add up and would free up some of their money.

 

What is your favorite travel gift?

 

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What to Do When You Want to Change Your Host Family

What to Do When You Want to Change Your Host Family

Things not going well with your host family?

Luckily, you’re not the only one who is feeling this! Before becoming an au pair I didn’t realize how many people change their host family. I knew there were the stories of the horrible families, but I just assumed they were stuck unless they went home. But it turns out you can change your host family!

This may depend on the country and your nationality, but it actually seems pretty easy! So what do you do when you want to change your host family?

Give it Time

If you just arrived, I would say give it time. Maybe you and the family need time to adjust and it just needs time. But after three months things still don’t feel right then it’s time to move on.

Talk to Your Host Family

If you are having a rocky start, you can also try to talk to your host family about how you are feeling. If you don’t say anything they will never know there is a problem. You may feel awkward saying anything, but it may make all the difference if you do!

Stay an Au Pair or Go Home

Now, you’ve given it time and even tried talking to your host family but things are still not good. So now you need to make the decision if you want to stay an au pair or to go home. Maybe being an au pair is not right for you and that’s okay! You need to do what is right for you!

Do Your Research

In Finland you can change a family pretty easily. Your new family will just need to go to the tax office and let them know. But this can be different for each country. Please research or talk to others who have made a change to make sure what you are doing is legal! If you want to go to a different country you may need to apply for a different visa depending on how long you are staying, so this is something you need to keep in mind.

Start Your Search

There are different websites you can find families. I personally like Au Pair World. It is super easy to search families and message them! When you are finding a family make sure you ask a lot of questions so you will get a better fit.

Inform Your Host Family

I think giving your host family at least a months notice is considerate so they can find a new au pair. This may be hard and awkward to do, but there is no need staying in a situation you are not happy in!

If you are not happy with your host family, I hope you will find a better fit!

Have you changed your host family? What did you do to change?

 

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4 Travel Books That Will Give You Wanderlust

This post contains affiliate links. All thoughts are my own.

4 Travel Books That Will Give You Wanderlust

Reading about people finding themselves is one of my favorite types of books. I think your 20’s is basically trying to figure out who you are and what the heck is going on, and the authors of travel books share their own experiences with it. Like Eat, Pray, Love and Wild, or my favorite The Alchemist. All these books have characters that are searching for themselves and I think we all go through that.

Today I’m sharing four travel books that will give you wanderlust!

What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman

 

Watching her friends settle down and start families, but not ready to do the same herself, Kristin sets off on trips around the world. Mostly by herself on these trips, she shares her stories of travels where she meets and even sometimes falls for the locals.

 

 

 

 

A Year Without Makeup by Stephanie Yoder

 

Fed up with the 9-5 lifestyle she was living, Stephanie quit her job to backpack around Asia. In her book, Stephanie tells her crazy adventures and also gives advice for others wanting to make the change.

 

 

 

 

A Thousand New Beginnings by Kristin Addis

 

This is a story of a girl who left her job and boyfriend behind to travel Southeast Asia. The book includes excerpts from her diary and blog during her travels alone and how it made all the difference in the world.

 

 

 

 

The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost by Rachel Friedman

 

When good girl Rachel on a whim buys a plane ticket to Ireland, by herself, she didn’t realize the trip she was about to take and what she will learn about herself.

 

 

 

 

What are your favorite travel books?

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Travel Picture Backgrounds

Travel Picture Backgrounds

 

I always love opening up my computer or phone to see a beautiful picture of a place I’ve been or is on my list. If there is an inspiring quote that goes along, then even better! I think I always need some motivation to stay on track. A couple of weeks ago I started creating my own phone and computer backgrounds with pictures I’ve taken and free ones on the internet. I wanted to share some that I’ve created with you today, so I hope you enjoy!

Click on the link below the picture to download! Make sure you are a subscriber before you download!

 

Travel Picture Backgrounds

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I took this picture at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland and still love it today! One of my friends wanted to see the sun set here and I’m so glad she did. It was an unforgettable experience!

 

Travel Backgrounds

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So I fully realize this one isn’t “travel related” but it’s currently my laptop background and I love it! Just a reminder that you are a Girl Boss.

Travel Picture Backgrounds

Explore.png (1 download)

This is from a trip to Colorado! When my friends and myself came across this animal, we first thought it was a moose! Turns out is was just an elk 😉

 

If you enjoy these please let me know and I will keep creating and posting them!

 

 

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