Why I became an Au Pair After College

Why I Became an Au Pair After College

Something no one tells you about is how the last few months of college are crazy. I remember thinking “what the heck is going on with my life” on a daily basis. You’re basically giving up a life you’ve loved for the last four years and going into another that is not exactly as exciting (it can be, but in general bills don’t seem exciting). Fast forward and I’m currently sitting in a super cute cafe in Tampere, Finland and planning a trips to Barcelona, Portugal, Germany, and Austria. So if you are wondering if you should take a gap year after college, here is why I did!

 

I Can Be a Teacher the Rest of My Life!

College

What is one year going to change? Nothing. The real world will still be there when I get back. Also, I don’t mind pushing off the adult world another year 😉

 

I Wanted to Experience a New Culture

Why I Became an Au Pair After College

Why I Became an Au Pair After College

Living in a different country really opens your eyes to how other people do things. You also learn that just because we do it one way, not everyone else does, and it doesn’t make them wrong. I also got to try so many different things from living in Finland; I went skiing and also went to a public sauna and jumped into a frozen lake! I would not have done any of those things in Indiana.

 

The Ability to Travel

Why I Became an Au Pair After College

This was probably the biggest reason. I have been able to see sooo much since I have been here! There is a huge world out there to see and seriously it’s really cool.

So if you are considering taking a year to travel, do it. You really have nothing to lose and a world to see!

HERE is the link to how I became an au pair in Finland if you are interested in becoming one.

If you have any questions or just encouragement, message me!

 

 

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Four Books to Read This Spring

Four Books to Read This Spring

It may feel for some of you out there, but it’s still a little chilly here! Spring is my favorite season and I love being able to finally enjoy the sunshine and just sitting outside. One of my favorite things to do is grab some good books and read outside in the sun! There are so many good books coming out this spring and these four I’m telling you today are the ones I’m most excited for! So head on over to your favorite book store, or amazon, and get to reading 🙂

I’ll Be Your Blue Sky by Marissa de los Santos

Four Books to Read This Spring

This is a New York Times bestselling author’s newest novel! De los Santos revisits the characters from her past novels Love Walked In and Belonged to Me. In her story two women have an unlikely meeting, one young and one old. The two take turns telling the story about a broken engagement, life-changes gifts, and the mystery of the heart.

Amazon $13-$27

Laura and Emma by Kate Greathead

Four Books to Read This Spring

Greathead’s debut novel about a single mother raising her daughter in the high society of New York City and all that it entails.

Amazon $13-$17

The Parking Lot Attendant by Nafkote Tamirat

Four Books to Read This Spring

In a story about being an immigrant in America today, Tamirat’s novel begins on an unnamed island where a young woman and her father are the newest members of a commune. Even though the commune was built on the idea of utopian principles, they soon find out that this is not the case.

Amazon $14-$26

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

Four Books to Read This Spring

A novel about womanhood, ambition, power, and so much more including the flame that we all know that is inside of us that is just waiting to be seen!

Amazon $15-$28

What books are you excited to read this spring?

 

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How I’m Getting Rid of Bad Eating Habits Before Summer

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How I'm Getting Rid of Bad Eating Habits Before Summer

Summer getting closer and I’m not sure if my clothes are getting any looser (maybe the opposite)! I’m currently living in Finland where the main food group is CARBS. Bread, pasta, and more bread. Oh and potatoes. Since I am an au pair I live with a host family I don’t get to choose my food all the time. When I first arrived I didn’t want to be disrespectful by denying their food. Now, 7 months in, I want my healthy food back!

Since I will be returning to the States in two short months I decided that now is the time to start shedding the bad eating habits I have picked up these past months and get back on a healthy track! Here is how I did it!

Shred 10

I met a friend through an online travel group and she was posting about a 10 day program to help get you shred your bad eating habits and replace them with healthier ones. Last month was my first one and I am hooked now! You get meal plans, shopping lists, a food and exercise dairy, a private group to talk to others doing the shred, and a coach who you have access to 24/7! Seriously so much! If you are looking for something to do to help you get on track I would recommend doing this! If you have any questions on when the next Shred 10 is happening, email me at boardingforchynna@gmail.com.

Drinking More Water

This is like a no brainer, but sometimes so hard! I also found that waking up and drinking a glass of lemon water or just water right away is a great way to boost your metabolism! I’ve seen a lot of apps to remind you to drink water, but I haven’t found one I love yet. If you have one let me know!

Don’t Eat After 8pm

In Finland they have this thing called a “night snack” where they eat before going to bed. I started doing this (because I was hungry since all I ate was carbs all day) and got into a bad habit! To break this I drank a glass of water when I felt hungry and it help!

Protein Powder

Protein powder has been a lifesaver for me! It keeps me full and I love love love having a smoothie in the morning! My favorite it this protein powder with spinach and a banana. I sometimes add other fruits depending on what is available. They also have chocolate and even individual packets of protein powder for when you are on the go! This has been a lifesaver for when I am traveling!

Get Your Vitamins!

I recently found out that most people have a vitamin D deficiency and they don’t know it! This can make you tired and also feel depressed. So if you don’t currently take vitamin D, go and get you some! I got mine from Amazon.

I also reallyyyy love these capsules. As I’ve mentioned before I’m an au pair and I cook for a family with 3 young boys. Sometimes they can be really picky (what kid isn’t) and new things don’t always go over well. So most of the time pasta is a go-to food for them. I also don’t buy the groceries so it isn’t very reasonable for me to ask for a whole separate grocery list for myself. This has caused me to eat a lot less fruits and veggies than before. But these capsules are amazing because they are real fruits, vegetables, and berries! It feels good knowing I will still get some of the nutrients I need!

 

How are you getting rid of bad eating habits?

 

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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! Use my referral code: KCFDOT

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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