How To Beat Negative Thoughts For A More Positive Outlook

How To Beat Negative Thoughts For A More Positive Outlook

If you feel emotionally tired, angry or unmotivated; you keep overthinking your past mistakes or misfortunes; you want to change yourself, but don’t know where to start; you already tried changing, but got back to older habits; you feel disappointed; you struggle with low confidence: There are ways to beat negative thinking and emerge from it – stronger, brighter and wiser than before.

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How to Create a Travel Itinerary and Why It's Important

Hello Lovely,

There is something to be said for aimlessly roaming the streets of an energetic city popping into quaint cafes and talking to the locals, not knowing what you will find. When I went to Amsterdam, I only had two things on my list that I absolutely had to do: try the local “herbs” and go to the Red Light District. Sadly I never made it to the Red Light District. I planned the hotel with a shuttle to and from the airport and nothing else. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the adventures, street fries and stroopwaffles and I’m sure our drunk shennigans began to annoy one of the bartenders. We literally popped into random stores and restaurants and just wandered aimlessly. It was a miracle I remembered the way back. Ever since then, I try to have an itinerary.

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Here’s how I organise an itinerary:

Do Your Research

If you want to get the most out of your experience, you need to know what you want to do and what will make the ultimate travel venture for you. Are you fascinated by a town’s history, culture or food? Do you want your trip to just be about crazy adventures and a city’s vibrant nightlife? Answering these questions means that you need to do some research for the area you are visiting.

Prior to going to London, I looked up tours of all the must-see Landmarks and booked them (well most of them). Even though I had planned a lot, there were still a few hiccups along the way: immigration, currency, my bus pass…so while you always expect the unexpected, always have a backup plan as well.

Use Symbols and Addresses

What’s key to a successful itinerary is coding. I like to use company logos so that at a simple glance, I have an idea of where I wanted to go. Adding addresses makes it easier to remember where something is. Let’s say you want to go to a specific department store. By jotting down the location ahead of time, I was positive I was going to the right store when I plugged it into my GPS.

Download the map area in advance

If you’re travelling internationally, Google Maps has a handy feature that allows you to select a certain area on the map and download it to your phone. That way, whether you have data or not, you’ll have access to GPS. This helped me a lot when I lost my GPS. And if it’s a place you plan on visiting often, all you have to do is update the download periodically so that it doesn’t disappear.

DON’T TRAVEL WITHOUT THE ULTIMATE PACKING CHECKLIST!    CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD    YOUR FREE PACKING CHECKLIST AND NEVER LEAVE ANYTHING BEHIND AGAIN!

DON’T TRAVEL WITHOUT THE ULTIMATE PACKING CHECKLIST! CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE PACKING CHECKLIST AND NEVER LEAVE ANYTHING BEHIND AGAIN!

Keep your Itinerary Offline

I really feel like I mastered the itinerary with my Girl’s Trip to Miami last October. It’s so important to keep a version of your itinerary on your phone offline. Papers can get left behind or lost and internet is so unreliable. Save the document in the cloud, and keep it available offline as well as downloading a copy of it to your phone. You can’t be too careful.

Leave Room for Opportunity & Be Realistic

There are always times while exploring a city that something incredible sidetracks you, and if you are scheduled with events back to back you may have to miss out. Of course you’re going to want to see and do everything on your trip, but also be realistic.

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Don’t Forget the Extras

Add your flight numbers, hotel addresses, maps, etc. to your itinerary file for easy access. All my itineraries include this information, plus the currency exchange rate (so I know how much 1 US dollar is worth in the country). It is much easier to look at one file then have to scroll through dozens of emails or check different apps to find what I am looking for.

How To Get My Back to School Hairstyle

Hello Lovely,

Going back to school is a HUGE event! The uniforms, the snacks, the traffic! AHHHHHHHHH! It's a nightmare. This year I changed schools so I had a lot of anxiety to deal with. Of course, I wanted to make a great first impression, so I needed the right back to school look. It took FOREVER to plan the right outfit, but with a lot of strategic pre-planning, I survived my first week on my new job! YAY!

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One of the ways I pre-planned was with a new protective style. I fell in love with this style when I saw it on Tamera Mowry on Pinterest, and thought it would be beautiful but simple! When I told my stylist she was super excited and immediately onboard. The sides are straightforward: two braids that join at the end. We weren't completely sure about the front middle section so I allowed my stylist to freestyle and she did not disappoint! I only expected this to last the first week of school, but it's still holding up pretty well thanks to my awesome stylist!

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This hairstyle is inspired by a hairstyle Tamera Mowry rocked. I scoured the internet looking for other angles of this hairstyle but found none so my hairstylist had to improvise just a little. She always gets my vision and I love her for that! After a wash and deep treatment, we stretched my hair, then started styling. Check out the video below to see the full details on my back to school hairstyle. It's super easy to do and would be perfect for semi-formal functions. After all, what's classier than a high ponytail?

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe for Work

THIS POST WAS INSPIRED BY LAURE AND LAURIE, AND ALL INFORMATION CAME FROM THEIR POST HERE. LIKE AN INSENSITIVE IDIOT I DIDN'T CREDIT THEM BEFORE. ONLY THE OPINIONS AND PHOTOS ARE MINE.

What Is A Capsule Wardrobe

A capsule wardrobe consists of  some of your favorite pieces and items of clothing that can be mixed and matched and also worn in many several different ways.

As pictured above, you can see how the same pieces of clothing are being used to put several different outfits together. Before I share my experience with building a capsule wardrobe, I want to share the benefits of doing so, so that you really understand the process that goes into this.

Why Build A Capsule Wardrobe

The main reason why this whole idea of building a capsule wardrobe is so appealing is all the benefits that comes with it.

Benefits : 

1.) It saves time.

I don’t know for you, but for me this is gold. I’ll gravitate towards anything that will save me time in the mornings. Not having to stand in front of the closet forever trying to decide what to wear truly is a good feeling. All the stress of getting ready in the morning suddenly goes away when the clothes you need are already there waiting for you.

2.) It saves money.

Having a capsule wardrobe doesn’t only save time but it also saves money. Think about it, the amount of money you would be spending for work clothes significantly decreases because you’re not buying clothes because you think you have nothing to wear.

3.) It declutters.

For example, in this work capsule, I have outfits that will last me up to a few weeks. And these are not new clothes that I went out to buy. I went through my closet and sorted through my clothes and picked out what I thought would be good for work. In the process I also got rid of things I  know I would never wear.

How To Start on Your Capsule Wardrobe

There is no one way to  build a capsule wardrobe. You can make your own rules when it comes to this just like you’d build a regular wardrobe .

But if you have no clue where to start, let me briefly break down the process that went into creating this capsule wardrobe pictured  above.

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Key pieces   – The key pieces in your capsule wardrobe are those pieces that I call the solid pieces. These solid pieces have the ability to  completely change an outfit. This why they’re so important. In this case it would  be the blazer or duster .

Basic Pieces  – Unlike the key pieces, the basic pieces can be used to wear under a blazer or duster. This can be like a simple top.

Extra Pieces  –The extra pieces are the pieces you don’t need but can choose to add just to spike up your outfit. For example, accessories can fall under the category of extras. I  can choose to add a necklace along with my outfit but it’s definitely not a must. Same thing would go for a scarf.

So how did it work out for me????

I HATED IT!!!!!!! OMG, it was one of the worst experiences of my life!!!! Despite all of the benefits to having a capsule wardrobe it just doesn't work for me. So many days my mum would say to me, "You're wearing that AGAIN?" And I would fee bad because I felt trapped and confined to just those choices. Which is why I introduced so many options. Even then, I had to do laundry every week just so these options were available again. With my wider wardrobe, I have enough clothes to last me at least 2 months without washing, which I loooooove.

The next stressful part was having to photograph every single outfit just for this post. It's hard to take photos of your outfits for 20 days in the morning. Some mornings were ideal but most mornings I was in a mad dash to get to work on time and avoid traffic.

I also lost 2 days every week due to dress up days at work. Every Thursday was the seniors t-shirt day and Fridays usually became some fundraising dress up day. So I couldn't photograph those outfits, making this process even longer. I eventually quit after 12 outfits because I just couldn't stand to do this for one more week.

But just because I didn't enjoy it, doesn't mean you shouldn't give it a try. Don't let my experience stop you. It's definitely worth a try and it really forces you to get creative with the same pieces. What do you think? Would you ever try a capsule wardrobe? Share your views and advice in the comment section below.

How to Make Mindful Purchases

How to Make Mindful Purchases

Living a life with intention means being more thoughtful when it comes to making decisions. Making mindful purchases can mean less buyers remorse. I can't tell you how many things I bought on a whim that I really didn't need but in my impulsive moment, thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. So recently, I made a more conscious effort to make more mindful purchases. I’m going to do this by following these 3 steps:

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How to Avoid The Toxic Trap of Social Media

Hello Lovely,

I wanted to start this post by stating I wrote this an entire week before The Elevation Awards. Win or lose I knew this one something I needed to talk about. Even though blogging relies heavily on social media, social media hasn't exactly been a good thing for society. It's great for keeping in touch with long distance family and friends, and it's also great for connecting with people you otherwise would never have met. But there's also a dark side to social media; a toxic trap so to speak. It happens when we start comparing our lives to those of the people we follow on social media.

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It's something I struggled with for years and sometimes still find myself doing. I see all these social media accounts that just look so perfect, and I can’t help but think, “why am I not doing that? Why don’t I look like that?” I go through stages where I have so much confidence in myself and what I am doing, and then I go through stages where I freak out and go on a social media blackout because I feel like I’m not growing as fast as well as I should. I compare myself to other bloggers who are killing it, but when I don’t see my follower count growing, I feel like I am failing. Online, people have to keep up an image. We have to get the likes. We have to gain the followers. But why?

Social media, as much as I love it, I’ve learned can be toxic. We always post about living our best lives and looking our finest. When we aren’t doing that, we can feel like we’re failing in some way. We have to be conscious of what we are seeing and remind ourselves that the online world is not what reality looks like. So here are three ways you can avoid the toxic trap of social media.

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1. It's All Fake

Social media is all about showing your best side. You wear your best outfit, find the best lighting on the best location and show your best side. You're not going to show that pouch, cellulite or dress with the rip. You're not going to use the corner of your house that's always a mess, in fact, there even be a designated "pretty" part of the house that gets used, or props that come out just for the photos. Who would want to follow you if they saw your mismatched outdated furniture or your actual, "I woke up like this face"? A lot of people don't really live how they portray their lives on social media and it's starting to cost a lot of money for people to keep up.

2. The Cliché, Why Fit In When You Were Born To Stand Out is Actually True

I look at the local elite social circle and I will never fit into that. I've got way too much general anxiety to be bar hopping, popping bottles and always wearing the trendiest clothes. Sure I do some of that now, but it's with a group of people who get me and have a weird sense of humour like me. They don't care for flashy things and we're always thinking about maintaining a healthy adult bank balance, so no splurging for us. Don't go broke trying to impress people you may not even like. Stay in your own lane and do what feels right to you.

3. Check The Paper

College isn't for everyone, but always remember this: In the world of Social Media, you are replaceable. People just want someone who's cute and acceptably quirky to promote whatever brand or ideal they're selling. So when your 15 minutes of fame are up, you'll need something to fall back on. I love blogging and want to go into full time, but until I'm ready, I'm glad I have my degrees and certifications to get me by. Because of my degrees and skills, my options are far from limited and I will always have a source of revenue.

10 (Almost) Free Ways to Have a Social Life On a Budget

Hello Lovely,

Can you believe we're already in April? Are you sticking to your New Year's Resolutions and commitments so far? I know one of my resolutions is to have more of a social life. Now that I've finished paying for school and I now drive a car I'm not ashamed to be seen in, I feel like the world is my oyster! I started doing more things last year for my birthday, and since then I've been slowly filling up my social calendar with a variety of events; but I had to get really creative with it, because some days I just couldn't. I'm sure you've been there before: “Can’t hang this weekend, I’m broke,” is probably one of the most tragic texts that you’ve probably sent before. You stay home on a Friday night, covered in Dorito crumbs scrolling through Instagram stories with hard-core FOMO; reminiscing on the days when you could afford to do things like ‘socialising’, or ‘leaving the house’.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen some photos of me sipping champagne and jet-setting. Would you believe me if I told you I almost never paid for most of those nights? You probably think having a social life can be really expensive, right? Well, it doesn't have to be. Remember when I told you how I saved for my European trip? Well now I'm back with 10 (almost) free ways to get creative with your social life so you too can be "balling on a budget".

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1. Eat Cheap at Restaurants

People were surprised when I took my BFF on a bestie date to Baha Mar for only $30 (both of us). How? When eating out, choose appetisers or desserts. Or you can even fill up on sides. They're the cheapest things on the menu that can leave you feeling just as full as a main entree.

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2. Happy Hour

I was so happy when Senor Frogs offered a Ladies Night, where ladies can drink 3 house drinks FOR FREE! If you choose to do this, try to go early as the bar fills up pretty quickly with women who all demand the bartenders attention. Find happy hours and hop between them. The good thing about happy hour is BOGO or discounted drinks and foods. Once you've had the cheaper drinks, you're fuelled for a night of partying or at least liquored up enough to feel like you did something fun, without the late night struggles. Besides, 6 PM is totally the new 11 PM.

3. Movie Night

Do you and your friends like to watch movies? Whether it's Wonder Woman, Black Panther or Star Wars, there's been a lot of blockbusters hitting the big screen recently; so of course you're going to want to watch them in a comfy environment with your favourite snacks. So what's the best way to so this? Throw a movie night at home, complete with “stadium seating” (bar chairs behind a couch behind a layer of pillow seats) and popcorn. You can serve frozen pizzas, hot dogs or your other favourite appetiser. Save money by screening movies you already own, or use an Android Box, Chromecast or Amazon Fire Stick.

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4. Get Your Kicks as a Volunteer

Instead of paying full price to attend major events and festivals, look into group volunteer activities such as Hands for Hunger or the Rotary Club. No matter how expensive the face value of the ticket, it’s very likely that the event management team is looking for volunteers to help with the day-of celebration. So if you volunteer with an organisation for an event, you're able to attend it for free and still enjoy it as if you paid for a ticket.

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5. Dinner Parties are my Best Friend

I love when my friend's have a "potluck" because it's the easiest way to get fed with minimal effort. Dinner parties are one of the best ways to see mates without spending too much money. If you encourage everyone to bring a plate or some wine, you’ll have a whole table of food without that awkward “are we splitting it or just paying for what we had?” conversation at the end.

Themed nights (Mexican night, breakfast foods, a meal starting with the first letter of your name), or as cheesy as it sounds, playing some dinner party games can be ridiculously fun. And if there's leftovers, don't be ashamed to tote (I've recently upped my toting game by bringing my own lunch container).

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6. Let's Go to The Beach!

One of the best perks of living in The Bahamas is the fact that we don't have to pay a dime to go to the beach. A lot of cities charge parking for beaches or entrance and I think that's ridiculous. So if you didn't know that, I suggest you grab a friend, a towel and a beer and head on down to the beach to catch some FREE sun, sand and waves!

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7. Wine Tasting Events

I LOVE wine tasting events. Even if I don't like the wine served, it's still FREE wine! Are you kidding me? Of course I'm going! Every month Young's Fine Wine and Mahogany House each host a wine tasting event where you can sample at least 6 different wines for FREE. And the wines offered are always discounted for that night only. Young's Fine Wine is always themed so all the wines will be from a particular region or similar in other areas; whereas Mahogany House usually has 6 white wines and 6 red wines. Follow them on Facebook to stay up to date so that you can know when the next wine tasting is.

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8. Sip and Shop

Here's the thing, most stores know that at least 90% of the people at their sip and shop event are only there to sip. Don't worry about offending them. Sip and shop's are great ways to sip expensive champagne while marvelling over who in their right mind would actually buy those expensive items.

9. Salsa and Latin Dancing

If you don't know, now you know. You can learn how to dance Salsa, Meringue and Bachata for FREE if you go to VIA Cafe on Thursdays and Melia Hotel Lobby on Saturdays. It's SOOOOO much fun! Everyone there has been dancing for quite some time but don't let that intimidate you. There's often a few choreographed group dances (similar to Zumba) that you can easily join. So put on your flats or kitten heels and get ready to sweat!

10. Start a Fitness Group

Speaking of sweating, why not get together with your girlfriends and start a fitness group. Not only is it easier to work out in front of your peers because there's less judgement, but you'll have a support system that will keep you motivated and excited about meeting your goal. In fact that's how I got closer to the ladies in my church. We didn't really know what we were doing but we had a good time laughing and helping each other. So work hard or hardly work; as long as you're together. you're bound to have some fun with it!

*This post originally appeared on Life By Olivia*

Going out with your friends to enjoy fine dining, drinking and entertainment doesn’t have to traumatise your budget. Just plan it out in advance and get creative with your choices and your wallet and reputation will both thank you! What's your favourite way to "Ball on a Budget"? Share your tips and reactions to this post in the comment section below!