January 07, 2019

January Goals

Wow, I haven't done a goals post in so long – literally since 2017! How is that possible that it's been two years since my last goals post? That's depressing! Anyways, I'm excited to start 2019 on a positive and productive note, and part of it means keeping my goals in check.

2019 brings new opportunities, new experiences, a new role I'm stepping into, and new chances to live my very best life every single day. I'm excited for all the possibilities that the year holds, but I'm very anxious to see how it all plays out. Above all, 2018 taught me I need to let go and go with God, so I'm leaving 2019 in his hands. But not without a little work on my end. Let's get started with my January goals:

JANUARY GOALS

1. RE-COMMIT TO THE BLOG // You know how badly I dropped the ball last year, and I really don't want that to be the case for 2019. So for one of my January goals, I'm hoping to spend some time brainstorming content, growth and opportunities for TCD and my readers. 

2. PERSONALIZE MY SPACE AT WORK // We spend so much time in our office – more time than we do at home (!!!) – that I think it's important to make it feel like 'you'. I'm hoping to take the time this month to really make my space feel like me, so that I'm looking forward to going into the office, and feeling my most creative and productive while I'm there. Ain't nobody wanna sit down and be unproductive for 8 hours. 

3. SAVE MONEY // While in Trinidad I might not be hitting the mall or Sephora every week, I fall victim to irresponsible spending and I don't even realize it. I'll run into the pharmacy for one thing and walk out with a substantial bill (every time!), or I'll forget to pack myself lunch and I'll have to buy something. I do it way too often and it adds up, so I want to start the year off on the right foot and save more. 

4. CUT OUT DIET SODA // I am really bad with this: I drink Diet Coke like it's my job. And while it might not have any calories or any sugar, it's definitely not good for me, who am I fooling? So I need to cut the addiction for real. I'll limit myself to one or two on weekends, or if I need a chaser with a drink (better diet than sugar, right?) 

5. EXERCISE 5 DAYS A WEEK // I'm not saying I need to run a marathon or spend three hours lifting every single day, but I want to commit to doing something, even if it's for 20 minutes, every day! I'm an all-or-nothing kind of girl, and I find that I'm either obsessive with working out or I'll not do a thing for months, so I want to make it a natural and healthy part of my routine – not where I'm obsessive, but where I genuinely do it to feel good every day. Here's to a healthier me! 

Cheers to a new month, a new year and a more committed me! 

What are you hoping to achieve in January? Let me know in the comments below! 


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January 03, 2019

My 2019 New Year's Resolution: Unapologetic

Happy New Year to you! I spoke a little bit last year (OMG, that feels so weird to type - I'm gonna end up writing 2018 for the next 3 months lol) about how I wanted my return to blogging to be 100% authentic, to feel real, and to be unapologetically me.

So when I was thinking about what I wanted to go forward in 2019 with, I knew I wanted to focus on one word. For me, it almost felt natural for that word to be unapologetic. I want to ensure I'm taking the time to be 100% unapologetic in my thoughts, in my words, in my actions.


Now don't get me wrong: unapologetic doesn't mean selfish, it doesn't mean conceited and it doesn't mean unfair. What I mean for unapologetic is that I want to be so sure of every single thing that I do, decision that I make, thought that crosses my mind, that I feel no remorse. I want to be so sure because I want to shape my 2019, and I know that being unapologetic in my every day life will help to change my habits for the better. I want to be unapologetic in..

how I treat my body // I find that, much like most people, I fall into the trap of being healthy for a month or two of every New Year. Luckily, or unluckily, for me, Trinidad's Carnival is always within the first three months of each year, so I spend the first months eating really well, exercising like crazy and being really committed to my body – and then I fall off the wagon.

This year, I don't want to do that. I want to commit to treating my body well: beyond just eating well and going to the gym. I no longer want this to feel like a 'resolution', I want it to be a part of my life.

how I treat my mind // I find myself being very hard on myself, especially when it comes to my mental health, and it's something I want to work on this year. Too often, I push my mental health and wellness on the back burner, and I want to prioritize it in 2019.

how I spend my time // If it's one thing that a new year can teach us, it's that life is short. I mean, think about it, it was literally January 1, 2018 like 2 minutes ago! Time is flying!

So often, I find days blurring and flying by, and I realize that I haven't done much to live during that time. So I want to focus on living more in 2019: experiencing more, travelling more, being more present. I want to be purposeful with my time, I want to stop procrastinating and I want to commit myself to putting my all into every single moment.

my financial decisions // I'm not sure if it's just me, but I spend money SO quickly, and on literally nothing. I'll pick up a pack of gum, and then all of a sudden, I've dropped a small fortune on items I don't really need, or I'll pick up lunch every day because I don't feel to pack lunch for work. And all of these little habits add up to one expensive practice.

In 2019, I want to really focus on my financial health, building and sticking to a budget, learning to invest my money and making the conscious effort to work towards my savings.

expanding knowledge // Towards the end of 2018, I really started to read more regularly, and I rekindled that love for reading. In 2019, I've taken the challenge to read 52 books: one book a week. My logic is that I read 30+ books from September to December, so reading 4 books a month can't be that hard, right?

But besides reading books, I want to keep learning. I want to constantly take courses online, read business books, read articles related to both my field and others. I want to challenge myself mentally.

committing to myself // I think this will be the hardest of all, because I'm definitely my biggest critic. This year, I want to be a little selfish, and I want to commit to myself.

Whether it's work, the blog, my side hustle or just bettering myself, I want to 100% believe in myself, and go all in. Knowing that I'm diving headfirst into everything I do should be the confidence I need to absolute rock it, and succeed in every aspect of my life.

my relationships // Whether it's with family, friends or a romantic relationship, I want to be more unapologetic about my commitments to these relationships. Too often, I find myself prioritizing one relationship or group over the other, and definitely see and feel the strains on my other relationships.

I want to be fair to myself, and to those who I'm in a relationship with. I want to make the effort that's needed, and really learn what I need to give and receive from each and every relationship.


And so, with that, is my 2019 New Year's resolution. I hope to see changes across all aspects of my life, and I pray I embody this word wholeheartedly throughout the year and years to come.

Do you choose a word of the year? Do you set New Year's resolutions? Let me know in the comments! 

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December 24, 2018

Last Minute Christmas Gifts

Ok, there's late, and then there's totally last minute. Like, Christmas is tomorrow kind of last minute. That's me.

I wish I could say I was one of those people who has all of their gifts wrapped and under the tree already, but that's just not me. Most years, I'm still trying to figure out on Christmas Eve just what perfect present to get my friends and family. I'm horribly last minute, but not because I don't care, but because I genuinely want to give them something they'll love and I spend so long trying to figure it out that all of a sudden, it's like the day before I'm supposed to exchange gifts.


Luckily, this year, my family is spending Christmas in Vermont, and so we've forfeited exchanging gifts in lieu of a family vacation. But that doesn't mean that I haven't put some thought into some great gifts.

So if you're like me, and even Amazon Prime can't save you now – then this list is for you:

ONE // STITCH FIX

If you're shopping for someone who loves clothes, then a subscription to StitchFix is the perfect last minute gift!

It's a monthly subscription box that sends clothing, handpicked by their team of stylists, based on a style profile you fill out about your personality, budget and lifestyle. It costs $20 a month, and that credit can be applied to any item you decide to buy. And if you choose to buy every item that's sent to you for any given month, you'll get a 25% discount!

The best part is they cater for men, women and children of all sizes, so it's the perfect gift, no matter who's on your Christmas list! They offer gift cards ranging from $20 to $1,000 – so your gift can pay for a month's box, or a year's worth of clothes, it's your call! Want $25 off your first order? Use this link!

TWO // BOOK OF THE MONTH 

This is actually something that I've wanted forever, after following BOTM on Instagram for the last few years, and finally decided to pay for a subscription starting in January. But I can't lie: I'm not-so-secretly hoping a year-long subscription shows up in my stocking on Christmas morning, so mom, if you're reading this – click the link!

Anyway, BOTM is the coolest subscription box because on the first of every month, they release 5 books, usually in different genres so there's something for everyone, and you just select a book and it's shipped to you within the first week of the month. Don't like any of the books? You can skip the month and your credit will roll over so you're not charged for a month you don't use.

What I mostly love about it isn't even the fact that a book arrives on your doorstep, it's the community that comes with it. Each book is read and recommended by a BOTM reader or staff member. If there's a reader on your list, this is the perfect gift for them. The box is $15/month, and you can choose from a 3, 6 or 12-month subscription gift. Check it out here.

THREE // SKILLSHARE

This is definitely the gift for basically anybody on your list. If there's someone who wants to learn a new skill, SkillShare is a service that basically offers over 25,000 different classes on almost every subject – from photography to marketing to web development to accounting. Basically anyone who's anyone can benefit from this subscription, so it's the perfect last minute gift.

Free users of SkillShare don't get access to any of the premium (aka, really good) courses – and you can choose from a 3, 6 or 12-month subscription to give your loved one. You can also get a 2-month free trial by signing up here.

FOUR // STORYWORTH

I am obsessed with this gift – and I've been brainstorming just who I'd choose to do this for ever since I discovered it. This could be the perfect gift for parents or grandparents, a significant other or even just best friends.

You buy a subscription for your recipient, and every week for the next year, they'll receive one story prompt to answer via email (or record an audio response via phone if they're not the best writer!). You can choose from their question bank, which has over 600+ questions, or you can write your own questions that relate directly to your recipient's life and story. Then, at the end of the year, all of the responses are saved into a hardcover book, which you can customize with photos so that it's the perfect representation of your recipient's stories.

I'm already imagining telling my grandmother's story, my parents' lives or even a future love story to tell. Plus, it's like two years of Christmas gifts in one: because next year, you can give the finished product, wrapped under the tree. Win/win! Right now, StoryWorth has discounted the price from $79 to $59, and you can take an extra $10 off using this link!

FIVE // CLASSPASS

If there's someone on your list whose New Year's resolution involves becoming more active, then a subscription to ClassPass is the perfect last minute gift for them! While pricing varies by city, fitness enthusiasts can sign up for different membership packages that allow them to attend a certain amount of classes per month.

Being a ClassPass member gives you access to thousands of workouts, classes and videos no matter where you are in the country. Plus users can read ratings and reviews, try recommended classes and find the workout class that fits them. You can gift a $50 or $100 gift card to use towards memberships, or choose your own desired amount. Check it out!

SIX // BOOKROO 

For those with kids on your list, BookRoo is the perfect gift! It's basically Book of the Month for kids, and you can choose whether you'd like a subscription box with board books, picture books or chapter books, depending on the age of the child receiving the box. Each box contains 2 books (picture/chapter subscriptions) or 3 books (board subscription), and it's the perfect way to get your kids reading more!

Subscription boxes range between $25-30 per month, and you can choose from a 3, 6 or 12-month subscription to give as a gift, plus get an extra 10% off using the code HOLIDAY.


So, there you have it – six ideas for absolute last minute Christmas gifts because, hey, Christmas is tomorrow!

What's your go-to last minute Christmas gift? Let me know in the comments! 

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December 14, 2018

Simple Ways To Start Reading More

I've always been a major lover of books. Even as a child, my parents could never tear me away from whatever book I was reading at the time, and I hold many of the books I read as a child near and dear to my heart.

This love for reading definitely continued well into my adult life, but it got a little harder to dive into a book when I got swamped with work in college. I'd spend months on end reading nothing but academic articles and textbooks, and then spend my winter and summer breaks staying up all night reading books (I swear I'm not a nerd!) like it was my job. I learned that I'm an all-or-nothing reader: I'm either reading 5 books in a week, or I'm reading one book a year.


But obviously, this year, I wanted to change that. One random day in September, I picked up a book and finished it – and then started a new one right away. I picked up book after book, somehow reading 30 books since then, and up to 34 for the year so far (told you I'm all or nothing, I'd only read 4 books from January to September!).

So, somehow through it all, I learned a few techniques that helped to make reading a part of my life again. Here's what I do:


ONE // When I realized how much I was enjoying getting through those first few books back in September (I started easy, with a made-to-movie book that I knew I'd enjoy), I knew I would have to carve out time every day to read more. I decided to go simple: I'd get in bed half hour earlier than usual, and commit 30 minutes to reading. I found that just those 30 minutes would make a huge difference, and I found myself opting to go to bed earlier and earlier just to read (or stay up later and later, which is a dangerous game on a work night lol).

TWO // While I love a paperback, using an e-reader has changed the reading game for me. I first bought a Kindle almost ten years ago, and have since upgraded a few times (and am certainly due for an upgrade now!), but using the e-reader has made it so much easier to take my book with me, no matter where I'm going. Recently, I went on a weekend trip, and instead of lugging actual books with me, I was able to use my Kindle and read more books than I was even planning to!

THREE // One thing I found that really helped me to read more was to make the best use of my free time, meaning I bring my book almost everywhere I go (again, this is why I use an e-reader mostly). There are so many situations where I find myself waiting aimlessly, and I resort to scrolling mindlessly through Instagram or playing dumb games on my phone, and once I started reading again, I realized I could be using this time to read. So, that means that when I'm getting my nails done, waiting in line at the bank or even just eating lunch in the office, I'll read a chapter or two. Not only do I get a chance to read, but it helps to pass the time faster.


FOUR // Goodreads was instrumental in my reading more this year. After I read that initial book back in September, I logged into my account to update it, and found so many books I'd put on my 'want to read' shelf. From there, I kind of dove headfirst into it, finding new books and reviewing them as I finished them. It also helped to read real reviews from other readers – there's nothing worse than reading a blah book, and I didn't want to risk falling into a slump, so I always made sure the books I were choosing had mostly good reviews.

FIVE // One thing that always kept me motivated was having friends who liked to read alongside me. My cousin Shannon and I would trade book recommendations, my friend Sabrina lent me a book she thought I'd like, and following a friend's bookstagram, Book of Cinz, on social media always encouraged me to keep going. Seeing their progress, or just having someone to discuss a book with, kept me on track whenever I felt like not reading.

SIX // Perhaps the most important thing that's kept me so interested in books over the last few months is that I never forced it. There are times when the last thing I want to do is pick up a book, and I go through mini-slumps of not reading for a few days, but when I feel like I'm ready – and the time usually comes when I am – I jump back in in full swing.

Hopefully I've inspired you to pick up a book, or to read more as part of your 2019 Resolutions.

Do you read a lot of books? What do you do to make sure you're reading? Let me know in the comments! 

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