December 12, 2016

December Goals

And there we have it folks.. we're already in December. And because this post is coming so late in the month.. we're less than one month away from a new freakin' year. How the hell did this happen?!!

November was a HUGE month, filled with a lot of changes... changes I cannot WAIT to announce! But it was definitely a hectic and stressful month! And because of that, I wasn't as productive as I would have liked to be. Yes, this is me making an excuse, but when you finally hear my announcement, you'll understand why and let this one slide.

Check out last month's goals and recap post HERE!

RECAP OF MY NOVEMBER GOALS

1. Utilize The Genius Bloggers Toolkit // LOL, nope. I am not even gonna try and pretend I even tried to do this. I didn't. I failed! Oh well, next month! 

2. Take on another client // Done and done! I welcomed a new client this month and have been loving the collaboration so far. You know when someone just clicks with you... 

3. Start using Pinterest more // I haven't even come close to this! Once again, just haven't had the time...

4. Get started on my Christmas shopping // I spent the last week in Miami with my mom and sisters shopping for Christmas, so I got started but by no means am I done with my shopping! UGHHH! 

5. Shoot two outfit posts // LOL, if it's possible, my self-esteem has gotten even lower than usual, and the idea of shooting outfit posts seems impossible. I'm confident that in 2017 I'll get back into it!

2/5: Whoops! Okay, I'm just impressed I got any off this list. Silver linings, right?! 

DECEMBER GOALS

1. Create a solid content calendar // I do this at work. I do this with my clients. Why do I keep putting off doing this for myself? I'm ready to dive in this month! 

2. Read three books // 2017 is going to be a very stressful year, and I have the week after Christmas off from work. I want to take that time to really allow myself to relax and read a couple books. I recently downloaded a ton of books on my Kindle, so what better time to tackle them than the holidays?! Should I do a reading list? You tell me!

3. Clean out my closet // While I didn't shop for myself that much in Florida, I definitely am in desperate need of cleaning out my closet and getting rid of clothing that I no longer like or even wear. My style has definitely shifted since I graduated college, and my wardrobe should be a reflection of that. 

4. Order a 2017 planner // As you may know, I'm a major planner addict. From Lilly to Erin Condren and everything in between, I cannot for the life of me decide which I want to use for 2017! Any suggestions? I'm torn between Erin Condren, Purposeful Planner and Day Designer for my every day, and May Designs agenda for my blog planner! 

5. Learn a new makeup trick // Since last year, I've been really into makeup, and on this trip, I picked up a few items I'd been wanting for a while. Not having a Sephora in my country makes this addiction really difficult, y'all! So armed with a ton of new product, a new eyeshadow palette and brand new brushes, I'm ready to try a new look! Jaclyn Hill, here I come! 

What are your goals for the rest of the year? 

Image Map

November 04, 2016

5 Ways To Save Money Shopping Online

This is a part of my Ballin' on a Budget series, where I share tips, tricks and best-kept secrets to sticking to a budget while living your best life! 

This post is sponsored by Groupon. All opinions are my own. 
Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Caro Diaries!

This week, I shared how I save money on all of my big purchases, and the response was so great that I teamed up with Groupon again to talk about how I save money when I shop online! I'm definitely an online shopper... there's something so easy about browsing, clicking and it just showing up at your door! But it can add up really quickly... trust me, I'd know ;) Luckily, I've learned some go-to tips for saving the most money when shopping online, so you can get even more for even less!
1) Two words: Amazon. Prime. // So Amazon Prime isn't a sale website or anything, but signing up for Prime gives you free two-day shipping on all Amazon orders! Sign up for a free 30-day trial to test out the service and save you tons of money! While it's an initial fee, it'll definitely save you money in the long run!

2) Track prices before you buy // I already mentioned how much I love Price Blink's browser extension that automatically compares prices on any item you're looking at.. which makes it ten times easier to save money! I also swear by ShopStyle that allows you to track prices and set sale alerts on items you're lusting over.. so when that expensive pair of heels that never go on sale go on sale, you'll save yourself money and get that pair of shoes.. talk about a win/win!

3) Check off-price retailers first // While larger-named department stores like Nordstrom, Saks and Neiman Marcus might be your first choice when it comes to online shopping, they can be expensive! Try off-price retailers like Nordstrom Rack, Saks Off Fifth and Neiman Marcus Last Call so you can grab designer goods and high-end clothes at discount prices!

4) Use ShopRunner // Have you ever heard of ShopRunner? It's a service really similarly to Amazon Prime that gives you free 2-day shipping on websites that usually charge for shipping. Stores like Neiman Marcus, Kate Spade, eBags and more all offer free shipping to ShopRunner members! So like Amazon Prime, there's an initial fee but you'll save tons that make it so worth it. What truly wins you over is the free return shipping with ShopRunner, so if something doesn't fit or look good, you can send it back without paying for the pesky $5+ shipping fees. Plus, if you're an AmEx cardmember, you may be eligible for a complimentary membership!

5) Use Groupon Coupons // I never online shop without first checking online for coupons. I mean it's simple.. why pay full price when chances are there's a 10, 15, 25% off coupon somewhere out there! I always check Groupon before I checkout any online purchase because they have all of my favorite and go-to stores, including Nordstrom and Lord & Taylor! Definitely a lifesaver when online shopping!

So there you have it... those are my big secrets on how I save money when online shopping. Hopefully it can help you out too!

Do you online shop? How do you save money? 

Image Map

November 03, 2016

November Goals

Jesusssss how are we in November already?!!! 2016 CANNOT be almost over! October flew by... okay, no, this entire year flew by! I can't get over how quickly 2017 is approaching! But October as a month was much better than September.. so let's just get to recapping the month!

Check out last month's goals and recap post here! 

RECAP OF MY OCTOBER GOALS

1. Create a 6-week content calendar // Wow ok, I suck at this. Once again, I put off creating a full content calendar.. but I did draft out blog post ideas for 15 or so posts, so I'm gonna chalk this up as a half-win!

2. Get back into a workout routine // Finally! I honestly kept putting this off month after month, but last month I bit the bullet and started training with a professional trainer. I thought for sure I'd only go to the gym twice a week, but surprisingly, I started working out five days a week! It's been cool to see results already and he's a pretty fun trainer (and even posts "proud instas" of his clients.. aka me here and here!)

3. Schedule my life out fully // Nope, fail. I mean, I've gotten into more of a routine but I haven't found a way to really schedule out all aspects of my life. It's definitely an adjustment because admittedly, I do have a lot going on in my life. Between working full-time, working on the blog, writing freelance, working as a VA for a few clients and then finding time to workout and have a social life, I'm gonna lose it eventually! So this needs to happen... it just hasn't yet!

4. Cut out all soda drinks and drink more water // I have kinda done this... I've definitely cut down on my diet coke obsession, but I haven't cut it out completely, so I'm working towards this. I definitely need to drink more water too!

5. Utilize Helene's Blog Boss Babe // Ok, so I haven't completely done this but I have been more tuned into her Facebook group, and learning a lot! My next step is to start using the actual web portal more and taking some of her courses.

2.5/5: OK, not a great month but not my worst. I've come to realize that I need to be more realistic about my monthly goals and be honest with myself about what I can tackle each month.

NOVEMBER GOALS

1. Utilize The Genius Bloggers Toolkit // I signed up for this incredible bundle at the last minute because I knew I would benefit from at least ONE of the 67 amazing blogging resources.. so my goal for this month is to get started on some of these tools! Did you buy the bundle too? Join our group and become an accountability buddy so we can actually tackle this massive task! 

2. Take on another client // My contract with one of my clients ended last month, so I'm looking to take on another client this month! Need a VA? Email me

3. Start using Pinterest more // Thanks to some major inspiration from Jenny's Confetti Social newsletter, I want to focus more on Pinterest this month! I really haven't been utilizing my Pinterest to the best of my ability, and it used to be one of my largest sources of traffic. I'm aiming to start back pinning regularly, organizing my boards and scheduling pins for throughout the day so I'm not pinning all at the same time! 

4. Get started on my Christmas shopping // This is the first year I'm "buying" Christmas gifts in my family. In the past, everyone has always picked one name but students were always exempt from it cause #broke. But apparently once you graduate, you start buying gifts! I wanna start online shopping this month and getting good deals on Christmas gifts for my friends and family! 

5. Shoot two outfit posts // I've been feeling incredibly uncomfortable in my body since I moved home, and I've avoided shooting outfit posts because of it, but I'm putting this here to motivate myself to get back into it and get out of my comfort zone and start shooting outfit posts again! 

Here's to hoping November is a successful one! Linking up my goals this month with my good friend Jenny from Breakfast at Lilly's

What are your goals for the upcoming month? 


Image Map

October 31, 2016

5 Ways to Save Money on Big Purchases

This is a part of my Ballin' on a Budget series, where I share tips, tricks and best-kept secrets to sticking to a budget while living your best life! 

This post is sponsored by Groupon. All opinions are my own. 
Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Caro Diaries!

In the past, I've made my fair share of large purchases. Between expensive flights, professional cameras and designer clothing, I've become somewhat of a pro on big clicks and hard hits to my bank account. But does that stop me from making these purchases? Absolutely not... I've just started to shop smarter. So today, I'm sharing five ways I've learned to save money on big purchases! 

1) Use PriceBlink to instantly compare prices // Available as a plugin extension for Chrome, Safari and Firefox, this tool is genius! When shopping, it instantly pops up at the top of your screen to show you the lowest price it's available for online and shows you average ratings online so you know you're making a good purchase on the product! 

2) Consider an older model // Especially when it comes to technology, there usually aren't massive changes between models. For cameras that release a newer product every single year, the differences usually are a .5" larger screen and one or two megapixels, which, unless you're a professional photographer, doesn't make that big of a difference. Now, I'm not telling you to ditch the iPhone 7 for the original iPhone... but picking up the iPhone 6S at a time when the 7 is hot will save you hundreds of dollars. Dead set on this model? Search online for a used (like new) or refurbished version of the product, it'll save you hundreds and you're likely to be unable to tell the difference.

3) Always check for coupons // Online shopping without utilizing coupons is honestly so dumb, because at any given time, there are at least two coupons that will apply to your order. Whether it's free shipping, 10 percent off or sometimes even more, every little dollar counts when it comes to saving. Plus, saving 10 percent on a purchase of $1000 is $100 back in your pocket...

4) Use a card with rewards // Most banks and credit cards offer some sort of rewards for purchases. When making big purchases, use a credit card with rewards like airline miles, cash back or purchase points that can be redeemed. So while you're not actually saving money on the purchase, you're getting something back and you're getting more bang for your buck. 

5) Utilize Groupon // I'm sure you've heard of Groupon already.. haven't we all! It's the go-to site for good deals on travel packages, spa trips and must-do activities for every season. But did you know that Groupon has a section called Groupon Goods that has daily flash sales with products that you actually want! Everything from technology to makeup to clothes and beyond... it's definitely a first stop when shopping, especially because there are new deals every single day!

So, happy online shopping! What's on your list? 

What are your favorite ways to save money while shopping? Let me know in the comments below! 
Image Map

October 19, 2016

6 Secrets for Finding the Best Flight Deals

This is a part of my Ballin' on a Budget series, where I share tips, tricks and best-kept secrets to sticking to a budget while living your best life! 

Traveling is the best. The opportunity to see new places, immerse yourself in different cultures, and quite frankly, just to escape sometimes. But traveling can be expensive, like all the time. After four years of countless flights to and from Trinidad and the U.S., I've become a seasoned pro at figuring out flight tricks.

And while I was trying to decide what to do for Spring Break this year, I booked my flight to Puerto Rico a mere two weeks before our trip, and somehow I still managed to spend more than $200 less than my friends. How? I'll teach you!


1: don't wait to book // I can't tell you how many times I saw a flight at a great price, and thought well what if it gets cheaper, or nah I can wait a week.. and then when I check the price the week after, it's gone up. Sometimes if you're lucky, it's only by a couple dollars. Other times, it can make the entire trip completely unfeasible. I was planning a trip to Houston for a friend's wedding, and each of my flights in the connecting flight (I had two flights to get there) went up by a significant amount, making my flight increase from $350 to well over $700... so not worth it for just a three day trip.

2: compare before you book // If you take anything from this article, let it be this: Google Flights and SkyScanner. They compare every single travel site, airline and discount site to show you every single fare and every single flight going between your destinations, so you always know you're getting the best deal. A lot of times when I'm flying to or from the Caribbean, I think that Caribbean Airlines is the only option. Even though I know that's not true, subconsciously, they're my first stop. My father, on the other hand, is a seasoned pro at booking flights (six kids living all around the world does that to you!) and always checks every single airline manually... but I use my millennial brain and have it done for me. Done and done.

3: sign up for flight alerts // Have a trip you're planning on making but want to scope out the prices first, you can set up flight alerts for certain dates, airlines and even particular flights. That way you're alerted if rates are rising and you can get on it and book! But even better than that, for those who have wanderlust, enter AirfareWatchdog. The site is just as it sounds: it looks out for the best deals on airfare, but their Fare Alerts feature is one of my favorites. Enter your home airport and they email you cheap flight deals when they pop up. What better reason to fly to London than a ridiculously cheap fare?

4: know when to buy and when to fly // Booking flights can be a game, and sometimes you have to beat the system. Tuesdays around 3 pm are said to be the cheapest time to find flights as that's when discounted flights hit the airlines' websites, so try to book or search for flights on Tuesdays if you can. And choosing when you fly is important too. Flying during the week is usually cheaper than flying on weekends, late-night or red-eye flights are far less expensive than early morning or evening flights. Being smart about your flight choices can save you a couple (or a couple hundred) dollars.

5: book on incognito mode // That being said, when you're searching for flights, your browser history is obtaining the information and feeding it to the websites, so no you're not crazy for thinking that the flight went up just because you went back online to check the price. Switching to incognito mode or clearing your temporary files of your browser history allow you to book as if you're a new person, giving you the same low prices you originally saw.

6: check social media // People don't think to check an airline's Facebook or Twitter before they're booking a flight, but just like any other retailer, airlines have regular deals, specials and discounts. Your favorite airlines often have flash sales. Take it from me, one of my clients at work is an airline, and we've done several flash sale promos within the last month that we advertise throughout their social media. So keep your eyes peeled and get to following those airlines! You never know what'll pop up in your timeline..

I hope these tips help you when you're booking your next trip (or your hypothetical trip... tell me I'm not the only one who does that?!!). Traveling is the best, and now, flights don't have to break the bank!

What are your favorite ways to save money when traveling? Let me know in the comments below!

Image Map

October 05, 2016

October Goals

I say this every month.. but how in the world is it already October? I'm actually terrified with how fast this year has flown by!

I've always been one to get real with you on the blog, and so today's post is no exception. Sometimes, I suck. I miss the ball and I feel like a failure. Sometimes no matter how hard I try, it just feels like it's not gonna click. Do you know what I'm talking about? I started sharing my goals every month as a way to keep myself on track and motivate myself to complete them every month, and while I love doing it and I've been mostly successful, I feel like a fraud.

You see, this month, I failed. I didn't achieve a single goal. Maybe like a quarter of each goal.. but nowhere near crossing it off the list. You know times when you feel like no matter how hard you try, you just can't seem to get it right? That's post-grad for me. I don't know what it is... but it's hard. Between work, and the blog, and my social life, I can't seem to get any of it right. I know there's a learning curve, an adjustment period, but it's been almost five months since I've graduated college and moved home and I just feel like I can't get it right.

I'll work my ass off at work.. then come home and pass out and wake up way after the sun sets and it's too late for me to run. I'll spend time with family, but not enough time with friends, and then vice versa. I'll try to fit in some time to blog at night, and I'm practically falling asleep at work the next morning. I just feel like I can't do it. And then I see people crushing it... doing well at work, finding time to travel, work out and go out, and I feel like there must be something wrong with me.

So today, I won't be recapping September's goals, because they're just becoming October's goals. I have the motivation to do them, but I just feel like a failure sometimes. Maybe that's ok. But for now, I'll try my best.

SEPTEMBER OCTOBER GOALS

1. Create a 6-week content calendar // OK, so because I failed majorly last month with this one, I'm determined to get some order back into my life and create a (somewhat) flexible content calendar for the next six weeks. I'm gonna start with blog posts, but the goal is to eventually move into managing my social media too! 

2. Get back into a workout routine // Once I got back from my trip, I just did not have the time. I ran here and there, and tried my best to keep up with my routine, but once I started to work, the only thing I wanted to do at 6pm is crawl into my bed, not lace up my sneakers. My job started off pretty flexible in terms of schedule, but in the past month has gotten a lot busier and I'm in office 8 to 5 every day. I originally wanted to workout in the mornings, but I now know it's not the best idea, so afternoons are going to have to do for now.

3. Schedule my life out fully // I know this is the most un-creative thing I could do, but I seriously need to stick to a serious schedule. In between working full-time, I need to schedule in time to dedicate to my freelancing, to the blog and running all the social media platforms, to working out, to being a VA and to having somewhat of a social life. Some days I feel so unproductive when I know it's not necessarily true... but I want to be able to fit everything in without having to go to bed at 3 am and struggle to wake up at 7. 

4. Cut out all soda drinks and drink more water // I'm not the biggest soda person, but I love me a diet coke. I will drink it just for drinking it sake, and while it has zero calories, it is so unhealthy it's not even funny. When I was at school, I cut out everything but water and the occasional ginger ale when my stomach needed it, and I felt so much healthier. As of right now, I don't drink enough water every day. So I need to commit to drinking more - maybe by buying a bigger water cooler, and getting back on track! 

5. Utilize Helene's Blog Boss Babe // So one really exciting thing that happened to me when I was on vacation in the Grenadines (and thankfully one of the random times I managed to have wifi!) was that I won one of Helene's big giveaways - including a year's membership to Blog Boss Babe! I want to spend some time utilizing the tools and services and tips on there and commit the effort to re-establishing this blog and my presence!

So that's that! I got super honest, as usual! Linking up my goals this month with my good friend Jenny from Breakfast at Lilly's

Image Map

September 15, 2016

Getting Over A Breakup

There comes a time in everyone's life when a relationship comes to an end: whether it's a relationship of yours, or you're watching a friend go through the breakup. It's a tough time. Not only are you mourning a relationship, but a friendship. In most cases, your significant other is truly your best friend, so you find yourself in that awkward "am I missing him as my boyfriend or him as a person?" stage, and that "do I miss him or do I miss being in a relationship?". Honestly, breakups will cause you to think... a lot, sometimes more than you even want to.

A few weeks ago, I got a phone call from a friend going through a really nasty breakup, asking for advice. What do I know about getting over breakups? I might possibly be the worst person in the world to ask for relationship advice (#lol), but I did the best I could as a friend to be there for them. So today, I'm sharing some of the advice I gave my friend.
how to move on after a breakup
// surround yourself with family and friends: It's the trap that so many people fall into post-breakup. They retreat to being by themselves, and while that's natural, surrounding yourself with friends and family who know you best and understand what you're going through will help you. Sometimes the best thing in the world isn't having someone console you, it's just having that person be there for you. My BFF Zach and I drank tons of wine and listened to hours upon hours of John Mayer and Adele. Find those people, and keep yourself around them!

// go talk to someone: It's the biggest stigma in the world that seeing someone or talking to a trained professional means that you're "crazy" or something is wrong with you. As someone who struggles with severe anxiety, I survived college by seeing someone as often as I needed. Talking to a psychologist or therapist will show you that it's normal to be experiencing these feelings, and that you're doing a whole lot better than you think you are. And sometimes, they're just a good person to sit and cry or vent to without interruption. They don't know your SO's side, so you're always right in this office ;)

// delete pictures off social media: I've seen this happen so often - you go through a breakup and you spend hours (more like days) scrolling through your/their Facebook and looking at pictures of the two of you together. Look how happy we were, you think. Was this all real or was it a lie, you question. I miss him, you cry. Delete them. Untag, remove and delete these pictures. Get them off Instagram, Facebook and whatever other social media platform you use before you drive yourself crazy!

// get out of your comfort zone: Was there ever something you wanted to do or try but your SO didn't want to or didn't approve? Go ahead and do it! Do anything to get you into a new mindset, whether it be a new haircut, going skydiving or taking up a new hobby! Doing something for you will feel so good because you're genuinely enjoying it and you're doing it for no reason other than it's something that YOU have always wanted to do!

// avoid moving on too quickly: We've all heard that saying - the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else. I say it's crap. I mean sure it's worked for some people, but you're not truly allowing yourself time to grieve your loss, and instead you're just jumping into something new for the sake of it. You don't want to rush into a new relationship or a new bed just because you're single. And you most certainly don't want to do it to make your ex jealous - more often than not it'll only turn them off of you even more. While there's nothing wrong with going out and flirting to build your self-confidence again, rushing into anything will only lead to disaster in the long run. Be happy with yourself before you can be happy with someone else again.

// stop reminiscing: You always remember the past better than it really was. When you look back on your relationship, you're looking at what I like to call the highlight reel - all the good things, the great memories, the loving moments. Too often we focus on this highlight reel and forget about the B-roll - the background noise, the dull moments, and even the not-so-great moments we tune out. So when you think about the relationship, be honest with yourself. Yes, you were happy. But there were also moments when you weren't, and there were clearly underlying and growing issues in the relationship.

// cry: Yes, I just told you to cry. Go ahead, put on the saddest song you can (I recommend John Mayer's 'Slow Dancing In A Burning Room' - the live version) and lay in your bed in the dark and cry. Cry to your friends, cry to your family, cry by yourself. Let it out. It is sooooo healthy to release your emotions and crying is actually really healthy. So let out that frustration and the sadness and the hurt that you're feeling. It's expected. Allow yourself to cry and grieve the loss you're experiencing.

// distract yourself: Keeping yourself busy is one of the best ways to move on without even realizing. The busier you are, the more you have going on, the less time you have to think about your ex or your relationship. Get involved in an extra-curricular activity. Do some charity work. Travel on weekends. Make a bucket list and start checking some stuff off. Throw yourself into your work/schoolwork. Busy is good. And soon enough, you'll be too busy to think of your ex. And you'll have bettered your life in some way too!

Breakups are never easy. Even the most cordial of breakups can turn sour quickly if you aren't careful. No matter how hurt or upset you are, try to remain respectful of your ex and never go around bashing them - remember no matter how much it hurts now, you shouldn't regret something that once made you so happy and played such a significant role in your life.

If you need to talk to anyone, feel free to reach out to me. Leave a comment below, shoot me an email or find me on social media (@thecarodiaries on everything!). I can't promise I'll have good advice, but I promise I'll listen to you vent and cry, and what more do you really need?!

Image Map

September 07, 2016

September Goals

How the heck is it September already?! Time is seriously flying! August was seriously a big month for me.. and I feel like I didn't even do anything. I spent ten days sailing through the Grenadines islands with my best friends and it was absolutely incredible. Besides having very limited internet access, just being on smaller islands gave me a much-needed mental break before the hustle and bustle of the real world began. I cannot even begin to describe how beautiful this entire trip was.. the water was the clearest I have ever seen and I experienced such incredible things. I'll leave you with a photo of the view from our boat in the Tobago Cays one morning.

A photo posted by Caroline / Blogger (@thecarodiaries) on

Besides that amazing trip, I returned home to see my cousin (who in reality is more like a sister to me) marry the man of her dreams, and we celebrated like no other with the better part of a week full of pre-wedding events. And thennnn.. as I teased last month, I started my first ever big girl job. Yep. I'm an adult now! I'm officially the copywriter at a local advertising agency (the most-awarded agency, might I add!) and I've been loving it so far. It's only been a few weeks, but I know this is gonna be great.. So with August being such a big month and all.. I just have a feeling September is going to be even bigger. JK, it'll probably be really lame.. but upwards and onwards :) Now onto my recap of last month's goals and into this month's!
RECAP OF MY AUGUST GOALS
1. Buy a new laptop // YAY! I'm human again! My parents went on vacation to Vegas and I couldn't decide if I wanted to make the purchase and buy the laptop, but then I discovered there was an Apple Store IN their hotel, so my decision was basically made for me. I placed the order and within twenty minutes, my dad had an email saying the order was ready to be picked up! And yes, I even got my rose gold beats headphones! 

2. Save my money // I'm gonna give myself half credit for this because in order to buy my laptop, I needed to have saved a crap-load of money.. so technically I did do it. But, I also ordered a few dresses for upcoming weddings I have, as well as a few more pairs of jeans.. so I kind of failed there, but I really needed them so ;) 

3. Read five books // Done and done! I spent my ten days on vacation wisely, and read a ton of books on the trip! Soon, I'll share some of my summer reads! 

4. Book my carnival costume // I haven't done this yet but I'm not super phased by it. I know I'll get to it this month or something, and I'm sure I'll figure out by then exactly which costume I want to play in! So this one is a fail! 

5. Create my September content calendar // OK, I totally failed at this but life has been a little hectic lately, and I put that on the back burner. Ironic considering that the calendar is supposed to be to keep my life together, but it just didn't happen in the two weeks I was home in August. 

2.5/5: Overall not bad.. but not great. I think considering that I was away for half of the month, I did pretty well on my goals, but I seriously need to step it up for September! Now onto this month's goals.. 

SEPTEMBER GOALS

1. Create a 6-week content calendar // OK, so because I failed majorly last month with this one, I'm determined to get some order back into my life and create a (somewhat) flexible content calendar for the next six weeks. I'm gonna start with blog posts, but the goal is to eventually move into managing my social media too! 

2. Get back into a workout routine // Once I got back from my trip, I just did not have the time. I ran here and there, and tried my best to keep up with my routine, but once I started to work, the only thing I wanted to do at 6pm is crawl into my bed, not lace up my sneakers. My job is pretty flexible in terms of a schedule, so on the days I don't need to be in the office super early, I want to go to the gym for an hour. I figure if I get it done early enough, I can be done for the day and not have to worry about it at all. Here's hoping... 

3. Schedule my life out fully // I know this is the most un-creative thing I could do, but I seriously need to stick to a serious schedule. In between working full-time, I need to schedule in time to dedicate to my freelancing, to the blog and running all the social media platforms, to working out, to being a VA and to having somewhat of a social life. Some days I feel so unproductive when I know it's not necessarily true... but I want to be able to fit everything in without having to go to bed at 3 am and struggle to wake up at 7. 

4. Cut out all soda drinks and drink more water // I'm not the biggest soda person, but I love me a diet coke. I will drink it just for drinking it sake, and while it has zero calories, it is so unhealthy it's not even funny. When I was at school, I cut out everything but water and the occasional ginger ale when my stomach needed it, and I felt so much healthier. As of right now, I don't drink enough water every day. So I need to commit to drinking more - maybe by buying a bigger water cooler, and getting back on track! 

5. Utilize Helene's Blog Boss Babe // So one really exciting thing that happened to me when I was on vacation in the Grenadines (and thankfully one of the random times I managed to have wifi!) was that I won one of Helene's big giveaways - including a year's membership to Blog Boss Babe! I want to spend some time utilizing the tools and services and tips on there and commit the effort to re-establishing this blog and my presence! 

So that's it for this month. Somehow these goals feel like they're getting harder and harder to reach each month! Fingers crossed I can crush it this month!

Linking up with my good friend Jenny from Breakfast at Lilly's for today's post! 
Image Map

September 02, 2016

How To Afford Senior Year of College

This is a part of my Ballin' on a Budget series, where I share tips, tricks and best-kept secrets to sticking to a budget while living your life! 


At this time four years ago, I was a spritely little 18-year-old girl moving into her quad of a dorm room, and about to live away from home and my country for the first time. I remember being so nervous - did I make the right choice? am I going to love it here? will I make friends? - and then I watched as those fears washed away so quickly. And then, before I knew it.. I was a senior.

As I'm sure you've heard a million times, senior year is the BEST year of college. But besides being the best experience ever, senior year is also super expensive. Between bar crawls, the outfits and just everyday expenses, it adds up.. quickly! Now I'm not gonna pretend like I was perfect.. I spent too much on weekends, went to Chipotle a little more than I should have, and shopped more than I'd like to admit! But as they say, hind sight is 20/20 and now that I'm forced to be "adulting" (vom), I'm sharing some practices I wished I stuck to..


// create a budget and stick to it: Yes, I know.. easier said than done, but this one is important. Be honest with yourself and note how much you can realistically afford to spend each month on entertainment, nights out, food, shopping and of course rent and utilities and other important stuff! I always like to pad my expenses a little bit, just in case anything comes up.. the last thing you want is to be short on important expenses like rent or car payments. 

// pick up extra jobs: So many of my friends spent their senior year nannying and babysitting for local families. Find local Facebook pages for moms, sign up on care.com or ask professors or college staff if they have any friends looking for some help. Kids aren't your thing? Offer to tutor students in classes you've excelled in, pet-sit for people in the area or pick up a retail job in the area. Every little dollar helps! 

// use venmo to actually get paid back: How many times have you gone out for dinner with friends, or paid for a friend's drink at the bar, and said "don't worry, you'll get me next time" or "pay me back tomorrow" and the two of you forget or it just never happens? Enter Venmo - the easiest way to transfer money between friends immediately. Now, you're only spending money you actually spend - and the venmo balance goes straight back to your bank account! 


// go to the bar early or ask for drink specials: Every time I went to the bar and picked up one Bud Light Platinum, I was dishing out $5, which doesn't seem like a lot.. but it adds up, quickly. I had friends who would drop $100 every time they went out, and while thankfully that wasn't me, going out every weekend (or several times a week) added up and took a toll on my wallet. Usually within the first few hours of opening, bars and clubs have dollar drafts or cheaper cocktails, and throughout the night, ask the bartender what drink specials they have - it'll save you tons of money in the long run.

// keep track of your subscription fees: This one is less about saving money and more about being aware of how you're spending it. Like most college students, I had a ton of monthly and annual subscriptions. Spotify, Adobe, my off-campus gym membership, blog stuff on the back end.. all of it ran out of one bank account, and the worst thing was getting charged $60 for your annual gym maintenance fee the same weekend a big trip is planned. Be aware of when you're being charged and how much, and you'll never be shocked when you check your bank statement.

// check your bank account regularly: Wow, I cannot tell you how guilty I am of doing this. I always assumed that I was in the clear, and thankfully though I always was, being cognizant of your balance saves you a ton of money and headache in the long run so you make a purchase bigger than you can afford. There's a joke that college students use their debit cards like they're gift cards - "well i'm not sure how much is on this, but you can give it a try".. secretly holding their breath until the purchase goes through. It's true, so don't let it happen to you!

// create an "emergency" fund: I wish I had a third account throughout college. I always just had checkings and savings, but part of me wishes I had opened a third "emergency" fund, just in case something crazy happens. It's important that in the event you need to buy a flight somewhere quickly (home, in my case.. an $800 flight at times), need to buy a new laptop or pay ridiculous fees for yours to get fixed (my situation 1000 times over) or desperately need groceries, you'll have the security of knowing that you can afford it or won't be financially struggling for the months to follow.


Although senior year is the time of your life, it's the first step to being a full-blown adult (although I'm 100% still in denial that that's happening to me), so the quicker you learn how to budget and live within your means, you'll be even better off for the future.

I'll leave you with this picture of me from freshman year of college. Now go order a whiskey sour for this poor washed up grad's soul...

Image Map

August 04, 2016

August Goals

Wow guys, I suck! I spoke this huge plan about getting back into the swing of things, and I just failed! But it's okay! I'm accepting it and moving on! I cannot believe we're in August already. Literally five seconds ago it was January, but ok 2016, move fast why don't you?! Let's get into this month's goals!


RECAP OF MY JULY GOALS

1. Book another client // Not only did I book another client this month, but I actually expanded how I'm working with one of my current clients as well, as well as picked up some freelance work! This is really exciting for me especially as I gear up to start work full-time, I still want to work on my side-hustle and get as much experience as I can! 

2. Continue to work out at least three times a week // Ok, I kind of did this one. There were good weeks and bad weeks, so I'm gonna give myself partial credit, but my workout classes kind of were put on pause as there was so much going on this month. But, I did start back running and over the last two weeks, I've been running 3-4 times a week, so hopefully I can continue this in August. 

3. Shoot two outfits to post // Not even gonna try and justify this, I totally failed at this one. Between the heat and a lot going on, I just haven't gotten around to this. On top of that, I've been feeling really not myself lately and not 100% comfortable in my skin, so the last thing I want to do is shoot pictures! 

4. Read three books // I'm going to admit that I was majorly failing this goal this month, but in the last few days I've managed to read 5 books! It's actually sickening how much time I spent laying in bed reading my Kindle.. but I also have a whole new list of books waiting to be read! 

5. Re-do my resume // I planned to redo my designed resume, but about a week into the month, I got a phone call and was asked to interview within an hour - so I didn't have that much time. So I updated my document resume! I'm giving myself partial credit because even though I didn't re-design my resume, I still updated it and landed a job, so pat on my back! 

3/5 - I'm actually impressed because up until last week, I thought I had accomplished none of these goals, and a lot just fell together in that week! So props to me for pulling together :) And now I'm gearing up for a new month and time to crush it! 

AUGUST GOALS

I'm spending the next week and a half sailing in the Grenadines with my best friends, and will definitely be MIA 

1. Buy a new laptop // I'm in desperate need of a new computer, and Apple is having their annual student discount deal where they're including a pair of Beats headphones with your purchase, so what better excuse to get a laptop than that?!! I've got my eye on a Macbook Pro with retina display and the rose gold headphones ;) 

2. Save my money // I'm gearing up for some pretty big purchases and so I'll need to save majorly and stop my random spending for the next few months!

3. Read five books // This is kind of a high number but I'm hoping I spend my time on vacation wisely! What better place to read five summer reads than lounging on beaches with white sands and crystal clear waters?! Have any good book recommendations? Wrote a summer book list? Send them my way!! 

4. Book my carnival costume // Have you heard of Trinidad carnival?! It's the first time I'll be playing in 5 years, so I'm very excited! I'll be playing with Harts and have to decide between two costumes so fingers crossed I figure it out and make my downpayment soon! 

5. Create my September content calendar // Once I start to work full-time, I know I'm going to have less time to focus on the blog, between work, freelancing, VA stuff and an actual life.. so I want to plan ahead with a content calendar and get back to posting at least twice a week (maybe Tuesdays and Thursdays!)

Well, that's it.. those are my goals for this month! Fingers crossed I can get through them. In the mean time, you can find me lounging on a beach with my kindle in hand! 

What are you goals for this month? Did you crush your July goals? 

Image Map

July 18, 2016

I'm Feelin' 22!

Today, I turned 22 and despite all of the Taylor/Kim/Kanye drama that occurred last night, I still blasted Taylor Swift's "22" obnoxiously.. I don't know about you!

Ok, all T-Swift lyrics aside, 21 was a big year for me! Besides being able to legally drink in the U.S., it was one of the most stressful, fun, chaotic, crazy, busy, exciting and trying years - there was never a dull moment.

I remember my 21st birthday like it was yesterday - time seems to fly when you're older doesn't it? Remember when you were young and you'd ask your mom every night how many more "sleeps" there were until it was your birthday/Christmas/whatever big event you were looking forward to. Now, I feel like it's the opposite.. one minute you're in May thinking you have months before your birthday, and then I wake up and it's one more sleep to my birthday. How does it just fly like that now?!!

So to celebrate another year passed and becoming another year older, I figured I would look back and reflect on my year and share some big moments that have passed.. from the blog and my personal life, in no particular order.

... I traveled to Puerto Rico // I crossed something off my 101 in 1001 bucket list and took a trip to Puerto Rico with two of my best friends. There, I did everything from sightseeing to tanning to partying with the locals! A "must do" if you're heading to Puerto Rico? Ditch San Juan for a day and head to Cabo Rojo - it's worth the drive.. just look at that view!!


... I interned for New York Fashion Week // I was so excited to cross this one off my bucket list because hellooooo fashion week! Although I had a 4 am wake up call in order to make it to the shows on time, it was so worth it. Mental and physical exhaustion is so worth it for fashion, don't you think? ;)


... I learned how to use makeup for real // I shared in the past about how horrible I was at being a girl.. and in October that all changed! I spent an hour at a Bloomingdale's beauty counter, spent way too much money and left with a changed mindset! While I keep my makeup mostly low-key for regular days, I did learn so much so that when I do do my full-faced makeup, I know how to do it well! Money well spent, I'd say! I also may or may not have a huge makeup obsession now.. All I want is the entire Jaclyn Hill x Becca collection and maybe every single Kylie lip kit color! They're incredible.. I might be obsessed with lipsticks!

... I finally grew out my nails // I mentioned at the beginning of 2016 that one of my New Year's Resolutions was to stop biting my nails. I honestly didn't think it was possible.. but somehow, by the grace of God, I managed to do it! Not that it wasn't hard as hell.. and to this day I still get tempted to bite them, but I kept strong and kept them long by sticking to my tactics. I'm definitely gonna do a post about how I grew my nails out soon :)


... I got my first job rejection // And this one crushed me! I wrote a whole longgg post about how I didn't have my shit together and maybe that was okay, and I received so much positive feedback but honestly, I was still freaking out. I mean, I got rejected from a job! I went on to apply to many jobs in the U.S., mainly New York, and nothing panned out there, so I returned home with my head hung low. But honestly, everything happens for a reason. My mother tells me this everyday, and I always ignore her but it's so true. Maybe I wasn't supposed to live in New York for some unbeknownst reason.. I guess we'll see!

... I watched my big sister get married // This was such an exciting day for me, not only because I got to see my big sister marry the man of her dreams, but because I got to play such a big part in the big day as her Maid of Honor (or her maid of horror, as she so affectionately called me!).

... I graduated from college // Another thing on my 101 in 1001 list, I was so excited to graduate with my Bachelor of Arts in Print Journalism this year! I had the most incredible time at school, and it was definitely bittersweet coming towards the end because I was so excited for it to be over, but at the same time, I knew I would miss my friends, the fun and the security that college provided. I definitely went through a transition period (who am I kidding?! I'm still transitioning!)


... I moved home // This one was tough. Not only was the process of packing up all my stuff absolutely tedious and difficult, but the thought of having to say goodbye to all of my friends completely broke my heart. I mourned the whole flight home, I cried for the first few weeks and I thanked God for FaceTime for making me feel like I was right there even when I wasn't.. But now that I'm home and semi-settled in, I'm ready to embrace the change (and the familiar!), and make it the best experience possible. I have so much in store for TCD as I explore my home, my region and the local fashion - get excited!!

... I got my first big girl job offer // Remember how I said everything happens for a reason?! God has a plan and it's completely out of our hands.. and sometimes things fall into your lap when you're least expecting them to. Can't wait til I can share more :)

... I had the time of my life // In the last year, I completely lived it up. I don't know if it's because it was my last year of college, or the fact that I was 21, or the fact that I have the best friends a girl could ask for.. but the last year has been incredible! From riding mechanical bulls at country concerts to taking the least intellectually stimulating (yet the most rewarding) class to dancing on benches at my Friday night hot spot and crushing every themed party to competing in drinking competitions in leopard print onesies.. and waking up and doing it all over again!



21 was a great year. I can't say that enough. Yes, there were some ups and downs. The fights, the drama, a lot of computer troubles (can I PLEASE get a new laptop for this birthday!?!), some loss, and some troubles - but overall, you take everything with the good and the bad, and it was a year to remember.

So, here's to 22! I hear it's miserable and magical at the same time!

Image Map

July 08, 2016

July Goals

Holy hell, how is it possibly July already? I feel like every month I say that, but really.. how is it July already?!! This month will be a fairly exciting one because it's my birthday month! Yep, in a little over two weeks, I'll be turning 22. Cue all the Taylor Swift references, sorry but I'm not sorry, I've been waiting for this! Plus, there's the whole "still settling in" thing going on. It's gonna be a crazy month, but I'm ready to get started! Ready to see my July goals?


July 01, 2016

Seas the Day: 7 Things To Do In The Water This Summer


As you know, I grew up by the water and I've spent my entire life close to the ocean. I'm not a huge swimmer, not that into fishing and not a professional boater by any means, but the sea and the water still means something so so special to me.

When I was leaving for university, one of the biggest things that attracted me to Connecticut was the fact that it was on the coastline and there was access to the water. And while the New England beaches had nothing on the Caribbean, it still made me feel at home.

Now that I'm home for the summer, the first thing I wanted to do was spend time in the ocean. Hello, it's summer! 90-degree weather, shining sun and surrounded by my family and friends, what else could I possibly want?! And so many of my friends from university tell me the same thing: all they want to do this summer is lay out by the water, tan, and spend time with their loved ones.

June 28, 2016

Things Every Good Blog Should Have

I've been doing this blogging thing for a little over three years now, crazy huh? And while I've taken my fair share of blogging breaks and hiatuses, I've learned a thing or two in the process. But less as a blogger and more as a blog reader. Even on my most extended breaks, I've always continuously and regularly read my favorite blogs, and still scrolled through Pinterest and Facebook clicking on new posts that caught my eye.

But so many times I find even some of my favorite blogs commit these blogging faux-pas, and I've been noticing the same mistakes being "committed" over and over again, by newbies and professionals alike! So I rounded up a list of ten mistakes that I've seen being made and then wrote this post of things that every blog should have (and most definitely needs!). Is your blog guilty of making these same mistakes?

must-haves for every blog!

June 22, 2016

San Juan Sun


A few months ago, my best friends and I escaped for a fun-filled Spring Break trip to Puerto Rico. If you've been around for a while, you'll already know that going on a "real" Spring Break trip was on my 101 in 1001 list, so I was so excited that we got to cross it off.


While we were there, we got to explore the entire country, because my best friend Kasie actually spent part of her childhood growing up in Puerto Rico, so she knew where to go and what to see. We really tried to avoid the "tourist" spots, partying with the locals - including me having an impromptu performance of "Don't Stop Believin'" in front of an entire bar.. the motto was YOSBO (you only Spring Break once).

We actually didn't stay in San Juan like most people do, but we stayed on the West coast in RincΓ³n, a very beachy-surfer town, and it was the CUTEST! We did, however, venture into San Juan for two days of our trip: one, to explore Old San Juan, and the other to visit Al Junque and to stay in a resort before our flight the next morning.


This was March, so remember Connecticut was freezing when we left, so I embraced every second of the San Juan sun while we were there, using it as an excuse to break out my summer wardrobe.


As you know, I live in Trinidad and Tobago, so "summer" for me doesn't exist, because like Puerto Rico, it's summer year-round. So I knew for this trip, and to accommodate for the heat we were about to face, I would need to pack thin layers, linens, fundamentals and tons of hats and sunglasses to protect my face from the bright sunshine. 


That meant picking up a floppy beach hat before my trip, and because I had little to no summer clothing packed with me in Connecticut, I needed to go shopping. But once again, I was ballin' on a budget, and I knew that the likelihood of me losing this hat on this trip was incredibly high (I'm a mess, guys!), I hit my go-to budget-friendly store, Forever 21 to pick one up. 

 

For Old San Juan, I knew I was facing the beautiful cobblestone streets and tons of walking, so I made sure to pick my comfiest (and favorite) sandals, my Jacks! And with the colorful buildings and walls I was gonna be finding, I opted for a more neutral look: navy and white stripes, because you can never go wrong with stripes!


Add a pop of color with my crossbody, and tons of laughs with my best friends and it was hands down my favorite trip! I'll definitely be sharing more photos with you soon, of all the cool places we went to! Let's just say I want to go back! 


-- 

SHOP THIS POST:
striped tank: Banana Republic (old); similar | shorts: Banana Republic (old); similar
sandals: Jack Rogers 'Hampton' sandal in Platinum | crossbody: Tory Burch (old); similar
sunglasses: Ray-Ban (currently on MAJOR sale at Amuze!) | hat: Forever 21

Image Map