Hey y’all, happy Friday! I know Fridays don’t have the same ring as they did pre-Covid, but I hope that you’re still enjoying your weekends. There’s something about the slower-paced weekend mornings that still feel special to me and I’m always happy to see a Friday 🙂
Since this is a longer post, I’ll get right into it! From life hacks to what I use to fuel my body, here is May’s Friday Five. Don’t forget you can always catch up on past Friday Fives with this link.
Top Five Life Hacks
This topic intimidated me at first but, the more I thought about it, the more I felt like the ones I came up with are pretty fun and helpful! Though I did think of several other hacks [maybe a post for another day?], these were five that I use most often, or for the longest amount of time, and feel like most people would benefit from. I’ve gotta hear yours though, so please share in the comments!
spray a few sprays of your favorite perfume into your handheld steamer
For years I used to spray perfume on to my clothes but after a few issues with the product spotting on delicate items, I stopped. I later heard of this technique, and it works like a charm! Just spray a couple of pumps of your favorite perfume right into the water canal of the steamer before steaming and voila! Good smelling clothes in an instant. This is also a great travel hack if your clothes had been in a suitcase and need a fresh spritz before wear. PRO TIP: Don’t let the perfumed water SIT in the water chamber. Make sure you either steam enough clothes to use up the water OR make sure you dump the water out after you’re done with the steamer, otherwise, the water will smell a bit stale the next time you steam clothes.
reuse empty candle holders
If you have a candle with a sleek label and finish, don’t toss it after it’s burned through. Instead, clean it out [here are good instructions]. I love re-using mine as a holder for lip gloss, makeup brushes, q-tips or anything that you’d usually buy a canister for. This tip actually reminds me that I need to do that around our flat. I left all of mine in Florida and I think John would appreciate if I put a couple of the coffee mugs back as mascara and lipgloss holders, hah! Diptyque candles are the perfect shape, in my opinion, and I love the label. I’ll share some other favorites for y’all here:
safety pin tie trick
This one I may have to show you on IG stories. But, I’ll try and explain it here. So, if a tie comes out of a pair of pants, like a pair of sweatpants, simply pin a safety pin at one end of the tie and use it as a guide as you lace it back into the pair of pants. The bigger the safety pin, the easier it is to do this, and it truly works like a charm!
use sunglasses as a phone holder
I discovered this earlier this year when I got really into watching YouTube videos on my phone before eventually graduating to my iPad. The images will explain but basically you can prop your phone up on your sunglasses to go hands free when watching something on your phone. This only goes for watching something horizontally and make sure it’s a sturdy pair of glasses; it won’t work on a flimsy pair.
cut a TP roll
This one is super easy. It’s not the prettiest way to keep your wrapping paper rolls tidy but, it does the trick! Simply cut open a toilet paper roll and cuff it around a used wrapping paper roll to keep it from unraveling!5`
Five Things I Need to Fuel My Body
I absolutely loved this topic for this month’s Friday Five! I’m learning to think of food more as fuel for my body vs. good or bad, and I thought it was interesting to think of other items I use as fuel other than caffeine [though coffee is, of course, on the list!].
You girls have definitely seen me talk about my Ritual vitamins before. Thinking about it now, I’ve actually been taking them for about a year now. I love the peace of mind knowing that I’m getting my healthy dose of certain vitamins, especially something like Vitamin D3 and iron, which many people lack. They are vegan and lack synthetic dyes and colorants, which is always a good things. And, for me, these are one of the only vitamins that don’t make me feel nauseous after taking, which I appreciate. I take these first thing in the A.M. and I love that they don’t need to be taken with food because I’m not always hungry first thing in the morning. Enjoy 10% off your first three months with code HALEY.
As you’ve likely seen on Stories or on the blog [like in 10 Favorites Getting me Through Lockdown], CBD is a regular part of my life. I started taking Equilibria’s soft gels over the last six months or so and can honestly say I’ve noticed a major shift. The formula helps me when I’m feeling overwhelmed or anxious and I notice that starting my morning with them puts me at ease throughout the rest of the day. That’s not to say I never feel anxious or overwhelmed, because I do, but much less so than without the CBD, and I also have the liquid drops if I need to take those for extra support. I take these right after I eat breakfast and definitely notice if I forget it. If y’all want to try, enjoy 15% off your first order from Equilibria with code ALYSONHALEY. Also, I did a little Q&A about my experience and about the product and it’s saved to my Instagram highlights under ‘CBD’.
1mL vitamin B12 liquid
This is the newest product in my daily lineup and I mainly take it as an energy source. I’ve struggled with low energy and iron levels my whole life [most of my family has as well], and B12 is a natural source of energy. My friend, Jenna, talked about this liquid vitamin B12 that she’s taking in place of the B12 shots she would get. I thought I might as well give it a try and see if it gave me a little extra boost. If you’re in the UK, I would recommend buying it HERE, instead.
Obviously! Whether it’s my iced honey latte or popping in a Nespresso pod, I truly look forward to my cup of caffeine a day. Not going to lie, I’m counting down the days until a more skilled barista can whip up something yummy and I can enjoy it in a coffee shop, but I do really love my at-home situation. For more on my Coffee Essentials, click here.
I feel like I have a daily goal to ‘drink more water’ but most days I’m pretty good about it! I always, always have a reusable water bottle going and this seems to help my consumption. I also try to remember to start my day with chugging a big glass before having coffee and the same thing before bed.
Five Things I Do to Save Money
This is such a great question, especially during these times! I do feel pretty confident in my saving skills and what I’ve picked up over the years so, I am happy to share a few tips. Honestly, I find that pretty basic, small things add up, so it’s not always as overwhelming as it seems.
Cancel unnecessary debits
Every month or two, as you’re going through your accounts [something I suggest in general!], play close attention to all the recurring charges you may have forgotten about. Things like subscription services, online workout memberships, home maintenance services, etc. and cancel anything that’s no longer serving you or no longer relevant. You can always add it back on when you’re in less of a budget crunch, too, if you’re on the fence.
I’m actually pretty upset with myself that I put this off for so long because I’m usually on top of it. But when I went to do this recently, there were a bunch of charges that I completely forgot about! Between the move and lockdown, I simply forgot and I’m so glad I cleaned this up last week.
Automatic transfer to savings each month
This is a bit different for me since I don’t have a traditional paycheck or payday but I have a date a month where money transfers automatically to my savings from my checking. If you do have more of a traditional payday, I suggest making the transfer date the same day you get paid. This way, you never actually see that ‘savings money’ and it only hits your checking account for less than a day. By automatically putting a percent in your savings account, you’re setting yourself up for success without it feeling like a monthly chore. The percentage will depend on the rest of your money situation but even a small amount is better than nothing! Then see if every 6 months or so, you can increase the amount.
Make coffee at home MOST days
Notice the MOST days? Ha! That’s been a lot easier during lockdown, that’s for sure. A $5 latte every single day adds up so unless it’s truly your favorite thing int he world, I suggest making coffee at home. I like to treat myself to a barista drink 1x a week during normal living situations.
Refrain from buying bottled water
Similar to coffee, grabbing an overpriced water bottle often adds up. Plus, it’s bad for the environment. I try to carry my reusable water bottle whenever I leave the house and always have an extra stashed in the car in case I forget.
Make your own sauces at home
John takes care of this for me but instead of buying spaghetti sauce or tzatziki dip, we just make it! It’s cheaper and a lot healthier for you, too. If y’all have specific requests for a sauce, I’ll see if he can do a quick IGTV or something like that soon so just let us know.
Five Reusable Products I’m Loving
As I’ve mentioned over the last year, living a more sustainable life is important to me and a goal for 2020. Here are five products helping me to minimize single-use plastic …
These cotton rounds are newer to me and I’m glad I’ve made the switch from disposable cotton pads. I use these for taking off my makeup and they save SO many cotton pads since they’re a daily use. They’re super soft and wash well in the washing machine. I share more about them in THIS YouTube video.
I’ll admit, these are a bit of an investment into living a more sustainable life. Disposable Ziplock bags are cheap and easy – and when you compare prices, I know it can be a tough pill to swallow. That being said, these Stasher bags are something we use every. single. day. around here and have incredible lasting power. They’re known for their quality and should honestly be able to last you years. When you think about how often you use them and how much better they are for the planet, they make sense to me.
Reusable Glass Tumbler
I bought this glass tumbler before moving and sadly had to leave it behind for a later move date and then, you know … #covid happened. I feel like that’s true for so many things I use all the time and love but, it’s just the nature of my life right now. It’s sadly not something I could find on the UK Amazon but it is something I was using a ton and highly recommend! It’s glass so it’s eco-friendly, washes well and comes in a variety of colors, too!
Organic Cotton Produce Bags
Along with your face mask, don’t forget to bring these produce bags along to the grocery store with you as a way to reduce needless single use plastic use. In Florida, I would put two of these in my reusable grocery bag to be sure I didn’t forget them! But, honestly, I haven’t forgotten the one we have a couple of times, and I just throw the vegetables in without plastic bags. [They actually don’t have plastic bags as an option for fruit and veg here, anyway] They’ll be fine. I’ve never had any vegetables make a mess of everything else I’ve purchased because they weren’t in a plastic bag.
Five Summer Bucket List Items
First off, I should note that this ‘bucket list’ looks a lot different than my usual Summer bucket list, ha! You’ll notice that instead of traveling or fun events, it’s a list of basic yet intentional items. This summer’s wishlist is going to be some very ‘simple’ life luxuries I used to take for granted and that I’m hoping we’re lucky enough to get to soon …
Moving closer to London
Gosh, this is the source of the anxiety and frustration during lockdown. I realize that this doesn’t seem like something that would be ‘necessary’, especially right now, but it actually is something that needs to happen within the next month or two and I’ll explain why eventually. But, we realistically shouldn’t make any decisions on a place until John goes back to work. [He was furloughed at the beginning of April until further notice. His company is getting things in place to start trading again but they think it’ll be a ‘few more weeks’.] We feel like the ground is so unstable right now for a lot of reasons. I am hopeful we will be able to make some decisions soon. I just hope that, with the opening up of the UK economy, people will be smart so we can keep transmission down as much as possible. I I’ll definitely keep y’all posted on our progress and y’all can read more about our dream neighborhoods in this post, although we’re starting to think it might be more sensible to put that dream neighborhood on the back burner for awhile. We honestly just wish we didn’t have a need to move right now as it’s really not an ideal time but, sadly, we do at the moment. More to come on that..
Moving the boys to the UK
I feel like a broken record at this point but my boys, aka my dogs, are still back in the US and we’re unable to get them to us for a few reasons. You can read more about that situation in this FAQ post but I cannot wait to reunite with them!
Get a pedicure
Simple life luxuries are high on my list, a pedicure being at the top. I honestly can’t even remember what my nails looked like when they were touched by a professional and I will not be taking those men and women for granted ever again! Anyone else?
Meet up with friends in a safe way
I literally moved to the UK in March thinking it’s going to be so great to meet up with my London loves and … yeah. That hasn’t happened, ha! For good reason, of course. I’m all about being safe. But, now that lockdown has lasted two months, I am seriously itching for social interaction. Thankful for John, of course. He’s the best and the source of so much fun and laughter during this time but, I miss my friends, you know? Anyone else SO thirsty for plans that involve going somewhere other than the grocery store?
Celebrate our 1-year anniversary somewhere other than our living room
Ha, I need to preface this one by saying … it truly isn’t about where you are, but who you’re with BUT, being that we have been a long-distance couple for almost a year prior to me moving here a couple of months ago, our one-year anniversary was something we were really looking forward to going out and celebrating big! John felt terrible that we couldn’t be together on Valentine’s Day or my birthday in February because of the visa waiting game so, he really wanted to do something super special for it. Lockdown vetoed any ideas or plans he may have had and that is a bummer because, I think if I’m really honest, yeah! I really wanted to make something of it, especially in my favorite place and with my favorite person. During this time, it’s so important to count your wins and not your losses. So, I realize that even being able to BE with John in person, no matter where we are celebrating, is a huge win so please don’t think either of us lost sleep over not being able to go out, ha! But, I do think it’s something we will try and do when it’s safe later in the year!
OK friends, between this post and yesterday’s FAQ post, my hands are toast from typing. I hope you guys enjoy these longer-form articles as I truly enjoy writing them but I’d love to know in the comments … do y’all read through these or like articles that are quick and easy to scan better? Thank you so much for the feedback and for being here. Enjoy your weekend, wherever you’re reading this from! xo.