July 16, 2018

Fabulous Friendships: Are You The Best Friend You Can Be?

Friendships and human connections really are the most important things in the world. You could have the most amazing job, tons of money, lots of great possessions and every material thing you ever wanted, but without the right people around you you’ll be lonely and never experience life’s true potential. Having friends gives you security, a support network you can fall back on, they introduce you to new things, places and experiences. When you’re on your deathbed, it’s not the hours you worked or the money you earned that will mean something to you- instead it will be all about the friends, family and connections with people that you had. But what makes a good friend? Here are a few examples.

Be Trustworthy
Trust is everything in friendship. When a friend tells you something in confidence, it should go no further. It should be told to another friend, your partner or anyone else. Being someone that your friend trusts and can confide in creates a special bond between you. Having someone you can truly trust, open up to and be vulnerable to knowing there will be no judgement is incredibly special too.

Celebrate Their Successes
Lots of people can get a case of the ‘green eyed monster’ even when it comes to their friends. Watching those close to us get promoted, get married, buy a house, go on fancy holidays and doing all of the things that we want to do can cause some degree of envy. However, it’s so important to remember that others successes won’t inhibit your own. As a true friend, you should truly be happy for all that your friend is achieving and celebrate their successes with them. Go on a night out to celebrate, purchase them a little gift- something from John Henric would be good for guys who are notoriously difficult to buy for. At the very least, get them a card and write a note explaining why you’re proud of them. The little things really do matter.

Be Reliable

We all lead busy lives, and finding the time to socialize and see friends can sometimes be tricky. Every now and then, we all need to bail on plans because something else came up which is unfortunate but one of those things. However, if you’re constantly making, changing and breaking plans then what you’re doing is showing your friends you’re unreliable. Unless it genuinely can’t be helped then show up and be there for those you care about. Sometimes being a good friend means doing the kinds of jobs you’d rather not do, like picking them up from the airport at 3am, helping them move house on a scorching summer’s day or looking after their pets and/or children when they’ve no one else to help. But these acts of kindness are what shows you’re a reliable friend and lets face it, when we’re in a tough spot it’s nice to know that we have someone there willing to do the same for us.

 *This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

July 12, 2018

6 Things Every Single Girl Should Enjoy About The Experience

Getting married and having kids are things on the agenda for a lot of women. And, for many single women that are looking to start a family, the sooner the better. Time waits for no person is a mantra which constantly taps the back of the brain. Find a partner, fall in love, and settle down. Well, it will happen soon enough, but for now, you’re single and it can be quite enjoyable.

Believe it or not, there are pros to being alone. Sure, during the holiday season such as Christmas the urge to find a soul mate can get stronger. However, this is one period every twelve months. During the rest of the year, single people are free to do whatever they want without the restrictions of a ball and chain. Some people never get the flexibility to do them, which is why it’s wrong not to try and enjoy the single journey.

With that in mind, this post has put together a list of six things that everyone in the same boat should attempt. Not all of them will appeal to you, so pick the ones which do and focus your energy on them. Here are six things every single girl should enjoy about the experience.

Play The Field

Dating is scary, awkward and unpredictable. First dates may not last longer than thirty minutes, or they may go on into the night. Still, nothing is guaranteed in the dating world. Someone who has been speaking to you for three months may suddenly disappear into the night without warning. Ghosting is a real thing and it sucks. Navigating the minefield takes time, patience and a whole lot of courage.

There is a positive side of playing the field, though. There is the excitement of meeting a guy and finding common ground. There are the moments when you laugh and joke and fall head over heels. Or, there are the first kisses and the third date coffees and the initial honeymoon period. Most importantly, there is the freedom to meet new people and test the waters.

Playing the field is something single women need to do for their sake. Being alone can be hard, which is why there is no point drowning in self-pity. Get out there and date says Glamour. Dance the night away, drink until three in the am, or share a desert in a candlelit restaurant. Enjoy what the realm of dating has to offer because everything changes when you are a part of a couple.

Take A Trip
Regular readers will know that traveling is a big part of this blog, so this blatant plug shouldn’t come as a surprise. Any excuse to get out into the world and to experience new customs and cultures. For single women, an extended vacation represents the great things about the lifestyle. Do you fancy a holiday in the sun, one booked on a whim? No problemo because there is no one to convince but yourself. Hubby doesn’t need time off work and the kids don’t have to miss school. Plus, there is usually plenty of money for the budget because there’s one person to please.

Aside from the freedom, there is an element of reconnecting. Couples put their relationship above all others. Friends and family members don’t get shunned but they take a backseat. And, there is nothing wrong with this because a partner is the most important person in the world. Still, it’s nice to reconnect and bridge the gap when you do have “me” time. Taking a trip with a friend, or a group of them should help you bond again.

Best friends are always close, but a trip to Germany or the Caribbean will tighten those links.

Spend Time With Married Friends
The idea of spending a weekend away with a married couple is a little over-the-top. Sure, you love your buddies but there is no need to be in such close quarters for three days. In the end, someone may end up falling out or arguing or feeling uncomfortable. It’s the last thing any single person wants to do with their precious free-time. However, there is a method to the madness.

Unattached people tend to romanticize a relationship. They buy into the Hollywood version of plenty of sex and cuddles and gazing into each others’ eyes lovingly. In the beginning, the movie version of being in a couple is true to some degree. But, it changes over time as the lust wears off and the love settles in. As a singleton, seeing how this manifests itself is a smart move. People argue while others bicker and some lose all interest.

From your perspective, watching this live in color may make your love your life more. The thought of being one of these couples at this stage in your life could encourage you to seize the moment. Also, when Mr Right does appear, you can use the experience to avoid the common pitfalls. Think of it a recon mission.

Invest In Health And Fitness

“One body to rule them all.” If Lord of the Rings were about well-being, this would have been the tagline to the movie. After all, there are no second chances once the body you have starts to decline. The only option is to lead a healthy lifestyle and maintain a strong attachment to health and fitness. As dull as it sounds, it will pay dividends in the long-term when you’re middle-aged and look thirty.

Attached people get into a rut because they are comfortable. Working out isn’t as necessary when the person you’re with loves you regardless. There is no motivation to hit the gym and lose the puppy fat. If anything, couples are as inclined to put on weight rather than shed the pounds. Attracting a partner isn’t straightforward because of the level of competition, so investing in exercise can turn heads. Moms into Fitness has a range of routines for women who are self-conscious and busy at the same time.

What’s great about being a singleton is the lack of pressure. There are no other bad habits in your life encouraging you to fall off of the path. All that exists is what you include in your lifestyle. Stick to a healthy routine, then, and you’ll be in the best shape of your life. Plus, you’ll be happier than ever too.

Meet New People
The aim of your game may be to find a life partner, but socializing isn’t solely about tying someone down. It is possible for men and women to have a conversation without the specter of sexual tension filling the room. As crazy and modern as the theory sounds, opposite genders can be friends. And, buddies are what you need at this juncture in your life.

As positive as this post has been so far, single life can be lonely. Plenty of women start to feel sorry for themselves and get lost in their emotions. Sitting at home eating ice-cream becomes the norm rather than the anomaly which proves the rule. Talking to strangers and getting to know new people is an excellent way to get out of a funk. To begin with, it helps you forget about being single and alone. Also, it shatters those emotions because you aren’t lonely any longer. There are people all around who love you.

Finally, finding a partner is a numbers game. By socializing with different groups, there is a good chance that you’ll come across the man of your dreams. And, because it comes out of the blue, the feelings are heightened and the experience better than you could have imagined.

Find Oneself
The heading alone evokes feelings of pretension. Isn’t finding oneself something which yogi instructors do in the depths of India? No thank you; it’s not for moi. You don’t need to find yourself – you need to locate the person who is going to stay with you forever. There is no point in wasting time doing anything else.

As it happens, there is because learning about numero uno is a fantastic way to trace Mr Right. Self-reflection is an effective way to learn about your flaws. Everyone has them, but no one likes to focus on them because it makes people anxious. A truly happy person is one who crushes toxic habits which get in the way of life. Lifehack has a list of five that you should look out for and how to break them. When there are only pros, no one will be able to see the cons. If they do, they will pale in comparison.

Analyzing your personality isn’t about other people. It’s about you and what you are willing to accept. Think about the concept of a type. Everyone thinks they have one, yet it can change over time. The bad boy who was appealing the past isn’t the man for the job now when you’re older and more mature. Delving into your mind will reveal what you want in a bf, fianc├ę or husband.

Do you think you can enjoy the single experience?

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

The Importance Of A Bit Of You Time

How many times do you sit each day, and think of yourself? How many times do you think, ‘I’d love to do that’, but not actually go an do it? If you think about it, our lives are so focused on other aspects of reality. Whether it be pleasing our family, friends, people are work, just anyone who we think might need our help, we seem to be thinking about them. By doing this, we’re constantly losing sight of our own personality, and who we should be as a person. The lack of you time is really going to be damaging to your mental health believe it or not. It can be so frustrating wishing you had more time to do certain things, but not doing them because you’re being revolving your life around other things. This frustration can then lead to anger, and anger can lead to depression. So, for once, we’re going to urge you to focus on you, and find ways that you can have a bit of your time. In this article we have some great suggestions on how you can escape reality and find yourself, and why it’s so important to do that every so often.

What It Can Do To You Mentally

You might feel as though you’ve got the weight of the world on your shoulders at the minute. As we’ve already said, we find ourselves so bogged down with other people's problems, and trying to please other people, that our minds can so easily become clogged up mentally. When all you’re thinking about is issues, and other people, it can so easily lead to stress or anger. Sometimes, it’s just important to be a little bit selfish, and start thinking of yourself more than you think of other people. Mentally, dedicating a bit more time to you can work wonders. For one, that pressure that you’re probably feeling will be lifted, even if it’s just temporarily. It allows you to clear your mind, and think about the things that you want to think about. It can often help you process anything that you’ve been struggling to deal with for a while as well. Take falling out with a friend as an example. It happens. We’re all human. But if you were close to this friend, losing them is obviously going to weigh you down emotionally. However, if you’re always so focused on the rest of your life, you won’t have time to actually process the emotions, and even work out a solution. This applies to anything in life. If you give your brain just a chance to digest, you might be able to come up with solutions that you never thought would have been possible. It can just make you so much more mentally free, allowing you to feel more calm and relaxed on a daily basis. You might not like your own company to begin with, but once you start to get used to it, your own company might be all that you want!

What It Can Do To You Physically
If you’re always stressing, rushing around, doing things for other people, you’re going to become exhausted physically. For some people, it’s just something they learn to put up with, but for you, it’s what we want to change. If you’re not having any down time, your body is going to be in a constant state of alert. It’ll always be wondering what it can do next, because those are the thoughts that are going through your brain. This is obviously going to lead to exhaustion, yet because your mind is racing, you might not be able to sleep so well! So, if you’re looking for some time to relax, having time to yourself might be the option for you. It’ll fill you with energy, and it can improve your health overall. If you’re in a constant state of stress and urgency, you aren’t giving your body time to rest and recover, even when you’re asleep. You’ll find that you’ll have broken sleep, which can lead to a drop in your immune system function, which will lead to a rise in the frequency of things such as the common cold that you might be having.

Dedicating Some Time
So, if you’re someone who is always busy, how do you think you’re going to be able to dedicate some time to yourself? Well, in the beginning, you might not actually like your own company. People who are always on the car report feeling annoyed and bored when spending time alone. But, it’s this time alone that you will soon come to value. To begin with, you should start dedicating one full night a week to yourself. It doesn’t matter what you’re going to be doing, you could be doing nothing at all! But, by dedicating some time to yourself, you’re getting yourself out of the cycle of always being busy, and always feeling stressed. Then you can start finding some hobbies that interest you. One thing a lot of people like doing is reading, writing, or getting creative. If you take a look at Jofelo, you’ll be able to find some beautiful leather hardback books, that would be absolutely perfect for starting a journal with. Sometimes, getting your thoughts down onto paper is the best way of clearing your mind. Something you also might find therapeutic is scrap-booking. It allows you to put down all of the memories you’ve made over the years, and gives you something to reflect on!

Getting The Balance Right

You really do have to get the balance right. You don’t want a bit of you time to turn into only you time. It’s so easy to get lonely as we get older, so sometimes the rush of our lives is the only thing that’s going to keep us out of the house and busy. You should always be finding ways to interact with friends, or even family, as long as it’s keeping you out of the house. But again, you don’t want you time to be once a month. If you really want to feel the benefits you have to be dedicating a night a week to yourself at least!

 *This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

July 3, 2018

Teaching Morals With A Little Bit Of Style

Psychologists and behavioral scientists have examined the human quality of morals for a long time. Fortunately for them, some of the greatest minds in the ancient world had already done a lot of the philosophical legwork for them such as Socrates and Plato.

As parents, it's our job to pass down some of the good virtues that we have and allow children to understand why morals are important. ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ is the classic saying that has been passed down from generation to generation. That’s all well and good but such as important point should not be limited to just a simple phrase. The battle between good and evil is within us all, and parents need to be aware that teaching the proper ways to live is going to require some new school and old school teaching methods.


Myths and Tales 

The ancient Greeks were magnificent at telling stories that had powerful meanings; we all know about the classical Greek tragedy plays. However, they had stories of kings that turned into paupers, and homeless characters that become famous for the strength of their character. If you have children going through a phase whereby their first romance has taken over their lives, you could teach them about Romeo and Juliet as well as Helen of Troy. Helen was a beautiful woman but she betrayed her husband for lust.

Her husband didn’t think that perhaps she wasn’t good for him anyway but started a war to get his wife back. So many people died including her husband who led his kingdom into ruin. This is a tale about what happens to both sexes when they choose lust over sense, they can end up losing everything. Romeo and Juliet is great for young girls in a similar situation. Rather than taking it slow as to get to know the boy, Juliet runs after Romeo purely for young love which amounted to lust also. In the end, she ruined her life and ended it all over a boy she had known for less than a week.

Stopping Evil From Spreading 

Children learn so much from online social media, especially video sharing platforms. They also learn a lot from video games as this is a way to play the key role in a story and also directly affect the outcome. Multiplayer games that have a story about good versus evil and why stopping it from spreading matters, should be engaged by parents and children. If you care to download Final Fantasy mobile app, the epic battle of a kingdom trying to stop evil and chaos from entering and hurting the people and structure of society can be experienced. A prince is trying to reclaim what should be his and tries to keep the forces that want to rule the world through force, violence and abolish laws, stand in his way. Parents and children can interact and help each other.

Granted this is a new way of teaching morals but chances are it might be more successful in this day and age where children are online all the time, Morals can and should be taught with a little style. Just sitting down and reading can become boring. You have to articulate, do the voices of characters, raise your voice when action happens and explain the ills of misjudgment in a shallow tone. Play around with games that could also be great teaching tools as children may learn better if you teamed up in a virtual world.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

July 2, 2018

Why You Need To Boost Your Well Being (Plus 10 Ways To Do It)

When you think about living your best life, what do you tend to find yourself thinking about? If you’re someone that tends to focus on being happy, then you’re definitely on the right path. But sometimes, that’s not enough. When you want to live life to the fullest, really feel joy, and live abundantly, you have to really work in your well-being too. Because when you think about it, if you’re not feeling your best, then you won’t always be happy. It’s just how things go! So it’s definitely important to make sure that you’re focusing on your well-being and not just trying to be happy. Because when you do this, you’ll find that you end up being happy anyway! So, let’s break this all down.

First of all, you may be wondering exactly what ‘well-being' is. Typically, it’s defined as;

‘the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy’

As you can see, it definitely involves being happy. But at the same time, it incorporates your health too. When you’re able to balance out the two, you should find that you’re comfortable throughout your life. Whether you- want to be able to follow your dreams or just live in a state of joy, focusing on your well-being can help you. When you’re happy and healthy, then you’re going to be in the best possible position to make the most of your life and enjoy it.

Now you know why you need to boost your well-being, and now we’re going to look at ten ways that you can do this.

1. Get Some Sleep
The most important thing you can do is make sure that you’re getting enough sleep. This is something that is largely underrated. But when we sleep, our bodies heal and repair. So if you want to make sure that you’re energized and feeling great, you need to make sure that you get into a good sleep habit. Hit the sheets early and set an early alarm. It may take a while for your body to get into a rhythm of this, but you will feel amazing when you do it.

2. Prioritize Relaxation
As a step on from that, you do also need to make sure that you’re focusing on relaxation too. If you have no idea how to relax, these suggestions at University of Michigan’s Michigan Medicine are great. If you can switch your mind off and relax your body, it will help you to feel so much better in yourself.

3. Eat Well
From here, you then need to make sure that you’re eating as well as possible. Eating healthier can be really enjoyable. Slow down and take your time to pick out nourishing and healthy ingredients. These are the foods that are going to nourish your body and help you to feel energized and healthy. This step really can make the biggest difference to how you feel.

4. Exercise
At the same time, you will want to make sure that you’re exercising too. As much as your healthy diet can work wonders for your mind and body, there’s nothing quite like the calming and happiness boosting effects of exercise on your body. Whether you run, swim, play sport, hit the gym, or take a class, you will find that exercise helps your to de-stress, clear your mind, and feel strong too.

5. Pamper Yourself
Next up is something fun! Because as much as pampering may feel as if its a pleasure, it’s also great for your well-being. When you focus on your skincare, beauty, and relaxation, you are really calming your mind and looking after yourself. So always make time to have a relaxing bath and give your body a bit of a pamper.

6. Relax Your Muscles
It’s also easy to see massage therapy as a pleasure. But really, it’s just a necessity. Because when your body is all worked up, it’s not healthy. So take a look at services at Chantal Milot RMt and Associates and local practices to see what will work for you. When you opt for deep tissue massage, it could really release your toxins and the stresses held in your body. And this will help you to feel better overall.

7. Plan Beauty Treatments
As a step on from that, there’s beauty treatments. When you feel good in yourself, you’ll be at your best. So it’s definitely important to make sure that you’re planning in beauty treatments to make you feel great. Whether this is a facial to improve your skin or semi-permanent makeup, if it makes you feel good then you’re doing the best for your well-being.

8. Avoid Stress
One of the most important things for you to do is to make sure that you’re avoiding stress as much as possible. You know that stress is bad, but do you know how much stress affects your health? It an not only cause pain mentally, but it can damage your body physically too. So if anything is stressing you out in life, it’s time to walk away from it.

9. Go On Regular Vacations
And something fun - you're going to want to make sure that you’re taking vacations too. No buts! Don’t say that you’re too busy or you can’t afford it. You just need to change your priorities if this is the case. There are so many health benefits of vacations, you can see the benefits at Health Net if you’re not sure. So make sure that you’re allocating that time to let yourself get on track and get into the best well-being state again.

10. Be Happy With Your Choices
Finally, you’re also going to want to make sure that you’re really happy with where you are in life right now. If you’re someone that feels that you’re on the right path, then it will affect your well-being. Make sure that you’re in the right job, the right relationship, that you surround yourself with positive people, and that you’re generally living the life that you want. When you do, you will find that you’re able to boost your well-being like never before.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

June 29, 2018

3 Little-Known European Cities You Don't Want To Overlook

If you’re considering a European city break, there’s a few “usual suspects” that you’ve probably thought about. London, Paris, Berlin, Rome; they’re the classics. As wonderful as the above cities are, perhaps you’d prefer to do something a little differently. If so, then these three incredible cities are sure to offer the unique city break experience you have been hoping for…

Glasgow, Scotland
Glasgow is not a typical city break destination, but there’s plenty to ensure Scotland’s second city is well worth a look. With highlights including the Gallery of Modern Art and Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow is the perfect choice for art-loving culture vultures. As an added bonus, the famous Loch Lomond is less than an hour away, making it easily reachable even over the shortened duration of a city break.

Helsinki, Finland
Finland’s capital offers a range of incredible experiences that make it a more-than-suitable destination for a city break. You will love exploring the the stunning Helsinki Cathedral, while history fans will delight in a day-trip to the nearby well-preserved fortress of Suomenlinna.

Dubrovnik, Croatia
Dubrovnik is one of Europe’s hidden gems; a city rich in history, architecture, and culture that you won’t want to miss. As well as the stunning cityscape, Dubrovnik also provides awe-inspiring, unforgettable coastal views over the Adriatic Sea that are the icing on the cake of a stunning city break. Given the beauty of Dubrovnik alone, it’s no surprise that Croatia alone is, as this infographic shows, one of the most popular countries for tourism in Europe…

Infographic Design By Croatia Tours, Holidays and Travel Experts

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

June 25, 2018

Four Ways You Could Be Guided In Life And Not Even Realise It

I think we all like to believe that we make our life choices and are guided in life by making decisions on a day to day basis. Of course, that is true. You wouldn’t do anything in life unless you had to or wanted to and you make a conscious decision to do it. However, there are ways that you could be guided in life and not even realize it. I thought I would share with you five of those ways and perhaps you may find some of them relate to you.

The law of attraction
Have you ever heard of the law of attraction? This is when you think what you want from your life and your thoughts become your reality. But it isn’t as simple as that. Surprisingly, you may be doing this already, but it is more to do with the belief that you have or will have something rather than just wanting it. We do this all of the time, and things like The Secret can help you to fine tune it, but you may already be doing this sub consciously. Ask yourself, have you ever had something happen that maybe a few weeks, months or even years ago you thought would or would like it to happen? Freaky but it is true.

Spotting signs in numbers
Do you find that you are presented with numbers all of the time. You wake up at the same time everyday, you notice that your favorite track as the same number sequence when played in the car, road signs, car registration plates, it could mean that you are being told something and not even realize that you are being guided in some way. There are common number sequences that have meaning, for example the number 444, according to Readings With Matt, the meaning of 444 is something to do with needing stability or that hard work is required. Maybe you need to start noticing things more and be guided in a different way perhaps?

Reading your star sign

Do you read your star sign daily or weekly? Perhaps you love to read them at new year to see what the next twelve months have in store. Believe it or not, whether you believe what you read, you may be guided by your star signs in more ways than you realize. Noticing a number they said is particular lucky that day, perhaps keeping an eye out for the next love to walk into your life. Star signs could be a great way to really understand your personality and what you want and need out of life.

Your friends and your family
Finally, you may not realize it but perhaps you listen to friends and family more than you may know. They can guide you in many ways but more often than not it is through their opinion and their advice that you may be guided to make decisions and changes in your own life. Have you ever consulted a friend or family member about something and found you really took on board what they said?

I hope that this has made you more mindful of some of the ways we can be influenced and perhaps to look out for more signs and think more differently when it comes to what we want from our furthers.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

June 21, 2018

Pack in the Fun on Your Next City Break

City breaks are a great opportunity to discover a lot of new things but often they feel like the most expensive way to travel. Large cities like London and New York, especially, can set you back a lot with flights and hotel bills before you’ve even got there.

The trick is to find ways to pack a lot into your holiday without spending too much. Adventuring on the cheap is best done when you can be more flexible with your timings but since the city destination is already set, here are a few ways to hold on to your spends when you get there.

Find Discounted Fun
Though there are plenty of ways to empty your purse within a couple of hours in the big cities, there are also plenty of free things you can do. Museums and art galleries often have free viewings you can enter as well as their featured exhibits. Similarly, there are often free events going on around the city that you can find online.

Discounted fun is also quite easy to find in the city as long as you are willing to hold out and see what is available on the day. For example, if you go to London or New York, you would be daft not to take advantage of some of the great theatre available to you. However, tickets ahead of time can be unbelievably expensive so going through a last minute website for shows in NYC is usually a better option.

If you are staying in a group, there are often group discounts you can find online or get on the day. If you are traveling alone, it might be worth asking around your hostel or hotel to see if anyone else is interested in doing the same activities as you and then getting the group discount together.

Take a Walking Tour

Walking tours are one of the best ways to get to know a new city. Not only will you get a good idea of where things are and how to navigate the streets, but you will also gain an insight into the place that you are unlikely to get anywhere else. Plus, if you choose a walking tour attached to your hostel or hotel, you will be able to meet other people which is a great advantage if you are traveling alone.

There are all kinds of walking tours available and often large cities have themed tours as well as the regular kind. These can be a lot of fun if, especially if you are particularly interested in the history of a place.

Most walking tours are free but do remember that you are obliged to give a tip at the end of the tour.

On the subject of travel, an extra little tip is to find deals on public transport. For example, you could get a day pass for any underground or tramline system there is and many cities now do mixed passes that work on buses and ferries too. Even though walking is free, finding other methods of transport is going to save your feet and your time so it’s worth planning ahead.

Eat Street Food
In any city you visit, you are guaranteed to be able to find most of the regular chain store you have in your hometown. This is not the point of going away! Instead, have a look for eateries and restaurants you can only find in that city.

Street food is another thing to try and there are often markets around selling all kinds of deliciousness. Some cities are obviously a lot better at this than others so see where the locals are eating and follow their lead. Do be wary about what you are buying and where though as you don’t want to end up with food poisoning!

Another option is to buy food from a supermarket and take a picnic to a park instead. This is a good way to get to see another side of the city you are in while keeping your food budget to a minimum.

Though cities are often more expensive to holiday in, they are also packed full of great things to do and see. Before you go, have a look at what you would most like to do and figure out a budget. You can easily find free things to do with a search on the internet but don’t forget to have a look at a map to see how you will get between your destinations.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

Grab Your Freedom And Lead A Full Life

Even though we are all technically free in our lives, it might not always feel like that. There are so many external factors that have an effect on us that can make it feel like we are restricted in how we lead our life. Once you are able to shake off the shackles of these external restrictions, you will find that you are finally able to live your life to its fullest. You will feel a lot more comfortable in your various roles, and will be able to make great progress in working towards your goals.

Ready to find more freedom? Here are ways to do so.

Solve Your Money Worries
One thing that holds back a lot of us is our poor financial situations. With little money, it can be tricky to take part in tasks and activities that can move our lives forward. Not only that, though, but a shaky financial situation can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety, which can be detrimental to anyone. There are ways to fix your finances, though. You might need to use some credit repair services or consolidate all of your loans to ease these pressures. Once you do, though, you will feel like some chains have been lifted from you!

Stay Fit And Healthy
It’s not just our finances that can hold us back in life - poor health and fitness can as well. So, it’s a good idea to try and keep on top of your health and fitness in order to successfully tackle any hurdle or challenge that comes your way with ease. It will also mean that you don’t have to worry about developing a chronic health condition that could really limit your quality of life. So, be sure to eat healthily and get plenty of exercise!

Review Your Friendships
If you have any toxic relationships or friendships in your life, you should try and distance yourself from these people. They could be having a negative effect on your life, and they might be holding you back for their own good. So, be sure to review all of your relationships and see if there are any that, deep down, you aren’t truly happy with. It’s always best to severe contact with these people and forge relationships and friendships with other individuals who really care about you and will help you achieve everything you want in life.

Push Yourself
Perhaps you are holding yourself back? Lots of us suffer with issues, such as Imposter Syndrome, that make us think that we aren’t good enough or unable to try and achieve each of our goals. If this sounds like your situation, you just need to learn to not listen to your saboteur. Keep on bigging yourself up, and you will find that you start to find the motivation to propel yourself onwards to places you never dreamed you would reach!

Once you start to follow all of these tips, you will find that you feel a lot more freedom in your life!

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

June 20, 2018

How To Go After Your Dreams And Never Apologize For Doing So

Let's face it -- we all have dreams in our lives, no matter how big or small they are. We sit, look out of the window, and think about all the things we want, and yet most of the time we'll never do anything about it because it all seems too far out of reach. But with that attitude, we'll never get anywhere in life. Just because something seems too challenging doesn't mean that it's impossible, we just need to have the right mindset and mental attitude. Another issue people have is fear - fear of failure, and that idea holds people back way before they even try. Of course, no one wants to fail -- no one wants to put themselves out there only to go home without the prize. But we'll never know if we don't try.

It's all about believing in yourself, and also putting yourself first. Going after your dreams can be considered a selfish thing, and you need to be ready for the possible backlash of it all. People will be jealous - even before you succeed they'll be jealous, because you're trying, and you're willing to do what it takes to get what you want in life, and people will envy that drive and passion. And if they do - leave them to it. You know who your true friends and family are when they stick around and support you all the way. Anyone else who doesn't do the same isn't worth your time.

Here's what you need to do.

Focus and Prioritize

First of all, you need to have something to focus your attention on. There may be a lot of things that you want to do, but know that you can't necessarily do them all at once. So think about the most important things first. For example, if you really want to be an actress and model, then you will need to know the best route to take. Going to a performing arts school is always a good idea because they will train you and teach you all of the little things that you may not have even thought about. They don't just give you the acting or modeling skills, they also teach you how to present yourself and have a successful audition or casting call.

Try and Try Again

You will receive rejection - it's normal. No matter what you're going after, you just can't always have what you want, and that sucks, but you need to learn how to pick yourself back up off the ground and keep pushing forward. If you aren't able to handle constructive criticism, then you'll end up quitting rather early on and never find the courage to try again, but that's the key. You need to learn how to brush things off, take in the criticism (when it matters), and push on, bringing the things you've learned with you so you're constantly improving as you go.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

June 13, 2018

At-Home Teeth Whitening: Does it Work?

*giveaway link at bottom of the post*

We've all done it, or at least thought about it - whitening our teeth, that is. Personally, I've tried several options - I've used the white strips (those gooey, slippery little things that never quite seemed to stay in place), the whitening toothpaste (although, I could never really tell a difference), and the whitening mouthwash to name a few. Nothing with substantial results, really.

When I was contacted by Smile Brilliant with an option to do a review, I admit, I was skeptical. Would it be like the others? Lots of hope with minimal payoff? I'd honestly never heard of an at-home professional teeth whitening system before, so I wanted to do some research first. I scoured their website. I watched YouTube videos, read tons of reviews and testimonies. After all, these are my teeth! I don't want to potentially jeopardize the health and structure just for the sake of vanity. But honestly? Everything checked out. Seriously.

The Smile Brilliant begins, at it's core, working just for you. The first thing you do is make trays that are specifically fitted to your particular set of teeth. Have you ever gotten a set of impressions done at a dentist? It's kind of like that. Your kit comes with these small containers of white and blue putty as well as two mouth trays. You mix one jar of blue putty with one jar of white putty until the colors are combined and then evenly spread it throughout the mouth tray, working as fast as possible. (Once the putty colors are combined, they begin to cure).

Once the putty is in the tray, you open your mouth and place it on your top set of teeth and gently press your teeth all the way in the putty, up to the gums, being careful not to drag your teeth or bite the tray. The tray must stay in place for three minutes to get a good impression. Once the proper amount of time has passed, gently pop the tray away from your teeth and repeat the process on your bottom teeth. Once both impressions have been made, rinse the trays for several minutes under cold water, but *do not* remove the putty from the trays. Let they trays sit for at least 30 minutes before putting them back in the pre-paid envelope to send back to Smile Brilliant.

Once you've mailed your impressions back to Smile Brilliant, their lab technicians will get to work making you your very own custom fitted trays. Once those are completed, they'll mail them back to you and you can begin your teeth whitening process.

Okay, so let's break the teeth whitening process down, step-by-step:

1. Brush teeth with water (not toothpaste, fluoride slows down the whitening process)

2. Whiten for 45 minutes-3 hours (3 hours max per day! Do not whiten overnight, it can cause extreme sensitivity)

3. Brush teeth with a non-whitening toothpaste

4. Rinse trays out with cool water

5. Desensitize for 20 minutes (do not drink or eat for 1 hour after each session)

6. Remove trays, but do not rinse your mouth or brush your teeth, just spit (leave a thin layer of desensitizing gel on your teeth)

7. Sleep! It is the best to whiten before bed so you are not introducing any staining food or drinks.
Sounds easy enough, right? The average person will need one to two weeks of daily (or every other day) applications to remove all stains from their teeth. For reference - One gel syringe holds 3-4 full applications aka enough to cover both the upper and lower teeth. I feel like this is a given but just in case I should probably mention that while you're using the Smile Brilliant system, you really need to avoid teeth staining food like coffee, wine, tea, dark colored soda, berries, red sauces, candy, beets, chocolate...basically, any foods that have the tendency to contain a lot of natural or artificial dyes in them. If they'll stain your clothes, they'll stain your teeth.

Overall thoughts? Wayyyyy worth it. I have a fair amount of teeth sensitivity so I went into the process using the desensitizing gel and I only stayed in the whitening trays for about an hour each time, but I am really pleased with the very noticeable change so far. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the gel got into the edges between my teeth and whitened them as well, but I think I need to give props to the custom whitening trays for that! I don't know anyone who wants patchy white teeth! The trays really allow the whitening gel to reach all areas of your teeth.

 don't judge, you guys!

Now For The Fun Stuff...
Smile Brilliant has graciously provided my readers with a 20% coupon code that can be used with any of their whitening systems! Use code "fashionintheforest20" (no quotes) at checkout to get your discount! 

Additionally, Smile Brilliant is giving away a $149 credit to one lucky Life Of A Lost Muse reader! The giveaway is open to USA, UK, Australia & Canadian residents. Click here to enter the giveaway! Good luck everyone!

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 Smile Brilliant sent me their at-home teeth whitening system as a PR sample in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way are influenced by Smile Brilliant.

June 8, 2018

Happy Workers Are Healthy Workers

Keeping your workers happy in your company might seem like a tall order to complete. However, your workers aren’t as difficult to keep happy and healthy as you may think. The key to making sure you have a good team of people dedicated to your company is the way you treat them. Here are the top ways that you can make sure your employees stay happy.

Recognize progress

The worst thing you can feel in your job is underappreciated. When you are trying to work your way up on the career ladder, you need that positive reinforcement to tell you that you are doing something positive. To ensure that your employees never feel undervalued you must show gratitude. When your team member works hard on a project, make sure you remember to say thank you and applaud them for their efforts.

2. Make them feel at home
One great way to make sure your employees are happy is to make them feel as if they are at home. If you have a plain and impersonal office space to work with right now, take the time to make it personal. Let your employees decorate their own desks and work spaces with art and items which they love. Paint a bold color on the wall for a splash of fun, and hang large art pieces on your walls. Make sure that the office is a second home for everyone who works here and allow them to make themselves comfortable. This will not only make them feel happier and more motivated, but it will all provoke conversations when your employees chat about their desks.

3. Get to know them
Being a boss doesn’t mean that you cannot talk to your workers. Get to know everyone in the office and take an interest in their lives outside of work. You might be able to find out a lot about the type of people they are, and it will bring everyone closer tougher and allow you all to work in a much more positive and relaxed atmosphere.

4. Have fun

Work doesn’t have to be all work and no play, in fact, taking a break from work is an incredibly important part of creating a positive working environment. To avoid stress-related illnesses surrounding work, make sure to offer plenty of team lunches and days out which can give everyone chance to wind down. Think about activities like a paniq escape room, mini golf or something where everyone can play against each other. Having a chance to bond in a normal environment can make life much easier for everyone and allow everyone to be happy at work.

5. An outdoor space
If you have a building with land surrounding it, try to create a garden for your employees to relax on a summer’s day and unwind during their lunch break. Having fresh air is crucial for stress levels and it helps your employees to escape from the office for a while and refresh for the afternoon.

6. Get moving
Exercise isn’t just to stay lean and fit, it can also have an effect on the mood of your workers throughout the working week. If you can, think about bringing in a yoga teacher or a boot camp teacher to get your employees up and moving once a week to keep everyone happy and healthy throughout their lives. It might not sound like it would make much of a difference, but it can be hugely beneficial to everyone who gets involved. Plus, it can be fun!

7. Be flexible
It is crucial to remember that every person who works for your company is a person. Every single one of your workers has their own life outside the workplace, they have families, commitments, and interests. Respecting your workers and knowing that they have more to their lives than work will not only make you a great boss but will keep them happy and cause them less stress. Make sure that you accommodate for people who have to travel further for work, people with kids, and let your workers have an extra day off for their birthday each year. Show that you care about them as people and they will stay with you for life.

Making your employees happier is not difficult to do and it will make a massive difference to the way you work and get along in the office. If you can take just a few of these tips into your workplace this year you will see a huge difference in the mood of the people who work for you.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

June 1, 2018

4 Things To Think About When Moving Out

Other than college, can you think of a time that you’ve lived without your parents in the same house? Probably not -- which is why you are now moving out on your own and into your own place. It’s an adventure to move out into a place that you can call your own, and it’s often one that you take on your own for the very first time.

Living with friends is fun, but there’s also a weird clarity that people get when they live by themselves for the first time. They seem to understand that they need to figure out who they are and to do that, they need to be by themselves. There are a lot of reasons that people wait around after college ends before they move into a place of their own. Sometimes these reasons surround finances and career being so much more important to focus on saving enough for a house deposit than it is to live alone. You also may need to consider whether you want a physical address for your mail and packages to go to while you’re couch-surfing with your friends while you find a place to live. There are some other things that you need to think about when you’re in transition from your parents’ house to your first apartment, and here they are:

adult, back, backpack

Budgets. As a former student, you may well be a dab-hand at managing your cash, but have you ever considered the merits of a strong emergency fund? You can’t plan for the unexpected to happen, but you can plan to cover yourself cash-wise when it does. You also need to plan your budget to ensure that you can cover your rent, utilities, food and phone costs on top of extras like the internet, your travel and your social expenses. Budgeting is so important, and tools like this can help.

Rent Or Buy? When you move out on your own, it can be difficult to decide whether you should rent your first home, or you should take the plunge and purchase a property all on your own. Renting is always a good way to dip a toe in the water of living independently before making the commitment of a purchase. Consider this before you get a mortgage appointment.

Where To Go? Flying the nest doesn’t always mean relocating to a different forest, you can still move away, maintain independence and know that your parents are right around the corner. Choosing where you should live is going to take a little research and self-discovery, and you can explore your areas of choice before starting to pack your bags and go for it.

Credit Worthiness. You need to have a stable financial head on your shoulders before you start making home applications. Your credit report will determine whether your new landlord agrees that you’ve got your budget ready and waiting, so why not order your credit reports online and check to see how credit worthy you are.

Moving out of the family home is a big deal, and you shouldn’t allow anyone else to make you feel differently.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

South Of The Border: The Best Stops On A Tour Of South America

Although many people thoroughly enjoy visiting destinations in North America, it's important to remember that there is a fanatic selection of places to visit that are south of the border too. In fact, there are so many that you may have to do a grand tour to fit them all in. With that in mind, to help you make your decision check out the post below that details the best of the best.

Machu Picchu
We may as well start with probably the most famous sight in all of South America, Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu is a terraced Inca city placed high in the Andes Mountains. It is a remarkable site, and in visiting this location, you can almost feel how it was to live in such a city.

While there don't forget to visit the fabulous Temple of the Moon, which is an underground space carved into the rock. There are also plenty of hikes and walks to do around the site, and recruiting a local guide can be a great way of learning about the possible uses of some of these ancient buildings. Of course, with the high altitude and steep trails that need to be traversed to reach and explore the city, you will need a certain level of physical fitness to get the best out of a trip here.

Igua├žu National Park
Next, if you are looking for a wonder that is all natural, then the Igua├žu National Park in Brazil is for you. Sited in the state of Parana this national park is chock full of breathtaking sites. Possible the best being the Igua├žu Waterfalls that cascade in white plumes over into a dark blue lagoon spotted with lushly vegetated islands.

The park itself is made of up many different types of flora including sections of rainforest. It is also home to much rare and endangered fauna such as giant otter and anteaters. Something that makes this are well worth a stop on your tour.

Plaza Botero
If you are touring South America, then you will want to plan a visit the Plaza Botero and the Museum of Antioquia in Medell├şn, Colombia. In the plaza, you will find some curvaceous statues by the world-famed artist Fernando Botero. While in the Museum of Antioquia you can view many permanent exhibitions such as the colonial art display and the international gallery, as well as get involved in the many workshops that are designed to encourage your creative spark to shine.

Of course, it's good to know too that the stunning Rafael Uribe Uribe Palace of Culture is right on the other side the plaza as well. If you are lucky, you may even be able to catch a classical concert or theatre performance there, making your trip truly memorable for years to come.

Tayrona National Natural Park

Las maravillas del #mundo #parquenacionaltayrona

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Also in Columbia, but to the north of the country, you will find the rather spectacular Tayrona National Natural Park. A park that is, in fact, a tropical paradise complete with palm trees, turquoise and ultramarine lagoons, and rainforest. Venture further into the forest, and you will find the ancient Pueblo ruins in amongst all that flora and fauna. A site that makes it a Tayrona an unmissable stop of your tour, south of the border.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.