5 Self Care Steps You Should Take Right Now

Happy Sunday, Fab Feminists!

I wanted to share something that I've been practicing when I feel like my life is running me and not the other way around: treating the five senses. I've found that if I take a couple minutes to focus on the needs of each of my senses, it takes me out of my stress-bubble and allows me  to ground myself quickly and effectively. Do one activity for each sense in whatever order you feel like! Combine them into one activity if you want, but make sure to spend equal time engaging each sensation.


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Eau, My! A Perfect Day at the Eau Spa.

I took myself out for a well-deserved ★SPA DAY★

The Eau Resort and Spa has been on my bucket list for ages and this month, I finally treated myself to a day of indulgence. My workload is pretty seasonal, so after flying by the seat of my pants for the past six months, I was ready to take a day off and lounge around. Plus, now that summer's arrived and the snowbirds are gone, I can take advantage of some of the perks (read: killer discounts) that come with being a WPB local. 

During the off-season in South Florida (pretty much May through October), the Eau Spa offers day passes to locals for $100. If you can swing it, opting for one of their less expensive services like the Rapture is a great way to stretch your buck a little farther--for $40 more, you can book a 45-minute dry-float treatment that comes with complimentary champagne and access to the spa for the day, which is what I did! The spa opened at 8:30 and because it was forecasted to rain in the afternoon, I showed up bright and early. I was offered a glass of champagne upon arrival, picked out my lunch, and made a wish at the fountain.

 
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I was shown around the spa and brought to my locker, which even had a hanger for my linen shorts (thank goodness, because they'll practically wrinkle upon eye contact).

 
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I changed into my swimsuit and made my way to the courtyard to pick out a cabana. The spa's courtyard is gorgeous! It's private and lush and you're surrounded by the sounds of water. I spent the first half of my day outside because I knew the weather wouldn't hold through the afternoon. I was definitely able to make the most of my day!

 
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I loved the whimsical touches they added: string lights, a giant chess game, swings floating above the water. Real talk--there is nothing more soothing than that easy, breezy ride. The back wall (pictured in the background of the chess board)  was actually a fountain, so all I could hear from your perch was the sound of water running. There were also plenty of comfy spots to sunbathe on next to the water, too.

My lunch arrived at 12:30 on a linen-covered cart and it was DELICIOUS. I ordered a jalapeño margarita and a compressed melon salad with goat cheese and crispy pancetta. OH! And a slice of chocolate cake, because why not? I don't know what they did to that melon, but it was sweet throughout and consistently firm--you know how most melon chunks are tough on one end and sweeter on the other? NOT THESE MELON CHUNKS! They looked like stained glass and they were sweet without being cloying. I don't know how else to describe them. It was life changing.

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I was told to head to a sitting room about 15 minutes before my service. Here, they had comfy spots to sit and daily papers from The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, along with plenty of magazines. There was a drink station with coconut water, tea, and CUPCAKES galore! The cupcakes were so good I ate at least four trying to figure out if the chocolate was better than the vanilla. No verdict was reached. Check out the chandelier made of crystal glasses, too! It was just one of many adorable touches sprinkled throughout the spa.

 
 

My treatment, the Rapture, was amaaaazing. The gist of it is that I got to lay on a waterbed while lathered in goop in a very serene environment. My "spa fairy" helped me customize the room; she let me pick the lighting (I switched from blue to a warm pink) and music (instrumental with no vocals, some nature sounds). The dry float bed that my treatment happened on was REALLY COOL! It looked like a claw-foot bath tub, but the surface was firm when I laid down on it.

My technician shmeared lotions and wrapped me up before pushing a button. Immediately, I began to sink into this waterbed cradle. If I twitched my feet, I could make the water ripple and it felt sooooo soothing. There I laid for 45 minutes perfectly alone and totally at peace in a hypnagogic state. LE SIGH! 

When it was over, my technician came back in, pushed a button again, and the water rolled away from beneath me and the surface became firm again. I swear I felt like a sea goddess emerging from the ocean. When I got up, there was a glass of champagne waiting for me!

 
 

I spent the rest of the afternoon inside. The spa had a neat layout; there was a men's side and a women's side with the courtyard in the middle. Each side is complete with a whirl pool and rain shower, heated lounge chairs, a steam room, sauna, and in the women's, there was a massive vanity with toiletries and heating tools. It rained all afternoon like I thought it would, but I didn't mind. I will say that I wish I had booked my treatment later in the day; I was hesitant to sweat or rinse off all the moisturizer that my skin had just absorbed. Next time!

 
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I had such a great time at the Eau Spa. All in all, I spent about $220 for my treatment, lunch, and tip. It was something that I saved up for and I can't wait to go back. This spa really felt like self care; with clothing optional and a no-pressure atmosphere, it was luxurious without being oppressively stuffy. It was magic.

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How I Cut Back On Avocado Toast

 
 

This piece has been revised and improved since its original posting on May 25, 2017.

Let me just say right now, right here: I have never eaten avocado toast. I don't even BUY avocados because every time I BUY an avocado, it's not ripe enough to eat and it spoils before I realize it's edible. I have a mountain of student debt that eats up a couple hundred dollars of my income every month. I live in a city where millennials live with their parents at a higher rate than anywhere else in the country. Only at 25 did I become financially independent for the first time in my life.

The 'Avocado Toast' Philosophy, in case you don't remember, was first presented by Tim Gurner on 60 Minutes while preaching to millennials about how to buy a house, as if frivolity was the only reason we can't afford to go hundreds of thousands further in debt. Taken as a blanket statement, it oversimplifies the problem and vilifies the millennial. We live in such a polar society (it's absolute absurdity that we can't all accept that trans folks deserve respect and acceptance, people with vaginas deserve access to whatever birth control they want, the patriarchy damages everyone, and children deserve access to a good education/the fact that school funding comes from property tax is a CLASSIST IN ITS VERY NATURE. But I digress) but if we consider that there could be some truth to the statement that millennials spend frivolously, we can begin to examine where we ourselves might be spending money where we don't have to. Hear me out.

We have grown up with access to the internet. We lived pre-Great Recession and are notoriously nostalgic. We LOOOOOOOVE brunch. We know what it's like to have shitty prospects and want to live in the present moment. None of these things are our fault, but it couldn't hurt to take a second to consider how they affect our decisions now, right?  Asking ourselves, "Where's the toast?" and, "How can I eliminate the excess in my own life in order to feel more fulfilled?" can mean the difference between financial independence and paycheck to paycheck.

SO! Where to start? Take a good, hard look at the stuff you mindlessly impulse purchase. Meals out, cell phone apps, nail/hair appointments, Starbucks. The stuff you think counts as "treating yourself" that serves no purpose after that instant gratification fix. When I realized I was spending over $1,100 a year on my hair and nails alone, I was flabbergasted. Giving up my nex-gen nails and wax appointments was an easy way to make a LOT of cushion in my budget. There's this great app called Clarity (which I like better than Mint by QuickBooks) that simplifies what you spend money on, helps you track your habits, AND encourages you to start a saving habit.

This next tip might sound harder than you think it is, but: utility usage can be a great way to squeeze a little more blood out of a turnip--er, avocado. Being mindful about how much water you consume can make a significant impact in your wallet. From personal experience, I can tell you that mindful water consumption meant the difference between a 50% increase and a reasonable bill. You can also implement a grey water system to mindfully conserve water AND your spending. Check on your cell phone plan and auto insurance, too; updating these bills to reflect your current usage is a great way to maintain control over your finances.

Giuls and I talk really openly about our finances and what we're doing to manage our spending. We even created a buddy system for spending frugally while on vacation. To help me stay on the straight an narrow with my day to day spending, Giuls created a budget sheet that YOU can download here! This worksheet is formulated to easily calculate your monthly expenses and we're PRETTY DARN PROUD of it. Here's to taking responsibility of our spending and focusing inward to live our best lives!

Recent Experiment Proves Millenials Capable of Budgeting, Utilizing Buddy System

 
 Illustration by Lindsey Ashley

Illustration by Lindsey Ashley

 

So you blew your budget on swimsuits and a bottle of Patrón before your vacation even started because you #ballsohard. We get it. But now you're destined to spring break like a #peasant, and you're suuuper bummed about it. Don't fret! Your fairy finance mother is here to teach you how to broke-girl vacation step-by-step. I brainstormed and executed the following strategy this weekend and didn't blow my budget ONCE! THERE IS NOTHING SO EMPOWERING; LET ME TELL YOU.

Step 1: Plan your itinerary. This inherently makes planning for spending WAY easier, plus you get the added bonus of not having to waste precious vacation time deciding the fate of said vacation. 

Step 2: Gather some supplies. You'll need a writing utensil, as much cash as you plan to spend (plus 20 percent of that number if you're able) in small bills, your tongue, and a few envelopes -- three will PROBABLY do. Don't get those big-ass envelopes; get the ones that are the same size as... money. See where I'm going here?

Step 3: Prepare one (1) container with enough liquid to cover a 3"x2" object. Submerge your debit and/or credit card. Place container in freezer.  Affirm that you will stick to your budget by chanting, "I am a fiscally responsible adult," as you spin around with your forehead on a bat.

Step 4: Remove your bullshit hat. I am 100 percent serious. Grab it by its invisible rim and set it on your invisible table. Shit's about to get real. If you think this sounds ridiculous, just remember that a second ago you were spinning around on a bat chanting about how fiscally responsible you are.

Step 5: Find a Buddy. Budgeting by yourself is hard and not fun, but budgeting with a buddy makes it all bearable. Walk your Budget Buddy though steps 1 through 4.

Step 6: Decide together how much you're going to spend on each activity. Your numbers should all be the same bc this is a BUDDY SYSTEM. You will stick to your guns more if you've got a friend sticking to theirs. Grab two envelopes each and write "S.O.S." and "Travel" on them. Put that extra 20 percent of funds we told you about in those envelopes. NOTE: TEQUILA ONLY COUNTS AS AN EMERGENCY IN THE LAST 24 HOURS OF YOUR TRIP. Lick those envelopes shut!

Step 7: Divvy up the remainder of the cash between the last two envelopes, and write on both of them how much you're allotted for every activity. Don't try to thrift evenly across the board -- you'll be more likely to stay on budget with only $20 at the bar tonight if you've got $40 to blow at brunch tomorrow.

Step 8: Once you get there, lock that cash you're not using in a safe, and have a great vacation!!!

How to live Tidy, not Perfect.

Giuls and I have been discussing how to limit the amount of time it takes to clean one’s apartment. We love a good, productive cleaning sesh, but it seems like we’re spending way too much time cleaning during the week. How do you live a cleaner life while simultaneously cutting back on the amount of time spent cleaning? I don’t think you’ve got to get rid of a bunch of shit to live a tidier life. I’m never going to downsize my shoe collection and I will forever be a cosmetic junkie. How, then, does one live a tidier life without completely overhauling and Marie Kondo-ing the shit out of their apartment? We found that there were three fundamental truths to living a cleaner life. Gird your loins.

#1: ALWAYS BE TIDYING

I know, I know, this seems rull counterintuitive to the overall goal of cleaning less, but it’s nevertheless effective. ABT, or ALWAYS BE TIDYING, will change your life. ‘Always be Tidying’ is the principle of always putting away what you’ve most recently taken out. That means not letting the dishes pile up, hanging up the first two outfits you tried on this morning, and not leaving your towel on the bed. By ’always be tidying’, you’re eliminating the amount of labor- and mentally-intensive clean-up that has to happen at a later date. Not to mention, your environment is hella more serene in the present moment. As Joan Crawford simply put, “Never leave one room without something for another.”

#2: STREAMLINE YA SYSTEM

Now that you’re in the habit of tidying up regularly, you’re ready to move onto the next step: SYS, or STREAMLINE YA SYSTEM. By STREAMLINING YA SYSTEM, you’re reducing the amount of time you have to spend putting shit away in an inconvenient AF location. Do your clothes pile up in the bathroom? Get a hamper and stick it in there. Do you have a hard time putting dishes away? Buy a dish rack that works for your needs. Make it EASIER to be tidier. To STREAMLINE MA SYSTEM, for example, I bought a divided laundry hamper so that my clothes are immediately sorted. Boom. A third of the work is already done.

#3: THROWOUT SOME STUFF

Ha! You thought I was going to tell you that you could keep everything, right? WRONG! You should definitely get rid of some stuff and you should do it frequently. If you find you’re holding onto physical records or tech boxes, sign up for LastPass and take pictures of barcodes, serial codes, etc. These documents are highly secured and available wherever and whenever you may need to access them. On another note, if something no longer works for you, don’t work for it; that organization system that isn’t big enough or doesn’t fit your changed needs? Let it go! STREAMLINE YA SYSTEM and get a better system that works for you!

Giuls and I used to believe that we could either do something wholeheartedly or not at all. We didn’t like biting off one slice without committing to the whole pie, and we realized that said a lot about our perfectionist natures. There IS a happy medium and it is sort of manic to downshift from one extreme to the other. Be mindful of these tendencies that, while they may masquerade as productive, “good” habits, these habits sabotage small progress in the meantime.

With all that being said, though, if you’re dead set on a deep, absolute zero sort of clean, I have one tip for you: start in the recesses of your closet. pull everything out and reorganize because 1) you’ll have more space to put away things later, 2) you’ll find stuff you’ve been missing or realize that you haven’t missed other things at all, and 3) It’s a small area and completing something will give you a feeling of accomplishment. Start in your closet and work your way out from there.

The important thing to remember, though, is that we’re trying to eliminate the amount of time we spend cleaning and the labor that it entails. By procrastinating until it’s time to dedicate hours and hours of your time and mental energy to cleaning, you’re enforcing your perfectionist tendencies to bounce from one extreme to another. To get to the point where cleaning doesn’t feel particularly laborious, you’ve got to chip away at it a little bit all the time and concentrate on what you most recently used. If your place is ‘tidy,’ then cleaning it will be just that: spraying counters, swapping out linens. It WON’T be an exhausting, day-long process that sucks up half your weekend.

We’re all about finding the most efficient ways to get the job done! What are your tried and true methods? Email us to be featured in an updated post!

OUR FAVORITE RESOURCES ON TIDYING UP: