The One Thing to Do Every Morning to Energize the Day

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Alive! Multivitamins, but all opinions are my own.

I have a confession: I am a morning person...only if you can get me out of my grogginess when I wake up. What I mean is, I love the idea of the morning because it often comes with a fresh start. But, admittedly, I do find it hard to shake off the feeling of being incredibly exhausted.

What’s really been pushing me to get up and out every day is a handy dandy self help book. I try to wake up and reach a chapter each day, and on days where I can’t handle the pages I’ll tune in to a relevant podcast. Working long hours and learning about business as I go is a huge undertaking, but leaning into these to start my day keeps me fueled to create passionate work (*screams* YAAAAAS).

This self-care in the morning is also rounded out with fuel for my body. I recently tried Alive! Multivitamins to add a dose of plant-fueled energy to my day, made from delicious fruit flavors. This brand prides itself on premium and mindful sourcing of vitamins and minerals to provide more than 100% or more daily value than leading brands. I grabbed myself the Ultra Potency for the power boost I needed.

From early birds to wellness enthusiasts, this line of vitamins offers a variety of products to fit your specific needs and unique wake up call. While this will work differently for everyone, what I found is that it was an easy way to incorporate better habits into my daily wellness routine. Just knowing that I was taking the extra step to fuel my body with valuable nutrients toward overall better health made me feel even more ready to take on the day. It also travels really well, so that was a bonus.

Looking to revitalize your daily routine? With Alive! Multivitamins, you’ll be on the right track. Grab some for yourself on Amazon and use the code 15ALIVE1 for 15% off. #OwnTheMorning

Why So Many Millennials Have a Side-Gig

Millennials Side Hustle Side Gig.jpg

Millennials hustle hard. You may have heard that 4 million American currently have a side-gig. So what exactly is a side-gig? A smaller job that you do in addition to your main job to make a little extra cash.

Millennials are known for being the generation with side hustles. That’s because the people most likely to have side hustles are thos aged 18 to 26, and some of them are making upwards of $500 a month.

Right now, about half of all Millennials have a side-gig. So now that I’ve shown you the numbers, you know that side-gigs are a big deal for us. When I was in college I had a small internship as a side-gig where I’d run social media campaigns for local businesses. I also have friends who have side-gigs like dogsitting, housesitting, babysitting, and driving for Uber.

“I started driving for Uber when I heard from a friend that they made about $200 more during the week just driving after work... I only drive on weekends and holidays but it gives me that extra cash to save for a vacation at the end of summer..” - Jane, 28, Salt Lake City, Utah

That means a lot of people are using their free time to make more money. So, why have millennials latched on to this trend while baby boomers and Gen Xers continue to live on one paycheck?

We know how to use our phones to make money.

Smart phones have changed the game for working millennials. We have potential income at our fingertips, and can make money through a list of apps like Poshmark, TaskRabbit, Rover, Fiverr and iPoll.

Not only are the opportunities easily available, but they’re convenient. Translation: you don’t even have to leave your house! As long as you have a strong internet connection, and you’re always contactable, you can work from the couch or while lounging by the pool. Having a side-gig means having a flexible, convenient, easy way of bringing in more income for yourself.

Basically, you can use your phone to make up to $500 a month on the side. Not bad.

The top side-gigs for millennials are selling items online, clothing and accessories, cleaning, marketing, and cooking and baking. And what are we using our side-gigs for? Millennials are experience-seekers after all...oh, and living is getting more expensive!

In some cities, the cost of living has increased drastically in the last few years. On top of that, Millennials have been name the “wanderlust” generation because they love to travel so much. In order to afford all that travel, as well as pay upwards of $1,000 in rent in some major cities, it’s no wonder Millennials are taking up side-gigs. Millennials also love local products, and top-tier technology. These things don’t come cheap!

If you’re a millennial looking for extra cash, consider taking up a side-gig. Create a budget, pick a savings goal (a week in Hawaii, maybe?) and figure out what you’re passionate about. It’s time to turn that passion into a paycheck!

Do you have a side hustle? Tell us about it!

Popchips’ nutter puffs x Art of Elysium: Spreading holiday cheer!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com on behalf of popchips. All opinions are my own.

Raise your hand if you’re a popchips fan (*flails hands all over the place*). For some time, I’ve been a huge fan of these healthy snacks. Hold on to your seats, they’ve gone nuts!

For peanut butter enthusiasts far and wide, popchips has taken everything you love about peanut butter and packed it into one perfectly snackable puff: nutter puffs! Peanut butter nutter puffs are a symphony of salty-sweet memories born from a shared love of this popular spread, made with real ingredients. Flavors include plain ol’ peanut butter and peanut butter & chocolate – which I can totally get behind!

In the spirit of the holidays, popchips nutter puffs are styling limited-edition packaging available at select retailers. This cheerful look is in partnership with The Art of Elysium, an artist organization built on the idea that through service, art becomes a catalyst for social change.

What’s in it for you? A Spread the Cheer sweeps where popchips nutter puffs are giving away $1,000 to five winners to use toward holiday shopping, and they’ll donate an extra $1,000 to The Art of Elysium on behalf of each winner. To enter, visit www.nutterpuffs.com.

This crave-worthy snack is doing their part to spread the giving spirit this holiday season, how will you?

To learn more follow @nutterpuffs on Instagram.

So, About Traveling

When I was younger, I always hoped I would be able to travel more. All I knew was a handful of countries within the Caribbean, South America and Europe, never even really traveling within my own country. Granted, that's certainly more than many Americans since only (a shocking, yet not so shocking) 36% are passport holders. It wasn't until I went away for college that I realized there was so much to see and it was all pretty much within my reach.

Flash forward to New Year's Eve 2016. I was en route to Chicago to meet a friend and sat next to an incredibly friendly traveler: Cait. She was on her way back from spending two weeks in Cyprus. Why? Because she just felt like exploring. I want to say she was a teacher at the time? Hearing her incredibly approachable and relatable stories to how she started collecting passport stamps, I spent a lot of my trip to Chicago thinking about how easy it could be to travel. Ladies and gentlemen, I started 2016 with the travel bug and I haven't been able to shake it off since.

I'm the first to admit I made pretty irresponsible decisions when I started traveling. I was already using the Delta Skymiles credit card and had racked up a few points to my use, but I spent a lot of money traveling that year (more on this will come to light over the next few weeks, oy vey). I didn't really understand what a "deal" meant, and I was still living this "omg I have a salary" attitude which meant not knowing how not to throw away my money. My reason for traveling that year was:

"I want to collect as many Snapchat location filters as I can, and travel somewhere every month."

I accomplished it that year. With a little bit of work and leisure travel I hit more than 12 cities, including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Austin, The Bahamas, New York (multiple times), Washington D.C., and more. With each new experience, I became much more well versed in travel and allowed myself to spend less time on the "how to do it" and more brain power appreciating each unique place I was visiting.

In 2017, I vowed to keep the momentum going. This time it wasn't for Snapchat filters (can someone please smack 24-year-old me?), but it was to further explore the world and connect with friends or strangers (#solotravel). I learned a lot from my mistakes and triumphs, but here are the highlights:

Start a travel savings account

One of the many times I'll tell you, don't be Lissette. Traveling is much more fun when you don't have leftover debt from your last trip looming over your head. Aside from tactics like setting aside money each month toward travel, I use Digit to automatically save money each day. Their nifty algorithm takes into account your spending habits and sends moola to a savings platform, which you can set up with categories like "travel." It's incredible how at the end of a few months, I've got enough for at least 2 flights without having moved a muscle. Another indirect way to save is making sure you're taking advantage of frequent flier programs. Even if you think you won't be using that airline more than once or twice, you never know where those benefits come in handy. And you're also missing out on a ton if you don't have a points card. I'm a personal Amex evangelist and started off with the Delta card before switching to Platinum (here's 40,000 points, you're welcome). 

Do your deal-search.

There are hundreds of very legit deal seeker apps and websites. I personally use Kayak as my go-to for booking flights because I feel I'm getting the most comprehensive, and cheapest, results. Google Flights is where I get my second peek, with Amex Travel as my final destination since I get bonus points for booking through them. If you're looking for something to track flight prices, Kayak provides a nifty tool for that or Hopper is another crowd favorite. If you have no idea where to go but you know you have dates in mind, I'm obsessed with Skycanner's "Everywhere" search tool which shows you the cheapest flights around the world on your chosen dates. I'd also recommend following top bloggers in this space like The Points Guy or Scott's Cheap Flights. Take advantage of signing up for your favorite airlines' newsletters as you'll get the best deals in real-time. The biggest takeaway is to never take the first price you see as the end-all-be-all. There's probably something much cheaper out there. 

Book the damn flight.

The hardest part about travel is booking the flight. And more often than not, the most expensive part. Once you feel you've done your due diligence and squeezed every reward, deal, tracker, etc., for the cheapest flight available, it's time to hit the "purchase" button. So much of the rest of the journey will be easy to figure out, especially if you're flexible, once this piece is done. If you're trying to corral a group of friends for a trip, make the first move. Once one person is in, others will follow. Four of my major trips last year involved friend groups of more than 3 people and I was always the first one to kick things off (cc: Cuba, Mexico City, Summer Euro Tour, Morocco). 

Take advantage of AirBnb or phone a friend.

The next most expensive part is usually the accommodations piece. The only time I've slept at a hotel in the last two years is when it involves work travel and the booking is outside of my control. I live by AirBnb (here's a discount code for that). There's something so special about staying in a home vs. a stuffy hotel. Many times, if you do enough research and book in a timely manner, you're getting amenities and a value that is incomparable to what you would get at a hotel. They're also adding AirBnb "Plus" now, so you can get that more upgraded vibe that you would get at something like a boutique hotel. If you're feeling social and on a super tight budget, don't forget to peek at Hostels. And, of course, if you're lucky enough to have friends at a destination don't be afraid to come clean about wanting to crash. I know I am incredibly flexible about letting friends bunk with me given that so many have opened their home for me in the past. 

Use an itinerary app or digital assistant.

Remember the days of using a travel agent? This was a booming industry for a reason. There's a sense of peace to having someone else do all the work for you, so in this DIY culture I'd still recommend you get a digital travel assistant of some kind. If you follow along my stories, you'll see that I hold all my travels under Kayak's handy app. I can't even bother to write about other recommendations because I've simply found nothing as useful as this. For starters, you can link your e-mail address to it so that any travel-related communication gets stored and created as a "trip." It's also smart enough to know the pieces that belong to a trip, rather than starting a whole new itinerary with every incoming message. For example: When you book the flight, you've got a new "trip" created but once the accommodations, activities, rental cars, etc., roll in, they're simply added under the same cover. The app also includes a simple-to-read guide for your confirmation number, security gate wait times, airport maps, receipts, phone numbers, addresses, etc. And it's also incredibly up-to-date so you'll get delays and gate changes in real-time on the app.

Stick to a carry on, I believe in you.

If you want to live the frequent traveler life, you've got to sacrifice on space. And I promise, it's actually a huge benefit. You're saving the hassle of going to the gate to drop off, waiting for your bag afterward, or risking lost luggage during an important trip. I always travel with my Raden carry-on (hooray for charging ports) and my Madewell Transport Tote for the laptop, snacks and things I need at hand. A few times, I've added a Herschel Fanny Pack if I want an added layer of ease (plus, it's mad cute and affordable). I also live by the "rolling your clothes" technique, which I learned on a trip to NYC with my friend Dani from her aunt after I had a hilarious overpacking experience. It also helps to cut down by only bringing what you'll use. Making lists in advance helps filter through this. Ok, I get it, this topic deserves its own post and I'll get it to you soon. Note: many airports are following the Euro-centric rule of putting liquids in a clear ziplock bag. You're safest if you keep all things in a pouch of your choice and make sure to pack the clear bag to get you through security if you're asked to remove it from your bag. They made me take it out of my carry-on in a U.S. airport recently, yikes!

Sign-up for TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry.

There's nothing like showing up to the airport 40 minutes before your flight, making it to the gate without running, getting to your seat without problems, and enjoying a smooth ride to your destination. Well, the only way to save yourself about an hour at the airport is by signing up for TSA Pre-Check. It is one of the handiest helpers, and I'm unsure how people travel without it. You keep your shoes on, no one gives you major issues, and the lines are usually a 5-15 minute experience. If you travel abroad a lot, or plan to, Global Entry might be a better fit and that comes with Pre-Check already. Global Entry makes the customs experience on your return a smooth 5-15 minute experience. #HackAlert: Mobile Passport App is free, has been even faster for me than Global Entry sometimes, it's my favorite thing to share with friends!

Step out of your comfort zone.

Wether you're traveling with a group or alone, the most important advice I can give you is this. Some of the most memorable travel experiences are when you go somewhere new (obviously) and when you do something a little different. Maybe it means staying at someone's home via AirBnb, or booking a guided tour of the historic center with a local, maybe you want to do something adventurous, maybe you just make it a goal to strike up a conversation with locals while riding public transportation. Just be flexible and open minded, and take it all in like a sponge. I'm personally a huge fan of journaling while traveling and use these travel-friendly notebooks to doodle in.

After writing this, I realized there's no way to consolidate what I've learned in anything less than an 100-page book of travel hacks. And I am the first to admit I am seriously overdue in sharing this information with you all. Would love to hear more about what sorts of travel topics you want to hear more about from me. Is it planning? Is it time management? Is it cutting costs? Packing? Things I take with me? City guides? Etc. Let me know in the comments below or send me a message on social.

Bon voyage, friends!

The Holiday Soirée Solution: Chick-fil-A Catering

‘Tis the season… to start thinking and planning for the holidays!

SELECT6.jpg

To discover some of the best must-haves for the upcoming season of cheer, I attended Babbleboxx’s Holiday Showcase last week. From accessories to seasonal sips, there were a ton of brands showing why they’d make the perfect addition to an upcoming soiree or friends’ gift bags.

There was one brand I was particularly excited to see, and you won’t be surprised by it. Upon walking into the event, I was excited to chase a familiar scent of one of my favorite restaurants: Chick-fil-A! A tower of Chick-n-Minis, a delicious sampler of their side dishes, and refreshing iced tea brought so much joy to that night.

Now, imagine recreating that same feeling for your guests this holiday season. That’s what Chick-fil-A was there to convince us of. And convince me they did. Their catering menu is both delicious and an easy way to make an impression at home during a holiday get-together. Snag a tray of nuggets for fanatics of the original, grilled chicken cool wraps or fruit trays for those looking for something light, and don’t forget delicious dessert like their melt in your mouth chocolate chunk cookies.

Ordering your catering online or on the Chick-fil-A mobile app is quick and easy. But, if you’re craving a fix during your planning session, there are currently six (!!) Chick-fil-A restaurants in New York City, including four in Manhattan, one in Queens, and one in Staten Island Mall.

So, what are you waiting for? Start making a list of invitees and menu selections for your next soiree. You’ll have zero regrets!

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Babbleboxx.com on behalf of Chick-fil-A, but all opinions are my own.