Three Days in Singapore.

 

Part 2 of 4:

 

During my one month Asia-Pacific study abroad trip overseas, I guess you could say Singapore was our main port. First we flew from Indianapolis to JFK in New York, from there on to Frankfurt, Germany, and finally landed in Singapore via Singapore Airlines on July 22, 2011. It was my first flight longer than 4 hours, and it wasn’t nearly as bad as I anticipated. I’ve never been afraid to fly, but I was slightly nervous to be flying over the Atlantic and even more nervous that I didn’t really know anyone who would be on our flight. The flight from JFK to Frankfurt was amazing with pretty good food and lots of good movies to choose from, making the long flight much better than expected.

 

What’s the longest flight you’ve taken and where were you heading?

 

We landed at Changi airport and it was stunning, complete with a butterfly garden and full size movie theater. We took a bus to our hotel, Hotel Royal, where the staff greeted us with welcome drinks- some kind of specialty fruity beverage that had us all ecstatic to be on the ground at our first destination. My initial impression of this beautiful country was how incredibly clean it was. There was no litter anywhere, no one was walking a dog, the air was fresh and the streets were spotless. We later learned that it is illegal to litter throughout the entire country, a crime that warrants punishment of literally cutting off the hands or fingers of the offender. Some penalty, right!? I’d love for America to take a tip from them!

Changi Airport Singapore

On the first day, we took a riverboat scenic tour near Clarke Quay, allowing us to see the amazing architecture around the city. The best things I really recall were the Marina Sands Hotel and the famous Merlion statue. The Marina Sands Hotel has an infinity pool on top and we were all instantly mesmerized by how gorgeous that building truly was.

I don’t really know the full story behind the Merlion, so if anyone knows it, I would love to hear about it!

 

The first day included lots of walking and sightseeing, making it tough since none of us were able to adjust to the craziest jet lag we’d ever experienced. Even still, it was an amazing first day! We went to various markets and took in so much of the culture in just one day. No matter how excited we all were, we all slept like babies on the first night.

 

On day two, we went to the mall for breakfast to a coffee shop that was in a pet store. I’m still not even sure how that worked out but the coffee was good! We went to one of the greatest zoos in the world, where I was absolutely in heaven. There was so much space and so many awesome animals that I had never seen in a zoo before. The dugong was definitely my favorite and the restroom was outside in the middle of the jungle. We went to the Battle Box Museum, commemorating the events that lead up to Japan taking control of Singapore from the British. It’s always strange to me to learn about wars like this in other countries but it’s amazing to learn so much about unfamiliar places.
After the museum, we came across a festival in the quad outside of our hotel that threw us right into the culture. There was dancing and some shows that kept everyone entertained. It was similar to a small town fair, but so much more lively and colorful! We had dinner at the food court near our hotel before swimming in the pool and getting to know each other better.

singapore festival

We managed to go out to the bars at Clarke Quay that evening and we had a blast! I’ll never forget seeing a Burger King Bar, where they had every kind of beer you could imagine on the menu. Who knew!? I was amazed to learn English is one of the primary languages in Singapore, so communication was so much better than originally anticipated.

 

On the third and final day in Singapore, we slept in late, finally able to adjust to the time change. We took a bus to the airport, where we all split up and enjoyed the whole day exploring the most gigantic airport I’ve ever been in. I watched Despicable Me in the theater for the first time and visited the butterfly garden, seeing all different species of pretty butterflies before meeting back up with everyone where we had dinner at an Indian Restaurant.

changi airport

Just a few hours later we were off to Sydney!

 

Regardless of only spending a few days there, Singapore was absolutely beautiful and I can honestly say I enjoyed every moment. So many new relationships were formed, new cultures were experienced, and another country to check off my travel bucket list. I was absolutely in love with my life and couldn’t have been more thankful to be half way across the world, essentially on my own.

 

Anyone been to Singapore? Can you share some of your favorite experiences there? I wanna hear from all of you!

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Planning for Success as a Student

Chances are we all know at least one person who is ready to embark on their college journey in the fall. When I first went away to school, I remember feeling like I had so many school supplies, yet I felt nowhere near prepared enough to actually start college. Y’all already know how much I love office supplies and every possible product to keep me organized, so I thought I’d elaborate a little more on some things that I loved having and that I wish I had! Through my five and half (long) years of college, I finally learned what products work best and the ones that aren’t really necessary. These are the things that have worked well for me and the things I really don’t think I would have made it through successfully without!

*This post contains affiliate links.
I really feel like a person can’t have enough office or school supplies. It’s just not possible! You’ll always use them eventually, and there’s just something about a nice clean notebook with catchy stickers and colorful pens that make note taking easier. In college, my Lilly Pulitzer Academic planner was the best thing I owned. It was bright and colorful, user friendly and made me actually want to get it out to use – always. How cute is this Lilly Pulitzer 17 month 2017-2018?!

I always loved to use a colored coated notebook & binder for each class, just the simple $1 or $2 ones you can find just about anywhere they sell school supplies. I know I linked these pens in another post, but I’ve found that color coating notes with ink color helps in the studying process, it doesn’t just look pretty! These BIC colorful pens are inexpensive and the best option, with the best colors!

Note taking is never complete without page markers and stickers. Check out some of my favorites here! There are so many options out there, so I just wanted to share some of my favorites. Another thing that made organization of my weeks easier was a set of paper clips, push pins, and binder clips, in a addition to a small bulletin board. I used the bulletin to write out my week at a glance, in order to hold me accountable and let me know what events I had coming up that week. My Day Designs Wall Calendar has since taken the place of a bulletin board in my home, but either one works perfectly! Which one do you prefer?

Do any of you all have an organization station in your kitchen or somewhere around the house? I think they are SO cute so please let me know if y’all have one & how you set it up & use it!

The summer before heading to school, I received an Amazon gift card as a graduation gift and had absolutely no idea what I would ever find on Amazon. Good news- Amazon has literally everything. I ended up finding my favorite kate spade new york Pencil Pouch on there and I still use it today! It’s so clean and pretty and, I must say, we have definitely come a long way from the plastic pencil boxes from first grade! I also absolutely love my Kate Spade coffee tumbler. Mine is white and gold striped, and my pencil holder is white and gold polka dots, like I’ve linked above. Does it get any cuter than that?

One of the biggest things I’ve fallen in love with is this stainless steel programmable crockpot. There are so many recipes out there that are so much better than soup every night and cooking with a crockpot is SO easy. Besides, these bags make for the easiest clean up! I love making oatmeal or chia pudding in the crockpot, as well as my Mexican chili and apple crisp. The options are endless. Over the last few years, I’ve accumulated several cookbooks with tons of recipes too, so we all know there’s tons of options out there to make cooking easy for busy students or adults! We’re all busy, so no matter if we’re heading to college or just dealing with all the crazy of our every day lives’, a crockpot is always a good idea.

A lot of these recommendations and products are steered more toward girls, but some of my note taking tips and colored coordination study habits hopefully can help everyone! Who do you know that’s heading off to school? What are you doing to help get them ready?

 

*I know I’ve been referring you guys to Amazon a lot in my posts, I just think it’s awesome how much you can order and how quickly you can get it! You can literally get anything you could possibly need! Another thing that’s awesome is the opportunity for Amazon Prime. I’ve linked a 30 day free trial for Amazon Prime to get free shipping in 2 days on thousands of products on the site. I definitely encourage you to at least try Amazon Prime, if you haven’t already. There’s always an option to cancel after the initial 30 days, but the benefits are totally worth it!

Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

East Coast Excursions.

In June 2015, right in the midst of my first quarter life crisis, Southwest Airlines was having a huge sale & I made a split second decision to book a flight to Baltimore. It was $98 round trip, how could I not?! Then I realized, I’d never been to Baltimore and I had no idea what I was going to do there or if anyone was going to go with me. So I started planning. The trip of a lifetime, all by myself. I was going to fly into Baltimore early one Tuesday morning in September, rent a car & drive up the coast. I was elated! I had never been to the East Coast before, so this trip was going to be so amazing for me. My mom decided she would meet me in Maine after 5 days and we’d spend the last 5 days together. I’m so excited to share with y’all my excursions from this trip I’ll never forget!

Tuesday, September 15th: I left Louisville early and arrived in Baltimore around 9:00 am. As soon as I landed, I felt like this was where I belonged. I drove to the National Aquarium and had an amazing morning, talking to some of the employees about potential jobs there and being able to work closely with some of the marine life. There was a beautiful sea turtle who was rescued from the ocean after losing one of it’s feet and they helped restore him back to his full potential. I know zoos and aquariums get a lot of bad press because the animals are held in captivity, but that was definitely a feel good story! Already, I was in heaven. I found an awesome seafood restaurant for lunch on the water and sat outside enjoying every second.

That night, I went to see the Baltimore Orioles play the Boston RedSox at Camden Yards. That park is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen! To see a game at every Major League stadium is on my bucket list so I was so excited to check this one off the list! The Red Sox won the game and then I was on my way to stay at the hotel in Greenbelt, Maryland. I was so excited I was actually on this trip that I could barely sleep that night.

Wednesday, September 16th: It was an early morning after a late game as I drove from Greenbelt, Maryland to Falmouth, Massachusetts, making it through 8 states that day. Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. I stopped in Philly to see one of the LOVE Statues and grab some coffee. I drove down into New York City, through Chelsea, Manhattan, and the Bronx. I had been to NYC before but driving through was a much different experience than walking or taking a cab everywhere! I didn’t really love the part of Delaware I drove through, but it’s another state I can mark off my list! I made it to Newport, Rhode Island for sunset and I could not be more thankful that I did! The whole town was absolutely beautiful. So quaint and friendly. Peaceful and serene. My destination of Falmouth-Cape Cod was finally reached where I would spend the next two nights. I felt like I was at home, regardless of the fact I had absolutely no idea where I really was. Pure Bliss.

Thursday, September 17th: On day 3, I was scheduled to take a ferry ride to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. This was the event I was most looking forward to of the entire trip. Beautiful pictures of Nantucket had been flooding my timelines on Instagram and Pinterest for years and I could not wait to experience it for myself! I woke up extremely early again and drove from Falmouth to Hyannis to the port for Hy-Line Cruises. We went from Hyannis to Nantucket, where I spent most of the morning and afternoon wandering aimlessly through the brick streets and neighborhoods. I never ever wanted to leave. I had lunch at a cute little spot not too far from the port where I had the best lobster roll and the sweetest server. Everyone was so friendly and (seemingly) insanely happy. After being there, it makes me wonder why anyone would live anywhere else. I got coffee from Handlebar Café and walked to Brant Point Lighthouse, where I intended to lose track of time and miss the ferry to our next destination.

Sure enough, I made it back to the ferry and we were on our way to Martha’s Vineyard. Our port was at Oaks Bluff and I was surprisingly a little disappointed! Maybe there’s just no way it could have lived up to how I felt about Nantucket or maybe my hopes were just too high to begin with. I walked around on the beach for most of the evening and had dinner at one of the places along the river walk. I can’t remember the name but it wasn’t the best dinner of the trip. The beach was beautiful and the sunset that night was single handedly the most amazing sight I’ve ever seen. During the ferry ride back, I felt happier than I had felt in years. That night, I stayed in Falmouth again, and fell asleep feeling better about life than I ever had.

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Friday, September 18th: Boston day! One of the most beautifully historic cities I’ve ever been in and I was ready to experience it all. The morning was spent down by the Boston harbor, watching the boats go out and listening to the thick Boston accents from the locals. The best thing about traveling is being thrown in with the locals to see how they do life. I had lunch at Salty Dog at Quincy Market and it was delicious! I walked through the market and watched a magician in the square. I walked up the hill toward the university and sat in the quad to cool off from the heat before visiting Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. There was no game that day so I can’t check it off the list, but I was able to get a ball cap! I can’t wait to go back to see at game at the Green Monster!

Later, I was walking through the mall when my mom called to tell me my grandmother had been in a terrible car accident. She had no details and my mood was instantly turned. I felt completely lost, and for the first time on the trip, I actually felt lonely. I didn’t know what else to do except go back to the hotel, swim some laps and try to wait around for more news. I had dinner at a chain restaurant for the first time on the trip and went back to the hotel in Peabody, Massachusetts to go rest up for the next day.

*I received word that my grandma was in better shape than we originally thought but she still spent weeks in ICU at the hospital in Chicago. I changed the details of my trip and knew I needed to be with her.

Saturday, September 19th: Another early morning- I was going on a whale watching cruise! I headed to Gloucester, Massachusetts to take a boat out to watch these amazing creatures in their natural habitats. While waiting to board, I saw a local fisherman bringing in all of the lobsters he’d found on his trip. Being able to hold one was pretty cool! I had lunch at Gloucester House Restaurant, where the food was delicious! I ate so much fresh seafood on this trip it was insane.

We finally boarded for our day trip and it was about a 4 hour trip on a ship from 7 Seas Whale Watching Company. It was a blast! On the way out, it was so foggy we couldn’t see anything around us but out to sea even further it was beautiful and we ended up following three different whales for the rest of the afternoon. There were two grown whales that the captain and guide were familiar with and one calf that had never been seen on an excursion before. It was awesome to see how small the baby was compared to it’s mother, yet it was still gigantic! Going back to my love for marine life- we learned how to identify whales based on specific features they each have, so y’all already know I was just in heaven, yet again. We could not have had a more perfect day for a trip like this. I was so lucky throughout the my whole trip to have perfect temperatures and clear skies.

After we returned to the port, I drove from Massachusetts to South Portland, Maine. I drove through New Hampshire, so the only state in the east I haven’t visited is Vermont! I arrived in Portland after sunset, so I stopped at a Target to grab some nail polish and a few of my favorite things so I could pamper myself a little for the first time in several days! I had Otto’s pizza delivery to the hotel and thoroughly enjoyed some down time that night. It was exactly what I needed.

Sunday, September 20th: I woke up even earlier than I had any other day of the trip so I could see some lighthouses in Maine before I had to drive back down to Boston for my flight to Chicago. I visited Portland Head Lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth and I still cannot get over how beautiful that part of our country truly is. It was supposed to rain all day but it ended up clearing up early, making for some of the best pictures! I hiked the Cliff Trail for a few hours so I could take in every moment I possibly could that morning.

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After a few hours at the lighthouse, I stopped for lunch and headed back down to Boston to catch a plane to see my grandma.

I spent the next 5 days exploring Chicago instead of the east coast, but being with my family during that time was most important. I drove into downtown each day I was there and ended up going to a Cubs game spur of the moment! Of course, it was a blast! My grandma was happy to see me but sorry I cut my trip short for her. Almost two years later, she’s doing great and I still have the best memories of my first solo trip. I will definitely be taking another trip to the east coast.

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Where should I visit on my next trip there? Favorite things to do in Maine, on Nantucket, or anywhere else? Help me out! I’d also love to hear some stories about people who live in the area!

Also, how many of you guys have taken solo trips? Where did you go? I’m planning to take another solo vacay so any tips you have are definitely appreciated!

How Do You Measure Success?

What is success to you?

The last several months have been quite a whirlwind, between making the decision to quit school & also trying to find a new job that will turn into a career, it feels like I’ve been running around in circles with no progress. When I turned 26 and was feeling completely behind in life, I refused to let myself have another quarter life crisis. I’ve learned a lot about myself over the span of these days & I’ve realized I’m so much stronger in every aspect than I realized and than I ever have been before. I’m still constantly looking for something to keep me busy & no matter how hard I want to, I can’t seem to sleep late & spend the days doing absolutely nothing!

 

*UPDATE: Many of you all know, I have since found a full time job, but am definitely still not where I want to be on my own scale of success.

 

How many of you guys had a quarter life crisis? Make any crazy decisions? I know they’re real yet I know to some of you, freaking out about turning 26 seems ridiculous. I just feel like I should have myself together by this point in life!

 

It seems like so many people ultimately measure success by how much money you make or how high standing in society you are. Over the last year, I’ve realized it’s so much more than that. I admit, money sure does help when times are hard & it seems like more money would bring instant happiness. Of course we all know, sure money can aid in happiness, but it certainly does not create it.

 

Even still, it seems like so many people are worried about how much money they make or how big their house is. Lately I’ve learnned that my success can be measured by how happy I am with the life I’m living & by the steps I take every day to make the best of every moment in my life every single day. I know not every day is perfect and days at the office are often super difficult & just plain draining. But I also know there are people in this world who love their job & who love the career they’ve chosen.

 

I’ve learned that success is best defined by each individual person. To me, it’s measured by genuine happiness & a feeling of accomplishment day in & day out. It’s displayed in the way we carry ourselves from the time we wake up until the moment we fall asleep each day. I know it may be so much harder to see success so simply when you have a family to raise, mortgages to pay & a day job you’re not in love with. What if we all took a step back & revisited one the scariest words we try to live each day? What if we redefined what this word means to each of us, in hopes of easing in to simpler, more fulfilling lives?

 

What kind of advice can you all give? How did you find your passion? What is your passion & how did you know?

 

 

From my experience, success & leading a fulfilling life have so much to do with your morning routine. I used to work at Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, working a 9-5, Monday-Friday & for the most part, it was pretty great. I loved getting up at 5 am to go to the 6 am Pure Barre class, walk for 3 miles, shower & head to work! I always carry teeth whitening strips, a green tea bag, my mascara & eyeliner with me & with those few things, I’m always good to go! I have at least one cup of green tea every day because something about it just helps me feel like I can conquer the world! Crazy right? But really. On days that I didn’t go to Pure Barre or the gym before work, I was sluggish and just plain irritable. Very quickly, I realized how important that ‘me time’ before work every day really was.

 

We are all constantly connected via email, Facebook, Instagram, or whatever forms of social media we like best. So that hour or so every morning completely for me is always the best way to start my day disconnected from the outside world so I’m able to get myself feeling good!

 

What are some of your morning routines that help get you going every day? What is your go to, no fail item/workout that you have to have every morning?

 

Your takeaway from this one: success is what you make it. Try not to let the neighbors next door or even your sister make you feel inferior about where you are in your life compared to theirs. Everyone is on their own path to success. Work on yourself without worrying about how you measure up to the guy next door. At least that’s certainly what I’m trying to do.

Summer in Chicago

I previously wrote about how much I love Chicago in the winter, so obviously I’m gonna have to talk about how awesome it is in the summer, too!

 

In this one, I’m going to go over the top 5 things to do in the summer in the downtown area in no particular order.

 

For starters, every time I’m there during the summer months, I’m so surprised at how hot it is! I can’t ever get over the heat considering it’s up north and right off the lake! The good news is there’s always a beach pretty close no matter where you are.

 

  1. Architecture Water Ferry down the Chicago River.

This is the best way to see to the city especially if you haven’t been before. It’s a little over an hour long boat ride down the Chicago river and into Lake Michigan to learn about the extensive history and beautiful buildings throughout the city. It’s been several years since I’ve taken this ride, but it was so nice to be out on the water and learning about my favorite city! You can check out Shoreline Excursions for more info on these cruises!

The Wrigley Building.
  1. Navy Pier.

There are truly hundreds of things to do out at Navy Pier. There are several sightseeing cruises or dining cruises that leave from the Pier that you’d be crazy not to take advantage of. One of them is the Shoreline Sightseeing Cruises, which is the company that the Architecture Tour I talked about before is through. They do a great job of getting tourists or even people from the area more acquainted with the city and their surroundings. They also offer Wine Tasting Tours and a variety of others that you definitely need to check out!

 

In addition to river cruises and tours, you can also find tons of places to have lunch or dinner at Navy Pier. They have a food court and a few other restaurants that offer table service. Giordano’s is one to check out for sure!

 

There is also a ferris wheel there, called the Centennial Wheel, that offers some of the greatest views of city you could possibly imagine.

 

They also have many events and exhibits that you should just check their online calendar for the most up to date to on-goings to see what interests you most.

 

  1. Chicago Cubs/Chicago White Sox game.

Y’all know I would absolutely choose the Cubs games over the White Sox games but I will admit the stadium on the South Side is still gorgeous. Wrigley Field, the home of the Chicago Cubs, is one of the most iconic ball parks in the country and there is no atmosphere on this planet like the one you’ll find in that stadium. No matter if you’re a baseball fan or not, you are still guaranteed to have the time of your life there. I promise. The White Sox stadium has undergone many name changes over the last few years and is currently called Guaranteed Rate Field. I made several trips there when working at my last job and as much as I hated to admit, the field really is pretty. There is a great atmosphere in this park, as well, and I will say the Italian beef is so much better there than at Wrigley. If you can get a ticket to see the 2016 World Series Champions Chicago Cubs, you’ll never forget the experience you’ll have that day.

 

Which stadium do you prefer? Why?

 

  1. Millennium Park.

There is always something to do at the park! Catch a concert at their outdoor venue, sit on the lawn for a picnic, visit the Buckingham fountain, walk down the lakefront, have lunch at Park Grill, and you definitely have to see The Bean! It’s also called Cloud Gate and I’m certain you’ve seen pictures all over the place. Standing on the side closest to Michigan Avenue, you’re able to get an awesome picture of the skyline in this mirrored tourist attraction. The list is endless! It’s the perfect place to just lounge around during the afternoon or to get a quick jog in before you start your day. There’s also a new little park area that is pretty fun for kids and adults of all ages.

 

the bean
The Bean.
  1. Skydeck Chicago at the Willis Tower.

Summer is absolutely the best time to do this with more hours of daylight and less chances of foggy, overcast skies. You’re able to look across the city and out into the lake, as far as the eye can possibly see. Take pictures in the glass bottom Skydeck where the view is phenomenal and certainly one you’ll never forget. Think twice, though, if heights make your knees weak!

 

 

A few bonus places to visit: Eataly (of course!) for gelato and a little shopping, Cindy’s Rooftop Bar (I have yet to go, but from photos I’ve seen, the menu and view are amazing), Shaw’s Crab House for seafood, and the Billy Goat Tavern are some of my favorites!

 

Now plan a long weekend trip this summer and go! Tell me what I should add to the list.

 

What are your favorite places to eat, sleep, and visit in the Windy City?

 

Halo Top. Arctic Zero.

Well, it’s finally time to address one of the more popular debates in the world these days: Artic Zero or Halo Top? Which kind of healthier ice cream option is the best?

It seems like every time we turn around there’s another option for healthier snacking & sometimes it’s just too hard to choose! Plus, when you’re spending $5 on one pint of ice cream, you wanna be able to make an educated choice. That’s where I come in. 

For a little over a year I was all about Artic Zero. I love how icy and refreshing they all are, even the decadent ones like brownie or cookie dough. The flavor is so good and I tried just about every single flavor option they sold in my local Kroger. My favorite creamier flavor is the cookie dough. It has real pieces of cookie dough and it’s oh so wonderful. I also love the pomegranate as an icier option that is so delicious and refreshing during the brutal summer months. They recommend you leave it out for 10 minutes before eating, or they say you can put it in the microwave for 30 seconds to speed up the process. It is a lot better when you let it sit, but it’s awfully hard to wait sometimes. Artic Zero has a good amount of protein and doesn’t taste powdery or like it’s chalked full of protein. It comes in a pint and has the nutritional values for one serving, as well as for the whole thing. I know we’re not supposed to eat a whole pint of ice cream ever, but when you can eat something that’s so delicious for less than 300 calories that will keep you full, sometimes it’s difficult not to!

I’ve always been one who loves fruity sorbet and sherbet rather than heavy chocolaty ice creams or custards. Until recently, that is.

Halo Top. I was so hesitant to give in to yet another brand of healthier “ice cream” because I really thought that Artic Zero was as good as it was gonna get. Then my sister came home on Weight Watchers and informed me that Halo Top was better on points, a whole lot creamier, and still had the protein that I felt like I needed to keep me full. I hate to admit this, but little sister was right. I cannot get enough. Red Velvet, Mint Chocolate Chip, Pistachio, Black Cherry, Brownie Batter, give me all of the flavors. I truly need them all. I didn’t even know I liked Red Velvet and last night I looked down and the pint was half empty! If you’re looking for something creamy like real ice cream is, this is definitely the winner. It’s so satisfying and also has the protein I like to have in a snack. It’s just that good. They do recommend you leave it out on the counter for about 15 minutes and it helps to reach the maximum consistency we look for when we need to satisfy our ice cream craving. Just like Artic Zero, it’s really hard to wait, but it’s SO much better when you do. Just don’t forget about it!

Ultimately, if I had to choose, I would go with Halo Top. But I really do think it depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re on a program like Weight Watchers, it seems Halo Top is also the better option. But if you’re looking for something icy to cool down or ease a sore throat, Arctic Zero is the way to go, no doubt. If you’re looking to combat the need for a half-gallon of creamy goodness of custard or ice cream, go with Halo Top.

Now I wanna know which one you love! Are there some other new brands that are better than either one of these?

And now of course I need to know your favorite flavors of each so I can try them for myself!

This is one of those posts that I really want all of the advice and recommendations on!

Can’t wait to hear from you guys!

What Are You Planning On?

Alright y’all, I’ve been working on this one for a while and I am entirely too excited to talk about it! I absolutely LOVE to plan. Plan the days, plan the weeks, plan the months. I think it’s so much fun and I absolutely love all the colorful pens and pretty stickers, along with all of the place holders, rulers, and just about any office supply you could imagine. I love notebooks, wall calendars, day-by-day planners and month-by-month planners and any kind of print-out that helps me step my game up. You name it, I’ve tried it and chances are, I love it! It’s rare that you’ll catch me without my planner, a notebook, and my daily notepad at any given time. Of course I know things come up that it’s impossible to plan for everything and I really still do love some spontaneity in my life! I just like to lay out the things I know about the week or month in advance, especially with my work and now that I’m trying my best to run this blog! I’ve also found that by putting my workouts in my planner each week, I’m a lot more likely to attend every day!

I’m going to list some of the essentials that I use and I know I wouldn’t be able to make it through the days without. These are all items I have used and continue to use and I would honestly not have them on this page if I didn’t really feel like you all could benefit from them too! *This post contains affiliate links.

Day Designer Wall Calendar
I’ve recently started to love Day Designer by Blue Sky after using their wall calendars for the last three years. Their designs are always so cute and the layouts are always perfect for my needs. Check out one of their adorable 2017-2018 wall calendars here! This one is very similar to the one I purchased here last year, with the ability to not only write in daily tasks and events, but also include monthly projects and notes in the side bar. I can’t get over how cute the floral is! They offer January through December or July through June formats.

Day Designer for Blue Sky Lined Pad, 3-Pack
This is a product that I just ordered and I can’t wait to use. After downloading a few print outs, I knew this note pad was gonna be a game changer. They’re perfect to use with a clipboard or even tear a few off, fold them up & put them in your pocket to take quicks notes on during a meeting. From there, it’s super easy to transfer any special dates and times to your planner when you have time! Plus this an awesome deal for a three pack!

May Designs Notebooks
My absolute favorite notebooks on Earth are from May Designs. They literally blow any other product out of the water. You can special order your academic planners, notebooks, and stationary from maydesigns.com and their products are gorgeous! I’m not kidding when I say I’ve purchased over 20 books from them and tons of stationary. The designs they offer are perfect for every mood you’ll experience and for each of the seasons! Plus they have excellent customer service. They also have food & exercise journals, as well as agendas and adult coloring books. Be on the lookout in the coming weeks for a giveaway and more on my Instagram page!

Only a small portion of my May Designs collection!

Erin Condren Planner
I’ve ordered a LifePlanner from Erin Condren for the last three years, and I could not be more impressed with the designs they offer and with how the inside layouts look. You can choose from vertical or horizontal layouts, and from colorful or black and white. The horizontal is nice for academics, but I prefer the vertical layout so I can break down my days by morning, day, and evening. They come with tons of stickers that already have events written on them and also some blank ones to write in your own events and appointments. Of course you have the option to order and create as many extra stickers for any events you could dream of. All orders and be placed through erincondren.com. Go order for 2018 and let me know which design you’ve chosen!

Erin Condren Life Planner

Daily To-Do List
This is another great alternative that’s similar to the one I currently carry around everywhere. It’s like the notepad version of a planner. It’s broken down into sections for the easiest daily organization possible, without the bulkiness of an actual planner. Each day is broken down by hour to list meetings or special events, there’s a to-do list section, a place to list the 3 things you absolutely have to do that day, and one of my favorite parts is the area where you can write down everything you’ve eaten and how much water you’ve had to drink! How cool?! You can grab yours here!

BIC Atlantis Original Retractable Ball Colored Pens
These are the exact pens that I use for all of my note taking and planning needs. The ink seems to last forever and the colors are so vibrant and pretty! It makes it easy to categorize different events on my calendars. Typically I use green to symbolize pay day or when bills are due, I usually use pink for social events, purple for special work events, the list continues. I also change it up when I’m getting bored of the color coordination I’ve been running with for too long. Regardless of color, these pens write smoothly and it’s like an actual ink pen instead of a marker, so there’s no bleeding through the paper or smearing like the old school gel pens do. Plus these are the perfect, fun colors!

And that’s it! These are some of my favorite things that help me get through each day without going crazy. My job keeps me busy with people telling me little details right and left so with notepads and planners always within reach, my mind is at ease and I’m able to do my work so much more efficiently.

What are your favorite brands and products for planning and organization of every day life? Anything I’ve just got to try? Can’t wait to hear from you!

*I know I’ve been referring you guys to Amazon a lot in my posts, I just think it’s awesome how much you can order and how quickly you can get it! You can literally get anything you could possibly need! Another thing that’s awesome is the opportunity for Amazon Prime. I’ve linked a 30 day free trial for Amazon Prime to get free shipping in 2 days on thousands of products on the site. I definitely encourage you to at least try Amazon Prime, if you haven’t already. There’s always an option to cancel after the initial 30 days, but the benefits are totally worth it!