Tuesday, June 21, 2016

5 Moving Tips

My roommate and I moved into a loft over the weekend! I've been simultaneously looking forward to and dreading this process. I'm so excited to be in a new place that fits our lifestyle better (we're much closer to everything, and I was going to go insane living another day in a beige-on-beige-on-beige apartment). On the other hand, moving is hard work and takes a lot of time! We moved from the third floor of our old building to the second floor in our new building, so let's just say I'm going to be avoiding stairs for a while. Anyway, here's some things I learned through the process:

1. Cover your shampoo lids with saran wrap — I read this tip on Buzzfeed and didn't use it. Long story short, my shampoo exploded all over everything, and I am full of regret. Moral of the short story: Always listen to Buzzfeed.

2. Pack the plants last — I actually made a final separate trip for the plants. Get a wide box to place them in so you don't have to worry about any delicate leaves getting damaged in the process. After all, they're living things, and you should treat living things nicely.

3. Invest in superglue — Y'know, just in case you accidentally broke the blind-twisty-wand-thing in your old apartment. You can probably just superglue it back on and pass your check out inspection without your former landlord asking any questions... Probably.

4. Rent a U-Haul — This was the single best thing we did, even though we were just moving across town. It made the day go by so much faster (which was great because we moved on one of the hottest days of the summer).

5. Get a good crew — Our moving "crew" included friends and family who helped us carry big boxes, little boxes, take apart furniture and put some together. A sweet friend dropped off daisies and another delivered the cutest housewarming gift. The best part about this crew is they'll stick with us after the move.

Let me know if you have any unpacking tips! I have a feeling I'll be pretty busy...

P.S. Photos of me and Merry by Austin Elliott of Locke + Stache Media. Photo of daisies by me. (Thanks, Megan, for our sweet move-in gift!)

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Dos and Don'ts of Burning Candles

I think burning a candle in your home is one of the simplest pleasures of adulthood. Gone are the days when your R.A. or boss demands you use a candle warmer; there’s nothing quite like the ambiance an open flame provides. When it comes to candles, if you want to let it burn for fifty-eleven days, um-teen hours there are some ground rules you should follow.

DO: The first and most important rule of candle care is the one that inspired me to write this post. I’ve been burning candles for way too long without realizing the first burn is insanely important as it determines the life of the rest of your candle. The first burn is called a “memory burn.” Since wax tends to follow the same patterns, the amount that you allow the top to liquify the first time is as far as it will reach in the future. You may know this frustration if you’ve had a candle that only burns down and not out; the biz refers to that as “tunneling.” Don’t let this happen to your candles, especially if you bought them at Anthropologie (because $).

DON’T: Don’t underestimate how long the “memory burn” will take, otherwise you’ll have to stay up later than intended watching Parks & Rec reruns while waiting for the top of the candle to completely liquify. I mean, I’m guessing that’s what would happen… The memory burn usually takes one hour per inch of diameter in the candle, so for the candles pictured here, you’d need to allow about 5-6 hours for this process to happen.

DO: Remember to keep the wick trimmed to ¼” at all times.

DON’T: Don’t put a lit candle on the back of a toilet stool because a few weeks ago I heard a story about how a guy caught his hair on fire while, y’know, using the toilet.

DON’T: When your candle has neared the end of its life, don’t burn it lower than ½” from the bottom of the jar. If you burn lower than this, the glass could break, and that sounds terrible.

DO: Remember you can use the jars your candles come in to make pretty stuff! After your candle has a ½” of wax left, you can place it in the freezer and gently remove the wax with a butter knife once it's hardened. You'll be able to remove the wick and reuse the glass jar for, oh, I don't know... maybe a succulent or something.

DO: Check out these candles if you're in Springfield, MO at The Market. I *love* them.

Monday, April 4, 2016

5 Steps to Better Sleep

Do you ever struggle to fall asleep? Perhaps you've tried counting sheep or breathing exercises, but nothing seems to do the trick. Here are five ideas to put you on the path toward a full night's sleep. If all else fails, I'll try to make this post a total snooze so you can just read this each night and it's a win-win. You'll fall asleep effortlessly and I'll get a bunch of blog hits.

1. Don't Read in Bed

Many sleep experts recommend reading to relax before bedtime — as long as you don't devour that page-turner in bed. According to the American Sleep Association, reading in bed associates your brain with wakefulness. Or, y'know, you associate reading with sleepiness and fall asleep reading emails or at work if you're a magazine editor. Worst-case scenario, you read something crazy like Gone Girl and then you definitely can't sleep.

2. Don't Drink (Too Much) Coffee (in Bed)

As often as those trendy blogger-girls drink their coffee in bed, I can only assume they spend their sleepless nights dreaming up their next Instagram post. That's because they're likely not doing any real dreaming. A study found in Psychology Today urges you to stop drinking coffee by 2 p.m. to ensure that it doesn't affect your slumber. (Sidebar: Does anybody else feel really silly ordering either tea or decaf at coffee shops in the afternoon and evening hours? I always want to stand up and say, "Hi, I'm Ana, and caffeine adversely affects my sleep" to the 19-year-old barista who just chuckled to himself that grandma over here ordered a mint tea.) Back to the point at hand: If people think reading in bed associates the bed with wakefulness, then drinking coffee in bed certainly seems like a bad idea. And yeah, I'll probably still do it, but now I'll feel like some self destructive, rebel-without-a-cause cool chick when I do.

3. Turn off the Electronics

Back to those Instagram posts — it turns out ending your day by mindlessly scrolling through social media feeds is a bad idea. The National Sleep Foundation explains how light—even a small amount of light produced by a cell phone—can negatively affect our circadian rhythm.

4. Buy Cute Pillows

Buy cute pillows. It's not scientifically proven, but I think you sleep better if you're happy in your environment. On that note, buy cute pillows and clean your room.

5. Be Mindful

A lot of the advice out there on how to sleep better just starts with being mindful of triggers that may prevent you from a good night's sleep. If you have a tendency to overthink or worry at bedtime, chances are that you struggle with that during the day, too. Consider setting aside intentional time for prayer or meditation before bed instead of running through the next day's to-do list. A bedtime routine  could include shutting off technology early, drinking a cup of herbal tea or even yoga to calm yourself from a long day and prepare yourself for a long night of sleeping (instead of tossing and turning.)

P.S. Only take sleep aids (including melatonin) as a last resort, otherwise you might become totally dependent on them to sleep and then what happens when you go on a camping trip and forget your melatonin and you're awake all night and there might be bears and ...?