The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | Turquoise waters, white-sand beaches...and swimming pigs? That's the Exumas, Bahamas for you! This ultimate travel guide will give you the run-down on what to do, what to eat and where to stay if you're planning a trip to the beautiful Exumas, Bahamas!


When I first saw the pictures of adorable pigs swimming blissfully in turquoise waters pop up in my Instagram and Pinterest feeds, two thoughts came into my head…

  1. Pigs on a beach?? What the heck??
  2. …I’VE GOT TO GO THERE.

And that, my friends, is how I discovered the Exumas, Bahamas.


The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | If swimming with pigs in the turquoise waters of the Bahamas is on your bucket list, the Exumas, Bahamas should be where you book your next flight! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay when you visit the beautiful Exumas, Bahamas, including (but NOT limited to) swimming with the pigs!


My family and I spent one week vacationing on Great Exuma during mid-July, and it was truly paradise. If you’ve never heard of the Exumas, it is a collection of 365 cays in the Bahamas, the largest cay being Great Exuma. The white sand beaches, neon-blue waters and unique animal encounters are what makes this destination so memorable.

I’ve compiled a list of things to do, restaurants to eat at, and where to stay while in the Exumas so that you can make the most out of your time there!


WHAT TO DO


TAKE A BOAT TOUR:

I’m typically not one for guided tours and excursions; I prefer to explore on my own and try to avoid feeling too “tourist-y”. However, taking a boat tour in the Exumas is an absolute must! A full-day excursion by boat is the best way to see several of the Exuma Cays and check off tons of activities while you’re there.

There are many companies to choose from when scheduling a boat tour, but my family went with Turtle Divers. We knew we wanted to be in a smaller group for our tour (30+ people fighting over selfies with the pigs didn’t sound too appealing). Keeping this in mind, we spoke to our hotel’s concierge and she set us up with another family to do our excursion with, totaling at 8 people. Although he specializes in diving trips, Garvin Turtle from Turtle Divers was able to take us all on a 9 a.m.-6 p.m. boat tour that covered everything we wanted to do!

This was by far my favorite day of our whole trip. It was a long and tiring one, but every minute was tons of fun. One of the best parts was that Garvin strategically stopped at each location after other tour groups had left, so we got most places all to ourselves!

Here are the things we did on our tour, and the things you should do, too:


Chill with the Iguanas on Allen’s Cay

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | Chilling with iguanas by the turquoise waters of the Bahamas? Sounds good to me! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay if you're planning a vacation to the Exumas, Bahamas! And if you don't plan on visiting, read this post and you'll change your mind!

One thing you’ll learn quickly in the Exumas is that nearly all of the animals you encounter are very social. The iguanas are no exception! Allen’s Cay has heaps of iguanas, and while you can definitely bring lettuce or grapes to feed them, food is not necessary to get up close and personal. They have no problem with being pet!


See a Sandbar

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From mile-long sandbars to swimming pigs to lounging on white-sand beaches...the Exumas is where you should book your next flight for a fun and relaxing vacation! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay if plan to visit the Exumas, Bahamas!
The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From mile-long sandbars to swimming pigs to lounging on white-sand beaches...the Exumas is where you should book your next flight for a fun and relaxing vacation! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay if plan to visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

There are several sandbars scattered throughout the Exumas. Make sure you see one of them! The wide stretch of ivory sand surrounded by crystal-clear water is a sight that you wouldn’t want to miss.


Snorkel at Thunderball Grotto

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From mile-long sandbars to swimming pigs to lounging on white-sand beaches...the Exumas is where you should book your next flight for a fun and relaxing vacation! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay if plan to visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

Known for its appearance in two James Bond movies, Thunderball Grotto was one of the best snorkeling locations I’ve been to. It was probably my favorite stop of the tour! This underwater cave is abundant with colorful fish and coral, all lit up by sunlight seeping through holes in the ceiling and walls. You’ll definitely want to bring an underwater camera to capture all of the beauty, along with some fins (these were provided on our tour) as the current is pretty strong.


Feed the Swimming Pigs

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | The Exumas has much to offer including turquoise waters, white-sand beaches...and the FAMOUS SWIMMING PIGS of course! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay if plan to visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | The Exumas has much to offer including turquoise waters, white-sand beaches...and the FAMOUS SWIMMING PIGS of course! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay if plan to visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

Now for the famous swimming pigs! Not gonna lie, feeding the pigs looks a bit more glamorous on social media than it is in reality. Let’s just say these pigs can get pretty aggressive…they won’t hesitate to knock you over for some bread, and one nipped my knee! Nevertheless, it was a fun and unique experience that I was happy to check off my bucket list!


Swim with Sea Turtles at Little Farmer’s Cay

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From sea turtles to stingrays to the famous swimming pigs...the Exumas offers the most unique and exciting animal encounters! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay if plan to visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

Our final stop of the tour was Little Farmer’s Cay, where we were snorkeled with sea turtles, but it didn’t end there! The cutest pufferfish came to greet me multiple times, stingrays were gliding along, a nurse shark was spotted…once again, we were not disappointed by how social the animals were!


BESIDES THE BOAT TOUR:

Hunt for Sand Dollars on Coco Plum Beach

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From turquoise waters to white-sand beaches to unique animal encounter...the Exumas is definitely where you should book your next flight for a fun and relaxing vacation! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay when you visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From turquoise waters to white-sand beaches to unique animal encounter...the Exumas is definitely where you should book your next flight for a fun and relaxing vacation! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay when you visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

Coco Plum Beach was one of the most gorgeous beaches I’ve ever seen. The water is warm, shallow and clear…it’s like relaxing in a bathtub! Dotted along the water are wooden swings (ahem…the perfect picture-taking opportunity!) and enormous sandbars that emerge at low tide. Speaking of low tide, this is the best time to scavenge for sand dollars. We collected over 30!


Visit Tropic of Cancer Beach

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From turquoise waters to white-sand beaches to unique animal encounters...the Exumas is definitely where you should book your next flight! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay when you visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From turquoise waters to white-sand beaches to unique animal encounters...the Exumas is definitely where you should book your next flight! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay when you visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

The peaceful, turquoise water and white-powder sand trend continues at Tropic of Cancer Beach. Located on Little Exuma, this beach is uncrowded and a beautiful location for a few hours of sunbathing.


Swim With Stingrays on Stocking Island

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From stingrays to iguanas to swimming pigs...the Exumas offers the most unique and exciting animal encounters! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay if plan to visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

 

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From stingrays to iguanas to swimming pigs...the Exumas offers the most unique and exciting animal encounters! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay if plan to visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

If you’re in Georgetown, Stocking Island is a 10-minute water taxi ride away. This island is best known for their Chat ‘N’ Chill restaurant and bar (which we’ll get into shortly) and of course, the stingrays! Lounge in the water and you’ll immediately be greeted by plenty of these guys. They coast from person to person and are not shy at all!


WHERE TO EAT


To be honest, I wasn’t particularly wowed by the food in the Exumas. The choices of restaurants were relatively limited, and most of the dishes I ordered were nothing special. Some may disagree, but this is just my personal opinion.

However, out of the places we tried, here is where I recommend grabbing a bite:


Chat ‘N’ Chill’s Sunday Pig Roast

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From roasted pulled pork to conch salad to fried fish tacos...get a taste of the Exumas with this ultimate travel guide! If you're planning a trip to the Exumas, Bahamas, this post covers what to do, what to eat and where to stay so that you make the most out of your time!

Every Sunday, the Chat ‘N’ Chill on Stocking Island has their weekly pig roast. To avoid any confusion, there’s no actual whole pig being roasted. Bahamian-style roasted pulled pork with all the fix-ins (including peas ‘n’ rice, mac ‘n’ cheese, cole slaw, glazed carrots and pig skin) are served in generous portions. It was a super flavorful lunch and a fun place to meet locals and other tourists!


Chat ‘N’ Chill’s Conch Bar

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From turquoise waters to white-sand beaches to unique animal encounters...the Exumas is definitely where you should book your next flight! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay when you visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

Conch is a big thing in the Bahamas, and the best way I tried it was in a conch salad from the Chat ‘N’ Chill’s conch bar. The salad is made right in front of you and served pico-de-gallo-style with chopped tomatoes, onion, green pepper and lime juice. It’s so fresh and tasty!


Shoreline Beach Club

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From turquoise waters to white-sand beaches to unique animal encounters...the Exumas is definitely where you should book your next flight! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay when you visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

After trying a few restaurants and being unimpressed, we were very happy to come across Shoreline Beach Club! The fish tacos and fried plantains were delicious, and my brother thoroughly enjoyed his cracked conch. Violet, the manager, was extremely warm and welcoming.


Shirley’s at the Fish Fry

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From roasted pulled pork to conch salad to fried fish tacos...get a taste of the Exumas with this ultimate travel guide! If you're planning a trip to the Exumas, Bahamas, this post covers what to do, what to eat and where to stay so that you make the most out of your time!

If you’re craving something fried, Shirley’s is the place to go. Although I wouldn’t say the food was extraordinary, it’s a good local option to share some fried appetizers. This restaurant has a great view of the water featuring a cool shipwreck!


The Palapa Grill

We ate at our resort’s restaurant, The Palapa Grill, at least once a day during our stay at the Grand Isle (more on this resort in a bit). Whether we wanted breakfast with a view, lunch served pool-side, or an upscale dinner, The Palapa Grill became our go-to choice. All of the meals I ordered were excellent; I don’t think you could go wrong with anything on the menu! Along with the items from the fixed menu, there were different dinner specials offered most nights so we always had new dishes to choose from. My only complaint about this restaurant is that the service was sloooowww…but at the same time, the leisurely pace of the Bahamas as a whole is something you learn to appreciate.


WHERE TO STAY


Grand Isle Resort and Spa

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From turquoise waters to white-sand beaches to unique animal encounters...the Exumas is definitely where you should book your next flight! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay when you visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

My family stayed at the Grand Isle Resort and Spa, which is located on the beach of Emerald Bay on Great Exuma. Our two bedroom villa was clean and spacious with two stories that included two bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms, a living room, a dining room, a kitchen and an oceanfront view!

Golfing at the Emerald Reef Golf Club is a popular activity for those staying at the resort. If you feel like treatin’ yo-self, the Seastar Spa will fulfill all your pampering desires. A spa treatment wasn’t necessary for me, though…lounging by the pool with a good read satisfied my relaxation needs!

This resort is family-friendly and for the most part, the staff are very kind and attentive. Overall, I would definitely recommend the Grand Isle if you are planning a trip to Great Exuma!

Some other options include:


And there you have it! I hope you found this travel guide helpful if you’re planning a trip to the Exumas, or simply enjoyed reading about my own experiences there! If you’ve visited the Exumas before, what was your favorite part? If not, would you want to go after reading this guide?


The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From turquoise waters to white-sand beaches to unique animal encounters...the Exumas is definitely where you should book your next flight! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay when you visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

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Summer has been moving a biiiiiit too quick for my liking. I can’t believe that fall is already beginning to creep up on us! Not gonna lie…chunky knits, cozy layers, suede booties and all the other fashion trends that embody autumn make me a little less sad that summer will soon be reaching its end…

…but I’m getting ahead of myself, here. It’s still summertime, and I’m loving every second of it!

Now onto the outfit…


Summer outfit featuring striped bardot top, belted denim shorts and a bandana.

Striped bardot off the shoulder crop top from Zara.


THE TOP

Off-the-shoulder or bardot tops are one of my favorite trends for the warmer weather. They’re the perfect way to show off your sun-kissed shoulders and collarbones in the summer! I find the cut to be so flattering and they add a feminine touch to any outfit. This striped one from Zara is only $10!


Summer fashion featuring striped off the shoulder top, denim shorts and a bandana.Distressed dark wash denim shorts with brown leather belt.


THE SHORTS

There’s no doubt that a pair of distressed denim shorts are a staple for summer. I typically gravitate towards light-wash denim shorts, but this dark-wash pair has been on repeat for me lately. Pairing these with the bardot top makes for an effortlessly cute and casual summer outfit.


THE BELT

Bottoms (especially high-waisted shorts) can be a pain to buy. They tend to be fitted around my hips but far too loose around my waist, which is why this “Medium Perfect Leather Belt” has saved my life. I had been hunting for a high quality leather belt, and this one lives up to its name- it truly is perfect! This belt is timeless and great for everyday wear. If you plan on strapping it around your waist rather than hips, make sure to size down.


Daytime summer outfit featuring striped bardot top, belted denim shorts and a bandana.


THE BANDANA

Bandanas have been huge lately. I’ve seen them knotted around the neck, wrapped around the wrist, tied on tote bags…and definitely wrapped around the head, which is my favorite way to style bandanas. I love this one from Madewell, especially when I want to hide a bad hair day!


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Summer outfit by the beach featuring off the shoulder top and a bandana.


THE SANDALS

If I had to pick one shoe for the summer, it would be a pair of camel cross-strap sandals. They’re easy to slip on and go with just about everything. Mine are by Dolce Vita; some similar pairs are linked here and here.


I hope you’re enjoying your August! I’ll be back soon with a new post!

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Triple Threat Nut Butter Recipe | Easy to make and super nutritious, this nut butter is the perfect addition to any snack! Learn how to make this dreamy butter right now...you can thank me later.

Fun fact: I used to hate nuts.

I know, I know…I was crazy.

I’ve somehow progressed from a nut-hater to a drizzle-almond-butter-on-everything-and-lick-the-jar-clean kind of person. And I ain’t mad about it. My evolution into a nut butter fanatic ultimately led to the development of this Triple Threat Nut Butter recipe.

Luscious and creamy with warming hints of cinnamon and vanilla paired with a touch of sea salt…ugh, this stuff is pure delight in a jar.

Triple Threat Nut Butter Recipe | A blend of almonds, cashews and walnuts creates this nutritious and addicting nut butter. Find the recipe here!

It all begins with a cup of almonds, a cup of cashews, and a cup of walnuts. Transforming the nuts into nut butter is simply a matter of turning on your food processor and letting it do the work.

Yup, it’s that easy! Making this nut butter requires zero skill, but you will need some patience. It takes about 25 minutes (give or take depending on your desired creaminess and strength of your food processor) for a smooth butter to form. Resist the urge to add liquid at any point- trust me, it’ll get there!

Once the oils release from the nuts, you’ll probably have a huge clump in your food processor. Just scrape down the sides as needed and keep processing.

Triple Threat Nut Butter Recipe | This dreamy blend of almonds, cashews and walnuts with hints of cinnamon, vanilla and sea salt couldn't be easier to make. Find the recipe here!

Eventually, you’ll end up with this!

Spread it on a slice of toast or drizzle it on oatmeal for breakfast, serve it with some sliced apples for a snack, lather it on a square of dark chocolate for dessert…or just eat it by the spoonful. No shame in that.

Cinnamon Vanilla Triple Threat Nut Butter

Yield: 1.5 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almonds, raw
  • 1 cup cashews, raw
  • 1 cup walnuts, raw
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. sea salt

Instructions

  1. Place almonds, cashews and walnuts into a food processor and process until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. This will take approximately 20-30 minutes.
  2. Once smooth, add the vanilla extract, cinnamon and sea salt and process until well-combined.
  3. Store nut butter in a container in the fridge.
http://www.verymuchmia.com/2017/07/28/triple-threat-nut-butter-recipe/

Cinnamon Vanilla Triple Threat Nut Butter Recipe | This recipe combines almonds, cashews and walnuts to create pure deliciousness! So simple and so addicting...make it now and thank me later.

Triple Threat Nut Butter Recipe | A blend of three healthy nuts with a touch of cinnamon, vanilla and sea salt creates this delicious nut butter. Read the recipe here!

Los Angeles is an easy city to have a love-hate relationship with. On one hand, there’s the unbeatable weather year-round, balance between beach and city life, abundance of opportunities and wide diversity that can’t be overlooked. On the other, there’s the smoggy air, constant crowds, heavy traffic…things I can’t quite say I’m a fan of (but really, who is?).

Let’s just say that L.A. takes a bit of getting used to. I typically prefer the sound of tweeting birds over honking horns. Nevertheless, I had a great few days exploring Santa Monica and touring colleges up the coast with my best friend!

Who knows what the future holds? L.A. could end up being my home for four years 😉

Weekend in Santa Monica | Braided hair and ruffled top facing the Santa Monica Pier ferris wheel.

It was pretty overcast during our stay in Santa Monica, which meant no sunbathing on the beach. Instead, we decided to bike down to the Santa Monica Pier the morning before one of our college campus tours.

I wore this shirt from Zara. I used to walk right past Zara whenever I went to the mall thinking it wasn’t really my style, but I decided to go in the other day and basically tried on the entire store…I’m obsessed.

Anyways, this shirt definitely gives me toddler vibes, but I dig it. The volume of the ruffles and the colorful floral embroidery are such fun details!

I paired the top with these jeans which are from Zara as well, and they are so comfortable! The material is slightly stretchy which makes them the perfect pick for a day of biking and walking.

White Adidas Superstar sneakers with frayed jeans on Santa Monica pier

Okay, I know I’m a little late on the bandwagon…but I purchased these Adidas recently and I’m so glad I did. Not gonna lie, all the hype around Adidas Superstars made me steer clear of them because I didn’t want to twin with 95% of the girls I walked past on a daily basis. I needed a new pair of white sneakers, though, so I ordered these. I love them! They’re super comfortable and go with so many outfits.

Breakfast from Blue Daisy Café in Santa Monica featuring french toast, bacon and eggs.

For our breakfast that morning, my friend and I ate at “Blue Daisy”, a little café located on Broadway. Their specialty is crepes, but we both ended up getting the “Breakfast Combo” which came with scrambled eggs, bacon and french toast. You can’t go wrong with a li’l bit of sweet and a li’l bit of savory!

Those were a few snippets from my weekend in Santa Monica! How did you spend your weekend?

How to Stop Procrastinating | Procrastination happens to the best of us, but these 7 tips will boost your productivity in no time!

One thing I’ve always prided myself on is the fact that I am not a procrastinator. I’ve always been the type of person who wants to get things done ASAP so that tasks don’t build up and hang over my head as time passes…

…until recently. I’ve become a bit more of a procrastinator than I would like. I often find myself scrolling through social media, watching “just one more” Youtube video, or wandering around aimlessly all in an effort to avoid doing something.

Sound familiar?

Considering you’re probably procrastinating by reading this blog post on how to stop procrastinating, I’m sure it does.

It happens to the best of us. But I can assure you that learning and applying these 7 tips will be the most productive form of procrastination you’ve done all day. All it will take is a bit of action and you’ll be knocking things off your to-do list in no time!


1. Eliminate distractions

How to Stop Procrastinating | If you find yourself constantly procrastinating, eliminate distractions -cough, cough, technology-! This post has 7 tips to end procrastination and boost productivity.

When it comes to distractions, I’d vote technology as the main culprit. There’s no way you’ll ever get anything done with your hand drifting towards your phone to check Instagram every few minutes.

A simple solution I use is turning my iPhone on “Do Not Disturb” when I need to complete something. This prevents notifications, alerts and calls from making noise, vibrating or lighting up the screen. You could also switch your phone to airplane mode or just turn it off. Depending on what it is you’re working on, the same thing applies to other electronics. Unplug! Place them in a separate room if you need to.

Of course, some of your tasks may require the use of electronics. In this case, reduce distractions within the device. Close unnecessary tabs on your computer, delete distracting apps on your phone (don’t worry, you can re-download them later), etc.


2. 5 minute rule

How to Stop Procrastinating | If you find yourself putting off your to-do list, this post is for you! Learn 7 tips to stop procrastinating and be more productive.

I’m a big fan of to-do lists. I keep a running list in the “Notes” app on my phone and write daily to-do’s in my planner. But sometimes, I can get a little carried away and end up with tons of tiny tasks tacked onto the end of my already lengthy list. Organize the stack of papers sitting on my desk…E-mail that person back…Put away those items I just bought…

If it takes less than 5 minutes, don’t write it down; don’t put it off. Just do it.

If you skip the planning and jump straight to the action when it comes to 5-minute-or-less tasks, you’ll save yourself the overwhelm of a long to-do list later. Completing a few of those little nagging tasks will add up in the end.


3. Get the worst thing done first

So you’ve gotten a few of your 5-minute tasks out of the way. Now, you’re left with things that probably require a bit more time to complete. Instead of leaving the worst task for last, get it done first. The “worst task” generally means the most important one. If all of your tasks are of equal priority, the “worst” may be the task that is most time-consuming.

The longer you put off the worst thing on your to-do list, the longer it will loom over you. Spending hours dreading doing something is time that could be spent actually completing it. Once it’s done and out of the way, the rest of your day will feel like a breeze!


4. Take baby steps

How to Stop Procrastinating | Stop procrastinating and be more productive with these 7 tips!

Larger-scale projects can feel daunting when you don’t know where to start…so you end up not starting at all.

Don’t attempt to take on the whole thing at once; break it up. Separate the overarching task into several smaller ones that can be completed one step at a time. The more manageable, the better.

For example, the most intimidating thing that was on my to-do list was: Start a blog. Those three words…”Start a blog”…really don’t mean much.

Instead, I’ve replaced that incredibly overwhelming project with multiple tasks that will work me towards the launching of my blog (1. Choose a blog platform, 2. Register a domain name, 3. Purchase and set up hosting, 4. Write 5-10 “base” blog posts, etc.). If you’re reading this blog post right now (which is a result of my task #4: Write 5-10 “base” blog posts), then my baby steps have added up…and I finally have an up-and-running blog!

The point here: Break down your tasks. As you gain momentum, you’ll begin flying through each step and end up closer to the finish line than you ever expected!


5. Set deadlines

How to Stop Procrastinating | If you want to boost your productivity and stop procrastinating NOW, these 7 tips will save your life!

There’s a concept called Parkinson’s Law which states that “work expands so as to fill up the time available for its completion“. In simple terms: the amount of time you allow yourself to complete a project = how long it will actually take you.

For example, if you tell yourself that you have two weeks to complete a task, it will take you roughly two weeks to complete it. If you give yourself two years to complete that same task, your work will expand to fill up the two year period.

If you have no deadline, the time you will complete the task will likely be…never (or at least not anytime soon).

This means that even if a project doesn’t require a deadline, set one for yourself anyway. A deadline will hold you accountable.

For projects that already do have deadlines, it may be a good idea to mentally set an earlier one. If a paper is due on Friday, get it done by Thursday. We often underestimate how long something will take to complete, so you might as well play it safe and give yourself some wiggle room.


6. Work in intervals

Being productive doesn’t necessarily mean working tirelessly for 24 hours straight. Working hard on something for too long will only lead you to feel fatigued and lose focus. Give yourself time to recharge.

There are different ratios of work time to rest time that will suit each person and each task. In some cases, 30 minutes of work : 5 minutes of rest will be the most beneficial; in other cases, 90 minutes of work : 20 minutes of rest will be best. It depends on the situation. However, working for too short of a time (15-20 minutes) may interfere with your flow. Being in a state of “flow” means that you are completely absorbed and engaged in what you are doing.

Find whatever work-to-rest ratio best fits you and your task. Whatever you choose, set a timer during your work interval and stay completely focused throughout the entire duration. During your rest period, grab a snack, stretch, take a walk, play with your dog…whatever will help you to refocus and refreshen your mind.


7. Realize that done is better than perfect

…Annnddd I’ve saved the tip most relevant to myself for last.

Perfectionism kills productivity.

It may sound extreme, but it’s true. Being a perfectionist, I know that my fear of failure acts as a huge roadblock when I’m trying to complete something. I hold myself to such a high standard that nothing ever seems good enough…and as result, nothing gets done.

The creation of my blog has revealed to me how much of a perfectionist (and therefore, a procrastinator) I am. I put off starting this blog for a while in fear that it wouldn’t meet my high expectations. My first blog post on mental health took me months to write, and that doesn’t include the time it took to take and edit the photos, format it, etc. I wanted to plan everything perfectly, make sure each sentence flowed perfectly and choose words that fit perfectly (thesaurus.com was my BFF).

But nothing will ever be perfect. If you’re striving towards perfection, you’re setting yourself up to be unsatisfied. I’ve decided to shift my thinking, and so should you. Continue to have high expectations for yourself, but remember to be realistic. Done beats perfect.


And there you have it! 7 ways to stop procrastinating…right now. Which tip did you find the most helpful?

How To Stop Procrastinating...Right Now | If you're a procrastinator, this post is for you! These 7 tips will have you knocking things off your to-do list in no time!

5 Ways To Boost Your Mental Health | We often place all of our attention on physical health but forget about mental wellbeing, even though it's equally (or even more) important! These 5 tips will help boost your mental health, leading you to a happier and more peaceful life.

I’ve been on a few health kicks before.

These “kicks” generally involved the meticulous planning of my meals, working out for a certain amount of time, and constantly checking the mirror to see if any physical progress had been made.

The media (and society as a whole) places so much pressure on appearance, and because of this, we tend to invest in our bodies more than our minds. However, nearly 1 in 5 Americans struggle with a mental illness.

Psychological health needs to be addressed.

This year, I’ve realized that being “healthy” is not limited to the physical level. Beyond that, there is mental, emotional and spiritual health, all of which contribute to one’s overall wellbeing.

Whether you are facing depression, anxiety, stress, or just feel generally mentally unwell, these 5 tips can easily be incorporated into your daily life to achieve a healthy, happy mind!


1. Journal

5 Ways To Boost Your Mental Health | Journaling is a great strategy for when you feel stressed or overwhelmed. Read this post for more ways to boost your mental health and live a happier life!

The constant stream of thoughts and worries in your head may be deafening at times, and this is where the power of journaling comes in. Set aside some time daily or weekly to sit down and write. Recount the events of your day, make random lists, rant, ramble…it doesn’t matter! Simply get whatever is on your mind onto paper.

Journaling will enable you to:

  • Reduce stress by releasing any emotional steam. 
  • Feel less overwhelmed by clarifying and organizing your thoughts, feelings or worries.
  • Solve problems more efficiently by exploring different solutions and filling in gaps.
  • Understand yourself more by determining what makes you the happiest and what triggers certain emotions.

2. Get Moving

I’m sure plenty of us can admit we’re guilty of being desk-bound by day and couch-bound by night. But the human body was not meant to sit all day.

Along with the physical damage of sedentary behavior, there are many ways in which it can disrupt your mental health. Prolonged sitting has been linked to anxiety and depression, and besides, being glued to a chair for hours can have a way of making you feel…bleh.

The solution? Get up and get moving!

Exercise will:

  • Boost your mood by releasing feel-good brain chemicals.
  • Reduce stress by serving as a distraction from your worries.
  • Improve self-esteem. 
  • Increase energy.
  • Result in better sleep.

My personal favorite form of exercise is HIIT, which stands for high-intensity interval training. This type of workout gets my body sweating and heart pumping like no other!

If high-intensity exercise isn’t your thing, yoga and walking are lower-impact favorites of mine. Any type of movement is beneficial- even if it’s simply getting up every so often and taking a 5 minute stretch break! Here’s a post on how to enjoy exercise more.


3. Get Outside

5 Ways To Boost Your Mental Health | Get outside! Green space reduces stress and increases happiness. Read this post for more ways to improve your mental health!

Just as many of us are guilty of sitting all day, the same can be said for staying indoors. You may forget that a whole wide world exists outside of your bedroom, classroom, or office.

If possible, move some of your daily tasks or routines outside, whether that’s eating breakfast, studying for an exam or taking a phone call. Try going for a stroll around your neighborhood or hiking a nearby trail.

Getting outside will:

  • Boost Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D and light exposure deficiency have been linked to depression. Get your daily dose of sunshine!
  • Increase vitality. Studies show that just 20 minutes in nature is enough to make you feel significantly more energized.
  • Lower cortisol levels. More green space = less stress!
  • Make you happier. Even the act of imagining or looking at photos of nature have been shown to elevate mood.

4. Practice Gratitude

It may sound cliché, but practicing gratitude daily can truly bring more light into your life. When you’ve hit rock-bottom or become stuck in a rut, it’s easy to overlook all of the little miracles you so often encounter. From waking up in good health to seeing a particularly pretty view to talking to someone who made you smile that day…there is so much to appreciate!

An attitude of gratitude will:

  • Heighten optimism and joy.
  • Lead to a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.
  • Make you feel less lonely and isolated. 
  • Motivate you to act more generously.
  • Help you feel in control of your emotions.

One of the simple ways I practice gratitude is through prayer. As much as I love rolling down my windows and blasting some Queen (when it comes to music, I’m an 80’s child at heart), I find that driving can be the perfect time to take a few minutes to eliminate noise and thank God for all of the blessings in my life.

Another way to practice gratitude is by keeping a gratitude journal. The results of one study correlate the act of writing down things you are thankful for with greater levels of wellbeing. So whip out a notebook and pencil and get listing! Counting your blessings puts everything into perspective and will bring you a sense of peace.


5. Breathe

5 Ways To Boost Your Mental Health | We tend to invest in our bodies, but what about our minds?Mental health NEEDS to be addressed! Read this post for 5 ways to boost your mental health and live a happier, stress-free life!

Life gets overwhelming at times, and focusing on your breathing can act as a quick escape when your mind is racing at a million miles a minute. Deep breathing can be done anytime, anywhere, and it’s an effective tool when it comes to re-centering and calming yourself.

Deep breathing will:

  • Increase relaxation by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, thus decreasing stress and anxiety.
  • Improve energy levels and concentration by oxygenating the brain and increasing blood circulation.
  • Elevate your mood by producing more pleasure-inducing neurochemicals.
  • Aid in better sleep.

There are various techniques to explore when it comes to breathing, but personally, I don’t follow anything specific. I simply:

  1. Inhale deeply, allowing my belly to expand (rather than taking shallow breaths from my chest).
  2. Hold for a few seconds at the top of my inhale.
  3. Exhale as slowly and gently as possible until all of the air is released.
  4. Wait for a second or two before inhaling again.
  5. Repeat for about a minute.

Placing attention solely on your breath will naturally clear your mind while connecting you to your body and the present moment.


These tips have helped me, and I hope they’ll help you. What is your favorite way to care for your mental health?

5 Ways To Boost Your Mental Health | We often hyper focus on the health of our bodies but forget to care for our minds. Read this post for 5 simple ways to boost your mental health and become a happier you!

5 Ways To Boost Your Mental Health | If you're feeling anxious, sad, stressed...or any less than 100%, these 5 tips will help boost your mental health and lea to a happier you!

How To Actually Enjoy Exercise | Working out can sometimes feel like a chore, but it doesn't have to! These 7 tips will help you learn to love exercise and find joy in fitness.

Having played competitive volleyball for seven years (maybe more), I’ve always been an extremely active person. Once I decided to call it quits about a year ago, staying motivated to work out has become more important than ever. Without the daily volleyball practices and weekly tournaments, I have to take it upon myself to get off my butt and move.

I’ve experienced both ends of the exercise spectrum. There have been several phases where I’ve gone gung-ho and attempted to follow intense workout plans to a T, even if I didn’t actually enjoy them. As a result, I dreaded the workouts…which ultimately led to me abandoning them altogether.

But exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. After lots of trial and error, I have reached a place where I truly love to exercise! My day feels incomplete without some form of movement, and I look forward to working out. Here’s how I’ve done it and how you can too!


1. Establish Your “Why”

A lack of purpose will lead you to a lack of motivation. It’s important to establish why you should work out, or why you are doing so already in order to remain driven.

If your reason is simply to lose weight or look a certain way, I can tell you right now that putting all the pressure on physical appearance will only get you so far. Yes, you may be motivated at first…but if the physical results aren’t coming fast enough, you’re likely to give up.

Determining your reasons behind staying active should go beyond the mirror or scale.

How does exercise make you feel? How will your overall health benefit? In what ways may your life be improved from regular exercise a month, year, or 5 years from now?

I exercise because I love to strengthen and challenge my body. I love the the mood and energy boost that comes with a good sweat. I love feeling in control of my health, knowing that everything I do now gives me a better chance to thrive in the future.

I never want to take advantage of the fact that God blessed me with a body capable of jumping, running, walking, lifting…I want to use all of these abilities! It may sound cheesy, but it’s true. Not everyone can do these things, so use what you’ve been given!

How To Actually Enjoy Exercise | A workout shouldn't be something you dread, it should be something you look forward to! If you've found yourself lacking motivation, read these 7 tips that will help you learn to ACTUALLY enjoy your workout and love exercise!

How To Actually Enjoy Exercise | Stop dragging your feet to the gym and mix up your workout instead! Read this post for 7 tips that will spark a love for exercise and lead to finding joy in fitness!


2. Listen to Your Body

One change that has made all the difference in how I feel towards exercise is listening to my body. Here’s the thing: you’re not going to feel like running 8 miles or squatting 200 pounds every day (not that I was able to do either of these things to begin with…lol).

And that’s okay! You shouldn’t force yourself into doing something that your body is clearly saying “no” to. Work with your body, not against it.

Obviously, there’s a difference between listening to your body and totally slacking off out of laziness. Lounging around eating Oreos probably sounds more appealing than hitting the gym. The last rep of that exercise may feel “too hard” to complete.

In situations like these, you should still push yourself to some extent. But pushing yourself to the point where you’ve lost all joy for what you’re doing or you’re in pain is not a good thing.

One day, I may have the energy to complete a super sweaty HIIT workout; another, I may just want to take my dogs for a leisurely walk. Sometimes, I’m in the mood to pump out some weighted exercises; other times, all my muscles are craving is a hot yoga class.

The point here: You shouldn’t be afraid to challenge yourself, but don’t forget to act upon what your body is telling you it needs.


3. Take it Outside

A change of location could be all it takes to re-spark your love for exercise. Constantly working out at the gym or a room in your house can get a bit dull at times…why not take it outside?

One study concluded that exercising outdoors results in greater levels of well-being than exercising indoors, as working out in natural environments increases enjoyment, energy and revitalization. A little fresh air and open space may be exactly what you need!

How To Actually Enjoy Exercise | From establishing your "why" to thinking outside of the box to grabbing a workout buddy...there are so many ways you can turn a workout into your favorite part of the day! These 7 tips will help you learn to love exercise and find joy in fitness.

I enjoy taking my workouts to a nearby park and using things around me (like benches) to perform functional exercises. Incorporating elements from my environment into my workout forces me to get a bit inventive, which can be a lot of fun! I also love walking or running the stairs at the beach- you can’t beat the sound of crashing waves and the sight of a beautiful sunset.

Even if you don’t live in sunny So-Cal, you can still find ways to liven up your workout routine by transferring it outside. A walk through the city, a jog in your neighborhood, a hike on a local trail, a bodyweight workout at a playground…the options are endless!

How To Actually Enjoy Exercise | If you find yourself dreading working out or dragging your feet to the gym, this post is for you! Learn 7 tips that will help you to ACTUALLY enjoy exercise and find joy in fitness!


4. Get Creative

Finding joy in exercise doesn’t have to come from doing pushups or running on the treadmill. There are so many fun and exciting alternatives that don’t even feel like you’re working out, but they’re surprisingly great forms of exercise.

From bike riding and paddle-boarding and kayaking under the sun to ice skating and snowboarding and skiing in the snow…there are plenty of activities that will get your heart pumping more than you’d expect.

Join a pick-up game of a sport, learn how to surf, try rock-climbing, take a martial-arts class or aerial lesson, jump on a trampoline…I could keep going, but I think you get the point.

If any of these ideas sparked your interest, you probably enjoy physical activity more than you realize. Exercise doesn’t have to be the same old, boring stuff. Think outside of the box and try something new!

How To Actually Enjoy Exercise | It's important to establish WHY you want to work out in order to stay motivated, but your reason might not be cutting it. Read this post to learn where your motivation should really come from and how to learn to LOVE exercise!

How To Actually Enjoy Exercise | Working out should never feel like a chore, and it doesn't have to! These 7 tips will ignite a passion for fitness and lead you to love your workouts!


5. Grab a Workout Buddy

I would consider myself to be pretty self-motivated for the most part, so I typically don’t feel the need for another person to hold me accountable. However, working out can be much more fun when you have someone by your side.

Not only will exercising with others push you to work harder, but it can also act as your social activity and sweat session for the day all wrapped into one!

Next time you hang out with a friend, suggest doing something like rollerblading (refer back to tip #4 for several other ideas) instead of the typical lunch or movie. I’m sure they’d appreciate an activity different from what you’re used to doing together.

You could also take workout classes with a friend, but the beauty of classes is that you really don’t need one- you’re already surrounded by a room full of people anyway! Consider them your workout buddies for the hour.

Being accompanied by a friend or two can shift your focus from the challenge of the workout to the good company. A small warning, though: if your friends are anything like mine, a “workout” may turn into a dance party instead. Just roll with it.


6. Listen to Something You Enjoy

You know how a TV show sometimes doesn’t feel complete without something to snack on? A workout and music kind of go hand-in-hand like that.

Okay, that was a terrible analogy (especially since we’re talking about exercise here- not trying to put the image of chips and chocolate into your mind!)…but hopefully you understand what I’m getting at here.

Good music can totally change the mood of your workout. Exercising in silence makes that plank seem about three times as long, and listening to something that doesn’t motivate you can have a similar effect. Put together a playlist of songs that get you energized and excited and those feelings will transfer into your workout.

Besides music, I absolutely love listening to podcasts when I’m doing something that doesn’t require much thought, like walking. I’ve been going on walks way more recently and I can thank podcasts for that. I get excited to go walking so I can listen to some new ones!


7. Take Note of How You Feel

For me, one of the biggest reasons behind why I exercise is because it makes me feel good.

Getting through a workout can be be a struggle sometimes, but the feeling I experience afterwards is so worth it. The sense of accomplishment after completing a challenging workout puts me on a high the rest of the day. If I’m stressed or anxious about something, sweating it out usually does me good. The burst of energy that comes with exercise helps clear my brain fog and leads me to be more productive the rest of the day. I just feel a million times better after getting in some movement.

When you don’t want to exercise, think of how rewarding it will feel once you’re done. Try writing down how you feel after each workout so that you can turn back to these notes when you need a little motivation. Some workouts may leave you feeling better than others, but the overall trend will be positive.

How To Actually Enjoy Exercise | If you're constantly dreading your workout, you're not doing it right! Exercise should be something you enjoy. Read this post for 7 tips that will lead you to love working out and find joy in fitness!


If you say you hate exercise, you’re probably doing it wrong. Exercise doesn’t have to be limited to the typical standards we’re used to, your reasons behind exercising can be expanded, and there are plenty of little changes to make that will refresh your routine!

I hope these tips help you as much as they’ve helped me. What is your favorite way to stay active?